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21 Jan 12:00

Menag: Indonesia mayoritas Islam, tapi bukan negara Islam


This is an utterly precarious, dangerous statement. Some might take thias as a cue and BANG!

Menteri Agama Lukman Hakim Saifuddin menegaskan bahwa meski Indonesia mayoritas beragama Islam, namun Indonesia bukan negara Islam. Indonesia juga bukan negara sekuler yang memisahkan relasi agama dan negara. “Meski Indonesia ...
12 Jan 22:23

Canon to move camera production back to Japan


I had a strange dream in which this company and its fierce competitor are both.... bankrupt and turned into a trading company. Well, that was a dream, though.

Canon wants to increase its domestic production over the next few years, something spurred by the falling value of the yen. According to Reuters, Canon is looking to increase its production in Japan from 40 percent of its overall output to 60 percent. Read more

28 Nov 20:14

Ahok asks Megawati for thoughts on three candidates for deputy post

by The Jakarta Post


Newly installed Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama said that he had asked Megawati Soekarnoputri about her thoughts on three candidates for the vacant deputy governor post. The three candidates were former Surabaya mayor Bambang Dwi Hartono, former Blitar mayor Djarot Saefulah Hidayat and head of Governor’s team for development acceleration Sarwo Handayani.

Ahok said he asked for Megawati’s opinion because she had been like a mother to him.

“For example, when you want to marry someone you must consult with your mother first. I wanted to know what Megawati thought of the three candidates,” Ahok said on Friday, as quoted by

Megawati, he went on, responded to his request and then left the final decision for Ahok to make.

“But then she asked me to consider a PDI-P member as my deputy because people might be disappointed at the fact that PDI-P is not represented in Jakarta leadership,” he said.

According to government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) No.1/2014, Ahok has 15 days left to appoint his deputy.(dic)(++++)

26 Nov 09:56

Once maligned, Iran's Jews find greater acceptance

by Ali Akbar Dareini, The Associated Press


More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimage like many others in the Islamic Republic — until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes.

Iran, a home for Jews for more than 3,000 years, has the Middle East's largest Jewish population outside of Israel, a perennial foe of the country. But while Iran's Jews in recent years had their faith continually criticized by the country's previous governments, they've found new acceptance under moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

"The government has listened to our grievances and requests. That we are being consulted is an important step forward," said Homayoun Samiah, leader of the Tehran Jewish Association. "Under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nobody was listening to us. Our requests fell on deaf ears."

Most of Iran's 77 million people are Shiite Muslims and its ruling establishment is led by hard-line clerics who preach a strict version of Islam. Many Jews fled the country after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Jews linked to Israel afterward were targeted. Today, estimates suggest some 20,000 Jews remain in the country.

Tensions grew under Ahmadinejad, who repeatedly called the Holocaust "a myth" and even sponsored an international conference in 2006 to debate whether the World War II genocide of Jews took place. Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi once accused Jews as whole of being drug dealers.

But since Rouhani took office last year, Jews say they have been heartened by the support they've received. His government agreed to allow Jewish schools to be closed on Saturdays to mark Shabbat, the day of rest. Rouhani also allocated the equivalent of $400,000 to a Jewish charity hospital in Tehran and invited the country's only Jewish lawmaker to accompany him to the United Nations General Assembly in New York last year.

"We were fearful in the '80s. We were feeling the pressure. Now, we are not concerned anymore. We feel secure and enjoy freedoms," said Mahvash Kohan, a female Jewish pilgrim who came to Yazd from Shiraz. "In the past, Israel and others were providing incentives such as housing that lured some Jews. Now, it's not like that. And Iranian Jews have better living and working conditions in Iran. So, no one is willing to leave now."

Still, human rights groups say Jews and other minorities in Iran face discrimination. Last year, officials in Iran's presidency denied that Rouhani had a Twitter account after a tweet that appeared to be from the leader offered a greeting for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Iranian state television also has aired anti-Semitic programming.

Those taking part in the recent Yazd pilgrimage to the tomb of a famed Jewish scholar, however, praised the Iranian government's new outreach.

"We've gathered here to pray and celebrate our Jewishness," Kohan said. "We are proud that we freely practice our religion." (**)



supplementalcategory : ,

05 Nov 12:45

PGI sebut UU Perkawinan lahirkan kebijakan diskriminatif


See, how in-line these people are ?

Komisi Hukum Persekutuan Gereja Indonesia (PGI) Nikson Gans Lalu menyatakan bahwa Pasal 2 ayat (1) UU Tahun 1974 (UU Perkawinan) telah melahirkan kebijakan yang diskriminatif terhadap hak warga negara. "Dalam konteks ...
07 Oct 03:04

Indonesian students abroad take to the streets

by Ika Krismantari , The Jakarta Post

I'd be more ashamed to myself, if I were them.

Protests from afar: Overseas Indonesians living in Paris (above, first photo) and New York (above, second photo) stage protests against President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his Democratic Party for indirectly supporting the Red-and-White Coalition in passing the Regional Elections Law at the House of Representatives recently.Protests from afar: Overseas Indonesians living in Paris (above, first photo) and New York (above, second photo) stage protests against President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his Democratic Party for indirectly supporting the Red-and-White Coalition in passing the Regional Elections Law at the House of Representatives recently.

Sporadic demonstrations have broken out against the success of the Red-and-White Coalition in passing of the law that abolished the rights of the people to directly elect regional heads. Most of the protests and criticism were channeled through social media.

The situation, however, is quite different abroad. From Washington DC, New York, Perth, Melbourne to Amsterdam, Indonesian political activists have united, taking advantage of social media to hold protests against efforts to curtail people’s democratic rights.

In New York, dozens of students gathered at Times Square. In Washington, a group of Indonesian students demanded President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was on a visit to the US last month, to stop betraying the nation.

The House of Representatives recently passed the Regional Elections Law, which curtails people’s voting rights. Under the new law, governors, mayors and regents are elected by legislative councils instead of directly by the people. Indonesia began holding local direct elections in June 2005 in Kutai Kartanagara as mandated by Law No. 32 on regional head elections, one year after Indonesian voters directly elected their president for the first time.

Millions of Indonesians are disappointed by the new restrictive law.

The same disappointment has encouraged Indonesians living abroad to organize protests against the law.

One of the biggest protests occurred in Melbourne on Saturday, with more than 60 people taking part. Standing in one of the biggest public spaces in the heart of Melbourne, protesters carried signs and wore masks depicting political actors who are being held responsible for letting the new bill pass.

Poetry readings and a short theatrical act were also organized as part of the protest.

 One of the student coordinators, Aulia Latif, told The Jakarta Post that the protest was aimed at putting more international pressure on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and political elites in Indonesia.

“What we have learned about the President is that he is really concerned about his image. For the last 10 years, we have seen him building his international image. So I hope this [protest] puts [more] pressure on him,” he said.

It took the organizer of Melbourne’s protest less than a week to organize everything and gather the masses.“We can easily organize everything using social media,” said Aulia, who also took part in student protests to topple president Soeharto in 1998.

Facebook and Twitter enable people to voice their opinions about the government and facilitate protests and other political movements.

A more coordinated approach has been adopted by other groups of Indonesians living abroad in response to the passing of the Regional Elections Law. Through social media, Indonesians in Perth, Amsterdam, Canberra, Berlin and Vancouver coordinated with each other to organize a non-violent protest against the law.

The mastermind behind the movement, Diah Kusumaningrum, said that the idea behind the unique concept was to raise global awareness of the issue and invite the international community to

“For us, it is important that the wakes are seen as events where world citizens — not just Indonesians — mourn a rollback of democracy,” said Diah, who is based in Austria.

Ironically, there have been no major protests on Indonesian streets. The most vocal reactions have been expressed on social media.

The creation of the hashtag #ShameonyouSBY, which was later replaced by #ShamedbyYouSBY are a part of the online movements criticizing the passing of the law. The hashtag #ShameonyouSBY went to the top of Twitter’s worldwide trending topics list.

Yet many believe that voicing criticism on social media is not enough. Some political activists see the need for the masses to take to the streets and be part of protests such as those that were held in 1998.

Nanang Indra Kurniawan, a PhD candidate at Victoria University and also a lecturer on politics at Gadjah Mada University, said that political activism in 1998 and today was incomparable.

“The situation is different. Back in 1998, our enemy was clear — Soeharto and his authoritarian New Order regime — but the problems have become more plural,” he said. Nanang was also involved in the 1998 student protests.

It seems that Indonesia’s intelligentsia living abroad have taken one step ahead by staging protests not only on social media but also on the streets.


05 Oct 07:38

US nun credited with curing boy beatified

by Associated Press

See, how silly (and how 'god-like') a person have to be to be a saint in Christianity.. Tsk tsk.

An American nun credited with curing a boy's eye disease moved a step closer to sainthood Saturday in what church officials said was the first beatification Mass held in the United States.

A beatification Mass for Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, who died in 1927, was led by Cardinal Angelo Amato at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey. Beatification is the third in a four-step process toward sainthood.

Demjanovich is credited with curing a boy's macular degeneration in the 1960s, the Archdiocese of Newark says. The boy, Michael Mencer, was given a lock of the nun's hair and prayed to her. The effects of the eye disease soon began to fade, Roman Catholic Church officials say.

"Within a period of six weeks, it was totally reversed," said Sister Mary Canavan of the Sisters of Charity, the order to which Demjanovich belonged.

Mencer, who is now 58 and lives in Nebraska, and members of the Demjanovich family were among the hundreds of clergy members, nuns and worshippers who attended the beatification Mass. Mencer said he was happy that the New Jersey nun was getting the recognition she deserves.

"I was dug in thinking, this was going to take 100 years," he said.

Mencer also reflected on the moment when he first realized his eyesight was improving.

"I was walking and I looked up, and I thought I was looking at the sun because at first it was just the light," he said. "Then I was able to focus on the sphere and I thought 'oh, that's the sun' but it didn't hurt, I didn't tear up or anything and then I looked back down and there it was, the hair."

Mencer said he returned home and handed the hair to his mother.

"And then I just went out to play," he said. "I actually ran, it didn't dawn on me then. I just ran to my friend's house."

01 Aug 17:52

Ugandan court invalidates anti-gay law

by Associated Press

Here. For a newspaper, printing in Jakarta, Indonesia, in which many people might not even know where Uganda is, this paper passed this news ("news") to its readers. To add some "weight, they throw in some weak "links" to US, so that people would be attracted. Pay attention to the penultimate paragraph » "... might win ...". Tsk.

A Ugandan court on Friday invalidated an anti-gay bill signed into law earlier this year, saying the measure is illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum.

Activists erupted in cheers after the court ruled the law "null and void," but some cautioned that the fight was not over: The state could appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court and legislators might try to reintroduce new anti-gay measures.

The law provided jail terms up to life for those convicted of engaging in gay sex. It also allowed lengthy jail terms for those convicted of the offenses of "attempted homosexuality" as well as "promotion of homosexuality."

Although the legislation has wide support in Uganda, it has been condemned in the West and rights groups have described it as draconian.

The U.S. has withheld or redirected funding to some Ugandan institutions accused of involvement in rights abuses, but the ruling Friday might win the Ugandan delegation a softer landing in the U.S. next week as it heads to Washington for a gathering led by President Barack Obama.

The panel of five judges on the East African country's Constitutional Court said the speaker of parliament acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the measure despite at least three objections — including from the country's prime minister — over a lack of a quorum when the bill was passed on Dec. 20.


28 Jul 04:15

SBY holds Idul Fitri open house at palace

by Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post

I caught vile intention in this article. Very vile indeed. If one to criticise, it's the "bowing and kneeling to the elderly" that deserve a thorough correction. Of course, from Islam(ic) standpoint, this is opening the door to "bowing and kneeling to other than Allah'.

However, the latter half of the article thoroughly focussed on denigrating the presidential institution through "alleged state budget misuse", and a single sentence – since it's massively unrelated bar the similarity of events – that cited death of a man (blind he was) due to stampede.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened his doors to people of various backgrounds at the State Palace to celebrate the first day of Idul Fitri on Monday, which will be the outgoing President’s last open house at the palace.

Yudhoyono started Idul Fitri celebrations at the palace with his family and presidential staff members at 8:50 a.m., after he and his wife Ani Yudhoyono attended Idul Fitri prayers at the Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Central Jakarta, which is just a few kilometers from the palace.

Dressed in green outfits, the President’s youngest son Edhie "Ibas" Baskoro and his wife Aliya Rajasa, performed sungkeman — kneeling in front of older family members and asking for forgiveness — before Yudhoyono and Ani.

Yudhoyono's eldest son, Agus Harimurti and his wife, Annisa Pohan, were not present. In late June, the two left Jakarta for the United States, where Agus is attending a one-year course at the US Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

At 10 a.m., the First Family will receive Vice President Boediono and his family, and later Cabinet members, leaders of state institutions, ambassadors and governors from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

After a short break, Yudhoyono and the First Family will receive members of the public at 3:30 p.m.

The Idul Fitri open house at the palace has been an annual tradition during Yudhoyono’s presidency. Each guest usually receives a package containing mementos and an undisclosed amount of cash. The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (FITRA) has criticized the government for the open house, which cost the state Rp 1.5 billion in 2012 and Rp 1.4 billion in 2013.

In 2010, a blind man died in a stampede at the event.

22 Jun 07:06

View Point: Is Risma only driving sex workers to the street?

by Pandaya, The Jakarta Post

"world’s oldest profession" ? WTF ? Tsk.

There has been no shutdown of a red-light district that has stirred such national controversy and aroused the international media’s curiosity as has that of Dolly, dubbed the largest brothel in Southeast Asia, in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya.

Even though the vast prostitution complex has been officially closed, the media glare remains because many of the thousands of sex workers, pimps, brothel owners and others who rely on the flesh trade for their livelihood remain defiant.

To show they’re not bluffing, many brothels are still open despite the official order of closure issued on Wednesday night. Their resistance has provoked Mayor Tri Rismaharini (known as Risma) to threaten legal action against them. She has given them until the end of the upcoming fasting month to comply with the shutdown.

This means regular patrons will never be sure if they can come back to Dolly without fear of being caught in a police raid, and thus in some cases risk conflict with their partner at home.

The Dolly shutdown has divided local politicians in the province, which prides itself as the home base of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest cultural Islamic organization. Religious leaders and moralists are the strongest proponents of the mayor’s move.

Resistance also comes from various quarters, including Risma’s fellow Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politicians, who are concerned about falling out of favor with one section of the “wong cilik”, or common people, who are their main support base.

Risma’s Dolly policy has also reopened her bitter conflict with her own deputy, Wisnu Sakti Buana, also a PDI-P politician. They were most recently at odds over a provincial government plan to build a toll road in the city that Risma flatly rejected but Wisnu supported.

Opposition also comes from Kusnadi, deputy speaker of the provincial legislative council.

“Surabaya is already swarming with street walkers,” he told local media. “The closure of Dolly will only make the Surabaya streets even filthier.”

Established by the Dutch colonial rulers as a night fare for their soldiers, Dolly has become one of Surabaya’s best-known landmarks, as it has evolved into an infamous sex tourist spot frequented by people from all over the world. In terms of international reputation, it is often likened to Patpong in Bangkok or King Cross in Sydney.

Moving to close it down reflects the extraordinary courage and determination of Risma, Indonesia’s first female mayor, who has won national and international accolades for her efforts to make the country’s second-largest city cleaner and more livable.

Her declaration shutting it down Wednesday night, given in dramatic fashion, epitomized her resolve to close down all red-light districts that riddle the international port city – something that none of her predecessors had even probably thought of.

Prostitution is officially illegal in Indonesia but “lokalisasi” – a euphemism for state-sanctioned “localized” brothels like Dolly – remain a robust all-season business in major cities. In Dolly, the annual turnover reaches Rp 1.5 trillion a year, according to one estimate, and it contributes Rp 34 billion to the local administration’s coffers annually.

 In its heyday in 2008, Dolly employed 3,500 sex workers, but that number has declined to about 1,200 today, as officials records showed when it was closed down.

But Risma, who means to portray herself as a populist leader, decided the house of ill-repute had to be put to sleep for good because it had become a haven for human trafficking and the spread of HIV and was in violation of a 1999 law banning prostitution.

The central government has spent Rp 8 billion to compensate the sex workers and pimps and Risma says she has sought another Rp 36 billion to buy the Dolly property and develop it into an Islamic center – as Jakarta did when it closed down the Kramat Tunggak red-light district in 2002.

The Dolly closure has undoubtedly raised Risma’s political stature. Praise has rained down from the moralists, rights groups and public alike – a valuable credit she needs to boost her political career.

“We appreciate Bu Risma’s courage to make Surabaya a clean city, which also means clean from prostitution,” says Hidayat Nur Wahid, a senior politician of the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and a member of the House of Representatives in Jakarta.

Despite her best efforts, however, her ambition to rid Surabaya of the world’s oldest profession may be elusive.

She may be able to close down brothels and buy the property for public use, but by de-localizing prostitution it could become more difficult to control.

Closing down a red-light district may be “easy”, but the big money involved in the business makes it equally easy for the pimps, sex workers and corrupt officials to move or transform their operations.

To succeed, Risma will have to learn from other regions that have closed brothels but have miserably failed to stem prostitution – succeeding only in moving the activity from one place to another.

 A case in point is when then Bandung mayor Dada Rosada closed down Saritem, the largest prostitution center in West Java in 2007, bought some of the buildings and built a mosque and a boarding school in the area. But today, seven years on, many of the brothels have reopened.

The closure of Kramat Tunggak in North Jakarta, which used to be as big and infamous as Dolly, and its conversion into an Islamic center may have been a success story that inspired Risma, but prostitution in Jakarta remains acute.

In major cities, brothels are disguised as legal establishments like massage parlors, spas, discotheques, transit hotels or beauty salons.

Risma’s argument that brothels must be closed down because they are responsible for the spread of HIV also sounds flimsy because all agree that it is easier to control the prostitutes’ health if they work in an establishment. How can the mayor regularly control the health of people on the streets?

The writer is a staff writer of The Jakarta Post

16 Jun 06:45

Locals feeling squeeze after mining shutdown

by Jerry Adiguna , The Jakarta Post

If "not economically feasible" means we (us, the corporate) will suffer great loss (we don't care what our country we set foot on are), then simply go to hell.

Slowdown: Vendors offer an array of staple goods and foods at the Maluk market in West Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara. The market, which is managed by mining company PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, is suffering financially due to the mining company’s decision to halt all activity and lay off 3,200 of its employees at the nearby Batu Hijau mine. JP/ Jerry Adiguna  Slowdown: Vendors offer an array of staple goods and foods at the Maluk market in West Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara. The market, which is managed by mining company PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, is suffering financially due to the mining company’s decision to halt all activity and lay off 3,200 of its employees at the nearby Batu Hijau mine. JP/ Jerry Adiguna

The local unit of US-based Newmont Mining Corporation’s decision to declare force majeure and halt operations at its Batu Hijau copper mine in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara has begun to affect the lives of local residents.

About 3,200 workers have been dismissed by the company since it stopped mining copper due to a steep government export duty. Some of the laid-off workers have left the area to return to their hometowns or look for jobs elsewhere.

Consequently, businesses around the mine site, which boomed when Newmont opened the mine years ago, are suffering. Local vendors who provide the daily needs of residents and the mine workers have been complaining that their profits have been falling each day.

Rented houses and other residential complexes in the area, such as the usually full Maluk village, are now vacant, abandoned by occupants who were mostly Newmont employees.

A local named Sumanto who owns Pak To restaurant in Maluk said that now his restaurant had been making less than Rp 500,000 (US$42) per day, a sharp decline from the Rp 3 million a day he was making before the mine suspended operations. Prasmanindo Boga Utama, a company that provided catering services for the mine, has also laid off some of its employees.

Abdul Gani, the manager of Gita Usaha Madani car rental company, said that almost all of his vehicles, 22 buses and nine 4x4 sport-utility vehicles usually rented to Newmont, were now sitting unused in the lot.

Gani is now in trouble as he is unable to make the Rp 300-million monthly payment on the loan he took out to buy the vehicles. “I have been forced to dismiss more than 150 employees,” he added.

According to Newmont processing and power plant manager Ilyas Yamin, the miner had laid off more than 4,000 employees at the Batu Hijau site. Newmont declared force majeure at the mine more than a week ago.

The shutdown is also severely depressing the local economy of Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara. Rented homes, restaurants, stores and even some cafes are recording significant declines in business.

Since the government implemented a ban on the export of raw minerals on Jan. 12 in line with the 2009 Mining Law, Newmont has yet to export any of its copper concentrate. The government has since relaxed the ban on concentrates, but is imposing high duties that Newmont says violate its contract of work and make it uneconomical to export its production.

With all of Newmont’s storage facilities at Batu Hijau full, the company’s CEO has met with Coordinating Economic Minister Chairul Tanjung in an effort to negotiate a solution, but so far little progress has been made.

The government has promised to reduce the export duty, which is set at 20 percent this year and will increase to 60 percent during the second half of 2016, if Newmont shows its commitment to build domestic smelters as required by the law. The company has argued that building a smelter is not economically feasible. (ask)

13 Jun 21:14

Balita tewas dibanting ayah kandungnya


Layak masuk RSJ ini Bapak.. Kalau waras nggak bakal sampai hati matiin anak....

Warga Tiban I, Sekupang, Kota Batam, berinisial T, diduga menganiaya anak kandungnya Nur Ainah (4) dengan cara membanting ke lantai hingga menyebabkan meninggal dunia, Jumat dinihari. Peristiwa tersebut diduga dipicu ...
12 Jun 07:06

Multi Bintang to open new plant in July

by Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post

This article is confusing. So, the new plant would be for alcoholic beverages or not? It described alcoholic one in the end...

PT Multi Bintang Indonesia, maker of the well-known Bintang Beer, will next month launch operations at its new Rp 201.72 billion (US$17.08 million) factory in Sampang Agung, Mojokerto regency, East Java.

The factory, which will be Multi Bintang’s third facility, is expected to produce 50 million liters of carbonated soft drinks each year.

The new factory aimed to meet surging domestic demand, due to the growing population as well as a higher number of foreign tourists, Multi Bintang president commissioner Cosmas Batubara said Wednesday.

“Domestic [beverage] sales have risen by more than 10 percent each year and we want to meet the market demand that is expanding rapidly,” he said.

The company also intended to tap into the foreign market, given the fact that its beverages had become increasingly popular in countries such as Australia, Japan and South Korea, Cosmas said.

Driven by Indonesia’s growing middle class and stronger purchasing power, the soft-drinks industry in Southeast Asia’s largest economy has expanded rapidly in recent years. It grew by 11 percent last year, following 8 percent growth in 2012.

The carbonated soft-drink sector has grown by an average 2.6 percent annually. Still, on a per capita basis, soft-drink consumption in Indonesia remains far lower than in some of its neighboring countries.

Indonesia consumes 2.4 liters of soft drinks per person per year, far less than the 34.12 liters in the Philippines, 32.23 liters in Thailand, 31.36 liters in Singapore and 18.96 liters in Malaysia.

Therefore, there is still tremendous room for growth in the world’s fourth most-populous nation with more than 240 million people.

The robust overall demand for beverages has boosted the business of companies like Multi Bintang, which produces both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks under various brands, including Bintang Beer, Heineken, Bintang Zero and Green Sands.

Publicly listed Multi Bintang saw its net profits jump significantly by 158.08 percent to Rp 1.17 trillion last year, driven by a marked increase in its revenue by 126.75 percent to Rp 3.56 trillion.

Cosmas said the firm may seek to expand its production capacity in alcoholic drinks, in line with market demand, but he declined to elaborate further.

Multi Bintang’s new factory will help boost its current production capacity of 65 million liters of beverages at its soft-drinks factory in Tangerang, Banten and brewery in Sampang Agung.

The alcoholic beverage industry was previously limited to foreign direct investment (FDI), while production was subject to a quota set by the government. However, the government recently revised its negative investment list, easing requirements on business expansion by existing alcoholic-drink makers.

Industry Minister MS Hidayat said that his office was finalizing a supporting regulation to govern the implementation of the new rule.

Due to the vast opportunities in the alcoholic-drink industry, enabled by the robust growth in tourism, some global players such as Diageo, the producer of Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniel’s whiskies, have expressed an interest in establishing a presence in Indonesia.

11 Jun 08:14

Education must prepare students for employment

by The Jakarta Post

But that's not what education are for. There is training for that. To educate is to elevate, mostly on how people think...

The national education system needs to move away from its emphasis on theory and focus more on providing practical skills for students, according to industry and trade representatives.

The secretary-general of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), Suryadi Sasmita, said that tertiary education was still too academic and did not equip graduates with the relevant skills for the workplace.

According to Suryadi, overseas education provides students the opportunity to enhance their problem-solving skills.

In contrast, the Indonesian system champions theoretical instruction.

“No wonder the system doesn’t match up to industry requirements. Graduates have not been equipped with the skills to tackle problems,” Suryadi told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Suryadi also said that the higher education system was too general and that there was a lack of specialized schools providing targeted education.

“Foreign education is more specific. Once someone enters a certain field, they tackle all the issues from A to Z,” said Suryadi, a member of the National Tripartite Manpower Section, adding that such specialized education was the reason foreigners were often preferred over local talent.

Suryadi expressed concern over the issue of linking higher education to industry demand, and offered one concrete solution.

“The Education and Culture Ministry should approach professionals and ask them about their requirements,” he said.

Furthermore, he said, the education sector should look to emulate the kind of training that companies like Astra or Citibank give to entry-level employees.

“It is because people are left to their own devices that they don’t know how to learn.”

According to Suryadi, education officials should visit companies in the same vein as inactive Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s blusukan (impromptu visits).

When asked about the chances that local graduates have in the lead-up to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Suryadi said that there was still hope.

“Foreigners, like the Japanese, rely on teamwork. If they were pitted one-on-one against an Indonesian, we would surely win,” Suryadi said. If, on the other hand, the two competed in teams, Indonesians would surely lose because of a tendency to not share knowledge, he implied.

“Indonesians are all about ego. We have to change that. This is what I think Jokowi meant with his mental revolution,” the steel magnate said.

Suryadi said that there was another flaw in the education system; graduates were not taught to adapt to different systems.

He recommended mandatory apprenticeships in every field of study, to ease students into the workforce.

Furthermore, Suryadi said that apprenticeships should also match the field of study, and that state-owned enterprises should provide such opportunities. “If you look to the private sector, they only think of efficiency,” he warned.

According to Suryadi, the first to bear the brunt of the AEC’s effect will be those in middle management positions.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the AEC in 2015, the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry has given special attention to the education and vocational training system so as to improve the competence and competitiveness of Indonesia’s workforce.

“The education and training systems should link up to improve job competence so as to answer the needs of the labor market, expanding employment opportunities and fostering new entrepreneurs,” said Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar, in a written address on Sunday, June 1.

On the minister’s behalf, Khairul Anwar, the director general for training and productivity, said that the two systems would be able to develop highly competent human resources with the skills, professionalism and competences relevant to the needs of the workforce.

“The AEC is on the horizon, and as the nation with the largest potential of human and natural resources in the ASEAN region, this should be viewed as an opportunity to improve the welfare of the people,” said Khairul, as quoted in a press release on the ministry’s website.

According to Khairul, one key factor the government needed to address was to empower all educational institutions in producing a competent and professional workforce.

The director general said that the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry would be developing Indonesian Working Competency Standards (SKKNI) together with all government sectors.

The SKKNI functions as a reference in developing education and training programs and a certification for working skills, as well as helping with the recruitment of employees. (tjs)

08 Jun 06:23

Jokowi camp wants Babinsa frozen

by Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post

thinking about a word here: overkill

All clear: Presidential hopeful Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (right) shakes hands with a member of the Elections Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu), Nelson Simanjuntak, at the committee’s headquarters in Jakarta on Saturday. Jokowi came in to explain the early alleged campaign statements he made during the ballot number draw at the General Elections Commission (KPU) office. (Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf)All clear: Presidential hopeful Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (right) shakes hands with a member of the Elections Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu), Nelson Simanjuntak, at the committee’s headquarters in Jakarta on Saturday. Jokowi came in to explain the early alleged campaign statements he made during the ballot number draw at the General Elections Commission (KPU) office. (Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf)

The campaign team of presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has demanded that the Indonesian Military (TNI) suspend the operation of its village supervisory non-commissioned officers (Babinsa) ahead of the presidential election.

The demand was made following allegations that Babinsa officers have been going door-to-door and asking residents to vote for rival candidate, Prabowo Subianto, a former commander of the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus).

“It would be better for the TNI commander to temporarily freeze the Babinsa and Babinkamtibmas [village-assigned police officers who act as advisers on security and public order] operations,” Jokowi’s campaign team chairman, Tjahjo Kumolo, told reporters on Saturday.

Tjahjo said Jokowi’s team would speak with TNI commander Gen. Moeldoko and National Police chief Gen. Sutarman concerning its request. “This is our position,” he said, adding that the recent allegation undermined the TNI’s credibility.

Also on Saturday, Jokowi called on the Elections Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu) to thoroughly investigate the allegation.

“We have asked [Bawaslu] to prioritize this [inquiry] so that our political rights and the political rights of the people are protected,” he said.

The allegation against the Babinsa first emerged on a social media site on Thursday. Media reports said that early on Tuesday, a resident from a predominantly Chinese neighborhood in Central Jakarta was visited by a man claiming to be a Babinsa officer who said he had been assigned to verify data of eligible voters in the neighborhood. It was later alleged that the officer was in fact registering the intention of locals in the area to vote for Prabowo.

Bawaslu said it would be summoning Gen. Moeldoko on Monday concerning the allegation, while Bawaslu member Daniel Zuchron said his office was taking the case seriously as the military had to maintain its neutrality throughout the election period.

The incident surfaced only a few days after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had warned several military and police generals, who had been approached by political parties to gain their support in the upcoming election, to steer clear of politics.

It is believed that the illegal campaigning by Babinsa for Prabowo has not been confined to Jakarta. Seknas Jokowi, a volunteer support organization for Jokowi, has accused several Babinsa officers in Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, of distributing to locals campaign paraphernalia in support of Prabowo.

Prabowo’s campaign team has denied any involvement in the alleged incident, which it said had discredited its candidate.

Separately, after a campaign visit to Bekasi, West Java, Prabowo’s running mate, Hatta Rajasa, said he believed that the TNI was a professional institution. “I am confident that the TNI will maintain its neutrality,” Hatta was reported by Antara news agency as saying.

Former TNI commander Djoko Santoso, who is a Prabowo supporter, has called for a thorough investigation. “If the allegations are true, firm action must be taken. But don’t slander [the TNI] because it will divide us. And that’s not good,” he said as quoted by Antara.

Bawaslu, meanwhile, has cleared Jokowi of committing a campaign violation after questioning him on Saturday. “What he did does not meet the criteria of campaigning as stipulated in Article 1[22] of the 2008 Presidential Election Law,” Bawaslu commissioner Nelson Simanjuntak said.

Jokowi was accused of early campaigning during the drawing of his ballot number last week. In his speech, after drawing the number “2”, Jokowi said two was a number of balance, and that people should vote for him and his running mate, Jusuf Kalla.

He claimed he had no intention to get a head start before the campaign period officially began. He said his words were spontaneous; they were not part of a pre-written, prepared speech. “Just look at the context; I did not address [our campaign’s] vision, mission or programs,” Jokowi added.

07 Jun 05:35

Consumers in dark over govt’s SIM card regulation

by Khoirul Amin, The Jakarta Post

This is just like France. Hopefully a first step to a single number for each person...

Arsita, 21, a fresh graduate, has switched SIM cards on more than 10 occasions since her first cell phone in 2005.

She said she was shocked to hear about the government’s plan to oblige prepaid SIM card users to register their complete profiles with the operators’ official outlets.

“It will be a big pain because not all people have the time to make the journey to operators’ official outlets. Some, like my grandparents, even live in small villages where official outlets are too far away,” she said on Friday.

Arsita, now living in Surakarta, Central Java, said the regulation, if imposed, would limit options for customers.

“I have migrated from one operator to another and finally found the one that best accommodated my needs,” she said.

She added that the regulation would make it even harder for youngsters, who usually searched for cheap Internet broadband packages.

Wiranto, 28, said he did not mind registering his complete profile in the operators’ database, but did not like the requirement to register with operators’ official outlets.

“For me and maybe for other existing SIM card users and new users, the regulation will be very time consuming,” he said.

Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Body (BRTI) member Riant Nugroho said previously that the regulation was aimed at cracking down on those who often utilized prepaid cards for crime.

Riant explained that the regulation would be in the form of a ministerial regulation and would provide a transition period for all cellular operators to adjust to, with a 6-month period for existing customers to register themselves, with their personal identity cards with operators’ official outlets.

Communications and Information Ministry director general for post and informatics resources Muhammad Budi Setiawan said his ministry had yet to issue the regulation, but had notified all telecommunication operators of the plan.

“We’ve discussed with BRTI and all operators and they all basically agreed with the plan,” he said.

The ministry would also bar small retailers and unofficial distributors from selling new prepaid cards, but would still allow them to sell phone credit.

The Indonesian Cellular Phone Provider Association’s (ATSI) Alexander Rusli said the regulation would reduce operators’ turn rate — the migration intensity of customers from one operator to another.

“The lower turn rate means that operators will have an exact number of loyal customers. We estimate that the industry’s turn rate will decrease to between 7 and 8 percent from the current level of 15 percent, once the regulation takes effect,” he pointed out.

Djoko Tata Ibrahim, deputy CEO of code division multiple access (CDMA) operator PT Smartfren Telecom, said his firm was preparing to have 15,000 devices that could help distributors register customer identification cards quickly.

02 Jun 12:04

Jokowi didukung relawan, bukan orang bayaran


Kalau relawan nggak dibayar, apa nggak lalim namanya? Hmmm...

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) Juru bicara pasangan capres cawapres Jokowi-JK, Anies Baswedan memuji para relawan pendukung pasangan nomor urut dua dalam pilpres mendatang tersebut sebagai bukan orang-orang bayaran. "Pak Jokowi-JK ...
02 Jun 09:21

Hukum Puasa Sya’ban pada Hari Sabtu

by Muhammad Abduh Tuasikal, MSc.

Mind the first sentence

Kita sudah tahu bahwa puasa pada hari Sabtu adalah suatu yang disunnahkan, bahkan kita diperintahkan memperbanyak puasa pada bulan tersebut. Apakah puasa hari Sabtu masih dibolehkan di bulan Sya’ban?

Larangan Puasa pada Hari Sabtu

Mengenai larangan berpuasa pada hari Sabtu disebutkan dalam hadits,

لاَ تَصُومُوا يَوْمَ السَّبْتِ إِلاَّ فِيمَا افْتُرِضَ عَلَيْكُمْ

Janganlah kalian berpuasa pada hari Sabtu kecuali untuk puasa yang wajib bagi kalian.” (HR. Ibnu Majah no. 1726, Abu Daud no. 2421, Tirmidzi no. 744).

Abu Daud mengatakan bahwa hadits ini mansukh, yaitu telah dihapus. (Sunan Abi Daud, hal. 490)

Imam Tirmidzi mengatakan bahwa hadits ini hasan. (Jaami’ At Tirmidzi, hal. 247)

Al Hafizh Abu Thohir mengatakan bahwa sanad hadits ini hasan. (Takhrij Jaami’ At Tirmidzi, idem)

‘Abdul Qodir Al Arnauth dan Syu’aib Al Arnauth mengatakan bahwa sanad hadits ini qowiy atau kuat. Mereka berdua berkata: Cacat hadits ini karena dikatakan mudhthorib tidaklah mencacati hadits ini karena hadits ini selamat jika dilihat dari jalur lainnya. (Tahqiq Zaadul Ma’ad, 2: 75).

Syaikh Al Albani mengatakan bahwa hadits di atas adalah hadits shahih.(As Silsilah Ash Shahihah no. 3101, 7: 274)

Intinya, para ulama masih berselisih pendapat mengenai keshahihan hadits larangan puasa pada hari Sabtu.

Pendapat Ulama tentang Puasa Hari Sabtu

Abu ‘Isa At Tirmidzi rahimahullah berkata,

وَمَعْنَى كَرَاهَتِهِ فِى هَذَا أَنْ يَخُصَّ الرَّجُلُ يَوْمَ السَّبْتِ بِصِيَامٍ لأَنَّ الْيَهُودَ تُعَظِّمُ يَوْمَ السَّبْتِ

“Makna hadits larangan puasa hari Sabtu menunjukkan makna makruh jika seseorang mengkhususkan puasa pada hari tersebut karena orang Yahudi mengagungkan hari Sabtu tersebut.”  (Lihat Jaami’ At Tirmidzi, hal. 247-248).

Ibnul Qayyim rahimahullah berkata, “Larangan puasa pada hari Sabtu adalah larangan menyendirikan berpuasa pada hari tersebut. Sehingga Imam Abu Daud membuat judul Bab “Larangan mengkhususkan hari Sabtu untuk berpuasa“.” (Zaadul Ma’ad, 2: 75).

Guru dari Ibnul Qayyim yaitu Ibnu Taimiyah rahimahullah berkata, “Kebanyakan ulama madzhab Hambali memahami perakataan Imam Ahmad dalam mengamalkan hadits tersebut dan dipahami bahwa maksud larangan adalah jika mengkhususkan puasa pada hari Sabtu.”

Ibnu Taimiyah rahimahullah sebelumnya mengatakan, “Menurut mayoritas ulama, tidak dianggap makruh berpuasa pada hari sabtu.” (Iqtidho’ Ash Shirothil Mustaqim, 2: 76).

Puasa Sya’ban pada Hari Sabtu

Kita telah mengetahui bersama bahwa salah satu amalan yang dianjurkan di bulan Sya’ban adalah memperbanyak puasa. Dari ‘Aisyah radhiyallahu ‘anha, beliau mengatakan,

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – يَصُومُ حَتَّى نَقُولَ لاَ يُفْطِرُ ، وَيُفْطِرُ حَتَّى نَقُولَ لاَ يَصُومُ . فَمَا رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – اسْتَكْمَلَ صِيَامَ شَهْرٍ إِلاَّ رَمَضَانَ ، وَمَا رَأَيْتُهُ أَكْثَرَ صِيَامًا مِنْهُ فِى شَعْبَانَ

Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam biasa berpuasa, sampai kami katakan bahwa beliau tidak berbuka. Beliau pun berbuka sampai kami katakan bahwa beliau tidak berpuasa. Aku tidak pernah sama sekali melihat Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam berpuasa secara sempurna sebulan penuh selain pada bulan Ramadhan. Aku pun tidak pernah melihat beliau berpuasa yang lebih banyak daripada berpuasa di bulan Sya’ban.” (HR. Bukhari no. 1969 dan Muslim no. 1156)

Lantas apakah anjuran tersebut juga termasuk berpuasa pada hari Sabtu? Jawabnya, hadits menunjukkan makna umum, puasa hari Sabtu pun masih dibolehkan. Makna memperbanyak puasa berarti mencakup pula hari Sabtu.

Syaikh ‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin Baz dalam Fatawa Nur ‘Ala Darb (16: 444) ketika ditanya mengenai hukum puasa 6 hari di bulan Syawal pada hari Sabtu, mereka menjawab, “Puasa Syawal yang lebih afdhal adalah dilakukan secara berturut-turut. Puasa hari Sabtu secara bersendirian tidaklah masalah. Karena hadits yang membicarakan larangan puasa pada hari Sabtu kecuali puasa wajib tidaklah shahih (dhaif) dari Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.”

Maksud dari fatwa tersebut berarti berpuasa Sya’ban itu bebas dilakukan tidak ada larangan pada hari-hari tertentu karena kita diperintahkan memperbanyak puasa kala itu.

Hanya Allah yang memberi taufik.

Disusun di Pesantren DS, 3 Sya’ban 1435 H

Penulis: Muhammad Abduh Tuasikal

Artikel Muslim.Or.Id

30 May 09:17

KAI to develop freight transportation

by The Jakarta Post

This! However, infrastructure is badly needed.

State-owned rail company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) says it plans to further develop the freight transportation sector in a bid to help the country reduce the cost of logistics.

KAI finance director Kurniadi Armosasmito said the firm had allocated Rp 7.2 trillion (US$619.2 million) in investment from the fiscal year 2012 to 2014 to expand into goods and container transportation businesses.

The firm has used the investment to buy 600 coaches exclusively for transporting coal, 1,200 container coaches in Java, a well as developing double-track rail networks in Sumatra.

"Currently, 60 percent of our revenue comes from transporting passengers, while 40 percent comes from transporting freight. We aim to increase that number [to 60 percent revenue from freight]," Kurniadi
said as quoted by on Friday.

For the transportation of coal, KAI is collaborating with publicly listed state-owned miner PT Bukit Asam.

Bukit Asam plans to increase its annual coal transportation capacity from 10 million tons to 18 million tons in 2014.(nfo)

28 May 14:25

When Jesus and Muhammad ‘ascended’ to heaven

by Syafaatun Almirzanah,

See, how we play "keeping-up with the Jones'"?

“Sunlight looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one, but it is still one light.” (Jalaluddin Rumi).

On two days this week, Christians and Muslims celebrate the ascension to heaven of their beloved Jesus and Muhammad. In spite of their differences, ascending to heaven is something Jesus and Muhammad have in common.

In Christianity, ascension is part of the Paschal Mystery (refering to the passion, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ), which is a core doctrine of the church. Ascension is pursued as an indication of an essential component of salvation history.

Mi’raj, or ascension in the Islamic tradition, is a fabulous nighttime journey through the heavens, during which the Prophet Muhammad encountered angels, many of the major prophets and, finally, God. Mi’raj is also considered the pinnacle of all spirituality, as the ultimate state of tawhid, which was totally realized by the Prophet.

The great significance of the meetings lie in the fact that the spiritual physical presence of the Prophet before Allah signifies, on the one hand, the reestablishment of the direct link with Allah, which was broken with the expulsion of Adam from heaven, and indicates, on the other hand, the physical resurrection of mankind. The journey constitutes a positive movement of the Prophet toward Allah, leaving behind what is other than he/she.

The same is true of the ascension of Jesus. Within the framework of gnostic dualism, ascension was a strictly vertical affair. It meant the disassociation from the corrupt realm of material existence, a movement for the inner man that entailed a repudiation of the temporal creation with its inherently unstable mixture of flesh and spirit. The ascension becomes the climax of Jesus’ history and the eschatological event, fulfilling all the prophetic hope of Israel (Douglas B. Farrow, 1999).

As the completion of Christ’s work on earth, the ascension was interpreted by Christianity’s founding fathers as the climax of redemption, in so far as it completed the movement of Jesus from humiliation through glorification. The theological aspects of ascension can be explored by maintaining the physicality of the event and advocating an ascent of Jesus in flesh.

Thus, the words in Acts 1:9, “Jesus being taken up into the air”, are interpreted as a movement of the flesh. The church’s fathers also insisted that Jesus ascended in the flesh. This affirmation is crucial to understand the concept of the descent of the holy spirit as the continuing presence of God with the people.

The question of whether the night journey and the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad was of a purely spiritual nature or whether it was also physical has left many Muslim scholars pondering also. Based on all the considerations, however, this question is not essential in the light of the teachings that can be drawn from this extraordinary experience undergone by the Prophet (Ramadan, 2007).

We have so far discussed the similarities between Jesus and Muhammad’s ascensions. But one related aspect has to be stressed and that is that unlike Jesus, who ascended above all corporeal and spiritual creatures to assume his place at the right hand of God, as Bonaventure said, Muhammad did not reside in heaven, he only met God during an audience.

Despite these differences, however, the missions of both Jesus’ ascension and Muhammad’s mi’raj are the same. As the scriptures commonly testify that the holy spirit will appear only when Jesus has been glorified and is seated at the right hand of the Father (John 7:37-39; 15:26; 16:7; Acts 1:4-11), and there is a common affirmation between the church’s Father on the unity of the resurrection and ascension in the theme of exaltation and ascent, “the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified”, the gift of the spirit is dependent on Jesus’ physical ascent (Gary Burge, 1987).

Consequently, even though Jesus is in heaven, he is by no means absent but is present in the spirit. It can be said that the reason that Jesus ascended was to enable the holy spirit to pour forth gifts on humanity.

Muhammad, after his ineffable dialogue with God when he ascended to the highest heaven, returned to this world and his beloved community. This is the basic difference between the mystical types of religion; a difference so succinctly summed up by Muhammad Iqbal at the beginning of the fifth chapter of his lectures on The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, where he quotes the saying of the Indian sufi, Abdul Quddus Gangohi: “Muhammad of Arabia ascended to the highest heaven and returned. I swear by God, had I been in this place, I would not have come back” (Iqbal, 1930).

If for Christians, Christ is the model for ministry (imitatio Christi), it also reminds Muslims to imitate their prophet Muhammad (imitatio Muhammadi) as for them, Muhammad is uswa hasana (the beautiful model). This event also shows that Jesus’ ministry is accredited by the public credentials of his suffering service.

In Islam, according to the Koran, a commitment to God’s people (service) is also an important part of faith. It is an inseparable part of a commitment to God. The Koran links taqwa (piety) to social interaction and concern for others, such as sharing, fulfilling covenants and, especially, kindness (Q 92:5; 7:152-3; 3:76; 7: 52; 3: 172; 4: 126; 5:93; 16:127). Thus, religion is not only what we believe but also how we live.

Indeed, one of the most important principles for which the “Koranic” Jesus stands forth both as a “symbol” and concrete embodiment, is the following: mercy and compassion are the fruits of the realization of the true self — or “the Self of the Real”, the Nafs al-Haqq, as Ibn ‘Arabi calls it. Jesus is described in the Koran “as a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us”.

The Koran tells us that Jesus was indeed God’s word, “cast unto Mary, and a spirit from Him” (IV: 171). Ibn ‘Arabi comments upon this, saying that Gabriel transmitted this word to Mary just as a prophet transmits God’s word to his community (Ibn Arabi, 1321). Ibn ‘Arabi, thus, shows that there is something in the very substance of Jesus that is, in and of itself, a revelation, “a sign for mankind”, as the Koran says (XIX: 21). This Islamic Jesus narrows the gap that separates a Muslim from a Christian conception of the “message” of Christ.

Quoting a senior rabbi: “God has spoken to mankind in many languages, through Judaism to the Jews, Christianity to Christians, Islam to Muslims [...] no one creed has a monopoly of spiritual truth [...] In heaven there is truth, on earth there are truths. God is greater than religion. He/She is only partially comprehended by any faith,” (The Guardian, 2002). Rumi also reminds us with his question, “How long will you play at loving the shape of the jug? Go seek the water!” (Mathnawi II).

The author was a visiting professor at Georgetown University, Washington DC. She is professor of Islamic/Religious Studies at the Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University and a lecturer at Gadjah Mada University (UGM), both in Yogyakarta.

21 May 15:54

EU ambassador hopes new RI president will uphold human rights

by Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post

Ini semacam bersayap pernyataannya...

European Union Ambassador to Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and ASEAN Olof Skoog, said he hoped whoever was elected Indonesia's next president and vice president would continue to develop democracy, strengthen tolerance and uphold human rights.

"We hope that whoever is chosen will be an open leader, especially toward their own people," Skoog said on the sidelines of a European studies convention at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta on Wednesday.

Furthermore, Skoog said that he hoped the new leaders would continue to push for more infrastructure development, better education and economic growth.

Skoog referred to the fact that Indonesia and the EU had strong economic ties, with the EU relying heavily on Indonesia for timber products, adding that Indonesia supplied 10 percent of the wood needed among EU countries.

The EU's deputy ambassador, Colin Crooks, added that Indonesia's crude palm oil (CPO) exports to the EU had doubled in the past five years, and now controlled 48 percent of the total CPO on the market.

As one of the largest archipelagic nations in the world and with one of the largest populations, Skoog said the EU recognized Indonesia as an extremely strategic nation.

21 May 12:41

on-location portraits – when simplicity counts

by Neil vN


on-location portraits – when simplicity counts  (model: Anelisa)

This is one of those images – a portrait which is simplicity itself – and yet there is something about it, with Anelisa‘s riveting gaze and her pose, the muted complimentary colors – and the photograph just falls together somehow in a way that makes it one of my favorite photos that I’ve shot in a while. Even the lighting is simplicity itself – an off-camera flash in a softbox. But this didn’t need anything more complex than that.

Perhaps it is the juxtaposition of the rough texture of the wall, and the soft look of her skin that gives this image some of its impact. I’m not one for (over) analyzing photographs to figure out why they work – I much more prefer that the photograph’s impact comes from an “I just like this” level. I took several compositions, but preferred this off-center horizontal version.

It was taken during a recent on-location lighting workshop, the first one held at my photography studio in NJ. The technique is the same as described in this article - add off-camera flash for that extra bit of drama - (w/ Olena) - where the off-camera flash gives some of the punch to the image with soft directional light.

camera settings:  1/250 @ f/5.6 @ 200 ISO … TTL flash


photo gear (and equivalents) used during this photo session

  • Nikon D4  (B&H)
  • Nikon 24-70mm f2.8G AF-S (B&H / Amazon)  /  Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II (B&H / Amazon)
  • Nikon SB-910 speedlight  (B&H / Amazon)  /  Canon 600EX-RT speedlite  (B&H / Amazon)
  • Westcott Rapid Box – 26″ Octa Softbox  (B&H / Amazon)
  • Manfrotto 1052BAC lightstand  (B&H / Amazon)



I changed up my usual post-processing for this image. After the initial skin-retouching I normally do, I ran the usual Photoshop plug-ins as a self-made action. This runs Shine-Off and Portraiture on different levels at reduced opacity, as described in the retouching for portraitsI combined these levels, and the layers were merged to become the new Background level.

Then I ran a RadLab action with a home-made recipe on a copy of that that new Background level. Then, something entirely new for me, I ran Portraiture with the Enhance Tones preset on another copy of that Background layer. I really liked the result, especially when the opacity was pulled down (as shown in the screen capture).

You can download some of my RadLab recipes to try out and modify.


related articles

The post on-location portraits – when simplicity counts appeared first on Tangents.

18 May 11:59

France's far right on the rise ahead of EU vote

by Elaine Ganley , The Associated Press

Never we want to be master in your 'home'. We are just seeking a place to do our obligation as believer. *Ndas mu liberal/sekuler?*

For the National Front party, French towns should look French. That means no more new mosques or kebab shops.

The anti-immigration party is striving to be France's big winner in European Parliament elections next weekend and its leader has been ramping up the rhetoric, describing her appeal as patriotic rather than extremist.

"We want to be the masters in our countries," Marine Le Pen said. "The Austrians want to be the masters of Austria, the French want to be masters in France, the Belgians masters in Belgium, and this is perfectly legitimate."

The National Front, which also wants to unravel the European Union and withdraw France from the euro currency, hopes to win up to 20 of France's 74 European Parliament seats in the Sunday, May 25 vote. It currently holds just two seats, but polls show it running neck-and-neck with the conservative UMP party and well ahead of the governing Socialists.

The party's agenda is already being imposed in some French towns following the election this spring of 11 National Front mayors, including Julien Sanchez, who has taken charge in the debt-ridden southern town of Beaucaire. Once a prosperous trade route on the Rhone River, today Beaucaire's ancient stone center is in disrepair and its unemployment runs at 20 percent, double the national rate.

"We must give this town a traditional look. ... Tourists want to see a Provencal town," he said in an interview. "They don't want to see a town full of shops with others' customs. We will block this kind of commerce." He said police would patrol the kebab shops already present to ensure they aren't a cover for what he called "dishonest" activity, such as drug sales.

Since donning the tricolor mayoral sash last month, the 31-year-old Sanchez has budgeted for three more police officers and spent 2,000 euros ($2,750) to save the town's stray cats from euthanasia.

And Sanchez is keeping the EU flag flying atop the town hall so as not to "create arguments" — even as he helps his party's candidate, Louis Aliot, seek election to the European Parliament.

But his approach has a harder edge that mirrors the National Front's call to protect the French identity. In his city, which has a large Muslim community, that means barring more shops selling kebabs, a Middle Eastern-style sandwich, from opening in a central square dominated by derelict storefronts.

Elsewhere, the National Front mayors of Henin-Beaumont in the north and Frejus on the Riviera have lowered the EU flags at their city halls.

In Mantes-la-Ville west of Paris, Mayor Cyril Nauth is trying to block the construction of a new mosque for local Muslims, who represent around a third of the town's 20,000 residents.

He failed to show up this week for a signing that would have clinched the sale of the town's Treasury building for conversion to a mosque. The deal had won council approval before his election and was secured with a hefty deposit.

Abdelaziz El Jaouhari, president of the Association of Muslims of Mantes-Sud which is buying the property, called Nauth's absence "Islamophobic and racist." He said that since Nauth's election victory, hate mail and scraps of pork — considered ritually unclean in Islam — have been shoved into the mailbox of the Muslim community's prayer room.

On Friday, as around 100 Muslims protested in front of the town hall, Nauth asked them to abandon the mosque project.

The Associated Press made several phone calls to the town hall over two days seeking an interview, but Nauth did not respond. He told the daily Liberation newspaper that he opposes the mosque plans because his voters want it blocked.

El Jaouhari said his association will sue the mayor and force the city to honor the deal.

The confrontation may risk longer-term consequences for the National Front, whose president, Le Pen, has worked hard to undo the party's racist, xenophobic image gained under the leadership of her father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen. She has had a measure of success in erasing that stigma and boosted support in traditionally Socialist bastions.

The National Front wants to avoid repeating its disastrous experience of the 1990s, when it suffered a voter backlash after four National Front-controlled towns were seen to attack cultural activities in pursuit of party ideology. They cut funding to minority groups, banned books deemed too "cosmopolitan" from libraries, and banned rap performances in favor of traditional folk music. They also floated the idea of paying bonuses to French couples for having children.

Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said she is monitoring whether cultural activities are suppressed again in far-right towns. Some artists, fearing a hostile audience, already have canceled summer performances in Beaucaire.

For Martine Tacconi, who works for a Beaucaire employment firm, it's no surprise that the far right was elected.

"We have a very fragile population, people without diplomas, without qualifications ... people at the bottom of the ladder," she said. "I can understand people are in a fed-up phase and I think it (the vote) was to show that."


Associated Press reporter Masha Macpherson in Paris contributed to this report. (**)


15 May 00:26

Aplikasi Android Buku Panduan Ramadhan

by Muhammad Abduh Tuasikal, MSc

Iri hati dengan Irul kalau begini.. >_

android_panduan_ramadhanAlhamdulillah, program BISA bekerjasama dengan Rumaysho.Com telah membuat aplikasi dari buku Panduan Ramadhan karya Ustadz Muhammad Abduh Tuasikal yang bisa dijalankan di program Android Anda.
11 May 09:27

Surabaya mayor’s award sparks controversy

by Indra Harsaputra, The Jakarta Post

Err.. Something's fishy somehow...

Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini’s achievement in winning an international award has drawn mixed reactions from the people of Surabaya, East Java.

The mayor, widely known as Risma, claimed that she had received the International Socrates Award. The award is aimed at promoting the world elites, who work hard to support an exchange of ideas and experiences among the international community in several areas, including economics, politics, education and culture.

The controversy emerged after a local media outlet in Surabaya reported that the International Socrates Award for Innovative City of the Future, announced by the Europe Business Assembly (EBA) in Oxford on April 16, was filled with irregularities.

The award is inscribed with the category “For Personal Contribution to the Development of European Integration,” and not “Innovative City of the Future,” as Risma had referred to it in a press release made available to journalists after the Socrates award presentation on April 20.

In the statement, Risma claimed Surabaya had beaten a representative city in Montenegro and was entitled to win the award for “Innovative City of the Future.”

“Surabaya became the first city in the world to receive the award in the city category,” a statement on the Surabaya municipal website read.

However, according to the EBA website,, neither Risma nor Surabaya were included on the list of Socrates award recipients.

“We don’t intend to deceive the public,” Surabaya municipal spokesman Muhammad Fikser told journalists, adding that the website had not been updated.

A report by the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), a media outlet in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, referred in August 2013 to a document that listed the fees accompanying the awards in respective categories. The most expensive fee is for the International Socrates Award, which is valued at ¤9,700 (US$13,362), while the United Europe Award is priced at ¤3,900.

Fikser denied that Risma had paid money to obtain the award. On the other hand, he said the Surabaya city administration had apparently spent ¤3,900, but that money was used to pay seminar expenses.

“The payment was for a seminar, not to win a prize or to get the award. Moreover, Ibu Risma said since she first took office that she would not accept the award if it was paid for,” Fikser said.

Regarding the achievement, Surabaya Legislative Council (DPRD) Commission D chairman Baktiono said Risma had not yet been particularly innovative in Surabaya, as she was simply rehashing the policies pursued by her predecessor, Bambang Dwi Hartono. All three, Baktiono, Bambang and Risma, are politicians with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

Meanwhile, a student in Surabaya, Fransiska Yustin, voiced a different opinion about the award. Fransiska said that despite the controversy, she was proud of Risma for her courage and determination in developing the city.

“Surabaya is now very different to how it was. Ibu Risma has been successful in establishing many parks in the city, so it feels cooler during the day time,” Fransiska said.

Since her inauguration in 2010, Risma, who is the first woman mayor in Surabaya, has been both criticized and applauded for her bold leadership style.

For instance, she has transformed several slums in Surabaya into green spaces, and plans to shut down the city’s redlight district, Dolly. The Dolly closure plan is strongly opposed by her deputy, Wisnu Sakti Buana, amid ongoing tension between the two PDI-P politicians. Risma has also filed a report with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), accusing the former management of the Surabaya Zoo of graft.

03 May 05:02

Women face socioeconomic problems due to early marriage

by Panca Nugraha, The Jakarta Post

IF “Early marriage is prone to divorce because they are emotionally, mentally and economically unprepared,”
THEN: 'Prepare them' NOT: 'Restrict marriage'
How's that for a change?

Women in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) suffer from poverty, low education and a high rate of early marriage, says government data.

Data at the NTB Central Statistics Agency (BPS) in 2013 showed more than 61,000 women were susceptible to such problems.

Based on Social Ministerial Decree No. 24/1996, women facing socioeconomic problems are defined as widows with children, women between the ages of 18 and 59 who are not yet married and cannot meet their daily basic needs and those women without adequate earnings.

Widespread cases of early marriages, low levels of education and a high poverty rate have been highlighted, as well as failed poverty alleviation efforts.

Data at the BPS NTB branch showed that 61,533 women facing socioeconomic problems were found in Mataram city, Bima city and the regencies of North Lombok, West Lombok, Central Lombok, East Lombok, Sumbawa, West Sumbawa, Dompu and Bima.

“The number of women prone to socioeconomic problems in NTB is quite high, but in terms of percentage, it’s only 2.5 percent of the female population in the province. Early marriage and low education levels are still the main factors,” said NTB Women’s Rights Protection and Empowerment Agency head T. Wismaningsih.

“Women in this group are not very poor and not yet affected by social issues, such as human trafficking and prostitution, but in general they are susceptible and could become embroiled in them,” said Wismaningsih.

She cited the Malaysian widow issue in Lombok and Sumbawa, where women were left behind by their husbands who became migrant workers in Malaysia.

These women had to support several children alone and could fare better if their husbands sent them money. However, if their husbands were illegal migrant workers, sending back money could become problematic.

Wismaningsih deemed the high rate of early marriage in Lombok and Sumbawa to be the main trigger for the growing number of women with this issue in the province.

Based on data at the NTB Women’s Rights Protection and Empowerment Agency, the rate of early marriages of women below the age of 15 was 5.8 percent of the 5.4 million population of NTB.

“This is quite high compared to the national level of only 3.5 percent,” she added.

Many parents, especially in rural areas, prefer to immediately marry their children at a young age to prevent premarital sex.

“Early marriage is prone to divorce because they are emotionally, mentally and economically unprepared,” said Wismaningsih.

The high rate of women prone to socioeconomic problems in NTB also has an impact on the high level of child neglect cases, she went on.

Based on data announced by the BPS NTB in 2013, the number of neglected toddlers and children in NTB stood at 21,418 and 205,116 respectively, in 10 regencies and cities across the province.

“Directly and indirectly, there’s a correlation between these issues and child neglect,” said Wismaningsih.

NTB Child Protection Agency legal division head Warniyati said her agency received at least 20 reports of child neglect annually.

Generally, she explained, they were the children of migrant workers who left the country and entrusted their children to relatives and even neighbors, who were unrelated.

28 Apr 23:31

NU neutral over presidential candidates, says chairman

by Agus Maryoto, The Jakarta Post

He, and many of us Indonesians, loves to abbreviate each and everything, isn't he? ;)

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia's biggest Muslim organization, says it will not endorse a presidential candidate, a high ranking official in the organization has said.

“We have had an internal agreement that institutionally, our mass organization will not give any political support to candidates who will run for the presidency in the upcoming election,” Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board (PBNU) chairman Said Aqil Siradj told journalists in Purwokerto on Sunday.

He encouraged NU's younger members to engage in the political struggles of the country. “It’s a different task and it’s not part of PBNU official directives. Let them play a role independently and with maturity in this country,” he said.

He suggested that any support institutionally provided by NU to one or more political forces in Indonesia would only cause troubles for both the country and for the NU.

“We have long experienced that such neutrality is the most strategic position to help create a peaceful NKRI [the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia],” Said Aqil said.

He went on to say that since its establishment in 1926, NU has held to a vision of Islam that was tolerant and democratic, namely "ahlussunah wal jama’ah (Aswaja)".

He said this was the most suitable ideological principle to be applied in a country as diverse as Indonesia.

“NU does not agree at all and even strongly rejects any religious followers applying hard-line ideological principles, including Wahabbi movements that tend to force their ideological principles on the state,” said Said Aqil, adding that applying such hard-line principles would trigger ideological conflicts and threaten the unity of NKRI. (ebf)


28 Apr 23:04

Desperate Rohingya kids flee alone by boat

by Margie Mason and Robin McDowell , The Associated Press

Ma syaa Allah..
If only we could be less selfish and give them some roof to shelter under. In the Day of Judgment, Allah will relieve one who relieves one's brother in life..

The two children stood on the beach, at the end of the only world they knew, torn between land and sea.

They couldn't go back to their tiny Muslim village in Myanmar's northwest Rakhine because it had been devoured in a fire set by an angry Buddhist mob. In the smoke and chaos, the siblings became separated from their family. And after seven months of searching, they had lost hope of finding anyone alive.

The only way was forward. Hungry and scared, they eyed a rickety wooden fishing boat in the darkness. Mohamad Husein, just 15, dug into his pocket and pulled out a little wad of money for the captain. He and his 9-year-old sister, Senwara Begum, climbed on board, cramming themselves tightly between the other ethnic Rohingya in the small hull.

As the ship pushed off, they didn't realize they were among hundreds, if not thousands, of children joining one of the world's biggest boat exoduses since the Vietnam War. They only understood it wasn't safe to stay in a country that didn't want them.

Mohamad had no idea where they were headed. And as Senwara looked back in tears, she wondered if she would ever see her parents again.

Neither could imagine the horrors that lay ahead.



From Malaysia to Australia, countries easily reachable by boat have been implementing policies and practices to ensure that Rohingya Muslims don't wash up on their shores — from shoving them back to sea, where they risk being sold as slaves, to flat out barring the refugees from stepping onto their soil.

Despite pleas from the United Nations, which considers the Rohingya to be among the most persecuted groups on earth, many governments in the region have refused to sign refugee conventions and protocols, meaning they are not obligated to help. The countries said they fear adopting the international agreements could attract a flood of immigrants they cannot support.

However, rights groups said they are failing members of the religious minority at their most vulnerable hour, even as more women and children join the increasing mass departure.

"The sense of desperation and hopelessness is growing," warned Vivian Tan of the U.N. Refugee Agency.

About 1.3 million Rohingya live in the predominantly Buddhist country of 60 million, almost all of them in Rakhine state. Myanmar considers them illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, though some families have lived here for generations.

When the country was under military rule, young men took to the seas on small, dilapidated boats every year in search of a better life. But since the bumpy transition to democracy in 2011, sectarian violence has killed up to 280 Rohingya and forced more than 140,000 others from their homes. Now people of all ages are fleeing, many on massive cargo ships.

Women and children made up 5 percent to 15 percent of the estimated 75,000 passengers who have left since the riots began in mid-June 2012, said Chris Lewa of the nonprofit Arakan Project, a group that has tracked the boat journeys for a decade. The year before, around 9,000 people fled, most of them men.

It's a dangerous voyage: Nearly 2,000 Rohingya have died or gone missing in the past two years, Lewa said. Unaccompanied children like Senwara and her brother are among the most at risk.

The Associated Press reported from Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand on their plight, interviewing family members, witnesses and aid groups. Data were collected from the U.N., government agencies, nonprofit organizations and news reports at the time.



The relief the two children felt after making it safely away from land quickly faded. Their small boat was packed with 63 people, including 14 children and 10 women, one seven months pregnant. There were no life jackets, and neither sibling could swim. The sun baked their skin.

Senwara took small sips of water from a shared tin can inside the hull piled with aching, crumpled arms and legs. With each roiling set of waves came the stench of vomit.

Nearly two weeks passed. Then suddenly a boat approached with at least a dozen Myanmar soldiers on board.

They ordered the Rohingya men to remove their shirts and lie down, one by one. Their hands were bound. Then they were punched, kicked and bludgeoned with wooden planks and iron rods, passengers on the boat said.

They howled and begged God for mercy.

"Tell us, do you have your Allah?" one Rohingya survivor quoted the soldiers as saying. "There is no Allah!"

The police began flogging Mohamad before he even stood up, striking his little sister in the process. They tied his hands, lit a match and laughed as the smell of burnt flesh wafted from his blistering arm. Senwara watched helplessly.

As they stomped him with boots and lashed him with clubs, his mind kept flashing back to home: What had he done? Why had he left? Would he die here?

After what seemed like hours, the beating stopped. Mohamad suspected an exchange of money finally prompted the soldiers to order the Rohingya to leave.

"Go straight out of Myanmar territory to the sea!" a witness recalled the commander saying. "If we see you again, we will kill you all!"

The Myanmar government denied that the Navy seized any ships during that period.

The refugees plodded on, but the boat was falling apart. A sarong stuffed in a hole could not stop water from bubbling through. The sticky rice and bits of bread Mohamad had brought for his sister were gone.

When they finally floated ashore, someone said they were in Thailand. Senwara didn't even know where that was.



Thailand is the first stop for almost all Rohingya fleeing by sea, but it does not offer them asylum. Up until a few years ago, the country had a "push back" policy of towing migrants out to sea and leaving them, often with little or no food, water or fuel. But after photos leaked of the military dragging one such boat in 2009, the government changed course.

Under its new "help on" policy, Thai authorities give basic supplies to migrants in its waters before sending them on. Other times, however, they direct the boat to traffickers who hold the asylum seekers for ransom, according to human rights groups that have interviewed scores of escapees.

Those who cannot get money are sometimes sold as slaves to work on fishing boats or in other industries without pay. Others flee, usually back into the hands of agents, where the cycle continues.

Royal Thai Navy spokesman Rear Adm. Karn Dee-ubon denied cooperation with traffickers and allegations of boats being towed out to sea. He insisted the navy always follows humanitarian principles, but added that other Thai agencies could be involved in such activities.

After the children's boat entered Thai waters, all of its passengers were marched into the jungle where their hands were tied and they were told not to leave, survivors said. They were given rice and dry fish crawling with bugs.

Days later, they were put on another small boat without an engine. Then, survivors said, Thai troops pulled them far out to sea, cut the rope and left them to drift without food or water.

The boat rolled with the wind and currents. Senwara drank sea water and ate a paste of ground-up wood. She vomited, and diarrhea poured out of her.

The next day, someone spotted what looked like a shadowy tree in the distance. The men used a little boy's mirror to flash signals in its direction.

When the boat came near, Indonesian fishermen smiled and spoke a language no one understood. The Rohingya could only make out that the crew was Muslim.



Indonesia has been sympathetic to the Rohingya, and its president has sent a letter to his Myanmar counterpart calling for an end to the crisis. Protesters in cities across the world's most populous Muslim nation have condemned the violence.

Yet Indonesia has not opened its doors to the Rohingya. It only allows them to stay until they can be resettled elsewhere, which can take years. In the meantime, they are kept in overcrowded detention centers and shelters, and no one can legally work.

The Indonesian and Malaysian governments fear that letting the Rohingya stay could lead to a greater influx of illegal migrants.

"At stake is national interest," said Yan Welly, an Indonesian immigration official. "Let alone a flood of immigrants could affect efforts in coping with problems of our own people."

The number of Rohingya housed in Indonesia jumped from 439 in 2012 to 795 last year. About 20 percent of the children who arrived were traveling alone, according to U.N. data.

Some go the official route: They register with the U.N. Refugee Agency when they arrive and wait to be resettled in another country. However, no Rohingya in Indonesia were referred for placement last year.

Ultimately, it is up to accepting nations, with their own policies and criteria, to decide whom to accept. To avoid the long delay, many asylum seekers run away and never get recorded.

In the past, thousands paid smugglers to take them by boat across a deadly stretch of ocean to Australia's Christmas Island. But that country recently took a hard line, transferring everyone arriving by sea to impoverished Papua New Guinea or the tiny Pacific island of Nauru. Australia's new policies also include towing vessels back into Indonesian waters, which has left the two governments sparring.

The boat carrying Mohamad and Senwara only made it as far as Indonesia.

After nearly a month and hundreds of miles at sea, they were rescued off Aceh's coast in the west. U.N. and news reports confirm the rickety ship arrived in late February 2013 and was towed because it had no engine.

The asylum seekers were transferred to a filthy detention center with about 300 people — double its capacity — including more than 100 Rohingya. They soon clashed with 11 Buddhists from Myanmar picked up for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters, according to a police report obtained by The AP. The Rohingya complained the Buddhists were harassing their women.

A riot broke out in April 2013, and the nightmare the children thought they had escaped began replaying itself. Men threw splintered chairs and spewed rage into a darkness so black, it was impossible to see who was fighting whom. Eight Buddhist fishermen were beaten to death.

Senwara slept through the brawl in a separate quarter for women. But when she awoke the next morning, her brother was gone.

She was now all alone.



After a few months in jail with other Rohingya arrested for the fight, Mohamad was released due to his age. He soon left for neighboring Malaysia on a small boat to find work and avoid further trouble.

For many fleeing Rohingya, Malaysia, is the preferred destination. Around 33,000 are registered there and an equal number are undocumented, according to the Rohingya Society of Malaysia. Those numbers have swelled with the violence in Myanmar.

But increasingly, migrants risk getting caught up in group arrests and sent to detention centers. Up to 1,000 have been detained in a nationwide crackdown, the Society said.

Those who arrive in the Muslim-majority country are not eligible for free health care or education, relying mainly on help from the U.N. and aid groups. But it usually doesn't take long to get illegal work on construction sites or in factories.

Mohamad found a job as a street sweeper in the city of Alor Setar, earning about $70 a month. He now lives in a tiny hovel with about 17 other Rohingya men sleeping on every inch of floor.

For the first time, he is earning a living on his own. But he remains tortured with guilt for leaving his little sister behind.

Soon after the detention center riot, Senwara was registered as an asylum seeker. She was moved to temporary U.N. housing in Medan that's made of small concrete dorm-style rooms with a large play area in front. A Rohingya woman who knew Senwara's parents from childhood took the girl in.

Although Senwara smiles around her new foster parents, she remains hurt and angry that her brother left.

Mostly, her heart aches for home.



Senwara's parents didn't learn the children were safe until more than eight months after their village was burned.

On that awful night, rioters lit bottles and lobbed them into the mosque. Panicked Rohingya raced outside, slicing their bare feet on shards of broken glass left to make them bleed.

Senwara's mother, Anowar Begum, and father, Mohamad Idris, fled with two babies into a lake. They used bamboo stalks to guide them through the muddy chest-high water in the darkness.

Later, they searched frantically and found five more of their nine children. But Senwara and Mohamad had vanished. Everyone feared they were dead.

After moving from place to place, the family ended up in a squalid camp with tens of thousands of other homeless Rohingya on the outskirts of Rakhine state's capital, Sittwe.

They had given up hope for Senwara and Mohamad by the time an unknown Rohingya called from Indonesia to say they were safe. Today, 22 months after their separation, it's only through technology that the family, now scattered across three countries, can remain in touch.

Mohamad, in Malaysia, watches a video clip of his sister playing soccer in Indonesia. While the other young men in his simple, two-room flat sit on the floor chatting and scraping curry from their plates, the teenager retreats into silence. Even as he breaks down, he cannot look away from the little girl on the screen.

Back in Myanmar, a Skype video call pops up on a laptop. From inside the camp, Anowar stares at her daughter and sobs quietly into her headscarf. In Indonesia, Senwara quickly wipes away her own tears.

Two birthdays have passed since she left home. As her father asks how she's been, his weathered face trembles.

They then go through the questions every parent wants to know: Is she well? How is she doing in school? Is she getting enough to eat?

"It's really good to see you here and healthy," her father says, balancing a baby on his knee.

Soon her favorite sister, who looks just like her, starts making jokes. The whole family laughs, breaking the sadness for a few minutes.

"I'm fine," Senwara says, trying to sound upbeat. "I'm with a family that is taking good care of me. They love me. I'm learning things, English and religion."

Her father reminds her to be a good girl. He is desperate to see his children again, but believes they are better off far away. The family often goes hungry, and there's no money for medicine.

When it's time to say goodbye, Senwara keeps staring at the screen even after the faces disappear. She still doesn't understand why her village was burned or what forced her to leave home. She only knows one thing.

"I don't think I will ever be able to see my parents," she says, softly. "For the rest of my life."


Mason reported from Medan, Indonesia, and McDowell reported from Alor Setar, Malaysia, and Bangkok. Associated Press writers Esther Htusan in Sittwe, Myanmar, and Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok contributed to this report. (**)


28 Apr 22:45

KBRI Praha kirim nota protes soal penggerebekan masjid



Kedutaan Besar Republik Indonesia (KBRI) di Praha akan mengirim nota protes ke pemerintah Republik Ceko terkait penggerebekan masjid di gedung Islamic Foundation Praha pada Minggu (27/4). "Kami berencana mengirim nota ...
26 Apr 23:06

Din Syamsuddin : astrofotografi bisa jadi "jembatan" hisab-rukyat


This is just not right.

Ketua Umum MUI Din Syamsuddin menilai metode Astrofotografi bisa menjadi "jembatan" atau jalan tengah bagi hisab (perhitungan matematis) dan rukyat (melihat bulan sabit secara kasat mata) dalam penentuan awal Ramadhan dan Syawal ...