AIYA Links: 15 December

President Jokowi and Prime Minister Turnbull on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in September last year in Vientiane, Laos. (Courtesy of Presidential Office/Laily Rachev)

Can democracy deliver? Read Indonesia’s former foreign minister Marty Natalegawa on Australia-Indonesia diplomatic partnership for democracy.

In the news

  • On last week’s topic of Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper, read another response in the Diplomat that emphasises on a shared understanding of the Indo-Pacific could form the basis of a stronger Indonesia-Australia partnership.
  • There are doubts the free trade deal between Indonesia and Australia will meet the end of year deadline. It is predicted that the agreement may be signed at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in March next year.
  • In this week’s Talking Indonesia podcast, Dr Dirk Tomsa discusses Indonesia’s war on drugs with Ricky Gunawan, a human rights lawyer and director of the Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH Masyarakat) in Jakarta.
  • New Indonesian authors are emerging in the non-historical subsection of Indonesian bookstores, where the stories of the diaspora have found a niche in the inspirational-reading market.
  • What can Indonesia learn in unifying NGOs from Australia? Read the analysis by Australia Awards Scholarship recipients from the Australian Conference on International Development conference.
  • Indonesian soap operas or sinetron are the highest rated and longest running shows in the country. Unlike Neighbours in Australia, Indonesian soap operas believe in the more unbelievable the plot is, the better.
  • Check out Sendok Garpu, an Indonesian restaurant in the Brisbane suburb that recently made its feature in New York Times’ Critics’ Pick.
  • Meet Nurul, Calvin, and Salvika, Indonesian figure skaters training hard in Jakarta hoping to compete in the Winter Olympics.

Events

  • Banda Aceh, 17 December – Attend the premiere screening of Aceh: beyond the tsunami, a documentary exploring the extraordinary stories of 2004 survivors and Q&A with the producers.
  • Yogyakarta, 19 December – The Aceh: beyond the tsunami movie team is also holding a screening in Yogya! Check out the details here on how you can attend the event.

Opportunities

Like what we do? Learn more about what AIYA membership can offer and sign up as a member today.

AIYA Links: 8 December

2017 Foreign Policy White Paper Release (Australian Institute of International Affairs)

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop launched the Foreign Policy White Paper with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 23 November. What does Indonesia stand in Australia’s foreign policy priorities?

In the news

  • Many Australian leaders often say that the relationship with Indonesia to be the most important bilateral relationship. However, Professor Tim Lindsey thinks that the noticeably light on details in this year’s white paper will not affect much to Indonesia.
  • My Pain, My Country is a new novel by Dewi Anggraeni looking back at the chaotic riots in 1998, where it seeks to bring cultural nuance to the anti-government protests that led to President Soeharto’s fall.
  • Are Australia and Indonesia as close as you think? Professor Jenny Stewart writes that the people of the two countries know surprisingly little about one another.
  • The Australia-Indonesia Centre recently appointed Helen Brown, a former ABC Indonesia correspondent as its inaugural Digital Economy Fellow.
  • According to the Diplomat, Indonesia’s recent new military chief nomination means that it confirms months of speculation where the key post holds significance within the changing context of Indonesia’s military and politics.
  • ANU’s Ray Yen went to the “reunion” for 2016’s anti-Ahok demonstrations over the weekend, and shares his thoughts on how the event was a joyful celebration of an “Islamic awakening”, but also a platform for religious intolerance and racism.

On the blog

  • This week, we hear from producer Ben Mortley, who is one of the people behind Mukhtar’s Story, a short film originally shot as part of the feature-length documentary Aceh: beyond the tsunami, which has upcoming screenings under Events below.

Events

  • Sydney, 10 December – Come to AIYA NSW’s annual Malam Trivia Night for a fun night of food, prizes, and test your knowledge on all things Australian and Indonesian!
  • Jakarta, 12 December – CEPET KAYA (Capek Macet Mending Kumpul AIYA) is back! Hang out with fellow AIYA members for an afternoon of coffee and lively discussions in the spirit of avoiding city’s traffic jams!
  • Melbourne, 13 December – Attend AIYA VIC’s last language exchange of the year! Just enough time to improve your Indonesian skills or pick up new Aussie slangs for the new year, and you can also meet new friends at the event.
  • Banda Aceh, 17 December – Attend the premiere screening of Aceh: beyond the tsunami, a documentary exploring the extraordinary stories of 2004 survivors and Q&A with the producers.
  • Yogyakarta, 19 December – The Aceh: beyond the tsunami movie team is also holding a screening in Yogya! Check out the details here on how you can attend the event.

Opportunities

Like what we do? Learn more about what AIYA membership can offer and sign up as a member today.

Q&A with actor and shortlisted ReelOzInd short film producer Ben Mortley

The ReelOzInd short film festival brings together Australian and Indonesian filmmakers in the hope of highlighting our friendship and common bilateral struggles. This week we hear from producer Ben Mortley, one of the people behind Mukhtar’s Story, a short film originally shot as part of the feature-length documentary Aceh: beyond the tsunami, which has upcoming screenings you can find out about at the end of this post.

Aceh: beyond the tsunami explores the extraordinary stories of survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in the province of Aceh, Indonesia, where approximately 170,000 lives were lost. Watch the short film HERE.

How did Mukhtar’s Story come about?

Mukhtar’s Story was just one of about 25 interviews we recorded for our feature length documentary called Aceh: beyond the tsunami. His story did not ultimately make it into the final cut of the film, but it was such an incredibly evocative and powerful story that we cut it into its own short documentary.

We were over in Aceh filming during the 10th anniversary commemorations of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The idea came from the director, Tim Barretto, who was interested to see how the survivors had rebuilt their lives in Aceh. Aceh had been the area that was worst affected by tsunami with close to 170,000 lives lost, and yet most media coverage (especially in the West) had been about areas that hosted lots of Western tourism. Local Acehnese stories had remained largely unheard.

What is your background in film and acting?

My background began in acting. I performed in my first film when I was 13. Later I went to drama school at NIDA and began to work in the industry in theatre, film and television.

About five years ago I decided to act on the urge I had to be more involved behind the camera, so I did a post-grad diploma in Film and Television. Not long after that I met Tim, and we made a short film while travelling together through Indonesia (it is a country we both love). Then a few years ago Tim and the [ReelOzInd] film’s other producer, Melanie Filler, approached me with the idea that ended up becoming Aceh: beyond the tsunami and Mukhtar’s Story.

Why did you decide to submit to ReelOzInd, and what was the filmmaking process like?

It was really just a process of serendipity. After we cut together Mukhtar’s Story, Tim came across the ReelOzInd! Short Film Festival, which seemed to have the same ethos we did. It wanted to help foster a greater understanding and healthier relationship between the two neighbouring countries, and on top of that the theme of this year’s festival was ‘water’. It seemed a perfect match.

The filmmaking process was hard work, as it always is, and this was amplified by the language barrier. It increased the workload dramatically in post-production, especially with having to get translations and transcripts of every single interview. Even through our translator on location, when we were receiving delayed and abbreviated translations of the interviews, we knew the stories were incredibly powerful, and sometimes it was hard not to be emotionally affected.

In your eyes, how does the production of a documentary differ from a work of fiction?

The biggest difference that comes to mind immediately is the sense of responsibility one feels in a documentary. There is a responsibility to the stories that our participants shared with us. And it is very difficult thing to wrangle with at times. After filming nearly 50 hours of interviews we have had to whittle it all down to a story of 71 minutes. And it has to be crafted in such a way as to keep an audience’s attention. There is so much that is left out, and yet you still want to represent people in a fair and honest way. It makes me painfully aware of how easily people can be misrepresented in the media.

What would you say is the foremost piece of advice you could give to emerging filmmakers and actors?

Know what you want to say with your work and why you want to say it. Then get as much experience as you can on as many projects as possible. Learn how other people work, and steal from the best.

Any future plans?

I hope I continue to get to travel and work – both in front of and behind the camera. Travelling is one of my favourite aspects of this business, both in Australia and abroad. I love meeting new people, in new cultures, and celebrating what is different, and finding the commonalities that make us the same.

Read more interviews with ReelOzInd filmmakers here and here. Mukhtar’s Story also has upcoming screenings in Yogyakarta and Banda Aceh:

AIYA Links: 1 December

NAILA 2017 was a great success with over 130 high quality video entries from Australians and Indonesians of all ages speaking on this year’s theme, “Origins.” Selamat untuk para pemenang! (Photo taken by Abbie Boyd)

In the news

  • Over this past week, Mount Agung in Bali showed eruption activities that left thousands of residents and tourists stranded. However, flights from Australia to Bali resumed since yesterday.
  • What can Mount Agung teach us to predict future volcano activities? ANU’s Richard John Arculus writes about using ‘volcano forensics’ to map the past and predict the future.
  • Good news! Indonesian citizens are now able to apply for Australian visas online and obtain an e-visa, which makes it easier for Indonesian nationals to apply without having to leave home and can be useful during peak season such as during the Summer.
  • How autonomous are Indonesian universities? As real autonomy involves the freedom to take a critical stance against the interests of the state and market, Diatyka Widya Permata Yasih and Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir think that this is where Indonesian universities are struggling.
  • Now that President Joko Widodo has passed his three year mark in power, how does the Indonesian public view his presidency? Dr Charlotte Setijadi discusses these issues and more with Dr Djayadi Hanan in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.
  • For a city that’s as big as Jakarta, why did the city only start to have a contemporary art museum last month? Turns out, a world-class Museum MACAN was made possible through one man’s art collection.
  • With many e-commerce companies are setting operations in the Indonesian market, the overarching implications of the rapid growth of internet commerce in Indonesia are more complicated. CAUSINDY Chairman Bede Moore writes on Indonesia’s aggressive leap into e-commerce.

On the blog

  • This week, we catch up with one of our members Albert Christian Soewongsono. Read his story on how Canberra tops as his favorite place in Australia, as a fan of B2M band after discovering them perform in Kupang, and his story in building AIYA NTT Chapter.

Events

  • Sydney, 1 December – If you are still looking for something to do this afternoon, don’t miss out a panel discussion on music and technology for change hosted by Kopernik x Navicula followed by a live acoustic set at the University of Sydney at 5 PM!
  • Sydney, 10 December – Come to AIYA NSW’s annual Malam Trivia Night for a fun night of food, prizes, and test your knowledge on all things Australian and Indonesian!
  • Banda Aceh, 17 December – Attend the premiere screening of Aceh: beyond the tsunami, a documentary exploring the extraordinary stories of 2004 survivors and Q&A with the producers.
  • Yogyakarta, 19 December – The Aceh: beyond the tsunami movie team is also holding a screening in Yogya! Check out the details here on how you can attend the event.

Opportunities

Like what we do? Learn more about what AIYA membership can offer and sign up as a member today.

AIYA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Albert Christian Soewongsono

Welcome back to AIYA Member Spotlight! In this regular series, we talk to a different AIYA Member from either Indonesia or Australia to hear their story. This week, let’s learn about Albert Christian Soewongsono, ANU Masters student and past AIYA NTT committee member.

Where is your day job/what are you studying?

I am currently pursuing my Masters degree in Mathematics at the Australian National University, with the [Indonesian government’s] LPDP scholarship.

Credit: Albert Christian Soewongsono

What is your favourite place to visit in Australia?

I would say that Canberra is my favourite place in Australia, since I have found that the city isn’t as busy or crowded  as other cities in Australia, which is great for study. It also reminds me of Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, where I came from. Also, the nature and wildlife here are well-preserved.

What is your favourite meal in Australia?

Honestly, I have not tasted many Australian dishes, but I think a meat pie is on the list. I distinctly remember eating this with my friends on the train from Melbourne to Canberra to attend a conference at ANU.

What is your favourite word in English?

My favourite phrase in English would be “community engagement,” which describes what both countries need to accomplist.

What is your favourite film/book/music artist?

My favourite Australian music band would be B2M. I think their songs are very catchy and traditional, and definitely contain local values of Indigenous Australians. The first time I heard about them was when they were invited to perform on stage during the International Education Fair 2014 at Nusa Cendana University [in Kupang, NTT].

How did you first become interested in Australia?

I remember the very first time I became interested with Australia was in high school. There was a representative from the Kang Guru Indonesia program who gave a workshop at my school. I still even have a sticker I got from that day stuck on my study desk. But it was not until I was introduced to the UniBRIDGE Project at my previous university where my passion for Australia grew bigger. That was the first time I learned more about Australian cultures and people, and so here I am, pursuing my Masters degree in this country.

How did you first get involved in AIYA?

I heard about AIYA when I was an undergraduate student at Nusa Cendana University – actually, it was CAUSINDY, one of the AIYA’s initiatives. The first time I got involved with AIYA was when Chris Hall, then AIYA NSW’s Community Outreach Officer and also the project officer of UniBRIDGE Project, came to Kupang to give a workshop about AIYA. Starting from that, we initiated the AIYA NTT chapter, which today is known as AIYA Eastern Indonesia. I then took the role of chapter treasurer.

Any hopes for the bilateral relationship?

I am looking for better people-to-people relationships in both countries, especially for youth. Exchange programs like UniBRIDGE Project and AIYEP, in my opinion, have been wonderful opportunities for both Indonesians and Australians to experience both cultures and to learn from each other. I hope that these kinds of programs can last for a long time, and hopefully there will be more opportunities like these.

What do you like most about AIYA?

What I like about AIYA is that the people who are involved are really passionate about Indonesia and Australia, and they are very creative in planning their activities as well. Things like trivia night, social gatherings and the NAILA initiative tempt people to engage with and learn more about AIYA. Also, I think AIYA has managed to reach out to the wider community by having chapters in different parts of both Australia and Indonesia.

Sum up your experience as an AIYA member in three words.

Creative, engaging, awesome!

Thank you to Albert, and we look forward to sharing the next Spotlight on an AIYA Member soon! If you like what you hear and want to become an AIYA Member, you can do so here.

AIYA Links: 24 November

Setya Novanto arrived in a wheelchair at the Corruption Eradication Commission in Jakarta early this week. (Rosa Panggabean/Antara Foto, via Reuters)

Indonesian anti-corruption officers have arrested the head of the country’s Parliament after failing to appear for questioning over a huge graft scandal, disappeared and then resurfaced at a hospital, claiming to have been severely injured in a car accident.

In the news

  • What do local official arrests tell us about Indonesian political system? An op-ed at the Jakarta Post shows the authoritarian and corrupt regime of the New Order has reincarnated in a more localized way.
  • Islamists have gained strength in Indonesia thanks to political support from Prabowo Subianto’s allies. Read Dr. Terry Russell’s analysis on Zon, Zen, and the art of mass mobilisation in Indonesia.
  • The Sumatran rainforests of Indonesia are home to the Orang Rimba – the people of the jungle. Their faith and nomadic way of life are not recognised by the state and, many are forced to renounce their faith to survive.
  • Demonstrations on International Labour Day have recently featured somewhat surprising calls for the dissolution of the Industrial Relations Court. Dr Herlambang P Wiratraman looks at why the court – originally intended to provide greater protection for workers’ rights – has failed to live up to its promise.
  • Jokowi’s administration has promised to build 1,000km of toll roads, 24 seaports, 35,000 megawatts worth of power plants and more during his five-year term. However, the state enterprises are racking up debt to keep projects going with $355bn infrastructure drive.
  • The Australia-Indonesia Centre’s Indonesia Director Kevin Evans wrote on minority recognition following Australia’s marriage equality poll and Indonesia’s religious freedom Constitutional Court ruling.
  • Newly-appointed Indonesian Ambassador H.E. Kristiarto Legowo speaks about the future of Indonesia-Australia relations: President Jokowi’s bilateral focus on capacity building, trade, and the all-important people-to-people relationships.

On the blog

  • Check out our latest post with Rosie Clynes, whose film Hilang won ReelOzInd’s Best Fiction for 2017. With her background as a theatremaker, the short film was based on her experience of moving to Indonesia and a sense of longing.

Events

  • Brisbane, 24 November – Come join us for an evening to celebrate another excellent year with AIYA QLD in the annual gathering night!
  • Cairns, 24 November – Check out select short films at Australia – Indonesia Short Film Festival screenings across Indonesia and Australia.
  • Darwin, 25 November – Join AIYA NT! Please see how you can get involved under Opportunities below.
  • Yogyakarta, 25 November – You’re all invited to AIYA Yogya Language Exchange for 2017! It will be a combination of Language Exchange and our Community Outreach Programme with Rumah Impian.
  • Canberra, 25 November – Come and join Festival Indonesia at Indonesian Embassy! The Festival will offer iconic culinary delights, cultural performances, arts and crafts, fashion show, exhibitions, and many more.
  • Adelaide, 25 November – Celebrate the start of Summer vacation by joining AIYA SA and PPIA SA’s End of Semester Pesta! Enjoy a fun day of great food, games and music jams.
  • Yogyakarta, 30 November – Curious to hear what AIYA Yogyakarta has been up to in the past year? AIYA Yogyakarta is holding AGM where you can hear updates from the team and also elections for executives.
  • Perth, 30 November – Join AIYA WA for a special public screening of As Worlds Divide, a movie that takes us on an intimate journey inside the lives of people in Mentawai and the culture.
  • Sydney, 10 December – Come to AIYA NSW’s annual Malam Trivia Night for a fun night of food, prizes, and test your knowledge on all things Australian and Indonesian!

Opportunities

Like what we do? Learn more about what AIYA membership can offer and sign up as a member today.

Q&A with award-winning emerging theatremaker and actor Rosie Clynes

The ReelOzInd short film festival brings together Australian and Indonesian filmmakers in the hope of highlighting our friendship and common bilateral struggles. This week we hear from actor, screenwriter and theatremaker Rosie Clynes, whose film Hilang won Best Fiction for 2017!

Watch Rosie’s winning film HERE.

Still from the short film Hilang. Credit: Rosie Clynes

“I feel like a stranger in my own hometown.”

Can you tell us about the film and how it came about?

The film is a short film called Hilang, or Lost – it’s got two names – and it’s a ten-minute film that I wrote and co-directed with Jonathan Soerjoko, who is a friend of mine.

We’re both Indonesian-Australians (I’m from Melbourne), and so it’s essentially about what it means to feel displaced in your own hometown. I think we came to the subject matter by saying, “Let’s do the film about what this year has been like for us” – because we both moved to Indonesia to, essentially, learn Indonesian.

The film is about two women who meet on a beach and exchange stories about their families and their lives. They talk about the family members they miss, and so on. It turns out that one of the women is the aunt of the other woman, but from another time – so it’s a little mystical and fantastical.

In terms of the message, we specifically made the film for ReelOzInd, so basically wanted to draw on the idea of water as a separator of families, and how more and more these days people are separated from their families by water, by the ocean. It’s all about longing.

What is your background in filmmaking?

I came from my usual headspace of a theatremaker, where I would make my own material and perform in it. But this turns out to be rather hard to film… nevertheless, I was acting in it and I also screenwrote.

I previously graduated from the VCA in theatre practice, which is essentially about acting but also writing for theatre.

Behind the scenes photo from the making of ‘Hilang’. Credit: Rosie Clynes

Were you influenced by anyone in particular?

Joe was inspired by the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. We watched a beautiful film of his called Dreams, about a young Japanese boy who meets the spirits of a destroyed peach orchard.

And for me it’s probably David Lynch – just how surreal it is. He works with surrealism really well.

Who else was part of the production team?

It was me and Joe steering the ship, but we also had a lot of really talented Indonesian friends. We had the help of a local sound engineer and cameraman from Yogyakarta; we were friends with him so he was kind enough to help us. There was also a local photographer. So, lots of different friends from Yogya.

Were there any troubles filming on location?

We shot on a beach about two hours away from Yogya. We tried to use the live recordings from the original shoot, but the audio was hazy because of the wind – so we decided we’d have to dub it. I was hoping it wouldn’t be noticeable, but because we were running so short on time… We ended up recreating all the sounds in a studio.

The total process was about a month, so we kind of whacked it together pretty quickly because we knew we had a deadline coming up – at one point we suddenly realised, we have to put this together.

Another still from the film. Credit: Rosie Clynes

Overall, how would you sum up your ReelOzInd experience?

It’s been cool! It’s just been really nice to delve further into the film community in Indonesia, and then to see the films from Australia being shown and getting noticed in Indonesia. We managed to meet quite a lot of cool filmmakers, new film friends – people who are interested in that sort of stuff.

Any future aspirations?

I’ve been writing a lot of stuff recently, which has made me realise how much I like performing. I think in the future I’d like to stick more with acting for film, and acting for theatre as well. I also would like to be based in Indonesia for now.

Ultimately, I guess the dream would be [making] indie films.

Congratulations to Rosie, and you can read an article she wrote for the Australia-Indonesia Centre here.

AIYA Links: 17 November

Same Sex Marriage Rally in Australia. (AAP/Carol Cho)

Last Wednesday, Australians have voted 61.6 percent in favour of same-sex marriage. As a neighbouring country, what does this mean to Indonesia? Listen to ABC’s Andrew West on tolerance, gay marriage, and Indonesia’s Pancasila.

In the news

On the blog

Events

  • Melbourne, 20 November – Attend Lowy Institute’s lecture series of Beyond access: Making Indonesia’s education system work where leading experts on policy and politics Indonesia will discuss underlying political and social relationships in Indonesia’s education system.
  • Jember, Samarinda, Cairns, 18 & 24 November – Check out select short films at Australia – Indonesia Short Film Festival screenings across Indonesia and Australia.
  • Darwin, 25 November – Join AIYA NT! Please see how you can get involved under Opportunities below.
  • Canberra, 25 November – Come and join Festival Indonesia at Indonesian Embassy! The Festival will offer iconic culinary delights, cultural performances, arts and crafts, fashion show, exhibitions, and many more.
  • Adelaide, 25 November – Celebrate the start of Summer vacation by joining AIYA SA and PPIA SA’s End of Semester Pesta! Enjoy a fun day of great food, games and music jams.
  • Yogyakarta, 30 November – Curious to hear what AIYA Yogyakarta has been up to in the past year? AIYA Yogyakarta is holding AGM where you can hear updates from the team and also elections for executives.

Opportunities

Like what we do? Learn more about what AIYA membership can offer and sign up as a member today.

Got a cold? In coin rubbing Indonesians trust

By Johanna Debora Imelda, Universitas Indonesia

Coin rubbing is a form of folk medication practised in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian and East Asian countries, such as Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea and southern China. In Vietnam and Cambodia, the practice is called cao gio and in China gua sha. In Indonesia, this practice is known as kerokan, which comes from the Javanese word meaning to scrape.

Coin rubbing and common cold

Kerokan is a dermabrasive therapy used to treat symptoms of the common cold such as nausea, loss of appetite, headache, dizziness and fainting. These can be caused by viral infection, which usually will go away by its own in five to seven days. The sick person only needs a good rest, to drink a lot of water and to eat proper food.

Coin rubbing is one way to warm the body as rubbing the skin produces heat. Kerokan, mostly applied on the back, neck, shoulder and chest, begins and ends with a massage using ointment containing camphor, such as Tiger Balm, Vicks or coconut oil.

Rubbing begins by firmly using the edge of a coin to produce parallel stripes on the chest and the back. It can also be done using other blunt tools, such as spoons, bones or wooden sticks, and for children, shallot with coconut oil.

Some people also take medicine such as paracetamol and aspirin after applying kerokan. The sick person will feel relieved and sleepy, then will get better and feel refreshed after several hours of sleep. The illness will be cured within two or three days after the sick person takes total rest at home.

A teacher demonstrates coin-rubbing technique in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 88studio/Shutterstock.com

Folk belief in coin rubbing

Indonesian folk medicine is influenced by a Chinese philosophy of health and illness. Chinese traditional medicine has influenced Southeast Asia since the fifth century.

According to Chinese beliefs, health is a state of spiritual and physical harmony with nature. A healthy body is in a state of balance between yinand yang, which are generally translated as hot (yang) and cold (yin), but these refer to qualities, not temperatures.

In some societies, responses to illness are grounded in a system of beliefs and practices, which have their own logical structure. From a scientific standpoint, beliefs about the source of illness might be irrational, but the treatments are a logical consequence of those beliefs.

In the case of kerokan, Indonesian people believe the practice is done to release excess cold wind which is considered responsible for the illness. In Indonesia the symptoms of the common cold are referred to as masuk angin, which literally translates as “the entrance of wind”.

It is said that the reddish mark symbolises the disappearance of the cold wind from the body. It is not entirely true, as a healthy person will get the same reddish mark if his/her skin is being rubbed. People also believe that if the sick person sweats a lot and lets out a fart, this is a sign of the cold wind leaving the body.

If the skin has recovered from the reddish marks, it is said that the wind has been dispersed. It may take two to three days for the skin to be recovered.

Scientifically, the idea sounds irrational because wind cannot enter or leave the body through the skin. It is also not wind inside the body that is responsible for the illness. However, many people believe in this practice and testify to the efficacy.

Side effect: irritation, red marks and dependence

Some people consider it a harmless procedure, but kerokan causes skin irritation, creating severe red marks that some people say do not fit into modern life. It looks awful if someone goes to the office with kerokanmarks on his/her neck. Nevertheless, people still do kerokan and seem unembarrassed about the reddish marks.

Other side effects include physical and psychological dependence on kerokan; some people routinely do kerokan even though they do not experience serious symptoms.

The body has at least 360 acupuncture points relating to organs inside the body. If kerokan is done properly, the acupuncture points can be reached. Moreover, the rubbing will apply pressure to points that might also affect the nervous system and brain, producing endorphin hormones.

The body produces endorphins as a local reaction to ease pain during the rubbing, but as the rubbing is continuously applied, the body might overproduce the hormone. Endorphin release makes the body deal with pain better, but it can also make the person feel they need it more than necessary.

Others are more dependent on the psychological effect of kerokan. In their book on traditional treatment, George M. Foster and Barbara G. Anderson wrote that it has a psycho-social support and psychotherapy effect. As it is mainly applied on the back part of the body, a proper kerokan should be applied by someone else, preferably an experienced traditional healer, relatives, friends or neighbours.

In The Art of Medical Anthropology, Susan R. Whyte wrote that interaction during treatment can also lead to psychological dependence because one of the characteristics of folk medication is courtesy and friendliness to the clients.

The whole process of kerokan needs at least 30 minutes, when the sick person and the healer can talk about not only the illness, but also family problems, economy, politics and gossip about neighbours.

Besides skill in massaging people, the masseur should have communication skills and experience. They usually know all the neighbourhood gossip and keep up to date with economic and political issues. A masseur without such skills and experience will likely not be hired a second time.

In this sense, the communication during the process of kerokan has psychological benefits for the sick person and it might make one go for kerokan again and again.


By Johanna Debora Imelda, Universitas Indonesia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

AIYA Links: 10 November

In the news

  • A new species of orangutan has been identified living on the island of Sumatra. A new study shows that the population of about 800 apes living in the Sumatran mountains are genetically distinct, and makes it the rarest great ape on earth.
  • Jokowi’s hands may be tied in what civil society groups see as Indonesia’s slide back into authoritarianism. Tim Lindsey at Melbourne Law School writes about what recent protests at Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation may imply to the future of Indonesian democracy.
  • Related to the topic, Saskia Wieringa provides a first-hand account of the events of the attack in Inside Indonesia.
  • Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, a former ambassador to Australia said Indonesia needs a strong branding strategy and closer coordination for its public diplomatic efforts with Australia.
  • What is a foodventurer? NPR sat down with Indonesia’s rising food blogger, Prawnche Ngaditowo, about food and social media outlets that help bind Indonesia together.
  • A new study by Uber and Boston Consulting Group shows that Jakartans spend an average 22 days a year in traffic, where on an average day, drivers spend 68 minutes in traffic and 21 minutes looking for parking.
  • Get to know Aaron Seeto, an Aussie heading Museum MACAN in Jakarta, Indonesia’s first large-scale contemporary art museum that just opened last week, in an interview with the Australian.

On the blog

  • AIYA Annual is back and we want to hear from you! We are building on the success of AIYA Annual 2016 report by including original material from our talented AIYA members. Check out this page for more details and some ideas to get your creative minds buzzing. Submit before 21 November 2017 and selected pieces will be published in the report by January 2018.
  • We spoke with Michael Abimanyu Kaeng, a school student whose film Water for Grandpa Jan won Best Youth Film at ReelOzInd this year. Check out the story about the inspiration behind his film and his creative approach and family support in the production process (bahasa Indonesia).

Events

  • Canberra, 13 November – Attend Leila S Chudori’s lecture at ANU, where she will share her creative process and Indonesian literature.
  • Sydney, 14 November – New date: Check out AIYA NSW’s discussion panel on the military relationship between Indonesia and Australia with experts from Imparsial – The Indonesian Human Rights Monitor and Australian Department of Defence.
  • Melbourne, 15 November – Join AIYA VIC’s upcoming language exchange! If you are looking to level up your Indonesian skills or add few more Aussie slangs, then this is for you. All levels are welcome!
  • Melbourne, 20 November – Attend Lowy Institute’s lecture series of Beyond access: Making Indonesia’s education system work where leading experts on policy and politics Indonesia will discuss underlying political and social relationships in Indonesia’s education system.
  • Jember, Samarinda, Cairns, 18 & 24 November – Check out select short films at Australia – Indonesia Short Film Festival screenings across Indonesia and Australia.
  • Darwin, 25 November – Join AIYA NT! Please see how you can get involved under Opportunities below.

Opportunities

Real Indonesia – Exclusive Offer for AIYA Members! 

Started by an AIYA member, Real Indonesia is a new Australian company that connects curious, conscious travellers to authentic travel experiences beyond South Bali. As Real Indonesia will be running their pilot tours in early December, as AIYA members, you have exclusive access to the discount code! Use the promo code “PILOT” on checkout to get 35% off these first travel experiences, visit their website to view dates and book.

Also, sign up to their mailing list for exclusive access and discounts, if you can’t make it on these first travel experiences they will be opening more destinations in Indonesia soon! If you want to be inspired about traveling to Indonesia – like their Facebook and follow their Instagram.

Like what we do? Learn more about what AIYA membership can offer and sign up as a member today.