The 2019 Indonesian presidential candidates, Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, squared off during a televised debate on February 17. While both have mentioned climate change in their vision and mission documents, none of them cared enough to elaborate on that during the debate.
For years, a citizens' initiative in the Indonesian Kendeng Karst-Mountain has been fighting against the destruction of their livelihoods by cement factories, among others, a subsidiary of the German HeidelbergCement. The transnational solidarity network Save Kendeng supports the farmers from the Kendeng Mountains.
Solidarity works involving communities from two different countries, Indonesia and Germany is a result of a collaborative work facilitated by usage of media technology. Social movements are no longer only read as a local entity with specific actors and issues but can be read within the framework of engagement with other actors and issues, both at local and international levels.
Two narratives dominate the debate on the expansion of the oil palm cultivation. The first narrative focuses on the destruction of forest or agroforestry systems and their transformation into oil palm monoculture plantations. The second narrative shows how oil palm cultivation improves the livelihoods of rural households by increasing their income and nutrition. Both narratives are supported by scientific evidence, and they need to be thought together when aiming to improve the ecological and economical sustainability in the production areas.
This article reveals hidden solutions for the haze problems known to terrorize some ASEAN countries through a less-discussed perspective: business-oriented solution. After showing the attempts to solve this problem from the global, regional, local, and business levels, this article shows the gross results of each method.
In the Southeast Asian region, the Philippines tops the list as the highest in terms of remittances from their exported labor. In 2015, the country received more than US$30 billion in remittances — which makes it the third highest in the entire world. While many of the emerging economies as well as industrialized nations rely on these remittances and foreign workers, many stories filter out from certain nations of exploitation and abuse inflicted upon these migrant workers.
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