Category: Society

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.

Indonesians often complain about kelas menengah ngehe, or the “awful middle class”, on social media. But despite the ubiquity of the term, there is little consensus on how to define it. Who are the awful middle class? And what makes them so ngehe? Dr Salut Muhidin takes a look at the phenomenon.

Despite the many problems of its domestic leagues, Indonesia has a strong and passionate football fan culture. Who exactly supports football and in what ways? What can be done to improve the game, for supporters and players? Dr Ken Setiawan discusses these issues and more with Dr Andy Fuller in the latest episode of Talking Indonesia.

Nearly 2 million Australians watched Indonesian-born sisters Tasia and Gracia Seger take out the final of My Kitchen Rules on 26 April. Indonesia at Melbourne spoke to the girls about their approach to cooking and their views on the Australia-Indonesia relationship.

Why do Indonesians migrate? And how do women – the majority of Indonesian migrants – maintain links with their home country? Dr Ken Setiawan speaks to Dr Monika Winarnita about these issues and more in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

Indonesia has seen a sustained attack on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community over the past two months, triggered by comments made by the minister of higher education, research and technology, Muhammad Nasir. Indonesia at Melbourne spoke to the godfather of gay activism in Indonesia, Dede Oetomo, about the moral panic gripping the nation.

Jakarta bid farewell to the Kalijodo red-light district last week. The city administration had announced plans to raze the area and turn it into green space just 20 days before the bulldozers moved in. Freelance photographer Imang Jasmine was there to capture the notorious district’s final moments.

Most Indonesian streets appear tired and unloved. But they are also the only truly public spaces in Indonesian cities. Dr Amanda Achmadi profiles Visual Jalanan, an initiative that aims to document the provocative, profound and often silly visual works and activities found on streets across the country.