Aside from presenting their beauty, charm, talent, and intelligence, contestants of the Miss Indonesia 2014 beauty pageant also learned to be tech-savvy. Special tech-related awards were given during the contest such as Miss Chatting, Miss Social Media, and Miss Online.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Indonesia
Human rights groups Tapol and East Timor and Indonesia Action Network have launched a campaign called ‘Say Sorry for '65′ addressed to the Indonesian government in relation to the reported killing of a million citizens during the anti-communist campaign of the government in the 1960s:
In 1965/66, up to a million Indonesians were massacred by the military, paramilitary and civilian mobs. Hundreds of thousands more were injured, disappeared, raped and imprisoned without trial. The United States and the United Kingdom secretly welcomed and supported the killings.
For fifty years the victims have been asking for justice and for the government to Say Sorry for ‘65, but Indonesia denies these crimes even happened.
EngageMedia has uploaded a video about a Papuan woman's love letter to an Indonesian soldier who was once stationed in the border patrol unit in a village near Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The video also highlighted the sexual assaults allegedly committed by some Indonesian soldiers in the border. The video is available with subtitles at Amara.
The Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development has published a policy briefer that tackled the extent of human trafficking in Southeast Asia.
Many Southeast Asian countries are at the bottom of a lot of the world's supply chains, including for food, garments, and technology. Yet few countries in the region have adequate laws for addressing corporate responsibility for human trafficking, including in their supply chains.
The primer also provides country-specific recommendations on how to best address the human trafficking issue in the region
Jakarta has launched an emergency hotline to help women victims of sexual violence. The initiative is linked to the website developed by the National Commission on Violence Against Women to “make it easier for authorities to protect victims and bring perpetrators to justice.” Last year, there were more than 200,000 reported cases of violence against women in Indonesia.
… the government has created a website where voters can access information on each of the candidates, including a full biography. While the site is a great resource and will undoubtedly help many Indonesians to make their decisions, it seems something of an attempt to paper over the cracks in Indonesian democracy. Why are our future leaders and representatives presented to us in the same way we pick items on online shopping website?
Le Minh Khai reviewed the websites of the leading universities in Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and was disappointed with the design and content of these online platforms.
John McCarthy and Zahari Zen urge the Indonesian government to implement ‘transformative policies’ to solve hunger and food insecurity in the country:
The food produced is too expensive, leaving poor households vulnerable. Today, even in rural areas, the majority of people are net food buyers. This is why the poor tend to be vulnerable to price fluctuations and any measure involving price hikes has immense risks. If food is expensive, poor households have to cope. They eat cheaper, less nutritious food. Instant noodles substitute for proper meals.
Rocky Intan explains why a minimum wage hike in Indonesia will harm the country's economy:
National and local leaders should resist pressure by some union leaders for an increase in the minimum wage. The increase has not been in line with inflation, unlike what the protesters claim. Moreover, the raise will result in further worker layoffs and damage our regional competitiveness in labor-intensive manufacturing.
The Indonesia Breastfeeding Mothers Association has produced a 13 minute film animation that educates Indonesian couples about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Leopold Sudaryono tackles the problem of prison overcrowding in Indonesia. In 2011, there were 144,000 prisoners in the country. Prisons were reported to be overcrowded by 45 per cent on average. Among the factors contributing to the problem are lack of alternative sentencing options at trial and delays in the administration of the criminal justice system.
In the Indonesian context, prison overcrowding is a sign of a disintegrating criminal justice system, in which law enforcement agencies prioritise the function of their own institutions at the expense of other parts of the system.
Murray Hunter of the University Malaysia Perlis discusses the situation of Muslim-majority societies in Southeast Asia as well as the issues associated with the rise of Islam in the region.
Poverty, literacy, education, displacement, feudalism, unemployment, suppression, and control is dispossessing Muslims within ASEAN. Government and Ulama are trying to develop theocracies based little social and economic research and knowledge, and promote ritualized conformity instead. Islamic interpretations are patterned into rigid thinking and ideas where new interpretations are frowned upon.
DC Guy observes that most foreign correspondents in Indonesia have little knowledge of the local situation:
They can't understand the TV. They can't understand the radio. They can't read local blogs, websites, or newspapers. All they have is the English language sources.
It's why the Western wires were obsessed with Bird Flu whilst ignoring current epidemics such as Malaria or Dengue Fever…It's also why they're obsessed with terrorism when traffic jams and bad hospitals are more of a threat to most of the population.
Michelle Unwin highlights the need to provide birth certificates to Indonesia's street kids. She cited a report which says that only nine to 22 percent of street children have birth certificates. Further, an estimated 50 million children in Indonesia do not have birth certificates which deprive them of the right to receive government services.
Akhlis Purnomo laments the state of investigative journalism in Indonesia.
…there has not been much of investigative journalism in Indonesia. Most of them are not even investigative, but more like reportage on everyday issues….These are then labelled as investigative by producers and TV stations.
Developed by Yogyakarta-based Kowplink Studio, the Gamelan DJ mobile application “mix and mash tight beats, harmonies and melodies of saron.” In addition, “by touching beats pad mix with acapella & making lead with saron gamelan.” The app is listed one of the best start-ups in Indonesia. Gamelan is Indonesian musical ensemble native to Java and Bali.
Rudi Putra initiated an online petition asking the Indonesian government to block the expansion of mining and palm oil activities in Aceh and to protect the country's remaining rainforest. More than one million people around the world have already signed the petition:
I live and work in the last place on Earth where endangered orangutans, rhinos, elephants, and tigers still roam together — but it'll be bulldozed to bits unless our President hears our call and steps in to save this unique habitat.
Adrian Vickers introduces the latest issue of the online journal ‘Inside Indonesia’ which features articles about contemporary Indonesian art.
While politics has dominated the foreground of Indonesian art, the country’s contemporary art world faces a struggle between art’s engagement with society and the forces of commercialisation.
Southeast Asia Visions is a collection of historical travel narratives of pre-modern Southeast Asia from Cornell University Library's John M. Echols Collection. The digital collection includes 10,000 images, drawings, photographs, prints and maps.
The Indonesian government is investigating allegations that the country's major internet service providers – Telkom, Biznet, and Matrixnet Global – are conducting an illegal surveillance of internet users through the use of a spying software. The companies have denied the charge but if found guilty, they can face a 15-year imprisonment
On January 23, 2013, an excerpt from the annual report of l'ACAT-France, A World of Torture 2013, makes a fresh assessment of the state of torture in the world [fr]:
“A report called A World of Torture in 2013, assesses torture practices that continue to be alarming, from Pakistan to Italy, by way of South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Bolivia. From authoritarian regimes to democratic countries, none are exempt from criticism on the topic. In 2013, torture remains as endemic, omnipresent and multi-faceted as ever”.
This legal dragon in the making will seriously restrict fundamental liberties of freedom of association & assembly and freedom of thought & expression in Indonesia. For instance it potentially will effectively prevent civil organizations from revealing, denouncing, let alone charging, criminal practices, including human trafficking or corruption.
Colson reviews the proposed Bill on Mass Organizations in Indonesia.
Several Indonesian websites were hacked by individuals who are supporting Wildan Yani Ashari, the person who was arrested by the police for hacking the website of the Indonesian president. Enricko Lukman translates the message left by the hackers in the defaced websites:
…unlike corrupt officials, hackers shouldn’t be arrested. The hackers only tried to show the weakness in the government’s system so that it can be strengthened against possible future threats