Indonesian News

Now Watching: Top 5 picks for TV series you should binge-watch

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 15:00

In case you’ve been living under a rock with no internet connection or TV, Game of Thrones is set mainly in Westeros, a continent in a fictional world. (HBO)

When you have some me-time to spare or simply want to do nothing, chances are you will find at least one of these five TV series entertaining enough to keep you company.

Game of Thrones

Current season: 5

In case you’ve been living under a rock with no internet connection or TV, this award-winning series is set mainly in Westeros, a continent in a fictional world. On the continent, there are seven kingdoms that are currently fighting for the iron throne of the Seven Kingdoms since whoever sits on that throne holds the power to control the whole of Westeros.

With stories infused with political and sexual influence and violent scenes in almost every episode, it is no wonder that this series is the most talked-about and watched by people all over the world.


Current season: 2

The fall finale of Empire's Season 2 was filled with endless OMG moments. This critically acclaimed hip-hop soap opera has been praised for changing television culture and has been nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama for Taraji P. Henson, thanks to her portrayal of the sassy, loud-mouthed Queen Cookie Lyon.

This series will return on March 30 for its remaining eight episodes.


Current season: 2

This Netflix original series is unlike the typical popcorn superhero series you’ve seen on TV. Daredevil has a dark tone with its intriguing storyline surrounding a blind lawyer, Matt Murdock, who moonlights as the Daredevil himself, fighting against crimes in Hell’s Kitchen.

Expect to see cameos from other Marvel heroes, since the series is tied into the Marvel universe.

The Big Bang Theory

Current season: 9

Who says nerds aren’t funny? This comedy series created by Chuck Lorre, who previously produced Dharma & Greg andTwo and a Half Men, revolves around a nerd squad of Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj.

Add a pretty blond named Penny who becomes neighbors with Sheldon and Leonard, and their everyday antics will leave youROFLYAO.

Making a Murderer

Current season: 1

This docu-series by Netflix chronicles the real-life trial of Steven Avery who was wrongfully convicted of two different murders in his hometown of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the US

The 10-part series took 10 years to make, along the way uncovering corruption, the bureaucracy of the local law enforcement and the things they did to keep their reputation untarnished. (kes)(+)

Categories: Indonesian News

Airbnb dares you to sleep with the sharks in Paris – for free

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 15:00

The aquarium's first sleepover, hosted by world-record breaking freediver Fred Buyle, will welcome three lucky winners and their guests between April 11 and 13. (Airbnb)

The phrase “sleeping with the fishes” has taken a new meaning as online lodging service Airbnb is set to offer among its listings a one-night stay for two at an aquarium full of sharks.

Interestingly, the rare opportunity of sleeping in an underwater bedroom in the 10-meter deep Shark Aquarium will be completely free of charge as it is part of a competition held by Airbnb, supported by the Aquarium de Paris, which opened in 1867 and is conveniently situated right in front of the Eiffel Tower.

The aquarium's first sleepover, hosted by world-record breaking freediver Fred Buyle, will welcome three lucky winners and their guests between April 11 and 13. Buyle reportedly would entertain the guests by dancing among the sharks and give a private tour around the aquarium.

The competition is open to almost all global citizens, including Indonesians, as the prize includes economy class round-trip tickets to Paris and a private dinner for two, with a total value of approximately 2,000 euros (US$2,262).

The experience is part of Airbnb's monthly Night At events that basically tranform iconic spaces into homes for just one night. Previous unforgettable stays include spending the night suspended in a cable car-turned-luxury apartment 2,743 meters above the ground in France's Courchevel ski resort and staying at the home of the Chicago Bulls. (ken/kes)(+)

Categories: Indonesian News

Wika to build $27 million Semanggi flyover

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 15:00

Elevated discussion: Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama displays an image on his cell phone depicting planned elevated roads at the Semanggi junction. ( A.Wardhani)

State-owned company PT Wijaya Karya (Wika) has signed a deal worth Rp 360 billion (US$27.15 million) for the construction of additional elevated roads in Semanggi, South Jakarta, with the groundbreaking slated for April.

“Wika has signed a contract for the construction worth Rp 360 billion,” the operational director of Wika Beton, a subsidiary of Wika, Fery Hendrianto, said on Wednesday.

Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama said in January that the city administration would construct additional elevated roads in front of Plaza Semanggi shopping mall. The roads will cater to motorists traveling from Grogol in West Jakarta to Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta, and from Pancoran in South Jakarta to the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta.

The Jakarta city administration has made a deal with PT Mori Building, a private company from Japan, which plans to construct a new building in the Semanggi area. The company will fund the new elevated roads construction in return for an increased building floor coefficient (KLB), the standard for a building’s total maximum size permitted on a given area.

“The construction will be finished in the middle of 2017,” Ahok said as quoted by

Wika Beton has been ordered to supply materials for the roads construction. Despite its long track record in construction projects, the company views the project as a tough challenge.

“The project is highly prestigious, as it requires a high-end technology. Even with our track record in this business, we are still worried [about carrying out the project],” Wika Beton president director Wilfred A. Singkali said. (vps/ebf)



Categories: Indonesian News

Govt to decide Hambalang project within two weeks

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 15:00

All ready: Accompanied by Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi (center) and Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono (left), President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visits the site of a sports facility project in Hambalang, West Java, on March 18. (Antara/Yudhi Mahatma)

Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono has said a recommendation on the future of the long-halted Hambalang sports facility construction project will be submitted in the next two weeks.

Basuki said on Wednesday that the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry had established a technical audit team consisting of experts in the field of geology and building structures and planning, which would develop a recommendation on the handling of the construction project, following President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s visit to the site on May 18.

The minister further explained that the technical team would be chaired by the head of the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry’s research and development division and it would oversee four audit groups, which would handle matters related to building audits, drainage, environmental and geo-technical affairs and regulation and licensing.

"They will later develop a recommendation. It may take time because as the President has said, the recommendation will be very technical in nature and related to the country’s legal and financial concerns," Basuki said after a limited Cabinet meeting at the State Palace on Wednesday.

In his visit to the Hambalang site on May 18, President Jokowi urged the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry to conduct a thorough check of the conditions of the buildings in the Hambalang sports facilityin Bogor, West Java, to find a way to rescue the state assets.

Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi said the government did not want to repeat the mistakes that occurred during the construction of the Hambalang project in the past; therefore, the future of the project would be decided carefully.

"The President also ordered the Youth and Sports Ministry to prepare an alternative solution to anticipate if the project is not to continue," he said.

Harry Azhar Aziz of the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) said, according to the agency's investigation, the country's losses in the Hambalang project were Rp 243 billion (US$18.26 million) in 2012 and Rp 462 billion in 2013.

"On the agency’s stance, we appreciate any decision taken to save the country from losses connected to the Hambalang project," Harry said.

Construction, which began in 2010, was halted in 2013 after being hit by a corruption scandal. Former youth and sports minister Andi Mallarangeng and former Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum are among those who have been found guilty in the case. (ebf)


Categories: Indonesian News

Govt to revise regulations to speed up LRT construction

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 15:00

All aboard: President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (middle) and PT Adhi Karya president director Kiswodarmawan (right) at the LRT groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 3. ( Margi)

Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama has said the government is set to revise a presidential decree (Perpres) and a government regulation (PP) to speed up the construction of the light rail transit (LRT) project.

Ahok said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Tuesday held a meeting to follow up on the construction of LRT projects in several regions across Indonesia. The Jakarta governor said he and Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan, as well as West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan and South Sumatera Governor Alex Noerdin, attended the meeting.

During the meeting, Ahok said, Jokowi asked him to present a report on the progress of the LRT project because up until now the city administration had not yet started construction.

As reported earlier, two regulations, namely PP No. 79/2015 on the implementation of construction services and Perpres No. 98/2015 on the acceleration of the implementation of LRT projects in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok and Bekasi, have continued to hamper the implementation of the LRT construction project in Jakarta.

PP 79 stipulates the Jakarta administration may appoint a state-owned enterprise to implement the LRT construction project. The problem is the Jakarta administration has planned that the city's LRT construction project will be conducted by a provincially owned company, PT Jakarta Propertindo (Jakpro), which will team up with state-owned developer PT Adhi Karya. To resolve the matter, the government must first revise existing regulations.

Ahok said Perpres 98 should be revised so that the Jakarta administration could appoint operators such as city-owned PT Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and state-owned train operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia to develop LRT projects in the future.

Meanwhile, PP 79 should be revised so that the Jakarta administration could directly appoint a state-owned enterprise to carry out the LRT project, the governor further said.

"The legal interpretation of the PP is that [Jakpro] cannot appoint PT Adhi Karya to carry out the LRT project, since the project winner should be decided through a tender process. If we revise this regulation, Adhi Karya can directly work on the construction project," Ahok said.

The governor said he believed that the revision of the two regulations would not take a long time.

The Jakarta administration has also planned to ask PT MRT to conduct a project tender to comply with Law No. 23/2007 on the railway. “PT MRT has had experience in conducting such a tender; thus, it [entrusting the project tendering to the company] may speed up the LRT construction,” Ahok said. (ebf)


Categories: Indonesian News

Hardwell to entertain Jakartans in April

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 15:00

Dutch DJ Hardwell is slated to make a stop on his world tour at Carnaval Beach in Ancol, North Jakarta, on April 2.(

Dutch DJ Hardwell will make a stop on his world tour at Carnaval Beach in Ancol, North Jakarta, on April 2.

Since releasing his debut album United We Are last year, which reached number two on the iTunes worldwide album chart, the DJ has become an unstoppable force by touring the globe.

Prior to visiting the capital, he has entertained electro house lovers in Malaysia with tracks from his album, including “Sally”, “Don’t Stop the Madness” and “Echo”.

Hardwell said that his upcoming concert would be bigger and better. Pre-sale tickets have already sold out, though general admission tickets are still available, as are VIP tickets.

VIP ticket holders will have access to a bar, special viewing area and an exclusive line to exchange e-vouchers.

For more information, visit the concert promoter's official website, (kes)(+)

Categories: Indonesian News

House receives draft revision of Regional Elections Law

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 13:58

All ready: House of Representatives members are pictured inside the House. The lawmakers are expected to start deliberating the draft revision of Law No. 8/2015 on regional elections in early April. (Kompas)

The House of Representatives has received the draft revision of Law No. 8/2015 on regional elections as it prepares to resume sitting early in April, a lawmaker has said.

Rambe Kamarul Zaman, chairman of House Commission II overseeing regional affairs, said it received a set of documents concerning the revision of the 2015 Regional Elections Law on Tuesday.

“We have received the draft revision of the 2015 Regional Elections Law, an academic paper on the law revision and a Presidential Mandate [Ampres] on the law revision,” he said at the House complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday.

The House is scheduled to start deliberating the revisions in the first week of April, during which it will resume sitting. The government and the House are striving to complete the revisions because another delay in the deliberations will affect the organizing of the simultaneous regional elections in 2017.

The government completed the harmonization of the revisions in February.

Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said separately that the draft contains 15 revisions. They include the handling of regional election disputes, the regional head candidacy processes and matters related to political dynasties, he said. (ebf)


Categories: Indonesian News

Romantic agony, the soul of Pita Maha

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 13:58

Side by side: Rudolf Bonnet (right) stands beside Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno.

The Pita Maha arts society just celebrated its 80th anniversary. However, the life stories of maestros from the organization, such as I Nyoman Ngendon, Ida Bagus Made Poleng and Ida Bagus Made Nadera, are still not familiar to many people despite being the inspiration behind their remarkable paintings.

Founded in Ubud, Bali, on Jan. 29, 1936, by the late Rudolf Bonnet, Walter Spies and Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, Pita Maha held its first exhibitions in March and April of the same year.

Support from art figures like I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati enabled the organization of artists to change the paradigm of painting in Bali, from classical depictions of shadow puppets, mythology and religion, to more modern and secular themes.

The advent of this more secular approach enriched painting in Bali, allowing artists to present virtually any ideas, and an unlimited number of styles, in their paintings.

“Pantai Kodok” (Frog Beach) by I Ketut Regig

This artistic shift saw the birth of progressive traditional painters such as Anak Agung Gde Sobrat, Ida Bagus Made Widja, I Ketut Regig, I Wayan Taweng, Ida Bagus Made Togog, Anak Agung Gde Meregeg and I Wayan Ketig. Not all of them were Ubud locals either, with artists coming from Batuan, Singaraja, Klungkung, Sanur and various other cities in Bali.

Amazingly, their names have continued to dominate the Balinese art scene for eight decades, while their successors now elegantly adorn the history of art. Pita Maha has also become legendary in the international fine art world, with famous auction houses such as Larasati periodically auctioning their works in Bali, Jakarta and Singapore.

But it’s not just being the forerunner of secular themes that made Pita Maha so noteworthy. “A romantic agony factor from every painter has preserved the soul of this organization,” Bonnet said in 1975.

Indeed, Bonnet and Spies as the organization’s leaders constantly emphasized romantic agony as an attitude that the organization should embody.

“Panen Buah” (Harvesting Fruit) by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad

The essence of this attitude was for artists to uphold their principles and be confident in their own personal truth. To consider themselves as the guiding force of their own lives, and their artworks as their beacon of truth.

Romantic agony has often been the most important part of the cosmology of the art world, and dominates certain works of art. It is the agony and powerful vision of artists such as Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh and Jean Michael Basquiat that attracts millions of people to their masterpieces.

Bonnet said this myth should be maintained and disseminated through writings and talks. Romantic agony is a way of preserving artistic works. Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud, which he founded, is one of the reminders of this myth. At the museum, visitors are reminded that behind the beautiful paintings lay unique, tough, bitter and even distressing life stories.

“Nearly all members of Pita Maha possess features of romantic agony. The question is whether their attitude and life stories can be communicated to society by the people and institutions that inherit their works, whether they can revive the soul of the inanimate canvases before us,” Bonnet once said.

Sadly, Bonnet’s expectations have only been realized in the 21st century. The lives of Pita Maha painters are still unfamiliar to most people. The various catalogues and books published by Puri Lukisan Museum and fine art museums in Bali do not yet present the passion of romantic agony.

Consequently, the Pita Maha maestros’ remarkable paintings remain only visually outstanding. Behind the elegance of traditional culture, the thrilling individual dimension seems to be left out and allowed to fade away. It is thus necessary to introduce three of the dozens of best-known Pita Maha figures and their works.

I Nyoman Ngendon was born in Banjar Dentiyis, Batuan, between 1903 and 1910. As a traditional artist, he also produced realist paintings after meeting his modern peers in Yogyakarta, which he visited in 1935. Ngendon also created anti-colonial posters in Bali and joined the military in Regiment I of Ngurah Rai as an information officer.

Unfortunately, in 1946 he was caught by the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration (NICA) in Ketewel village in Bali. After being tortured, on July 2, 1947 he was killed by NICA police at the Dentiyis graveyard, Batuan. Ngendon’s works are mostly held by foreign collectors, including US anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, but were once displayed at the Arma Museum, Ubud.

Ida Bagus Made Poleng, commonly called Gus Made, was born in Tebesaya, Ubud in 1915. Known as a painter who highly valued his own works, he very rarely sold his canvases to Indonesian collectors, whom he regarded as having a commercial mentality. Instead, he considered European and American collectors to be real lovers of Bali’s paintings.

Gus Made showed how strict his principles were when in 1956 President Sukarno visited his studio to buy a painting. One afternoon, an officer assigned by Sukarno came to pick up the picture and Gus Made carried it himself. But as he noticed the vehicle used was a horse cart, he said, “Sorry, my painting cannot be transported on a cart.”

“Pentas Kecak” (Kecak Dance)by I Wayan Ketig

The next day a presidential car collected the canvas, Memohon Berkah (Pleading for Blessings), which later entered Sukarno’s painting collection book.

The fate of Gus Made’s best-loved works took a sudden twist when in 1986, his modest studio was broken into and 14 of his paintings stolen. For years, Gus Made was saddened by the theft. While crying, he said with some pride, “All beings love my paintings, from collectors to burglars!”

Ida Bagus Made Nadera was born around 1910 to 1915 in Banjar Tegallinggah, Bedahulu village, Gianyar. He worked in the district office of Blahbatu and painted in his spare time. The hobby brought him to become an assistant of an art teacher in a primary school in Buruan village. Humorously, he also worked as a tax collector. Along with his peers he read old Hindu books until he was well versed in the religion. Like his changing career, Nadera also had five marriages and divorces, and many children.

The paintings of Ngendon, Gus Made and Nadera are now exhibited at major museums in Bali, at the Presidential Palace of Indonesia and at several other museums in Europe and the US. The late Bonnet might see some romantic agony struggling to manifest itself in each of their works as people admiringly gaze at them.

— Photos by Agus Dermawan T

Categories: Indonesian News

Bullish outlook

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 13:58

CIMB Niaga sharia banking chief Pandji P. Djajanegara (center) talks with his deputy Rusdi Dahardin (right) and the bank’s marketing, brand and communications head, Slamet Sudijono, in a discussion organized by the bank’s sharia business unit, CIMB Niaga Syariah, on Wednesday. CIMB Niaga Syariah reported that its total third-party funds increased by 12 percent from Rp 6.77 trillion (US$510.6 million) in 2014 to Rp 7.58 trillion last year.(JP/DON)

Categories: Indonesian News

Jakarta to see LRT route before Asian Games 2018: Governor

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 13:58

Having ironed out several problems surrounding Jakarta’s Light Rail Transit (LRT), Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama has vowed to complete the project, at least one route, in time for the 2018 Asian Games.

The central government has agreed to revise regulations to strengthen legal protection and so the administration has scheduled the LRT groundbreaking for June, Ahok said on Wednesday, citing the route designed to service the Asian Games as a priority.

“President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has agreed to the prompt revision of those regulations which have become our legal basis in the construction of the LRT. We will be able to kick start the construction soon,” Ahok said, adding that Jakartans could expect to see the initial construction work on the route connecting Asian Games venues, such as the Velodrome Sports complex in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, the Britama basketball court at Kelapa Gading Sports Mall in North Jakarta and the athletes village in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta begin in September.

He explained that Jokowi had agreed to revise Article 8 of Presidential Regulation No. 99/2015 on Acceleration of Railway Operation in Jakarta, as well as Government Regulation No. 79/2015 on Implementation of Construction Services.

With the revision, a governor will also be able to appoint both state and or city-owned companies to carry out the construction, Ahok added.

Hence, he said, the administration had appointed state-owned developer Adhi Karya to work with city-owned PT Jakarta Propertindo (Jakpro), which is responsible for the construction of the city’s LRT.

Previously, the administration had doubted a prompt start to construction as the regulations had been deemed to not provide certainty for the administration nor Jakpro, in the selection of partners.

On Tuesday, the city administration met with the central government and the Palembang administration, as Palembang in South Sumatra will also host the 2018 Asian Games, to discuss various transportation projects to reduce traffic congestion in both cities throughout the duration of the event.

After the meeting, Jokowi informed reporters that he had demanded that the governors begin the construction of LRT in both regions so that the transportation would be operational before the start of the 2018 Asian Games on Aug. 18, 2018.

“This is the fifth [Cabinet] meeting to discuss LRT. I don’t want to see another [Cabinet] meeting because all [matters hindering construction] should have been completed this afternoon,” he said, citing data that suggests congestion had caused the country to suffer losses of around Rp 28 trillion (US$1.2 billion).

The President further said that, in a bid to ease mobility, he expected the LRT lines to reach the airport in both regions.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said that the government expected the Jakarta LRT project to be finished by April or June 2018. Therefore, people from satellite cities, such as Tangerang in Banten and Bekasi in West Java, would be able to travel to the capital to witness the games in a speedy fashion.

The Jakarta administration are expected to build 123.7 kilometers of intra-city LRT lines, which will be integrated with 142 kilometers of LRT lines to be built by the Transportation Ministry from the capital to other regions in West Java, like Karawang, Walini and Tegalluar.

However, in the initial phase, the administration plan to set 83 kilometers of LRT lines, serving nine corridors.

The routes that have been named as a priority will connect Asian Games venues, such as the Velodrome Sports complex in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, the Britama basketball court at Kelapa Gading Sports Mall in North Jakarta and the athletes village in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta.

The capital will also benefit from a “Greater Jakarta LRT” built by PT Adhi Karya. The first route is under construction and will run between Cibubur/Bekasi Timur in West Java to Cawang in East Jakarta, and will expand to Dukuh Atas in Central Jakarta. The first phase is slated for completion in December 2017.

Meanwhile, the capital’s mass rapid transit (MRT) from Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to Hotel Indonesia in Central Jakarta is targeted for completion in August 2018.

Categories: Indonesian News

Mertasari festival celebrates community

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 12:29

Into the night: Crowds begin to gather at Mertasari Beach for an evening of live music.

Thousands of people flocked to Sanur to celebrate community during the 2016 Mertasari Beach Festival.

The free-to-the-public Mertasari Beach Festival was an opportunity for people from all walks of life to come together and share music, beach yoga and student performances, as well as a place for stall holders to show off their innovative products.

On show among the stalls was sublime chemical-free ice cream, a Volkswagon (VW) combi converted into a burrito stand, organic health foods, bamboo-framed sunglasses and young jewelry designers keen to show off their art.

Kid business: At just 15 years of age, Chandra Vangsgaard (left) has turned her hand to business with her Mexicombi food truck.

Events like the Mertasari Beach Festival held last weekend are a boon for these new-to-the-market products, offering the ideal opportunity to showcase ideas to the public.

At her 1981 VW Combi, 15-year-old Chandra Vangsgaard was busy taking burrito orders. She and her mother, Minni, set up the food truck a year ago as a work experience project for the high school student.

“I love people, so it’s fantastic I can talk to new people. The selling part of the business is amazing,” says Chandra, adding the festival opens the door to new customers and more importantly brings together people of all ages.

“The festival is a great benefit to us. People can discover our business and they can get to know us. Here we see people new to Bali mixing with locals. It’s great to see such a high level of local involvement. Even the kids come up to see if I have trash that needs to be taken away,” says Chandra of the festival that she believes will accrue new word-of-mouth customers for her Mexicombi food truck.

Nearby, Javier Velazquez is doing a roaring trade in natural ice creams, another new product for Bali. Javier explains the Mexican-style ice cream known as Pelatas is 100 percent chemical-free and extremely low in sugar, the natural fruits offering ample sweetness to the delicious treats.

Check this out: Mertasari Beach Festival serves as an opportunity for local traders to introduce new products to potential customers.

“We are at the festival because our ice cream fits with the health and wellbeing theme of the festival. There is free yoga being held and lots of healthy products and well-being information available here and our ice cream fits that lifestyle,” says Javier during a break between customers.

Pelatas Wey ice cream has between 6 and 10 percent sugar compared to more than 30 percent in most ice creams and is manufactured in Bali from local fruits without chemicals and flavorings.

“Having our stall here for the festival is an opportunity for us to share what we have to offer to people who are interested in healthy food options,” says Javier, adding that Pelatas Wey ice cream will soon open a store in Jakarta.

As well as foods from around the world available at the festival stalls, young fashion designers and jewelry makers also showed off their wares.

The simple and elegant designs from new jewelry craftswomen, Dian Ariantika, attracted a strong following, says the 28-year-old who heads up Ariant Jewellery.

“Having my stall here at the festival is a great way to introduce my designs to the public. I don’t have a shop front and I just began the jewelry line a year ago, so I felt the festival was a great way to promote my products,” says Dian.

Her silver jewelry, with a strong use of natural stones such as turquoise, was a hit with the young crowd at the festival.

“Business has been very good. The market seems to be for the young women who really like my simple designs,” says Dian, who hopes her presence at the festival will improve brand recognition in the future.

Celebrating health: Healthy lifestyles take center stage as people flock to Mertasarl Beach Festival in Sanur.

“My main hope from my stall here is to get people to better know my brand and it would also be fantastic if I was to meet people seeking wholesale jewellery. That would really launch my brand,” says Dian.

Promoting new products was key for many stall holders during the festival, including painter and jeweler Made Mulyani whose miniatures of Bali life proved a drawcard.

“The benefit has been the opportunity to introduce our new stock to the public. I do have a shop in Sanur, but it has been very quiet. Here business has been much better and it is a great way to advertise what we offer,” says Made, adding he hopes future festivals will offer stalls electricity to allow trading to continue into the evenings.

Dozens of other stalls trading fashion, foods, art and crafts also joined the festival.

— Photos by J.B.Djwan

Categories: Indonesian News

Seizing the opportunity to lift Jakarta-Naypyitaw relations

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 12:29

Htin Kyaw has carved out history by becoming Myanmar’s first civilian President in over 50 years. While not the person many had hoped for — Myanmar’s military-drafted Constitution bars opposition-turned ruling party leader Aung San Suu Kyi from the presidency — it nevertheless represents a momentous milestone in the country’s democratic transition from decades of military rule.

One country that is no stranger to such transitions is Indonesia, which itself emerged from decades of authoritarian rule in 1998. While 4,000 km separates the two Southeast Asian countries, it is remarkable that they have charted an almost identical path. Each emerged from the ashes of bitter independence struggles against their respective colonizers. Both became vanguards for the decolonized world under the leadership of Sukarno and U Nu, respectively.

Each faced a daunting challenge to maintain national unity amid complex diversity along racial, ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural lines. And both had failed experiments with parliamentary democracy that paved the way for the military to assume power.

These shared experiences have fostered a sense of understanding between the two states, which is perhaps stronger than those that exist with their more immediate neighbors. While Indonesia-Malaysia relations are fraught with regular diplomatic spats and Myanmar-Thailand relations seen as ambivalent, contrastingly, Indonesia-Myanmar ties were described as a “special relationship” by The Irrawaddy (a leading, independent Burmese news publication).

One visible demonstration of this can be seen in Jakarta’s efforts to assist Myanmar’s democratization process, which were acknowledged by Suu Kyi who expressed her appreciation and admiration of Indonesia’s role. Giving substance to the special relationship rhetoric was the fact that Indonesia was one of the few countries granted high-level access to sites of communal conflicts that broke out in Rakhine state in 2013.

Nevertheless, the special relationship at the government-to-government level appears to have dipped in recent months. The Indonesian Foreign Ministry was criticized for taking two weeks to congratulate Myanmar’s historic elections that saw Suu Kyi’s NLD Party sweep to victory in November 2015. Beyond this level, however, it is questionable if a special relationship exists at the business-to-business or people-to-people level.

Bilateral trade between Indonesia and Myanmar stood at US$689 million in 2014, far short of the targeted bilateral trade of $1 billion set for 2016. In 2014, Indonesia was listed as only the ninth largest trading partner for Myanmar, while Myanmar did not even feature in the top 10 largest-trading partners for Indonesia.

Concerns have been raised at how Indonesians have not reaped any significant economic benefits from Myanmar’s recent opening to the outside world. This is despite Jakarta having devoted much political and diplomatic effort to integrate Naypyitaw with the international community. It should not be forgotten that it was the then Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa’s positive endorsement of Myanmar’s “Roadmap to Discipline-flourishing Democracy” that paved the way for Naypyitaw to take up the ASEAN chairmanship of 2014.

Ever since international pressure had forced Myanmar to forego its turn to chair the regional organization in 2006, Naypyitaw was determined to avoid a repeat and miss out on the coveted international recognition that went with holding the ASEAN chairmanship. At the same time, there were doubts about the genuineness of Myanmar’s reforms with some in the international community calling for a boycott if the country was allowed to take up the ASEAN chair.

Marty’s assessment mission was thus crucial in finding a win-win solution that appeased the desire of Naypyitaw and the concerns of the international community. Yet despite this, it is companies from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand that have since benefited from Myanmar opening up, not Indonesia.

At the people-to-people level, no direct flights between the two countries currently exist. This is despite the fact that the first commercial flight of Indonesia’s national airline, Garuda Indonesia, actually flew from Calcutta to Yangon in 1949.

According to Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Indonesians do not even feature in the 2015 list of top 10 visitors from Asia to Myanmar (instead categorized under “others”). Similarly, Indonesia’s Central Bureau of Statistics show that Myanmar nationals do not feature in the list of top six visitors from ASEAN states to Indonesia for 2014 (instead categorized as “other ASEAN countries”). Indeed, the “other ASEAN countries” made up of Myanmar along with Cambodia and Lao PDR registered no more than 67,248 visitors (or 1.8 percent of total ASEAN visitors), where a 2008 report indicated only 2,500 Burmese visited Indonesia.

Clearly there are still significant gaps in Indonesia-Myanmar relations. Given the historic ties between the two countries, such a state of affairs is unfortunate and needs to be addressed.

However, restoring the special relationship goes beyond simply nostalgic reasons. Seen as the last frontier in Southeast Asia, Myanmar promises to become the next economic “tiger” with above-8 percent annual growth predicted for the years to come. This boom will be driven by rapid expansion in the oil and gas sector, tourism, textiles and telecommunications; areas where Indonesia could do business.

While concerns over President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s interest in foreign policy remain, the economic argument should be apparent to him and the government. Indonesia should not and must not miss out on this. In other words, it should seize the opportunity of Myanmar’s first civilian President to lift Jakarta-Naypyitaw relations to new heights and to ensure that Indonesia benefits from Myanmar opening up.

The writer is head of the ASEAN Studies Program, The Habibie Center in Jakarta. The views expressed are his own.

Categories: Indonesian News

Tribute concert for David Bowie to be streamed live

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 12:29

A graffiti mural depicting David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust is seen on a wall in Brixton, London. Since Bowie’s death, the mural has become a shrine in memory of the musician.(

A tribute concert to the late rock star David Bowie, set to take place on April 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York, will be live streamed on Skype.

The concert, dubbed The Music of David Bowie, was announced only two hours prior to his death on Jan. 10, resulting in sold-out tickets for the show as well as a second event at Radio City Music Hall. Tickets reportedly start at US$300.

Up to 18 artists have confirmed they will perform at the concert, which has turned into a celebration of Bowie's musical legacy, including The Flaming Lips, Mumford & Sons, Blondie, the Pixies, Perry Farrell and The Roots.

For those interested in watching the show live, a minimum $20 donation to charity is required in order to get the streaming link.

Bowie kept a low profile after reportedly suffering a heart attack in the 2000s, the Associated Press reported. He made a moody album three years ago called The Next Day — his first recording in a decade, which was produced in secret in New York City. Blackstar, which earned positive reviews from critics, represented yet another stylistic shift, as Bowie gathered jazz players to collaborate with him. (kes)(+)

Categories: Indonesian News

Artistic makeover

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 12:29

Artists paint murals on a wall along the Code River in Yogyakarta on Wednesday. Art communities in the city also organize art performances and have taken it upon themselves to clean up areas along the river.(JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

Categories: Indonesian News

Russian tourist detained for plan to burn RI flag after bad trip

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 11:00

The Langkat Military Command (Kodim) has detained a Russian tourist, Mickael Chervikov, for attempting to burn the Indonesian flag during a visit to Bukit Lawang tourist village on the eastern side of Mount Leuser National Park in North Sumatra.

Kodim commander Lt. Col. Roy Hansen J. Sinaga said the tourist was unhappy with the services provided by a tour guide, Man, during his trip to see orangutans at a sanctuary near Bukit Lawang.

Together with his mother and several other tourists, Chervikov went on a trek on Monday.

On Tuesday, he went to the office of the Indonesian Tour Guides Association (HPI) in Bukit Lawang to complain about his unpleasant experience, saying Man did not give him enough time to see orangutans or enjoy the scenery in the national park.

When he arrived at the HPI office, Chervikov remove a red-and-white flag from a flagpole.

“He was angry; he then bought gasoline from outside the HPI office to use to burn the flag,” Roy told The Jakarta Post.

Before he had a chance to burn the flag, however, village supervisory non-commissioned officers (Babinsa), who were not far from the site of incident, confiscated the flag and the gasoline, Roy said.

Babinsa officer Second Sgt. Edi Sulianto took Chervikov to the Bahorok Police office for questioning, along with the evidence.

“The police are in charge of this matter, and they are the ones that have the authority to continue all legal processes needed,” Roy said.

North Sumatra Police spokesperson Adj. Sr. Comr. MP Nainggolan said the police had detained Chervikov on Tuesday and questioned him on Wednesday.

Langkat Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Dwi Asmoro said that after thorough consideration, Chervikov’s act could not be categorized as an insult to the country. “There were not enough criminal elements to charge him. We will hand over the case to the Medan Immigration Office,” Dwi said.

According to the law on the national flag, language, state emblems and national anthem, anyone who damages, rips, burns or conducts other acts with the intention to insult or undermine the national flag could be sentenced to five years in prison or pay a maximum Rp 500 million in damages.

The national park covers an area of 800,000 hectares, straddling the border of North Sumatra and Aceh provinces. It is home to some 4,000 animal species, many of which are protected, such as Sumatran tigers, orangutans, elephants and rhinoceroses, which are targeted by poachers.

The local forestry and horticulture agency estimated the population of Sumatran tigers in the park to be around 400 or 500, while there are believed to be 2,000 Sumatran elephants, 230 rhinos and 6,624 orangutans.

Separately, Oscar-winning actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio also visited the park recently, accompanied by fellow actors Adrien Brody and Fisher Stevens.

They took a tour around a research facility in Ketambe, Southeast Aceh regency. During their visit, they met three Sumatran orangutans and observed the animals’ behavior.

Categories: Indonesian News

TNI in touch with Philippines over hostage crisis

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 11:00

The Indonesian Military (TNI) has communicated with its Philippine counterpart to collect information on the militant group that is holding 10 Indonesian sailors hostage.

Two Indonesian-flagged vessels, Brahma 12 and Anand 12, which were manned by a total of 10 crewmen and carrying a combined 7,000 tons of coal, were hijacked by members of hard-line Islamist group Abu Sayyaf in Philippine waters near Borneo Island.

The boats departed for Batangas in South Philippines from the Puting river in South Kalimantan.

The company that owns the boats, Patria Maritime Lines, is still trying to negotiate the release of the crew from the captors, who have asked for a ransom of 50 million pesos (US$1.08 million) and set a five-day deadline for payment, beginning on March 26.

Earlier reports suggested the hostages had been taken to the Philippines’ province of Sulu.

TNI chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo said on Wednesday that the militant group consisted of several factions, and his recent communication with Philippine military chief Hernando Irebarri was focused on finding out which faction had abducted the sailors.

Gatot said his office had not decided whether launch a joint military operation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to search for the hostages, adding that information about the faction responsible would determine their response.

“We will provide whatever assistance [the AFP] needs. We are waiting for information from the Philippine military and will exchange [useful] information [to help it locate the group] ,” Gatot told journalists at the TNI headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta.

He dismissed reports that the TNI has been building up its forces in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, following the kidnapping.

“Since it is inside Philippine’s territory, it is the Philippine Navy that has the authority to conduct a rescue operation,” he said.

Gatot also said the military would not take any action before it received news from the Foreign Ministry, which is leading negotiations with the hijackers.

Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir has previously said the ministry was unable to give comment, including providing information about possible means to rescue the hostages. Due to the sensitivity of the issue, he added, any misleading information might put the lives of the men at stake.

Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, the Foreign Ministry’s director for the protection of Indonesian nationals and entities abroad, said the Indonesian government had consulted with all relevant parties in order to step up its efforts to release the hostages.

Charlos Barahama and Sofitje Salemwuring, the parents of boat captain, Peter Tonsen Barahama, publicly expressed their worries after learning that their son was captured by the terrorist group, which has pledged allegiance with the Islamic State (IS) movement in Syria.

“We are sure Peter will be freed soon. All things happen under God’s watch and God must help release him,” Charlos said.

Badrus Sholeh, an international relations expert from Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University said Manila should open the door for other countries to become involved in handling the release operation.

“Given the fact that Abu Sayyaf has pledged alliance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the abduction is not Manila’s domestic problem anymore,” he said. (mos)

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Categories: Indonesian News

PDI-P on track to reinstate GBHN

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 11:00

New alliances: Former president and chairwoman of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Megawati Soekarnoputri (right) shakes hands with senior Golkar Party politician Akbar Tanjung (left) while People’s Consultative Assembly chairman Zulkifli Hasan (second right) and Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie look on during the opening ceremony of a convention on State Policy Guidelines (GBHN) in Jakarta on Wednesday.(JP/DON)

A proposal from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) to restore the authority of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) to set the direction for the government and the objectives of the state has won support from political groups.

The government’s direction and the state’s objectives for the next five years could be incorporated in the presently defunct State Policy Guidelines (GBHN), which the PDI-P has demanded reinstating.

PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri said on Wednesday that the MPR, a powerful legislative institution under the New Order regime, should have its power returned so the country had a reference point to determine what to do and where to go in the long term.

“It’s time to rethink the country’s development plan [...] In the Reform Era, liberalization has been a distraction from the country’s principles. The practice of democracy, then, drastically changed. The state now has no clear direction,” Megawati said.

The country’s lack of guidelines, she claimed, could be seen in the exploitation of natural resources, the increasing poverty rate and a lack of recognition for local wisdom.

Megawati proposed the idea during a PDI-P national working meeting held in Jakarta in January.

The eldest daughter of founding president Sukarno and the fifth president of the country learned the concept from her father. However, it was Sukarno’s successor, Soeharto, who made the idea a reality in 1969.

Under Soeharto, the GBHN were passed by the MPR and implemented by the president. Thus, all regions had to follow the guidelines. Regional autonomy was not as strong as nowadays and regions’ ability to explore innovation remained weak.

In the post-Soeharto era, the MPR could threaten to use the GBHN to impeach a president who did not effectively implement development policy, as the president was held responsible by the Assembly.

A Constitutional amendment in 2001 removed the MPR’s status as the highest state institution and axed the GBHN altogether.

Indonesia’s development has since followed the National Long-Term Development Plan (RPJP) and National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJM), deliberated and approved by both the executive and legislative powers. Consequently, there are no longer clear sanctions if a president does not work in line with his or her development plan.

The PDI-P could reinstate the GBHN through a fifth Constitutional amendment, which Megawati said would be a limited amendment. It would add to the MPR’s authority to pass the national development policy outline, as outlined in the Constitution.

MPR Speaker Zulkifli Hasan of the National Mandate Party (PAN) said all factions had agreed to re-establish the state guidelines, except the Democratic Party.

“Ten factions and regional representatives in the MPR agree that the GBHN is important for the country, but the Democratic Party has yet to reveal its stance on it,” Zulkifli said.

To create a comprehensive basis for the guidelines, Zulkifli said the MPR would seek advice and recommendations from academics, government institutions and constitutional law experts.

If the new concept of the GBHN is passed, it will likely come into effect for the MPR’s 2020-2024 period.

“We will make sure that the GBHN will not restrict the president’s authority. It will only guide what the president should do to ensure sustainable development for the country, in line with campaign promises,” Zulkifli said.

Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie agreed that Indonesia needed a long-term development plan set by the MPR based on recommendations from the public, so the government did not have to seek advice from foreign financial experts who could discredit the country.

“Such guidelines are important, so the president can’t arbitrarily change the long-term plan,” Aburizal said.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is of the opinion that the current long-term and mid-term plans are more effective, measurable and accountable than the GBHN, because they are made and implemented by the same person.

“We need an in-depth review and consideration before deciding to reinstate the GBHN, including whether it will become a more comprehensive guideline than the RPJM,” party deputy chairman Syariefuddin Hasan said.

Ravik Karsidi, chairman of the Indonesian Rector’s Forum (FRI) advisory body and rector of Sebelas Maret University (UNS) in Surakarta, said reinstating the GBHN did not mean a return to the New Order regime.

“The guidelines are more ideological and aim to provide a comprehensive outline for development, while the RPJM is more pragmatic and more like a strategy,” Ravik said.

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Categories: Indonesian News

US group says 98 girls in C-African Republic sexually abused

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 11:00

In crisis: In this Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 file photo, Judge Marie Deschamps, left, of Canada, chair of the Independent Review Panel on U.N. Response to Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Foreign Military Forces in the Central African Republic, is joined by panel member Hassan Jallow at a news conference at the United Nations. On Wednesday, a US-based advocacy group says 98 girls in Central African Republic have reported that they were sexually abused by international peacekeepers and that three girls told UN staff they were tied up, undressed and forced to have sex with a dog by a French military commander in 2014. (AP/Richard Drew)

A US-based advocacy group said Wednesday that 98 girls in Central African Republic reported they were sexually abused by international peacekeepers, and three girls told UN staff they were tied up, undressed, and forced to have sex with a dog by a French military commander in 2014.

AIDS-Free World's Code Blue Campaign to end sexual abuse and exploitation said the three girls told a UN human rights officer that a fourth girl tied up with them later died of an unknown disease.

The group said the information it received — including the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in another part of the country on Monday — is in the hands of senior UN officials.

The United Nations has been in the spotlight for months over allegations of child rape and other sexual abuses by its peacekeepers, especially those based in Central African Republic and Congo. There have been similar allegations against the French force known as Sangaris, which operates independently in Central African Republic, known as CAR.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said last week that a UN team was sent to gather information about recently reported allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN and non-UN forces as well as civilians in Kemo prefecture, east of the capital Bangui, in 2014 and 2015.

Dujarric said in a note to correspondents Wednesday evening that the new allegations actually went back to 2013 and also included allegations against local armed groups. He said a UN team is on the ground and the exact number and nature of "these extremely troubling allegations" is still being determined.

The team has identified the alleged involvement of UN contingents from Burundi and Gabon, which will remain confined to camps during the investigation, Dujarric said. Allegations against French forces in the same area are also being investigated, he said.

The UN recently reported that 25 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation were registered with the UN mission in Central African Republic in January and February, most from previous years. This compares with a total of six allegations in the 15 other UN peacekeeping missions, in the first two months of this year, the UN peacekeeping department said.

A UN report earlier this month said there were 69 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers in 2015 — 22 of them in CAR. (**)

Categories: Indonesian News

Azarenka beats Konta 6-4, 6-2 in Miami Open quarterfinals

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

"Watch the ball": Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, hits a return to Johanna Konta during their match at the Miami Open tennis tournament, Wednesday,in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP/Lynne Sladky)

Victoria Azarenka was well on her way to victory Wednesday when she drew a code violation for chastising herself too colorfully, and she later angrily jabbed at her eyes with two fingers as if to say, "Watch the ball."

Azarenka has high standards for herself, which is one reason she is undefeated in March.

The two-time Grand Slam champion moved one win closer to a rare Indian Wells-Key Biscayne double by beating Johanna Konta in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open, 6-4, 6-2.

Eight-time champion Serena Williams was eliminated as a potential obstacle in the fourth round, making Azarenka's path less daunting. Her opponent Thursday night will be No. 2-seeded Angelique Kerber, who beat No. 22 Madison Keys 6-3, 6-2.

Keys, who committed 39 unforced errors, was the last American in either draw.

No. 15 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who ousted Williams, will play No. 19 Timea Bacsinszky in the other semifinal.

David Goffin, seeded 15th, became the first Belgian ever to reach the men's semifinals at Key Biscayne by rallying past No. 18 Gilles Simon 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. His opponent Friday will be the winner of Wednesday night's match between five-time champion Novak Djokovic and No. 7 Tomas Berdych.

Azarenka, seeded 13th, beat Williams in the Indian Wells final less than two weeks ago and is 20-1 this year. She is trying to become the third woman to win Indian Wells and Key Biscayne in the same year, a feat achieved only by Steffi Graf and Kim Clijsters.

"If I'm able to make it, it's great," Azarenka said. "It seems so close, but it's really far. I want to stay in the present. I want to continue to fight and keep getting better."

Azarenka won Key Biscayne in 2009 and 2011. A former No. 1 player, she fell out of the top 30 in 2014 because of foot and thigh injuries but will be back in the top five next week.

"I never doubted my abilities," she said. "The doubt was to get healthy again. I still feel I'm far from my best, and that's really exciting for me."

Against the No. 24-seeded Konta, Azarenka wasn't always pleased with her play. The code violation came when she lost the first game of the second set.

"Sometimes I cuss, and that's OK," she said. "Whatever will make me play better, I'm going to do. I was just trying to push myself."

Azarenka never lost serve and committed just 14 unforced errors in 119 points. Her deep, steady groundstrokes gradually broke down Konta's baseline game, and the Brit double-faulted three times on break point. (**)

Categories: Indonesian News

Mini rides

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

A craftsman inspects model bicycles made of brass at a workshop in Pakualaman, Yogyakarta, on Wednesday. The workshop produces miniature versions of various vehicles, such as becak (pedicab), bemo (three-wheeled motorized vehicle) and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, some of them for export.(JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

Categories: Indonesian News
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