‘This satay western delivers’: Marlina The Murderer in Four Acts review

This is the third and last movie screened during the Indonesian Film Festival (IFF) 2018 to be reviewed on the AIYA Blog. View the first two reviews here and here.

Themes: rape, gore and violence. Potential spoilers ahead.

The premise is simple. A woman beheads the head of her rapist and tries to report the crime to the police, using the man’s head as evidence. The story then unfolds, and Marlina presents us the pains and struggles that are all too familiar to women, in four acts.

I’ll be the most miserable woman tonight.

Marlina (Marsha Timothy) lives alone in remote Sumba. One day, a man named Markus comes to her house unannounced, nonchalantly telling her that his cronies will come and raid her place, take her livestock, and sleep with her – all seven of them. There is an air of arrogance and entitlement about Markus; he does not bother to make eye contact with Marlina and his voice is strikingly calm for his stereotypically violent character.

Markus’ cronies later arrive, and Marlina manages to poison all except two of them and beheads Markus, while being raped. She carries Markus’ head to the police station the next day, encountering her pregnant friend Novi along the way and escaping the remaining of Markus’ cronies who seek to retrieve his head.

Being set in Sumba, the movie’s cinematography is astounding. A lot of meticulous care was ostensibly put into it, as a lot of scenery matches the themes of the movie; locations are displayed as arid and unfriendly, yet whimsical. The devil was definitely in the detail as well.

The characters speak with a Sumba accent and the plot revolves heavily on the Sumba culture of burying the departed as a ‘whole perfection’, a reason why Markus’ cronies are so desperate to retrieve his head.

As she journeys through Sumba, all of Marlina’s emotional turmoil culminates in the scene where she breaks down, a scene in which her face is not shown. This is exemplary of Marsha Timothy’s quality acting in the movie, as the scene is arguably as powerful as (if not more powerful than) the many close-ups of her face in the movie, in which the audience can clearly see the subtle changes in her emotions as the plot thickens. The extremely disturbing rape scene was also exceptionally done, and the sudden heavy atmosphere in the cinema became unbearably palpable.

Nonetheless, there is humour in Marlina. The struggles burdened by the women in Marlina are shared with the other women in the movie through mutual understanding. There is one comical scene, a breath of fresh air, in which one elderly lady is giving her traditional ‘wisdom’ on giving birth to Novi, unfazed by the body-less head being carried around by Marlina. In the seemingly inhospitable Sumba, these women manage to encourage and empower each other in their own ways.

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts delivers. This ‘satay western’ explores challenges and inequality, revenge and female empowerment against a breathtaking Sumba setting. As the credits rolled, there was a sense of relief in the air; Markus and his cronies were, in the end, more miserable than Marlina.

AIYA Links: 18 May

  • Estimates suggest that of the 1,000 fighters which have travelled to the Middle East from SE Asia to join the Islamic State in the last five years, 700 have come from Indonesia. Such figures indicate significant challenges faced by the Indonesian government to curb the threat of returning foreign fighters as well as the threat of homegrown violent extremism.
  • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has condemned the brutality, inhumanity and blasphemy of recent suicide bombings in Indonesia, describing it as “almost beggar’s belief”.
  • Indonesia has experienced an outburst of extreme terrorist violence, this time, with a confronting twist: family suicide bombers. The Lowy Institute’s Sidney Jones unpacks how ISIS has turned jihad into a family affair.
  • The authoritarian Soeharto regime sought to privilege a small number of business tycoons. Indonesia at Melbourne investigates what has happened to Soeharto’s cronies and their current relationship to power to mark the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the New Order regime.
  • Foreigners working in Indonesia make up just a fraction of its population (0.04%). Yet, employing foreign workers is a topic that divides the nation, making it the perfect issue ahead of the 2019 presidential election campaign.
  • The term “unicorn” is used to describe digital startups in Indonesia as they constitute magical entities with amazing capabilities. The Jakarta Post reports on the latest Indonesian summit, attended by the Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara where he appointed four ‘virtual ambassadors’ who he considers to be pioneers of Indonesia’s digital economy.
  • Last Friday, Mt Merapi in Central Java erupted, with local residents being told to evacuate the area. Minor tremors were also felt in surrounding areas including Surakarta, Boyolali and Klaten.
  • Indonesian alcoholic beverage producer PT Multi Bintang has officially exported its most renowned Bintang beer to South Korea.

Events

AIYA is proud to announce that our chapters are hosting screenings of the incredible Indonesian documentary, Banda: The Dark Forgotten Trail, across Australia.

  • Sunshine Coast – TONIGHT 18 May, 7:30pm, USC Art Gallery, University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Brisbane – 19 May, 7:30pm, Queensland College of Art, South Bank Campus, S01, Griffith University
  • Sydney – 24 May, 7pm, Randwick Ritz
  • Darwin – 26 May, 7pm, Charles Darwin University
  • Perth – 5 June, 7pm, Baylis Theatre, University of Western Australia
  • Hobart – 8 June, 7pm, University of Tasmania

Grab your tickets using the above links to secure your spot! For any questions about any of the screenings, please contact your local chapter.

Other events:

  • Sydney, TONIGHT – Join the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s annual Politics in Action Forum, bringing political updates from Southeast Asia to researchers and practitioners from across the disciplines and beyond.
  • Sydney, 19 May- The Indonesian Students’ Association (PPIA) at University of New South Wales are excited to host another ICON, or Indonesian Ideas Conference, later this May. For more information about this year’s theme, it’s exciting lineup of conference speakers and to purchase tickets, head to the event page!
  • Sydney, 23 May – Haymarket HQ hosts ‘Fun in Jakarta! Meet folks already winning in SEAsia’s biggest market’ to showcase the latest activities happening in Jakarta’s start-up ecosystem. Click here for more information and tickets!
  • Canberra, 23 May – Come to AIYA ACT’s annual Networking Night! Held in the Indonesian Embassy, mingle between students and professionals, create networks, and be inspired by the benefits of studying Indonesian!
  • Sydney, 26 May – Come see EPILOGUE, an original musical production created and performed by members the University of Technology Sydney’s Indonesian Student Association (PPIA) on 26 May at the UTS Great Hall, Ultimo. Click here for tickets!
  • Sydney, 26 May – Attend the launch of Call Me A Winner, the first book by Indonesian writer Novia Myta. It will be held at the Love Life Store, 78 Queen Street, Concord West at 10am. Register now as spots are limited!

Opportunities

  • International Internships is seeking a new Indonesia Program Facilitator. You will help deliver and support International Internships’ Indonesia-based programs including study intensives and internships. The position is based in Jakarta and commences in June 2018. For more information, click here!
  • Indonesian teachers wanted! Wonthaggi Secondary College is seeking two Indonesian teachers. The roles are for an Indonesian/English teacher (graduate, ongoing) and an Indonesian/second subject TBA (contract). The school is located in picturesque South East Gippsland in the town of Wonthaggi. If you’re interested check out Recruitment Online or contact Kate Hill: hill.katherine.d@edumail.vic.gov.au.
  • A University of Adelaide student is completing a research unit, looking at AIYA as an actor in the Australia-Indonesia relationship. If you would like to contribute and have 5 minutes to spare, please fill out the survey.
  • Are you a youth leader (21-35 years old) in the Australia-Indonesia space? CAUSINDY wants you for its annual youth conference! This year’s program will be held from 5-8 September in Makassar, the vibrant maritime capital of South Sulawesi and gateway to eastern Indonesia. Applications close 4 June 2018. Don’t miss out!
  • Indonesia Development Forum (Jakarta, 10-11 July 2018) is hosting a competition to tackle regional disparities across the Indonesian archipelago. You must submit either a blog, vlog, or infographic which discusses how you would overcome regional inequalities (#AtasiKesenjangan) in Indonesia?’
  • Join AIYA NSW! AIYA NSW is on the hunt for new executive committee members. Positions available include: Treasurer, Professional Programs Offer, Communications Team Member(s), Education Team Member(s), Socio-cultural Team Member(s) and Professional Programs Team Member(s). See the full position description here. If you have any questions, please email nsw@aiya.org.au. Applications are due Friday 25 May 2018, 11:59pm.
  • Join AIYA QLD! The Chapter is looking for new team members to join the committee. Check out the open job descriptions and find out how you can apply here. Yuk!
  • Applications for the AIC’s ReelOzInd! Short Film Festival are now open! This year’s theme is ‘Youth’. Ayo, bikin film, yuk! Submission close on 31 July 2018.
  • Learning a language? Get Indonesian & English language help with UniBRIDGE Project.

Like what we do and want to join or support your local chapter to contribute to our exciting activities? Sign up as an AIYA member today!

AIYA Links: 11 May

Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

Jokowi may be without a challenger in the next presidential election. Whilst Prabowo Subianto, the 2014 runner-up, has accepted his party’s endorsement, it is unclear whether he can assemble a viable coalition as the August deadline looms. However, the potential lack of a challenger raises serious questions about the health of Indonesia’s democracy.

In the news

  • Twenty years ago, the Soeharto era ended with reformation. Tim Lindsey shares his concern on the uncertainty that dominates domestic Indonesian politics in this post-reformasi period and its likely impact on Indonesian foreign relationships.
  • Recent research has revealed Indonesia’s enormous capacity to store electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind through pumped hydro energy storage (PHES). Most excitingly, the research suggests Indonesia has more than enough PHES sites to support a 100% renewable energy grid.
  • The Lowy Institute has recently published its 2018 Asian Power Index. It reports that Indonesia’s economy is projected to overtake Japan’s and Russia’s by 2030. Head to their interactive website to analyse power distributions in the region.  
  • Amidst the political and economic turmoil that lead to Soeharto’s demise in 1998, it was the property and businesses of ethnic Chinese Indonesian who were most frequently targeted by rioters. Jemma Purdey assesses the likelihood such violence will reappear in Indonesia, especially leading up to the 2019 presidential election.
  • Indonesia’s higher education is falling behind in global rankings and remains highly concentrated within Java. These issues need to be tackled hand-in-hand if Indonesia wishes to properly reform its higher education system.
  • Australian Ambassador to Indonesia from 1997-2000 John McCarthy reflects on 20 years of reform following Soeharto’s resignation.
  • Jakarta Airport’s new T3 terminal is almost due for completion. It is the centrepiece of the government’s plan to transform the capital into a transport hub to rival Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
  • The founder of ACICIS, David Hill is retiring in July. In an interview, he shares his concern about reluctance of Australian universities’ to permit students to study in Indonesia for part of their degrees and well as the dwindling number of Australian students studying the Indonesian language.

On the blog

  • This week, Amelinda Devina Tjoadri reviews the film ‘Pengabdi Setan’ (Satan’s Slaves), a remake of the 1982 original and the latest film by director Joko Anwar to have stunned Indonesian audiences. Check it out!

Events

AIYA is proud to announce that our chapters are hosting screenings of the incredible Indonesian documentary, Banda: The Dark Forgotten Trail, across Australia.

  • Canberra – 17 May, 6:30pm, National Film and Sound Archive
  • Yogyakarta – 15 May, 6:30pm, Sleman Creative Space
  • Sunshine Coast – 18 May, 7:30pm, USC Art Gallery, University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Brisbane – 19 May, 7:30pm, Queensland College of Art, South Bank Campus, S01, Griffith University
  • Sydney – 24 May, 7pm, Randwick Ritz
  • Darwin – 26 May, 7pm, Charles Darwin University
  • Perth – 5 June, 7pm, Baylis Theatre, University of Western Australia
  • Hobart – 8 June, 7pm, University of Tasmania

Grab your tickets using the above links to secure your spot! For any questions about any of the screenings, please contact your local chapter.

AsiaLink Business is hosting ‘#ASEANinAus: The next steps in seizing the digital opportunity’: A series of pop-forums in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane exploring how sunrise industries are transforming SE Asia’s economic, consumer and social landscapes and how Australian organisations and innovators can connect into the region’s rapidly evolving and dynamic digital architecture. If you’re interested, get your tickets using the links below!

  • MelbourneTuesday 15 May, 42/101 Collins St
  • Sydney – Wednesday 16 May, 34/161 Castlereagh St

  • BrisbaneThursday 17 May, 31/480 Queen St

Other events:

  • Perth, TONIGHT – AIYA WA hosts a live stream of the opening night performances of the First International Gathering of Indigenous Peoples in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia (Indigenous Celebration Bali). The event will be held at Murdoch Guild Tavern, Murdoch University at 6pm. Head to the event page to get your tickets!
  • Melbourne, 15 May – ACICIS and AIYA Victoria are pleased to present a networking event and catch-up for Melbourne-based alumni of the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies. Reuni, yuk!
  • Yogyakarta, 16 May – AIYA Yogyakarta are hosting their final language exchange for the semester. Come along to the AOA Resto and Creative Space, Depok at 3:30pm to join in!
  • Melbourne, 16 May – Join AIYA Victoria for another language exchange, held at RMIT Swanston Academic Building 80, 6pm.
  • Sydney, 18 May – Join the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s annual Politics in Action Forum, bringing political updates from Southeast Asia to researchers and practitioners from across the disciplines and beyond.
  • Sydney, 19 May- The Indonesian Students’ Association (PPIA) at University of New South Wales are excited to host another ICON, or Indonesian Ideas Conference, later this May. For more information about this year’s theme, it’s exciting lineup of conference speakers and to purchase tickets, head to the event page!
  • Sydney, 23 May – Haymarket HQ hosts ‘Fun in Jakarta! Meet folks already winning in SEAsia’s biggest market’ to showcase the latest activities happening in Jakarta’s start-up ecosystem. Click here for more information and tickets!
  • Canberra, 23 May – Come to AIYA ACT’s annual Networking Night! Held in the Indonesian Embassy, mingle between students and professionals, create networks, and be inspired by the benefits of studying Indonesian!
  • Sydney, 26 May – Come see EPILOGUE, an original musical production created and performed by members the University of Technology Sydney’s Indonesian Student Association (PPIA) on 26 May at the UTS Great Hall, Ultimo. Click here for tickets!
  • Sydney, 26 May – Attend the launch of Call Me A Winner, the first book by Indonesian writer Novia Myta. It will be held at the Love Life Store, 78 Queen Street, Concord West at 10am. Register now as spots are limited!

Opportunities

  • Join the Asialink’s team in Sydney! Every year Asialink Business’ Sydney office offers a fantastic internship opportunity to the AIYA network. Click here for more information on the position. Application date has now been EXTENDED to May 12, 11:59pm.
  • Join AIYA Jakarta! Join the AGM for AIYA Jakarta and become part of the committee! AGM will commence at 5:30pm, 17 May and will be held at Gado-Gado Boplo, Menteng. Please send expressions of interest and CV to jakarta@aiya.org.au prior to the AGM.
  • Join AIYA NSW! AIYA NSW is on the hunt for new executive committee members. Positions available include: Treasurer, Professional Programs Offer, Social Media Manager, Marketing Manager, Education Team Member(s), Socio-cultural Team Member(s) and Professional Programs Team Member(s). See full position description here. If you have any questions, please email nsw@aiya.org.au. Applications are due Friday 25 May 2018, 11:59pm.
  • Join AIYA QLD! The Chapter is looking for new team members to join the committee. Check out the open job descriptions and find out how you can apply here. Yuk!
  • Applications for the AIC’s ReelOzInd! Short Film Festival are now open! This year’s theme is ‘Youth’. Ayo, bikin film, yuk! Submission close on 31 July 2018.
  • Learning a language? Get Indonesian & English language help with UniBRIDGE Project.

Like what we do and want to join or support your local chapter to contribute to our exciting activities? Sign up as an AIYA member today!

‘Ibu datang lagi’: Kembali ke tahun 1981 dengan film ‘Pengabdi Setan’ (2017)

Seorang filmmaker Indonesia, Joko Anwar, kembali menggemparkan perfilman Indonesia dengan film Pengabdi Setan yang rilis di tahun 2017.

Film yang merupakan remake dari Satan’s Slaves di tahun 1982 yang bercerita tentang sebuah keluarga yang mulai diganggu dengan hantu ibunya dan kejadian-kejadian aneh lain di rumah mereka.

Secara visual, film yang sengaja disetting di tahun 1981 ini berhasil membawa penonton melihat kehidupan di era tahun 80-an dimulai dari bentuk rumah gaya Eropa dengan suara berderit, pakaian sederhana yang digunakan bahkan sampai tipe kuburan yang terletak tepat di depan rumah keluarga Mawarni (Ayu Laksmi).

Suasana hutan menyeramkan yang berhasil diciptakan dengan musik Kelam malam yang diputar terus-menerus di dalam film telah membuat penonton Indonesia Film Festival di ACMI 26 April 2018 lalu merasakan kehadiran sang Ibu di setiap scene filmnya. Tak heran jika film hasil kolaborasi antara Rapi Films dan CJ Entertainment dari Korea Selatan ini mampu menjadi salah satu film yang paling banyak ditonton bukan hanya di Indonesia melainkan Malaysia, Australia bahkan sampai ke Amerika.

Dalam film Pengabdi Setan 2017 ini, Joko Anwar tampaknya ingin lebih bercerita tentang awal mula banyak setan dan kejadian aneh lain yang menghampiri keluarga ini. Hasilnya, film ini terasa lebih emosional dan mencekam diiringi dengan canda tawa yang dilemparkan antar anggota keluarga dalam percakapannya di film ini.

Sepeninggal Mawarni, sang suami (Bront Palarae) dan keempat anaknya Rini (Tara Basro), Tony (Endy Arfian), Bondi (Nasar Annuz) dan Ian (Muhammad Adhiyat) harus hidup dengan masalah keuangan hingga Rini harus berhenti kuliah, Tony menjual motornya dan Bondi tidak bisa membeli seragam sekolah baru. Akhirnya pun, sang Ayah harus pergi ke kota, meninggalkan anak-anaknya sendirian dan dimulailah cerita aneh dan tragis terjadi.

Plot cerita mulai berkembang ketika Rini bertemu dengan Hendra (Dimas Aditya) yang melihat sosok wanita di rumah Rini dan Tony yang didatangi oleh sang Ibu sedikit demi sedikit mulai melihat kenyataan bahwa sang Ibu mengganggu mereka. Setelah sekian lama diganggu, mereka akhirnya mengetahui bahwa sang Ibu ingin mengambil Ian dari keluarga mereka. Rini dan dibantu oleh Budiman (Egi Fedly) berusaha mengungkap jawaban atas kejadian aneh yang menimpa keluarganya.

Setelah dua kali menghadiri Indonesia Film Festival (IFF), film Pengabdi Setan merupakan salah satu film yang dinanti-nantikan oleh penonton karena merupakan film yang mencapai 4,2 juta penonton di Indonesia di penghujung tahun 2017 lalu.

Walaupun menyisakan beberapa pertanyaan, film yang berhasil menyabet beberapa gelar piala citra dan awards lain dari luar negeri mampu membuat penonton di ACMI berteriak ketakutan. Kualitas suara dan acting memukau para pemainnya, membuat saya mengakui bahwa film ini layak mendapat gelar film terbaik.

Selain sisi mistis yang disajikan, nilai kekeluargaan yang dijunjung tinggi Indonesia juga sangat tampak pada film Pengabdi Setan.

Baca resensi film lain dari IFF di AIYA Blog.

‘Humility is hunger’: B-boys and diplomats motivate at business conference (AIYA Long Read)

A sunny Saturday afternoon spent indoors all suited up and shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers seems like a mediocre event. But PPIA Monash’s Australia Indonesia Business Conference (AIBC) at Monash University Conference Centre was anything but that!

The inspiring lineup of speakers guided us all through the tasks for the day (21/04): breaking barriers and building connections. After the opening address and welcome, everyone headed off to hear from speakers in one of two panel rooms. I was fortunate enough to hear from 2Tor Co-Founder Lawrence Tann and AIC Engagement Coordinator Ghian Tjandaputra.

From b-boy to 2tor

Lawrence focused on how he found the courage to start his own successful business called 2Tor, an app for peer-to-peer mentoring. Dressed in a smart white shirt, he surprised us all in explaining how his idea for this newly launched app came from breakdancing. As a b-boy (break-dancer) he wanted to help his friends get recognised and find work.  From this humble beginning he was quickly shut down because the idea was too niche.

Along with friends, he went away and took on a ‘normal’ office job, but just could not let go. They took their Monash business studies to task and built a business case and plan which lead to successful seed funding. Now, they have 4,000 pre-registered tutors eager to teach what they know across Melbourne. 2tor is focused on making sure these people are quality and safe while rolling the company out. Lawrence said he broke into this space by never giving up and staying humble. This ensured he continued to build a community to support his app and personal growth.

From student to diplomat

After a bite for morning tea and a chat with new friends, I sat with Ghian from AIC for his talk. He provided a lively talk that went to space with Elon Musk before finding his ikagai (which is Japanese for purpose based on a very intersectional approach). Ghian got the audience to question their bias through Musk’s ‘first principles thinking’ approach. From this interrogation of fundamentals Ghian elaborated on how he applied this to question his own assumptions about seemingly being fated to go from Monash directly to Indonesian Government diplomat.

In question time, Ghian elaborated that nine years of being outside Indonesia has been important in developing the critical distance needed to see the first principles of his thinking. This made it easier to establish ikagai, which is about more than passion. He emphasised that people need to do more than do what they want to do – do what you enjoy and help the world.

Using this nuanced self-awareness, he has launched into a four-year (and counting) career with the AIC, diplomatically strengthening the bilateral relationship. Further crowd questions uncovered that his key value is diversity; this has enriched his ability to embrace different people and ideas in his work. Diversity and community launched these two careers through persistent barriers.

“Failure is learning, and humility is hunger”

Meanwhile, AIYA Victoria President Stephen Sebastian Tedja listened to innovator and businessman Alexander Rusli, before we both sat down with him for his thoughts on breaking barriers at the end of the evening. This was an exciting talk that covered his interesting career, tips for students and graduates plus some ideas on the Australian-Indonesian relationship.

Alex has worked in many different companies and industries, liking being someone who solves problems by taking action. Alex explained how opportunity and personal interest drove him to move between diverse roles, including as Australian academic, Indonesian government advisor, technology innovator and more. Alex enjoys using quick concrete decisions to be constantly impactful by addressing core issues. An awareness of the market is essential, which is why he praised government culture shifts that promote people faster so they are better able to make realistic changes for Indonesia.

This man of action stressed that failure is learning, experience is growing, and humility is hunger. These three maxims combine to make a graduate a powerful recruit who adds value to an organisation. His other ingredient is speed; the world is fast, so make mistakes quickly, learn quicker and get the next opportunity faster. Alex stated “the fear of failure needs to be erased … to pivot quickly” towards the next opportunity.

He also stressed that if you aren’t working, make plans and connections constantly – just like the conference attendees. Alex emphasised that students must balance study with getting on-the-ground insights; study and then work to chase your passions with experience.

Building resilience through shared communities

After a short snack and room change we were back to the plenary to be delighted by Monash Business School’s Director of Engagement Professor Edward Buckingham. Despite the casual presentation sprinkled with Indonesian and Mandarin, he gave our minds some serious work.

Everyone explored Donald Rumsfield’s known-unknown matrix to build strategies that get us out of routines and address the unpredictable. Professor Buckingham urged the students to find commonality in the uncommon, to go beyond their familiar friends, and to seek new experiences. Professor Buckingham closed with how getting of your comfort zone is about getting in touch with ideas you have not thought of before. Transforming the uncomfortable and the unknown is the professor’s advice to break barriers.

AIYA later chatted with him and focused on strategies to build resilience through shared communities. He discussed how getting in early with a network like AIYA is important to make lasting connections. This gives students the opportunity to have new experiences they would have never dreamed of, and also to build resilience. He added that sometimes, diving into the deep end can be too much, so you need to know your boundaries and be aware of others’ limits too. His advice is for students to record their experiences, set regular goals to expand their world, and reflect on change often.

More poor Indonesians than the Australian population

The day didn’t end there! Pak Eko Putro Sandjojo, Indonesia Minister of Village Development, Disadvantages, Regions and Transportation, captivated the crowd with a detailed explanation of his Ministry’s work. Pak Sandjojo made it quickly clear that he is a hard-headed man with a head for facts.

He draws motivation to act from the fact that more Indonesians live in poverty than the population of Australia. His passion keeps him calm under immense pressure. Mr Sandjojo stamped out corruption in his own department, lifting them up national public service ranks and gaining acclamation. One thousand employees were found corrupt according to an official investigation. He had no problem standing by his decision, which is admirable given the months of protests and legal proceedings against him.

Mr Sandjojo emphasised it is up to strong government administration at a village level to lift people out of poverty. That is his focus in delivering training, audits and targeted construction works across Indonesia. Yet just as he focuses on Indonesia beyond the city limits, Jakarta awarded him a prestigious public service medal. They recognise that strong villages reduce the strain on cities like theirs, which are already overworked.

He finished with a reminder from Made Utari Rumyanti that it was Kartini Day, and explained how his wife has been instrumental in his extraordinary efforts to break barriers in his work.

Final thoughts

Over some delicious dinner (thanks Bu Diana!), AIYA got the exclusive chance to chat with Lutfi, PPIA Monash Co-Project Manager for AIBC 2018. The motivated team leader is studying a Bachelor of International Business and Political Science to get a hard start on his future in the Indonesian public service. For Lutfi, this was a chance to get inspired and discover some real skills in project management.

Mr Sandjojo made it clear to him that you need to lead with faith and surround yourself with great people to make excellent things happen. This clearly was already in his mind as evidenced by the quality international event- speakers came from across Australia and Indonesia to inspire people on this day. Lutfi made it clear that PPIA Monash has responded to their members interests when selecting this topic. He discussed the trick in balancing studies with passion to make a future for yourself.

The idea of getting out of your comfort zone requires breaking barriers such as fear of unknown. That is what Lutfi hopes people got from the conference; a bit of confidence and insight to do what you want to do.

With the day done, it was all about what we can do. Going forward, how can we break barriers every day and reach the next goal? If you attended the event, this proved not too hard to do with so much semangat on show and new friends for a passion-filled future.

AIYA Links: 4 May

Photo: AIYA Jawa Barat Chapter

On April 19, Australian and Indonesian youth came out to celebrate the revival of the AIYA Jawa Barat Chapter at its soft-opening welcome. Hear about the success of the event from two new members of the revamped Jawa Bawat Chapter on this week’s blog!

In the news

  • Head of Australia’s Counter-Terrorism Policy Centre argues why we should devote more attention to research rather than anecdotal evidence in assessing and policing the threat of violent extremist groups in Indonesia.
  • The latest edition of InsideIndonesia brings together contributions which highlight the challenges in addressing Jakarta’s extensive infrastructural problems.
  • In March this year, Timor Leste and Australia finally reached an agreement on a maritime boundary in the Timor Sea. However this agreement is not without potential repercussions for the Australia-Indonesia relationship.
  • Citarum River is the largest and longest river in West Java but also one of the most polluted in the world. However, a dysfunctional bureaucracy and sectoral ego continue to hinder the implementation of effective, comprehensive clean-up programs to save the live-sustaining Citarum river.
  • Following the arrest of 14 members of the Muslim Cyber Army for defamation, spreading hoaxes and hate speech in March, research conducted by the Southeast Asian Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) sheds light on the strategies and motivations of this nebulous, poorly-understood network.
  • Far from their reputation as ‘urban pests’, Traci Sudana shows how bootleg medicines distributed by roadside medicine sellers play a vital part in Indonesia’s healthcare infrastructure.
  • Indonesia at Melbourne is speaking to Muslim feminist Lies Marcoes on her reflections of the reform process, 20 years since the fall of Soeharto and the New Order regime. Read the interview here!
  • Sharing her personal experience, Inna Hudaya discusses how the legal, social and political realities of Indonesia’s abortion laws continue to disenfranchise Indonesian women and may have dangerous consequences for their health and fertility.
  • Indonesia Hijabfest 2018 will take place early May in Bandung is said to showcase Indonesia’s huge potential to lead the muslim fashion world.
  • Three Indonesian cities, Jakarta, Makassar in South Sulawesi and Banyuwangi in East Java are proposed to be included in the ASEAN Smart Cities Network. Its part of a broader effort to encourage the use of technology to advance city designs in ways that accord with the needs and potential of the region.

On the blog

Events

AIYA is proud to announce that our chapters are hosting screenings of the incredible Indonesian documentary, Banda: The Dark Forgotten Trail, across Australia.

  • Adelaide – 3 May, 5pm Multimedia Room, Hub Level 0, Flinders University, Bedford Park
  • Canberra – 17 May, 6:30pm, National Film and Sound Archive
  • Sunshine Coast – 18 May, 7:30pm, USC Art Gallery, University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Brisbane – 19 May, 7:30pm, Queensland College of Art, South Bank Campus, S01, Griffith University
  • Sydney – 24 May, 7pm, Randwick Ritz
  • Darwin – 26 May, 7pm, Charles Darwin University
  • Perth – 5 June, 7pm, Baylis Theatre, University of Western Australia

Grab your tickets using the above links to secure your spot! For any questions about any of the screenings, please contact your local chapter.

  • Perth, 4 May – Join AIYA WA for the next business breakfast hosted by Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC) with Ambassador to Australia for Indonesia, H.E. Mr Y. Kristiarto S. Legowo and Hon. Bill Johnston MLA will also be addressing this gathering. We look forward to seeing you there!
  • Yogyakarta, 9 May – Come along to the AIYA Yogyakarta Trivia Night to test your knowledge of Indonesia and Australia and compete for ultimate trivia glory! The event will take place from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Bjong Ngopi Nologaten and is free for members. Ayo!
  • Jawa Barat, 10 May – Join AIYA Jawa Barat for their next Language Exchange to be held at CafeOz in Bandung, from 7-9:30pm. Check out their Facebook or Instagram pages for more details!

AsiaLink Business is hosting ‘#ASEANinAus: The next steps in seizing the digital opportunity’: A series of pop-forums in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane exploring how sunrise industries are transforming SE Asia’s economic, consumer and social landscapes and how Australian organisations and innovators can connect into the region’s rapidly evolving and dynamic digital architecture.

  • MelbourneTuesday 15 May, 42/101 Collins St
  • Sydney – Wednesday 16 May, 34/161 Castlereagh St
  • BrisbaneThursday 17 May, 31/480 Queen St

If you’re interested, get your tickets using the above links!

  • Sydney, 18 May – Join the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s annual Politics in Action Forum, bringing political updates from Southeast Asia to researchers and practitioners from across the disciplines and beyond.
  • Canberra, 23 May – Come to AIYA ACT’s annual Networking Night! Held in the Indonesian Embassy, mingle between students and professionals, create networks, and be inspired by the benefits of studying Indonesian!

Opportunities

  • Join the Asialink’s team in Sydney! Every year Asialink Business’ Sydney office offers a fantastic internship opportunity to the AIYA network. Click here for more information on the position. Applications close on 6 May.
  • Join AIYA National! We are on the hunt for a Web and IT Officer. Applications are due TODAY, 4 April 2018.
  • Join AIYA QLD! The Chapter is looking for new team members to join the committee. Check out the open job descriptions and find out how you can apply here. Yuk!
  • Join AIYA Jakarta! AIYA Jakarta is looking to fill the roles of Events Officer, Membership and Partnerships Officer, Treasurer and Secretary, Communications Officer, and General Committee Member at its upcoming AGM in April. If you would like to be part of the AIYA Jakarta team, please send a one-page expression of interest and your CV to jakarta@aiya.org.au.
  • CAUSINDY (Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth) is looking for passionate young Australian and Indonesian professionals to join the team for the upcoming conference as Chief Comms Officer, Tech Officer, Digital Content Office, and Programs Officer. Check out the job descriptions and how you can apply here.
  • Applications for the AIC’s ReelOzInd! Short Film Festival are now open! This year’s theme is ‘Youth’. Ayo, bikin film, yuk! Submission close on 31 July 2018.
  • Want to take your business abroad? Telstra, in association with Austrade and the Australia Indonesia Business Council, is hosting a virtual event designed to help people successfully expand their business into Indonesia. Register your interest here!
  • Learning a language? Get Indonesian & English language help with UniBRIDGE Project.

Like what we do and want to join or support your local chapter to contribute to our exciting activities? Sign up as an AIYA member today!

‘Apa Kabar, Jabar?’: a successful soft-opening for the revamped Jawa Barat Chapter

Last Thursday, on the 19th of April, the Jawa Barat Chapter had their first relaunch event: a ‘soft opening’ called ‘Apa kabar, Jabar?’ The event was held at Bamboo Shack in Dago, Bandung, and was organized by the newly-formed AIYA Jawa Barat leadership team including current ACICIS student and new President Philip Hibbard.

Many people, both Indonesian and Australian, attended the night. The atmosphere was full of excitement when the new members of AIYA JaBar were welcomed.

At the event, we all shared our knowledge and experiences about what it’s like to live in Australia and Indonesia. In particular, we shared about culture, social life, government, economy, entertainment, and many other topics.

We also enjoyed funny riddles and sharing sessions. A few of us thought the sharing sessions were most fun, because we could hear about unique experiences. Some of those experiences included hearing from the Australians who are studying in Indonesia, and the Indonesians who have studied in Australia.

This welcome night should be regarded as the first of many future AIYA JaBar events, and has made a positive impression for all involved. We look forward to building strong ties between Australia and Indonesia through sharing our understanding and experiences in the future!

Some of the committee members and event participants posing with the national flags.

Some of the committee members and participants enjoying the event!

Diversity is resilience: perspectives on tourism and the economy with PPIA Victoria

PPIA Victoria’s special lecture with The Honourable Mr Edwin Hidayat Abdullah, Indonesian Deputy of Energy, Logistics, Metro and Tourism from the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises, emphasised that diversity is resilience on Friday night.

The mostly Indonesian crowd attentively listened to the 45-minute English language lecture on the range of tourism operations that exist in Indonesia.

Post-event photo opportunities with Mr. Edwin Hidayat Abdullah. Photo credit: PPIA Victoria

The ‘10 new Balis’ project has already been discussed from many perspectives. This time, it was a focus on economics, specifically its role in one in ten world jobs; its projected 14% share of Indonesian GDP; its function in motivating the Indonesian infrastructure boom; and much more. A focus beyond Bali aims to shift 40% of all Indonesia tourist arrivals across Indonesia. This supports Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s Nawacita (‘National Vision’) and develops a robust economy.

Mr Abdullah cogently explained how easy it is to capitalise on the natural beauty of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands through experience tourism. He discussed the diverse work being done to spread word of the wonderful times that can be had on beaches, in resorts, with locals and without cost.

In response to the role of technology to supercharge these efforts, the Ministry has launched an app called Xplorin that creates connections between all the different opportunities already available.

While natural beauty is the draw, it can also be a danger. Recent volcanic eruptions emphasise how Indonesia is at risk of billions of rupiah lost through travel cancelations and empty hotels if this project fails. Strength in diversity is emphasised by the long list of tourism modes being implemented across the archipelago by the Ministry. There will be environmental, luxury, cultural and homestay options, with many more besides.

This is drawing major chains like Paramount to establish themselves in new frontiers like Mandalika. This success champions the Ministry’s track record in clearing road blocks to benefit everyone.

All the projects emphasise the importance of addressing ‘government, business and local interest’. That order seems to suggest the way things have been done in Indonesia for a long time, but there is also the feeling of innovation. The homestay programs and cultural tourism involve the local population without creating over-dependence. My own experience in remote communities makes it clear that this is integral to Indonesia’s long-term success.

Question time focused primarily on two aspects – environment and community. Abdullah Mansoer, President Director of Indonesia Tourism Development Centre, Edi Setiono, Director of Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur and Prambanan, and Haryo Yunianto, Director of Patra Jasa, joined Mr Abdullah onstage. The four individuals answered a variety of questions from the enthusiastic student crowd.

Evelynd from Monash University asked about the intersection between reducing floating plastic and tourism. She suggested that environmental issue is one block to increased tourism. Mr Mansoer responded with a focus on the work being done to involve Bali locals in beach clean-up work. In response to a push to go beyond, there was acknowledgment that these strategies could be more broadly implemented with the right support.

Diski Naim from the Indonesia Diaspora Network asked about the role his members can have to promote Indonesian tourism. He made the point that they uniquely understand both why Indonesia is amazing and how Australians would best understand that. I added the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association would be able to support such an effort even further due to their position in the bilateral relationship.

All the officials present agreed that something must be organised and officially supported to make the most of this impressive people power. This notion provided in-principle support to Mr Naim’s idea that community goes beyond experience branding when getting Indonesia into local minds.

All questions emphasised the importance of a diverse and decentralised system. On the night, Bhineka Ika Tunggul (‘Strength in Diversity’, Indonesia’s national motto) was indeed linked to a robust and capable Indonesia for the future of tourism.

AIYA Links: 27 April

@PANCA66 on Twitter, via New Mandala

Attempts to map Indonesia’s political spectrum have long observed that parties differ little on matters of policy and ideology. A preliminary investigation of party’ elites views has reaffirmed the only obvious difference between Indonesian political parties is the degree to which they believe Islam should play a role in public affairs.

In the news

On the blog

  • With the return of the Indonesian Film Festival (IFF) in Melbourne this weekend, Lachlan Haycock reviews, ‘Ziarah: Tales of the Otherwords’, the sombre tale a 92-year old woman’s quest to find the grave of her husband lost after the war.

Events

AIYA is proud to announce that our chapters are hosting screenings of the incredible Indonesian documentary, Banda: The Dark Forgotten Trail, across Australia.

  • Adelaide – 3 May, Multimedia Room, Hub Level 0, Flinders University, Bedford Park
  • Canberra – 17 May, National Film and Sound Archive
  • Sunshine Coast – 18 May, USC Art Gallery, University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Brisbane – 19 May, Queensland College of Art, South Bank Campus, Griffith University
  • Sydney – 24 May, Randwick Ritz
  • Darwin – 26 May, Charles Darwin University
  • Perth – 5 June, Baylis Theatre, University of Western Australia

Grab your tickets using the above links to secure your spot! For any questions about any of the screenings, please contact your local chapter.

  • Melbourne, 26 April – 2 May – The annual Indonesian Film Festival returns, with some of the biggest films of the past year. Get your tickets now to Pengabdi Setan, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, Banda and more!
  • Perth, 4 May – Join AIYA WA for the next business breakfast hosted by Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC) with Ambassador to Australia for Indonesia, H.E. Mr Y. Kristiarto S. Legowo and Hon. Bill Johnston MLA will also be addressing this gathering. We look forward to seeing you there!
  • Sydney, 18 May – Join the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s annual Politics in Action Forum, bringing political updates from Southeast Asia to researchers and practitioners from across the disciplines and beyond.
  • Canberra, 23 May – Come to AIYA ACT’s annual Networking Night! Held in the Indonesian Embassy, mingle between students and professionals, create networks, and be inspired by the benefits of studying Indonesian!

Opportunities

  • Join the Asialinks team in Sydney! Every year Asialink Business’ Sydney office offers a fantastic internship opportunity to the AIYA network. Click here for more information on the position. Applications close on 6 May.
  • The National Australia Indonesia Language Awards (NAILA) is looking for volunteers! Check out the open roles here and how you can be part of a team dedicated to improving the bilateral relationship and Indonesian language studies in Australia. Applications are due TODAY, 30 April 2018.
  • Join AIYA National! We are on the hunt for a Web and IT Officer. We have extended the deadline to 4 May so be sure to apply before then!
  • Join AIYA QLD! The Chapter is looking for new team members to join the committee. Check out the open job descriptions and find out how you can apply here. Yuk!
  • Join AIYA Jakarta! AIYA Jakarta is looking to fill the roles of Events Officer, Membership and Partnerships Officer, Treasurer and Secretary, Communications Officer, and General Committee Member at its upcoming AGM in April. If you would like to be part of the AIYA Jakarta team, please send a one-page expression of interest and your CV to jakarta@aiya.org.au.
  • CAUSINDY (Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth) is looking for passionate young Australian and Indonesian professionals to join the team for the upcoming conference as Chief Comms Officer, Tech Officer, Digital Content Office, and Programs Officer. Check out the job descriptions and how you can apply here.
  • Applications for the AIC’s ReelOzInd! Short Film Festival are now open! This year’s theme is ‘Youth’. Ayo, bikin film, yuk! Submission close on 31 July 2018.
  • Australia Awards in Indonesia is pleased to announce that applications for Australia Awards Scholarships are now open until 30 April. The scholarships provide opportunities for individuals to gain an internationally recognised master or doctoral qualification from an Australian university and have the chance to pursue a career that makes a difference.
  • Want to take your business abroad? Telstra, in association with Austrade and the Australia Indonesia Business Council, is hosting a virtual event designed to help people successfully expand their business into Indonesia. Register your interest here!
  • Learning a language? Get Indonesian & English language help with UniBRIDGE Project.

Like what we do and want to join or support your local chapter to contribute to our exciting activities? Sign up as an AIYA member today!

‘Ziarah: Tales of the Otherwords’ film review: seeking the truth, finding peace

The 13th Indonesian Film Festival (IFF) is on this weekend in Melbourne.

As the most prominent celebration of Indonesian cinema in Australia, IFF is screening a selection of eclectic films, including Ziarah: Tales of the Otherwords (2017). Full information about all six films – plus how to book tickets – is available on the IFF Australia website.

Ziarah is preoccupied with notions of death, history, legacy and stories, and not unduly so. From the beginning, the film is dominated by imagery of cemeteries and dead bodies, talk of old age, and recounts of past events.

Characters are always telling stories of the land and the people on it, giving their versions of decades-old events and gradually building an impression of a broader historical truth that in this case becomes very personal.

Set in rural Java, the film is subdued and introspective, with a slow place, meditative soundscape and numerous long takes. Combined with unobtrusive music and a generally static camera setup, this makes for a film that often feels more like a documentary than a work of fiction. This could have even been a deliberate choice to enhance verisimilitude given the film’s underlying themes.

At one point, a passing extra glances deliberately into the camera, which aside from being a highly amusing error only strengthens the documentary-style tone the film evokes – it’s as if we are onlookers to a very real series of events.

Mbah Sri (Ponco Sutiyem) sets out on an impressive solo journey for one of her age, to find the grave of her husband who was lost after the war. The character’s visible age and fragility – she’s 92 years old – reinforce the notion of a far-off history pushing through into the present.

When asking where their graves are, don’t look for the gravestones. Look at the earth that is freed by their blood.

Often shot with sparse dialogue, Mbah Sri is accompanied by a kind of unspoken melancholy along her journey, upping the emotional stakes and also helping the audience relish in her youthful zeal to find answers to age-old questions so late in life.

Mbah Sri’s journey is paralleled by her grandson’s (Rukman Rosadi) troubled attempts to plan, buy the land for and build a house for himself and his fiancé. The two storylines interweave in a way that further emphasises the struggles of coming to terms with the past by showing the family’s effort to move on and look to the future.

Short filmmaker B.W. Purba Negara’s first foray into feature-length directing is contemplative and deliberate, and lets the truth at the heart of the story come to the fore without any extraneous directorial touches.

The film also features some pleasing Indonesian countryside to accompany the appropriately rural, low-key tone. The English subtitles, too, will be a blessing for those with little knowledge of mumbled Javanese.

A review from the Jakarta Post described the film as a metaphor for Indonesia’s ahistorical society, but it works on several levels: as a quiet depiction of life in the villages, a personal quest for solace and self-fulfilment, or a treatise on the enduring legacy of conflict and loss.

Don’t forget to select a film (or three) to watch this weekend at IFF in Melbourne. Plus, coming soon on the AIYA Blog: reviews for Pengabdi Setan and Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts.