Indonesia’s Generals Still a Potent Political Force

Indonesia’s Generals Still a Potent Political ForceAlthough the fall of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who lost the April gubernatorial election and was subsequently jailed for blasphemy, has been laid to the rising power of Islamic hardliners, it fits into a bigger picture. It appears to be a long-standing feud between former military strongman Prabowo Subianto and a secular faction of…

Japanese Firm Got Almost a Free Indonesian Bank

Japanese Firm Got Almost a Free Indonesian BankA scandal-plagued Indonesian bank, now in the hands of a controversial Japanese company, was sold to its new owners for virtually nothing, adding another layer of intrigue to the long saga of what was once the notorious Bank Century.  It is now doing business as PT Bank J Trust Indonesia TBK.  The result, since Century's…

Disability Issues and the Lack of Data in Indonesia

Disability Issues and the Lack of Data in IndonesiaAid for the disabled has long been an intractable issue in Indonesia. Services and facilities are minimal, with the budget incapable of providing welfare pensions, according to a study by Inside Indonesia, formerly known as the Indonesian Resources and Information Program. Funds are inadequate to meet needs in health, education, employment and public access. There…

Tiger Emergency in Sumatra

Tiger Emergency in SumatraThe year-old Sumatran tiger male, nearly fully grown, wandered out of the old-growth forest in the Habaduan hills near Lake Toba near nightfall, leaving the family’s hidden den on his own for the first time. He glided downhill into the edge habitat of degraded forests and finally the plantations on the lower slopes –first bananas…

The Woeful State of Education for the Disabled in Indonesia

The Woeful State of Education for the Disabled in IndonesiaSeven-year-old Puji, a child in Jakarta, was born with physical disabilities in both her hands and feet and is confined to a wheelchair. She is unable to write normally, leaving her unable to enjoy the dreams of many children of her age. She can’t play outside with her friend.  But all she can think about…

Massive Break Illustrates Indonesia’s Prison Dilemma

Massive Break Illustrates Indonesia’s Prison DilemmaOn May 5,  when officers unlocked detention rooms to allow inmates to perform Friday prayers, 448 of them  suddenly attempted to breach the main gate of Sialang Bungkuk Prison on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and, having failed that, boiled out of a side gate, overwhelming the outnumbered officers.  In the midst of utter pandemonium, the…

Court Jails Jakarta Governor on (Political) Blasphemy Charge

Court  Jails Jakarta Governor on (Political) Blasphemy ChargeDespite prosecutors recommending probation on a lesser charge,  a five-judge panel has sentenced Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy.  The decision, coming just weeks after Ahok lost a bid for reelection in a religiously charged race, has shaken Indonesia’s reputation as a moderate Muslim nation. Ahok, as the…

Indonesia’s Child Trafficking Crisis

Indonesia’s Child Trafficking CrisisIndonesia faces a huge problem of child trafficking involving children and underage teenagers, particularly on the resort islands of Bali and Batam, with its victims – both boys and girls – usually from poor families or broken homes or a combination of both.   The government has been criticized by international human rights organizations to try…

New Mystery For Controversial Japanese Group

New Mystery For Controversial Japanese GroupThe Japanese conglomerate J Trust Group, which has come under the spotlight for a series of financial inconsistencies in Indonesia, Thailand and Cyprus, has added another. On April 14, an apparently frustrated J Trust put out a press release accusing the South Korean Financial Services Commission of refusing to act on a J Trust request…

Prabowo Reappears as an Indonesian Political Force

Prabowo Reappears as an Indonesian Political ForceIt is a stunning indication of the cynicism of Indonesian religious and political practice that, a day after he was soundly defeated in his bid for reelection as Jakarta governor, blasphemy charges against Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama were basically withdrawn by prosecutors -- reduced to a request for probation. Charges that Ahok, as the governor…