Serumpun discord #2

Now, according to Koran Tempo, an NGO focusing on migrant labor, wants to report Malaysia to the UN Human Rights Council for the rape of Indonesian workers by a group of people from Ikatan Relawan Rakyat Malaysia.

This is getting a bit worrying. All it takes is for someone to fan the flames of nationalism and Malaysians in Indonesia may be sitting ducks. Unspun suggests that the Malaysian government looks at ways of managing its image in Indonesia, not least starting from correcting the misperceptions malaysians in malaysia have about Indonesians as a whole, as expressed by the Malaysian Ambassador to indonesia Datuk Zainal’s words to heart (see here)

Selasa, 02 Oktober 2007


Kasus Pemerkosaan Pekerja Indonesia
Malaysia Akan Dilaporkan ke PBB

Dalang pemerkosaan adalah polisi setempat.

Jakarta — Migrant Care, lembaga swadaya untuk buruh migran, akan melaporkan pemerintah Malaysia ke Dewan Hak Asasi Manusia Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa. Laporan itu terkait dengan pemerkosaan yang dialami tenaga kerja Indonesia, EW, oleh sekelompok anggota Ikatan Relawan Rakyat Malaysia (Rela).
“Akan kami laporkan ke UN Human Rights Council secepatnya. Selama ini tidak ada tindakan apa pun dari pemerintah RI,” kata analis kebijakan Migrant Care, Wahyu Susilo, kepada Tempo kemarin.
Selain itu, kata Wahyu, anggota Rela akan dilaporkan ke pelapor khusus mengenai hak-hak buruh migran PBB. Langkah serupa dapat dilakukan langsung oleh EW. “Seharusnya yang menggugat adalah pemerintah Indonesia. Sebab, pelaku pemerkosaan adalah anggota Rela yang resmi dibentuk pemerintah Malaysia.”
Menurut Senior Liaison Officer Markas Besar Kepolisian RI di Kedutaan Besar RI Kuala Lumpur Setyo Wasisto, anggota Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) berpangkat rendah menjadi dalang aksi biadab yang melibatkan 12 orang itu. Si polisi juga telah menyiksa Mujib, suami EW, serta merampas harta benda dan paspor korban. “Pelaku sudah ditangkap bersama sembilan orang lain,” katanya.
Ia menuturkan EW adalah tenaga kerja migran resmi yang memiliki izin bekerja sebagai pembantu rumah tangga di Klang, Selangor. Namun, tiga bulan kemudian ia melarikan diri dari majikannya. Lalu EW menikah siri dengan Mujib dan tinggal di Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Pada 7 September, Mujib dan EW didatangi dua orang berseragam yang mengaku anggota kepolisian Selangor. Dengan alasan tidak memiliki izin kerja, EW lantas dibawa ke Muar–150 kilometer dari Selangor.
EW kemudian dibawa ke Hotel R di Muar, dan di bawah todongan senjata api, dia diperkosa beramai-ramai. Pada 8 September, EW dibawa keluar dari hotel dan dijual kepada dua orang Melayu seharga 400 ringgit. “Oleh dua orang itu ia diperkosa lagi,” kata Setyo.
Saat ini EW berada dalam perlindungan shelter Konsulat Jenderal RI Johor Bahru. Menurut Setyo, kondisi psikologis EW sangat lemah. “Apalagi saat ini EW tengah hamil dua setengah bulan.”
Konsulat RI di Johor, menurut Setyo, akan menggugat para pelaku secara pidana ataupun perdata. “Tapi kita lihat dulu. Karena di Malaysia, untuk kasus pidana saja susah, apalagi perdata,” ujarnya. KBRI, kata dia, saat ini masih fokus pada pendampingan korban dan pengusutan kasus.
Berdasarkan catatan Migrant Care, pada April 2007, kasus pemerkosaan oleh aparat Rela juga menimpa SY, seorang tenaga kerja wanita asal Desa Kidang, Kabupaten Mujur, Lombok Tengah, Nusa Tenggara Barat. SY diperkosa oleh polisi Rela di Johor Bahru, Malaysia. “Saat melapor ke kantor polisi Kajang, ia justru dijebloskan ke penjara Semenyih karena tidak berdokumen dan ditahan selama lima hari,” kata Wahyu.
SY kini masih berada di penampungan KBRI Kuala Lumpur dan kehamilannya sudah berusia 6 bulan. Ironisnya, menurut Wahyu, kepolisian Malaysia justru mengirim surat kepada KBRI Kuala Lumpur agar SY segera dipulangkan ke Indonesia. “Tapi kasus pemerkosaannya tidak pernah ditangani.” NININ DAMAYANTI

Rasa not so sayang?


(Update: Unspun, uncharacteristically, did not go through the papers this morning. It appears that the problem is even more serious as the matter has been brought before parliament. This is an excerpt of a report from The Jakarta Post:

The House on Monday urged an immediate response from the government to Malaysia’s use of the traditional Indonesian song Rasa Sayange in its “Truly Asia” tourism campaign.

House of Representatives member Hakam Naja of the National Mandate Party (PAN) said if the government could prove the song belonged to Indonesia, Indonesia should sue the Malaysian government.

“The government needs to check on its origins, whether it’s from Indonesia or not,” the deputy chairman of House Commission X overseeing education and tourism was quoted as saying by newsportal.

Rasa Sayange is believed to have originated in Maluku, where it has been sung for generations by people to express their love for the environment. (rst of story here)


Is a cultural flap between serumpun countries Malaysia and Indonesia in the works?

Unspun‘s business partner today told me of a radio broadcast talking about the Rasa Sayang Malaysia site, which is Malaysia’s answer to e-marketing itself to the world.

According to the radio program, the site’s comments section has been closed down because many Indonesians have been writing in to complain of Malaysia’s appropriation of the Rasa Sayang tune to boost its own image.

Ever the skeptic Unspun went to the site and clicked on the “comments” hyperlinked. Nothing happened! This suggests that the radio announcer may be right.

This all set Unspun‘s head spinning about Malaysian culture and how sometimes Malaysia goes so hard to create a culture of its own that the results become ersatz. Consider, for instance, what sometimes happens when Malaysians get an invitation to attend a formal Malaysian occasion: The dress code is usually specified as “Malaysian Batik.” Not just any batik but “Malaysian Batik.

This may work well in other countries but not in Indonesia, home of the batik. The batik here, from Solo, and Pekalongan are exquisite, beautiful and full of history (for more information on Indonesian batik try my friend’s blogsite here. Compare it to the Malaysian batik, and you’d see the difference. Wavy lines that a five year old could have drawn over satiny fabric that’s good for showing off the spare tyres of middle aged men. Amoeba would have more culture.

And it is always an embarrassment when Malaysia culture shows are staged here. What can we show them that they do not have? Wayang Kulit? Satay? (OK, ganted Unspun likes Malaysian satay a lot over Indonesian ones but its hardly a Malaysian invention is it?) A Malaysian minister scolding bloggers goblok? Unspun’s written about it here and here.

But the point here is not to trash Malaysia; rather it is to suggest that it should perhaps find more creative ways of expressing its multi-racial culture that befits a nation 50 years in the making with lots of creative and smart people.

Back to the possible flap on Rasa Sayang. Is the tune Indonesian? Unspun is no authority on musicology and would like to hear from any authoritative persons out there.

This has the hallmarks of an issue that may escalate. If the radio announcer was right then the Malaysian authorities have a task on their hands to manage this issue before it snowballs into a public flap with nationalistic sentiments inflamed on both sides of the straits. Perhaps the Malaysian Tourist Board’s new PR consultant has good advice on how to handle the issue?

(Readers please note: This may shape up to be a emotive issue so let’s all work toward making this a discussion rather than a catfight. It’s OK to express opinions but try to refrain from name calling and emotive language. If you feel someone should o should not do something, say it and say why. Other than that, debate all you want!)

Poems from Bali to Burma

Unspun enjoyed himself thoroughly at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival over the past week. He also had a great time moderating a session on Pamphlet Poetry featuring three poets: Ed Maranan from the Philippines, Cyril Wong from Singapore and Abe Barreto Soares from East Timor.


(From left: Unspun’s alter ego, Ed Maranan, Cyril Wong and Abe Soares. Photo taken by Unspun’s partner, who did not laugh at him as he was struggling to sound intelligent in front of smarter people)

Since the subject was Pamphlet Poetry and whether poetry is an art form could influence politics Unspun felt it was appropriate that the three poets started off the session by what they had to say about the Burmese situation through their poetry. E Responded with a Haiku, Cyril responded by modifying a poem of his and Abe responded with one of his poems (the man writes in Tetum, English, Portuguese and Indonesian and also sings – amazing fellow!)

This is their contribution (Only Cyril has responded so far as Ed and Abe are still traveling – Unspun will post their poems when they send it through).

Practical Aim
by Cyril Wong

After great pain, what would the body
learn that it does not already know

of relief? When that fire-truck has raged
past, what do I rediscover about silence

except that I would always miss it?
Do trees mind if it is the same wind

that passes through their heads everyday?
After the mall is completed, must we

remember the field it now inhabits
where we raced each other as children?

If my lover forgets to wake me with a kiss
a second time this week, should I worry?

Does solitude offer strength over time, or
is denial of it the only practical aim?

After the earthquake, would it matter
if no one saw two dogs from different

families approaching each other
without suspicion, then moving apart?

As the workers wash their faces hidden
by helmets that beam back the sun,

should they care about the new building
behind them beyond a fear of it falling?

If my mother cannot see how else to be
happy, is it enough that she may lie

in bed, convinced God watches her sleep?
What happens after the monks stop flowing

like a river along the wound that is Burma?
After deep loss, what does the heart

learn that it has not already understood
about regret? When all light finally

forsakes a room, do we take the time
to interrogate the dark, and to what end?

Pesta Blogger badges ready

The Pesta Blogger Steering Committee has prepared badges for participants and supporters. There are two versions, one that says you are going to Pesta Blogger 2007 and one that says you are supporting Pesta Blogger 2007.It comes in several colors per version so you can pick the color that suits your mood. The logo was designed by Jerry Aurum Design. Jerry is a very talented photographer and designer. He recently published Femaleography, a book on the female form.

He contributed this design free of charge to Pesta Blogger, another instance of how some many people seems to come together to make this event a success. Thanks Jerry!
Follow the link below to get to the Pesta Blogger blog and to download your badges.

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1. I’M GOING TO *untuk teman-teman yang merencanakan dan dapat hadir di Pesta Blogger 2007*Pesta Blogger 2007cut & paste code di bawah ini untuk mendapatkan image diatas

Have blogs will protest: Free Burma action this Thursday

Here’s a way to use your blog to good effect.

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Take part in this action for a Free Burma!

Taking part in the Free Burma! campaign is as simple as possible:
If you are a website owner or blogger you just have to post one entry on the 4th of October 2007 on your website/blog with the title/text Free Burma! and include one of the graphics from this page or from our Flickr group to sync our global voices. Please use the tag “free burma” if possible. For bloggers, our slogan is: “One blogpost for Burma”, for website owners: “One text for Burma”.

If you have no website or blog we need you even more: Please help us to spread the word while commenting on other blogs with our message/link, posting on forums, guestbooks and message boards, tell your neighbours, friends or kids and first of all: Sign our list of participants! Furthermore you can visit our Wiki for more information and organisation.

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Have internet will protest: join the online petition on Burma

The folks at is organizing an online petition against the military junta in Burma for cracking down on monks and other protesters.Do something about it now. Join the online petition and add your voice against the assholes of this world.

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Stand with the Burmese Protesters

After decades of military dictatorship, the people of Burma are rising – and they need our help. Marches begun by monks and nuns have snowballed, bringing hundreds of thousands to the streets. Now the crackdown has begun…
When the Burmese last marched in 1988, the military massacred thousands. But if the world stands up and supports their struggle, this time they could succeed. We’ll send our petition to United Nations Security Council members (including the dictatorship’s main backer China) and to media at the UN, while also alerting the Burmese to our support:

To Chinese President Hu Jintao and the UN Security Council:
We stand alongside the citizens of Burma in their peaceful protests. We urge you to oppose a violent crackdown on the demonstrators, and to support genuine reconciliation and democracy in Burma. We pledge to hold you accountable for any further bloodshed.

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Have Facebook will protest #2: Wear a Red Shirt for Burma

Send a message to the junta in Burma that they should stop whacking monks and oppressing people. Wear a Red Shirt for Burma today. Go to the Facebook group here for more details. Unspun will be wearing his reddest shirt as he heads for Bali tomorrow for the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival.