Category Archives: Australia

Beer & Baconless: Mr Bule Flees Ramadan

As the holy month looms an Australian journalist plans his escape from the restrictions and impositions of Ramadhan and its aftermath.

In “WHY I’LL QUIT INDONESIA DURING RAMADAN” long time writer for the Jakarta Post newspaper Duncan Graham tells of his plans to make a temporary exit from his second home during the Muslim fasting month.

Duncan Graham in Indonesia
Duncan and friend

While stressing that foreigners need to adjust themselves to the customs they find in Indonesia, just as, he says, Muslim immigrants to secular countries should do the same and not:

slaughter goats in the backyard, take on extra wives or circumcise their daughters.

Duncan says he finds aspects of life during the holy month too much to bear, like:

Empty Shop Shelves

Duncan’s favourite liquor – Anker stout – vanishes from the shop shelves not just during Ramadan, but

the [Malang, East Java] town council ordered all shops to remove grog during the month before the holy month lest the sight of a shelf of grog inflame devout shoppers.

thus cruelly thwarting his plans to stock up.

Products of the swine as well seem to disappear from the shops, and bulk buying of bacon beforehand is ill advised as:

my sister-in-law used to be employed re-dating expired goods, like dairy products.

Noise

Provided you live far enough away from the nearest place of contemplation the cacophony from mosque loudspeakers has likely become part of the background noise of life, however Duncan says during Ramadan a fresh and mobile auditory assault is made when:

loud-speaker vans cruise the suburbs telling people to pray and breakfast at 3.30 am.

Fireworks during the fasting month are another annoyance he says

as unannounced bangs like gunshots at all hours is too much for anyone conscious that frustrated fundamentalists are still cruising the nation’s streets.

General Unpleasantness

People become grumpy during Ramadan, he says, due to the heat, hunger and thirst (entirely understandably he points out); office and shop staff become lazy.

Road Chaos

Due to the general grumpiness as above road users become more prone to road rage, and, at the end of Ramadan when folks mudik to their villages the roads become horribly congested, while many drivers/motorcyclists are weary and overloaded, so it’s too dangerous to venture out.


When considering where to flee from these annoyances and dangers some thought was given to a Christian area like North Sulawesi – where Duncan’s lovely wife and author of a guide for Indonesian women on snaring a western man (How to Catch Mr Bule) hails from – but that is no good either, as the churches there have begun imitating the mosques he says, loudly blaring reminders of the obligations that Sundays bring for Christians.

So

farewell to the Republic for a while.

Duncan is overseas bound, to Australia or New Zealand presumably, and Islam will have to do without him for a month at least, he ends, saying

we’re heading south to where the laws on noise pollution are policed and minorities’ views given some consideration, however scant.

Beer & Baconless: Mr Bule Flees Ramadan is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta and near Jakarta airport, and more.

“A Bloody Business”

Reports from our southern neighbour of gross mistreatment of cattle at Indonesian abattoirs.

In a Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary on the Four Corners program titled “A Bloody Business” hosted by the loathsome Kerry O’Brien video footage is shown of gross cruelty and incompetence in dealing with the slaughter of exported Australian cattle at Indonesian abattoirs, where it is said

many thousands of these animals die slow and hideous deaths.

Despite the best efforts of professional Australian slaughter-men to train their benighted Indonesian counterparts on the best ways to deal with animals in the slaughterhouse the video shows that:

Animals smash their heads repeatedly on concrete as they struggle against ropes, take minutes to die in agony after repeated often clumsy cuts to the throat. In some cases there is abject and horrifying cruelty – kicking, hitting, eye-gouging and tail-breaking – as workers try to force the cattle to go into the slaughter boxes installed by the Australian industry, with Australian government support.

RSPCA chief scientist Bidda Jones, who analyzed the video slaughter of 50 cattle, said the slaughtermen took on average 11 slashes at the throat to kill the animals, and even as many as 33. She said:

They basically hack the heads off with blunt knives, causing a lot of distress and pain

The story has caused great controversy in Australia with calls to end all live cattle exports to Indonesia, however as yet at least there is little or no reaction from Indonesian officials.

Indonesian Abattoir

The graphic and disturbing video can be viewed over here – http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/special_eds/20110530/cattle/.

There appear to have been 11 abattoirs where filming took place, in Jakarta, Bogor, Bandar Lampung and Medan.

“A Bloody Business” is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta and near Jakarta airport, and more.

President Very Unhappy About Wikileaks Reports

Antara News, Fri, March 11 2011


“We very much regret the carelessness of The Age and consider it a shameful news scandal, as it published news from a source that cannot be validated”

Related News

President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono. (ANTARA)
Jakarta (ANTARA News) – President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is very unhappy about Wikileaks reports published by Australia`s The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Daniel Sparingga, a special presidential aide said.

“The president is very unhappy with the false news full of lies which were published in the Australian dailies, SHM and The Age, this morning,” said Daniel , a special advisor for political communication to the president, said here Friday.

Yudhoyono was seen walking with Minister/State Secretary Sudi Silalahi towards the presidential office on Friday morning. He looked very serious and had no smile on his face.

According to Daniel Sparingga, the two media were irresponsible and only seeking sensation, as the news came from a source whose credibility could not be guaranteed.

“We very much regret the carelessness of The Age and consider it a shameful news scandal, as it published news from a source that cannot be validated,” Daniel said.

The two Australian media had It also violated the journalistic code of ethic, he said.

Meanwhile, at a press conference held at the presidential office, here, Friday, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha denied the validity of the news from Wikileaks which accused President Yudhoyono of being involved in corruption and abuse of power.

He said the government was preparing to use its right of reply to the two Australian newspapers, while the foreign affairs ministry would ask for a clarification from the US Ambassador to Indonesia because the Wikileaks` source was diplomatic notes sent by the US embassy to Washington DC.

Pasha said the presidential palace could not find any truth in the news report and it was not based on facts. The Wikileaks source referred to by the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, itself needed to be verified , he added.

Editor: AA Ariwibowo

US deeply regrets Wikileaks disclosure on The Age

Antara News, Fri, March 11 2011
“We express our deepest regrets to President Yudhoyono and the Indonesian people.”
Related News
Scot Marciel (AFP)
Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The US Secretary of State has said the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential, “including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats personal assessments and observations”.
The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, passed on her statement to the US ambassador to Indonesia, Scot Marciel, according to a press release from the US Embassy in Jakarta, Friday,
Hillary Clinton also said that the Department of State does not comment on materials, including classified documents, which may have been leaked.
According to the release, the US official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but in Washington.
“Our official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but in Washington. Our policy is a matter of public record, as reflected in our statements and our actions around the world,” said Marciel.
Further, Marciel said that any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Wikileaks has harmful implications for the lives of identified individuals that are jeopardized, but also for global engagement among and between nations.
“Given its potential impact, we condemn such unauthorized disclosures and are taking every step to prevent future security breaches,” he said.
“While we cannot speak to the authenticity of any documents provided to the press, we can speak to the diplomatic community`s practice of cable writing. By its very nature, field reporting to Washington is candid and often raw information,” he said.
Ambassador Marciel also said that it is preliminary, often incomplete and unsubstantiated. It is not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy decisions. These documents should not be seen as having standing on their own or as representing U.S. policy.
“This type of publication is extremely irresponsible and we express our deepest regrets to President Yudhoyono and the Indonesian people,” Marciel said.
As President Obama has noted, the United States is fortunate to have a very strong partner in Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia`s first directly elected president, and a leader who has guided Indonesia through its journey into democracy, he added.
According to Marciel, President Yudhoyono`s leadership has been vital to promoting prosperity, expanding partnerships between the two nations` peoples, and deepening political and security cooperation.
“As the US President Barack Obama said in Jakarta during his visit in November 2010 to jointly launch with President Yudhoyono the Comprehensive Partnership, Indonesia and the United States are bound together by a web of historical, cultural, and economic ties that span the Pacific and by our shared values and aspirations, and our partnership is one of equals, grounded in mutual interests and mutual respect,” he stated.

Editor: Priyambodo RH

Australia welcomes RI’s new foreign policy ‘activism’

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 01/05/2011

Merry meeting: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (left) amid a crowd of foreign ministers waiting to take a group photo before the ASEAN Regional Forum’s (ARF) opening in Hanoi (Reuters/Hoang Dihn Nam)

Major regional dialogue partners of ASEAN, such as Australia, are watching closely to see how Indonesia exercises its leadership in ASEAN as the country begins to chair the group this month.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty expressed optimism that under Indonesia, ASEAN could enhance the grouping’s role in regional and global arenas, stating that Indonesia’s vision of global architecture matched Australia’s.

“Our aspirations match Indonesia’s own aspirations. We [see]Indonesia’s increasing confidence and leadership role as positive and matches Australia’s interests.

“We see Indonesia’s foreign policy activism as a positive sign,” he told The Jakarta Post recently.

Australia, Moriarty said, acknowledged Indonesia’s recent foreign policy track record as impressive, including the country’s instrumental role in shaping the evolution of the East Asia Summit (EAS), exercising leadership in climate change forums and playing a significant role in the G20 agenda.

“Indonesia has been playing a clever role in keeping ASEAN’s interests very central in the process of building the regional architecture,” he said.

The EAS comprises the 10 ASEAN states and 6 dialogue partners: China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Leaders of the 16 countries meet annually to discuss regional and global issues in one of the ASEAN countries. Beginning this year, the US and Russia will formally join the forum, which will be held in Indonesia.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced his intention to get ASEAN more involved in tackling global problems during Indonesia’s chairmanship of ASEAN.

During the ASEAN Summit in Hanoi last year, he proposed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a more comprehensive cooperation between ASEAN and the UN so the 10-member group could be involved in more areas to help the world body solve global problems.

“We want to be more involved in a range of issues the UN handles, such as human rights and development, and achieving MDGs,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on the sidelines of the meeting.

Moriarty cited Indonesia’s success in hosting the Bali Democracy Forum as proof of President Yudhoyono’s leadership in the region and beyond.

“An initiative such as the Bali Democracy Forum is a very important event. It shows Indonesia can lead a global dialogue in democracy.”

Diplomats from major dialogue partners in ASEAN in Jakarta said they were also convinced Jakarta would lead ASEAN in crucial roles to tackle global problems.

“It’s about how confidently Jakarta plays its role. Others will follow what Jakarta proposes as we respect Indonesia all along,” a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said recently.

Pakistani Ambassador to Indonesia Sanaullah also supported the view that Indonesia could lead ASEAN to achieve its goals and play an important role in helping solve global problems.

Bali to Darwin Flights

Air Asia to fly from Bali to Darwin, Australia, from late December.

From December 23rd 2010 Indonesian AirAsia will begin once daily flights to Darwin, Australia, from Ngurah Rai Airport (Denpasar) in Bali.

The President Director of PT Indonesia AirAsia (IAA), Dharmadi, said the service would be in a 6-month trial period.

Cheap Bali Darwin Flights

Dharmadi said 10,000 one-way flights priced at $99 (Australian dollar) would go on sale at midnight today (Nov 23rd), for flights booked up to November 2011. After the sale is over the flights would likely be priced between $175 to $200, although prices could rise to up to $400 in some cases, he said.

Booking from the Indonesian side, flights are priced in the Rp 350,000 range one way, while booking from the Australian side costs around Rp 700,000, due to the incorporation of airport taxes in the price.

From Bali the flights depart at 23.50, arriving in Darwin, Northern Territory, the next day at 04.00; the return trip to Bali leaves Darwin at 04.45, arriving in Ngurah Rai at 06.00.

JetStar is the only other airline which currently services this route.

Other Indonesian airlines which are seeking to open new routes to Australia include Sriwijaya Air, Batavia Air, Lion Air, and Garuda Indonesia.

Bali to Darwin Flights is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

DFAT Indonesia Travel Advice

Australian travel advice for Indonesia, the threat of angry taxi drivers; comparative threat levels.

In DFAT’s (Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) most recent update to its travel advisory page for Indonesia a new danger of visiting the country is noted, that is: Crime (confrontations between taxi drivers in Bali): [1]

A dispute between rival taxi companies in Bali turned violent during a recent protest. While such incidents are rare and passengers have not been specifically targeted, you should exercise appropriate caution. If you are caught up in a confrontation between taxi drivers, you should seek to leave the taxi and the immediate area if it is safe to do so.

Apart from angry taxi drivers (local taxi companies and the Jakarta-based Blue Bird company are slugging it out for market share) the threat of rabies on Bali (and Nias) was also especially noted.

DFAT concludes its report with its main concern regarding Indonesia: terrorism:

Ask yourself whether, given your own personal circumstances, you’re comfortable travelling to Indonesia knowing there is a very high threat from terrorism and you may be caught up in a terrorist attack. Ask yourself whether travel could be deferred or an alternative destination chosen.

In general DFAT through its Smartraveller service uses five categories to judge the danger level for Australian travellers:

  1. Be alert to own security
  2. Exercise caution
  3. High degree of caution
  4. Reconsider your need to travel
  5. Do not travel

Indonesia is listed in the second worst category:

We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to…

Other countries which are included in this grouping:

  • Ethiopia
  • Eritrea
  • Mauritania
  • Angola
  • Haiti
  • Pakistan
  • Nigeria
  • Liberia
  • DR Congo
  • Yemen
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Algeria
  • Madagascar
  • Zimbabwe
  • Kyrgyz Republic

DFAT Indonesia Travel Advice is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book domestic flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesia hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

Former BI officials took bribes from RBA: Reports

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 05/26/2010 10:13 AM

Former Bank Indonesia officials received US$1.3 million in bribes from Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) subsidiaries to help the latter win a contract and manipulate future tenders in 1999, a newspaper reported.

Melbourne’s The Age cited confidential faxes from a Jakarta businessman to executives at Securency International and Note Printing Australia (NPA) referring to “our friends” and “unofficial payments” and “commissions”.

One fax, dated July 1, 1999, specifically stipulates the paying of S1.3 million to two Bank Indonesia officials.

According to The Age, Radius Christianto, who represented the RBA firms Securency and NPA in Indonesia between 1999 and 2006, was to be paid US3.65 million for his services.

In his faxes, Christianto refers to “Mr. S” and “Mr. M”, which the newspaper believes were senior Bank Indonesia officials who played key roles in awarding the RBA firms the contract for printing 500 million Rp 100,000 banknotes.

The revelation of this possible corruption came when a former Securency employee said recently that he was asked to pay bribes and procure prostitutes for foreign central bank officials.

Currently, the Australian Federal Police are investigating Securency for paying more than $A20 million in bribes through middlemen to win currency printing contracts in Vietnam, Nigeria and Malaysia between 2003 and 2006.

Christanto’s correspondence also revealed collusion between Bank Indonesia officials, Christanto and RBA banknote executives to mark up the Securency and NPA bid for the rupiah banknote contract by 20 per cent with an agreement that it would then be reduced to a 10 per cent mark-up.

Bank Indonesia said it would allow the law enforcers to investigate the alleged bribery. “Let the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] and the Attorney General’s Office conduct an investigation,” he was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

“The KPK has not received any official report on the case,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said Tuesday.

He added that the commission had only just learned of the allegations from Jakarta journalists, so had not had the opportunity to discuss a possible investigation.

“We will process any information on possible corruption as long as it involves state officials,” Johan said.

“The KPK does not work retroactively, therefore we can’t process any case that occurred before

August 1999,” Johan said, adding that the KPK was regulated by the 1999 Corruption Eradication Law, which came into effect in August that year.

The law defines corruption as well as the process for its eradication.

“The KPK also refers to the Criminal Code, which stipulates that a person cannot be charged or tried for any crime occurring before the issuance of any law covering such crimes,” Johan said.

“However, we can investigate these allegations if the case has consequences occurring after 1999.”

It is possible that someone might come forward with information on the case because of the media coverage,” he said, emphasizing that ”we except anonymous reports”. (ipa)

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Central bank officials questioned over money printing bribery


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Least Favourite

Neighbour Indonesia rock bottom on Australians’ list of favourite countries.

A poll surveying Australians’ attitudes to foreign countries has seen Indonesia rank last, with the country having a net minus 38% likeability factor for Indonesia’s neighbours Down Under. The worst rated countries in Australia:

  1. Indonesia (-38%)
  2. Israel (-32%)
  3. India (-27%)

Australians were most favourable to:

  1. New Zealand (+60%)
  2. Britain (+39%)
  3. Germany (+35%)
  4. United States (+18%)
  5. France (+16%)
  6. Japan (+14%)

The poll was conducted by the Australian branch of New Zealand company UMR Research in late February/early March 2010. The full poll does not appear to be online as yet. [1]

John Utting, managing director of UMR, said it appeared Australians were, curiously, least favourable to the countries that would be most important to that country’s future – Indonesia, India and China, while favourably disposed to countries such as New Zealand and the UK, these latter being of little importance to Australia.

Least Favourite is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, which also features listings of Indonesia hotels, like Kuta hotels, Ubud hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.