Learning about Indonesian language, history, society and culture

Category: Indonesian Society

*That* Ahok Campaign Video – A Translation

Indonotes provides a translation of a recent viral video from Ahok’s campaign for Jakarta Governor

Its been all over social media, its been a source of controversy. Most of the controversy has been about the imagery employed.

Yet the words overlaying the video, from a speech by Djarot, Ahok’s running mate, bear repeating. There is little to be argued over here. Yet often the divisive election campaign has shown the importance, and the fragility of the sentiment they express:

My brothers and sisters
all the citizens of Jakarta.
The time is coming
to be part of history
and we will show that
the country of pancasila
is truly present in Jakarta.
We will also show
that ‘Though Many, We Are One’
is not just an empty phrase, but is grounded here in Jakarta.
Whoever you are
whatever your religion
whatever your ethnicity
wherever you come from
you are all
our brothers and sisters, of one people and one one homeland
and have the same rights and responsibilities.
Don’t ask where you come from.
Don’t ask what’s your religion.
But ask what have you done for Jakarta.

seluruh warga Jakarta.
Waktu sudah mulai mendekat.
Jadilah bagian
dari pelaku sejarah ini
dan akan kita tunjukkan bahwa
negara Pancasila benar-benar hadir di Jakarta.
Kita juga akan tunjukkan
bahwah Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, benar-benar
bukan hanya jargon, tapi sudah membumi di Jakarta.
Siapapun kalian
apa agama kalian
apa suku kalian
dari mana asal usul kalian
saudara saudara semua adalah
saudara kita sebangsa dan setanah air
dan mempunyai hak dan kewajiban yang sama.
Jangan tanyakan dari mana kau barasal.
Jangan tanyakan apa agamamu
tapi tanyakan apa yang telah kau perbuat untuk Jakarta.




Peaceful Indonesia?

A divisive campaign against the Jakarta Governor misappropriates the language of peace and unity

The ongoing efforts to have Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (also known as Ahok), the Christian Governor of Jakarta, prosecuted under Indonesia’s blasphemy law have a noticeable element of doublespeak to them.

Without going into the ins and outs of the case and the social and political dynamics behind it (these have been explored in a series of articles on New Mandala, for example), in this post I want to zoom in on one aspect, the inherent contradictions of mobilising the language of peace and unity whilst using divisive and inflammatory rhetoric. To take a specific instance, I have in mind the sermon of Muhammad Rizieq Shihab (also known as Habib Rizieq) at the mass rally held on 2nd December in Jakarta in support of the prosecution of Ahok.

It is a remarkable speech, both for the contradictions raised above and the fiery manner of delivery. It is available on Youtube (the below section starts at 31 minutes 45 seconds into the clip, and it is well worth hearing that section of the clip to get a sense of the tone). In it he calls for the whole country to submit to the Quran, and calls for the upholding of Surah Al-Maidah 51. It was Ahok’s statement about the alleged misuse of this Surah (he complained that some people were misleadingly saying that it meant that Muslims should not vote for him as a Christian) that is at the centre of the controversy. What’s more, whilst calling for peace and unity Habib Rizieq inveighs against liberals, sinners, ‘deviant sects’ (aliran sesat) and the LGBT community. So much for peace and unity.

‘…our struggle is not only to have Ahok detained or imprisoned, but must be more than that. Surah al-Maidah must be upheld in Indonesia, must be enacted in Indonesia. A country where the majority are Muslims, must submit to the noble Quran. There must not obstruction to the application of Surah Al-Maidah 51, brothers and sisters. We ask Allah that our steps in the future will be more steadfast, our unity will be stronger in upholding Allah’s law in Indonesia, this mother land of ours that we love. So let us defend religion, let us defend the country, let us protect Islam, let us protect the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. Let us, brothers and sisters, let us respect all religious groups, it can’t be allowed that there is mutual insulting or abuse. Brothers and sisters, Indonesia is peaceful without the insulting of religion, Indonesia is peaceful without deviant sects, Indonesia is peaceful without liberalism, Indonesia is peaceful, brothers and sisters, without LGBT, Indonesia is peaceful without disobedience to God and sin.’

A transcription of the relevant section in Indonesian can be found below:

‘…perjuangan kita tidak hanya sampai kepada Ahok ditahan atau dipenjara tetapi harus lebih dari itu. Surat al-Maidah 51 harus diteggakan di bumi Indonesia, harus diperlakukan di bumi Indonesia. Bumi yang berpenduduk mayoritas Muslim harus tunduk kepada al-Quran al-Karim. Nggak boleh ada lagi yang halangi untuk menerapkan surat al-Maida 51, saudara. Kita mohon kepada Allah semoga ke depan langkah kita makin mantap, persatuan kita makin kuat untuk menegakkan hukum Allah di bumi Indonesia, bumi pertiwi yang kita cinta ini. Mari kita bela agama, mari kita bela negara, mari kita jaga Islam, mari kita jaga NKRI. Mari, saudara, kita hormati semua umat beragama. Tidak boleh kita saling mencaci atau mencerca. Saudara, Indonesia damai tanpa penistaan agama, Indonesia damai tanpa liberalism, Indonesia damai tanpa aliran sesat, Indonesia damai saudara, tanpa LGBT, Indonesia damai tanpa kemungkaran dan kemaksiatan…’


Indonesia by Numbers (with some help from The Economist)

I feel ambivalent about The Economist, but one thing I admire is its ability to condense lots of information into very succinct articles. What’s more, it has just published a special report on Indonesia. Given it’s penchant for statistics and concision, I hope  The Economist will forgive the below, where I have cherry-picked the most illuminating statistics from its special report to present Indonesia by Numbers:

255 million – Indonesia’s population

½ – proportion of the population under 30

2/5 – proportion of the population with a smartphone

41.2m rupiah – GDP per person per year in Jakarta

2.8m rupiah – GDP per person per year in Maluku

109 out of 189 – Indonesia’s rank on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index

88 out of 168 – Indonesia’s rank on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index

60% – approximate proportion of Indonesia’s Exports that are commodities

$100 per tonne – drop in the value of coal since 2011 (when it cost $150 per tonne)

30% – drop in the value of the rupiah vs the dollar since mid-2013

26% – public debt as proportion of GDP (George Osborne eat your heart out!)

27m – number of registered taxpayers

10% – approximate tax revenue as proportion of GDP (again George Osborne eat your heart out!)

27% – estimated logistics costs as proportion of GDP

65 – number of planned dams (16 of which are under construction)

$23.1 billion – estimated cost of Trans-Sumatra toll road

2m hectares – conservative estimate of forest area burnt in in 2015

18.5m hectares – reduction in tree covered areas between 2001 and 2014

26 – number of online comments on The Economist’s leader article about Indonesia at time of writing

2031 – number of online comments on The Economist’s leader article about Donald Trump at time of writing

“What the hell is the ideal Islamic woman anyway?” – Dina Torkia

This was the pointed question asked by the popular British Islamic fashion vlogger looking back on her experience taking part in World Muslimah, a global Muslim beauty pageant hosted in Jakarta and Yogyakarta, as part of a documentary for BBC3.

One such point of contestation is ideas of female modesty in Islam, with Torkia exlpaining in a Guardian interview that through the experience she had come to see ““how the hijab is worn in so many different ways based on different cultures, not religion”” One might add politics to that, with controversies about, and differing understandings of, the headscarf in Indonesia featuring in a series of articles in Inside Indonesia.

The film also raises broader issues of identity – how does a universal religion deal with cultural differences and national identities? Interestingly participating in a global Islamic event seems in some ways to heighten Dina’s sense of difference and national identity, saying:

“Our cultures are so different, and for me that makes it pretty much impossible for any competition to judge who’s a good Muslim and whose not. I’m so British next to these girls. I don’t know what it is but it’s in me. I really didn’t realise how British I am. My British side just came roaring out of nowhere.”