Warta Talk

Bringing media people with different cultures together * First published on ABC News BACK STORY (Tumblr).  April 2016 The first one raised the issue of the live cattle trade, relations between the new leaders of Jokowi and Turnball, and a new left-leaning political movement in Jakarta, while the second focussed on terrorism, the extremist movement in Indonesia and comparisons with Australia’s situation. Next up was a fascinating view of corruption in Indonesia and the current power plays which have made civil society concerned. These are the conversations that have come up over the past 4 months in a new, informal gathering of media types in Melbourne. Indonesia is never dull. It is one of Australia’s closest neighbours and a gateway into Asian culture. It sits in a strategic position in the region and is going through all the difficult gear changes that are seen in a new democracy. It has the energy of a young demographic which is chafing against entrenched

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Free the Data!

This article first appeared in Indonesia in Melbourne, a blog site for the University of Melbourne, 7 December 2015 http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au/oil-and-gas-exploration-free-the-data/ +++   It was one of the quieter visits in what has been a steady stream of senior Indonesian officials to Australia this year to talk business, but Andang Bachtiar’s mission and message were revealing. In May, he was put in charge of a committee, under reformist Energy Minister Sudirman Said, which has the task of boosting Indonesian oil and gas exploration. And while he is grappling with a raft of complex issues that have dragged the industry down for a decade, he has also found it is being impeded by some of the simplest. This includes the way that crucial seismological data is made available so exploration companies can make smarter commercial decisions. “It is not open to the public, it is held tight and there is surprise on that,” Andang said in a private interview in Melbourne. Normally

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Indonesia’s Education Challenge

This first appeared on Australian Outlook, Australian Institute of International Affairs, October 2015 . http://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australian_outlook/indonesias-education-challenge/ Of all the many hurdles Indonesia faces in its efforts to develop, education is one core challenge which is vital to address. The new President, Joko Widodo, has pledged to “lift-up the people” and has a vision to equip them with the skills and services to improve their lives. One of the most fundamental requirements to achieve this goal will be to improve education levels; a task that is both enormous and urgent. Schoolchildren are lagging behind in a system that doesn’t serve them well, and reports have warned that even on the current trajectory those with an education are likely to be under-qualified to meet the needs of a growing economy. Meanwhile the tens of millions of factory workers reliant on low-skilled jobs are not being sufficiently trained for the next wave of manufacturing predicted for Indonesia. The Minister in charge of early education, Anies

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Seorang Seniman bernama Nani

Ketika itu Melbourne yang bersuhu 9 derajat dilanda hujan dingin yang turun terus menerus dari langit sore kelabu. Dan tulang belulang saya yang sudah terbiasa dengan iklim tropis tidak dapat menahan diri dari terpaannya. Sebaliknya sembari membukakan pintu depan sebuah rumah besar, perempuan itu sepertinya tidak menyadari betapa dinginnya sore itu. Rumahnya bergaya townhouse 1970-an dan tersembunyi di area suburbia dalam kota yang terkenal. Ironis memang bahwa perempuan yang besar di Indonesia yang beriklim tropis itu menyambut saya dengan baju terusan kotak-kotak berlengan pendek. Dengan sapaan ramah, Nani Pusparani menyapa dan segera mengarahkan saya menaiki sebuah tangga beton. Terdapat papan kecil bertuliskan tangan yang cantik di dinding, “Selamat Datang di Surga”, dan di atasnya terpampang, “Selamat Datang di Neraka”.  “Itu untuk pesta ulang tahun saya,” kata wanita tersebut seraya tersenyum.  Begitulah, selamat datang di dunia Nani Puspasari. Nani adalah seorang ilustrator, desainer, fotografer, dan seniman kelahiran Kalimantan, sebuah pulau di Indonesia yang kaya akan sumber daya alam.  Dengan menggunakan cap

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An Artist Called Nani

It’s nine degrees outside in the cold rain which is now settling in on a grey Melbourne afternoon. And my tropical-acclimatised bones are not coping. The woman who opens the large heavy door of a 70’s townhouse, tucked away in a popular inner-city suburb, does not seem to be noticing the cold at all. The irony is that she is the one who grew up in tropical Indonesia .. but greets me wearing a short-sleeve, pattern-checked, pinafore dress. Nani Puspasari gives a happy hello and directs me up the concrete flight of stairs. Small pretty handwritten signs are on the wall “Welcome to Heaven” and then further up “Welcome to Hell”.  “That was for my birthday party” she says with a smile.  And welcome to the world of Nani Puspasari. This illustrator, designer, photographer and artist was born on Indonesia’s resource rich island of Kalimantan.  With the moniker of “designani”, she’s lived in Melbourne for 8 years established herself as a graphic

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Through My Eyes

Jakarta is a city that knocks you around in the first year. If you survive that, use what you have learnt in year two, then invariably, Indonesia becomes the country that you can’t let go of. When I arrived in Jakarta in late 2010 for my posting in the ABC bureau as the Australia Network Correspondent I was unprepared. I have to confess to not really knowing much about the country, having avoided it in my travels around Asia. My only visit to the favoured destination of Bali had been at the behest of a friend, and that was a recent trip. Now I see that like a significant number of Australians my view of Indonesia, and my attitude towards it, was formed by events that had happened 15-20 years ago. And I was simply not up to speed on how much it was changing. My first days in Jakarta were a jarring lesson in how difficult a place it

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