The Other Ground Zero Controversy

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, People & Culture
Ketua BP MUPEL Bekasi

Image by Viking KARWUR via Flickr

A religious minority decides to build a house of worship in an area considered unacceptable by fringe elements of the religious majority. Although the country professes religious tolerance, and the group has a legal right to build their temple in said area, they are harassed by radicals and ignored by leaders and officials eager to gain political points.

No, it's not the mosque planned for construction in downtown New York, but it's awfully similar. Ground Zero in this case is Bekasi, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia. In the world's most populous Muslim nation, a Christian group is trying to build a church on land which belongs to them. They've been threatened, harassed while worshipping, and physically attacked on their way to services. The mayor has asked them to move, and of course they've refused.… Continues …

Shame on you Mr Bakrie

Teaching English a "Menace to Society"?

I read a very interesting article today about the spread of English in Indonesia, and what that means for Bahasa Indonesia, the local language.

This might be a stretch... but it almost seems as though TEFL teachers working in Indonesia might be indirectly detrimental to the fabric of Indonesian society. That by teaching English - albeit to willing recipients - they are reducing the prevalence of a language which has served as the glue which unites this archipelago of diverse and disparate groups of people.  What do you think?

Sasquatch Music Festival

I was just reading the lineup for the Sasquatch Music Festival. I'd forgotten that it's always held on Memorial Day Weekend, and I hadn't even realized that this was Memorial Day weekend. I feel so removed from the music scene living in Indonesia.

Did anyone go to Sasquatch? If so, which performances did you like most?

That smoking baby's parents should be thrown in jail

— Filed under: Breaking News, People & Culture

The Truth about Smoking Babies

— Filed under: Breaking News, People & Culture, Business & Finance

Ardi takes a drag from his favorite brand of cigaretteArdi takes a drag from his favorite brand of cigaretteMeet Ardi Rizal, an overweight 2-year-old boy who lives in Sumatra. Ardi has caused an international uproar over the fact that he smokes two packs of cigarettes a day. His mother claims that he's addicted and that he throws a tantrum if he is denied his smokes, and according to The Jakarta Globe, he "refuses to smoke anything other than his favourite brand". The situation is compounded by the fact that Ardi's father doesn't appear to see anything wrong with his son's habit.

Anti-smoking advocates have seized upon the story as another example of multinational tobacco companies preying on the poor in the developing world. The Boston Herald quotes Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids:

"The tobacco companies are treating the developing world as the great new growth market and are taking maximum advantage of the lack of understanding among the poorest of the poor in these societies."

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