The mystery behind the Cisewu Tyger

OK, so everyone had a chuckle and some fun over the Cisewu Tiger. And rightly so because it looks like the sculptor was smoking something illegal that the police confiscated when fashioning his magnum opus. But as usual, people miss asking the right questions when it comes to such stories.

The questions:

  1. Who was the sculptor and what’s his claim to fame if not being the relative of some high ranking military man?
  2. Who in the military commissioned the sculptor?
  3. How is it that presumably sensible military commanders could approve this comical sight and pay the sculptor?

In short (with apologies to William Blake):

What immoral hand or eye,
Could frame thy laughable symmetry?

Comical tiger statue at military base torn down but netizen frenzy remains

Amusement is one thing you might rarely find in a military base.

But this was not the case at the Subdistrict Military Command (Koramil) 1123 in Cisewu, West Java, when a smiling tiger statue at the base generated laughter and glee around the country.

On Monday, however, the odd-looking statue located at the base’s main entrance was taken down into pieces. The tiger is the symbol of the Siliwangi Military Command, which oversees the entire West Java province. For a few days prior to Monday, netizens shared the hashtag #MacanCisewu (Cisewu Tiger), with the picture of the statue going viral.

With its wide smile, the tiger would surely put a smile on the face of any visitor to the base. Social media users had every reason to post hilarious comments on the statue, but high-ranking military officers felt irritated by the online fuss.

The cheeky netizens were deemed bullies by the military and alas, the military eventually decided to dismantle the tiger.

Source: Comical tiger statue at military base torn down but netizen frenzy remains – Entertainment – The Jakarta Post

Things I learned last Christmas

This Christmas season was different. We’re not Christians and don’t really observe Christmas but like many of our friends join in the festivities and merry making that also marks the season of the ending of the year.

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When the old stop eating the only way to nourish them is through tube feeding

 

Normally, our family would go somewhere for a holiday but this year things are different. My 93-year old aunt has fallen ill and has been bed ridden in hospital since the 16th. She’s special to my sister and I. She was the one whom we were closest too when we were young because our mother would be out of the house teaching. She has been stayed with us ever since I, the elder of two siblings, was born. She had married but her husband died from an illness soon after the wedding and she’s been part of our family since.

It was a no brainer then that as a family we’d forgo our seasonal holidays to spend time with her and Mum, who’s also pushing 84.

The decision turned out to be timely. Two days before we were due to fly to Malaysia, my aunt was readmitted to the geriatric ward of the hospital. Her lungs had been clogged up and she hovered between delirium and unconsciousness.

Since coming back my sister and I have been taking turns together with our maid, attending to my aunt. Other family members visited when they could. It turns out that my aunt was infected with Klebsillia, a contagious bacteria that causes all sorts of pandemonium to the body, including pneumonia.

These are the things I learned while being a caregiver over the past few days.

Being a caregiver is hard work – I had thought that the job comprised of one sitting by the bedside, opening up the computer and surfing the Net or reading a book, and occasionally attending to the patient. Wrong. In my aunt’s case, on many days she would moan and groan ever few minutes or complain of pain.

You don’t know how much of the pain is actually experienced by her or it’s in the imagination but you care for her so you try to find out and to reassure her. That leaves you little time for anything else and at the end of the day you’re dead tired mentally and physically.

You also need all sorts of skills as a caregiver. In the two weeks or so I learned how to feed my aunt through a tube because she had stopped eating, how to change adult diapers when she soiled herself, and how to change clothes and bed sheets for the bed ridden. There were nurses but they were so overworked that unless you rolled up your sleeves you had to wait a long time before you can get some service.

The treatment, level of care and friendliness at University Hospital, a government teaching hospital, is as good if not better than what you’d get at private hospitals. The facilities may not look so spanking new but they are not backward in terms of equipment, level of care, courtesy and medical advice. In fact, listening to the many stories of how mercenary private hospitals have become I tend to think that we get better recommendations and treatment here than in the private hospitals. That’s because the medical staff here want to do their jobs, as opposed to wanting to make lots of money in private hospitals.

 Siddharta Gautama was right. Old age is suffering. My aunt was one tough cookie. When I was growing up I could not recall a single time she want to the doctor. Even well into her early 80s she did without doctors, popping only an occasional Panadol when she felt unwell. Right up to her first serious bout of illness about a month ago my aunt could still walk around with a stroller, albeit we coud see her getting slower and weaker as old age and osteoporosis took their toll.

But she could not go on forever.

So this seems the final decline and it is not pretty. He streak of independence has been compromised, her dignity stripped as she is not even able to change her own soiled clothes. For the first time in her adult life she has had to rely on others.

It is heartbreaking but it is also the natural course of things. Unless we drop dead while still relatively young, all of us are destined to suffer through old age as it robs us of motion, our senses and our will. The only recourse we have left for our aunt is to make sure that she feels as comfortable as possible and, if it is still possible for her, to know that she’s being loved to the end, a reciprocation of the care and love she showered us when we were young. It is a debt that we cannot even begin to repay.

 

Update – It is now New Year’s Eve and my aunt is still in hospital. She’s due to be discharged on Monday. The doctor has said that she should be with family after discharge.

Happy New Year everyone. Do not forget to show your love and appreciation for those who helped raise you in an atmosphere of love and acceptance.

Breaking Bread with Sari Roti

Here’s what I posted on the Maverick blog today about the brouhaha over Sari Roti:

What corporations can learn from the Sari Roti incident

Out of the blue, the bread manufacterer Sari Roti came under attack by unverified news postings on social media in the past week.

The attacks came in the form of postings claiming that Sari Roti was supporting the 212 demonstrations by giving out free bread to the demonstrators. Photos were posted of Sari Roti tricycles with a handwritten sign “Free for the mujahids”.

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Similar posting kept cropping up and the usual supporters and critics weighed in. By Saturday, the noise had grown so much that Sari Roti’s management felt compelled to make their stand clear.

The issued a press release on their website, ostensibly saying some PR-ese about appreciating how the Super Peaceful 212 rally went on peacefully, how they were committed to uphold the values of democracy, diversity and national integrity of the country and how the incident involving the signs on the tricycles were not officially approved by Sari Roti because they were politically neutral.

It also said that the signs appeared because an unidentified customer bought the bread from the tricycle hawkers, asked them to go to the Monas entrance and put the signs on to feed the demonstrators – all without the knowledge or approval from the Sari Roti management.

 

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Read more…

How transnational couples can start owning properties in Indonesia

If you are a foreigner married to an Indonesian or vice versa, this would be a forum you’d want to attend.

The reason is that until two weeks ago you’d have a pre-nuptial agreement if you want to have a normal life in Indonesia that allows you to buy and sell properties.  Article 29 of the 1974 Marriage Law makes it a bitch for you to divide up your property and debts unless this was agreed on before you get married. It does not recognize any agreement between consenting adults on their property and debts if it is made after marriage.

The consequences of such an interpretation of the law makes it virtually for transnational couples to buy and own property. Banks  would not give you a loan because the Law does not recognize the foreign spouse as a legal entity, meaning that if you die then they cannot take up the payments for the loan. There is apparently also some provision that if you do not have a prenup should any of you die, half of your assets would be surrendered to the state.

This was clearly unfair to Indonesians most of all, so it was good news that the Constitutional Court last month declared this policy unconstitutional. For more details on this decision see here.

But now that the Court has overturned the 42-year policy, what next for married couples? How should they go about drafting their Post-Nup agreements? Should it be bilingual? Where should such an agreement be filed at?

The Indonesian Mixed-Marriage Society (PerCa), that has been doing an excellent job championing the rights of transnational couples in Indonesia, is holding a talkshow next week to have these questions answered. Make sure you attend it if you want to avoid the uncertainties that usually accompany any simple bureaucratic procedure in Indonesia.

 

 

 

Is Trump the best thing to happen to America, and the World?

This idea, like Trump himself, seems preposterous.

Here is a man who violates all form of political correctness, a racist, a misogynist, a racist, a pussy grabber….and the lost of deplorables goes on. As a result most people around the world, let alone Americans, woke up with the shit!-was-I-so-wasted-I-went-to-bed-with-THAT! expression the morning after the November 8 elections.

We blink, and hope that it was only a bad dream after all. But no such luck. Trump is now the President elect. We got screwed by Hideous and that’s a fact of life.

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No point whining about it now, or be outraged by the electoral system or the type of people who voted him in.

There is a good reason why Trump won, and the sooner we all come to grips with it, the sooner we, the rest of the world (excluding the Brexit Brits, they too had already been screwed) would be able to avoid a similar fate.

Among everything Unspun has heard and read about this election and Brexit, I’ve found two articles to be particularly enlightening.

The first is an article by former Wall Street Journal reporter and co-founder of Muslim Reform Movement Asra Q. Nomani. She’s a Muslim, a woman, an immigrant and she voted Trump. Until now, she had been one of Trump’s silent supporters, because to declare her preference would have exposed her to all sorts of bullying by the more liberal members of America’s population.

Today she wrote an article for the Washington Post here. You could disagree with a lot of the things she said but what fascinated me is that for her and people like her, the possibility of Trump being an agent for change in the US’s policy on bread-and-butter issues and on the Islamic State was so important it overwhelms all this weaknesses. She also sees Clinton as a member of the establishment that will not change anything substantially.

Read Asra’s article together with George Monbiot‘s article Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems and an interesting picture develops. It is a long but thoughtful piece on how neoliberal we all – our governments, our businesses, our educated classes – have become without even realizing it.

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

The bottom line of the article is that neoliberalism (no not the pejorative term in use today but the actual economic concept) has taken over most part of the world. As a result we have become a world in which the strongest (read: the cleverest, most educated and networked) thrive while the rest are not only left to languish but scolded for being unable to climb out of their gutter.

In this world, social and welfare safety nets have been dismantled, and – to simplify matters – the poor get poorer while the privileged jet around, attend Ted talks, do yoga, fashion themselves as entrepreneurs with their startups, networking sessions and get richer.

In any society you can’t have the relatively few eating richer cakes while the poor become more disenfranchised, find themselves deeper in depth and get angrier because even if they are willing to work hard and long there is simply no way out for them.

It is this anger that has propelled the need for change at any cost, and Trump and Brexit are the results.

The pertinent questions we should ask ourselves is what can we do to meet the challenges wrought on us by Neoliberalism. Trump/Brexit is a bit like Communism facing Capitalism. There was once a time when Capitalists looked on Communism as a threat as frightening as the Mongol Hordes. There was once a time when it seemed as if Communism would swallow up Capitalism.

Staring into that abyss, Capitalism changed from the raw Dickensian form of ruthless exploitation to a gentler and more caring form, and that eventually defeated Communism.

Today history may have come around to pitting the forces that ensued the success of Trump/Brexit against Neoliberalism. Can we change so that we embrace a liberalism that is more inclusive of all the segments in our society, so that the rich may have an opportunity to become richer, but only if they also help take care of the welfare and empower the less fortunate of sectors of society to become more prosperous as well. Call it Creating Shared Value if you would.

In a rising tide all ships rise, in an ebbing tide all ships fall.

If we are able to take Trump’s victory as a wake up call for us to address the deficiencies of neoliberalism we may yet catch that tide. In this sense, Trump may be the best thing to happen to us all, lest we descend uncomprehendingly in a falling tide.

IS THERE CREATIVITY IN CU in the NT?

Not since Sumardi Ma, he of the coffin notoriety, has a group of humans shown such  er…creativity?

Unspun had many years ago spent some weeks in the Northern Territory and found a land of great beauty and desolation. Since then it seems that nothing has changed. The Northern Territory remains beautiful and desolate, so desolate that few people have even heard of it, let alone visited it.

So how do you market a place like that? Well, the creatives working for Tourism Northern Territory have wrestled with the problem, injected some earthy Australian humor and come up with this totally original slogan/logo.

Creative or just crass? You decide, but you can’t deny that it grabs you by the sensitive parts.

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To read more about whether this strategy works, read here

Jokowi rallying troops, but for what?

This is an interesting development if you subscribe to the theory that the November 4 demonstration has upped the ante for Jokowi versus the Dark Forces.

On short notice Jokowi meets with 2,185 soldiers to thank them for the military’s role in keeping the peace during the November elections. He then tells them that if they can work together with the police on all levels the integrity of the country, that is made up of a pluralistic society,  will be intact.

“When the military and Police are solid, compact and united we will be able to unite Indonesia, the different races, tribes and religions that embodies the aspirations of our nation and become a source of unity for our plurality,” he said.

Now why would he schedule a hurried meeting with the military and say something like that if he does not sniff some clear and present danger in the air?

From Detik.com:

Beri Arahan ke TNI, Jokowi: Terima Kasih Ikut Bantu Amankan Demo 4 November

Jakarta – Presiden Jokowi mendadak mengumpulkan 2.185 prajurit TNI dan memberikan arahan. Pengarahan ini tidak terdaftar di jadwal resmi Presiden Jokowi.

Pengarahan dilakukan di lapangan Markas Besar TNI AD, Jalan Veteran, Jakarta Pusat, Senin (7/11/2016). Apel dipimpin oleh Panglima TNI Jenderal Gatot Nurmantyo.

Beri Arahan ke TNI, Jokowi: Terima Kasih Ikut Bantu Amankan Demo 4 NovemberPresiden Jokowi (Foto: Bagus Prihantoro Nugroho/detikcom)

Jokowi tiba di lokasi sekitar pukul 12.30 WIB. Hadir pula Pangdam Jaya Mayjen Teddy Lhaksmana dan Kapolda Metro Jaya Irjen Iriawan.

“Pertama, saya ingin sampaikan terima kasih yang sebesar-besarnya atas kerja keras perwira dan jajaran prajurit TNI dalam amankan aksi unjuk rasa Jumat kemarin,” kata Jokowi dalam arahannya.

Beri Arahan ke TNI, Jokowi: Terima Kasih Ikut Bantu Amankan Demo 4 NovemberPresiden Jokowi (Foto: Bagus Prihantoro Nugroho/detikcom)

Menurut dia seluruh rakyat mengapresiasi soliditas TNI dalam mengawal penyampaian aspirasi tersebut. TNI dinilai kompak dalam melakukan langkah persuasif.

“Kedua, saya minta kekompakan TNI dan Polri yang ditunjukkan di ke lapangan terus dilanjutkan di semua tingkatan, kekompakan harus digalang dari atas sampai prajurit, ini penting, lakukan sinergi dalam jalankan tugas negara,” kata Jokowi.

Beri Arahan ke TNI, Jokowi: Terima Kasih Ikut Bantu Amankan Demo 4 NovemberPresiden Jokowi (Foto: Bagus Prihantoro Nugroho/detikcom)

Jokowi menyatakan, jika TNI dan Polri kompak maka keutuhan negara bisa dijaga. Terlebih Indonesia terdiri dari masyarakat yang majemuk.

“Ketika TNI dan Polri solid, kompak dan bersatu maka kita akan bisa mempersatukan Indonesia, ras yang beda, suku, agama yang beda, dalam wujudkan cita-cita bangsa kita, jadilah perekat kemajemukan,” pungkas Jokowi.

Setelah memberikan arahan, Jokowi kemudian menyalami barisan terdepan para prajurit TNI dari tiga matra tersebut. Jokowi mengucapkan terima kasih secara personal kepada mereka.