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July 07, 2014

Indonesia News Channel July7

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The Jakarta Post News Channel
Updated: 1 hour 18 min ago

 Four regions prone to violence during election: IPW

2 hours 20 min ago
Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) says East Java, Yogyakarta, Central Java and Jakarta are prone to violence in the presidential election on July 9.
"The number of supporters of candidates in those four areas continues to increase," IPW chairman Neta S. Pane said on Monday, and urged the police to be more alert in those areas, as reported by tempo.co.
Although the situation ahead of the election has been relatively safe, Neta added that the political climate in those four areas continued to heat up, citing rumors that there would be riots during or after the election.
Neta advised that to ensure a calm election, both camps should not engage in provocative statements.
"Both camps must be able to control themselves, so that the presidential candidates' supporters can avoid conflict too," he said.
Neta emphasized the need for the police be firm in maintaining security.
"As those in charge of security, the National Police must also encourage the KPU [General Elections Commission], Bawaslu [Elections Supervisory Agency] and all the supporters to work for a peaceful election," he said.
Previously, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he had received intelligence that the losing side might incite riots following the election. He said the government would work its hardest to prevent such threats from materializing. (fss)


Categories: Indonesian News

Agung Rai: A guardian of Balinese art

2 hours 20 min ago
JP/Intan Tanjung
A man – dressed like most guides in Bali with the udeng traditional hat, sarong and sandals – was sitting at a coffee shop in the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA).
But he was not a guide or a gardener as he tells most of the museum’s visitors. He was Agung Rai, better known as Gung Rai, the museum’s founder.

Across from him, a group of artists was deep in their own world — painting, carving and creating art.

Known as a reputable art dealer back in the 1980s and 1990s, Gung Rai has become an ambassador for Balinese art to the world.

A recently released book titled Gung Rai: Kisah Sebuah Museum (Gung Rai: Story of A Museum), written by Jean Couteau and Warih Wisatsana, captures a story behind ARMA and the lifelong journey of its founder who through hard work made the dream of many Balinese artists come true.

“Painting is like meditation,” he said in a soft and calm voice. “It was my hobby since I was kid. I used to paint but I know it was not my world.”

As the son of Anak Agung Aji Punia, a farmer and former soldier who fought for the country’s independence in North Badung, art was not a new thing to him.

Although he was raised in a poor family, he was already familiar with the names of masters — including “Tuan Tepis” or Walter Spies, Bonnet, Antonio Blanco and several painters who lived in Ubud during his childhood.

With his friends, Gung Rai attended art class where he learned how to paint. He also learned about art from his neighbor while working as a helper in his house.

“I knew the techniques and the steps, but I couldn’t create something that looked perfect. Compared to my friends, my painting was always such a mess,” he said in the book. “It’s annoying, but I didn’t give up.”

When he was young, Gung Rai held odd jobs to earn money, such as gathering fire wood and babysitting.

His life took a twist in the 1960s, when foreigners began traveling in greater numbers to Indonesia and Bali.

One time, young Gung Rai was about to go to Ubud to visit the Pita Maha artists when he saw a few foreign backpackers bargaining for the price of transportation. Amid the bargaining, another Balinese man tried to sell a belt to the tourists. The scene inspired Gung Rai.

He decided to make contact with tamiu — a word for foreigner in that time — and began bringing tourists to many interesting places in Ubud.

His ultimate motivation was actually to learn English, but since he received positive feedback from tourists and requests from fellow friends to help out, he became a street seller of souvenirs.

It was then that he realized the large potential of introducing Balinese art and paintings to tourists.

With his knowledge of art, he did not just sell paintings to tourists but also the stories, techniques and culture behind them.

From Ubud, he traveled to the growing hubs of Kuta and Sanur, making contact with more tourists, gaining more knowledge and establishing networks with art shops along the way.

Slowly, he built a reputation as an art dealer with a sharp eye for good paintings. He did not just sell the artworks but also added to his own private collection.

From there, his dream took off.

“I have had this goal since I was a child and I have just been trying to make it come true. Although I was a street seller, I did not do it for the money. I wanted to build a gallery, so it was a long process,” said the 59-year-old.

His vision was not just any gallery — but a house for his collection built on the Balinese architectural philosophy, complete with a traditional garden, giving visitors an authentic experience.

Together with his wife Suartini, he bought a plot of land and built Agung Rai Fine Art Gallery shortly after they got married in 1977.

Then, on June 9, 1996, the gallery was expanded and officially became the ARMA. Then education and culture minister Wardiman Djojonegoro inaugurated the museum.

The inspiration for the museum came when he traveled to the Netherlands to study international art event organizing and painting preservation.

“I was impressed by the mastery of art experts in Holland in preserving masterpieces and showing them to the public to appreciate. And also by how proud the people and the government were with their museums,” the father of three recalled in the book.

He got an opportunity to visit the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo outside Amsterdam, which houses the works of masters such as Vincent Van Gogh and Leonardo Da Vinci.

He said he was impressed with the location and blueprint of the building, which was built on a hill in a rural landscape.

An image of his homeland immediately touched his mind. The building should be more than just a showcase — it should capture the history, the journey of Balinese art and serve as the center of art education.

He wanted the building to become a living museum of Ubud’s beauty — like how artists captured Balinese culture, philosophy, rituals and ecosystems in their paintings — packaged in a single concept.

“I wanted ARMA to become a different museum that could symbolize ‘open’ and ‘welcome’,” he said.

“In the future, I hope ARMA can serve society, help local artists, build an open air stage, a seminar room, all depending on what the museum and society need.”
Categories: Indonesian News

Apology

2 hours 20 min ago
We sincerely apologize and retract the editorial cartoon printed on page 7 in the July 3, 2014 edition of The Jakarta Post‎.
The cartoon contained religious symbolism that may have been offensive to some.
The Post regrets the error in judgment, which was in no way meant to malign or be disrespectful to any religion.

The Editor
Categories: Indonesian News

Bookworm: Jenny Jusuf: Reads more than just books

2 hours 20 min ago
Courtesy of Jenny Jusuf
Writer Jenny Jusuf believes that to be able to write well, one must read more than just books.

“Reading books is important but, for me as a writer, it is very important to read all kinds of literature,” said the author of Eat, Play, Leave, which centers on her experiences interacting with expatriates living in Ubud, Bali and their unique behaviors.

“I do not own as many books as other writers but I read everything, from news, articles, poetry to event advertisements, to enrich my vocabulary and linguistic sense.”

Jenny, who currently lives in Bali, said her writing style was basically a mixture of all the literature she had been reading.

“I am influenced by a lot of writers. So many writers, that I can say my writing style is like gado-gado [mixed vegetable salad]. I have no idea which writer or what forms of literature influenced me the most. Which is good, perhaps.”

As for her book preferences, she said she loved to read fictional works that tell stories of love, friendship and self-motivation.

“I also love to read books in their original versions instead of translated ones. Translated works often miss the original context and, at times — I really hate it when this happens — they also tend to translate idioms or terms or jokes that do not have proper translations into the local language. Doing this makes the whole work weird.”
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
by Richard Bach

This is the story of a seagull that is alienated from its flock for being different. The seagull knows what it wants and when it goes after its dream of flying, the other seagulls choose to kick it out of the flock. The seagull, which wants to fly, believes that seagulls are not meant to look for food only on the shore. This seagull perseveres through its alienation and keeps on chasing its dream. This is really a story about me. It is very inspiring.
Harry Potter series
by JK Rowling

I really admire how Rowling tells her stories with various plots twists between the characters in the books. Rowling’s struggle to write and to publish Harry Potter is also an inspiration for me.
Partikel
by Dewi “Dee” Lestari

I love this book because there are two great lines in it. The first one is “do not be arrogant as humans” and “we are all just passengers”.
Categories: Indonesian News

Guess what?: Bunga owes career to a rock band

2 hours 20 min ago
Tribunews
JAKARTA: Actress-singer Bunga Citra Lestari said her singing career was made possible by rock group Pas Band.

“I owe many thanks to Pas Band as it exposed my work to the label [Aquarius] and I was able to release my own albums,” she said during the launch for the music video of her new religious song “Kuasa Mu” (Mighty God) on Wednesday, kapanlagi.com reported.

Bunga, or BCL as she is also known, was asked by Pas Band to duet with them on the 2005 track “Kumerindu” (Missing You).

The label loved her unique voice and soon after she had featured on the movie soundtrack for Dealova, it released her first studio album Cinta Pertama (First Love).
Categories: Indonesian News

‘Saraswati’: Culture in Action

3 hours 49 min ago
Culture is the word through which most Balinese like to define themselves: they are proud of their unique, living culture.

To this culture corresponds Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, through whom they symbolically link their tangible (sekala) and intangible (niskala) worlds.

This role is enshrined in Saraswati day, the day of enlightenment, which replays the enlightenment of the mythical origins, when the incestuous son, Watugunung, was separated from his incestuous mother, Sinta, creating in the process not only the calendar, but beyond it, the awareness of time, the need to organize religious and social life — thus celebrating the dawn of civilization.

Saraswati day is indeed one of Bali’s main festival days. It closes the year of the 210-day Pawukon calendar and is followed, on the next day, by a day of cleansing, Banyu Pinaruh, during which people go to the sea and sacred river spots. Much of this is known and has been recently explored in the book Time, Rites and Festivals in Bali.

So, why a new book on the topic? Because, to whoever is interested by Balinese culture, Saraswati is not only a system, not only a holy day, but also a festival that celebrates the goddess in many parts and villages of Bali.

In his latest book, Saraswati in Bali, a Temple, a Museum and a Mask, Ron Jenkins, a professor at Wesleyan University, United States, does not explore the myth or the calendar as complex “abstract” constructions, but as a ritual in motion.

A theatre man looking at a theatre culture, he naturally chooses to focus on the festival side of Saraswati day — on Saraswati as “performance”. And that is the novelty.

Instead of trying to “understand” Bali, like anthropologists usually do, often reifying it or losing themselves in abstruse concepts of dubious “universalist” value, he presents it “in action”.

The Saraswati festival he shows us is not reduced to normative traditional aspects supposedly linked to the past; it adapts to change and pops up in a large variety of manifestations.

Those manifestations are themselves presented in the book in chapters that are reminiscent of the various acts of a theatre show — as a succession of significant scenes or moments, as they actually take place in the village of Peliatan, just to the south of Ubud.

This village happens to have a temple, Pura Madya, whose anniversary festival coincides with Saraswati day. So Jenkins has us attend one by one all the main ritual moments of the festival: the awakening of the gods, their street processions, the banter of clowns during a late night opera, the ritual cleansing to the sea on the day following Saraswati, not to mention the visit traditionally paid to balian healers, and even the making of a barong bangkal mask by a prince of Ubud.

He also adds a few explanations on the function of traditional lontar manuscripts with regard to Saraswati.

Jenkins’ purpose is not to conceptualize, but to “bring to life”, which is obviously to him a more efficient way to cross the cultural barrier that separates modern people from traditional Balinese.

Wary of excessive interpretation, the keys he gives us simply aim at showing how the local people express their collective wisdom through ceremonies, and their understanding, “through active participation in communal song, prayers and ritual preparations rather than direct discussion”.

Balinese “intelligence” indeed comes out as “action” rather than “intellection”. But isn’t that where the island’s renowned magic lies?

Yet, Balinese genius also reveals itself in still images, which is why Jenkins chooses to give iconography an important role in his book.

There are many photographs, of course, but a special mention must be made of the paintings. The writer is one of the few foreigners to fully understand that Balinese painting provides a trove of information about Balinese rites and stories.

Those paintings are not made simply to be looked at, but to be read and deciphered. And what one reads in them are not only narratives, but also, quite often, philosophical speculations.

Jenkins explores the relation of several of the images to the story of Saraswati and the esoteric Balinese knowledge associated with it.

One finds there in particular the visual meditations of Ketut Liyer, the holy man made famous in the film Eat Pray Love, the movie based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book of the same name. The artist’s work shown in the book illustrates better than any formal explanation the Balinese concept of life, death, transmigration of souls and ultimate moksa (enlightenment) in cosmic oneness.

In relation to the preservation of this living cultural memory, Jenkins underlines the role played by the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) of Peliatan. The paintings in the book are all part of the museum’s collection.

Anak Agung Rai, the owner of the museum, is a member of the Pura Madya temple congregation. He is also one of the sponsors of the book. The activities held at his museum, as it appears in the book, aim not so much at putting Balinese culture on display, as at providing a place and means for this culture to maintain its “memory” through the tremendous modernization Balinese society is subjected to.

The ARMA, says Jenkins, is a “secular temple of [Balinese] cultural knowledge”, whose “galleries and educational programs help preserve the sacred traditions linked to Saraswati that are enacted in Pura Madya [...]”.

Beyond the description of Saraswati proper, the challenge underlined by the book is indeed to find the means for Balinese culture to project itself into the future without undergoing alienating changes. As such, it ends up as an invitation not only to learn, but also to ponder and think.

Saraswati in Bali: A Temple, a Museum and a Mask
By Ron Jenkins
Published for Agung Rai Museum
of Art, Peliatan, Ubud, Bali, 2014
156 pages
Categories: Indonesian News

Sunny second-half outlook for auto financing firms

3 hours 49 min ago
Automotive financing companies Astra Credit Companies (ACC) and Mandiri Tunas Finance (MTF) are upbeat about business prospects in the second half of the year, as they predict growth in automotive sales will require heavy financing.

The ACC, part of the publicly listed automotive giant, Astra International (ASII), expects demand for vehicles to pick up in the third quarter of the year following the presidential election, according to corporate strategy and communications head Welfizon Yuza.

“We have already disbursed Rp 13.9 trillion [US$1.2 billion] in financing in the first half and are looking to channel another Rp 12.1 trillion in the remaining period,” he said recently. The company has set a 2014 target of Rp 26 trillion.

Welfizon said that business still looked good for ACC, even though growth had slowed compared to previous years.

“We posted a 6 to 7 percent growth in the first half, whereas before we were able to book double-digit growth,” he added.

Some 61 percent of the ACC’s financing is disbursed to help purchase Astra-produced vehicles, while the rest goes to non-Astra vehicles.

The Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo) expected overall automotive sales this year to reach 1.25 million units, similar to last year’s figure.

Automobile sales are among the indicators for the gauging growth in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, as it is primarily driven by domestic consumption.

Separately, MTF — a subsidiary of Bank Mandiri, Indonesia’s largest lender by assets — reported that it had met 45 percent of its full year target by June.

MTF president director Ignatius Susatyo Wijoyo said that the company was hoping to achieve at Rp 16 trillion in total financing in 2014, a 45 percent jump from the Rp 11 trillion in 2013.

The latest data from the MTF showed that during the first six months of 2014, the company managed to finance the purchase of more than 47,000 new cars, some 3,700 used cars and more than 7,800 motorcycles.

“We usually see an increase in the period approaching Idul Fitri, especially for new cars. So that will boost our financing in the second half,” he said.

At 93 percent, new cars still account for the biggest proportion of MTF business, followed by used cars at 5 percent and motorcycles at 2 percent.

Part of the growth, he added, would be supported by the opening of new outlets. To date, the company has opened 11 new outlets and has another in the pipeline.

To support the business, MTF hopes to generate between Rp 500 billion and Rp 1 trillion from rupiah-denominated bilateral loans, according to Susatyo.

“We have already issued Rp 600 billion-worth of bonds in May. With the bilateral loans, our financing needs for the whole year will be fulfilled,” he said.
Categories: Indonesian News

PGN to soon receive first LNG delivery to Lampung FSRU

3 hours 49 min ago
A vessel carrying the first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to floating storage in Lampung set sail on Saturday, marking the first step for state gas distributor PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN) in its efforts to secure gas supply in Sumatra and West Java to meet domestic demand.

The LNG cargo, carrying 3.32 million mmbtu (million British thermal unit) volume, embarked from the Tangguh field in Papua, according to the upstream oil and gas regulatory task force (SKKMigas).

“This is part of the oil and gas upstream sector’s commitment to meet domestic gas demand,” SKKMigas acting chief Johannes Widjonarko said on Sunday.

“From the Lampung FSRU [floating storage and regasification unit], the gas will be supplied to the electricity sector and industry in West Java, which are connected through the South Sumatra West Java pipeline. The Lampung FSRU will also supply to Sumatra,” he added.

The first delivery is part of a planned delivery of 5 cargoes this year, according to the regulatory body, which approved the gas allocation.

Indonesia is estimated to have gas resources of around 104 trillion standard cubic feet (tscf) in proven and 48 tscf in potential gas reserves, making it the 13th-largest owner of proven natural gas reserves in the world and the second-biggest in the Asia-Pacific region after China, according to the International Energy Agency. However, most of the gas is sent abroad, as poor domestic infrastructure has hindered higher gas absorption.

Development of the Lampung FSRU, which is the second in the country after the West Java FSRU, is expected to increase domestic consumption.

Vice president of corporate communications at PT Perusahaan Gas Negara, the parent company of PGN LNG Indonesia, Ridha Ababil, said the vessel, which departed last Saturday, was scheduled to arrive at the Lampung FSRU Thursday this week.

“Given the delivery, we will be able to commence operations at the Lampung FSRU this July,” he said.

Following this year’s planned deliveries, SKK Migas has allocated for the Tangguh LNG to send 14 cargoes to the Lampung FSRU next year.

However, Ridha said PGN was still trying to ensure that all the allocated cargoes would be absorbed next year.

“In gas infrastructure, early years’ absorption will be lower from its full capacity as we need time to also develop the market. Developing the market usually takes three to four years,” Ridha said.

PGN’s Lampung FSRU has a storage capacity of 170,000 cubic meters of LNG and a capacity to receive 2 million tons of LNG per year. Its distribution capacity is 240 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd).

The LNG price for Lampung has not been revealed, particularly because Tangguh LNG and PGN have not signed a definitive sale and purchase agreement, according to Ridha.

The government has been calling for higher domestic consumption of gas as part of an attempt to reduce the country’s dependency on oil imports.

SKKMigas is targeting to see 54 percent of total gas production to be delivered to the domestic market this year.

PGN’s delivery to the Lampung FSRU is the second delivery from Tangguh to the domestic market following deliveries to fertilizer firm PT Pupuk Iskandar Muda.

The fertilizer company is planning to absorb 2 cargoes this year from a planned allocation of 4 cargoes.
Categories: Indonesian News

Rupiah strengthens to 11,773 per dollar

3 hours 49 min ago
The rupiah inter bank trade rate appreciated by 99 points to 11,773 per US dollar in Jakarta on Monday morning.
"The strengthening of many currencies across Asia has brought positive sentiment to the rupiah," Trust Securities research head Reza Priyambada said in Jakarta on Monday as quoted by Antara news agency.
He said currencies in Asia were making improvements in the morning following better data from the Chinese manufacturing sector.
Meanwhile, from the domestic market, he said that Indonesia's trade balance, which recently recorded a surplus, had helped strengthen the rupiah.
“Market players are hoping that the positive sentiment will continue so the rupiah will fluctuate based on the country's fundamental economy," he added. (nfo)
Categories: Indonesian News

Preparing higher education for an internationally minded future

5 hours 18 min ago
On campus: Students at University of Indonesia (UI) take time off after classes. UI is one of the leading universities in the country producing competent individuals in their respective career fields. JP
Colleges and universities should encourage innovation to face the competitive world.
The world is a rapidly changing place. Human population numbers hit the 7 billion mark back in early 2012. The proliferation of the Internet and widespread use of social networking means that geographical distance is no longer a hindrance to the exchange of ideas.

All of this means that making your mark in society has become a bigger challenge than ever. Preparing Indonesian citizens for this new job market means that educators have to rethink the way that they prepare students for the future.

Students themselves, especially ones who are already in college, have to do much more than simply just be great book learners getting straight as on exams.

One of the most important qualities that would-be job seekers need today is “global readiness”, according to IPMI International Business School head of marketing communication Amelia Novincy Umboh.

“In today’s era, we are being challenged with cross-cultural settings and a struggle to survive through a continuously changing business landscape,” she said. “Therefore, an ability to envision a global perspective while simultaneously being able to apply these global considerations within a local context is considered a rare competitive advantage.”

Part of the process of becoming ready for the world involves undoing traditional teaching policies and learning habits that run counter to this new globalized mindset.

For instance, according to Amelia, Indonesian students are not accustomed to critical thought and are taught since an early age that differences are undesirable.

Indonesian students also need to take heed of UNESCO’s four pillars of higher education: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live and learning to be.

According to London School of Public Relations Jakarta deputy director Andre Ikhsano, learning to do is the most crucial pillar of the four.

“Learning to do is closely related to certain study programs like communication studies. Things that you need to learn to do include presentation skills, public speaking and confident multilingual skill,” Andre said. “These are very useful skills that will be good investments.”

Cultural change

Higher education needs to work hard to build on this. One source of inspiration it can look to is the education system of Scandinavian countries like Sweden, which is currently on top when it comes to producing innovation, despite having originally started off as a poor country ages ago.

“How did they do it? Each student learns to make mistakes. They find the solutions to those mistakes. And they evaluate themselves by comparing their current and past results,” Amelia explained.

This system applies from kindergarten to higher education. The result ought to be outspoken and independent individuals ready to face an ever-changing social setting and business market. Institutes of higher education can help students towards this end.

“The role of higher education in preparing graduates to compete internationally consists of many approaches like cooperating with foreign universities for dual-degree agreement, student and teacher exchanges, international classes and joint research,” noted Andre.

Other internationally-minded ambitions that local higher-education institutes need to embrace include international student bodies that can help students learn to communicate, interact, and transact with foreigners. Successful alumni should also be used as student role models. Providing a good career development office is also a necessity. Partnerships with leading industry members can give students real-life opportunities and experiences.

Technology’s role

Basic necessities for higher education in the future also include providing adequate laboratories and digital libraries. Having up-to-date technology in general is important for preparing college students for the future, especially since electronic learning (or “e-learning”, for short) is becoming an increasingly viable and useful way of acquiring an education.

“This method enables the equal spread of education. It overcomes time and space boundaries and can help improve a student’s skill, confidence and proactive attitude toward the materials they are learning,” Andre said, adding that the use of technology to provide videos, interactive visuals and simulations during the learning process can allow students to more easily digest difficult materials.

“Modern technology also makes their lives easier. They can have e-book instead of carrying heavy books. They can have an e-CV instead of sending their resume via post mail. They don’t have to stand in a long line at the bank counter to pay their tuition fees. It really does change our standard of living,” Amelia added.

She noted that digital education can be a boon for those who don’t live within a convenient distance from their schools. They also provide comfort for those who have any difficulties studying in regular schools.

According to British daily newspaper The Guardian, many colleges and universities are developing flexible approaches that tailor students to the employment needs of the economy.

It cited an example of a university working with local employers toward this end. “Students will come in to talk about their aspirations, their past experiences, their qualifications, their jobs, and a bespoke opportunity will be created for them, which will pick up modules and put them into a special package for that individual student.”

Ensuring that both students and educators are adequately prepared to face an increasingly interconnected and competitive world is an important way of dealing with the globe’s changing social landscape. They need to aim high.

“There are three types of people in this world: 1 percent of people, those who make things happen, 4 percent of those who watch things happen and 95 percent of those who wonder what happened. In order to compete with these numbers, students must aim for ‘making things happen,’” Amelia said.
Categories: Indonesian News

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