Glorious photos of a Reinwardt’s Flying Frog riding a horned beetle , captured by Hendy Mp, wildlife photographer from Indonesia. (previously)
A major search is underway to find AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 after it lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control while enroute from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore yesterday without a distress signal. Its parent company, the Malaysia-owned budget airline AirAsia (no connection to Malaysia Airlines) has had a clean safety record; AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes considers this his "worst nightmare". There were initial reports of a plane crashing in East Belitung Island, which are yet to be verified, but the multi-national search is still under way after a break due to darkness and bad weather. Indeed, powerful storms were in QZ8501's flight path, prompting the pilot to request an "unusual" route. There were 162 people on board, primarily Indonesians (including one of the pilots), as well as three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian, one French, and one British citizen. There is currently some strong media attention on a family that missed the flight by minutes, who were told by airport officials while negotiating a replacement flight that "This must have been the best Christmas gift your family ever received". [more inside]
Today is the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that changed life in South and South East Asia. Aceh bore the heaviest losses and the ASEAN remembers the toll of destruction. This event changed the way global agencies coordinate large scale disaster relief. Many lessons were learnt. Other regions which felt the impact hold memorial services too.
Indonesia is home to one of the biggest underground punk scenes in the world - a place of chaotic, frenzied moshpits filled with screaming 10-year-old punks and collective punk communities that make art and teach street kids how to busk with their ukuleles. An hour-long radio documentary written and produced by Karli Munn, from queer feminist punk group Scum System Kill [more inside]
Photographer David Slater is currently in a dispute with Wikipedia over this photo, taken in Indonesia in 2011. Wikipedia, Slater claims, has used his photo without permission. Wikipedia has so far refused, "claiming that because a monkey pressed the shutter button it should own the copyright." via
On 10 April 1815, Tambora produced the largest eruption known on the planet during the past 10,000 years. As described in Gillen D'Arcy Wood's new book, the explosion was only the first dose of Tambora's destructive power. In terms of its enduring presence in folklore, as well as its status in the scientific literature, 1816’s cold summer was the most significant meteorological event of the nineteenth century. After the tsunami and famine came cholera, opium, and failed Arctic expeditions. [more inside]
Indonesia's masked monkey trade. The circus-like performance is called topeng monyet and is regarded by some Indonesians as an important folk art tradition dating back to the 1890s. [more inside]
"One of the most important aspects of the interview is to check the tidiness of the future help. Lam Ling checks the hands of a student." In a beautifully shot series, French photographer Gratiane de Moustier depicts the Indonesian women and Hong Kong employers who are linked together in global care chain, beginning at their training camp in Java to their final place of employment in the homes of Hong Kong families.
The Bangka Belitung islands are a picture postcard tropical paradise, except where the tin is mined. Tin that is used in smartphone solders, and that is responsible for widespread ecological devastation. Following a Friends of the Earth campaign, all of the major manufacturers bar one have acknowledged their role in this destruction, and are seeking improved standards for tin mining. But if you truly want ethical consumer electronics, you'll have to wait for the Fairphone(Fairphone previously).
Megapode, Greek for "large foot," refers to refers to 12 species of Australasian chickenlike birds (order Galliformes), which have small heads compared to their bodies, and large feet. They are also known as Mound Builders, or Incubator Birds, as they bury their eggs in some warm material, most commonly fermenting or decomposing plant matter. But on Sulawesi island in Indonesia, Maleos bury their eggs in sun-baked or volcanically heated sands, then depart. The young hatch from their large eggs (5 times the size of chicken eggs), then dig out of their sandy incubators and walk or fly away. If you can't make it to Indonesia to see the birds in person, you can also visit the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo to see their 9 Maleos, or check out their video about Maleos and the zoo's breeding program. [more inside]
Massive earthquakes in Chile and Japan have been found to cause the dramatic increase in violent quakes around fracking's largely unregulated wastewater injection wells observed in the Midwest in the past two years, where injected water acts as a lubricant for geological faults that were previously thought to be "dead" or stable for millions of years.
"Is it possible to kill 1 million people and then forget about it? Or if it has been erased from consciousness, is there an unconscious residue, a stain that remains?" Filmmaker Errol Morris writes about Josh Oppenheimer’s documentary film The Act of Killing [trailer]. The film, which was produced by Morris and Werner Herzog, is an examination of the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66, in which between 500,000 and 1 million people died. It is getting amazing reviews. Previously.
Forest fires due to slash and burn farming in Sumatra, Indonesia have led to unprecedented air pollution levels in Singapore and Malaysia. In Singapore particularly, Facebook and Twitter are aflame as well. For a country used to very clean air, the sudden pollution has led to public outcry, with air purifiers and face masks being snatched off the shelves. So far, no stop-work-order has been issued, and there are complaints that the government is not tackling the situation rapidly enough. Indonesia is working to put out the fires and is considering cloud seeding; their response to pressure from Singapore to do more was that Singaporeans should stop behaving like children and not disturb their domestic affairs. While image macros about the 2013 haze continue to fill up Facebook feeds, some people are taking the whole affair in a more irreverent way. [more inside]
"For the two weeks of Malaysia’s election campaign, I was one of a group of researchers from the University of Malaya and various overseas institutions that toured through every one of Malaysia’s 13 states, witnessing the night time election rallies (ceramah), speaking to campaign workers and candidates, and generally trying to take the political pulse of this highly varied country." [more inside]
DNA analysis has confirmed the death, by poaching, of the last Javan rhino in Vietnam. This marks the official extinction of the Vietnamese subspecies of Javan rhinoceros. The entire species is now represented by just 35 individuals from the Indonesian subspecies, all of whom reside in Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia.
How to write about Indonesia as a westerner.
"Honey laundering is a complex exercise that involves several players in the honey chain from apiary to wholesaler to retailer. In the case against ALW, evidence was presented to show the use of fake country-of-origin documents for shipments, replacement of labels on Chinese containers with fraudulent ones, switching of honey containers in a third country, and even the blending of Chinese honey with glucose syrup or honey from another country."
I am Hazara Close to 1,000 Hazaras have been killed in targeted attacks and shootings in [Quetta] the capital of Pakistan’s largest province [Baluchistan]. The indifference towards the atrocities has forced this shrinking community to take escape routes and gamble between life at the promised land and death at the ocean. Dawn, Pakistan's largest English-language daily, puts together an essay accompanied by short videos (subtitled in English).
Fast tracking kebal - Plugging the cord into an electric socket, I was instructed to place my foot on top of one of the plates. Pak Edi held the other plate under his own foot, and immediately his leg began to quiver from the electric current.
The Indonesian Street Art Database (ISAD) is an artist-run project that aims to archive street art in Indonesia as a documentation of the country’s urban culture. Art Radar delves into the ISAD archives to explore the breadth of street art in Indonesia and the concerns of the country’s urban artists.
[There] is a glaring contradiction in the fact that Gunung Kemukus, a mass ritual of adultery and sex, is going on in the middle of Java, the demographic heart of the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. Of course, the ritual isn’t Islam as most would recognise it. Instead, it’s emblematic of Indonesia’s – and especially Java’s – syncretic mix of Islam with earlier Hindu, Buddhist and animist beliefs. But what is truly surprising is that even while Indonesia undergoes a steady shift towards more orthodox Islam, the ritual on Gunung Kemukus is exploding in popularity. It’s a quintessentially Indonesian contradiction.
Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission changed their rules to require companies to disclose if they use 'tantalum, tin, gold, or tungsten if those minerals are “necessary to the functionality or production of a product”' These are also known as 'conflict minerals.' The Deadly Tin Inside Your Smartphone, Businessweek [more inside]
Billy Joel has now officially endorsed - The Longest Time (Coral Triangle Edition), by the Barber Lab Quartet [more inside]
While Indonesians continues to protest Lady Gaga's upcoming shows, the Muslim nation has its own racy concerts [more inside]
Tourette does not shorten life, limit mobility, or impair cognitive or emotional function ... While the genesis of TS is neurological, its most important symptom is semantic, the ongoing need to attach meaning to what are quite literally empty gestures.Greg Downey talks about Tourette's Syndrome and Robert Lemelson’s documentary The Bird Dancer. [more inside]
Punks Not Dead.... but it can get you killed. Punk rock in oppresive regimes.
Amnesty International believes that Iran has executed at least 600 people in 2011 in what it calls "a killing spree of staggering proportions". [more inside]
Ukelele street kid revolution! The band is fantastic live, a lot of fun in the practice room, okay in the studio, but nothing compares to what they do with the children. Meanwhile, we all saw some Indonesian punks get shaved and scolded by the police, previously.
In Indonesia, a punk rock concert is raided and attendees are arrested, shaved, de-pierced, bathed and sent for re-education.
"But it is the worry that the key source of corporate profitability — Chinese labor — may no longer be docile and cheap for much longer that mainly nags at the country's corporate guests as well as its rising capitalist class. And many fear that the very ruthlessness that Zizek talks about — the iron fist that the Chinese state has deployed over the last three decades in order to achieve the unbeatable 'China price' — has become a central part of the problem."
The Honeymoon From Hell. Stefan and Erika Svanstrom had planned a long trip that would start in Singapore in early December and end in China four months later. But things didn't go exactly as planned. They encountered floods, fires, tsunamis and earthquakes along the way.
Wijnanda Deroo: Inside New York Eateries "Continuing her long-term exploration of the architectural interior as a genre of photographic investigation, artist Wijnanda Deroo has scoured New York's five boroughs documenting the full spectrum of the city's culinary institutions. From Café des Artistes to Papaya Dog, the Russian Tea Room to Yonah Schimmel's Knishes, Deroo's viewfinder alights on diverse sites (and sights) where we New Yorkers sit (or stand) to consume our daily bread." More interiors at the artist's website -- Indonesia :: Curacao :: Mexico :: Berlin
There are many types of Reogs in Indonesia but Reog Ponorogo is the most famous. Waroks hold a 50kg singobarong mask in their teeth while performing. Malaysia has attempted to annex the performance.
"The Szpilman Award is awarded to works that exist only for a moment or a short period of time. The purpose of the award is to promote such works whose forms consist of ephemeral situations." This years winner is Treebute to Yogya. The organisers also maintain a blog and an encyclopædia of ephemeral works.
The current Indonesian government has proposed that former dictator Suharto be added to the country's official pantheon of heroes. This proposal has been endorsed by the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), a party that is explicitly Islamic, despite the fact that Suharto's government by and large suppressed religiosity in the political sphere. Aubrey Belford writes in the NYT about the controversy over this proposal; although Suharto is widely credited with Indonesia's increased prosperity in the decades prior to the Asian economic crisis, he was famously corrupt, violent in his suppression of political components and he led Indonesia during its bloody occupation of East Timor, which some have called a genocide.
A new movie based on Obama’s childhood in Indonesia has just been released in Jakarta. The film is based on a novel released just this year. Certain differences can be noted between the book and the movie – for example, a scene showing Obama praying in the direction of Mecca was dropped.
Video of a smoking toddler circulated on the Internet last week, turning him into a local celebrity. The Sun (UK) made some rather excited exclamations about the video. Salon asks Who's to Blame? [more inside]
Bali's "Kuta Cowboys" get unwanted attention. Bali draws plenty of older women seeking romance (see: Elizabeth Gilbert), and more often than not, they end up in the arms of "Kuta Cowboys" - tanned, muscled, swaggering local men who offer no-strings-attached intimacy to female tourists. [more inside]
LGBT conference forcibly shut down by hardline Islamists. Last Friday, in Surabaya, Indonesia, a mob of 150 occupied the hotel where an ILGA-Asia conference was taking place. [more inside]
Best known as an Indonesian handicraft, batik is a distinctive technique for textiles that has been used for millennia and can be found as far away as Egypt, Ghana, China and India. An integral part of daily life in Java, batik has spread around the world as a wellknown artform as well as clothing. From its hippy heyday to the smart couture outfits of the Singapore Girl, batik is still daily wear for many and the equivalent of black tie in the ASEAN. [more inside]
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
The Maskatorium: hundreds of masks collected from around the world over the past 20 years.
Introducing Project Pop (Formerly Indonesia's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-suling metal-dangdut-comedy folk sextet). Their hit "Dangdut is the music of my country" [youtube link--music starts at 0:58] code-switches between pop metal and dangdut, affectionately mocking the cheesy pop of their parents' generation. Here is a great play-by-play translation of the details of the video. [more inside]
As a result of the Dutch film Fitna, Indonesia has blocked several websites including MySpace and YouTube. This follows hot on the heels of a new bill which could see people face six years of jail time or a 1 billion rupiah fine for being caught sending out porn, “false news” or racial or religious slurs on the Web. The Indonesian government will start censoring the Internet next month with specialised software. Very disappointing for a country which had a reasonably free press.
A South African paleoanthropologist on vacation on the island of Palau in Micronesia has discovered thousands of bone fragments of very small people estimated at between 900 and 2900 years old. He and his colleagues have just published a paper on their findings, which would appear to damage the claim that the bones discovered on Flores Island, Indonesia in 2004 and attributed to homo floresiensis (or "Hobbits") were not a unique and extinct branch of the human family, but rather pygmy-like peoples. However it also knocks a hole in the claim that the Flores bones were merely all unusually small humans suffering from microcephaly due to iodine deficiency. Naturally, the scientists who originally discovered the Hobbits on Flores aren't too thrilled about either of these theories. (Previous discussions here and here)
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