Last week, Indonesia at Melbourne celebrated its first birthday. We almost let it pass by unacknowledged but we had second thoughts and decided that we would take the opportunity to quickly look back at our first year online.
Perhaps appropriately, this also happens to be our 100th post. Our first 100 pieces were written by more than 60 different authors, more than half of them Indonesian. Indonesian experts also featured strongly in Talking Indonesia podcasts. More than 70 per cent of the 24 podcasts we posted in our first year featured Indonesian guests.
Obviously this wouldn’t mean much if we didn’t have any readers (or listeners). We would like to thank you all for your support, for your comments, and for sharing our articles. Our readership has grown steadily over the year and is continuing to climb. We’re especially pleased that 44 per cent of our audience is now located in Indonesia, followed by Australia, the United States, Singapore and the Netherlands.
Just in case you missed them the first time around, these were the 10 most viewed posts in our first year:
- Don’t care how, I want it now! Who are kelas menengah ngehe – the awful middle class?
Just scraping into the first year, Salut Muhidin’s piece on kelas menengah ngehe clearly struck a chord with readers. With many more Indonesians likely to enter the middle class over the next few years, Salut warns that the sometimes selfish behaviour of the middle class may soon become a lot more common.
- Bima Arya and Hizbut Tahrir’s grand plan
Bogor Mayor Bima Arya Sugiarto did further damage to his already battered reputation when he inaugurated the new office of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) in February. PhD candidate Burhanuddin Muhtadi wrote that courting leaders like Bima Arya is part of the Islamist organisation’s broader strategy to gain influence in Indonesia.
- What is Bogor Mayor Bima Arya playing at?
Readers were obviously concerned about Bima Arya’s conservative turn. Just a few months earlier, we featured another viral piece about the Bogor mayor. Lies Marcoes wrote that having failed to improve public service delivery, Bima Arya was cosying up to hard-line groups to boost his sagging popularity.
- LGBT Indonesians on campus: too hot to handle
Hendri Yulius wrote several popular posts on gender and sexuality issues during our first year. Here he discussed the proposal of the minister of higher education, research and technology to ban lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Indonesians from university campuses, which kicked off a three-month campaign of hate against sexual minorities.
- Ahok: loved and hated governor of Jakarta
With the 2017 Jakarta governor’s election fast approaching, incumbent Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has rarely been out of the media. Helen Pausacker’s profile of the man universally known as Ahok has gradually built up a large number of views, many months after it was first posted.
- Why do Indonesian women join radical groups?
This piece from Lies Marcoes looked at the motivations of some Indonesian women for joining radical groups. They are not simply victims of stronger or more charismatic men, Lies wrote, rather they believe in the idea of the caliphate as the answer to social injustice, and that involvement in jihad will lead to them being accepted as equal to men in their communities.
- Q&A: Dede Oetomo on the LGBT panic
Nearly two months into the national freak-out over the rights of LGBT Indonesians, we spoke to veteran gay activist Dede Oetomo. With his extensive knowledge and experience, Dede was able to offer new insights into an issue that had already been discussed at great length.
- Jokowi’s risky anti-foreign rhetoric
Throughout 2015, President Joko Widodo and a number of senior officials made statements about foreign powers attempting to meddle in Indonesian affairs. Robertus Robet examined the growing use of anti-foreign rhetoric, and what it might mean for the ethnic Chinese minority.
- Regulating the bedroom: sex in Aceh’s criminal code
Hendri Yulius combed over Aceh’s new criminal code, the Qanun Jinayat, which the government began enforcing in October 2015. Hendri noted that although the new code seems preoccupied with issues of sex, the legal basis for criminalising sexuality is weak.
- Indonesian cinema soars, no thanks to the government
Late in 2015, Gaston Soehadi looked back at what was a highly successful year for Indonesian films on the world stage, with more than a dozen films being screened at international festivals.
The top five podcasts, meanwhile, were:
- Dr Matthew Wai-Poi on inequality
2. Solahudin on the 2016 Jakarta terror attack
3. Wawan Mas’udi on Jokowi as a leader
4. Dr Antje Missbach on the Rohingya asylum seekers
5. Eve Warburton on resource nationalism
Thanks again for your loyal readership. We’ve found the process of producing Indonesia at Melbourne incredibly rewarding, we hope you have enjoyed reading the site. If you have any feedback on what we could be doing better, we’d love to hear from you.
Finally, to those who are celebrating tomorrow, have a blessed Eid!