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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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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