Archive for April, 2009

Author John Leake writing new novel on Aceh and the tsunami

I haven’t read anything by John Leake, but his next novel on the tsunami and how it destroyed Aceh, should be interesting. It is going to be interesting to see how he is going to tie it into Bali, without it looking to much like an expenses trip paid by his publisher.

“The initial idea came with the cataclysm that was the tsunami. I was on the island of Maui on 26 December, 2004 when the reports of the tsunami came through. It was unfathomable to me that an entire city, Banda Aceh, could be hit by a wave and disappear – that *image* never left me,” Leake told the Jakarta Post in an interview.

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The plight Indonesian overseas maids

indonesian-maidsI wrote recently about foreign English teachers being underpaid in Indonesia, but then I saw an article in a free magazine for expats living in Malaysia, on finding an overseas maid.

The article gives two options for employing help from overseas.

An Indonesian maid will cost:

– 450RM a month (around US$125 a month)
– work seven days a week
– and salary is banked into the maid’s bank account at the end of every month, as she is not able to ‘carry cash for the first two years working in Malaysia’.

A Filipina maid costs:

– 1430RM a month (nearly US$400 a month)
– works six days a week
– there are no restrictions on her being able to carry cash

I have been to the Philippines and Indonesia this year and both countries are just as poor. I am not sure why Indonesian maids are paid so little. The only thing I can think of is that most Filipinas can speak good English. It also seems very unfair that they can’t carry cash for the first two years?

They are also sometimes treated badly by their employers. I have read at least one article in a Malaysian newspaper since I have been here about a man beating his Indonesian maid.

When I was checking for the location of the Indonesian consulate in Penang I also came across this article on their website:

Problems that Indonesia and Malaysia are facing now Manpower matters. It is important to employ them with respect of their basic rights as a human. Yes, maid is human too like us. Just because they are Indonesian and they are maid, doesn’t mean we are allowed treating them unhumanly.

Everyday, our consulate receive 3-5 escaped maid in conflict with their employer or agency. Their cases are : insane, raped, abuse, sexual harassment, working more than 1 employer, working overtime, working beside their duty as maid (working in farmer, employers factory, employer beauty center, employer store) and none of the being paid.

Maid’s duties are : house cleaning, ironing, washing, cooking, looking after the children and that is all. Maid’s duty is restricted only in the house of employer whose name stated in their permit from 08.00-18.00. Relations between employer and maid should be an industrial relationship. There must be an understanding and respect for each other’s right.

What should I do to prevent my maid runaway?

Maid is human too, and as human their rights is not only protected by Universal Declaration of human rights, and Malaysia respective laws and regulations. We believe that many criminal cases whose victims are Indonesian maid have been brought to Justice. So, do not abuse your maid, rape, sexual harassed, do not order your maid to work overtime. Create a conditions that encourage them to dedicate their work.

Maid is human, they make mistake too. This is your responsibility to teach maid to work like you wish.

Stop holding maids passport

Holding maids passport is not appropriate. At the back of the passport there is rule that the bearer is the one that has to keep the passport, not the employer, not the president not even our consul general. Only the bearer whose name appears on the passport can keep his/ her passport. If employer doesn’t want his maid to escape, then treat them humanly, give them incentives, fulfill their right, pay their salary. Very easy right?

Make your maid a bank account,

Employer must be a busy person. That’s why we recommend you to make your maid a bank account. Our consulate receive some maids whose employers reluctant to pay their salary, because their employer forgot to pay maids salary since many years ago! Making a bank account for maid is not only to help employer in fulfilling their obligations but also to keep the maid from runaway. It is not Hold the bank account, not the passport. Nowadays, maids salary is from RM 500/ monthly.

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Another Australian arrested on drug charges

You would think that Australians would have learnt their lesson not to touch drugs in Bali or Indonesia.

Another Australian has been arrested for carrying five grams of cannabis, which he now faces prison time of up to 10 years.

The arrested man was Jason Scott McIntyre, 33 years old from the Northern Territory.

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Buddha bar changes its name

After continued protests the Buddha Bar in Jakarta is changing its name to Bataviasche Kunstkring after the Dutch-era building that houses it.

The interior however will remain the same.

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Eat, Pray and Love

My sister recommended me the book Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
. She warned me that it was a “girly book” but I like travel books and since one of the countries the author visits is Indonesia, I thought I would give it a read.

Some parts of the Italy section were good. It was supposed to be about food, but food was only the topic in a few paragraphs. Nothing like an Italian version of a “Year in Province”. Some parts of the book are interesting, but most of the book is about how the author is trying to get over her divorce and an ex-boyfriend.

In India she stays at an Ashram. I don’t know but the whole thing of westerners going to India to find God through meditation is a bit of a tired cliche. She had plans to stay at the Ashram for a while and then travel around India. A convinces her to stay at the Ashram for the whole time she is in India. I think this was a mistake and would have got more out of spending a few months traveling around the country.

Sometimes I think I have problems, but then I see and hear of people who are much worse off than myself and the problems I have really are minuscule compared with them.

Finally she goes to Indonesia (Bali) to meet with a medicine man. She complains about the corruption yet partakes it in herself to get a visa to stay longer in the country. She befriends a female medicine doctor who is poor and has nowhere to live. She raises money from her friends in America and raises $18,000 which she wires to lady’s bank account in Indonesia.

The woman complains she can’t find the right place and says how it would be better if she just had a bit more money. The author and her friends thought they were doing a good deed. Take the story out of Bali though and it would be described as a scam or a con, which the author got played.

The book is going to be made into a movie with Julia Roberts playing the lead.

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11 die in Papau plane crash

Indonesia’s disastrous aviation continues with 11 people dying in a light plane crash in Papau.

“We confirm that all passengers and crew members are dead. The bodies are still in the plane and we hope to transfer them into body bags today and fly them to Ilaga Monday for identification,” said Timika Air Base commander Easter Haryanto who is coordinating the search.

Indonesia’s aviation record is so bad the EU has banned all Indonesian registered planes from flying over its airspace.

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Medan crocodile farm

I went to the crocodile farm here in Medan yesterday. I have never been up so close to them, it was a little frightening. They had some in concrete pens and more swimming in a lake. Entrance fee was around 5,000 rupiah. For an extra 50,000 you could feed a duck to them.




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Indonesian boxer linked to New Zealander’s death

Indonesian top-ranked middleweight boxer Andreas Seran has been linked to the death of Sean Headifen in a Bali nightclub.

CCTV footage of the fight shows men beating Sean Headifen and throwing bottles and glasses at him, according to Stuff.

The family is also struggling to raise NZ$8000 to bring the body back to New Zealand.

“Why can’t the Government bring him home and bill us later?” his mum said.

“We just need to get our boy home.”

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Moving on from Medan

I have been living in Medan for the past two months and decided that I want to see more of Indonesia. My visa is expiring so I need to make a dash for Penang and hopefully get a Social visa which will allow me to stay here for six months without having to leave the country.

I am looking forward to eating some good Indian food in Penang and stocking up on some English books. Most travelers pass through Medan on their way to Lake Toba or Bukit Lawang but I think it is worth staying for a few days and to be honest it wouldn’t be a bad place to live as an expat. The food is good and it is cheap to live.

When I get back from Malaysia I am planning to travel through Java to Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands. Perhaps staying in Bali for a while and taking some trips to Kalimantan and Sulawesi, which should be a bit of an adventure.

Medan has some beautiful old buildings which I hope the city tries to preserve

Medan has some beautiful old buildings which I hope the city tries to preserve

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Kiwi killed in a bar fight in Kuta, Bali

bounty-disco-baliA New Zealand man was involved in an altercation in Bali over the weekend at a nightclub in Kuta Beach. The New Zealand Herald reports the man killed in the fight was Sean Headifen.

The news was reported yesterday in the newspapers here. The incident took place at the Bounty nightclub. The local newspapers reported that the foreigner threw beer or a beer glass at the foreigner, but the New Zealand Herald says it was the other way around, or at least that is what the man’s mother was told.

He was then attacked by six locals. They tried calling for an ambulance, but the ambulance demanded upfront payment of around 3 million rupiah, which the man’s girlfriend didn’t have at the time. They also didn’t have any travel insurance.

The man made it back to his hotel, but died overnight. The six attackers are being questioned by police.

Update: Found an article that says the poor guy was on his honeymoon.

This is what police spokesman Ketut Suwetra had to say:

“The victim was drunk. He had thrown a glass at a bartender who told him to exchange his beverage voucher at the cashier. The bartender hurled a glass back at him which hit his left temple,” he said.

“Two security officers who tried to break them up ended up kicking and hitting the victim too.”

The bar tender and bouncer have now been arrested and face 7-12 years in jail.

Update 2: I am not where the Courier Mail got their information from, but no other news article mentioned that the guy was on his honeymoon.

Here’s another article from a New Zealand newspaper.

Mr Petherick said the school’s guidance counsellor was keeping in direct contact with the Headifen family as his sister was a student at the school.

“I know him well, he came right through our school and I actually taught his mother.

“He was very bright, very able and an interesting young man.”

Mr Petherick remembered a lawnmowing business he started in Levin when he left school at the end of Year 12.

“You would see him go along the footpath with a lawnmower in front of him … because he didn’t have a car at that point.

“He was a go-getter … it’s a real pity what’s happened, knowing that medical treatment could have saved him.

“He will be well remembered at the school just because of the person he had been … he had a bright future ahead of him.”

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