On 2 December 2016, about 800,000 Muslim protestors hit the streets of Jakarta to demand the arrest of the Christian-Chinese governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, aka “Ahok”. The largest in a series of such protests since October 2016, it was labelled “Defending Islam Acts”. The crowd accused Ahok of blasphemy, alleging that a speech he made in September 2016 had insulted Islam. As the result of this protest Ahok, who at the time was running for re-election, saw his polling numbers drop significantly. Conversely, the hard-line Muslim groups and politicians driving the protest enjoyed new heights of public attention.
Internet users in Southeast Asia are confronted with a heavily regulated environment in which there are more restrictions being placed on freedom of expression. Despite technological advances, societies undergoing political transitions, such as Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand, have yet to enjoy the full democratic potentials of a free and independent media. Instead of top-down reforms for the media, these countries need policies that prioritize the public’s interests. Only with the meaning public’s meaningful participation of civil society can these reforms become sustainable while supporting democratization.
Women farmers have become a part of the social movement that transpires in North Kendeng Mountains. The position that originally was only complementary in the local economic and political routine has transformed into an important element in determining the motion of the movement being built. Gunarti, one of the women, shares her stories with us.
The romance between ASEAN citizens and social media lives on. Social media continues to shape a more integrated and digitally savvy regional community. It has proven that its people have set limitations due to geographical borders, customary social divides, economic status and perhaps national laws and policies. At 50, ASEAN and its member states must admit that social media is not just here to stay, but is and will remain a dynamic force to be reckoned with.
By Joel Mark Baysa Barredo, Jose Santos P. Ardivilla
The Indonesian case of homophobia (or even some other ASEAN countries) reveals that homosexuality issues are more complex and are more than just moral or immoral debates; they are about national reactions to the rapid transmission of global discourse, the dynamic of movements and counter-movements in democracy, and also the state’s multifaceted representation which place sexuality as a political issue of our contemporary time.
In Indonesia, marriage is considered as one of the most important phase of human development. It plays significant role in social life. In Indonesia, although not always, underage marriage is mostly because of love marriage. Although, poverty and premarital sex have considered as two significant factors contributing to child marriage in Indonesia.
Indonesia will be able to play a leading role in the fight against climate change, and gets a global significance. To that end, a political leadership is needed which is able to promote consistency between the declared commitment shown in international forums and genuine implementation efforts.
The oil palm is one of the most efficient oil crops in the world, yielding several times the amount produced by other major oil-bearing crops. Its high productivity, competitive price, accessibility for poor households, and versatile uses have driven exponential growth over the past 30 years (USDA-FAS 2009) and secured its place as one of the most important resources in the food industry today.
In late November 2016, rainbow colors broke through the black of mourning found everywhere in Bangkok, as 700 activists and allies from around the world arrived to participate in the largest ever world conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).
Dédé Oetomo stressed that the focus on the LGBT situation in Indonesia is because of the increased level of intolerance and homo- and transphobia in recent months. In spite of these worrisome trends, Dédé Oetomo see it as an opportunity that, because of the current crisis, the LGBT issue is now “on the table” and can be openly discussed in the public and policy spheres. He remains optimistic as he believes that Indonesian society is not per se homophobic and LGBT people have come a long way in terms of organizing.