Who Is Mbah Maridjan?

Mbah MaridjanIf you don’t know Mbah Maridjan, then you won’t be here. If you do know him, then maybe you just want to consult the information here. If you are Indonesian, I bet you have heard his name. But do you know who is Mbah Maridjan? Mbah Maridjan’s original name is Mas Penewu Suraksohargo. He is the caretaker of Mount Merapi, since 1982. No kidding, because that great job was given by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX himself. Every time Mount Merapi would erupt, local residents were always waiting for his commands whether to stay or flee.

Before the eruption of Mount Merapi in 2006, practically his name was only known by the people of Yogyakarta and Central Java. But after the Merapi eruption in 2006, his name was so famous and became an icon of Merapi and Yogyakarta. His refusal to be evacuated from the site at that time was the reason why he is so famous. At that time, even the Yogyakarta’s King, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X himself had requested him to come down from the mountain. But he refused it and decided to stay as he was doing his job. Luckily, Merapi didn’t erupt as dangerous as what was expected by experts. He finally survived the disaster.

His name continues to soar and then became a sports drink commercials. He also became so rich from the commercial fee. But he didn’t keep the money for himself. He used it for the benefit of society. In Kinahrejo, he built a mosque and church. Mbah Maridjan also asked local residents to worship according to their faith. Additionally, Mbah Maridjan often distributed rice and food to people in need.

Mbah Maridjan was born in Kinahrejo, Umbulharjo, Cangkringan, Sleman, Yogyakarta, in 1927. He was officially took the job as a caretaker deputy in 1970. He was then become the caretaker in 1982. Mbah Maridjan has several children, namely Mbah Ajungan, Raden Ayu Surjuna, and Raden Ayu Murjana.

This afternoon, he was found dead. For the people of Indonesia he is an example of people who is loyal to the given task, even when the task endanger his life. An extraordinary devotion by a very humble person.

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How SBY Uses His Role over Indonesian Press

How SBY uses his role as the president to control press. The Indonesian press was given the hardest reprimand ever by  President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.  "The president has often talked about the press and its role. But this time, I think, this is the hardest ever reprimand from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to the press because he has used such words," said Wina Armada, vice chairman of the Press Council. Wina was referring to the statement by President Yudhoyono in a radio interview earlier in the day where he  asked the media in Indonesia to convey balanced information to the public on both the successes and failures of his government so as not to confuse  the people.

On that radio interview, President Yudhoyono stated, "If the government is said to be all failed, bad and should withdraw, as if there nothing was good, this is a poison. On the other way, if the government is always reported all that good, this is not good either.” The government will accept whatever criticism the public voices , the president said,  as long as the press reports  were balanced. This influence the government to take actions on improving the results that have not been reached, he pointed out.

How SBY Uses His Role Over Indonesian Press Yudhoyono stressed that such a thing was quite normal and had been faced by all the governments before his, from Soekarno to Megawati Soekarnoputri. "What is important for political education, the truth is conveyed in a balanced manner, if it is good, say so and what is not yet good, say it is not yet good. This way will enable the real truth in this country," the President said, adding that the press could adjust the situation internally. The Indonesian president made the radio remarks on the first anniversary of his second term in power, as he was reelected to second term through a landslide victory in election last year and taken his oath of office on October 20, 2010. Some elements of public in Jakarta have been critical of his government, saying that there had been nothing good during his first year in power.

Freedom index

Global journalists association, Reporters Sans Frontiers, in its annual report on world press freedom index for 2010 indicates that Indonesia had dropped from 101 in 2009 to 117 with freedom score of 35.83. This is the lowest position Indonesia has been, especially when compared with the rank of around 50 in 2002-2005.

The Indonesian press even is lower in press freedom than small countries such as Timor Leste (94), Mauritania (95) and Kuwait (86). Even Indonesia is still under African countries, Kenya (74), Nigeria (106) and Djibouti (110).

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), an Indonesian independent journalists association, in a report last August says that from August 2009 to August 2010, it documented 40 cases of violence against journalists. Compared to last year’s 38 cases, it is clear this year shows an increase in the number of cases.

Threat and intimidation are   rampant in Indonesian journalism. This year, there are 8 cases of threat and intimidation. Threat is commonly expressed by mass organization (3 cases), politician and unknown individuals (both 2 cases). One case is conducted by crowd.

Reporting prohibition or censorship occur 6 times, all are done by local government officials including personnel from local hospitals.  Legal repression in terms of criminalization or defamation civil suit, or witness subpoena occur 5 times.

Perpetrators are members of the police (3 cases), politician and private citizen (one case each). Confiscation of equipment occurs four times - done by bureaucrats, private security personnel, members of mass organizations and unknown individuals, one case each.

Ethical press

According to Wina, the press had currently been working in accordance with the content of Chapter 1 of the Press Code of Ethics, namely on the principles of accuracy, balanced reportage and without malice. News on the President has basically be proportional, said Wina, former secretary general of the All-Indonesia Journalists Association (PWI). "I think the President has somehow enjoyed the benefits from the reports on him that disseminated by the press, especially during the last presidential election and even in the previous election," Wina pointed out.

He admitted that there have been those who were pro and against the government among the press circle but they also remained on the track of good ethical code. Thus, should the current freedom of the press is considered already excessive, this idea is incorrect because Indonesia rank of press freedom has somewhat declined.

Confusion among the public, he added, has not been caused by news from the press but more from the policies of the government itself. Despite the fact, the public nowadays has already been smart and will not easily believe in unethical or malicious news.

Wina revealed that a meeting between the President and the Press Council was actually scheduled to take place on Wednesday (October 20) but then dropped because (the President) was said to have another more urgent work to do. Should the meeting have taken place, then it must have been quite a good momentum for the President and the Council to talk.

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Garuda Indonesia wins the World's Most Improved Airline award at the 2010 World Airline Awards


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Garuda Indonesia was named the winner of the World's Most Improved Airline Award at the 2010 World Airline Awards - the Passenger's Choice awards.

Commenting on the World's Most Improved Airline Award won by Garuda Indonesia, Skytrax Chairman, Mr Edward Plaisted said "this was a very competitive category in the 2010 Awards, and our sincere congratulations go to Garuda Indonesia on their success. It is clear that a real process of transformation has become well progressed at Garuda Indonesia, and aside from new aircraft and new onboard products, it was improvements in onboard service that were most frequently commented upon by survey respondents. The award is true recognition of the product and service that Garuda Indonesia is delivering to it's customers, and as the Passenger's Choice awards this underlines the fact that Garuda Indonesia are succeeding in satisfying the hardest critics - their users."

The runners-up in this Award category also received acclaim from Skytrax, with Hainan Airlines another airline where survey respondents specifically highlighted the standards of onboard service. Oman Air in 3rd place was commended for the product transformation that customers felt worthy of nomination.

Pak Agus Priyanto - EVP of Garuda Indonesia, collects the Award for the World's Most Improved Airline


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Taman Mini Indonesia Indah: Indonesia in Miniature

The Indonesian capital Jakarta is a combination of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern. Urban skyscrapers flank tree-lined parks, imposing shopping malls and small boutiques. The city is a shopper's delight, offering an immense variety of merchandise at very attractive prices. The vibrant metropolis provides an array of sightseeing and entertainment options to satisfy the tastes of any visitor.

taman-mini-indonesia-indah Located in East Jakarta, the Indonesia Miniature Park is a culturally oriented theme park designed to project the heritage of Indonesia. The country's huge variety of traditions, architecture, dance and attire are all displayed with authentic true to life accuracy. The lifestyles of the many peoples of Indonesia are depicted with great vibrancy, the traditions of each province presented with realism and artistry.  Each of the diverse sections of the nation is represented through reproductions of the housing and environment of each area.

The park also includes a miniature replica of the Indonesian archipelago, contained in a central lake, which precisely represents the huge South-East Asian country.

No less than 14 museums are located in the park, the most notable being the Indonesia Museum: an ornately decorated building in Balinese architecture, the museum displays contemporary arts, crafts and the diverse attire of the various regions of Indonesia, among other exhibits.

Cultural events including various shows and performances are a regular feature at the park, providing a glimpse of Indonesia's rich heritage and traditions. Visitors can experience the culinary preparations of the far-flung provinces, with a variety of delicacies being prepared in the premises.

The park is very much a nature lover's sanctuary, with a beautifully designed orchid garden featuring the many hundreds of orchid varieties native to Indonesia. A bird park with an extensive variety of birds found in Indonesia is another attraction, complementing the park's fauna museum.

Recreational areas complete with a swimming pool and restaurants assure that no visitor will leave the park disappointed. For the adventurous there is the thrill of a cable car ride providing a bird's eye view of the park.

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Rupiah Slightly Weakens against US Dollar

Indonesian Rupiah The rupiah slightly weakened against the US dollar in the Jakarta interbank spot market here Friday morning on profit taking moves.

The Indonesian currency traded  Rp 8,924-Rp8,934 per US dollar, down four points from Rp8,920-Rp8,930 per US dollar at the market’s close a day earlier.
The rupiah’s depreciation was normal after the local currency had strengthened over the past few days, according to Rully Nova, a research analyst of PT Bank Saudara Tbk.


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Vote for Komodo Helps NTT Reach 1 Million Tourists

Komodo Island Vote for the  komodo as an icon of the seven wonders of the world, will help the East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration achieve the target of one million tourists in 2011.

"The number of tourists coming to the province up to September this year reached more than 140 thousand," head of  East Nusa Tenggara tourism promotion agency Ubaldus Gogi said here Thursday.
He said the number should increase with the increased promotion and socialization of the komodo’s participation in the seven wonders of the world. He said that in  2011 East Nusa Tenggara had set a target of one million tourists to the province.  Therefore, the vote for komodo campaign is expected to help achieve the target.


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Rabies Claims 100th Fatality in Indonesia's Bali

Rabies in Bali A rabies outbreak on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali has now killed 100 people.  Ken Wirasandhi, a doctor monitoring the epidemic, said Friday that a 40-year-old villager died overnight after being hospitalized with rabies symptoms.

Bali, an island of 3 million people and one of Asia’s top tourist destinations, has been grappling with the outbreak for nearly two years. Several countries have issued advisories, telling travelers they should get shots and stay clear of dogs roaming the white-sand beaches.

In a widely criticized move, local officials responded by killing 200,000 stray dogs, saying they couldn’t afford to vaccinate the animals against rabies. That has changed in recent weeks with the help of international funds.


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Rp 492.1 Billion For Tourism Promotion

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Indonesia (Kemenbudpar) budgeted Rp 492.1 billion for tourism promotion in 2011.  While the total 2011 budget is Rp. 2.064 trillion, said the Head of Planning and Legal Bureau of Kemenbudpar, Turman Siagian, in Jakarta, Wednesday (09/29/2010).

Last year, Indonesia only has Rp 446.2 billion for the funding of tourism marketing. According to the plan, that amount of money will be allocated for marketing posts including overseas promotion, promotion facilities, domestic promotion, promotion of MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition), and marketing information.

The biggest allocation entry is on postal facilities for promotion of Rp 154.805 billion. Allocation for overseas promotion is the second largest with a total of Rp 105 billion. While the promotion of the domestic quota is about $ 65.3 billion, MICE $ 57.7 billion and Rp 41.9 billion for marketing information.

In 2011, The Ministry of Culture and Tourism plans to get about $ 2.064 trillion for its funding. The Ministry also agreed to get an additional Rp 235 billion budget and supplemental budget for the educational function of Rp 226.9 billion. Kemenbudpar expects the support from Commission X of the House, Bappenas, and the Ministry of Finance to support the new initiative program funding amounting to Rp 744 billion in 2011 to finance priority programs which are not yet available.

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Police Needs Help From the Defense Forces to Combat Terrorists

why can't police and defense forces work togetherUp to now, there no request from the Indonesia’s Police to the Indonesia Defense Forces (TNI) to help them combating terrorists, General Djoko Santoso said. Although there were coordination between these two institutions, it seemed like they were working separately.

Bambang Hendarso Danuri, the National Police Chief General, said recently that the police planned to involve the military in case terrorists’ activity is escalating. But still there was no official request yet. Police have recently killed three people who were involved in the CIMB Niaga Bank robbery in Medan, North Sumatra, last August. The robbery itself was believed to be carried out by terrorists to seek funds to finance their activities in Indonesia.

Recently, however three police officers were killed in Hamparan Perak, North Sumatra while on duty at their station by armed gang believed to be part of the terrorist group. General Djoko Santoso said terrorism eradication could be carried out in several stages namely detection, prevention, control, action and rehabilitation.

General Djoko Santoso stated that the Indonesia Defense Force is ready to help in whichever of process, depending upon the request. This institution is ready to deploy their intelligence and anti-terror units for that. Terrorists seem to have never stopped conducting actions in various regions in the country in the past ten years. He said a total of 563 terrorists had been arrested from 2000 to 2010 while 44 others had been killed and 10 dead as suicide bombers. During the period 19 police officers have been killed during operations against the terrorists and 29 others suffered from serious injuries.

As civilian, I don’t think that the Defense Forces and the Police should work separately. They have to work together. Terrorism in Indonesia is not only a problem for the Police. It is the problem for the whole nation. Do they need direct order from the President to work as a team?

I believe that as long as the Police and the Defense Forces waiting for each other to do a real actions facing the terrorists, any effort in order to eradicate them will run slowly and ineffective. What do you think?

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Virginity Test for Girls Who Want to Apply for High School, Dropped

Siswi SMP This virginity test for girls who want to apply for high school was firstly proposed by Bambang Bayu Suseno, a Jambi province local parliamentarian. On this Tuesday, the Indonesian government finally dismissed that proposal to force teenage schoolgirls to undergo virginity tests. Wahyu Hutomo, the Women’s affairs ministry official, said such tests would violate basic human rights and potentially harm the health of our youth psychologically. It is more effective for our generation to receive moral education from their parents at home, especially with the (bad) influence from the Internet.

Lawmakers in Sumatra island’s Jambi province have agreed to drop the idea. Suseno believes girls should be required to pass virginity tests before they can enter state-funded high schools, citing concerns over pre-marital sex among teenagers in the Muslim-majority country. The idea is simple. Parents are obviously afraid of their daughters being deflowered before the time comes, so before they continue their studies they can undergo a virginity test and automatically protect their dignity, Suseno said.

Why are girls who lose their virginity allowed to go to public school?

Indonesian officials are struggling to balance the country’s rapid modernization, especially the runaway growth of Internet use, with traditional, mainly Muslim values.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed a controversial anti-pornography law, backed filters against online pornography and warned that a “frenzy” of Internet use could tear the nation apart.

I have question, why are girls who lose their virginity allowed to go to public school? Your comments are really appreciated.

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