Category: Society

Former State Secretary and Islamic scholar Djohan Effendi died in Geelong, Victoria, on 17 November after a long illness. His former student Ihsan Ali-Fauzi remembers a quietly principled man who was committed to challenging religious exclusivism.

Indonesia’s massive population is comprised of hundreds of ethnicities. The ethnic Chinese are one of the largest but their numbers are much smaller than is commonly believed. Charles A. Coppel takes a look at recent census data to provide a more accurate picture of this often stigmatised group.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has been ripped to shreds for saying that it was time for pribumi (‘native or indigenous Indonesians’) to be masters in their own land. Professor Denny Indrayana looks at the history of the term and questions whether there is any such thing as a true pribumi.

Can Jakarta’s urban villages (kampung) co-exist with residential, infrastructure, and commercial projects planned for the city? What do the controversies surrounding evictions and Jakarta’s kampung communities reveal about social and economic divides? Dr Charlotte Setijadi discusses these issues and more with Dr Rita Padawangi in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

After leading massive protests against former Jakarta Governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama, the past few months have seen the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) doggedly pursuing individuals who have criticised the organisation online. Sana Jaffrey and Siswo Mulartono look at the significance of this phenomenon and explain why is it likely to continue.

Police named Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab a suspect in a high-profile pornography case on Monday. Dr Helen Pausacker writes that while many of his opponents would like to see him behind bars, there is little legal justification for charging him under the Pornography Law.

Tempo journalist and founder of the Association of Independent Journalists (AJI), Ahmad Taufik, died on 23 March. Taufik’s friend and colleague, Andreas Harsono, reflects on the life of a courageous journalist, who was sent to prison by the Soeharto regime for his defence of media freedom.

On 10 December, Indonesia lost one of its most passionate, outspoken and committed public intellectuals and activists: George Junus Aditjondro. Professor Ariel Heryanto reflects on the rich and colourful life of his friend and colleague, who died in Palu, Central Sulawesi, at the age of 70.

The bizarre arrest of Perth teenager Jamie Murphy in Bali last month prompted another round of tabloid reporting about Australians whose dream Bali holiday had turned into a nightmare. But Professor Tim Lindsey writes that the image of Bali as a dangerous “Yobbo Paradise” is inaccurate. In fact, of the more than one million Australians who travelled to Bali last year, only 60 had direct contact with police over issues or charges.

Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s time as leader has been marked by urban evictions on an unprecedented scale. Some 325 locations have been slated for eviction by the end of 2016, in the months approaching the 2017 governor’s elections. Dr Ian Wilson examines how urban poor groups, residents and their allies are mobilising and networking in response to the forced removals.

During the New Order period, the middle class was routinely depicted as small (less than 10 per cent of the population) and uninterested in democracy. According to Dr Gerry van Klinken, that picture now needs a serious overhaul. They are interested in democracy, he writes, and even more in decentralisation, and play a crucial role in holding the country together.

Anti-Chinese sentiment has deep roots in Indonesian society but there is a widespread perception that it has become worse over recent years, along with the rise of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok. Dr Robertus Robet writes that as Ahok’s opponents have struggled to formulate effective criticism against him, they have resorted to unsophisticated appeals to primordial concerns.