Category Archives: Indonesia

Indonesia: Death Row and Drug World

Indonesia will soon make another international headline as the Attorney General Office has been preparing the execution of drug convicts after executing 14 drug convicts last year. Despite the fact AGO has not published the names and the dates,  Beritasatu TV has reported the names of nine drug convicts who would be executed within weeks.

As many of you might be aware that under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration, Indonesia government has declared war on drugs. President Jokowi stated that he refuses to grant any presidential clemency requested by drug convicts. As a result, any drug convicts, who has been sentenced to death by the court, would be executed. The government believe that capital punishment would give a deterrent impact and eventually stop drug trafficking in Indonesia. Nevertheless, this step has triggered controversy both in the national and international level.

Many argue that capital punishment is not the answer to drug problem in the country and  it is considered against human right. The government ignores the noise and carries the punishment anyway. As a sovereign state, Indonesia has its rules and regulations which could be implemented. The only way to stop the capital punishment is by urging the government to revoke the capital punishment from the regulation. Yet, as I listened the the national radio program, many people actually also support the government decision to execute the drug convicts to tackle the drug problem because it is worrying.

Interestingly enough, some media reported how inhumane Indonesian government is because the government of Indonesia did not give notification about their execution to the convicts as well as the family. Is it true? I doubt it. Hence, it got me wondering “If some want to defend the drug dealers and trafficker from being executed, what do we really know about those drugs convicts? Should we have a sympathy toward them?” I do not know.

So last month, I came across to two books titled “Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail” and “Snowing in Bali: The Incredible Inside Account of Bali’s Hidden Drug World” at a bookstore in Ngurah Rai Airport Bali. I found the title and cover very interesting. I read the blurb. It seems to be juicy, it is about crimes, drugs, sex and politics in Indonesia. I decided to buy two of them.

Yet, I was actually bit skeptical because those book are part of trilogy written by Australian author Kathryn Bonella who wrote “No More Tomorrows Schapelle Corby“. You might wonder “And so?

Well, Schapelle Corby was a convicted drug runner, who was found guilty of smuggling 4.2 kg marijuana into Bali in 2004.  Denpasar District Court sentenced Corby 20 years imprisonment on May 2005. Since then, she has consistently claimed that she was innocent and fought for her release by filling appeals, judicial reviews as well as request for presidential clemency. On March 2010, she filed a presidential clemency claiming that she has been suffering from mental illness. She eventually won the presidential pardon under the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on February 2012. She was then released on February 2014 but must remain in Indonesia to July 2017.

The thing is rumor has it that the release of Corby was actually part of government deal whereby the SBY government had struck a deal with the Australian government to extradite an Indonesian fugitive Adrian Kiki Ariawan, a graft convict who fled to Australia in 2003. However, former Vice Minister of Law and Human Rights Denny Indrayana denied that the extradition of Adrian Kiki Ariawan had something to do with the release of Schapelle Corby.

Unfortunately  I have a conspiratorial mind and I was suspicious. I said to myself, perhaps these books are actually forms of pressure to the Indonesian government to release Corby. Is it possible? But who is Corby? How important she is?  Was she a mule or a horse? Was she really a victim? Or did she play a victim? Is it a way for convict drug dealer to escaping heavy punishment by claiming that they are suffering from mental illness?

And by the way, one of her lawyer was Hotman Paris. How much did she pay him? Is she coming from a filthy rich family? How could she afford him? Where is the money coming from? Or is this book just a form of comprehensive criticism to the Indonesian justice system?

I must say that it is hard to tell. Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own agenda. We cannot just buy her stories through media, including books. Right?

So I began to read these books to find the answers and the red line. Instead of finding the answers, I actually start have more questions. Yet, I must say that these books are eye-opening and easy to read for non-english speaker. If you want to know further, you can check my upcoming post on “Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail” and “Snowing in Bali: The Incredible Inside Account of Bali’s Hidden Drug World“‘s review.

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Indonesia: Broken Heart

I am proud of being Indonesian. I even often get easily annoyed whenever foreigners make a bitter criticism about Indonesia or look down on us. However, seeing what happened in Indonesia recently, I feel that this country seems getting backward .

I am one of the lucky one to be able to leave the country , I can even be Canadian, Brits or both if I want to and never look back. However, I still have my family, Indonesia is my home, I love its cultural diversity, it’s super super beautiful. Yet, imported religion slowly ruin it.

The government and coward people make me sick and tired of this country. I know I can leave and always come back but I want to make a contribution one day. How? I don’t know. Perhaps through writing.

The thing is although the Internet penetration is increasing, it does not necessarily inform all Indonesian properly. Instead, it appears as an entertainment. As a result, important issues are neglected.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer wrote “Unsur modern belum lagi mengubah tata pikir pribumi. Dunia pikirnya masih tetap seperti lima abad lalu. Cara menanggapi dunia belum berubah.” (Rumah Kaca).

I hope with Internet, Indonesian are more well informed about everything including humanity than feared with the future.

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Indonesia: Negara Boneka dan Aliran Dana

Sejak munculnya Support Group and Resource Center on Sexuality Studies (SGRC) di Universitas Indonesia, isu Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) jadi salah satu hot topic di masyarakat Indonesia. Berbagai pihak mengeluar pendapatnya masing-masing mulai dari pejabat negara, politisi, aktivis sampai organisasi masyarakat dengan berbagai sudut pandang. Berita tentang adanya ‘aliran dana’ dari Barat untuk kelompok LGBT membuat heboh berbagai kalangan yang kurang piknik. “Kok ya baru heboh sekarang? Selama ini kemana aja? Oh pasti jarang baca laporan organisasi ya. Well, pantes! Ngana pikir organisasi enggak butuh dana dukungan?!

Lagipula, so what?! Toh dana tersebut digunakan untuk mengedukasi masyarakat termasuk pemahaman akan hal sipil masyarakat, kesehatan reproduksi, HIV/AIDS Prevention dan juga kesetaraan gender. Kan bego banget kalau ada pihak yang meminta aliran dana untuk mengedukasi masyarakat tersebut dihentikan. It’s 2016 buddy!

Pertanyaannya sekarang adalah apakah kita pernah mempertanyakan sumber dana dari kelompok garis geras dan fundamentalis yang ada di Indonesia? Apakah mereka pernah mengeluarkan laporan akhir tahun tentang kegiataan dan pendanaan mereka padahal sekarang eranya keterbukaan informasi? Pernah enggak sih kepikiran kalau mereka mungkin mendapat dana dari Timur-Tengah termasuk Saudi untuk melakukan kegiatan mereka? Lalu, apakah ada yang juga mempertanyakan dan membahas secara blak-bakan kenapa tiba-tiba ada konflik antara Sunni, Syiah dan Ahmadiyah di Indonesia padahal sebelumnya adem ayem. Kalau pun ada sektarian konflik biasanya antar agama. Lalu kenapa trendnya berbeda?

Sebagaimana kita tahu, 85 persen (dari 250 juta jiwa) penduduk Indonesia adalah umat Muslim. Hal ini menjadikan Indonesia sebagai tempat yang empuk untuk perebutan pengaruh politik atas dua Mazhab Islam Sunni dan Syiah. Apalagi hubungan Saudi dan Iran akhir-akhir kian memanas (You can find it in the Internet. It is googleable!)

Nah dulu, waktu saya sering liputan tentang kekerasan terhadap kelompok minoritas, saya bertanya pada salah satu cendekiawan Muslim, mengapa hal ini bisa terjadi? Sesama umat Islam tetapi saling membunuh, sedangkan dulu tidak seperti itu? Tentu kita masih ingat tentang kejadian Cikeusik di tahun 2011 dan kekerasan terhadap warga Syiah di Sampang tahun 2012.

Bapak tersebut kemudian menjelaskan bahwa kelompok garis keras tersebut mendapatkan aliran dana dari Saudi untuk berbagai kegiatan, termasuk melakukan kekerasan terhadap kelompok minoritas. Hal itu bukan semata dilakukan karena mereka psikopat selo tetapi akibat dari pengaruh Mazhab Islam di Indonesia antara kubu Sunni (Saudi) dan Syiah (Iran). Sangat masuk akal menurut saya. Sayangnya, si Bapak enggak memiliki bukti tertulis tentang hal tersebut.

Meskipun laju perekonomian Indonesia terus meningkat tetapi kesenjangan sosial pun terus melebar. Semakin banyak masyarakat lapar dan bodoh karena miskin dan tidak berpendidikan. Akhirnya, segelintir kelompok masyarakt tersebut gampang diiming-imingi janji surga dan nasi bungkus untuk melakukan tindak kekerasan terhadap orang lain.

Saya pun jadi ingat pada salah satu percakapan saya dengan seorang anak berusia 17 tahun di Pengadilan Cibinong, saya tanya kenapa ikut merusak masjid Ahmadiyah. Dia mengatakan pada saya bahwa dia hanya ikut-ikut saja karena ramai-ramai, padahal dia enggak tahu kenapa mereka merusak masjid Ahmadiyah. Lagipula toh bisa masuk surga, capek hidup susah terus. Saya miris mendengarnya.

Well, Iya kalau surga ada. Kalau enggak ada? Udah hidup susah di bumi, surga nggak ada lagi. Rugi bandar Bung! I mean, some greedy people are using religion to manipulate people to fight against each other simply to gain power and stay rich without making their own hand dirty? That is so bloody disgusting!

Well, menurut saya (menurut pendapat saya pribadi lho ya), kalau tren konflik Sunni-Syiah kini dialihkan ke kelompok yang lebih minoritas lagi LGBT karena mereka tidak hanya dari satu kelompok agama tertentu tapi berbagai macam, lagipula negara seperti Iran pun juga memberikan hukuman mati ke kelompok LGBT. Toh orang-orang religius (dari Islam, Kristen, Katholik dan lain-lain) tersebut nanti akan menginterpretasikan ayat dari kitab suci masing-masing. Kan lebih enak tuh?! Kroyokan. Lumayankan kelompok garis keras beserta politisi kampret yang pada cari proyek bisa dapet aliran dana dari Saudi, perut kenyang dan masuk surga lagi? Salah satunya anggota DPD yang sudah ngeblok saya di Twitter. Sekali lagi, iya KALAU surga dan neraka memang ada! Kalau enggak, gimana?!

Ingat ya, konon kabarnya ibu anggota DPD satu “main-main” sama anggota polisi yang katanya suami orang. Kemudian doi yang dulunya enggak suka sama kelompoknya habib, eh sekarang jadi BFF mereka bahkan doi sampai merubah penampilannya. Sebagai politisi di negara dengan tingkat kesenjangan sosial yang tinggi, doi selalu memainkan isu moralitas untuk mencari dukungan dari masyarakat. Ya, ketimbang ngeluarin duit banyak untuk proper education, it’s easier but not necessarily better for the recipient  kalau mereka dikasih janji surga aja toh.

Lagipula, isu moralitas itu enak dijadikan bisnis apalagi doi adalah seorang saudagar. Masak iya isu moralitas untuk melindungi masyarakat kayak udah paling bener aja?! Taik kucinglah itu! Pokoknya yang dilarang di kitab suci, dijadiin bisnis. Tentu saja salah satu duitnya dari onta-onta itu. Coba dia enggak ke Petamburan kalau itu, mungkin ceritanya beda.

“Lalu apa hubungannya aliran dana Timur-Tengah, kelompok garis keras dan LGBT?”

Well… sebagaimana kita tahu bahwa kelompok garis keras telah mengeluarkan pernyataan dengan nada mengancam dan menjijikan. Ancaman yang disebarkan melalui surat dan beredar di internet. Lebih lucunya, ancaman tersebut enggak mendapatkan respon dari pihak berwajib. Yang ada malah politisi kampret yang suka cari proyek pun berwacana untuk membuat undang-undang anti-LGBT.

Ntar mereka mungkin bilang, “Okay kita enggak akan sahkan UU Anti-LGBT, tapi ada fulusnya ye!” Sama halnya kayak UU Anti Alkohol. Lumayankan dapat duit dari sana-sini, dari brands dapet, dari pemerintah asing pun dapet. Kalau enggak percaya, main deh ke Senayan. Pasang kuping lebar-lebar!

Pertanyaan saya adalah sampai kapan Indonesia mau dijadikan sebagai tempat perebutan pengaruh kekuasaan negara-negara kaya di dunia? Sampai kapan Indonesia mau dijadikan sebagai negara boneka?

Sebagaimana kita tahu bahwa harga minyak dunia sekarang anjlok dari 145 USD per barrel menjadi 32 USD per barrel. Negara-negara penghasil minyak pun sedang pontang-panting dibuatnya. Kenapa? Karena mau enggak mau mereka harus merogoh tabungan mereka. Saudi Arabia misalnya, mereka mulai merogoh tabungan mereka untuk kebutuhan sehari-hari. Lha wong pendapatan mereka saja anjlok and life must go on. Apakah dengan begitu kemudian aliran dana ke kelompok garis keras kemudian dihentikan dan disitulah negara baru bisa melindungi hak sipil masyarakat?!

Well, not that easy baby! A country like Saudi won’t get poor! And they will continue playing their games. Dengan adanya Kaaba di Mekah, Arab Saudi masih bisa mendapatkan memperoleh penghasilan dari perjalanan haji dan umroh yang bernilai lebih dari 20 milliard USD. Tentu saja pendapatan tersebut juga datang dari umat Muslim Indonesia, termasuk mereka yang harus menjual sawah dan tanah di kampung halamannya.

Jujur saja, dulu saya bangga menjadi orang Yogya. Kenapa? Masyarakat Yogya bisa hidup berdampingan dengan harmonis apapun perbedaan yang kita miliki. Bahkan, dulu banyak negara lain yang kagum melihat Indonesia memiliki pesantren untuk waria milik ibu Maryani di Yogya. Saya sempat bertemu dengan Ibu Maryani beberapa kali. Saya kagum dengan beliau karena di pesantren tersebut waria Kristiani pun bisa melakukan ibadah. Dan sekarang mereka diancam akan ditutup. Bahkan perkembangan terakhir, pesantren tersebut telah ditutup sejak tadi malam (February 24).

Sepertinya para cecunguk tidak suka ketika Indonesia memiliki sesuatu yang bisa dibanggakan yaitu kerukunan dan keharmonisan. Para cecunguk tersebut tidak ingin masyarakat Indonesia sadar tentang apa itu hak asasi manusia dan paham akan pengtingnya ilmu pengetahuan.Ya maklum, di jaman penjajahan Belanda dulu, mereka pun tidak ingin memberikan pendidikan ke seluruh masyarakat nusantara. Kalau masyarakat nusantara pinter pasti akan ada perlawanan. Makanya yang bisa sekolah sedikit saja. Ya toh? Sadly, itu membudaya.

Lagipula Pak Menteri kan udah bilang, LGBT isu yang seksi. Ya toh?! Ngana pikir isu cuma sekedar isu?! It is about money! Mereka dapet duit banyak, situ dapet nasi bungkus dan rasa dengki. Sadly, the government work for their own welfare than us. It is about them (The bloody politicians) and not about us, the people of Indonesia.

Jujur saja, banyak politisi dan pejabat pemerintahan yang enggak menginginkan masyarakatnya berkembang. Some of them want us to stay foolish so we can be controlled with religion. They love playing God especially when one is hungry. 

Jadi, sebenernya bukanlah pemerintah atau politisi yang bisa memperbaiki kehidupan kita tapi kita sendiri. Dengan cara apa? Mengedukasi diri kita. We need to get ourselves informed properly. We should let nobody controlling us for their own good. Many wanna talk about God but as Macklemore said “God loves all his children” is somehow forgotten.

Eh tapi ya di era teknologi ini, enggak menutup nantinya yang akan melakukan perebutan kekuasaan di Indonesia adalah kubu US dan China, di mana Indonesia lagi-lagi dilihat sebagai market dengan sumber daya manusia yang ‘pas-pasan’ karena banyak orang Indonesia yang tidak mau mengedukasi diri kita sendiri untuk menjadi manusia maju dan sumber daya alam yang melimpah. Coba deh perhatikan sendiri. 

At the end, it’s about the money, it’s about the power. We can choose to be able to stand in our own feet and preserve our culture in the era of globalization, or we let ourselves to be controlled. 

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Indonesia: About LGBT

You know what make me upset about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) debate these days in Indonesia? Well, let me tell you.

Last night, a good friend of mine sent me a message telling me how concerned (s)he is about all these LGBT debates. (S)he wondered what the government/parliament next step toward it whether they are going to ban it all together, ban foreign funding for LGBT activity (including reproductive health awareness) or even worse if they plan to stop distributing subsidized ARV in the country. (S)he is wondering. 

Honestly, this condition would not just have a negative impact to the LGBT community but also all the patients, let me repeat myself again ALL PATIENTS, (which also include hetersexual people) who have been getting ARV for free so they can survive and live their life as healthy person. So, I said to a good friend of mine that everything will just be fine. Let’s have faith in it.

Since the fall of  President Soeharto in 1998, religion has been used as a political commodity to control people. Sometimes I am wondering whether we, the people of Indonesia, can have a discussion about certain issue without bringing religious perspective or not.

It is very devastating because I feel that this country is heading to dark age than moving forward to the future. What about if we discuss what really matter and crucial to citizen’s daily life such as food supply, education, health and infrastructure than sexual orientation or religion preferences, which are very personal?! Can we?

PS: If you do not know what ARV is, you can search in the internet. It is very googleable.

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Jakarta: Pasar Pocong

Mrs. Atun has been a traditional herbal drinking beverage jamu seller for decades in Pasar Pocong, Jakarta [2015: EO]

Mrs. Atun has been a traditional herbal drinking beverage jamu seller for decades in Pasar Pocong, Jakarta [2015: EO]

Selama lima tahun tinggal di Jakarta, baru beberapa bulan terakhir ini saya dolan ke Pasar Pocong, sebuah pasar tradisional di Kelurahan Menteng Atas. Hampir setiap pagi saya ke Pasar Pocong untuk  berbelanja kebutuhan sayur dan buah-buahan. Selain untuk mendapatkan sayuran dengan harga lebih murah, saya pun bisa berinteraksi dengan para pedagang dan mengetahui cerita masyarakat yang bekerja di luar gedung perkantoran maupun pusat perbelanjaan di Jakarta. Cerita masyarakat biasa yang mungkin jarang saya dengar di food-hall shopping center, bar atau restaurant-restaurant di Ibu Kota.

Enggak jarang para pedagang bertanya pada saya mengapa saya lebih memilih untuk ke pasar seorang diri ketimbang meminta pembantu saya untuk berbelanja, termasuk Mbak Tatik, seorang pedagang buah asal Klaten, Jawa Tengah “Ngapain mbak ke pasar? Kan bisa nyuruh pembantunya ke sini.

Saya bilang ke Mbak Tatik bahwa dari dulu saya memang suka ke pasar tradisional untuk berinteraksi dengan masyarakat pada umumnya. Selain karena harganya lebih murah ketimbang belanja di supermarket seperti FoodHall atau Farmer Market, saya pun juga bisa kenal mbak Sri pedagang sayur, Bu Atun penjual jamu dan Mbak Gethuk penjual tiwul.

Dari mereka, saya bisa tahu kapan harga pangan naik dan turun, saya bisa tahu apakah akan mempengaruhi penjualan mereka dan lebih tahu kehidupan orang-orang yang mencari uang di luar gedung kantor atau shopping center.Mana bisa saya berinteraksi dengan para pelayan di supermarket yang cenderung jutek setiap kali melayani pelanggan.

Memang sayuran di pasar tradisional enggak seindah atau sebersih sayuran di supermarket. Bahkan saya harus mencucinya berulang kali saking kotornya. Belum lagi, akhir-akhir ini saya mulai kecewa karena brokoli, daun mint, cilantro dan beet roots cepat busuk. Sayangkan kalau dibuang begitu saja?

Jujur aja, saya sebenernya sempat berpikir untuk berhenti belanja di pasar tradisional karena buang-buang uang. Harga murah tapi cepat busuk. Buat apa? Namun, saya tahu bahwa saya tetap ingin ke sana untuk mendengarkan cerita para pedagang Pasar Pocong.

Untung aja setelah berbagi cerita ini melalui Facebook, beberapa kawan saya di Facebook menyarankan agar saya merendam sayuran tersebut ke dalam air es selama satu jam. Sayuran tersebut kemudian dibungkus di dalam koran lalu di lemari es. Dengan begitu, sayuran akan tetap segar.

Nah dengan begitu, saya enggak perlu khawatir untuk belanja sayuran di pasar tradisional lagi dan terus mendengarkan cerita para pedagang pasar yang diiringi dengan lantunan musik dangdut dari pedagang MP3 di Pasar Pocong.

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Notes: Women’s Voices

Bali Undercover by Malcolm Scott [2015:EO]

Bali Undercover by Malcolm Scott [2015:EO]

When I published “Bule Hunter: Money, Sex and Love”  in September 2014, I received a stream of criticism in the net from many people. I would have understood that they criticized my book after they read it but they have not. They criticized it based on some media coverages. Those are including many Indonesian  women, who are in relationship with Western Men and feel offended with my writing as well as other people are who simply narrow minded.

Some of them said that it was just a bunch of gossip, some of them said that it’s not a journalism work because it’s very subjective yadda yadda yadda (Well honey, it’s hard to find an objective journalism work these days. Media is controlled by companies who are linked to govt). Anyway, there were big wave of nasty comments coming toward me. It was terrifying! 

Frankly, I was shocked reading those comments. I refused to read further for few weeks. But I must say that I am grateful because  those haters actually  inspired me  to write my next book.

So when I went to  Times Bookstore in Plaza Singapura, I saw this book and purchased one. I read nearly half of the book within few hours over few glasses of Chardonnay. Since I read the title, I already assumed that it would have similar content to my book Bule Hunter. And YES IT IS!

It talks about Indonesian women, Western men, Indonesian men, western women,money, sex and  relationship. However, it seems nobody attacking the Australian author Malcolm Scott. At least, I didn’t hear about it.

Is it because the author is a man? Is it because the author is a Westerner? Or is it because he choose a soft title instead of Bule Hunter?! Or is it because it’s written in English and doesn’t get a lot of media exposure in Indonesia (if I understand correctly)?

Oh well, we are still living in an era and place where women can hardly say their voices loudly and bluntly! 

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Notes: Sustainable Business Practice in Indonesia

During Soeharto administration, the Indonesian government had little or no interest in sustainable business practice because it was just gonna benefit the ordinary people and it would not benefit the elites.

Meanwhile, the elites did not care about the condition of workers, environment, jungle, the local community or the urban poor *reflection from Indonesian Haze problem and conversation with former Adidas’s sweatshop worker.

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