A New Beginning. â€œThe secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings.â€?
- Dave Weinbaum
Editor’s Words MARY ANUGRAH RASITA
Witnessing the growing population of Indonesian students in Melbourne, one can’t help but to think of the need to provide a platform between these two neighbors, Indonesia and Australia.
The design of the magazine was also inspired to a brand new start, in which our designers have paid innumerable energy in creating the entire visual identity of the magazine.
Arguably, not everything has gone digital. We can witness a lot of tangible opinions in the form of magazine remain attractive to our aesthetic eyes and questioning minds (praise be to the nicely stacked magazines at the nicely designed bookshops across this beautiful city of Melbourne).
With the writings being revolved around “A New Beginning” theme, I would say, many of the writings are narrated from a post-adolescent-themed point of view, which at the same time writes our excitement as well as anxiety in looking at the future and the quasi-freedom of life in Indonesia, Australia, and beyond. Nonetheless, the writings seek to look into things through new lenses that mattered in many ways.
Perspektif, Indonesian for perspective, is hopeful to voice new opinions and perspectives on things that mattered through conventional platform that we believe has not lost its beautiful force to this date. The theme for the founding edition of Perspektif is “A New Beginning” because the magazine is lucky to have it established at the beginning of a new and exciting year for many aspects of lives in Indonesia and Australia.
After all, know that for us, it matters so much on where we intend to go anew, and that is to go with your support! Send us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or say hello to our Facebook account @PPIA Melbourne University (we went digital too!). It is exciting to unfold new perspectives designed and written by enthusiastic individuals that Perspektif Magazine is lucky enough to host. Enjoy doing so!
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CON TENTS 04
“WHAT DOES NEW BEGINNING MEAN TO YOU” Meet our talented Perspektif magazine team and see what’s on their mind about this first edition theme.
POLITICS & SOCIETY THE BOOZE BILL
NEW BEGINNINGS FOR AUSTRALIA - INDONESIA PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE RELATIONSHIP
Liam Gannon & Tim Graham TWO FAMILIAR STRANGERS Sarah Rennie DEMOCRACY, WHAT DEMOCRACY? Mary Rasita OURSAY INDONESIA Exclusive Interview with Muhammad Arif, CEO of Oursay Indonesia.
LIBERALISM AS A DESTRUCTIVE FORCE Puteri Komarudin
BUSINESS & ECONOMY GFC: A DOOM OR AN OPPORTUNITY?
Syane Agacy Satyawirawan, Stefanny Gunawan and Felicia Kok
SILVER LININGS IN THE MIDST OF INDONESIA’S TUMBLING Victor Febriant ECONOMY MAJORING IN THE SCIENCE OF GETTING RICH Felicia Kok THE RISE OF LOCAL BRANDS REGIME Adeine Lim SURVIVING THE AGE OF NETWOK INTELLIGENCE
Dipto Harendra Pratyakarsa & Lukman Arbi
CONTRIBUTORS’ PAGE PPIA CORNER
ARTS, EDUCATION & CULTURE FREE PROSE SECTION By Putu Dea Kartika Putra and Allan Tanoemarga MICKEY IS DEAD Dylan Amirio PANCASILA Andreas Budiman BEGINNERS’ GUIDE ON SURVIVING UNI Putu Dea Kartika Putra CULTURAL APPROPRIATION 101 Allan Tanoemarga
ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE A LONG WAY HOME Aishanatasha Adisasmita
DEGUSTATION Claudia Halim
26 27 32 36 40 66 70
UNEMPLOYED AND UNSCRIPTED: the everyday life of a young aussie in Indonesia Michael Reardon
THE HANDSOME BRICK BUILDING I CALD HOME Heny Purnamasari
MEDIA & LIFESTYLE: an oblivious society Rama Adityadarma
74 77 80
“A new beginning means... you make a brand new start, or you simply pick up where you left off. Either way, it’s a story in the making. “
“A New Beginning is risky and rewarding at the same time. It takes place only when people are emotionally ready to behave and think in a whole new way.”
“A new beginning is your golden ticket that takes you to the place where the past doesn’t haunt you and the future excites you more than it scares you.”
MARY ANUGRAH RASITA
Editor-in-Chief Media & Communications and International Studies Bach. of Arts University of Melbourne
Advisor/President of PPIA Economy & Management Bach. of Commerce University of Melbourne
Founder/Vice President of PPIA Media & Communications and International Studies Bach. of Arts University of Melbourne
“A new beginning is a cliché that people can’t seem to get enough of; it’s whatever you want it to be.”
A new beginning: “a blank canvas where we can create something amazing”
“A new beginning is when we leave our old lives behind. Nevertheless,it does not disregard lessons from the past as they will be our important experience to achieve a better future. “
PUTU DEA KARTIKA PUTRA
ELBERT DAVIS ANGDIKA
Managing Editor Master of Global Media Communications University of Melbourne
Founder/Secretary of PPIA Media & Communications Bach. of Arts University of Melbourne
Advisor/Marketing Coordinator of PPIA Mechanical System Bach. of Science University of Melbourne
“A new beginning to me means picking up a different book, turning the page only means dealing with the same shit from scratch.”
“A fresh start, when we are free to establish ourselves according to what we want, without fear or indebted to any.”
“A new beginning, is it? It reminds me of dawn, clean laundries, the fragrant of new books, babies just born and back-to-school stationery shopping. They make me feel good.”
Politics & Society Editor Master of Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing University of Melbourne
Politics & Society Editor International Studies Bach. of Arts Monash University
Arts & Education Editor Sociology and Media & Communications Bach. of Arts University of Melbourne
Business & Economy Editor Finance and Economics Bach. of Commerce University of Melbourne
“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
“A new beginning is the result of having the strength and courage to start again and receiving the overwhelming sense of peace that follows.”
“A new beginning is a piece of fiction too often placed in every one’s “blank page”. It is only real when one starts making things happen instead of wanting it.”
“Hope, freedom; those exhilirating feelings of not knowing what comes next and what to expect.”
ADELA R. SAPUTRA
Designer Media & Communication Bach. of Arts University of Melbourne
Designer/Photographer Media & Communications and Art History Bach. of Arts University of Melbourne
Designer Architecture Bach. of Environments University of Melbourne
Design Consultant Finance & Marketing Bach. of Commerce University of Melbourne
“A new beginning…a fresh start where new unexpected things happen”
Photo Credit Nicole Hartono
THE BOOZE BILL P 08
So why the hell would anyone wants to ban booze and restricts our freedom to get smashed and tipsy? When did we lose sovereignty over our own consciousness?
IN THE UNITED STATES
BOOTLEGGERS OR CRIMI NAL ACTIVITIES DURING THE ER A
$ $$ Al Capone made his entire fortune because of this bill alone
it is estimated from 1919 -1929 that bootleggers made $500 million in distribution of illegal alcohol
Homicide increased from 6.8 per 1000 in 1920 to 10 per 1000 in 1929.
Police funding increased by $11.4 million
The pursuit of obtaining happiness is different from one individual to another. Some use mind-altering substances such as marijuana, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine or other (legal or illegal) drugs, while some might choose not to use them. “To take the edge off” or “having a crutch at the end of a stressful day” are some of the reasons why humans drink alcohol. Binging on the “elixir of life “ or taking part in a three-day bender is an accepted part of being a Gen Y in Australia. This, however, is starting to change. As with anything, uncontrolled consumption of alcohol can lead to problems, and that’s why we are seeing movements supporting moderation in alcohol consumption springing up in Australia. Febfast, for example, is a movement and a charitable event where participants are encouraged to pause the consumption of their drug of choice. And a spate of alcohol-induced violence has forced state governments to introduce new alcohol laws. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, a bill to banthe sale and consumption of alcohol is being discussed. One lobby group supporting this bill, Gerakan Moral Anti Miras (Anti Alcohol Moral Movement) can be seen as the equivalent of North American prohibition era temperance movement. It has been aggressively pushing for the bill to be enacted by providing workshops and belligerently lobbying lawmakers. But, aside from asking why the hell would anyone want to ban booze and restrict our freedom to get tipsy, we also need to ask whether or not there is a healthy, open discussion on the matter.
IN THE UNITED STATES
BOOTLEGGERS OR CRIMIN AL ACTIVITIES DURING THE ERA
561% Theft and burglaries
increased by 9% Number of federal convicts increased by 561%
Culturally, Indonesians have been consuming and producing alcohol for a very long time. Drinks such as tuak and arak have existed even before the Dutch set foot in what is now Indonesia. Alcohol is culturally innate in Indonesia, just like in western cultures where alcohol is an acceptable drug to consume. Alcohol prohibition has its proponents and opponents. And some of the obvious opponents to alcohol prohibition are local manufacturers, as well as the tourism and nightlife industry. If there is a prohibition for alcohol in Indonesia, it would be hard to see how those Bintang singlets remain one of the most famous faces of Indonesian tourism in Australia. If the bill is enacted then Bali, an alternative utopia for schoolies, would experience a huge dive in economic viability because tourism industry is their single biggest economic income. When the United States of America prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol in the 20s and 30s, some of the results were pretty
$ $ $ As of 1924
$40M of liquor were
Federal prison population increased by 366%
bad. Bootleggers started springing up, brewing unregu lated blackmarket moonshine, which did not only gave a boost for organised crime (including for the infamous Al Capone) but also resulted in poisoning of as many as ten thousand in the US. Haven’t we learned anything from the past? Prohibition does not work. A representative of Anti Alcohol Moral Movement did not turn up for an interview request for this article. Maybe one needs to have a pint to take the edge off and talk.
being smuggled in the U.S.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT
BENEFITS THE CRIMINALS
THAT RUNS THE BLACKMARKET AND
STATE’S TAX REVENUE
THAT COULD’VE BEEN COLLECTED
IF ALCOHOL WAS LEGAL
Infographic art by: Adela Risha Saputra Infographic Sources: www.druglibrary.org/prohibitionresults3.htm www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/ne/ne2a.htm www.alcohol-facts.net/alcohol-timeline.html www.aaanativearts.com/article1609.html
CAUSIDY organization gathering. Source: CAUSIDY Facebook page.
NEW BEGINNINGS FOR AUSTRALIA - INDONESIA PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE RELATIONSHIP Liam Gannon Tim Graham
The year 2013 saw a great momentum behind developing Australia-Indonesia ties, with Australia’s relationship with Indonesia and its place in the ‘Asian Century’ emerging as important political talking points in an Australian election year. Unfortunately, recent problems in the relationship still highlight how little we understand each other. Just as Australians often have little notion of how Indonesian
government and society functions, many Indonesians still harbour misconceptions about what kind of place Australia is and how it sees itself as a constructive neighbour to countries in Asia. Building trust between politicians and bureaucrats is one thing, but the bedrock of healthy AustraliaIndonesia relationship will always be people-to-people links.
While the incoming Australian government has announced a number of policies designed to strengthen educational and business links, groups of young people have also taken the initiative to build such links. The Australia-Indonesia Youth Association, or AIYA, is a big part of this story. AIYA was founded by a group of young Australian professionals and students with a passion for building this people-to-people relationship. The mission was a simple one: to connect young Australians and Indonesians with each other and to careers and opportunities; to inform young people about Indonesia; and to inspire business, governments and other organisations to facilitate youth engagement with Indonesia and Australia. The most effective solutions to building people-to-people ties need not be complicated. One of the weaknesses in the Australia-Indonesia relationship which AIYA founders were acutely aware of was the simple lack of personal networks and connections between the two countries. The fact is that too few students and young professionals — in both of our countries — have direct experience of the bilateral relationship. 2013 was a year of new beginnings for AIYA as the organisation successfully delivered its flagship initiative, the inaugural Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth (CAUSINDY). Thirty young leaders from Australia and Indonesia gathered in Canberra last October under the theme of ‘Our Turn to Decide.’
The conference was a terrific exchange of ideas between delegates, business and government leaders, politicians, academics and journalists about how to build the relationship. The conference’s recommendations were then presented to Ambassador Greg Moriarty in Jakarta. The personal connections and friendships that emerged amongst CAUSINDY delegates highlighted how important it is to simply get young Indonesians and Australians together in the same room, talking about the big issues. In that spirit, preparations for CAUSINDY 2014 in Jakarta are already underway, so watch this space. CAUSINDY joined an extensive network of chapters, now in every Australian state and territory, which organise events and opportunities for Australians and Indonesians at a local level. This year, AIYA looks forward to the formal launch of its first Indonesian chapter in Jakarta, with more to follow soon after. From this year of new beginnings, AIYA has great hopes for 2014 as the work of governments and the community begins to pay off. As the importance of Australia’s bilateral relationship grows further, people-to-people links will increasingly work as “ballast” against misunderstandings and misconceptions between the two countries. AIYA and Perspektif are a valuable contribution to this effort, and we warmly congratulate Perspektif on its launch issue and look forward to working together in the future.
TWO FAMILIAR STRANGERS
As two neighbouring nations, similar forces, on sea and on land, have shaped, and continued to shape, the histories and future challenges of Australia and Indonesia. How have our two nations, creatures created from the age of colonialism, recovered from this past?
Indonesian President welcomes Abbott Letter. Source: cbs.com.au
As two neighbouring nations, similar forces, on sea and on land, have shaped, and continued to shape, the histories and future challenges of Australia and Indonesia. Several hundreds of years ago, European boats warred over a collection of fertile islands far to the East famed for exotic spices. The growing corporate monopolies of the Dutch East Indies Company then etched out the borders of a future Indonesia. They were also looking south, to the so-called “empty land”, now known as Australia. The British, who found it a convenient dumping ground for their unwanted convicts, appro
priated it. Later on, they wrestled with much of the country until it submitted into a dusty imitation of the European pasture. And so they flocked, dreaming of wealth and opportunity, but beyond that the foreigners cared little for these lands, let alone their people. How have our two nations, creatures created from the age of colonialism, recovered from this past? Australia has apologised to aboriginal people for some past injustices. Yet it still clings to the Commonwealth like a small child hugging the leg of an adult it mistakenly thought its parent. In this sunburned country that considers itself egalitarian, our coins still
bare the face of a pale-skinned elderly woman who resides in a palace of 775 rooms on the other side of the globe. Indonesia has tried much harder to escape the clutches of its colonial history and envisioned something bold, inclusive and independent. But the vision of unity in diversity has often been sidelined for a singular, unified vision of development driven by shortterm gains. The economic lives of both our nations are still largely dictated by elites—mining, media magnates, multi-million dollar executives—sharing an imperialist sense of entitlement.
Both our nation-states share frightening statistics of peoples who have been dispossessed of land, of language, culture and life. It is estimated that before the arrival of Europeans, more than 250 languages were spoken on the Australian continent. Today, 35 are under threat while the rest are no longer in use or critically endangered. Of more than 700 languages spoken in Indonesia, 340 are classified as seriously or critically endangered. Our environments have not fared much better. Australia has lost about 38% of its forest cover since European settlement and has one of the worst mammal extinction rates in the world. More than a quarter of the planet’s mammal extinctions in the past 200 years have taken place in Australia. Since the 1990s Indonesia has lost around a third of its primary forest. One of the most biologically diverse regions in the world, Indonesia’s endangered species list is growing at an alarming rate today with 147 mammals, 114 birds and 91 fish species. When it comes to protecting what we have, both our track records are shameful. As nations, it appears we do not wish to really understand and respect the land upon which we live, or the people whose traditional lands we continue to exploit. In this sense, Australia and Indonesia are not just strangers to each other—we are strangers to ourselves.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Both of our nations are blessed with diverse, dynamic and creative people. Citizens have the opportunity to redefine who we are. And there are many signs of hope. In recent decades, Indonesians have succeeded in winning stronger voices for ordinary people through decentralised government, press and other political freedoms. After centuries of disempowerment, indigenous communities throughout Indonesia are now embarking on mapping projects to have their customary rights to traditional lands formally and legally acknowledged. At the same time, there is a growing campaign in Australia to recognise Aboriginal people in our national constitution. This is the perfect opportunity for Australia to reflect more honestly on its past, loosen those old European ties to start engaging fully within our region. Both of our nations will struggle, no doubt, to let go of colonial attitudes. In a very globalised age, we will find challenges to find a way to respect local people, cultures and environments as well as opening up more spaces for those that are imported. But as governments and citizens in both our countries try to address these shared challenges, there is much we can learn from each other. And, as so often happens with strangers, once we share our stories, our histories and our hopes, we may find the once familiar strange— and the strange strangely familiar.
Mary A. Rasita
As Indonesia enters an election year, it is worthwhile to think about the role of media, especially if we look at the conglomeration of mass media in the country.
The media is what people turn their attention to for information, including when making decisions as active participants of democracy. However, as media in Indonesia are mostly owned by certain political and economic interests, we should ask whether the role of media as an important essence of democracy is undermined. Conglomeration of media is not a new issue. In Australia, for example, John Fairfax Holdings and News Corporation have firmly caught the Australian media in their web of domination. The danger of conglomeration in media is when people are not aware of its implications. With only a handful of media owners possessing the large number of media in the country of 238 million people, it is hard to see how people can attain the right to be informed on what they really need to know, unadulterated by the manifestation of political and economic interests behind the making of news. In early 2013, ‘Behind the Frequency’, a documentary directed by Ucu Agustin on conglomeration of media was screened at several film festivals across the country, as well as in Melbourne, Australia. This film captured how political and economic interests of media owners significantly influence the presentation of news and information in Indonesia.
The film also helps us frame the discussion on how three of Indonesia’s biggest and most prominent media organisations are owned by three of Indonesia’s most influential political and business figures, and they are among the contenders for the upcoming Indonesia’s 2014 presidential election. Some would simmer the situation down to the idea that these presidential hopefuls are using media channels and newspapers to promote their specific ideological agenda and to gain the public electoral support.
The danger of conglomeration in media is when people are not aware of its implications.
It might be true. An election survey conducted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies shows that poverty and illiteracy remain as some of the major problems in Indonesia, which is linked to the situation where people choose their Presidential candidate based on the most familiar faces that they could recall. As television plays an important role in the everyday lives of Indonesians, media owners who serve as presidential
candidates will significantly target this group of people through their constant appearance on the screen, as well as the newspapers that their fortune owned. What is interesting, however, is to see how the country has seen an increase of the size of mass media. The number of media outlets in Indonesia has grown hugely compared to the number in the Soeharto era, when media were heavily restrained and silenced. What remains in question is, does this multiplicity directly transcends itself into a diversity of voices and opinions? Have the voices and realities presented on television and newspapers been transformed into differing voices that represent the plurality of the nation at large? The growing number itself, ironically, does not represent what fits democracy best. The majority of those media outlets are owned by corporate interest, seeking to channel their own agenda. The situation is frightening because of the fact that the majority of Indonesians are still left with little access to education that foster critical thinking towards information presented to them.
Some would argue that the nationâ€™s democracy have been murdered and the very practice of democracy has been destabilised by the owning of media by conglomerates who employ media only for their own interests. It is now probably a good time to consider what Noam Chomsky argues in his 1989 book Necessary Illusions that â€˜citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for meaningful democracy.â€™ At the end of the day, the basis for a meaningful democracy lies indeed in the hands of the people, who need to stand against conglomeration of media that seeks only to promote certain political and economic agenda. The people will have to fight for their rights to be informed about the truth, and to have their media serving their role as the watchdog of the state of affairs in their country.
INDONESIA The ability of a society to uphold democracy lies in its ability to connect people with their political leaders. OurSay, an Australian organisation which aims to do this by utilising social media, inspired an Indonesian student in Australia, Muhammad Arif, to start OurSay Indonesia â€“which was launched in January 2014. We had a chat with him about the challenges and inspiration of OurSay Indonesia. INTERVIEW BY Tito
to optimise its infant democracy. I asked other Indonesian students in Melbourne to expand OurSay to Indonesia, and ultimately OurSay Indonesia was officially established during the website launching on January 14, 2014. What were the challenges in setting it up in Indonesia? Gathering up the audiences, definitely. People in Indonesia can be easily persuaded but it has to be memorable in order to get them to participate. The other one is to raise the awareness among the people. The awareness that we are trying to raise is the one that is related to social and political issues. What is going to be the first project for OurSay Indonesia?
Source: Oursay Indonesia
Can you tell us the process of how OurSay Indonesia came to be? OurSay was first established by Eyal Halamish in Melbourne, Australia in 2010. The idea was basically to build a bridge between citizens and those in charge through the power of social media. By doing so, OurSay is hoping to revitalise democracy. Indonesia is the third largest democracy-based country in the world, with some of the most active users of social media. So OurSay sees an opportunity to provide a platform to help Indonesia
Technically, the first project was to launch our website and gather the audiences to participate in our effort to revitalise democracy. That was done in January 14th 2014. At the launch, we were lucky to have Andari Agustien (Prambors Radio Announcer) as the moderator, Affin Bahtiar (winner of Abang Jakarta Timur Pageant), and Bondan Winarno (a notable journalist in Indonesia). Since the launch, weâ€™ve focussed on encouraging people to participate inour online forum: Youth in Indonesia 2.0. In this forum, we have Adhyaksa Dault (Former Minister of Youth and SportAffair), Utut Adianto (Indonesian chess Grand Master) and Bayu Prijawan Djokosoetono (CEO of Bluebird group and General treasurer of HIPMI) as our panellists.
What are your long-term goals for OurSay Indonesia? OurSay Indonesia hopes to provide efficient and effective platformto optimise the communication between citizens and leaders in Indonesia. We believe it can be achieved by conducting transparent communication and the knowledge that the message from the citizen is transmitted effectively to the people in charge through a platform that is safe from any political influence. We also believe a nation-wide usage of OurSay Indonesia can be one of the efforts. We also hope that our presence in Indonesia can encourage the government to enhance the infrastructure in terms of internet availability remote areas of Indonesia. Why do we care about internet availability? It is simply because we understand that internet can transmit information quickly. As a nation, all citizens have the right to possess all kinds of information. As an archipelago, distances are Indonesia’s number one problem. By establishing a quality infrastructure throughout the islands, the internet can provide the right to information. What do you think of Click Activism -is it real activism? Click Activism is one of the ways to deliver aspirations. It is just a matter of what tools that people use, and what people think is suitable and effective for them to deliver their concerns and make changes.
In certain perspectives, Click Activism can be valued as efficient tools to gather masses and empower them to reach certain objectives or goals. It is seen as an efficient way, because it needs considerablyless effort rather than other physical ways of activism, like holding street protests. Election in 2014 -do you think it’s going to be a new beginning or is it going to be a trace back to the past? In prominent cities such as Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya, there willbe slight improvement in the way that people vote. The increase of political awareness in society makes people more objective in voting based on their political knowledge rather than on candidates’ popularity or even money that are sometimes involved in a campaign. But, we cannot say much about other rural areas in Indonesia. The low rate of political awareness due to the lack of education in rural areas makes money politics the one that walk the walk. Anything else you’d like to say about OurSay Indonesia? Make sure you participate in our democracy empowerment. If you’re interested in getting on to our platform to revitalize democracy in Indonesia, make sure you post a question or vote one at www.oursayindonesia.org , and like our facebook page (www.facebook. com/OurSayIndonesia) , and follow our Twitter & Instagram (@OurSayID & oursayindonesia) Cheers for Democracy!
LIBERALISM P 22
AS A DESTRUCTIVE FORCE Puteri Komarudin
The recent leaks by Wikipedia and Edward Snowden pose this question about liberalism: in the internet era, can our current structure of society cope with information running free? How much control is too much or too little? In this edition of Perspektif, Puteri Komarudin looks back at the core idea of Liberalism and ask whether the classic idea of this philosophy is useful for us to build our way forward in this new world. Photo by: Jo Winata
Embarking on a new beginning resembles a lot with the core idea of Liberalism. But does Liberalism have a core, when it is essentially a contentious social and political doctrine? Some view it as a destructive force; others regard it as a creative force that gives rise to freedom and security. The South African author Alan Paton described Liberalism in a speech in 1953 as not ‘the creed of any party or any century,’ but ‘a generosity of spirit, a tolerance of others, an attempt to comprehend otherness, a commitment to the rule of law, a high ideal of the worth and dignity of man, a repugnance for authoritarianism and a love of freedom’ In other words, liberalism is a social ideal that calls for the equality of men, for allowing every person to grow on his or her own terms, and for recognizing differences among individuals as something that is to be celebrated rather than resisted. While many other definitions of liberalism may be given, this one seems to strike at the root of liberalism. In order to appreciate liberalism’s role and importance, it is vital to recognise that the majority of modern liberal society is embedded within a huge bureaucratic and social constructs called states that greatly restrict their members’ freedoms while giving them some rights, obligations and securities. In fact, the ideal of total political and social freedom does not exist, nor has it ever existed. In reality men are always free but must face the consequences of their actions. Social systems are just coor
dinated ways in which people behave, and one is always free to take something from someone else, but the coordinated reaction of that society might end up making him not wanting to take that freedom. A defence of a new classical liberalism There is currently a new struggle for stronger democracies in many countries where people see the need and the possibility for control of their economies and media-controlled democracies. The Internet is for today’s generation what the printing press was for generations past. If classic liberalism is to keep fighting for the freedoms and respect for the dignity of the others, it is in this arena of ideas that the fight must take place. As the liberal philosopher Susan Moller Okin argues in her essay ‘Political Liberalism, Justice, and Gender’, at the core of liberalism is the desire to create a society that belongs to all, and a society that places limits on individuals only so far as necessary to protect life, liberty, and property. This society is not owned by the rich, the powerful nor the inheritors of privilege, but by all. Liberals understand that voting is a meaningless activity when voters don’t understand the issues, don’t care about them, or don’t believe that it is in their powers to change anything. In this way liberalism aims to be a destructive force: by destroying apathy and ignorance, it creates a citizenry whose members are active participants in the society they create and develop.
Photo Credit Nicole Hartono
Hard liquor i don’t need a metaphor to show the world how much I despise you how beautiful you are to me how you turned my life upside down rightside up i don’t need distractions to show the world pure, undiluted meaning no effigies, no statues to erect the world should swallow you -and spit you outwhole.
Real estate Words from your past haunt me They roam through the thin walls of my memories They murder me in my sleep, every now and again Old ghosts are hard to exorcise So set me on fire, Burn me to the ground. Move away, Or maybe start anew.
Nothing about me
Forgive me though, I was a bad investment.
you call my life a sorrow a dark tunnel without no ends but yours I never judge I let you live, I never tell is life grander in your eyes? show me what you said I have missed! make me alive, for you see me dying “you’re in despair”, you pity me dearly if bright enough your life is then let me ask you questions: would I be happy if I live like everyone else? would I be merry if I speak like everyone else? then are you happy and are you merry? for i have heard one too many from everyone else
MICKEY IS DEAD Dylan Amirio P 27
Being a teen idol is certainly in my opinion, possibly the harshest job that a human being could ever hold. Especially if, these idols were bred by the semi-immortal superempire that is Disney. The harshness of a career as a Disney teen idol will be felt the most when these idols inevitably age into adulthood and begin to mature, as they are supposed to be. During their active careers, the world and their corporate backers will give them the image as if they are on top of the world, and will stay there. When they age, it seems that their audience and their corporate backers slowly and painfully abandon them. These artists have their careers dictated by Disney, thus stifling any bouts of creativity that may pop up, and therefore narrowing what they are capable of as musicians. Artists are merely there to sell merchandise for Disney, and that is why it is up to the artists to fight for their artistic integrity and their own identity. After having their identities forced upon them by Disney during their career, they will find themselves wanting their own as they inevitably age and become exposed to an adult world. Miley Cyrus, is an excellent example of this, as her current image now was an effort on her own accord. She began to become aware of the music world outside of Disney and started becoming.. who she is now: palling with hip-hop artists, starring in provocative videos of her own or of her new friends, basically creating her own image, how
ever frowned upon it may be. By breaking out of the Disney mentality, she gained her individuality. The same goes for other Disney artists such as Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato, as they have become pop stars on their own, within their own image. They have managed to shed the Disney-ness out of themselves and managed to become themselves. The thing with the recently split up Jonas Brothers, is that what they offer is not something that is wholly looked for by the mainstream. They are, with all due respect, a rock band. In the eyes of the rock world, the music that they make can be described as generic, even descending towards the term, â€œboybandâ€?, mostly due to their teenage appeal.
By breaking out of the Disney mentality, she [Miley Cyrus] gained her individuality. Rock bands are not accepted by the mainstream industry unless they are able to draw the crowds. The Jonases are of course able to do this, with their catchy songs and magazine friendly faces, but because they have become irrelevant over the years, no one would bother, at least not now. The Jonas Brothers, once at the receiving end of the deafening screams of teen girls and the disdain of elder siblings alike, have now announced their break up as a
IL LU STRATIO N BY
Jonas Brothers: Where are they now? Source: bopandtigerbeat.com
band, after catapulting to Disney stardom in 2008. It seemed that we who lived within the band’s lifetime witnessed how quickly their rise and how slowly their fall was. Joe Jonas has penned a long and detailed letter on Vulture.com detailing the difficulties in maintaining a career with Disney and living a normal life afterwards. By 2010, the band seemed to lose their relevance in the teeny bopper scene, as well as the music scene itself due to their previous reputation as former-teen idols. Three years later, the band split on the back of disappointing ticket sales and on apathetically received solo careers and renewed musical directions, and eventually “died”. They were, in lack of a better word, replaced by the “next big things”: Justin Bieber emerged in 2009 while One Direction came out in around 2010. Its harder for the Jo
nas Brothers to be taken seriously as a band due to them being a rock band coupled with their unfortunate history as a former Disney staple. And if they aren’t a rock band, what are they? They certainly dont have the kind of static choreography to lure the public (1D) or the publicity in all the changes they undertake as people and as artists (Bieber). One thing to note is that Bieber or 1D arent Disney-based, but are subjected to the same kind of artistic shackling and therefore are at risk of the same method of death. The problem lies behind their tailored image: the people within the industry who made them who they are. Disney is merely a huge example. Change is frowned upon, at least by the marketing executives at Disney and also by the teens and tweens that grew up and idolised these stars, at least until they are old enough
to realize that change is something that must happen. It has become a disturbing trend amongst the teeny bopper scene that once someone loses their “cuteness” (a.k.a. have reached adulthood, or wanting to) they suddenly lose their relevance and the scene would slowly and painfully abandon them, leaving the artist to fend for themselves in an industry where reputation matters incredibly. It is almost heartbreaking, to see The Jonas Brothers fall from their mountain-high fame to young adult has beens in only the course of 5 years, because with all due respect, they could actually pass off as a credible rock band (and i actually enjoyed some of their songs), if they followed their true instincts. They just had that unfortunate start.
Its the same on how Disney treats its musical artists. The difference is that they are the ones responsible for creating the excitement. When a Disney star ages and starts doing normal adult things and start having a different and more mature lifestyle, they are immediately judged by not only their former audience and their parents but also to the world who knew them as these supposedly innocent human beings, seemingly kept oblivious by the power of Disney’s pop culture. That way, this thought stifles any creativity that the Disney artist may have or may want to implement on their music, because one thing we have to realise is that Jonas songs such as “Burning Up” or “SOS”, or Miley’s “Best of Both Worlds” arent owned by the artists. They are Disney’s and
The moral here is that, if you want to become a pop star, do not become a Disney star. This is why i think the Disney-backed teeny bopper scene is most probably the most judgmental music scene, outside of indie. Kids and teenagers have shorter attention spans than adults and most of them certainly do not consider the merits of appreciating music as it is at least until they start college. Whenever there is something else that excites them, they would abandon whatever was exciting them before.
the artists are merely the vessel in which the conglomerate churns out innocence to an innocent audience. The moral here is that, if you want to become a pop star, do not become a Disney star. Because once you have grown out of their mentality, you will find yourself having to fend for yourself in a world where your reputation as a teeny bopper artist will deter you from being taken seriously. Therefore, it is up to you to reach that stardom, or that level of desired musical creativity.
A nation that does not believe in the power of itself as a nation, can not stand as an independent nation. [ Ir.Soekarno ] Right or wrong my country, more so when we know, our Country is in a dilapidated state, then it is also we must fix it. [Prof. Dr. R. Soeharso] The ideals of the unity of Indonesia is not nonsense, but actually supported by the forces that arise in historical roots of our own nation. [Prof. Moh. Yamin, SH]
PANCASILA Andreas Budiman
Within the life of a nation, a country must have an identity to serve, as a foothold in its relationship with other subjects; be it other countries, organisations or its citizens themselves. Identity here is a special trait to mark a subject, whether it is an inanimate object, or a human being. Identity can shape the physical and non-physical, and it can also take the form of individual or collective, in which the identity of some of the subjects will be owned collectively. Identity can have three literal meaning, which are: as characteristics inherent in humans or objects, a depiction of oneâ€™s personal identity, and it can also be interpreted as the understanding of oneself. Meaning above must be created from multiple sources, including social norms that drive behavior, life of the individual, or how one values others in oneâ€™s environment. Identity has components in form of attributes that significantly give different impressions for each subject, so that others can easily recognise it. These attributes are then required as a determinant for the status and role of the individual in a social environment, especially to establish interactions between each other. Thus, identity emerged from the process of interaction between individuals within their society in an effort to seek recognition.
â€œ THEGREATVALUEOF NATIONALITY OF
Pancasila ENS H R I NED I N TH E BODY
I S OFTEN
With the aforementioned meaning and significance of identity, they should be transcended to the state to serve as its personality. As each national identity is absorbed from noble values that span from ideology to that of culture and religion, each country will have different identity than the others. For Indonesia, the identity that serves as the foundation of the state is Pancasila, and thus its basic principle also serve as the ideology that the nation is embodied in. The task of the people of Indonesia is to implement its exact value within the life of the nation. As a shared ideology, Pancasila is the solution to the plural reality of Indonesia. However, we felt that today, Pancasila is increasingly cornered. Its prestige is dimmed amid increasingly grand flows of democratisation, which in some ways has exceeded the limit. The depth of its philosophy is no longer a solid foundation in this country.
The great value of nationality enshrined in the body of Pancasila is often betrayed by the behavior of most of the nation, including its leaders. Massive increase in intolerant behavior lately is an example of how the spirit of Pancasila that highly exalts the concept of tolerance and diversity has been abandoned. Pancasila can be pictured as sitting in the corner of the room, since it is beleaguered by pettiness and merely superficial selfishness. As a tangible proof of it all, many Indonesian officials were serving sentences as prisoners with variety of cases ranging from corruption to that of being consumed by their desire to have many wives. This is a reflection for all of us, that not only the young people of the nation has harassed the value of Pancasila, but the leaders of these nations also took part in a similar manner. In fact, these leaders are setting a terrible example for this country.
Within the economic sector, there is not much difference. The economy of Pancasila, which is synonymous with the economy of people, is unable to resist the onslaught of the liberalisation of global economy. This powerlessness of the people has become a lost spectre, left behind in the world of ever-changing economy. On the other hand, the foreign power that increasingly dominates the economy actually gets applauded and was served a red carpet. Rampant corruption also confirms the inability of this nation to understand each articles of the Pancasila correctly. The spirit of honesty and justice are fading, only to be replaced by greed and acute opportunism that have gradually undermined the body of Indonesia as a nation. On the other hand, we must be wondering whether the people of the nation, as well as the leaders, know the meaning of each symbol, which is attached to the crest of Pancasila. Not the entirety of the people and leaders of Indonesia truly know what each of the five symbols stands for, respectively; faith in God’s divinity, fair and civilised humanity, unity of Indonesia, democracy guided by wisdom through the unanimity of the people’s representatives, as well as social justice for all Indonesians, It is sad to know that all that is left for people’s understading is just the image, but no room was spared for its meaning.
This is our common concern; we as the society and the nation of Indonesia should be confronted with it, because it is the symbol of our country. One way to overcome the drawbacks of these is to teach the values within the body of Pancasila as early as possible to the young generation of Indonesia, and to encourage them to manifest these benevolent values in everyday life. Hence, the legacy of Indonesia’s history can be derived to the children and our grandchildren, not only to be known alone but also to serve as the driving force of the nation’s consciousness. Therefore, in the start of this new chapter, it is the right time to remind the future generation of Indonesia that it is not too late to turn their consciousness back to Pancasila as a collective ideology. This is the moment to restore the real presence of Pancasila in the midst of society, and to reinvigorate its function from being a mere cherry on top of a well-written speech. Pancasila is not just a magic pill that can cure all diseases. Pancasila is not a magic door, which can bring the people of Indonesia to a prosperity and well being in an instant. However, by being maintained as a solid national spirit, the spirit of Pancasila should be able to re-colour the life of the nation. Pancasila must be optimised to build the unity, harmony, communality and the independence that we once had, so that it will be stronger and can no longer be easily harmed and betrayed by its own children.
6 Beginners' GUIDE
Putu Dea Kartika Putra
Look, I am not going to lie – uni, living separately from your family, having minimum to no friends in the beginning of your degree – they could all be one hell of a scary experience, especially for international students. It’s normal to be afraid, but hey, it’s not going to last forever. Here is a short list of the things you could possibly do to help you get through the (perhaps difficult) new stages of uni life
You can learn a lot just by having an open mind.
Everything will be better, and easier, when you have friends on your back.
At uni, you will meet a plethora of people from differing nationalities and cultures. You will be challenged; your opinions, values, and even your expectations. Don’t let this hinder you. Instead, take this as an opportunity to broaden your horizons and way of thinking. Step out of your comfort zone. Go on and try new things. Get yourself used to thinking critically, as this would help you substantially. Don’t take things as they are – question everything you see and read. Learn to discuss, debate, and agree to disagree. However, respect those differences and keep a humble heart. Remember, you can always learn something from the people around you, even those you don’t necessarily like. Criticism can be constructive, so learn how to take and give one.
P 37 And the good news is, they’re not that hard to come by. You just have to know where to look. Joining clubs – no matter how weird or silly they might sound at first - would be a good start to find those with similar interests. Alternatively, tutorials could also be a great start. Strike up a conversation with the person next to you. For those who are lucky enough to start uni with a group of friends from high school or foundation studies: you should most definitely maintain these friendships, but don’t let that limit your circle of friends. Referring to point 1 would also help.
3 Celebrate diversity, and learn its dynamics.
This may sound like an echo to point 1 –which is true- but here, the focus is more on the communication and interaction aspects. Be prepared to handle the nearly inevitable cultural differences. Be patient and understanding in order to build bridges. Never, ever generalise a whole group through a certain few. With that being said, this shouldn’t be limited to people. When choosing breadth subjects, be spunky enough to take those that really pique your interests –even if it’s significantly different from your major. Enrich your skills. Who knows, maybe one day those philosophy or wine-tasting classes could really help you in the future. Besides, diversified breadth subjects also bring about a smorgasbord of different individuals, which will only amplify the points aforementioned. However, do take subjects you can actually learn from, not just because your friends are doing it, or because it serves you easy marks. Your education costs a fortune; make sure it’s not spent in vain.
4 If you need to share accommodation, learn to live collectively. Living in dorms, colleges, or even shared apartments can be vastly different from living with your family, and this could be a nightmare for some people. You don’t necessarily have to be close friends with your roommate, but it’s definitely better if you are on good terms with each other. So what do you do? Set ground rules and schedules that everyone agrees on the moment you move in together. Draw imaginary lines and stay within them. Label your food items if necessary. Do your own chores whenever you can, or share the load, but stick with the plan. If there are any problems, gently remind them; but be nice about it. It’s better to suck it up and confront it quickly than let it all pile up (like those dishes in the sink you said you’re going to do “tomorrow”). Try to leave the bathroom clean and tidy after you use it. Invest in copious amounts of cleaning products. Unless you’re all alone, don’t sing or blast your own music too loudly. Set good examples in creating a decent living environment. And remember, privacy and personal space should always stay golden.
Learn to live Independently
This goes for each and every one of you, but especially for those living alone. Only rely on yourself. No one will wake you up to make sure you get up on time for that early morning tutorial, so never forget to set your own alarms (and yes, make room for the snooze button). No one will remind you to take your vitamins or to do your upcoming assignment, so you must learn to stick to your own plans and schedules. Don’t procrastinate (too much), because cramming doesn’t always suit everyone. Try to plan social activities and leisure times as well. You’re allowed to play hard, as long as you’ve worked hard enough to earn it. Remember to pay your rent, bills, and tuition fees in time. Back up your files. If you can’t afford the time or money to eat healthy, you should at least compromise with some exercise. Know the materials and be rather prepared before attending tutorials. Be aware of what/where to spend your money on. Save up, or take part-time jobs. Learn to juggle several things at once –metaphorically.
6 You’re not just learning to earn a degree You’re also on your path to adulthood Eventually, you need more than just your degree to be able to thrive in the work industry (including life in general, really.) In order to do that, acquiring soft skills is necessary – planning, organising, social know-hows, and the likes. It takes time and practice, but it’s not impossible. For starters, you can learn to manage your newfound independence. Everyone has different capabilities, talents, and personalities, so don’t worry if you feel like you can’t keep up with your peers. Know your strengths and limits. Set personal, achievable goals, and try not to fall far behind them. Plan well and ahead of time, but leave room for spontaneity. After all, you’re still young; you’re allowed to have good (responsible) fun. Be punctual. Know when to speak up. Stand up for yourself. Work smart, and reward yourself whenever necessary. Surround yourself with the right people. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; learn from them instead.
Ultimately, the key is just to be brave. Have confidence in yourself; you’ve managed to get yourself into the uni of your preference, so you can’t be doing that bad! It’s only 3 short years; try to learn as much as you can and enjoy each moment (even the hard ones), because it will be over before you know it. So chin up and screw your head on straight, you got this!
Cultural Appropriation P 40
101 Allan Tanoemarga
so what gives them right to portray cultures, which they do not really belong to? The matter we have in our hands now, can be considered as something called cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation happens when people adopt other cultures irresponsibly without knowing the significance or history of the cultures. In other words, they are taking the cultures out of context and thus what they portray may stray far from the original meanings. The mentioned appropriation generally happens when people from the Western cultures adopt elements from cultures outside their own, especially those cultures which are considered as minorities in their country.
Gomez wearing a Bindi at the Billboard Music Awards. Hindu leaders deemed the usage of mentioned Hinduism symbol in the commercial performance as culturally insensitive.
From Selena Gomez with the Bindi in her newest music video to the infamous Miley Cyrusâ€™s attempt in using the black culture to rebrand herself, it almost seems like incorporating other cultures is a growing trend amongst the Hollywood stars. Indeed, they manage to grab the public attention - the integration with these cultures do spice up their performance and soon enough they became the talk of the month â€“ however one is not wrong to ask if they are being insensitive. We might agree that Gomez is not of Indian descent and Cyrus arguably has no black ancestor at all;
In other words, they are taking the cultures out of context;
Some examples for this are the usage of Hindi or Japanese imagery as fashion apparels. People tend to trivialise other cultures, and this is when it becomes problematic. People whose cultures are borrowed might deem such act insensitive, if not offensive. Moreover, stereotyping of the borrowed cultures can possibly happen as a result of said trivialisation. The actions done by the Hollywood stars indeed brought the topic to public attention, however, cultures have
Asian traditional costume
The infamous Miley Cyrus portraying black culture in her recent performances. Some critics argue that she is stereotyping and exploiting black culture.
A girl posing and wearing an Asian traditional costume for a Halloween party. She posted it on Tumblr and tagged the picture with both #geisha and #chinese.
The meanings of tattoos written in Chinese/Japanese characters are often lost in translation. Thought to mean ‘beautiful’, the tattoo above actually mean ‘disaster’
long been appropriated by ordinary citizens. Possibly one of the most prominent examples is the irresponsible usage of Indian headdresses by non-native American. First, the Indian costume people used to see often bears very little resemblance to the original regalia of the Native tribes. In fact, there are more than 500 Indian tribes with distinct cultures. By narrowing it down to one and only image that people have been exposed to, it shrinks the diversity into a single monolithic culture. Furthermore, the culture has deep spiritual significances often not understood or even ignored. For example, the warbonnets are only to be used by men in Native communities, not by women. Appropriation is thus made apparent when a woman wears warbonnets.
Some critics assert that this occurs because people tend to utilise and change the meaning of a culture to suit their own personal needs. In other words: it occurs for a selfish reason. As a consequence, it is reasonable if some Indian Natives might see this act of ignorant trivialisation as an insult. Some might argue that cultural appropriation can be seen the other way around, that people from minority groups also borrow some cultures from the Western such as English languages or formal business attires. Those against the argument contend that power between cultural groups is often not distributed horizontally. For instance, it is likely that an individual wearing indigenous attires applying for a job at Wall Street will not be taken seriously. They described this as a
of the borrowed cultures
CAN POSSIBLY HAPPEN AS A RESULT OF SAID
trivialisation. forced appropriation, when one has no choice but to comply and adopt the culture that has more power. A few might also reason that to some extent, it is a product of colonialism. So now we might wonder when it is permissible to borrow from other cultures without appropriating them. The answer to the question is still a subject to debate and heavily relies on oneâ€™s interpretation of cultural appropriation. For example, some people might agree that wearing Bindi is not an appropriation when it is done with the consent of Hindu people. At first, it might seem like a good general rule of thumb, however, things can get more complicated. What
some Hinduism adherents see as an appropriation might not be considered as one by the others. Therefore, a small number of its adherents might not be fit to represent the whole community. There is at least one thing we can learn from this debate: to understand that borrowing from other cultures irresponsibly might bring negative consequences. The least we can do before we adopt from cultures outside our own is to do some research. Understand the significance and meanings, and take a minute or two to ponder whether it is really necessary to borrow one at the first place. Always remember that we are responsible for what we borrow.
Photo by: Jo Winata
a doom or an opportunity? Syane Agacy Satyawirawan, Stefanny Gunawan and Felicia Kok ...there has been a shift, a promising one, on the consumption behavior of typical Indonesian urban millennials. Cool no longer means luxurious, imported items, for these hip youngsters now have set their hearts at local brands
How it started
Unfortunately, it also has exceptionally high interest rates. Sub-primes especially targeted customers with linguistic and age disadvantages, low income and limited knowledge regarding mortgage loans and financial leveraging and “assist” them to own home just like other families.
The 2008 Financial Meltdown, often claimed the second most dreadful financial phenomenon in history after the Great Depression, was neither an accident nor an overnight result of someone’s wrongdoing. Rather, it was an accumulated collaboration of irresponsible conducts practiced by many.
Investment banks saw an opportunity to multiply profits by using sub-primes to link households and investors. At that time, investors had tremendously excessive capitals with few profitable projects to invest in. Meanwhile, the Americans were extremely hyped with the “American Dream”: a dream to own a home. Taking advantage of this, the banks introduced Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) and Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), consisting of sub-prime home loans categorized into safety levels. For simplicity, assume they were secure, fair and risky loans. Sub-primes were then sold to investors in units of CDOs or MBSs in such categories. Investors would then buy them at their own risk preferences. At first, everyone was pleased with sub-prime loans and CDOs: household easily gained access to housing, investment banks generated higher income by selling bundled subprimes in forms of highly demanded CDOs and investors received higher return through CDOs rather other investment projects. Everyone was on cloud nine.
The temporarily prosperous American economy and low interest rates led to a “towering” demand of dwellings despite the increasing house prices. As a result, they borrowed more money than they should, believing they were capable to repay the loan. This caused the housing bubble in USA as the demand for housing increased. At that time, a predatory financial product, sub-prime loans, entered the real estate market. Sub-primes are contractual mortgage-backed loans traded between home seekers and mortgage brokers with extremely low down payments, which was down to 3% of the aggregate loan price and very limited borrowing requirements, such as unnecessary presentation of household financial reports.
The doom came uninvited
The tragedy began when households started defaulting on mortgages as they could not cover the high interests. Consequently, Investment Banks’s cash flow from sub-primes became numerous illiquid houses with decreasing market value. Hence, Investment Banks faced difficulty paying debt obligations to CDO investors. In summary, these failures to meet financial obligations posed a ‘domino effect’ within the housing credit chain, which eventually damaged the global financial system with mountains of debts and led to the GFC. Was the crisis inevitable? Deregulations facilitated the cause of GFC. Under President George Bush’s governance, series of deregulations on tax and banking were implemented, which gave more power and freedom to firms and bankers to take more risks in doing business to increase their own return. In fact, this creates more legal loopholes, allowing corporations to conduct unlawful practices with-
out receiving punishments. However, frankly speaking, most corporates are only profit-oriented hence when there is an opportunity to make more profit without breaching the regulation, why would they not take it? Had the deregulations not be implemented or the government prepared a proper contingency plan in place for a critical situation created by free decisions of companies, the GFC might have not occurred. It is arguable that the US government had performed poor strategy thinking and crisis management planning in handling the GFC which was evident through its resolving decision to collect more tax from citizens to bail out failing banks. Perhaps it was because the government’s attention and capital were intensively spent on concurrently happening Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The government must have understood that deregulation posed threat of failing global economy. This would encourage it to prevent, prepare and contain the contingency plan in case the pre-anticipated scenario occurs, which the government never did.
? ? ?
The bright side
A lesson to learn
Despite all the loss, cries, blames and damages to the financial system born by not only the people involved in the subprime lending but everyone in the entire global financial chain, believe it or not, the GFC had also offered blessings to some others. The global financial system is an endless loop so if a great deficit of funds was happening in America, there had to be surplus accounts somewhere and this happened to be in developing countries such as Indonesia. As global investors ran saving their lives from the tumbling American economy, some held their cash yet some chose to invest and gain interests in other countries, which they believed were less affected by the crisis. For instance, the demand for Rupiah could have increased due to Indonesian investors trying to sell off their US Dollars hence increasing the comparative value of Rupiah. Thus, although the meltdown was a tremendous disadvantage to some big fishes like The US, The Great Britain, French and Japan, emerging economies all around the world might have seen a glimpse of light of the crisis.
Keep in mind, from each busking there are lessons to be learnt in order to avoid the similar in the future. As simple as it can be, one should be careful in decision-making, not to be greed-driven, hasty and unrealistic. Wall Street was overoptimistic when they offered the sub-prime loans, believing offering “insured” predatory housing credits would still keep them above the water but not the insurers and home loaners. ‘Too big to fail’, as they are full of their own selves, hindered them from foreseeing the meltdown. This caused Wall Street to neglect preparing a contingency plan, which left them falling hard face first once the financial system flunked. It is also important to remember that greed and temporary obsessiveness should never rule any decision-making process. This unfortunately had led the banks taking an overly risky and predatory decision to maximize their own return. Should they had put the wellbeing of all above their hidden agenda, this crisis should not have stabbed them from the back.
Silver Linings IN THE MIDST OF
“After all, the prospects are still bright for Indonesia. The main problem does not lie in the people it self, rather it lies in the governance and implemented policies.”
Photo by: Bianca Winataputri
Indonesia was once considered one of the most attractively emerging markets in the world. However, as the truth speaks, this may no longer be the case looking at its gradually weakening currency competence compared to others and the rapid growth of national deficit.
Although the past economic recovery was supported by the significant increase of commodity prices, Indonesia seems to have a tough time using the same model this year. The dependence on fuel subsidies as a part of the pro-poor rhetoric has taken its toll this time on the economy, upon which it had caused a record-breaking trade deficit recently. Aggravated by the excessive political bargaining and governmentâ€™s indecisiveness to increase fuel prices, the inflation rate also had nearly doubled to about 8 per cent from an average of 4. In addition, the complicated bureaucracy that is too cumbersome even for foreign investors to bother with despite the numerous opportunities available has not unleashed investment potentials in Indonesia to the fullest extent. This has caused an impression that the magical economic growth is merely an ancient history and Indonesians are going to be left in dust. The exorbitant number of population financially supported by plenty and numerous more about to join the working age and the fact that Indonesian economy was resilient enough through the recent global crisis are some sort of silver linings to the nation.
Although measures are taken to combat these problems, some seem to be shortterm minded instead of focusing on longterm consequences. An example where the Indonesian Central Bank, Bank Indonesia decided to increase benchmark interest rates rapidly from 5.75% in April to 7.5% in November in order to combat inflation has resulted in damages all across the board. This may seem effective in a short-term basis, but in the longer-term, this exposes a risk of an increase in Non-Performing Loans (NPL), and a slower growth rate in the future. The decision to partially increase fuel prices and to maintain the provision of fuel subsidy all together does not solve the problem. Instead, the gradual move to a market based fuel price is much more appropriate, given that the funds that were once allocated for subsidies may be reinvested in education and infrastructure that may benefit the citizens more in the longer run.
The decision to partially increase fuel prices and to maintain the provision of fuel subsidy all together does not solve the problem.
In addition, Indonesian economic growth in recent years is dominantly fueled by domestic consumption and raw materials export. While national consumption which accounts for two-third of the growth is still there, the other one-third is questionable given the slowdown and sliding prices of main export commodities such as coal and coconut palm oil (CPO).
Photo by: Bianca Winataputri
Fortunately, the slowdown in raw material exports may still be offset by the rapidly growing consumption of the rapidly emerging middle class. As the global economy picks up, the demand for energy and raw materials may increase and being a resource-rich nation, Indonesia might have benefitted significantly from this. Sadly, resources are finite and whilst still progressing on mining and raw materials related projects, Indonesia should invest in higher value products and move up in the value chain. In the meantime, higher minimum wage should be given to the workforce to encourage higher consumption, which can work through increasing the quality of goods and services produced. To achieve the desired result, heavy investment in infrastructures, both soft and hard
ones must be commenced. For instance, in terms of soft infrastructure, an increase in educational quality and perks must be made to have competitive future workforce in the global economy. On the other hand, upgrades of hard infrastructures such as roads, schools, harbors, airports and other public facilities may complement to the growth of Indonesian economy. Although investment in terms of infrastructure needs to increase, the deployment of capital should be done prudently and thoughtfully. Given the higher benchmark interest rate, the financial sector needs to be more cautious in terms of lending the flood of funds due to historically low interest rate which has started the bloom of multifinance providers (subprime lenders) with high interest rates.
Photo by: Bianca Winataputri
Learning from the 2008 financial crisis which was tremendously caused by unethical conduct of subprime lending, Indonesian regulations should be reinforced in black and white instead of being in the ambiguous state as it is right now and the financial sector needs to strictly adhere to the enforced regulations. Reforms across the board, not only in the financial sector but also throughout the bureaucracy should be implemented immediately. The reforms should be beneficial and prioritized to the people, not to those selected ones. These short-term problems may seem as minor obstacles for now, but in the longer run they may halt the growth of Indonesian economy if not handled properly. In fact, it can expose a risk of the whole nation falling into the so-called Middle Income Trap. Hence, in the process, the government needs to be prudent and more forward thinking, setting aside petty
political bickering and bargaining to achieve something more for Indonesiaâ€™s financial survival. After all, the prospects are still bright for Indonesia. The main problem does not lie in the people it self, rather it lies in the governance and implemented policies. The young population, the rising middle class, and the high consumption growth are still here. Yet once again, improper policies may turn the growth impossible and all these assets worthless. In fact, even with lacking efficiency of the current regulation, significant financial growth was still proven possible; so imagine the countryâ€™s real potential with the help of a more thoughtful and responsible management. In an optimistic view, I believe that Indonesia is still on track to be an economic powerhouse, given the right policies and investment provision and allocation.
THE SCIENCE OF
“Thus, if our first and foremost rule to stay alive and supplied is to earn adequate income, then why waste our early decades studying ‘irrelevant’ stuffs? Should not we as well major in The Science of Getting Rich?”
Remember those boring classes at school you spent daydreaming and doodling silly cartoons? You strongly believed that the calculus formula just explained was an unnecessary waste of brain space; that it would never make it back in your future. You could imagine the fun of being free from school assignments and almost unbearable early wake-ups. You were convinced that graduates had better lives and enjoyed more freedom outside of school. You were so impatient to grow up you could not wait any longer. Then, BAM! Time flew too fast and unwittingly you are in your late teens. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard. The captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign. Please make sure your seat back and folding trays are in their full upright position. It will be a hell of a ride. All right, so being old does not sound that dreamy anymore. Other than now you are entitled to enjoy alcoholic beverages, dwelling loans, credit payments and no homework, the corresponding responsibilities are much harder to bear. Failure to carry such responsibilities will result in punishments. Some of them remain similar: allowance cuts, bad records and groundings. Unfortunately, in adulthood, they bring rules and punishments to a whole new level. Fines, criminal infringement notices and imprisonment are more popular approaches used to penalize adults who misbehave. All these “the grass is greener on the other side” perspectives raise a question in mind. If kids cannot wait to reach adulthood and numerous adults
apparently wish they had never grown up, then we should ask ourselves: how should formal education prepare children so they will enjoy better lives after graduating from schools? Is the current method of teaching and learning sufficiently good in preparing youth for their years to come? Are certain theories necessary to be taught in school or should something more practical be introduced? In fact, what is a better life?
If kids cannot wait to reach adulthood and numerous adults apparently wish they had never grown up, then we should ask ourselves: how should formal education prepare children so they will enjoy better lives after graduating from schools?
Some may perceive that a better life should be jam packed of great moments with great pals while others explain it as an expression of passion. Those claims are subjectively correct but despite all kinds of definition, almost the entire humanity would agree that a good life should at least be financially unrestrained. While this standard certainly does not define a life worth living, it is sadly true that the financial capability to fulfill human needs has eventually become our approach of survival. It is the primary reason why people work, save and educate their children. Thus, if our first and foremost rule to stay alive and supplied is to earn adequate income, then why waste our early decades studying ‘irrelevant’ stuffs? Should not we as well major in The Science of Getting Rich?
Well, if being financially unrestrained leads to a good life, some in fact interprets a wondrous one as a product of being financially splendid. While the truth lies in each person’s perspective, the importance of education in preparing children for their future is now questioned. Surely, formal education puts people steps closer to being financially fit but it does not guarantee such lives. Understanding Shakespeare’s plays, how the brain works and how alphabets may algebraically be equal to numbers are much appealing and challenging but not necessarily the essentials to get sufficiently equipped in later days. You do not even have to know Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes or the lecturer’s name to top the Fortune 500 list. As a matter of fact, scholars are going outstandingly far and brilliant in academic terms, but will they in real life circumstances? Nobody knows -- dropouts can be billionaires today! Therefore, what makes an impressive paycheck or sales revenue? I am not telling you to drop school and start building engines in your garage. If anyone knows what the exact answer is, nobody will ever starve or be homeless anymore. However, on a personal note, I would say it is a combination of great teamwork and social skill, set goals and strategic management, perseverance and respectable personality, adequate academic yet vast common knowledge as well as a pinch of courage to take up opportunities.
Unfortunately, youngsters are often found using the idea of ‘dropout billionaires’ to neglect studies. The years of formal education seem to them as failing long-term investment with a negative net present value. Truth is, this perception of worthless attendance at school is mainly due to a misconception on the essence of learning. While the apparent fruits of formal education seem to be the academic knowledge and recognised qualifications, there are social networks and several other skills earned at school that are actually more useful and ubiquitously demanded in workplaces than the science itself. A few of such skills are adaptability, interpersonal and analytical skills that are not taught in subjects but learnt through experiences during school years. In short, formal education is undeniably a stepping-stone to a financially equipped lifestyle but of itself is not sufficient to be our sole gear to success. To live a life financially supplied takes an investment beyond education; it takes hard work, time and money even after graduating from school. So much to sacrifice up until now that we, as young adults, are at the tip of our preparation time and the prologue of our working life. Our parents and education providers are almost done with their parts so that we may enjoy the financially healthy lives but it all comes down to us. Are you, not your academic records, ready and well prepared to enter the working stage of your life? Well, good luck for the new beginning!
Photo by: Bianca Winataputri
THE RISE OF LOCAL BRANDS REGIME
...there has been a shift, a promising one, on the consumption behavior of typical Indonesian urban millennials. Cool no longer means luxurious, imported items, for these hip youngsters now have set their hearts at local brands
Meet Michael Purnama, 19, supposedly a perfect fit to your image of the cool, young urban generation. Born and raised in the heart of Central Jakarta, he is a vocalist in a band where he sings classic rock with his mates. He has a good taste in music and movies, and he knows all the cool downtown places to hangout. There was a time when you would expect a guy like him to only feel confident walking around clothed in imported products. Yet, if you still have this in mind, you are sadly mistaken. It is such a promising and gleaming hope to find Michael and numerous other Indonesian urban youngsters confess their pride in wearing local fashion brands â€“ a certain pride they will not find even by putting on the most luxurious foreign brands. This emerging, yet prominent shift on consumer behavior of Indonesian millennials is an interesting phenomenon, especially in terms of how domestic labels run their business. What innovations are implied on their business models? What is their target market? How do they manage to fight against offshore competitors? Upon discussing these intriguing questions, it is best to set boundaries to our exploration. The Indonesian local companies being our point of interest are those classified as UKM (Usaha Kecil Menengah),
equivalent to the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) here in Australia, whose most distinguishing attribute is a total net asset below 200 million rupiah. This parameter is bound to help us examine how these small to medium scale businesses could manage to win market share in the midst of competition against mega scale multinational brands. The first curious question regarding local brands, notably those in fields related to creativity, is how they design strategies to offer worthwhile values to their customers. This highly competitive strategy is actually based on the fact that capital constraint sometimes limits small and medium scale businesses from producing in large quantity. Instead of mourning over this probable downfall, these firms choose a smarter move, which is to convert it into a competitive advantage. Some of the local labels, mostly fashion brands, prevail by selling strong messages, stories and a sense of belonging to particular communities behind the products. The smaller production scale actually allows owners to focus on maintaining the message behind their products, a seriously-hard-to-be-accomplished endeavor when a company runs in mass production.
Another strategy also accountable for the success of local brands is how they reach their target market. Relying heavily on the Internet, these companies strive to not only selling, but also delivering their values and stories to the customers. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, blogs – they make the most out of them. The usage of social media has contributed in the triumph of several local brands. They gained the buzz, and even greater; fans.Mind you, they are not just customers but loyal fans -- those who are so smitten by the stories and messages conveyed by these brands, that they are willing to do the extraordinary thing called word of mouth. These loyal fans are eager to increase the awareness of these businesses, and thus eventually contribute to the prevalence of local brands, voluntarily and free-of-charge.
To sum up, there has been a shift, a promising one, on the consumption behavior of typical Indonesian urban millennials. Cool no longer means luxurious, imported items, for these hip youngsters now have set their hearts at local brands (I took out “expensive” because local brands can be quite expensive too). Yet, this promising phenomenon calls a new challenge for domestic brands’ business owners to be fully aware of their competitive advantages, and to use it tactfully in order to eventually dominate (or: strive in) the label fights in both domestic and international industries.
surviving the age of
network intelligence Dipto Harendra Pratyaksa (author) & Lukman Arbi (co-author)
Indonesians living in Melbourne should consider themselves among the winners of their people’s diaspora. While this is mainly because Melbourne is considered one of the world’s most livable cities, one should keep in mind that it is also one of the most vibrant global creative hubs. Furthermore, a quick look at its geographic location forces us to realise that it is a highly valued western country surrounded by the emerging eastern economic powerhouses giving it reasonably easy access to the best of both.
The youth of today’s Indonesia are fast and keen adopters of technologies. A simple yet powerful example of this is how Indonesia’s population forms one of the top ten user bases for Facebook and Twitter. However it is surprising to discover that this is not true for blogging, which is a sign that while Indonesians adjust well to advances in technology they prefer to be on the demand side rather than the supply side. For those who understand what information technology is capable of, the potential power of over 40 million interconnected Indonesians is definitely not an opportunity to be missed.
In his TED Talk, Tapscott discussed the direction our world is heading towards in light of advanced information technology. He talks about how Web 2.0, the “Net Generation”, the “Social Revolution” and the economics of collaboration are pushing us towards a new “open world” in which the new engine for progress is how people are all interconnected on a global scale. Tapscott also identifies the four principles of collaboration: openness and transparency, the sharing of intellectual property, empowerment as well as interdependency and integrity that people need to live by in order to survive and make the most out of this newly emerging world. The first is about bringing the right people together to solve problems or instead bringing those problems to be solved by the right people. Openness and transparency as well as the sharing of intellectual property naturally follow the first principle as they are identically inseparable and they allow new solutions to be developed by combining different technologies and techniques. The last set of principles are the heaviest as they recognise that some information is restricted for a reason and deciding who to share that
information with is every IT users’ responsibility. One notable example of this “open world” in action is the introduction of the Raspberry Pi computer. The Raspberry Pi is a light, credit card sized Linux computer that was initially designed to help kids learn programming. After its launch in 2012, Raspberry Pi has quickly gained enormous response from wider IT communities for various commercial and experimental usages. Through various collaborative hubs available online and offline, programming codes are generously shared, development instructions are widely made available, both complementary and competing alternatives are being vigorously funded on various crowd-funding sites and media publishers are excited with this new piece of technology. The impact has been somewhat phenomenal throughout the IT industry. In light of what the future might hold for our world today, Indonesians should ask themselves what role they and their country would like to play in such a future.
Specifically for Indonesians based in Melbourne, they should consider their strategic position in the worldâ€™s economic stage: they are geographically close to their home country, which means faster travel time when they need to be on site, their superior ability to supply labor of reasonable quality at a competitively low costs and their nation still having an enormous number of adaptive young people and a large market base for digital consumption and production as indicated by the number of Facebook and Twitter users they have. Indonesia and Australia both have a stake in this endeavour. Australia can benefit from the empowerment of millions of low-cost individuals by making more of their projects financially feasible as well as gain access to a potential market that is 12 times bigger than its own population. Indonesia, on the other hand, can benefit by using this as an opportunity to build the capacity of its human resources and eventually form its own solid IT industry. It is also a chance for Indonesia to transform the use of social interactivity from digital consumption into digital production. Again, the potential problem-solving capacity of over 40 million
interconnected people is definitely worth considering. Referring back to Indonesians living in Melbourne, it is just natural that they will get involved by bridging the gap between the two countries in a variety of ways. The first is to literally occupying the gap by identifying synergistic strengths and opportunities that both countries have access to and work towards the bringing together. Secondly, one could help by bringing information and experience where it is needed through mentoring and educational approaches such as holding project-management and crowd-sourcing workshops. Last, but definitely not least, are the people who are willing to take the risk and start the economic engine, turning the potential into the actual. As Indonesians, we should learn to go beyond our personal spaces and adopt this concept of openness, not only for making and maintaining friends at social networks but more importantly as the perfect inspiration to give our nation a respectable position during the times to come.
A LONG WAY HOME P
“You realize that whilst you are living on your own time, others back home are living on theirs as well. They age, so do you. You don’t wait for each other to get older.”
Photo by: Bianca Winataputri
My new beginning started three years ago when I moved to France in January 2011 to continue my study. It wasn’t my first time moving to unknown lands. I’ve moved around a few times - whether it be different cities at home or different cities in other countries – hence, my departure to France could be precisely termed as a renewal of a beginning. I was a child and in my early teen when I was in Australia, a teen while in Indonesia, and I was in my late teens when I lived in the States. And now here I am in my early twenties living in Europe. I have fallen in and out of love – with places and with people. Some remains dear to me, some does not. I was asked to write from my perspective, to tell my personal story. Therefore, this isn’t at all a guide on how to live away from home for I myself am still trying to figure out how to do so. When I first arrived in France, my biggest hurdle was of course, the language (I now speak French fluently). It was frustrating to not be able to communicate properly. The first couple of weeks went by unnoticed, mostly because I felt like I was walking on clouds. The first few months felt very new, exciting and scary at the same time. After a while though, France became my home, and it didn’t feel like I was on an ‘adventure’ anymore. Real problems started to arise; financials, academics, etc. The toughest thing I’ve had to overcome (and I haven’t really done so, yet) is being away from my family and at times, my friends (from back home). You realize that
whilst you are living on your own time, others back home are living on theirs as well. They age, so do you. You don’t wait for each other to get older. And sometimes you lose people, both literally and metaphorically. I recently lost my grandfather, who was a great man and to whom I was very close with and there isn’t a word to describe my profound sadness or a word that would ever comfort me completely because ‘letting go’ is a real difficult thing to do. And then of course there are moments when your appetite takes you over, and that sometimes took place in my craving for authentic Indonesian food. I don’t care what anyone says, it is the best kind of food in the whole entire universe. When you live far away from home you get a lot of time (to be) with yourself - and sometimes you think about weird stuff. I suggest you to take notes of these weird thoughts if they ever cross your mind. It might turn out to be a revelation, or at least a future inside joke you’ll enjoy on your own. I have seen, experienced and travelled a few European cities, both the big and the small ones. From Paris (I mean, it’s where I live!), Budapest, Warsaw, Stockholm, Rome, Milan, Copenhagen, Madrid, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Oslo, and Monte Carlo, to smaller cities like Aarhus in Denmark, Lund in Sweden, Pisa, Florence in Italy, as well as Rennes, Lille, Nantes, Cannes, Caen, Amiens, Sarlat, which are all in France, and many others I am unable to perfectly list down.
Photo by: Aishanatasha Adisasmita
Honestly, it’s hard to pick which one is my favorite. I’m lucky enough that almost at each time during my travel, I had the company of a local native of each city to spend the days with me. And that makes all the difference, in my opinion. It is not a form of snobbism that some people might think of. When I go somewhere new, I like to immerse myself as authentically as possible. It does not mean that I don’t like to do all the usual touristy things – I do. I still take pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower every time I go there. What I’m trying to say is that, part of being at a given place is also spending time with a given individual (or individuals) who understand(s) the place, those who knows it inside and out, those who has lived there long enough to be able to say whether or not that given place is worth a visit (and even so, every city and town deserves a chance). I’ve been indoors and outdoors. I’ve seen
bright city lights and creepy shady forests. I’ve witnessed sunsets in the South, including moments where we lack of them in the North during summertime. Sometimes, a view could be so breathtaking that I just don’t know what to do. Take pictures? Write about it? It’s just plain awkward between nature and me in that very brief moment of awe. I remember riding in a car from Oslo to a small town whose name I can’t recall – I sat in silence watching the charming, hilly Scandinavian countryside passed me by. I swear in that moment, the people speaking in weird Norwegian in the car felt like accompanying music to my ears. Or sitting down by the Danube in Budapest just admiring how the sun’s color could be that perfectly blended orange and yellow.
Photo by: Aishanatasha Adisasmita
I try to constantly absorb the beauty in everything, everywhere and everyone (because even in ugliness, there is a tiny dash of poetic justice). But that’s just me being a romantic. And to quote Wilde, “the true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” I have met and made friends with all kinds of people from different countries; those who study and do business, fashion, music, film, art, politics, and many others. At the end of the day, everyone is a human being with human problems and human feelings. Maybe it’s because a lot of the people I’ve met are also in their twenties, but we’re all just trying to figure things out. I don’t think anyone has the right formula on how to live an exquisitely fulfilling life. Other than travelling and meeting people, another aspect I really appreciate from my time abroad is the professional experiences I have
had the chance to partake. I contribute to magazines (both Indonesian and French) on a regular basis. I’ve worked, I’ve volunteered, I’ve interned. I’ve even met famous people along the way. This would not have been as evident had I not move to France three years ago. I know that my heart belongs to Indonesia and I will definitely make a return. Yet for the time being, I feel like there are plenty of places I still yearn to see, and a bunch of people elsewhere that I still long to make friends with. Indonesia will always be there because it is my home. What I can say to conclude is that, when one is presented with even the slightest possibility to see or do something new, one must do it (though, try to stay off drugs!). And one thing for sure, make friends while you’re at it.
â€œDining, for us, is not only about the taste of the associated food or beverages itself, but extends further to other aspects such as the presentation, atmosphere, service level, and ultimately your companions, which are indispensable from oneâ€™s overall dining experience.â€?
Photos by: Bianca Winataputri
P: Some might wonder, why the name Degustation? C: This culinary term comes from the French word dégustation, meaning a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods with a gustatory approach, which focuses on the senses, culinary art, and excellent company.
P: What has inspired the two of you to dedicate your time to write food reviews on a blog? C: As two twenty year-olds with an everlasting fascination about food, we couldn’t be anymore thankful to God for knowing exactly the perfect place to put us in: Melbourne. Which, apart from just being the world’s most livable city for two consecutive years, has undeniably been one of the finest culinary landmarks one could ever think of sojourning.
P: What makes Melbourne’s lifestyle distinct to you? And what is your view towards the idea of food reviews? C: Existing multiculturalism plays as a feature not only in terms of the people residing, but also considerably influences the region’s culinary delights. In conjunction with the ongoing rapid growth in Melbourne’s hospitality industry, eating out has especially become a competitive sport amongst the foodies these days, not to mention the vast growing cult of individuals using social media to celebrate their eating and dining experience.
P: Can you tell us a brief story that leads us to the establishment of Degustation? C: So our journey started off with us (culinary-naïves) trampling our feet on this city, which is dense with tongue tantalising dishes, finely brewed wines, out of this world coffees, incredibly modeled dining settings, and not to miss, a bunch of food enthusiasts. However, it wasn’t until two years ago that these souls embarked on exploiting Melbourne’s overtly abundant dining scene and it wasn’t until this very day that we finally decided to take this hobby to the next level.
P: What does eating and dining out mean to you? And how does it relate to the idea of sharing your opinions about that activity itself? C: Dining, for us, is not only about the taste of the associated food or beverages itself, but extends further to other aspects such as the presentation, atmosphere, service level, and ultimately your companions, which are indispensable from one’s overall dining experience. Aside from simply being a mere leisure pursuit, food tasting and experimenting have also became a daily lifestyle and an avenue through which we build networks and relationships. Exchanges of ideas and thoughts, and sharing of experiences, are likely to be made more enjoyable and insightful over plates of tantalising meals feasted amidst pleasant ambiences.
P: Please tell us a brief principle that Degustation plans to follow for its food review activity? C: As a foundation, the raw concept behind Degustation, so far, is to intertwine an array of delicacies sourced from Melbourneâ€™s famous streets extending to its secluded laneways, alongside a bunch of hearty home-cooked delights. Notwithstanding the lavishly sounding title of our blog, the kind of eatables that would be a part of it would not be limited to only ones from the upper ends. Really, the only prerequisite is that it needs to live up to being appetizing.
P: What are your hopes for Degustation to achieve? While striving to click exquisite captures and trying to compose our most honest expositions, we hope that Degustation blog would ultimately bless the palates of those around us. Also, we would constantly be looking for feedbacks from fellow readers regarding rooms for improvements.
Unemployed and Unscripted: the Everyday Life of a Young Aussie in Indonesia
My first Impressions of Indonesia: Chaos and Humidity
2013 was supposed to be the year it would all “come together” for me – a freshly minted Master’s degree from one of Australia’s best universities, a promising and lucrative career in Marketing Communications in a trendy inner city Melbourne Advertising or Digital agency, and a well overdue dose of self-confidence. I achieved the first of these 3 pillars by graduating from the University of Melbourne’s Master of Management program on 2nd August, but the second pillar – beginning a promising and lucrative career proved to be a bridge too far. After being unceremoniously fired from my first full-time job by Mid-October, I knew something needed to change if I was to capture the third, most elusive pillar of all – self-confidence. So…. I decided to throw caution to the wind and visit Jakarta on a 2 Month Holiday VISA (since extended) for job opportunities, travel, socialising and as it turns out, an unpaid internship. The following article is a collection of my experiences and observations covering the 8 weeks I’ve been here so far since Saturday, 30th November 2013 – with the mission of changing my life for the better.
Stepping off my Garuda flight on the afternoon of Saturday, 30th November 2013, nothing could prepare me for the sheer humidity of the air surrounding the capital city on an almost daily basis – at least when compared to the schizophrenic Melbourne spring from which I had just escaped. But I was soon to forget the humidity when I left the terminal itself and came face-to-face with the orderly chaos, that is an equally integral ingredient of everyday life in Jakarta. There weren’t just a few dozen people waiting patiently at the taxi rank, there were literally hundreds, if not over one thousand people ranging from fellow tourists, “Mangga Mister?” hawkers, dodgy taksi drivers and even a few beggars thrown into the mix – all naturally with their own plans for the evening ahead. Then of course you had the traffic, and by “traffic” I mean taxis, ojek (motorcycle taxi), DAMRI Buses and private cars stretching from end-to-end of the concourse. The 40 minute taxi drive from the airport to my host family in Cilandak Barat was equally fascinating, as the rather impressive and much more developed than expected Jakarta came into full view. Jakarta wasn’t quite as geographically expansive as I first imagined, but as I was soon to learn, that is because A LOT of people lie within its city limits. But my most pleasant surprise upon arriving at my accommodation was the unselfconscious friendliness of the Indonesians themselves. I knew from my many Indonesian friends in Melbourne they were a pleasant people, but not to the extent I discovered in this humid, chaotic and utterly fascinating city where I’m now recording these very thoughts.
Photo by: Jo Winata
The People: Smiles in the Face of Adversity Without a doubt, Indonesia is a developing power which like all developing economies is facing entrenched social problems that only time, a growing economy and sensible government policy can overcome – a slow, frustrating process for those at the lower end of the income ladder. As a naïve and comparatively wealthy westerner, raised in one of the most affluent countries on earth, my first week in Jakarta was in a crash-course in the divide between the haves and have-nots of not only Indonesia, but also the wider world. From the limbless beggars of Blok M Bus Terminal, to the young kids directing traffic at busy intersections for tips, to the direct and sometimes threatening mothers who ask you for Rp 100,000 – I found this degree of poverty quite confronting. But I’m also very glad I witnessed this “dark side” to Indonesia early on, because that’s as bad as it gets for me. The Indonesian people overall are the most warm, welcoming, positive, charming and unselfconsciously friendly people I have ever met. And despite living in an economy where prosperity is yet to reach the poorest, everyone here it seems works. Not once did I get the sense of an “entitlement mentality” so common back at home, amongst people who are often already well-off by any standard measure. Indonesians by contrast, appear willing and able to stand on their
own two feet and keep smiling whatever the challenges they face. The Culture: Confident In the Past, Open to the Future One of the most fascinating aspects I’ve noticed in my short 8 weeks here in Indonesia (and there are many fascinating aspects to this country) is how effectively traditional culture – , batik, gamelan, dances -- has been married with the unavoidable and often corrosive march of modernity/globalisation. Many locals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting carry 2 mobile phones – meaning they’re well connected to the wider world, but those same individuals will turn their phones on silent to observe their midday prayer. Likewise for the imposing skyscrapers and shopping malls spread across Jakarta’s landscape, where only a few meters away a kampung (village) continues beating to its own drum, teeming with warung (coffee shop) and old ladies watching over children playing in the street with a school of stray cats. Not every society has achieved this balance that Indonesia appears to be approaching, and apart from the unpredictable traffic and eccentric characters on every corner; this seamless blend of old and new is one of the most exciting ingredients this country has to offer.
Photo by: Bianca Winataputri
Everyday Life in Jakarta: Maddening but Never Mediocre As for the practicalities of everyday life here in Jakarta, the comparisons to home in Melbourne could not be starker. The first thing I noticed with great frustration but have since accepted, is how it takes forever to travel anywhere within this city, due to the incredibly heavy traffic. The 15 KM I commute twice on a daily basis from Cilandak to my internship at Menara Jamsostek on Jl. Gatot-Subroto requires anything from 90 mins to 3 hours, depending on conditions. The Metromini is always packed-to-the-rafters during rush hour, as is the Transjakarta – but when the TJKT does show up it is generally the most efficient, fastest way to get around (with the notable addition of the humble motorbike of course)! Public transport aside, when the need to feed yourself arises (as it usually does thrice daily), not only do you have the usual choice of carefully prepared mall and cafeteria food – there are also these wonderful free enterprises called warung (as Indonesian readers will naturally know) where you can score a filling meal for as little as Rp 15,000 ($1.50). Overall, everyday life here in Jakarta is very affordable by Australian standards, but it’s certainly
not straightforward. And when traffic, rain and humidity are acting in concert, it’s purely maddening. But in Jakarta and Indonesia’s defence, for all the orderly chaos by which it is defined, everyday life here could never be described as boring, or for that matter mediocre. In Summary: Indonesia is far from a perfect country by any standard measure, but then again no country will ever achieve “perfection”. As a young democracy encompassing the world’s 4th largest population and largest archipelago system of some 17,000 islands and 3,000 unique ethnicities; it is an exciting work in progress. But if the warm and welcoming nature of the Indonesian people are anything to go by, the future is very bright for what could one day be the world’s 4th largest economy and another democratic superpower in its own right, right on Australia’s doorstep. As for myself, I still haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for, but using Indonesia as an example it is proven that good things do happen to good people : )
THE HANDSOME BRICK BUILDING I CALLED HOME Heny Purnamasari
P “We are excited to learn new things and to meet new people in a new country. At the same time, we worry about all sorts of academic and not-so-academic woes. Among these, finding a home away from home is a daunting task, almost equal to finding the perfect course. ”
The car stopped in front of a black ornate gate, and behind it I saw a glimpse of a tranquil lawn surrounded by a row of old, but handsome brick buildings. Before my brain finished processing this collegiate beauty, a tall lad wearing a funny black cape ran towards the car. I rolled down the window and his blue eyes smiled, “Hello, are you a fresher? Welcome to the residential college.” This was a year ago and since then, I learned the name of that fellow (he’s Ben, our football captain), that the funny black cape is called an academic gown (which we will reluctantly wear at dinner – the novelty wears off fast) and most importantly, that the old, handsome brick building is now home.
As an international student, starting a new academic year is an exciting and sometimes nerve-wracking experience. We are excited to learn new things and to meet new people in a new country. At the same time, we worry about all sorts of academic and not-so-academic woes. Among these, finding a home away from home is a daunting task, almost equal to finding the perfect course. The most common option for an international student like me is to live in one of the university-sponsored student apartments or in private apartments, scattered all over Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs. And I did stay in one
of these apartments. Initially, the freedom and independency tasted sweet. There was I, paying my bills and my rent on time, making trips for grocery and having no curfew – I felt very grown up. But with independency come responsibility and the clumsiness of being an adult too soon. I spent most of the time multitasking between studying and trying to be an independent and well-functioning adult, sometimes with mediocre results on both ends. Indeed, between laundry and lecture slides, this episode of my life taught me skills that no doubt will come in handy in the future, yet I have a strange feeling it also robs me of the joie de vivre of youth. Fortunately, a friend of mine then suggested I moved into one of the University of Melbourne’s twelve colleges. I was accepted at my first preference for the residential college. Living as at the University’s college gives me privilege access the college’s vast network of support and more importantly than anything, it welcomes me in a community that I can count on for the rest of my life. The experience of living at college couldn’t be further than living in a private residence. The collegiate mood was a permanent fixture of my everyday life. From having a meal to studying and socialising, the college supervises, assists and encourages.
With so many activities to choose from, I’m busier than ever yet I became more fulfilled. I went on to contribute my help for the backstage staff at a college musical and I went to a glamorous Collegiate Ball, where at least half of the attendees have trouble recalling the night afterwards. I attended the annual collegiate rowing match at the Yarra – suitably dressed in red-green-white jersey. Relationship with neighbouring colleges is friendly yet competitive, albeit in a good way, which makes it even more exciting. We have sports matches, often and in so many different types of sports, it’s actually taxing to keep up after some point. It was not all fun and parties, though. I also study a lot. It is made possible with access to tutors (of every subject imaginable - I have an inclination to believe that one of the academic advisors has a secret superpower to call forth any academic she wants), 24 hours library and study areas. I was also privileged to have conversations with distinguished people, alumni and friends of the college, who often visit and share their stories at our weekly fireside chat in the common room. Sadly, I missed the chance to meet Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop when they stopped for breakfast one morning (their visit, unfortunately, coincided with a monstrous 3500 words essay).
The downside of college is, it can get pretty tiring. The schedule is packed and there is always something to do or celebrate. Time-management and especially for girls, apart from a couple of good dresses, is essential. Above everything else, do keep yourself distant from the ‘college bubble’ syndrome – a worrying condition where you have no friends except those who live with you at college. While I absolutely recommend the college experience for other international students, it is important to remember that the experience of being a student at the University of Melbourne spans beyond that of the residential college. If you decide to stay at a college, do cherish the community because they are your pillars of support, but remember to keep your mind open for other activities on campus and in the city of Melbourne. The decision to live off-campus or on-campus is entirely up to you, but I will leave you with a quote from Stephen Fry, one of Britain’s best writer, comedian, and actor of all time- who expresses the essence of what college living is all about. He said, “Education is the sum of what students teach each other in between lectures and seminars. You sit in each other’s rooms and drink coffee…you talk a lot of wank about politics, religion, art and the cosmos…how else do you learn anything?”
M & Lifestyle : E D I A an oblivious society
From Soekarno to Edward Snowden
â€œThe inability to filter and examine the nature of perceived information has led the public into believing facts and figures that are void of merit. To paint a picture, we can imagine these new forms of media as a bright blue LED lamp, and the public as a bunch of flies, inexplicably attracted to this interesting new entity, unaware of the dangers that it possesses. â€?
Photo by: Jo Winata
During the period of 1945, no one could ever imagine that Indonesia, a country that has been colonised by the Dutch and the Japanese for over three centuries can finally proclaim their independence. Neither the international public nor Indonesians themselves could ever imagine that such an oppressed country can announce their independence that soon. Only at that time did the war demand so much attention that almost everyone forgot about one of the most powerful weapon in the world; the radio. If it wasnâ€™t for the radio, Indonesia could remain colonised even until now. If it wasnâ€™t for the radio news report that Chairul Saleh and his friends heard, they would never have kidnapped Soekarno, and the Rengasdengklok incident (the kidnapping of Soekarno and Hatta with the purpose of speeding the proclamation of independence) would never happen, and nobody would ever know when will Indonesia announce its independence. Even for such a small country with limited understanding of politics and commerce during that time, radio has proven that commu-
nication media held such a massive potential to create an even bigger impact. Ever since the European industrial revolution invented the newspaper, information trading has become not only a business, but also a vehicle of power and influence. Technological developments, such as radio and television, also supported this notion by creating its own monumental moments such as the War of the Worlds panic or the Vietnam War protests. It is the ignorance of the audiences that made ways for such a huge influence and social movements or even panics to take place. The inability to filter and examine the nature of perceived information has led the public into believing facts and figures that are void of merit. To paint a picture, we can imagine these new forms of media as a bright blue LED lamp, and the public as a bunch of flies, inexplicably attracted to this interesting new entity, unaware of the dangers that it possesses.
The War of the Worlds panic is a great example of how new media yields a devious effect when its public is oblivious of its capabilities and is incapable for any interpretation. On the 30th of October 1938, the CBS radio created a Halloween drama special with the title War of the Worlds, an adaptation from a novel written by H.G. Wells of the same title.
Directed by Orson Wells, this drama series supposedly sounded realistic and were brought in a news report style. Of course at the time, a warning was given, stating that the show was fiction, and people shouldn’t panic. However, most people missed this warning and thought that they were listening to a real radio news report. As the fake reporter shiveringly delivered the report, the laser beamed, and the ground shook, people were actually thinking that at that time, their country was attacked by a colony of aliens. Panic was unavoidable. People ran away from their houses, cars were pouring down the streets, as they were all desperate to leave the town. All of this, because the audience did not know (or couldn’t be bothered to pay a thorough attention) that the alien attack they heard was a dramatic, audio re-enactment created by a bunch of artists from a small cubical studio just down the road. Despite of this utter ignorance on how to fully utilise the media, technology marched on to create an even more complicated means of information trading. With the speed of communication technology approaching almost 299,792,458 metres per second, the public is too busy being amazed by the ground-breaking, paradigm-shifting, revolutionary technological invention that they forget the initial purpose of its existence that is to inform (not to tell us what to do). The public understands the procedure on
how to operate technology, without knowing the implication of their actions. Nevertheless, these various media has now became integral to our lifestyle and created what could be coined as a cult. A more modern example of these media hiccups is Edward Snowden’s leak regarding Indonesia’s bilateral relationship with Australia. While his action might be of good nature, and theoretically, what he did can be considered as a good application of contemporary media theory, the governments and the general public are not ready to handle such information to be accessed freely by the public domain. What it eventually did is just creating a distorted relationship between the governments and paranoia among the people of both countries. The mass media was also unhelpful towards the situation, with their habit of exaggerating a news story to seek ratings or higher readership. Again, these prove that the public domain do not fully understand the way in which these information can benefit them. Instead of criticising, rationalising, and analysing them, they were consumed by the panic spread by mass media. Instead of thinking about the future implication of the case towards the countries’ bilateral relationship, people are more concerned about whether their children can still travel in between the countries or whether they were racially abused. Like it or not, these means of communications have now integrated themselves into our lifestyle. TV, radio, print media, and now social media have become an important and inseparable part of our lives. They cannot leave our pockets, and we could not operate as human beings without checking it every five minutes or so. And believe it or not, this is just the beginning.
Photo by: Jo Winata
Technology, in a few more years will create even more complicated devices that will require a deeper understanding and a more critical thinking. These means of communication, however, do have a very promising potential, which can lead the human race to a more accurate, accessible and fairer share of information. Our understanding of how it operates, however, is not sufficient enough that we remain in need to be very careful in its usage. We believe so much on what we hear, read, and see in the media nowadays that we tend to blatantly accept any notion it tries to present. It is as if we are the Magratheans race from Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy and we are currently seeking the ultimate answer to life, universe, and everything. But when we discover the simple answer of forty-two, we are desperately confused on what to do with it. Douglas Adam was telling us that when we were caught up in doing something, we forgot why we did it in the first place. The Magratheans spent centuries in search for the ultimate answer to all of the questions above. But they forgot what the question is, which made them very confused on what to do with the an-
swer. The same goes for our habit of consuming information. We rarely pay attention on the things that we can yield from information and instead, we only accept it as it is. To this point, we have seen enough evidence of the impact that the media can yield. What is important for us now is to start asking questions, do more research, be critical about new information, and draw personal conclusions. It is important knowing not only the information, but also the source of information; who or where it comes from, their possible underlying motives and interests, political affiliations, and whether or not the information is congruent with those circulated by other media platforms. It is about knowing the accuracy and credibility of the news; for example, Jokowi’s profile from TVONE’s perspective, or about Kevin Rudd’s decissions from Sky News’s perspective. Was Jokowi presented fairly by TVone? Or was Kevin Rudd mocked because SkyNews were supporting Tony Abbott? After all, the only way to know about it is to actually dig deep, keep an open mind, and fancy yourself some time to do your own research to unveil the truth.
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LIAM GANNON TIM GRAHAM Australia Indonesia Youth Association MUHAMMAD ARIF CEO Oursay Indonesia University of Melbourne SARAH RENNIE Researcher, Asian Commercial Law University of Melbourne DYLAN AMIRIO Arts Graduate Unimelb Journalist for The jakarta Post VICTOR FEBRIANT Universitas Pelita Harapan, Indonesia
We thank these wonderful writers for their contributions on our first Perspektif edition.
DIPTO H. PRATYAKSA President of Indonesia Business Centre LUKMAN ARBI phD candidate at La Trobe University STEFANNY GUNAWAN SYANE A. SATRYAWIRAWAN Bachelor of Science, University of Melbourne MICHAEL J. REARDON University of Melbourne AISHANATASHA ADISASMITA Sorbonne University Paris CLAUDIA HALIM University of Melbourne
ADELINE LIM Prasetiya Mulya Student, Indonesia
HENY PURNAMASARI University of Melbourne
ALLAN TANOEMARGA Masters of Publishing and Communication Unimelb
EGA MAWARDANI Visual Communications Binus Nusantara University
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