Category Archives: Indonesia

Gusti Dertik in Batakland

Dutch linguist Gusti Dertik, founder of the comparative study of Indonesian languages; his romancing, or lack of it; and the Christianising (and Islamising) of the Bataks.

Gusti Dertik (Dr.Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk) was, so we are told, the greatest nineteenth century Western student of Indonesian languages, possibly rivaled only by Brandes, a quite different type of scholar (and different type of human being). He laid the foundation for the comparative study of Indonesian languages by the formulation of two phonetic laws “without which”, according to the later testimony of the scholar of Malay Van Ronkel , “no scientific treatment of an Indonesian language is possible.”

He was born in 1824 in Malacca just before this place, through the London Treaty of 1824, exchanged its Dutch administration for a British one. His father was a totok Dutchman who had married the daughter of a totok German and a Eurasian. This latter fact explains Van der Tuuk’s rather ‘exotic’ appearance. On one of the few photographs available of him he looks, as Rob Nieuwenhuys rightly said, like nothing so much as an old fashioned elderly Chinese toko owner.

Van der Tuuk

The change over in Malacca to a British administration necessitated Van der Tuuk Sr., who occupied a position in the judiciary there, to move, in 1825, to Surabaya where he became president of the district court (‘landraad’). Thus his son spent the first twelve years of his life in an environment where he, through his playmates (and the servants), made his first acquaintance with Malay and Javanese. At the end of this period he was sent, for further education, to Holland where he was admitted, at the age of 15, to the University of Groningen to study law. But he only did a first year exam in that subject and then shifted to his lifelong interest: languages, among others Arabic, Javanese and Malay. Ultimately he moved to Leiden University where there were greater opportunities for such studies and where he added Sanskrit and Persian to his repertoire. I have not been able to get much information about his personal life in this period except for a fragment of a letter to a friend he wrote soon after his arrival in this old university town. The servant girls here, he wrote, get themselves screwed ‘pro deo’ adding ‘I have screwed only once’. Perhaps his studies kept him too fully occupied. There was then in Leiden no degree study in oriental languages (that only came about in 1877) and so Van der Tuuk left this university without any degree (his later doctorate was ‘honoris causa’) but with a phenomenal reputation for his aptitude for languages. The Arabist Professor Juynboll Sr. persuaded him to take up a job with the Dutch Bible Society that was then looking for a person to translate the bible into a Batak language and to compile a Batak grammar and a Batak-Dutch dictionary. Van der Tuuk was far from religious, a thing that was rather clear to that Society from the start, but both parties needed each other here. So, end 1847, he received his official appointment and one of his first moves was to go to London where he hoped to find some Batak manuscripts. In the libraries of East India House and the Royal Asiatic Society he did find some, half a dozen in fact, that he had to copy by hand. He also used the opportunity to draw up two catalogs of the Malay manuscripts to be found there.

Almost two years later, in Sept. 1849, he arrived in Batavia where he promptly fell sick and ended up in the Military Hospital there. He was, and remained, a fanatical worker though, and in this hospital he conceived a study of what he called ‘Centralisatie Maleis’ (standard educated autochthonous Malay).

He finally departed for the Batak lands in 1851.

He travelled to Padang in a salt vessel owned by Arabs. From there he had to go on to Siboga overland. Since he was not a civil servant he was not entitled to their perks re transport and he had trouble to get his things moved there. Years later he reported that he had been asked to pay 4,000 guilders for this. It is unlikely that he actually paid this sum, which I estimate to be at least the equivalent of 20,000 Euro today.

Siboga was not exactly the ideal place for his study of Batak since Malay merchants were the main inhabitants there. The Bataks who used to live there had withdrawn to the interior. Van der Tuuk managed however to find a native speaker willing to live with him and gradually his house also came to be used by Bataks coming for trade from the interior. A military officer who used to know him at that time wrote later that he often found up to half a dozen Bataks sleeping on the floor in his house. Van der Tuuk used the opportunity to babble with them.

But as said Siboga was not the ideal place for his studies and ultimately he moved to Baros, where the VOC had once a trading post. The place was reoccupied by the Dutch in 1839. The Batak population there was relatively affluent because of its long established trading activities, with camphor (‘Kapur Baros’) as its main trading item.

From Baros, a coastal place, Van der Tuuk made various trips into the interior attempting at one stage to reach Lake Toba. Earlier attempts by British and Dutch travelers had floundered on Batak resistance against foreign intrusion into this area. Even the famous Junghuhn had not managed to get there in a trip he undertook in 1840. He in fact denied the existence of the lake altogether. Van der Tuuk at first planned to travel together with the then well-known Austrian female explorer Ida Pfeiffer but she finally preferred to travel alone, perhaps having been put off by the linguist’s strange manners. However, she didn’t reach the lake (she was regarded as a witch and forced to return) but Van der Tuuk did, becoming the first Westerner to do so. He had set out with twelve travelling companions among whom a Malayan horse dealer whose advice would later save his life. In Bakkara, the Toba seat of the Batak ‘priest king’, the Sisinga Mangaradja, the travelers did not exactly get a friendly reception. His companions had thought to facilitate their passage through the Batak lands by spreading the rumour that Van der Tuuk was the returning older brother of the Sisinga Mangaradja who had been kidnapped in a Padri raid some thirty years earlier. The established Prince, fearing competition, didn’t take kindly to that and at one stage the linguist and his companions were in a precarious situation. They were surrounded by thousands of people, armed with lances, who according to Van der T., were arguing whether or not to let these intruders end up in their pots. The travelers had only two pistols and a hunting rifle between them but Van der T. put these pistols, on the advice of the Malay horse dealer, to strategic use. He wrote

“at the moment that some gentlemen were talking and licking their lips about the most tasty of us I got from the Malay horse dealer the wholesome advice to move with my pistols as close as possible to His Holiness and to put these at the least movement in front of his holy mouth, I saw at this my gesture that he considerably changed his tone …Our withdrawal from Bakkara was more a flight than a departure”.

Elsewhere however he received a far more friendly reception and he encouraged people who had some literacy to write things in their language, all kinds of things, songs, stories, riddles, proverbs etc. In this fashion he gathered twenty folio volumes, each of about three hundred pages, which are now in the university library at Leiden.

Van der Tuuk did not only gather oral information but set great store by the study of texts and copied manuscripts wherever he could. This was not always easy. He wrote at one stage:

“In the region Aek na oeli I got to read, at an important Batak chieftain, a pustaka in which there was also a story about the creation of the world. One can safely deduce from this that there are in the Batak lands still stories and chronicles. One of these days I hope to get hold of a pustaka that describes the foundation of the state Nai Pospos. It is a pity that the Bataks have become horribly wise in these things and ask you with incredible impudence a present for borrowing a book. Thus the chieftain mentioned above asked me as a price for borrowing this pustaka a European dog of the size of a calve, twelve large bottles of jenever (Dutch gin AB), ten Spanish ‘matten’ (old Spanish silver coins worth about two and a half guilders AB) and three padang rusaks (a sort of shawl of Acinese make). So I had to forget about making a copy.”

Meanwhile he had to get on with his translation of the bible which bothered him a lot because he thought it an absolutely useless task that took him away from his real linguistic studies. He wrote in 1854 to the Bible Society:

“I know that my letter would be more agreeable to you, if I came up with the frequent lie that “the Bataks feel the need of a Saviour, they thirst for the Holy Word” etc. I know that such fine words would be more agreeable to you and give you more courage for our cause, but it has been until now impossible for me to write such a thing, and I even take the liberty to doubt such niceties when applied to the Dayaks, the Javanese and other peoples, and to ascribe these things for the larger part to a lack of intimate social intercourse with the native in general”.

And on another occasion he wrote:

“I have often asked myself the question whether this zeal among Protestants in spreading Christianity is not a form of comedy, to throw dust in the eyes of the dumb herd, since the way in which this task is approached, must look ridiculous to the native.”

Though Van der Tuuk had obviously very little enthusiasm for the attempt to christianise the Bataks yet he was also irritated by what he saw as the tacit pro-Islam attitude of the Dutch administration. He had a lot of critique on this administration in general blaming its ignorance of the local language for the dependency on local clerks who could be easily manipulated and bribed by the local chieftains. Thus the complaints of the common man hardly ever reached the ears of those in authority and the chieftains used the liberty this gave them among other things to distribute corvee services (‘Herendiensten’) arbitrarily, according to the bribes they were paid for absolving some from these duties. On the other hand one gets the impression that the civil administration resented what it saw as the unwarranted interference of missionaries in general. There was also a wider political aim for this tacit pro-Islam attitude having to do with the fear that a diversity of religion would lead to unrest and strife – a vision that, ironically, has come to be substantiated after independence. Van der Tuuk’s skepticism about the whole matter was also fed by his clear awareness that the christian missionary was in an impossible position anyway because he belonged to a social category that was not recognisable to the Batak. Thus he could not compete with the proselytizing efforts by moslem Malays who were traders and recognised as such. And then there was, of course, in addition the ‘obstruction’ by the Dutch government.

In 1857 Van deer Turk wrote to the Bible Society:

I cannot forego either to warn you against the direction of the Van Brugghen-Simons government because this cannot be favorable to you. Mr. Simons might be orthodox protestant for Holland, here in the Indies he is a moslem and equally so Mr. Mijer, who has suddenly turned his coat. If the Bible Society is too credulous about the intentions of these gentlemen it will achieve nothing to speak of. Mr Simons is totally Delft, that is against christianity.

(the city of Delft was then the seat of the training college for future civil servants for the Indies, a task that later was allocated to the faculties of “Indology” at the universities of Leiden and Utrecht).

The stay in Baros became finally too much for Van der Tuuk. He complained that it was a ‘miserable hole’ where he couldn’t find a bookbinder and where the climate was so humid that he often had to copy his documents three or four times to prevent them from becoming illegible. What particularly irked him was that he couldn’t live with a woman there because of his connection with the Bible Society. This also enhanced the dubiousness of his social position with the Bataks who had contempt for an unmarried man. Moreover he had to forego another excellent avenue for getting more intimately acquainted with the language

He wrote:

“How did Winter get his great knowledge of Javanese? Not because he was born in Java but because he could start living like a Javanese. If I, who is regarded as a missionary, would get married to a native girl, the whole world of the Indies would claim that I was keeping a harem … The Bataks find it very strange that I am not keeping a girl like the others, and they still present me daily with an opportunity to get related to them. They just cannot understand why I am not willing to enter into that …”

and on another occasion:

“There is only one means to stick it out here without becoming prey to a melancholy that drags body and soul to the grave, and that means is inducing a stupor either through opium or through drinking, or by being continuously on the move … I could attempt to live as a Batak but it may be doubted whether I would be allowed to live in a kampong here because the Batak always thinks that there is something political behind it.”

So in 1857 he departed for Holland, a country he had never found congenial and soon we find him complaining that when he was out and about in that rainy climate and needed a piss he found it almost impossible “to simultaneously hold on to his pecker, his cigar and his umbrella”.

Nevertheless the decade he spent after this in Holland allowed him to order and publish the host of materials he had gathered in the Batak lands and to continue his linguistic studies. In 1868 he departed again for the Indies, this time for Bali where he would lay the foundations for the massive Kawi-Balinese-Dutch dictionary, a work that after his death was completed by Brandes. I would later like to say something about this period as well.

There is in Wikipedia an extensive entry on Van der Tuuk that also provides a concise bibliography of his writings.

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Pancasila Education

Re-emphasising the need for Pancasila based education values to deal with the rise of religious radical groups in Indonesia.

What pushes a man to identify himself as an Indonesian at one point then suddenly stops identifying himself as an Indonesian and begins to see himself foremost as a Muslim? Or perhaps a Christian or a Javanese? Or a Bataknese and so on?

The answers to this are incredibly complex and it would do no justice what so ever to pinpoint one single answer. Yet seeing the many conflicts that has happened in Indonesia between religious groups and between ethnic groups we can say that the problem lies not merely on radical interpretations of the holy books or the envies of the economic disparities among the society but perhaps it is also due to the single thing that unites us Indonesians, the Pancasila, has become almost non-existent in our society. It is still a symbol of Indonesia’s unity but nonetheless it is but merely a symbol.

For this reason I for one disagree with Yohanes Sulaiman, (Better Religious Classes Are What We Need Not More Pancasila, The Jakarta Globe 3 May 2011) where he discusses that we should focus more on the refinement of religious education rather than strengthening of our Pancasila education. I believe they should both go hand in hand.

The problem with teaching Pancasila nowadays is not the Pancasila itself but on how it is being taught to our youths. It is much like any other subjects taught in Indonesian schools, it only focuses on trivial matters and it emphasizes on the memorization of the subjects being taught, which in this case is the memorizing of the five silas.

We can no longer just merely indoctrinate our youths of the five silas of Pancasila but we must elaborate on the values that have lain dormant beneath these five silas, values such as tolerance, social justice, pluralism, multiculturalism and so on. These are the things that matter the most, not the memorization of the five silas.

The youth must understand from within themselves the importance of Pancasila and the values within it in order to achieve national unity. We can no longer enforce unity, because forced unity is such a fragile and flimsy concept of unity and will only produce limited nationalism. National unity must be grown within our youth and this can only be done by teaching the values within Pancasila not just by forcing our society to accept Pancasila as the bond between Indonesians.

It is much harder to achieve unity if we were only to focus on religious education.

Yet it does not mean that religious education in our country should be over looked. The drawback with religious education is that it always has this unpredictable possibility of it backfiring, such as the current condition of Indonesia’s religious education reflected in a research conducted by the Institute for Islamic and Peace Studies (LaKIP). There is no need to elaborate even further of the recent research conducted by LaKIP regarding the high percentage, up to 48.9%, of religious radicalism among the youth or even the research conducted by the Pew Research Center back in 2010 which found that 33% of Indonesians identify themselves as fundamentalists.

With these numbers alone we can see that religious radical groups in Indonesia has steadily become the rising star among Indonesians. It has used democracy as a tool and vehicle to perhaps steadily erect a theocratic government.

This is not just a disheartening prophecy of Indonesia’s future but this is a highly potential possibility of what Indonesia will become based on it’s current conditions.

Current conditions which not only concerns our meek government in being unable to subdue religious radical groups such as FPI but also the laws that the government itself has given birth to.

There are many laws in Indonesia that enables our government to meddle in our personal religious affairs and define what religion is, such as the No.1/PNPS/ 1965 which exactly does such a thing. What I see in these laws are similar to what the European kings have done in the past when the Catholic Church was still on a killing spree, regis jussu et universae plebis consensu, by the order of the king and the agreement of his people. Our “kings” are frightened of it’s people thus any wishes that our ignorant society has wanted has been constantly fulfilled, including matters that our government should not have intervened in.

Yes, perhaps prior elections conducted after our reformation has shown that Islamic based political parties are still far from achieving its goals but much like an unwanted weed in your front lawn, as long as the roots of religious fundamentalism are still entrenched deeply in our society there will always be room for it to grow and flourish. Again, we need no look further than the research that LaKIP and Pew has provided us. Although it would be somewhat utopian to remove every single root but it is possible to isolate it thus minimizing its growth.

When teaching of religious education there will always be personal prejudices, there will always be personal notions from the religious teachers on what religion should be like, there will always be, however slight it may be, a sense of religious superiority when teaching religion. Religious superiority often gives birth to pride and pride itself gives birth to ignorance and when a religious individual is imbued with a sense of superiority, pride and ignorance it is the perfect recipe for a terrorist to be.

Yes, religious education can be refined to minimize those matters such as by educating not only on the rituals and do’s and don’ts of the religion being studied but by educating on tolerance, pluralism, multiculturalism and even the science of other religions yet the results it may bring is limited due to religious education itself being sectarian. There will always be this invisible religious wall that divides people if we emphasize solely on religion. What we need is an education that is non-sectarian and embraces the whole of society. However reformed religious education may be we must not lay our hopes on producing a morally sound individual or national unity only by religious education.

We need Pancasila as a universal Indonesian values education that embraces every Indonesian.

What we have often done is that we have always questioned the impacts of religion towards the society but we very seldom question the impacts of the society itself towards religion.

By producing at first an individual that is tolerant and pluralistic with the Pancasila education he or she will have a tolerant and pluralistic perception towards many things around them including religion.

A holy book of a particular religion has rarely changed, what changes is how we perceive the holy book itself. If we have tolerance implanted in our minds, a holy book will give birth to tolerance as well, that is why Pancasila education as the foundation of Indonesia’s social values is critically important and should never be left out.

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President: EU can be ASEAN strong partner to develop together

Antara News, Thu, May 5 2011
Related News
Jakarta (ANTARA News) – President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in his opening speech at the First ASEAN-EU Business Summit here Thursday said the European Union (EU) can be a strong partner with ASEAN to develop together.
“Europe has a much longer experience in economic integration and community building. ASEAN has and will continue to learn from the European experience,” President Yudhoyono, as the ASEAN Chair, said in the Business Summit attended by around 400 businessmen from European and Southeast Asian counties.
According to Yudhoyono, ASEAN and EU clearly are important to each other, as EU is the second largest trading partner for ASEAN, and the largest investor, while ASEAN is EU`s fifth largest trading partner.
He also said that the ASEAN-EU Summit should also be used as a chance to play a role in changing the paradigm on which economic policies are made, to turn the tide of events in favour of both regions.
“This Business Summit is timely for ASEAN, as we make a final sprint to achieve a true ASEAN Community by 2015. But, in realizing this objective, we are not without challenges,” he said.
The world recovery is gaining strength, but output gaps and unemployment remain high in advanced economies, while new challenges are building in emerging economies, according to the Indonesian head of state.
Much has also been gained in achieving an ASEAN economic community, he said.
“When leaders agreed on the vision of an ASEAN Community in 2003, the size of the ASEAN economies was $700 billion, and now it becomes $2.9 trillion. If we include ASEAN and the six partners which it already has trade agreements – China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand – then the size is amount to $15 trillion, or the same economic size as EU and US,” the president stated.
Editor: Bambang

Related Articles:

EU, Indonesia set to discuss trade, investment

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Wed, 05/04/2011
Trade Commissioner with the European Union Karel De Gucht and Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu are scheduled to meet at the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski in Jakarta on Wednesday to discuss efforts to boost trade and investment between Indonesia and EU country members.
The efforts to improve trade will be conducted within the framework of the “EU-Indonesia Vision Group” established in 2010 by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, reported Wednesday.
The group comprises business practitioners, government apparatus and scholars who work together to come up with recommendations on policies to reduce stumbling blocks in bilateral trade.
Currently, the trade of goods between EU and Indonesia amounts to 20 billion euros per year.
In addition, more than 700 companies from European countries have investments in Indonesia valued at 50 billion euros, supplying more than 500,000 jobs in various industries, including pharmaceutical, banking and manufacturing.

Related Articles:

China to Foster Cooperation With Asean

Jakarta Globe, April 30, 2011

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono at a press conference shortly after their meeting on Friday. (EPA Photo)

Related articles
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao saaid Saturday Beijing wants to boost cooperation in trade and security with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
In a policy speech on the last day of a three-day visit to Indonesia, the current chair of Asean and its biggest member, Wen extolled the virtues of an Asean-China free trade agreement (FTA) that came into effect in January.
“China is committed to deepening practical cooperation with Asean,” Wen said.
“Last year, China became Asean’s biggest trading partner. We launched the largest FTA among developing countries and we have set the target of $500 billion in two-way trade by 2015,” he said.
China will increase capacity building and human resources training to speed up development in the poorest Asean members, he said.
“China stands ready to work with Asean to maintain regional security and stability,” he said.
Indonesian officials say Jakarta wants to renegotiate its part of the landmark free trade pact to protect vulnerable sectors from competition with Chinese manufacturers.
On Friday, Wen held talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and announced billions of dollars in loans for badly needed infrastructure projects in the archipelago.
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A guide through the maze of bemusing and ever-changing world of Indonesian city, airline and airport names.

Travelling around Indonesia can be a little confusing if you aren’t aware of the plethora of Indonesian cities’ alternate names, spellings and airport names. Some have changed names, others have changed spelling and some have changed multiple times.

This is one of the reasons why the Mau Ke Mana Flight Booking Service doesn’t just have an automated system of spitting back a list of flights and fares.

Wikipedia has a useful reference list of city and airport names/codes, but even it doesn’t cover all bases.

Here is an attempt at an all-inclusive list of all these issues, in alphabetical order:

Ambon | Bali / Denpasar | Lion Air and Wings Air | Lombok / Mataram / Ampenan Makassar / Ujung Pandang

Here are some alternate spellings, the current/official “Indonesian” one on the right:

Yogyakarta & Jogjakarta | Manado & Menado | Sumatra & Sumatera

Confusing directions

Ambon (Airport Code: AMQ) (a.k.a. Pattimura Airport, Laha Airport, Ambon City, Kota Ambon, Ambon Island, Pulau Ambon)

Map of Ambon

Ambon City/Bay/Island/Airport

The city of Ambon is located on the island of Ambon, while Ambon Airport is located in Laha, 36km from Ambon City on the other side of the horseshoe-shaped Ambon Bay. Apparently no other names were available at the time…

Confusing directions

Bali (Airport Code: DPS) (a.k.a. Denpasar, Ngurah Rai Airport)

Bali Airport MapBali is not a separate country from Indonesia, but it is an island and province with its own unique culture. Some airlines, e.g. Air Asia, also use “Bali” as the name of the airport because Bali is much more well-known than “Denpasar”.

Officially, the name of the airport is Ngurah Rai Airport or Denpasar Airport, and is located about 10km south of Denpasar, the capital city of Bali.

Confusing directions

Lion Air v Wings Air
Both airlines are part of the group/corporation and work together, like American Airlines and American Eagle in the United States, or Singapore Airlines and Silk Air in Singapore.

However, unlike Singapore Airlines/Silk Air or Garuda Indonesia and their budget wing Citilink, Lion Air and Wings Air continue to use the same website, airline code and booking system.

Their levels of service are mostly the same; the small differences are:

Wings Air plane Lion Air B737-900ER
Wings Air ATR72-500 Lion Air Boeing 737-900ER

– Wings Air operates smaller ATR72-500 planes (see above left) on shorter/less popular routes. Lion Air uses mostly Boeing 737-900ER planes (see above right) and operates on the longer/more popular routes.

– Lion Air’s baggage allowance in economy class is 25kg for domestic flights, 20kg for international flights. Wings Air has a smaller – but not strictly enforced – baggage allowance: 15kg.

– Lion Air offers business/executive class on some routes.

You can tell which flight is operated by which airline in two ways:

Lion & Wings Air 2 Lion & Wings Air
  1. The logo next to the flight number.
  2. Usually a four-digit flight number also indicates a Wings Air flight.

Confusing directions

Makassar (Airport Code: UPG) (a.k.a. Ujung Pandang, Hasanuddin Airport)

Visit Makassar

Makassar was renamed Ujung Pandang in 1971 by an Indonesian government that wanted to give the city a more Indonesian or less Dutch name (around the same time that Djakarta became Jakarta). However, it was changed back to Makassar in 1999 by then President Habibie. These days, some airlines use Makassar, others Ujung Pandang.

Confusing directions

Mataram (Airport Code: AMI) (a.k.a. Ampenan, Lombok, Selaparang, Selaparang Airport)

The capital city of West Nusa Tenggara province, Mataram is actually one part of a conurbation of a few smaller cities. The airport is actually located in the city of Ampenan (what Garuda Indonesia’s website currently calls it). It is also the only airport on the island of Lombok, so Selaparang Airport also has the working name of “Lombok Airport”. Some smaller airlines flying from Denpasar/Bali also use Selaparang as the destination city name.

New Lombok Airport
The new Lombok International Airport, still under construction

A new airport in Central Lombok, tentatively named Lombok International Airport, is also under construction. It was due to open in 2010, but still has no scheduled opening date. It is not yet determined whether the existing airport in Mataram (West Lombok) will reduce or cease operations when this new airport opens.

Map of Old and New Lombok Airports
Old and New Lombok International Airports,
located in Mataram/Ampenan and Praya respectively

The new airport is located in Praya, Central Lombok; it is closer to (the other) Kuta, but quite far from Mataram and the tourist beaches of Sengigi and Gili Islands, so a complete closure seems unlikely. Any affected passengers will be informed if when the airport is about to commence operations.

If you have any other questions or areas of concern, please write a comment below, and we’ll answer it.

Confusion! 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.

Chinese Prime Minister to Visit Indonesia With Deals in Mind

Jakarta Globe, Faisal Maliki Baskoro & Reuters | April 22, 2011       
Related articles

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will go on
 a brief tour of Southeast Asia and sign a
number of agreements next week.
(EPA Photo/Adrian Bradshaw)     
Beijing. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will sign a series of agreements next week covering everything from banking and energy to palm oil and infrastructure during visits to Malaysia and Indonesia, a senior diplomat said on Thursday.
Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said deals in Malaysia would include telecommunications and infrastructure construction cooperation, while in Indonesia there would be a greater number of documents signed, including on banking.
“The bank cooperation will probably involve many banks, not just one or two,” Hu said. “There will also be some financing [deals] for major projects.”
Other agreements to be signed in Indonesia will cover palm oil plantations and coal-fired power plants. He gave no firm details on any of the deals.
China already has close trade, economic and cultural ties with both countries. In 2009, China signed currency swaps with Malaysia and Indonesia, as part of moves to give the yuan a bigger international role.
According to Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), Chinese investment in the country during the first quarter of this year reached $28.4 million, 10th most among foreign investors. Chinese investment in Indonesia last year was $173 million, which put it in 11th place.
Zhang Qiyue, the Chinese ambassador to Indonesia, said earlier this month that there were more than 1,000 Chinese companies ready to register in Indonesia at the end of last year, with contracts estimated at $9.7 billion.
Wen will be in Malaysia from April 27 to 28 before flying to Indonesia. He plans to return to China on April 30.
Sofyan Wanandi, chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), welcomed China’s investment but noted growing sentiment against cheap Chinese goods flooding Indonesian markets.
“I see this as a positive investment in infrastructure and manufacturing,” he said.
“However, I have seen enough agreement signings to know that dozens of these signings end up with no realization.”
Agreements tend to take a long time to take hold, he said, even failing to materialize because the Indonesian government is often unprepared with permits for the projects and land availability.
“Action speaks louder than words. Upon signing an agreement, both parties must be able to realize their intentions,” he said
“The government should also lure Chinese investment to build manufacturing bases here. China is a major importer of our raw materials, and building a manufacturing base here would give it added value and cool down tensions stemming from the flood of Chinese products.”
Erwin Aksa, chairman of the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (Hipmi), said China needed to increase its investment here, especially in areas such as infrastructure and manufacturing, to balance Indonesia’s trade deficit and improve domestic competitiveness.
“China’s specialty is in infrastructure projects, but we also need increased investment in manufacturing,” he said.
Indonesia is often seen as just an exporter of raw materials, Erwin said, so China should invest more in developing domestic industry to give it added value.
“Ideally, China should be among the top five foreign investors in Indonesia,” he said.

Bali Bromo Express

Wings Air launches direct flights from Denpasar to Malang, reducing travel time to Mt Bromo significantly.

For many years, Mt Bromo has been the most visited of Indonesia’s 129 active volcanoes (more than the famous/infamous Anak Krakatau or Mt Kelimutu). This is probably due to its relatively easy access, wide choice of accommodation nearby and proximity to Indonesia’s tourist hub of Bali.

Bromo Tengger Semeru
The picture that launched 1000 postcards:
Sunrise at Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park.

In the past, a trip from Bali to the picture postcard moonscape of Mt Bromo usually involved a short flight from Denpasar/Bali to Surabaya, then a bus/train ride to Malang or Probolinggo, then another bus/jeep ride up the mountain in the early morning to the lookout point. Or the more intrepid could take a bus from Bali all the way to Probolinggo (including a short ferry ride). However, both ways could take several hours or longer, due to delays, traffic, narrow/hilly roads, etc.

Left Flag: Mt Bromo, Right Flag: Bali/Denpasar Airport.
As you can see, Malang is much closer to Mt Bromo than Surabaya

However, Wings Air (partner/subsidiary of Lion Air) has launched a new route that reduces the hassle and travel time significantly: Denpasar to Malang.

Wings Air ATR72-500

Using their brand new ATR72-500 aircraft (see above), Wings Air flies this route daily at the following times:

Flight Number Route Departs Arrives
Wings Air
to Malang
13:45 14:00*
Wings Air
Malang to
14:25* 16:25

*Local time in Malang is one hour behind Denpasar/Bali

One-way fares start at $US55.

Alternately, if you are flying from Europe to Jakarta, there are also multiple daily flights from Jakarta to Malang.

If you would like a quote for this flight, please fill in an enquiry form here.

Bali Bromo Express 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.

‘Wonderful Indonesia’

Greeting the tourism slogan ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ at Jakarta airport; alternatives: Intriguing Indonesia, Indonesia – Simply Inexplicable, and Delectable Dewi.

The Drum notes that rather than addressing the need to clean up the several hundred “hangers on” touts and louts at Jakarta Airport or developing some sort of transport, tourist infrastructure for Indonesia, we have once again bought economy tickets on plan superficial.

The tourism brains trust after much research and endless meetings have come with “Wonderful Indonesia” which is kind of saccharine sweet but hardly reflective of Indonesia. Certainly anyone who has landed at Jakarta airport at 5pm on a Friday is hardly likely to be thinking “wonderful thoughts” on the 3 hour, 25km journey to the city center. It would also be fair to venture “Wonderful Indonesia” would be a bit of stretch if you happen to be an Ahmadiyya for instance.

Oh speaking of mindless, sponsored thuggery, if I may digress for a moment. Did we all enjoy that “Simply Wonderful” piece of Lunatic Theater brought to us by the Minister for Religion this week.  A brilliant dark comedy, gathering all the ignorant thugs in one place and then call the Ahmadiyya and say we just want to talk…uh uh!!  Honestly, people were rolling in the aisles listening to this character trying to tell rational humans that the Ahmadiyya were acting in bad faith by not turning up.

Anyhow back to tourism, perhaps some truth in advertising might be fun

We all know the Uniquely Singapore, Malaysia. Truly Asia, Incredible India, Amazing Thailand etc.  Well we have had a couple of disastrous cracks at this sort of thing in Indonesia before. Who could forget the Garuda English mangling or my personal favorite the “Wings” Airline slogan “Fly is Cheap” (apparently so was their copy writer).

Anyway, it’s one thing to criticize and another to offer a solution. So based on today’s news that retired Generals and Radical religious loons are planning a coup, nail bombs and the ongoing persecution of minorities in Indonesia, the following are the Drum’s offerings for today:


Intriguing Indonesia

Indonesia – Simply Inexplicable

Or the Drum’s favourite

Delectable Dewi


Feel free to suggest some more.


Disclaimer:  I actually think the Jakarta Airport itself is pretty slick, it’s the fight through the touts and louts that must be mind boggling for first time tourists.  Nor do I think the dangerous but comical characters that attended the Religious “Harmony” meeting are representative of anything but the vile underbelly of the human beast. Certainly, they do not represent the Indonesia I know and live in.

‘Wonderful Indonesia’ 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.

PKS, Old Songs (and Sex)

An unending series of steamy sex scandals in the Justice Party and general hilarity.

Update – 12 April 2011.

The uber-pious are at it again

PKS lawmaker ordered to recite Koran porn incident

It’s time for a laugh again, unless you happen to be one of the people caught up directly in this mob’s hypocrisy (aka Ariel aka Peter-Pan). The ever comedic PKS party threw up (pun intended) yet another contender for Bumbler of the month.  A PKS lawmaker (oh please..) was photographed using his “tablet” (tax payer provided?) to view porn during a recent session of parliament.  Caught in the classic naughty school boy mode  of trying to hide the tablet under desk as he looked at the naughty bits, our horny old toad declared he had downloaded an email by accident. This statement of course had the rest of Indonesia in stitches of laughter.

Not to be outdone and  never missing a moment to provide a laugh,  the current Champion of Comedic Hypocrisy, our very  own twittering, twisted Tifatul (and devotee of the US First Lady) was not going to be dethroned that easily.  The triple T came with a statement reminiscent of the “Who’s on First” routine in it’s sheer silliness;

Tifatul, however, defended Arifinto, saying he could not be charged under the Internet law as the legislator had “unintentionally” downloaded the porn video.

“Those transmitting and distributing porn contents are subject to the law, those downloading are not,” Tifatul said in a statement.”

Of course, looking at the pictures of Arfinto’s tablet it would appear he has downloaded unintentionally into  dozens of files.
Meanwhile Ariel serves five years gaol thanks to hypocrites, what a disgrace!

Oh and to those commentators whining Fitnah etc etc…Where are your foaming hordes demanding justice and gaol time? Where are the so called leaders crying out to protect the youth of the nation?  Feel free to explain to us all the double standards as it is beyond The Drum’s ability to explain without laughing and crying at the same time.


The main problem about shrilling your pious, sanctimonious credentials to all that will listen (and those they don’t wish to hear) is you tend to build a rod for your own back…

The Drum really doesn’t have a lot of time to write this month but could hardly resist an update for old friends.  It seems Anis Hatta and the PKS are once again the source of much smoke as reported in the Jakarta Post today.

A couple of really interesting quotes grabbed The Drums interest:

Yusuf, a PKS legislator in the House from 2004-2009, accused Anis of embezzling Rp 10 billion (US$1.15 million) in campaign funds, which he believed came from unnamed Middle East sources.

Anis said he would not sue Yusuf for defamation as it could prolong the “unhealthy debates.

“It’s an old song,” Anis said.

Now that seems mighty noble of someone whose reputation has taken a few hits of late not to sue but forgive us if we have trouble swallowing the reason why.  We would really love to know whose these unnamed Middle East sources are.  Not that it would be a surprise to find this dodgy mob has an unhealthy love affair with unnamed Middle Eastern sources,  not like they have ever been picky about the company they keep.

Meanwhile, in yet more evidence of the unhealthy obsession with sex that exists within the PKS.

Last week, Yusuf filed a report with the House’s ethics council, alleging slander by PKS chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq.

“Lutfi accused me of molesting somebody else’s wife,” Yusuf said.

What a bunch of amusing but scary, weird, little guys!
Oh speaking of old songs but apropose of nothing,  the Drum’s personal favourite old song is old Eagles track “You can’t hide your *****  eyes”

PKS, Old Songs (and Sex) 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.