Bad artists made these military and hospital statues laughing stocks in Indonesia


Statues which are being laughing stock in Indonesia

pictures are taken from

There is nothing more hilarious than seeing a military statue which one would expect to be tough and scary but it turns out to look like a grinning cartoon figure. This statue is supposed to represent the military symbol of Siliwangi Military Area Command which has been put on displays for years in one of its subdistrict base in Cisewu. Of course military gallantry image will be hurt by this kind of figure, so it wast later reported that this status was demolished under instruction of the  military command chief after it has made its round in social media as a laughing stock.

The second statue is not less amusing. This statue is supposed to represent a couple in which the wife is having her baby breastfed. However, if you look at the wife’s face you can see it more masculine than it should be. How do you think?

This statue has also made viral circulation in social media as a laughing stock. No recent report about its fate, though. Is it going to be put into ashes like its counterpart, the military “grinning tiger”?




Prone to Natural Disasters: Indonesia, Do Not Put All Your Eggs in One Basket!

Indonesia is well known prone to natural disasters. That is the price she has to pay for being situated in the so-called “Ring of Fire”, a string of active volcanoes in the Pacific area which are homes to more than 450 volcanoes. Volcanic activities and eruptions, as well as earthquakes associated with them for every now and then is going to occur.

Eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra Province and Mount Kelud in East Java Province show us again how important mitigation capacity and capability for responsible  government agencies as well as local governments to be continuously up-graded.  In time of needs like these, all country resources should be readily available and channeled to victims to mitigate the impacts. One important area where this capability needed to be up-graded is the command and coordination between various government agencies as well as private agencies involved in the mitigation process.


Mount Kelud with streams of hot lava. Taken from

On the national level policy, we need some kind of preemptive vision which seek to prevent disruption to the nation economic growth due to natural disaster like this. More than 50% of Indonesia GDP and more than 60% of its population live in Java island. So it is high time for Indonesia to move much quickly and to diversify economic growth spots outside Java or western part of Indonesia to area less prone to natural disaster such as kalimantan and eastern part of Indonesia. Population is also important to be distributed equally. Do not put all the eggs in one basket, otherwise we are going to have great lost.

Economic activities and investments outside Java should be encouraged by supporting policies. Economic growth hot spots will eventually draw people to come, so we do not need any artificial forced transmigration such as in the past. If we continue to enlarge economic cake in Java, it will create more problems than benefits. Take a look at Jakarta mess. Traffic gridlocks, slums, criminal rate seems to be unresolvable in the near future. All because we created Jakarta as a  giant centre of economic activity. Now that it has already been transformed into a giant mess, no other option other than relieving its pressure by distributing more economic cakes to areas or regions outside Java.

The recent news regarding the plan of a big investment from Foxconn, a technological giant from Taiwan, to build manufacturing hub for smartphone  in Jakarta area seems to be a move in the wrong direction. It will further the pressure to Jakarta and around areas. I do not know exactly the reason for that move, but it seems that local government of Jakarta provide good incentives for the company to build its factory in their area. Of course, we would welcome any investments with open arms, however it is necessary to understand our limit. The Governments should have encouraged the company to invest outside Jakarta, or even outside Java for the better.

It is necessary for national and local governments to give more incentives to any investment outside Java to lure investors. Government companies should be in the front-line to invest to these areas to give example to others. The Governments should up-grade infrastructures more quickly outside Java to create favorable condition for investment. Incentives and adequate infrastructures will draw investment. Skilled workers will follow suit. People will follow the money.

If we can balance the economic activities throughout Indonesia islands, then we could expect the balance of population eventually. People will move to area where there are new promising opportunities. If people can migrate to foreign countries for new promising opportunities, then it is logical to expect people more readily to move to other areas within their own country. It will also narrow the people income gap between regions and nurture more cultural interaction between different ethnicity hopefully for the better unity of Indonesia.

Phenomenon of conflicts between local people and migrating ones should be handled with good policy. In the past we did transmigration but without adequate economic investment, so local people would have seen this as a threat to their economic viability. If adequate economic investment is there, where local people could participate with addition of talents which are non locals, the problem may not arise. Do not let people compete for their survival. Competition based on meritocracy is only appropriate when people can provide food for their every day life. If they are already struggling to provide foods for their family because of less economic opportunity, then the coming of non-locals will eventually induce resentment. In line with that, it is also necessary to increase local people skill and knowledge through more quality education in the first place.

Natural disaster is an eventuality.  People can only anticipate. In terms of economic preparedness against this eventuality, I think Indonesia needs to do more, and needs to do it as quickly as possible. If we put all our eggs in one basket, or majority of our assets in one basket, then expect we are going hungry someday when the basket ruptured due to any eventuality.

Indonesia-Australia: cycles of love and hate relationship?

The “ups and downs” relationship between Indonesia and Australia seems to be cyclical. In the early days of Republic of Indonesia, Australia played a very substantial support to Indonesian people’s struggle for independence exemplified by the boycott of Dutch vessels by Australian waterside workers. This episode may be not known by younger generations in Indonesia and Australia, but it will stay there as a history which shows that the relationship between these two countries started out warmly and friendly.

The relationship then hit the bottom in 1960s when President Sukarno regime opposed the establishment of Confederation of Malaysia leading to the well known confrontation era. Australia stood side by side with Britain against Indonesia which became aggressive in the political as well as military front. Left leaning tendency of Sukarno regime is perceived by Australia as a threat. Both government became suspicious each other and it pulled their people apart.

The relationship then normalized during Suharto regime interspersed with mild disruption on several issues such as East Timor and Irian Jaya. Issue on the death of five Australian journalists in Balibo allegedly murdered by the Indonesian military who did clandestine military operation prior to full invasion on East Timor is still dragging nowadays at least at the Australian people level. However the relationship during Suharto era though was not excellent but relatively quiet.

East Timor independence process again dragged down and soured the relationship to the brink of collapse as both countries” military establishment literally stood face to face in East Timor peppered by several serious incidences. Psyche of both people was also significantly affected by this East Timor issue. Indonesian people until nowadays are still questioning Australia intention in Papua as a backdrop of the East Timor episode. Australian people are also seemingly urging their government to proactively address the issue of Papua where they believe serious human right violation by Indonesian military constantly occurs.

Under President Yudhoyono Indonesia-Australia relationship flourishes and has been perceived best level ever achieved at least in government to government level. The exchange bilateral visit by countries’ elites, increasing two way trade and investment, increasing Australian aid to Indonesia, may showcase this closer relationship. However as in the past, this relationship is also strained currently by few serious issues such as uproar (restricted to Australian side) related to Australian exported cattle inhuman handling  in Indonesian abattoirs which led Australia stopping unilaterally cattle export to Indonesia which prompted the latter to slash the import quota later on which is  widely perceived as a tit for tat response to Australia, boat immigrants who use  Indonesia as a transit before going to Australia to name a few.

All this cycles of seemingly love and hate relationship is actually normal between countries which are situated very close each other. The main cause of these cycles is that both countries are just pursuing their national interest, nothing more. To say that this also has something to do with different culture between the two is somewhat misleading. Indonesia and Malaysia have strong cultural ties but they both often spat each other because of pursuing national interest albeit that strong grass root emotional dimension is involved in some cases.

Future flare ups between these two countries are quite expected. All we need is a risk management to avoid any straining issues become worse. Apart from this is a close communication between political elite, and free and responsible media as well as strong civil society especially in Indonesian side. It is well known that Indonesian media frequently blow up many small issues into serious ones which may stir up strong emotional repercussion for Indonesian people.

Close communication and consultation between the two governments are necessary to avoid misunderstandings and suspicions in any sensitive issues. The issue handling of US Marine stationing in Darwin may provide the best example why communication and consultation are necessary to smooth any potentially sensitive issues properly.