Archive for February, 2009

Abortion clinic in Jakarta raided

One of the leading stories on the news this week has been the raid on an illegal abortion clinic in Jakarta. There hasn’t been much reporting on the incident though in the Jakarta Post.

Apparently some of the patients died during the operation and some of them were as young as fifteen years old.

Johar Baru Police Chief Comr. Theresia Mastail said Saturday the police would search the clinic this afternoon after finding five embryos at the the same clinic yesterday.

“We suspect more embryos are buried around the clinic,” she said.

Tomy, a neighbourhood leader in Johar Baru, said the clinic had been operational since 1999 and was near her home.

“Residents have known about the operations at this clinic for a long time,” he said.

On Thursday, the police arrested the clinic owner Atun along with a doctor, employees and patients.

Atun said she had received an operational permit from a doctor and had been charging each patient between Rp 100,000 (US$8.30) and Rp 600,000. (ewd)

It seems that abortions are illegal in Indonesia. I found this rather disturbing article on illegal abortions in Indonesia.

Not allowed in cases of rape or incest, or to preserve a woman’s physical or mental health

Doctors face up to 15 years in prison if caught; the woman up to 4 years

Estimated 1.3 million abortions each year, says Indonesia’s Planned Parenthood Association

Almost all are backstreet jobs done by doctors or traditional healers

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New fish species found in Indonesia

frog-fish-indonesia A new species of fish has been identified in Indonesia.

The frogfish – which has a swirl of tan and peach zebra stripes that extend from its aqua eyes to its tail – was initially discovered by scuba diving instructors working for a tour operator a year ago in shallow waters off Ambon island in eastern Indonesia.

The operator contacted Ted Pietsch, lead author of a paper published in this month’s edition of Copeia, the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, who submitted DNA work identifying it as a new species.

The fish – which the University of Washington professor has named “psychedelia” – is a member of the antennariid genus, Histiophryne, and like other frogfish, has fins on both sides of its body that have evolved to be leg-like.


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Eleven illegal Indonesian immigrants kept in basement

Soripada Lubis, a U.S. citizen, originally from Indonesia has been charged with harboring illegal immigrants for commercial advantage and private financial gain.

His wife has also been charged with making false statements to federal agents. The couple have been keeping Indonesian women in their basement since 2000. The women worked as housekeepers in the area.

They lived in cramp conditions, sometimes sleeping three to a bed.


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Australian pedophile gets eight years jail in Bali

Philip Robert Grandfield aged 62 was arrested last August for sex crimes against under-age boys. He has been given a jail sentence of eight years for his crimes. There is a chance he will face further charges in Australia if he makes it through his sentence in Bali.

Grandfield converted to Islam to try and get a lesser sentence. Michelle Leslie who was caught with ecstasy tablets in Bali also converted to Islam while she awaited her trial, where she was sentenced to 3-months jail.

Grandfield had been living in Bali for the past 10 years and paid the teenagers between 25,000 rupiah ($3.30) and 50,000 rupiah.

This is not an isolated incident as I have just discovered by reading more stories of Australian pedophiles in Indonesia. Here is a tragic story written in 2006: A paradise for pedophiles .

What is worry for me is that these guys were convicted in Australian, were given passports and then even employed in high profile teaching positions in Indonesia, with links to the Australian government.

One easy solution would be to deny a passport to any Australian convicted of a sex offense.

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indonesia-bloggerAre you interested in Indonesia and have something you would like to blog about? Please contact us if you are interested.

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Kevin Rudd’s speech at the Australia-Indonesia Conference Dinner

Politicians are often criticized for being all talk and no substance, but for me Kevin Rudd, Australia’s current Prime Minister seems to be one of the worst. I read through his speech which he gave at the Australia-Indonesia Conference Dinner which was published in the Jakarta Post.

I wonder if he was trying to be funny when he said, “in the year 2008, the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and I met on seven occasions. We’ve now entered that into the Guinness Book of Records under the bilateral relations heading.”

In 1,840 words we learn that he has met the President of Indonesia a few times and the two countries have helped each other out a few times during natural disasters.

For anyone from Australia or Indonesia with an interest in either country, there was nothing in the speech that gave you anything to look forward to. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the relationship between Australia and Indonesia go a little beyond what we have now. The average Australian’s knowledge of Indonesia doesn’t go beyond Bali and perhaps a place to build a few more new mines.

In today’s Jakarta Post I also read how there is less interest in people studying about Indonesia in Australia and Curtin University have even closed down their Indonesia department.

Not only are Indonesian specialists from Australia an endangered species, but if Indonesian courses continue to be closed at universities across the country, as has happened this year at Curtin University in Perth, WA, they will become an extinct one too.

To close Indonesian courses at Australian universities based purely on financial issues is an incredibly shortsighted step to take. Pro-Vice Chancellor David Wood and Vice Chancellor Jeanette Hacket, who are responsible for these closures, have acted in complete contradiction to the stated aims of the Federal and State governments, and of the university itself.

In short, like many others, I am appalled at the treatment of staff and students in the Indonesian department at the hands of the Vice Chancellors of Curtin University.

I am also dismayed and thoroughly embarrassed at the narrow-minded decision to scrap Indonesian language courses and will be relocating to a different university next year.

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Finding cheap accommodation in Indonesia

I have just moved to Indonesia and spent a bit of time looking for a place to live. I am staying in Medan, which is the third largest cities in Indonesia. Medan doesn’t have any large skyscrapers or apartment blocks, so I was wondering where I could find a decent place to live.

Having lived in Tokyo for many years, I am used to living in small apartments. My only requirements were a hot shower, western toilet, AC and some kind of internet access.

There are some big, beautiful homes here, but they are expensive and you would probably need to have a small staff to maintain the place. Fortunately wages are low here, so it wouldn’t be unusual for a wealthy family to have maids, a cook, driver, gardener…

There don’t seem to be any western style apartments here in Medan like other major cities. Then I found “kosts”, which I suppose translates as boarding house in English. I only looked at a couple of places which I found advertised in a local newspaper. I did spend some time searching on the internet, but could only find a place which was out of my budget.

The first place I looked at was a room in a large house, which was in a secure compound. The area was pretty nice with lots of greeenery and big western style houses. The room was 1.5 million rupiah a month (US$126). The room was furnished, but a little bit scruffy and didn’t have internet. The next place I looked at was a little more expensive at 2.2 million rupiah (US$185)indonesian-apartment a month, but included internet and cable television.

The 2.2 million includes all bills and they even have staff to do your laundry. It is just a single room, with attached bathroom, but it has been newly renovated. It also has hot water and air conditioning. I had a friend help me contact the owner, but it turns out he speaks fluent English and has relatives in Australia.

I really wonder if there is anywhere else in the world that you could rent such a room so cheaply.

Unfortunately, this picture is not my room, but somewhere I would like to live one day!

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Police raid hotels looking for alcohol and non-married couples

Police in Tangerang 20km west of Jakarta raided “no-star” hotels looking for alcohol and unmarried couples.

By-laws in the city ban adultery, premarital sex and alcohol. The article says their names were recorded and then they were released.

I don’t think I will be going to Tangerang in a hurry.

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The healing magic stone

It goes without saying that Indonesia is a deeply religious country.  Many of the people are also very superstitious.

Muhammad Ponari who is just 9 years old and lives in Jombang in East Java was supposedly struck by lightning and found a stone on his head when he came to.  That stone is now said to have magic healing powers, with people coming from all over Indonesia to be cured from their ailments.

In the stampede to the boy’s house at least four people have died in the crush.    The magic stone is dipped in water which the sick people then drink.  The boy’s name Ponari, sounds like the Japanese sports drink “Pocari”, so the magic water is now being called “Ponari Sweat”.

“Not only in villages do we see this phenomenon, but also in big cities,” Kartono Muhammad, a medical expert and former chairman of the Indonesian Medical Association said. “People who want to be healed quickly go to a shaman. People who want to get rich, they also go to a shaman.”

“Rich or poor has nothing to do with it. These people pay millions and travel across the country. It’s like these people don’t use their common sense so they are easily persuaded by promises and quick-fix solutions.”

Read more: ‘Ponari Sweat’ Magic Blasted As Ignorance and Exploitation

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This is my new blog on Indonesia.  I plan on writing about news, events and travel in Indonesia.  Having just moved to the country, I have found it a fascinating place.  I love tring to understanding different cultures, religion and languages.

Well, there is a lot to try and understand here!  Hillary Clinton just visited the country, which for a day or two put the country in the news.  There are some upcoming elections in the country this year, which are also going to be interesting to follow.

I am planning to be based in Medan for now, with some travel around Sumatara and later other parts of the country.

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