Category Archives: IM Posts

Upper & Lower Body Pride

Indonesia ranks at the bottom for both womanly upper body pride and its manly lower counterpart.

A map of the world by breast size, with Indonesia ranking at the bottom in the modest A cup category along with the rest of east Asia and ample swathes of Africa:

World Breast Map
See fuller sized version.

And in the interests of ‘gender equality’, and to plumb the depths pleasantly further, a world map of penis size:

Penis Size World Map

Some researchers with too much public funding have even made connections between average John Thomas size and rates of economic growth:

Penis Size & Economic Growth

Indonesia would seem to be under-performing based on these measurements.

Upper & Lower Body Pride 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.

Norway shootings: Anders Behring Breivik

Indonesian non reactions to the killing spree by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway.

There has been little Indonesian reaction to the Norwegian massacre – the most searched for items on Detik’s search engine remain mostly old favourites:

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Apart from standard official statements; Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said

We are very shocked and dismayed by the incidents in Norway. We condemn the shooting and bombing that have killed civilians. We express deep condolences to the victims, their families, and the Norwegian government

The apparent fact that the killer was on an “anti Muslim crusade” has seemed to excite little interest within the country.

Norway shootings: Anders Behring Breivik 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.

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.

Benjamin Ketang & Israel

A celebration of the foundation of Israel at a Puncak hotel, students in Situbondo outraged.

On May 14th 28 members of the Indonesia-Israel Public Affairs Committee (IIPAC) carried out a muted celebration of the 63rd anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, at a hotel in Puncak, Bogor, West Java.

Benjamin Ketang, the head of IIPAC, said

We sang the Indonesian national anthem, then sang the Israeli anthem, then read a prayer for the people of Israel.

Benjamin Ketang
Benjamin Ketang

Afterwards it was down to business, as IIPAC largely consists of businessmen who have dealings with Israel, and panel discussions were held on relevant topics.

Benjamin said the event had been planned for Jakarta, but was moved to Puncak because the situation in the capital was not “conducive”, and IIPAC didn’t want any trouble. [1]

Meanwhile, among the furious flurry of reactions and news stories to the impending and now done event, one such story, from the East Java backwater of Situbondo, where senior high school students at SMU Ibrahimy took much of the day off on Saturday to loudly protest against Israel and any recognition of its existence in and by Indonesia.

Demo against Israel
Outrage

One student with a megaphone roared

Reject the celebration of Israeli independence, it’s an insult to Muslims.

Then they tore and burnt Israeli flags.

The vice principal of the school approved of the demo: [2]

If they ask to demonstrate about something stupid of course we won’t allow it, but this is an expression of how much they care about the Muslim majority in Indonesia.

Benjamin Ketang & Israel 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.

Sumatra For The Intrepid

Intrepid Travel launches a new tour in Indonesia, covering the highlights of (northern) Sumatra.

Intrepid Travel logoFor many years, Australian-owned tour company Intrepid Travel has operated a slowly declining number of tours in Indonesia. Recently, these were almost entirely based around the tourist hub of Bali and neighbouring Lombok.

However, Intrepid recently launched a new tour: Sumatran Highlights.

According to the brochure, it gives:

the opportunity to travel in areas that few people get to visit and to spend time with the people who call this region home.

and was recently selected as one of National Geographic’s Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime.

The Sumatran Highlights visited on this trip include:

Orangutan
Lake Toba
Pulau Weh diving
Tsunami Museum, Aceh
Mt Sibayak
Gayo Highlands

The 15-day tour includes flights to and from Kuala Lumpur, transport, accommodation and some meals. The price is $US1825 / € 1395 / $A1995.

However, Intrepid’s tour only covers the island’s two northern-most provinces: North Sumatra and Aceh.

This suggests there are six other provinces Sumatran provinces seemingly deemed to have nothing special.

Locals may disagree and point to other noteworthy attractions like the remains of the world’s most famous volcano: Anak Krakatau; Lonely Planet’s other highlight of Sumatra: Bukittinggi, West Sumatra; and the surfing and stone-jumping mecca of Pulau Nias, despite regular flights there.

Anak Krakatau
Bukittingi, West Sumatra
Nias Island


If you were constructing a tour of the best of Sumatra, what would you keep, drop and change? Or what undiscovered/hidden gems would you recommend?

Also, are you willing to pay a premium price to be able to visit places that are otherwise difficult to see?

Please share your thoughts below.

Sumatra For The Intrepid 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.

Expats & Credit Cards

Why is it so hard for expats to get a credit card in Indonesia? And is it worth having one anyway?

To recently arrived expats, Indonesian credit cards seem an amazingly good deal compared to back home.

HSBC Restaurant DiscountAnnual fees are much lower, the benefits such as:

are much easier to obtain, and all expats’ salaries are well above the minimum threshold to qualify.

And yet, personal experience is Indonesian banks almost never approve applications for non-Indonesians, even the one where you have a savings account.

For many expats, the issue is they don’t have a relative/emergency contact that doesn’t live with them. You would think this problem is overcome after dating and marrying an Indonesian, but again personal experience is it hasn’t.

Below is a guide to the benefits and obscure requirements/problems you may encounter:

HSBC Credit Card

Air Asia HSBC Card

Good For: Discounted restaurant meals and Air Asia flights, free entry to airport executive lounges.

But the problem is: You must have a home telephone number. If you live in a new house with no home phone or prefer to use a CDMA mobile phone (e.g. Flexi, Esia) instead because it’s cheaper, too bad.


American Express Charge Card

American Express Charge Card

Good For: Buying international flights online in $US, thereby avoiding currency conversion fees.

But the problem is: After you apply, you never hear back from them. Last time, they said their computerized approval system was “masih trouble”, meaning still not working.

Garuda Citi Card

Garuda Citi Card

Good For: 5% discount on Garuda international and domestic flights, free entry to airport executive lounges, earning points more quickly on the Garuda Frequent Flyer Program.

But the problem is: Citibank cannot issue new credit cards while Bank Indonesia investigates allegations of Citibank staff stealing money from customers’ accounts and its violent debt collectors.

Lion Air BII Credit Card

Lion Air BII Credit Card

Good For: Discounted flights on Lion Air.

But the problem is: You cannot find an application form at Lion Air ticket office, BII branch or anywhere else. Possibly application forms are even rarer than those for the Lion Air Passport Club, the virtually non-existent Lion Air frequent flyer program.



Also, the low annual fee hides other fees that may not exist in your home country: a bill payment fee; stamp duty; credit card surcharges of 2-3% that are more the rule than the exception. In addition, Indonesia is still a cash-based economy; many shops and businesses still don’t accept any credit cards.

Having said that, an Indonesian credit card is almost essential when:


So the key questions are:

  1. Are Indonesian credit cards useful, a necessary evil, a waste of time or something else?
  2. Are there any expat-friendly banks that are more likely to approve non-Indonesians’ credit card applications?

Please share your experiences and opinions below.

Expats & Credit Cards 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.

Miss Metal: Queen of Coffee

In January 2012 the coffee producing nations of the world will put forward their best daughters, not to be sold to the highest bidder, but to compete in the Reinado Internacional del Café (International Queen of Coffee) competition in Colombia, widely expected to be bitterly contested.

The event to be held in Manizales, Colombia will see for the first time in its fifty year history a representative from Indonesia, an easy on the eye girl with a resplendently interesting name, Laskary Andaly Metal Bitticaca, from local coffee producing giant province South Sulawesi, who won the local Putri Kopi Indonesia 2011 contest last week.

Laskari Metal Bitticaca - Putri Kopi 2011
Laskari Metal Bitticaca

Sofinel BáezLaskary will face some tough Latin American competition, as the event is traditionally dominated by swarthy beauties from the likes of Brazil (7 times won), Colombia (5), Costa Rica (4), Chile (3), Dominican Republic (3), Argentina (2), Honduras (2), and Puerto Rico (2). Inexplicably, Germany has also won twice. The current title-holder, Sofinel Báez from Dominican Republic, is pictured left.

Do Indonesian women have what it takes to compete with the haughty and sophisticated Latin goddesses? We will see.

Standing her in good stead Laskari is said to have won the national Putri Kopi pageant, not only because of her beauty but also her thorough going knowledge of coffee and arcanery related to its production and such, of which substance Indonesia is the fourth biggest producer in the world, after Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia.

Laskari is expected to promote Indonesian coffee to the world, particularly the cat poop Kopi Luwak type, and also to spur on the development of coffee plantation tourism in the country. Hopefully, in Gus Dur speak, she can talk.

Miss Metal: Queen of Coffee 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.

Cirebon Mosque Bomb

The bomb went off at Al-Dzikr mosque inside the Cirebon police complex, injuring the police chief AKBP Herukoco and a number of other policemen.

The bomber was killed, making it a suicide attack, as he had the bomb strapped to his waist. He is believed to have sat behind the police chief during Friday prayers.

The bomb appears to have been of the nail-filled variety.

Cirebon Mosque Bomb 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.

Neo-colonialism in Libya

Hasyim Muzadi sees a dark western oil grab plot in the attack by allied powers on Libya.

Secretary General of the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS) and former leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Hasyim Muzadi says of the western attack on Libya:

If Libya falls into the hands of the west after the fighting stops it will be just the same, the people will suffer.

What the western countries were playing at currently was attempting to divide Libya into two parts, east and west

Why are they doing this? It’s because there’s nothing in the west of Libya, it’s the east that has the oil.

The same division attempt had recently successfully been made in Sudan, which split into separate countries, north and south, he said:

It was because the south of Sudan has oil.

People had to learn the lesson of Iraq, he said, which after having been conquered by the West was plunged into civil SARA type strife; the Iraqi people were those who suffered.

Meanwhile Hasyim’s solution to Libya’s conundrum was:

There needs to be a ceasefire, then Muammar Gaddafi has to take into account the wishes of his people.

Neo-colonialism in Libya 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.