Some questions about #SayaPancasila

The hallmark of a good campaign is that it spurs public discourse on a particular subject. In this sense, the #SayaPancasila campaign can be said to be successful, if the preponderance of the hashtag and profile pictures bering the message on social media are concerned. Effective public discourse, however, exists when there are differences of…

Did Jokowi set a trap by allowing Nov 4 protests?

All of a sudden, politics has once again got more interesting in Indonesia. To understand why this is so we need a little context and a term, let’s call it the Dark Forces. The context Jokowi came into office with great expectations from Indonesians. They saw him as a reformer and expected sweeping changes. When…

Takeouts from the November 4 demonstration

Here’s an attempt to make sense of last night’s demonstration and disturbances First the facts as I understand them: The protesters Tens of thousands of people, ostensibly from Muslim groups throughout the country, converged on the area around the Presidential Palace and Monas yesterday to demand that Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama be prosecuted by…

Insulting Islam or taking the piss out of ISIS?

One thing about Indonesia is that it always surprises. Just when all of us thought that the Jokowi Government would user in a even more liberal regime that would value freedom of expression, comes news that the Police have indicted the Jakarta Post’s chief editor for insulting Islam. The Post had carried a cartoon, demonstrated…

Raiding the Ban for Popular Votes?

Even though you may no agree with it you could understand the reasons why Malaysia’s censors might want to ban a film like Noah – the ultra sensitive Muslims in that country bristle at any attempts to dick around with the religious texts. But to brand The Raid 2 is a bit morelthan a mystery….

The Monk who gave up (potentially) a few hundred Ferraris

Respect. Ajahn Siripanno looks like one of those rare individuals who either have a huge amount of courage, or are disturbed enough by the dhukka in this world to renounce a life where Daddy’s millions of dollars would guarantee him a comfortable of not lavish life. Of great interest to Unspun is the catalyst that started…

The deed no self respecting FPI preman would do

Isn’t it so comforting to see justice being administered so swiftly and decisively in Indonesia. Justice, which moves so slowly and timidly when FPI guys are on the giving end, apparently speeds up when the violence goes another way. Unspun is not so much perplexed by the seemingly uneven-handedness of the law in Indonesia, which…

What would the Buddha do about Hartati?

Interesting to see the Indonesian Buddhists, or people claiming to represent them, being so worked up about the KPK’s investigation into their benefactor and SBY’s, Hatarti. Earlier, one of the priests had said that the Buddhists in this country would be psychologically disturbed if Hartati was arrested. The authorities should therefore let her go. Religion…

Why do mosques turn up the volume during Ramadhan?

Ah ‘Tis the Season. Unspun‘s spent many dawns being frightened from his sleep due to the fact that there are at least three mosques nearby. The question: “Why doesn’t anyone tell them to tone down?” occurred to Unspun but being a coward, he’s too afraid to even utter it to the weeds in his garden,…

Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts and Habib Rizieq’s FPI

Here are two different but fascinating stories. It takes place in different countries and different times, but they both tell the story about how you can fool (and intimidate) all the people some of the time but  not all the people all the time. The first is set in the US in the 1950s, when…

Ramadhan blooper II: Indonesian TV’s turn

In Unspun’s last posting we featured the silliness of TV8 in Malaysia and its Ramadhan message. While the flak is still flying in Malaysia, Indonesia’s TVOne (what is it with TV stations and numerals?) seems to have come up with silliness of their own. TV stations traditionally air a videoclip to accompany the adz an…

The hypocrite, pornography and the Galaxy tab

Except that everyone else does not go around the country with righteous piety, trying to enact legislation banning pornography in the name of morality and religion. Unspun thinks the we-are-all-the-same defense is very lame. Earns an Unspun shit-for-brains tag Arifinto: ‘I am a human. I err like everyone else’ The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 04/12/2011…