AIYA Links: Easter Long Weekend

AIYA Selamat Paskah

AIYA wishes everybody a safe and happy Easter celebration. Here’s our pick of the week’s best reading on Indonesia and the Australia-Indonesia relationship for your long weekend.

Holiday reading

On the blog

Events and opportunities

Video: Talking about Pemilu 2014

What are Indonesia’s young people saying about this year’s election campaign? AIYA contributor Jaime Berrill spoke to some young Indonesians on polling day in Jakarta last week.

We asked which where the most important issues, what they thought of the political system, and how they felt about Indonesia’s future. Nontonlah…

2014 Pemilu Preview: The Full Collection

Earlier this month, AIYA’s New South Wales chapter hosted an election preview event, with “politicians” from six of the major parties present on the night. Today, we’ve pulled together the full selection of videos from the evening — selamat menonton!

Prabowo Subianto, Partai Gerindra

As presented by media and policy advisor Alison Martin.

Joko Widodo, Partai Demokrasi Indonesia-Perjuangan

As played by the ANU’s Dr Ross Tapsell.

Surya Paloh, Partai NasDem

Presented by Fritz Siregar, SJM candidate at the University of New South Wales.

Wiranto, Partai Hanura

By Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Natalie Sambhi:

Partai Demokrat

Yet to announce a presidential candidate, Fajar Hirawan, PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, presents for Partai Demokrat:

Aburizal Bakrie, Partai Golkar

Last but not least, UNSW Conjoint Associate Professor David Reeve:

Sydney Southeast Asia Centre Honours Bootcamp

The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre is hosting is hosting its inaugural SSEAC Honours Bootcamp on the 15th-18th June 2014.

The bootcamp is a professional development program for honours students around Australia enrolled in an Honours program related  to Southeast Asia in the humanities or the social sciences.

Over three days at the University of Sydney, students will participate in a range of workshops aimed to help them complete their Honours theses and plan for life after Honours. As part of this program, students will be required to prepare a presentation before arrival, with a prize given to the student who gives the best presentation to attend a conference of their choice.

There will also be networking opportunities with successful Honours graduates who are working in Southeast Asia related positions.

SSEAC is also offering $1000 grants to 20 students, for travel to Sydney to participate in the program. These grants can be used for travel, accommodation and any other expenses related to participating in the program.

For more information about application criteria and the program itself, visit the University of Sydney website.

Marketing Officer at Navitas, Jakarta

Navitas, a diversified global education provider, is looking for a Marketing Officer to work from its Jakarta office.

Navitas offers “an extensive range of educational services for students and professionals including university programs, English language training and settlement services, creative media education, workforce education and student recruitment”.

Essential skills for the position include:

  • Fluent in Bahasa Indonesia and English
  • Relevant tertiary level qualification/s and/or marketing experience
  • Have the ability to work to tight deadlines, changing priorities and to take responsibility for decisions and outcomes
  • Demonstrate innovative thinking and proactive work habits including an eye for detail and for new recruitment activities
  • Highly developed interpersonal, negotiation, presentation and communication skills

Download a full position description for more information.

Enquiries and applications, including a cover letter and resume, should be sent to Mr David Matthews, Regional Manager – Indonesia, Malaysia & Singapore at Applications close on Friday 25th April 2014.

Q&A with Kirby Taylor, UN Intern

We speak to one young Australian about her experiences living and working in Jakarta.

Kirby Taylor interned with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Jakarta for 3 months, learning about the importance of being open minded and fully immersed in another culture. Clarissa Tanurahardja talked to Kirby about her intercultural perspective and thoughts on living in Indonesia.

Photo: Kirby Taylor

Photo: Kirby Taylor

AIYA: You lived in Jakarta as an intern for the United Nations Information Centre, Jakarta. What was it like?

Kirby: It was something completely new, little things like living in one of the biggest, most populated cities was something that having grown up in small country town of around 2,500 people hadn’t really prepared me for. I was fortunate enough to live right in the centre of Jakarta, in Kebon Kacang, just metres from the Bundaran HI, and two of Indonesia’s largest department stores, Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia. I was surprised to find that despite wealth culminating in the city centre, there was a stark contrast just streets behind.

One thing that I will never forget about my time in Jakarta is the humidity, every night I would shower in cold water just to cool off and attempt to sleep. Despite the heat I also wore clothes I would normally wear on a cold day here in Australia, as I was observing the cultural norms of Indonesia. Another thing was the daily call to prayer, known as adzan — these started at 4.30am, with another at 6.00am, midday, late afternoon and then two more at around 6 and 7pm. At first it shocked me and whilst I knew what they were some mornings I was unable to return back to sleep, eventually I became more used to them and magically even slept through them a few times! Although I am not of Islamic faith and do not understand what was being said I was fond of the sound and even though it was an early morning wake-up call it was quite a calming one to wake up to. Overall my living experience in Jakarta was amazing and I would love to get back there someday, either to visit, study or work!

What helped you adjust to Indonesian culture? Do you have any advice for Australians or foreigners interested in living in Indonesia?

The things that really helped me for adjusting were:

1. Having prior knowledge of the language and culture. Even a slight understanding of the country you are travelling to is key to a foreign country. Having language skills was one of the most useful things for engaging with local people and feeling safe and confident in my ability to get around!

2. The staff of the UNIC Jakarta office, having the other interns and staff members at UNIC was a blessing, they taught me so much about the Indonesian way and language. On my first days they taught me new words especially “slang” so that I could understand people in the office and on the street, they corrected my grammar when I was doing work in Bahasa and they also introduced me to new foods, both from the street vendors and the building’s cafeteria. My friends from UNIC Jakarta were the main reason I gained so much from my time in Indonesia, both personally and professionally!

How did you find your feet when you first moved to Jakarta, Kirby?

I arrived in Jakarta a week prior to starting. When I first moved to Jakarta the network of fellow interns from all over the world who were working in the other UN departments were a godsend. We were all in the same boat, experiencing a new country and culture. We explored the city and its surroundings together and developed a fantastic family of young people where you knew someone would always have an answer to your question. I was put in touch with this fantastic group of people before I even left Australia and they answered so many of my burning questions, the most beneficial was helping me to find accommodation in a kost before I arrived which is very hard to do without actually being in the local area. I still talk to these people who hail from far and wide and who knows we might work together again one day!

What’s the best cultural Indonesian experience you had when you lived here?

One particular weekend that I loved in Indonesia was when I visited Pulau Pramuka, one of the many islands in Pulau Seribu just a few hours away by boat from Jakarta. Literally a breath of fresh air! We spent the weekend playing games and doing activities with young school children. A big group of young adult Indonesians and a few foreigners gave their time up to spend time with these kids. I loved speaking to these anak in Bahasa, learning new words and singing songs! We also got the chance to do some snorkelling and swimming in the crystal-clear water, we enjoyed a beautiful seafood barbeque and at night made lanterns that floated away into the night sky. Indonesians are some of the most humble, jovial and friendly people in the world and this weekend exemplified that for me.

How do you see the role of Australian youth in the bilateral relationship in the years ahead?

Australian youth have the power! Some of the Australian youth I have met through various events, organisations and study are the most invested in the bilateral relationship and are so keen to improve this through people to people links. They want to increase the knowledge of both country’s people of each other through increased travel, especially studying and working abroad and foreign language study. Australian youth need to keep engaging with Indonesia via exchange, study programs and internships! There is such an opportunity for both Indonesia and Australia capitalise on a special relationship with our neighbours and we would be silly to pass it up.

To read more about Kirby’s experience working at UNIC Jakarta and her perspective on Indonesia’s culture check out her blog, or follow her on Twitter. If you’re interested to learn more about UN and working with them, their website has more information.

AIYA Links, 11 April: #GueNyoblos edition

Kalian Siapa

‘WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?”—one voter makes their confusion with Indonesia’s complicated electoral system known on a ballot paper for the upper house of parliament.

In the news


Events and opportunities

Research Officer at Asialink Business, Melbourne

Asialink is looking for a Research Officer based in Melbourne, to “provide support for Asialink Business’s applied research activities through research and creating content”.

Asialink Business is a new program by Asialink, Australia’s premier body promoting Australia-Asia engagement. Asialink is a partnership between the University of Melbourne and the Myer Foundation. In addition to these partners, Asialink Business is partially funded by the Federal Government as part of the Government’s agenda to build ‘Asia capabilities’ among Australian businesses. These capabilities will increase businesses ability to capture the benefits of Asian economic expansion. Aside from Federal and University funding, Asialink Business will seek sponsorship from the private sector and raise revenue by charging fees for the services it offers.

Asialink Business will operate in three main areas: capability development, applied research, and advocacy. The Research Officer will provide support for Asialink Business’s applied research activities through research and creating content. The successful applicant will apply existing strong Asia and business content knowledge and conduct research to provide advice to Asialink, as well as be asked to write or edit content for specific projects. In addition to contributing to applied research projects, the role will also involve contributions to capability and advocacy programs.

Check the job listing on the Melbourne University website for more information, including selection criteria.

Election day: Indonesia mencoblos

Indonesia headed to the polls yesterday, electing candidates for national and local government, including members of the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, the national parliament.

We’ve picked out some of the most interesting stories and themes from social media on the day.


Al Jazeera and Berita Satu both have good overviews of the main issues in this year’s election campaign, in English and Indonesian respectively. Financial Times correspondent Ben Bland prepared a useful explainer:

Meanwhile, the Indonesia Votes team over at New Mandala were working hard throughout the day live-blogging the poll, including early results.

The word coblos, to puncture, comes from the nail holes used to mark ballot papers.

The papers

Here’s a look at some national and local papers on election morning.

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SBY’s letter

Early in the day, current President Susilio Bambang Yudhoyono shared a letter to the Indonesian people, encouraging them to use their vote wisely. First Lady Ibu Ani shared all four pages on her famous Instagram account.

Polls open

Early on, Twitter was filled with photos of polling booths setting up for the day. At this tempt pemungutan suara in North Jakarta, election workers prayed and sang the national anthem:

Ridwan Kamil, the Mayor of Bandung, encouraged voters to decorate their polling booths, rewarding the most creative with a visit to a five-star hotel:

  This booth’s committee went with a more colonial theme:

It wasn’t long until the first votes were being cast.

In Pasar Rumput, voters didn’t have to leave their motorbikes:

…while outside Bogor, the polling station came to voters:

The candidates vote

News outlets were staked out early in the day to catch candidates at the polling booths. PDI-P Presidential candidate and Governor of Jakarta Joko Widodo was a big hit at Taman Suropati, around the corner from his official residence:

Prabowo voted near his residence in Bogor…

…while the well-coordinated Yudhoyono family weren’t far away in Cikeas:

Aburizal Bakrie, Megawati Soekarnoputri, Jakarta deputy governor Ahok, dangdut start-turned-politician Rhoma Irama and NasDem founder Surya Paloh also attracted attention.

Key themes

Many tweeps expressed their hope for wise leaders and honest government. One observer likened it to “choosing a husband or wife”:

Others reflected on the power of democracy to “punish those who betray us, and reward those who help us” at the ballot box.

Throughout the day, celebrities and media outlets were on board encouraging citizens to get out the vote.

Young and old headed out to make their choice:


Throughout the day, Twitter lit up with photos from voters heading home from the polling booths — many under the hashtags #pemilu and #guenyoblos (I voted).

Some voters used it to make a statement:

Voting with benefits

Lots of companies used the poll as a promotional opportunity.

At Jokowi’s polling booth, bubur ayam and snacks were on offer, while others offered free coffee and durian.

Money politics

Same candidates drew less-than-positive attention online for their efforts to buy votes.

Others reported that some voters were confused about the voting process, while a number of polling booths were short of ballot papers. Some hospital patients also missed the opportunity to vote.

Media outlets gleefully reported from the headquarters of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), where detained bureaucrats and politicians including the former sports minister and head of the constitutional court cast their vote:

Going to the zoo

Polling day was a public holiday throughout the country, and many Indonesians took full advantage:

Traffic around Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta was heavy, as families looked for a way to spend the day off. In the middle of town, though, things were quiet:

By early afternoon, polls were beginning to close in the east of the country, and parties and observers began to prepare for the night ahead. Megawati wasn’t the only candidate to host an event — here’s a photo from Golkar’s event in Jakarta.

Of course, it wasn’t just in Indonesia where counting was underway — here’s a photo from the Indonesian Consulate-General in Melbourne:

The first “quick counts” began to arrive around 1pm — surveys conducted by private polling companies spread around individual polling booths. Although the official result won’t be known until May, these polls give a quick indication of how each party has performed.

Like any election, news channels reaching for a bewildering array of graphics and charts.

Early results

Tempo have put together a handy summary of the quick poll results from different polling comapnies.

Early results pointed to a disappointing result for the PDI-P, with its share of the vote lagging behind expectations. Some questioned whether the party’s national campaign had failed to capitalise on the “Jokowi effect”. PDI-P members, including Megawati’s daughter Puan Maharani, however, were initially confident that this would increase as more booths in Java reported their results.

Interviewed by Metro TV’s Najwa Shihab, Jokowi said he was thankful to see the PDI-P in front.

Other observers noted Aburizal Bakrie’s confidence that his party would reach a greater-than-20% share of the vote, declaring that he would not form a coalition with another party in this year’s election.

There were also questions as to whether SBY’s Demokrat party, despite a decent showing, had squandered an opportunity to increase its vote by declaring a presidential candidate.

Journalist Ari Sharp also observed that Gerindra will need a coalition partner to put Prabowo forward as a presidential candidate, while religious parties collectively a large enough share to run a candidate of their own.

The morning after

Papers this morning are mainly focussing on the splintered nature of the result, with no single dominant party. Republika highlighted the strength of the Islamic parties, which may be able to field a presidential candidate of their own, while local paper Harian Jogya labelled the result “surprising”. Media Indonesia, meanwhile, correctly notes that the parties are now scrambling to form coalitions.

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More reading

What are we missing?

Let us know your election day highlights on Twitter or in the comments, and we’ll update this post during the day!

Asian food bowl is half empty

Over the past few years whilst Australia has been totally absorbed with supplying China with iron ore and ‘stopping the boats’ from Indonesia, our northern neighbour, along with a few of our other neighbours, have taken away a sizable chunk of our food export markets.

warung stalls in IndonesiaPhoto by killerturnip on Flickr.

Just look at agriculture. We proudly boast that Australia will be become ‘The food bowl of Asia’ and that we are about to experience a massive ‘Dining boom’ to replace our mining sector as the major exporter for Australia. Yet the official statistics are concerning:

China’s imports of food over the past few years have seen our share of that huge market actually fall; from 6% to 3% of total imports. Meanwhile, Indonesia has seen its exports of food to China ‘explode’ from just 2% to 13%. It gets worse. Look at our food exports to Malaysia which is traditionally a major buyer of Australian food. Our share of their food imports has dropped from around 17% to just 6% whilst Indonesia has increased its share from 8% to 28%.

Australia’s export of food to Indonesia itself also tells another disturbing story; Down from 16% in 2006 to 8% today.

So what has gone wrong in the middle of what should be our next export boom?

Firstly, we have taken our collective eye of the big emerging ‘ball’ to our north. Whilst we see Indonesia as a place that ‘collects, then ships boat people’, or a place that is home to terrorists or military dictatorships, our neighbour has grown-up and has produced an economy-including agriculture-that needs all the technical and scientific help it can get to expand its food growing capacity to not only feed its own people, but to ‘add value’ and export manufactured food to the Asian and Middle Eastern regions.

We have failed to identify this opportunity, but it’s still not too late if we face the reality that for some food crops, Australia will never be able to compete against our Asian neighbours with their high rainfall, better access to markets, fertile soils and economies-of-scale with large populations and low labour costs. But just because we are berry growers or dairy farmers for example, doesn’t mean we must only operate from Australia. By partnering with Asian growers for example we can invest in the supply chain and bring our extraordinary knowledge and skills to build mutually successful businesses.

Our live cattle export industry is now rebounding strongly, but we once again fall into the trap of wanting to revert to the ‘we sell; they buy’ model. We must co-invest in the entire supply chain so we build a long-term and vibrant food market, with beef as the core ingredient, selling to not only Indonesian consumers but also to third-party markets throughout the region.

WA’s CBH Group, through its Interflour operations in Asia doesn’t just sell several million tonnes of WA wheat to Indonesia every year, but ‘adds value’ through its Asian partnerships to manufacture flour, plus billions of packet-noodles with an enormous benefit back to WA farmers. Smart.

One often wonders what could have happened fifteen years ago if we had then identified Indonesia as the future power-house in motor car manufacturing, and that they would need first-class components to be manufactured nearby using knowhow and technology that Australia has. Could we today have large vehicle component design, technology and marketing businesses here in Australia with the actual assembly being done by our JV companies next door to the car plants in Jakarta? Sadly we will never know.

Meanwhile for our farmers and growers of agriculture products here in Australia we need to get their input costs down. Energy costs are an enormous burden on our primary industries. Labour availability and costs remain a major problem, as does government regulation and red tape which has lead to Australia falling nine places this year (to 23rd place) in trade efficiency in the past four years.

Fortunately local food associations such as Horticulture Australia have identified these challenges and our industry is moving to achieve better economies-of-scale through larger farms and improved on-farm practices plus lobbying government to cut the red tape and the cost burdens to which I have already referred.

Even if we do all these things, and they are needed to be done urgently, we still must think more laterally as to how we produce food and goods for export. Using integrated supply chains through international partnerships, that involve co-investment overseas and in Australia, will be critical. Government organsiations such as Austrade should play a key role in implementing and facilitating these plans. They have many good people and we should use them.

Asylum seekers have been the most important regional issue for many Australians in recent years, but our sole focus on irritants such as ‘stopping the boats’ may be costing us dearly.

Ross B. Taylor AM is the President of the WA-based Indonesia Institute.

This article from the West Australian, Saturday 15th March originally appeared at Our Indonesia Today. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association or its partners.