31 October 2008

Racial and Ethnic Discrimination

The House of Representatives (DPR) passed the Bill on the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination on 28 October 2008. The bill has been in the process of being passed since 2005 when it first arose as a DPR Initiative. Indonesia already has a racial discrimination law, Law No. 29 of 1999, which is the enactment of Indonesia’s responsibilities and obligations as a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The premise of the bill is that everyone is born the same in the eyes of God and that everyone is equal before the law. Nevertheless, these aspirations now have a little more gravitas as they have been codified into law. The need for the codification is that all forms of racial and ethnic discrimination are contrary to the principles contained in Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The definition of what constitutes discrimination is broad and can be civil, political, economic, social, and cultural. Race and ethnicity are also defined. The point of eliminating discrimination is to promote and ensure harmony, peace, and security, among others. Discrimination is defined as any action that seeks to distinguish or differentiate individuals or makes exceptions for individuals. The bill and the Elucidations are silent on what impact this might have on any affirmative action programs that may arise in the future.

The bill also regulates hate speech and vilification in Article 4.

The supervision of the provisions of the bill is to be done by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

The bill provides for compensation claims in the event that a citizen has been discriminated against. The claim can be either as an individual or as a class action where there are multiple claimants. Claims are to be lodged at the District Court.

The criminal sanctions in the bill allow for terms of imprisonment of between 1 and 5 years and fines of between IDR 100 million and IDR 500 million. The penalties for corporations attract a premium of 1/3.

Once the bill enters into force all current racial and ethnic discrimination laws remain in place unless they contradict the provisions of this bill. If they do, then the provisions of the bill will prevail.

The bill will come into immediate force once it is enacted.

(Mis)guided Youth?

Am I a good-looking young fella or what?

On not so youthful matters.

Today's check up at the hospital revealed the kid to be about 3kgs and there are still 5 weeks to go!

The Bali Bombers -- Letters to the Masses

The government has set itself on a course of motion that is going to culminate with the execution of Amrozi, Samudra, and Mukhlas (photo from Reuters).

These three self-proclaimed warriors of Islam and martyrs in waiting will probably exercise their right to seek clemency from the President in order to delay a little longer their fate.

There will be no clemency from the president, for to do so would be political suicide. I am of the belief that there are more Indonesians who want to live in peace and free from this scourge of the threat of rolling terror.

The government has be ratcheting up security in the lead up to the executions as a consequence of the perceived increased likelihood of some kind of protest or attack in response to the executions, revenge if you will.

However, the government then goes and shoots itself in the foot by allowing these three mass murderers to write open letters to the world and espouse their philosophy of hate and intolerance, madness!

This cannot be explained away as giving these cowards their last wishes. They did not afford any opportunities to their victims to say goodbyes to loved ones or write open letters to the world. If we are talking about justice, then these killers must be afforded every legal opportunity to argue their respective cases and then once those legal avenues are exhausted then they are to be punished according to their sentences.

These rights to exhaust legal avenues must not include incitements to violence.

All three proclaimed that the West and the infidels were doomed to defeat and hell.

Samudra had the most to say including these pieces of twisted wisdom:

"You, the little people, will be easy to 'smack down' by the mujahideen."

"You will be defeated in this world and will be taken to hell."

"Who doesn't know that the toothless giant, the US infidel and their allies, are now dying.

"You think, if you execute the three of us, you can walk freely, there's no way."

"Remember: there's not one free Muslim blood drop!"

The time is near for this to end. I hope that the execution of these three killers brings some peace and closure to the families who have lost loved ones to the cowardice of these men (I hesitate to call them men).

I wonder whether they will be as brave when the time comes and they face their executioners?

30 October 2008

The Pornography Bill Passes the DPR

The Pornography Bill finally passed the House of Representatives (DPR - photo) today. This brings to a close the debate on whether to enact the law or not. However, the passage was not without some fireworks with the PDIP and PDS factions walking out along with a couple of Golkar legislators.

The walkout might seem like it was a protest at the content of the bill. However, the walkout really stems from a belief that the procedural requirements for the passage of legislation were not met. Specifically, the claim is that the bill was never "socialized" to the community. This socialization is mandated by law. The walkouts also had some issues with the substantive matter of the bill too.

In terms of the substance the walkouts have issues with the definition of pornography and particularly the broad nature of it. Those that walked out cited for example that body movements could constitute pornography if they offended someone. This means that singer/dancers like Inul and Dewi Persik are likely to fall foul of the law.

This is particularly bothersome for the walk outs when it is combined with Articles 20 - 22. These articles are problematic because of the purported scope they give to the community to play a role in preventing the spread of pornography.

Anyways, the bill has passed and is now awaiting the signature of the President. We will soon find out whether this has all been a storm in a teacup or whether those with fears will see those fears realized.

Rizieq Shihab -- FPI

Rizieq Shihab, the head of the FPI (Front Pembela Islam / Islam Defenders Front), gets 18 months jail for his role in the violence that took place at Monas this past June.

There is likely to be an appeal as Rizieq's legal team will have issues with whether the procedural law was followed as it must be and that some of those that were interviewed and provided testimony have since withdrawn their testimony.

29 October 2008


Courtesy of Creepy. You can find him here.

Stupid is as Stupid Does 2!

Is there no end to human stupidity?

I was surfing the net and came across news that an 8-year-old had shot and killed himself with an Uzi (picture from here). The first question was always going to be, "what was an 8-year-old doing with an Uzi in the first place?"

As I read a little further it turns out that this occurred in Connecticut in the US, and I am guessing on a rifle range, under supervision, and with the child's father taking pictures.

I do not know if any of you have fired guns, but the Uzi has a kick (recoil) and for an automatic weapon once the kick starts it will keep kicking until you pull the finger off the trigger.

My understanding is the kid pulls the trigger, the Uzi recoils, the kid loses control, the Uzi spins backwards, and the kid shoots himself in the head. Game over!

The next question that comes to mind is, "what were the boy's father and instructor thinking?"

What was no doubt intended to be a good day out has ended in tragedy for no other reason that the stupidity of a gun instructor and father. Uzis are weapons of war and not toys for children, it is tragic that the boys father had to learn this lesson this way!

Syekh Puji, Indonesian Law, Pedophilia

Hopefully once the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (Komisi Perlindungan Anak Indonesia / KPAI) make their report to police about Syekh Puji and his marriage to a 12-year-old, the police will have the testicular fortitude to throw the book at this pedophile.

The KPAI team that went to Semarang seem to think that they have sufficient evidence that the marriage was consummated. To be legally correct the fact finding team uses the words very likely that the Syekh had slept with his child bride, Lutfiana Ulfa.

There seems little doubt that this is a valid marriage in the sense of a religious marriage or as it is generally known, kawin siri. However, it is not a valid marriage in terms of Indonesian law. It would be a hard slog to try and prove that a kawin siri type marriage between a 43-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl is recognized in the Marriage Law (Law No. 1 of 1974 -- soft copy in Indonesia if anyone wants it). This would still be the case even where the parents or guardians are said to have given their approval.

What makes this case even more bizarre and sickening than it already is, is the manner in which the whole affair has been played out. Lutfiana was the winner of a bride selection competition where one of the judges was the Syekh's current wife (this would make her complicit in the procurement of a child for sexual exploitation) and some of his followers (also complicit in the procurement of a minor for sex).

This gets even more perverse when one learns that the parents are in considerable financial difficulty and as such were glad that the daughter was chosen. The only thing that could make this even more bizarre and sad is if the parents financial difficulties were in some way related to the man that they eventually sold their daughter to.

The implication quite clearly is that there was a transaction involved in that the parents are in financial difficulties and then not so after marrying off the daughter. This I need to check further because the parents have only said that they hope it improves their financial position and not that it already has.

The KPAI is hoping that the Police will act on this and charge all those involved under Articles 81 - 83 of the Child Protection Law. These articles in essence prohibit the procurement of child for sex. The articles would provide for a term of imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine in the vicinity of IDR 250 million, if I recall correctly. I need to look at the law (soft copies in Indonesian and English, I think).

The KPAI reckon that before they can call the man a pedophile they would need to get a psychological test. This is one of those shake your head moments. The KPAI are one of the few to do something about this predator and then they come out with the idea they need to psychologically test the man before they can be sure that he is a pedophile.

The evidence speaks for itself. He is married to a 12-year-old and is looking to procure a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old as his next wives. For my mind there is no need to do psychological test on this man, he is a serial predator, a molester of children, a rapist of children, and worthy of jail time. I hear that the inmates of jails have a special liking for men who interfere with children.

The idea that this man is in some way right because he claims he is doing nothing different from the Prophet is ludicrous. He is not the Prophet for starters and has not been granted any special privileges in this regard. Even a cursory reading of the Suras and the Hadiths would highlight that Muhammad was granted special privileges in the marriage game.

It is also pretty likely that Muhammad only slept with his first two wives (I have been talking to people about this offline and learning a thing or two along the way) and that the Hadiths suggest that Muhammad's marriage practices were not to be followed. In fact there is specific mention of not having more than four wives (strict conditions for more than one) and that children are not to be married (I am sure that there will be a reader out there somewhere that can enlighten me on whether I am close to the mark or way off base -- constructive comments welcome because I want to learn more).

It is time that more people came out against this practice. It does not matter that it is rare. What matters is that it happens and it must not. The children of this world are our future, they are our hopes and dreams, and no man (or woman) has a right to strip a child of that future under any circumstances, ever!

28 October 2008

Where There's Smoke...

This is the sort of political gossip that makes the intrigue all the more fun. This is not to suggest that this is not a serious matter if it were to be true. Rather, can the President really be that stupid to cave into the pressure if it is there? The old saying (or is it a cliche now) that where there is smoke, there is fire might ring true here.

It seems that the rumor mill has been running in earnest over the past couple of weeks that the pressure is on the Minister of Finance (and doubling as the Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs), Sri Mulyani Indrawati, as the global financial crisis unravels and seemingly unravels one of Indonesia's biggest corporate groups. The rumor goes Aburizal Bakrie, who just happens to be the Coordinating Minister for Peoples Welfare, called and the Finance Minister said, No!

The issue seems to be Mulyani's refusal to entertain the idea of a bailout for the Bakrie group. Fair enough, it is a little bit rude to create a mess and then expect someone else to come in a clean it up with a sweetheart deal. However, the government is likely to buy into the Bakrie companies on the market and make some serious cash on the deal. The fundamentals of the Bakrie companies involved are reportedly pretty solid in terms of the assets they hold.

The problem is that they leveraged their premier shares against a USD 1.2 billion loan. Not such a problem except that the bottom fell out of the market and thus the leveraged shares are no longer worth what they once might have been. Now, that there are loans due and others due real soon, the pressure is on.

Andi Mallarangeng, one of the President's spokespeople, has said he is surprised by the gossip and that there is no truth to it. According to Mallarangeng, the Finance Minister has "the full backing of the President".

Does this put an end to the smoke and put out the fire? I suppose we will find out soon enough.

Increased Security -- Jakarta

The government is not taking any chances with the ever-approaching and now seemingly inevitable executions of the murderous trio known collectively as the Bali Bombers, with security being ramped up in the capital and other places where there are "vital" installations.

The country's Chief Detective, Susnoduaji, has said that "National police issued an order for all regional police across Indonesia to boost security in vital installations to anticipate possible sabotage or terror attacks." The installations getting the benefit of a ramped up security presence are those that contribute most to the economy, such as power plants and fuel depots.

It is probably better to be safe than sorry in light of the fact that the three Bali Bombers sitting on death row have consistently said that there are others read and able to avenge their executions. However, the reality seems to be that terrorists in Indonesia maintain very little of the infrastructure and resource that they once had. Nevertheless, it does not take a lot to do a lot of damage.

It seems the wait is almost over.

Stupid is as Stupid Does!

If this report turns out to be true, then some people are just too stupid for words. I do not know Wulan Guritno other than from the gossip columns and from her appearances on TV and film.

The times I have seen her on the idiot box (AKA television) she seemed to be well-spoken and smart. Now, looks can be deceiving and perhaps we have all been deceived.

Guritno is now suspected of forging her high school certificate. Why would she want to do this? It seems that she intended to run for a parliamentary seat on behalf of the National Mandate Party (PAN). Simply, any prospective candidate must have at least a high school qualification before they can qualify to stand in the election.

It seems the actress forged her qualification. The qualification was allegedly issued by an Italian based academy. The forgery mistake was supposedly to basic for words, the qualification was in the wrong name, specifically it was in the name of someone else (supposedly her sister).

It seems that the Indonesian Election Commission (
Komisi Pemilihan Umum / KPU) is set to strike her off the list of candidates unless she can come up with something that is able to stand the scrutiny of a validity check.

This is certainly a potentially embarrassing moment and one that begs the question, "if you had a high school qualification then why would you need to fake one?"

Oh well!

27 October 2008

Sheila Marcia Joseph and Hearing No. 2

The second hearing in this case at the North Jakarta District Court took place earlier today. I might have to head along to the next one to make sure that I am getting accurate information rather than relying on talking to people and reading the news.

It seems the indictment states 0.586 grams of Crystal Meth (sabu-sabu or shabu in Indonesian) and not 0.0586 grams as previously posted. I will have to check this to be sure in my own mind on what the actual amount is because on of the police officers states a number of 0.27 grams as the amount found on Sheila.

There were four witnesses present today, two police officers and a couple of people identified as informant and friend, respectively.

The witnesses were: Wing Kenedy and Dedy Raharjo (police officers) and Toni (an informant) and Virdia (allegedly a "party / clubbing" friend of Sheila's).

The testimony from the police was the standard run of the mill relaying of how the whole thing went down from start to finish and their respective involvement in that process. They were clear that Sheila was not the target of their little operation. The testimony of Wing Kenedy was not subject to any objection from Sheila to the extent that she did not deny any of the points of evidence as they related to her.

The whole operation was based on complaints that the two rooms that were the focus of the operation were known to residents of the
Golden Sky Hotel (I always thought that they were apartments) to be often the scene of drug transactions.

As it turns out Sheila might be the victim of bad timing in terms of being in either room on the day if the operation. This is a case of what ifs, "what if I never used drugs?", "what if I went to the Golden Sky on a different day?"

The testimony from the police informant is a little strange as it seems to implicate the assistant, Aprilyana, as a dealer or at least a one-time seller who was prepared to trade Toni's mobile phone for a packet of drugs. Sheila's claim that she was a little confused and unsure of who Toni was seems to be borne out by the testimony. Nevertheless, Sheila does not deny that Toni was there only that she really did not know why he was there. However, it raises some questions about Aprilyana and her role.

The testimony of Virdia is interesting as it indicates that Virdia was friends with Sheila and Aprilyana and that they were all regular users of sabu-sabu. Virdia also claims that she has known Sheila for a year or so and that she has only been using crystal meth since May. Her testimony goes on to state that Virdia, Sheila, and Aprilyana were regulars at the Stadium Discotheque and that they were all regular users of ecstasy (locally known as ineks).

Sheila rejected the testimony of Virdia by saying that she had never taken ecstasy.

This case sounds like it is going to be interesting, at least from the point of conflicting testimony, so maybe I should head on up to the North Jakarta District Court for the next hearing.

Sheila Marcia Joseph and Drugs

This is old news as it in seven days off the pace. However, having had a squizz at my statistics and visitors over the past week it seems that some people have been passing through in pursuit of information on the young starlet and her legal dramas as a result of her recent drugs bust.

I have written about this case before but mainly because it is a sad and interesting story and I could post a sexy photo of her to entertain you all.

The first hearing of the case occurred last week (20/10/08) in the North Jakarta District Court and lasted a mere 20 minutes. The 20 minutes was enough time for the Public Prosecutor to read out the indictment and the charges that Sheila is to face. Sheila is looking a little worse for wear after her time in custody (photo courtesy of Kapanlagi.com). She was accompanied by her lawyer, Mudarwan Yusuf, and an assistant, Aprilyana. Her family and some friends were also in attendance by all accounts.

The indictment charges that Sheila has breached Articles 60 - 63 of the Narcotics and Psychotropic Drugs Law. These Articles in essence relate to the possession of drugs for personal use and carry a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

The indictment also states that the amount of shabu in question is 0.0586 grams and that she was also in possession of a bong, two lighters, and a little blue box to store all the drug paraphernalia in. The other evidence of the commission of the offence is urinary. The Public Prosecutor has even provided the plastic bags that the urine was collected in.

The Public Prosecutor did not manage to secure the attendance of the witnesses so the Judge adjourned the matter for a week. Presumably this is so the witnesses can be secured and attend. The witnesses are police officers.

I might make this a regular column here and follow this case through to the end. I am guessing at this stage that Sheila is not likely to get the maximum in this case. She is likely to get time served, particularly if she admits to being an addict and agreeing to seek help, or maybe 18 months on the very outside for a first time offender. I would guesstimate 12 months.

This would make a good lesson on the dramas that drugs can get you into. Is it likely to be a major deterrent to others thinking about doing drugs, probably not. Simply, nobody thinks they will ever get caught.

26 October 2008

Child Brides -- Indonesia

There are plenty of ways to get media attention in Indonesia. One of the best is to publicly announce you have married a 12-year-old and intend to take a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old in the near future as wives.

In most places this would be serial pedophilia and the perpetrator would be investigated and prosecuted and hopefully jailed.

It should be noted that this is not an attack on Indonesia alone. I have written about the child bride practice in Yemen here. You can find other commentary here.

There are many urging the police to take immediate action in terms of investigating the cleric, Pujiono Cahyo Widianto (AKA Syekh Puji), for breaches of the Child Protection Law, the Marriage Law, the Labor Law, and most obviously the Criminal Code.

The Child Protection Law states that the parents of a child cannot marry them off until the child has reached at least 18 years of age. The Marriage Law sets an age of 16 with the parents consent. The breach of the Labor law relates to the allegation that Puji has made his new bride, Lutfiana Ulfa, a Managing Director (or something similar) in one of his companies. The Criminal Code prohibits sexual contact with minors.

There would seem to be some inconsistency between the Child Protection Law and the Marriage Law in terms of age. This is potentially a Constitutional Court issue in terms of determining which age is the appropriate age.

In terms of the Marriage Law individually. The Marriage Law recognizes marriages know as kawin
siri. This type of marriage is one that is valid under one's religion. If this particular marriage is a kawin siri one then this raises a whole range of issues that warrant a much longer debate and post than I intend to make here.

However, suffice to say, if the parents provide their permission for the marriage to take place, the parents are of sound mind and body, then should the state be in a position to take their parenting rights away?

It would seem that there is much more to this story than a simple run of the mill kawin siri. I am sure that the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (
Komisi Perlindungan Anak Indonesia / KPAI), who have sent a team to investigate, will produce a report that will enlighten us a little further as to what transpired in this case.

Claims of child exploitation are interesting as the parents seemed to have agreed. If there was a transaction involved, a dowry for instance, would this be consistent with child trafficking? Just throwing that out there.

It seems the Syekh's reasons for marrying are varied but primary among these is his self-proclaimed penchant for liking little girls. The reason is that he can "educate" them to become great people. Maybe this is true.

However, he does not need to marry them to educate them and make them great people. He could just as easily facilitate their education through university, ensure that their parents have sufficient resources to provide a good home and good nutrition. The Syekh obviously has the resources to do this as he recently disbursed some IDR 1.2 billion as alms this past Eid.

Nah, I think it has more to do with that he enjoys having sex with children. He has chosen to dress this up as something that is permissible under his religion and it is so because the prophet did it. It is amusing in a really sad way that the Syekh equates himself to the prophet and that he thinks that the times have not changed.

This is not a justification for the prophet's actions rather a statement as to what may or may not have been acceptable then is not acceptable now. However, "acceptable" is relative and there are some who do not have a problem with what the Syekh has done or is planning to do. One of these people who does not have a problem with it is a member of parliament and a representative of the Prosperous Justice Party or PKS.

The Chair of the Indonesia Ulemas Council (MUI), Umar Shihab, has come out and said he is troubled by the marriage. His troubles are not an outright condemnation of the marriage. His statements go along the lines of he cannot see why the Syekh needs to marry a 12-year-old when there are so many older women available for marriage. Shihab then goes on to suggest that it is important that the reasons for the marriage be made clear and that it is OK to marry in order to protect yourself from sin.

This is most certainly not the required condemnation for the sexual exploitation of children that the MUI needs to be putting out there into the public sphere. It seems that the biggest hurdle is that some just cannot reconcile that the actions of the prophet some 1400 years ago no longer the way of the 21st Century.

Those that support this will never get past. "well the prophet married Aisha when she was just a child", which is simply an argument, "if it was good enough for the prophet then it must be good enough for us". A silly argument that seems more like a call to rationalize and justify modern day pedophilia than it is to protect some kind of sacred institution or practice.

In a cynical and sarcastic way it is too bad for followers of other religions that their prophets or founders chose not to take child brides. Then we could simply run away from the fact that we have men sexually exploiting children and hide behind some religious excuse that it is OK. It is not OK and it is time the practice was explicitly forbidden.

It is time for Muslim scholars to state unequivocally that the actions of Muhammad had their time and place back then but there is no justification for actions such as the practice of taking child brides in the 21st Century. The MUI could lead the charge on this in Indonesia.

For me there are lots of issues.

Simply, girls are not ready to become wives and are not prepared mentally, emotionally, or physically for being married. According to most reports, Ulfa has already menstruated and if the Syekh is as good as his religious word then this means that he has already slept with her. I just cannot bring my mind to the idea that a 12-year-old is in any way ready to become a parent herself. I know some 30-year-olds that are not ready for the challenge.

The second issue runs on from the first in a sense that being married at 12 rips away any normalcy of childhood. If you take a step back and think for a minute of two about your childhood, good or bad, this is the time that you develop, you grow, and you have fun with your peers, it is where you start to gain your life experiences that make you what you are as an adult. For Ulfa it would seem that her childhood or teenage years are destined to be a revolving door of pregnancies and isolation from her peers.

Let's face it, you do not usually see married and pregnant girls in year 7 or 8 of high school.

When push comes to shove, if this marriage has in fact taken place, then this marriage should be rejected and rejected with prejudice. The man should be investigated, prosecuted, and jailed for the sexual abuse of a minor. This can happen even without the MUI and others having the testicular fortitude to come out and openly say this is wrong no matter the circumstances proclaimed as being justification are.

Whether law enforcement is endowed with the courage to make a statement on the application of the rule of law in Indonesia by seeing this individual is punished for all breaches of the prevailing laws and regulations remains to be seen.

Being the eternal optimist then I will always remain hopeful that this person will be punished for his crimes.

To My Followers...


I appreciate that you follow what I am writing.

I have reciprocated where I can.


Faecal Ice Cream

The Coogee Bay Hotel is just across the road from where I once managed a Dominos pizza shop. I know the street and the hotel well. However, it seems the hotel is in the shit for well, serving shit. I am not one to mince words so if you are offended by the more plain language term for faecal matter the my apologies to you.

It is not uncommon for people to say their food tastes like shit, but how many of you have ever really been served shit? It turns out that one such family claims they were. The story goes that they were enjoying a Grand Final day out in the now more family friendly Coogee Bay Hotel. It never used to be so family friendly, I guess time changes all things eventually.

Anyways, the family orders a bowl of ice cream and at the bottom of the bowl is what seems to be compacted chocolate. However, this was certain to be like no other chocolate this family had ever eaten.

The chocolate has been tested by the Federal Government's National Measurement Institute confirms that the matter "has an offensive odour and physical properties similar to human excreta ... and to contain fragments of a variety of plant matter typical of excreta".
Interestingly, the Hotel owner Chris Cheung and general manager Tony Williams have offered the family AUD 5000 without admitting liability, which is like saying that it probably is what you said but we will never admit it, the family has rejected the offer as it seems to think it is on a winner. There are claims that hte family is demanding a cool million or so.
The family has now retained the law firm Slater&Gordon which seems to suggest that this might get messier still.

There are pretty stiff penalties for knowingly breaching NSW food laws. These include prosecutions, fines, and jail time for individuals. Now that the allegations have been made and the compacted chocolate tested and found to be consistent with faecal matter, I am not sure that you can sweep this under the carpet so to speak even if the family and the hotel settle out of court.

It seems that the Primary Industries Minister, Ian Macdonald, is looking to get in on the action and has suggested that the family contact the NSW Food Authority so McDonald can start an investigation.

Early November

It seems that there are a lot of things happening in November. The US is about to elect its next president and the murderous trio of Amrozi, Samudra, and Mukhlas are to be executed.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office made the announcement on Friday that a date in early November is the most likely time for the three to be executed.

23 October 2008

Pending Fatherhood -- An Update

I am into the counting days mode already.

The birth might not be expected until the end of November or the beginning of December so I could probably keep counting down in weeks but that would be no fun now, would it? The Doc says that he thinks 7 December is a pretty good guesstimate.

We are excited.

Now, the little fella has obviously inherited the old man's genes as he is about 600 grams heavier than he is supposed to be at this stage. The last time I jumped on the scales I was about 600 grams heavier than I should be too!

He is a really active little bugger as well with a back-to-front sleep clock. That is when we want to sleep he wants to play. This is probably a bigger issue for the wife than it is for me as he practices his mixed martial arts techniques in the womb.

45 days to go!

22 October 2008

Fashionable Veeps -- The Palin Cost

Choosing a Vice Presidential candidate does not come cheap when you are clothing a family of five kids and getting them looking all dapper to hit the campaign trail. The Republican National Committee has found this out as it has spent more than USD 150,000 since late August. Now, this is funny in that truly perverse kind of a way. The Republican ticket has been claiming how in touch it is with the problems facing America and ordinary citizens.

The problem as I would see it is that there are not many citizens earning that sort of money that they can be dropping more than 150K on accessorizing. Some of the bills that have been filed in public financial expenditure statements include an almost 50K shopping spree at Saks Fifth Avenue, a more than 75K bill from Neiman Marcus, and almost 5K in hair and make-up expenses.

This has caught the interest of campaign finance experts who have been quick to suggest that personal use items such as clothes and make-up are generally prohibited. Simply, campaign funds are not and cannot be used for personal items.

The RNC's initial response was to blow the whole thing off as politicking. However, the most recent response of the RNC has been to suggest that all of the goods that have been bought for the Palin's are going to be donated to charity after the campaign. In this case it seems that the Salvation Army store could be in for a windfall. It is not often you pick up Saks and Neiman goodies at bargain basement prices.

There is little doubt that the Democrats should get some good yards out of this one as the Democrat financial expenditure statements do not include any similar spending.

At least now the people, the citizens, those that are going to be casting ballots know how much it has cost to keep the Palins looking good!

Learning the Lingo -- Indonesian

Language is an important feature of Indonesia and what it means to be Indonesian. So, it is hardly surprising that there is a movement to codify this with a law on language.

The Bill on Language has been in and out of favour for some time as other pieces of legislation deemed either more important or more urgent being considered and enacted in preference to it. Nevertheless, the bill has never totally gone off the radar and a recent workshop on the bill sort to develop a more detailed discourse on the needs for a law on language. The bill specifically regulates the use of Indonesian and other languages.

However, the most interesting issues relate to how the bill mandates the use of Indonesian in all official representations of state and the requirements for all foreigners seeking to work and live in Indonesia to have a standardized level of Indonesian language skills.

The bill in most respects is not all that controversial and even the points of interest noted above are really not controversial in the sense that they are likely to result in deadlock or sink the bill in the consultation and discussion phases. The idea that the Head of State must use Bahasa Indonesia in all formal engagements is likely to resonate with ordinary Indonesians. Furthermore, Indonesian, and in particular proper and correct Indonesian, is a source of pride for Indonesians. Although in a practical sense it is probably important that the Head of State be able to speak English in order to have the option of presenting in English where practical and necessary.

The idea that foreigners must pass an Indonesian competency exam is reasonable and in most cases reciprocal. Indonesians are generally required to speak, read, and write at an acceptable level of English in order to work or study overseas. Therefore, it would seem to make good sense for Indonesia to require the same level of competency in Indonesian for those foreigners wanting to live and work in Indonesia.

It is conceivable that some people will see this bill as a threat to the ease of completing the functions of State and in doing business in Indonesia. However, the bill still has plenty of hard yards to hoe before it reaches the House of Representatives (DPR) and is put into the Committee process leading to a plenary vote.

The bill seems to be making progress however it is currently not a priority. The draft is current as of August 2008.

The Bill requires the use of Indonesian in all public and private work environments. Article 11 even requires that all brand names, buildings, advertisements, and company names be in Indonesian.

This is not the first time that measures such as these have been proposed or used. Over the last decade there have been various attempts to compel the use of Indonesian. The most oft cited example of this is the case involving Bakery Holland. Bakery Holland was forced to Indonesianize its corporate name, the solution was simple - Bakeri Hollan, neither of which would seem to be proper and correct Indonesian or for that matter proper and correct words in any language.

Cultural and Ethnic Diversity
The Bill simply acknowledges the cultural and ethnic diversity that is Indonesia but would seem to restrict the use of regional languages to very limited situations. The bill permits the use of foreign languages only in forums that are international in nature and substance. There is a need for a national language. However, there remains a question as to whether this must come at the expense of regional languages and dialects. It must be noted that breaches of the provisions will result in administrative sanctions.

Arguments that the restrictions placed on the use of regional languages do not reflect the spirit of ‘unity in diversity’ seem to ignore the fact that there are no express provisions outlawing the use of regional languages and dialects. To the contrary, regional languages are permitted including how these languages are to be maintained is clear based on Article 27. However, considering the emphasis on ensuring the development of Indonesian for all spheres of use the issue will be one of how the regions will fund and develop the maintenance of their regional languages where there may just well be an overwhelming emphasis on ensuring meeting mandated standards of Indonesian.

Nevertheless, proponents of the bill note that the idea of Indonesia having a national language is something that is mandated not only in the Constitution but from a much earlier time, specifically the 1928 Youth Pledge.

The Bill requires all foreigners working in Indonesia to be proficient in the Indonesian language. In principle this is not an ill-conceived demand, the question is the workability of the proposal and the uniform standards that it will require to be put into place. From a business and investment perspective, all future labor and human resources hiring decisions as they relate to foreign staff will require that the prospective expatriate staff meet the required levels of proficiency.

For example, before a language school could hire an expatriate native speaker language teacher that teacher must first be proficient in Indonesian before they could be offered the position. It is accepted that communication between the expatriate and the local staff would be greatly enhanced if the expatriate knew Indonesian however the knowledge of Indonesian is not critical to the ability of the expatriate to perform their employment functions.

That said, it is important that there is a legal requirement for the transfer of knowledge from the expatriate to the Indonesian counterpart. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that this transfer of knowledge would be greatly enhanced if the expatriate could impart that knowledge in both Indonesian and the foreign language. The Labor Law and the implementing regulations envisage expatriate staff provided expertise, imparting that knowledge to local staff, and then having that local staff take over the role of the expatriate.

Indonesian Proficiency Tests
The Bill mandates that all expatriate employees and foreign students will have to have the requisite knowledge of Indonesian before being permitted to work or study in Indonesia. This will require them to sit and pass the Indonesian Proficiency Test (Ujian Kemampuan Bahasa Indonesia / UKBI) however what score they might have to achieve to 'pass' has not yet been set.

It remains unclear whether the test will be required for expatriate residents of Indonesian who are not working and studying, particularly for the ever-expanding group of expatriates retiring to the warmer climes and quieter surrounds of Bali among other Indonesian locales.

Just so that expatriates do not think they are being unfairly singled out for language proficiency tests, all Indonesian public officials and State employees will have to possess the requisite knowledge levels of proper and correct Indonesian - this may seem easy enough - but anyone watching local news bulletins with interviews with public officials will note that perhaps this is going to be a challenge for some Indonesians as well.

Official Representations
The Bill stipulates that for Indonesians that all speeches in written or oral form presented in Indonesia or abroad in an official capacity must be done in proper and correct Indonesian. The effect, the President in any speech that he makes whether it be, opening an international conference in Indonesia or making a speech addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations, these speeches must be in Indonesian.

As noted earlier international conferences in Indonesia may use a foreign language as the lingua franca yet it remains unclear whether an Indonesian official opening the conference would be permitted to use the foreign language to open the conference, particularly in light of Article 13.

On face value this seems an excessive requirement. This requirement might be directly linked to the controversy over a former Miss Indonesia's participation in an international pageant where she referred to Indonesia as being “a beautiful city”, an honest mistake or otherwise; even native speakers can make mistakes in their own language. Or it might simply be that Indonesian is a source of national pride and as such must be used at every possible opportunity.

The sanctions for breach of the provisions include written and verbal warnings, administrative fines, withholding and cancellation of permits, and the suspension of services until compliance is achieved. The impacts are obvious in regard to investment and foreigners. Nevertheless, one of the other aims of the Bill is to redress many Indonesian problems, such as a weakening of national pride and patriotism, which are considered to result in the deterioration in the use of proper Indonesian.

Yet, it would seem that the practicalities of regulating language use in the private and public spheres is only going to increase the red tape and bureaucracy in an already overburdened, over-bureaucratic State apparatus, which lead to claims at the recent seminar on the Bill that it was nothing more than a paper tiger or an unloaded gun.

Nevertheless, it must also be considered, although not explicitly stated, that Article 19 of the Bill would imply that the Government has an obligation to enforce the provisions and consequently to ensure compliance.

Finally, the use of Indonesian is compulsory in the writing and publication of scientific papers and articles in the mass media, and films. Taking this to the logical extreme the inference is that all non-Indonesian language material must be translated or dubbed into Indonesian for local publication and dissemination.

The issue here is not the intent but rather the enforceability of such provisions. Presumably the Indonesian language requirement does not apply to Indonesian scientists and academics intending to publish material about Indonesia in foreign publications, once again this is an enforceability issue. Another example would be subscription based television programming; do the provisions entail that all programming content, free-to-air and subscription based, have to be in Indonesian.

Services Provided in Languages Other Than Indonesian
Another interesting question that the Bill or subsequent Government Regulations will need to address, perhaps in the Elucidation to the law, is the status of Indonesian produced English language news services – will they be required to include subtitles?


In conclusion, the intent of the Bill is a valid one, the promotion and development of the National Language. However, the codification of this intent is problematic and this piece has highlighted but a few of these, of particular concern is the enforcement of the provisions.

This increased bureaucracy and the ever-expanding intrusion of Government into the private corporate and private spheres is perhaps an issue of concern. This is particularly the case where the respective post-Soeharto Governments of B.J. Habibe, Abdurrahman Wahid, Megawati, and currently Susilo Bambang Yudhyono have sort to distance themselves from the authoritarian nature of the past through the promotion and emphasis on good corporate governance and the human rights and dignity of individuals to be free from excessive intrusion by the Government - the emphasis here is on smaller, more efficient government rather than an unending expansion of the big government of the past.

Why Wait for Friday?

I promised to provide an update on the planned executions of the Bali Bombers (photo from Kompas) on Friday unless something interesting came up, and it did.

It seems that the legal team of the three are going to take this thing to the ICJ. I am not entirely convinced that they can as the ICJ is generally a State against State deal.

Achmad Michdan of the legal team has said they are going to send a letter to the "International Court". I am guessing that this is the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

My guess is based on a Kompas Newspaper report (
in Indonesian). However, a letter would seem to be wasted on the ICJ. It would make more sense to send a letter to a UN organ that dealt with human rights, such as the Human Rights Council.

It seems that the legal teams complaint is that the Constitutional Court of Indonesia does not take into account that the prescribed method of execution in Islam is beheading.
I need to find out some more information on this.

I will check it out later in the morning and add a postscript if, and when, I find out something.

Thanks to Calupict for pointing me in this direction.

21 October 2008

Appeal Denied -- What's Next?

It seems that the three cowards, AKA Amrozi, Samudra, and Mukhlas (photo courtesy of Reuters) have been thwarted once again, this time by the Constitutional Court. It seems that the Constitutional Court has adopted a position that says the whole point of the death penalty is to see the convicted person dead. In other words death sometimes hurts and in death penalty cases the method of execution may cause pain but this pain does not constitute torture and as such the method cannot be deemed to be cruel and unusual.

Therefore, the firing squad does not constitute a method of execution that is either cruel or unusual or, for that matter, inhuman. The Constitutional Court seems to concede that pain might be involved but that the pain is not enough to warrant any Court intervention in this matter. It is worth noting that even if the Court had found the firing squad to be cruel and unusual, these three would not have benefited as Constitutional Court decisions apply going forward and not retrospectively.

This means that there appears to be no further reasons for the delay of the executions. It is expected that the Attorney General, Hendarman Supandji, will announce the date and time of the executions on Friday. Executions are not normally announced prior to the execution taking place. I guess interest in the case is such that the government feels a pre-announcement is warranted.

Next update on Friday (unless there is something worth noting beforehand).

Blues Traveler

This is not really an album review. Although the latest Blues Traveler album, North Hollywood Shootout, is a good one. I do not know that it is the best they have done. I am always a little partial to their first self-titled album and Straight on Till Morning, Bridge, and Travelers and Thieves.

This post is more about the difficulty of finding the CDs of some bands here in Indonesia and in Jakarta specifically. The development of technology means that I do not have to buy CDs anymore because I can just download any tunes that I want from the Internet. However, sometimes I just like to buy the CD and have it in my collection.

I was surprised to find the Blues Traveler album the other day. I immediately grabbed it and asked the shop attendant if they had any more Blues Traveler. Her response was the expected one, "Huh, who?" She had never heard of them, but was real helpful and looked. There were none in stock. Then it was to the computer to see what was there, maybe another one of their stores had some of the Blues Traveler.

Unfortunately, they had none. For now, it will be enjoying Forever Owed, What Remains, The Queen of Sarajevo, and Free Willis from my latest Blues Traveler acquistion. I guess it is back to buying Blues Traveler from the Internet.

20 October 2008

High School Memories...

Amnesty International Appeal

Amnesty International has launched an appeal to see the lives of Amrozi, Samudra, and Mukhlas spared from the firing squad.

The appeal is attached in full.

AI Index: ASA 21/020/2008 16 October 2008

INDONESIA: Amrozi bin H. Nurhasyim (m), Ali Ghufron alias Mukhlas (m), Imam Samudera (m)

Amrozi bin H. Nurhasyim, Ali Ghufron and Imam Samudera, who were convicted of involvement in the 12 October 2002 bombings on the island of Bali, which killed 202 people and injured a further 209, are facing imminent execution by firing squad within the next week.

In January 2008, police and court officials informed the three men that their renewed demands for a second judicial review had been rejected. The men appealed against this decision, but on 17 July the Indonesian Supreme Court rejected this appeal and announced that they had exhausted their right of appeal, stating only one judicial review is permitted.

The executions were due to take place in September, but were delayed for the holy month of Ramadan. Jasman Simanjuntak, spokesman for the Attorney-General's office, stated on 14 October that the date of execution will be announced on 24 October. However, as executions in Indonesia are usually carried out in the early hours of Friday morning, and the date of execution is never normally announced in advance, Amnesty International fears that the announcement will simply confirm that they have already been executed. Amnesty International is also concerned that the men will be executed despite their outstanding petition to the Constitutional Court, alleging that the method of execution by firing squad amounts to torture.

Amrozi bin H. Nurhasyim, Ali Ghufron and Imam Samudera were sentenced to death by the Denpasar District Court in 2003. The law they were convicted under was brought into force in 2003 and introduced the death penalty for 'terrorist' acts, and allowed for those involved in the 2002 bombings in Bali to be tried retroactively. Under international law (Article 15 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights- ICCPR) and the Indonesian Constitution, a person cannot be tried under legislation brought in after the incident took place.

A pardon from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is extremely unlikely. All three men have stated that they will not apply for Presidential pardon. The President has also previously indicated in a television interview that he will not give clemency and will allow the process to be seen through to the end.


Death sentences in Indonesia are carried out by firing squad. The person under sentence of death has the choice of standing or sitting and of using a blindfold or cover for their head. Firing squads consist of 12 people, six of whom are supplied with live ammunition and six whose guns are loaded with blanks. The squad fires from a distance of between five and 10 metres.

To Amnesty International's knowledge, at least 107 people are believed to be under sentence of death in Indonesia. Eleven of these were convicted and sentenced to death in 2007. Indonesia has executed seven people since 26 June 2008.

In 2006, Indonesia ratified the ICCPR, which states that "every human being has the inherent right to life." However, the Indonesian authorities did not authorize ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aimed at the abolition of the death penalty.


Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Bahasa Indonesian, English or your own language:

- calling for the death sentences of Amrozi bin H. Nurhasyim, Ali Ghufron alias Mukhlas and Imam Samudera to be commuted;
- expressing concern that the Law on Combating Criminal Acts of Terrorism, under which these men were sentenced to death, was applied retrospectively to include all those involved in the Bali bombings, violating international law and the Indonesian Constitution;
- calling on the Indonesian authorities to commute all death sentences in Indonesia;
- recognizing that Indonesia has a right and responsibility to address serious crime, and expressing sympathy for its victims, but pointing out that there is no clear evidence that the death penalty is an effective deterrent;
- calling on the authorities to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and establish a moratorium on executions, as a first step towards the abolition of the death penalty as advocated in the UN General Assembly Resolution of 18 December 2007.


Please remember Indonesia is 6 hours ahead of GMT, and fax machines may be switched off outside of office hours.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President RI, Istana Merdeka, Jakarta Pusat 10110, Indonesia
Fax: + 62 21 345 2685
+ 62 21 526 8726

Salutation: Dear President

Attorney General
Mr. Hendarman Supandji, Jaksa Agung, J. Sultan Hasanuddin No. 1, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta, Indonesia
Fax: + 62 21 725 0213

Salutation: Dear Attorney General


Governor of Bali
Governor Dewa Made Beratha
Jl. Basuki Rahmat Renon Denpasar 80361, Bali, Indonesia
Fax: +62 361 236 037

Salutation: Dear Governor

and to diplomatic representatives of Indonesia accredited to your country.

I am against the death penalty.

Bizarre Sex Stories

Now, this is a story I could not resist covering.

A man in the US has been arrested for receiving sexual favours from a vacuum cleaner at a car wash. I am not quite sure how this works and whether or not solicitation was involved. I am guessing the fella walked up to the machine and said something along the lines of, "if I put in my dollar, will you suck me clean?"

I am also guessing the vacuum did not respond verbally but took the cash and did its thing.

This all came about because a concerned resident saw some strange activity at the car wash and called the police. A police officer turned up and caught a 29-year-old man in the grips of vacuum pleasure and he was arrested. This bizarre sexual encounter took place in Saginaw. Saginaw is in Michigan and is not too far from Detroit.

The fella is currently in jail.

19 October 2008

Bali and Bikinis

The Anti-Pornography Bill is still likely to pass this year. Although, it also seems likely that amendments will be made to ensure that cultural and ritualistic practices are even more explicitly protected than they are now. The provisions will also be amended to ensure that tourism in Indonesia's premier tourism centers such as Bali are not affected.

In essence, this means that Bali and other places that depend on tourism will allow the wearing of bikinis on beaches without there being a breach of the strict provisions on the showing off of one's flesh. Nevertheless, this might not be universal in that every beach in Bali is exempt though. I am certain there will be a push to see this limited to specific beaches and in specific locations.

Aside from the idea of criminalizing the wearing of bikinis being a stupid idea in light of Indonesia's desire to attract tourists and some USD 9.8 billion in tourist revenue in this self-proclaimed "Visit Indonesia 2008" year, it was interesting and promising to see Indonesians rally and organize into a force to oppose such a silly measure.

Perhaps now the government and the parliament can now turn their collective attentions to more pressing and serious matters. The photo is of Indonesian model, Davina Veronica, well at least that is what the link to this photo said.

A Sad State of Affairs

This is one of those issues where some will agree and some will disagree and some will just want to ask what the alternatives are. The reality is that this is a sad state of affairs. I am still planning on writing a series on all of the potential presidential candidates listed here. I have started with Megawati and been a little slack on following this up. I still have time on my side though.

A recent survey of 1,239 people (I have always wondered why survey organizations could not make it a round number, like 1,250 for example) by the Indonesian Survey Institute (Lembaga Survei Indonesia / LSI) has found that the current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) has re-emerged as the most likely to be elected president in the upcoming presidential election. SBY has managed to turn around his previous poor showing that saw him slip behind a former president in Megawati.

The race is shaping into a two-horse race between SBY and Megawati. SBY is currently seein his support running at 32% and Megawati trailing with 24%. The rest of the potential presidential candidates seem to be in the "no-hope(r)" category. Following Megawati in the distance is Wiranto with 6% and Prabowo with 5%.

Wiranto and Prabowo both have skeletons in the closet that should preclude them from serious consideration. These skeltons exist as part of their respective army careers and relate to what they knew and when with respect to Timor Leste in Wiranto's case and the disappearance of activists in Prabowo's case. If these issues were satisfactorily resolved then so be it.

I am sure that some might argue this is irrelevant as they have never been charged so this is therefore a non-issue. To each their own. If I could vote, I would not be voting for either. I also would not be voting for SBY or Megawati.

Following Prabowo is the Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X on 3%. The rest of the potential candidates are running at less than 3% so their chances at this stage would seem to be somewhere between zero and none.

Why is this a sad state of affairs? This is a sad state of affairs because the two most likely candidates for president at this time are a currently failing president and the immediate past president who also failed.

I am sure that with the quaity on offer there is likely to be a big push for and from the "Golput" supporters. Golput is the abbreviation of Golongan Putih or White Group who advocate that where all of the choices are poor quality then voters should exercise their right not to vote.

A sad state of affairs.

18 October 2008

US Presidential Elections

Are things shaping up for a landslide?

I have been reading some interesting articles today that are suggesting that Obama seems to have been getting it right on a number of things, like Afghanistan for example.

My politics are left of centre, liberal, and I am a supporter of the idea of a social democracy.

I am sure that there are many of you out there who are the same and maybe just as many who are not.

I am watching with interest in order to see who assumes the mantle of "leader of the free world".

New Passenger Fees at Soekarno-Hatta Airport?

The Tangerang Municipal Council is drafting a piece of legislation that will enable it to levy and collect retribution (fees) from passengers departing from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. The terminal that will be affected by this is Terminal II. Terminal II is physically located within the Tangerang Municipality.

Funnily enough, the Council is calling the proposed fee, a donation. However, it is not likely to be a voluntary. Simply, if it was voluntary, then who would pay it. The collection of the Tangerang Municipal fee will occur at the same time as the departing passenger pays their regular departure tax.

The Council has yet to decide how much the fee will be. The fee can be up to 10% of the prevailing airport departure tax. My guess would be that the fee will be the maximum permissible.

This means that the fee is likely to be either IDR 2,500 and IDR 5,000 depending on whether you are departing on a domestic or international flight.

This is probably the first step in a more concerted effort by the Council to collect revenue that it is entitled to do under Indonesia's regional autonomy laws.

My Stats and buzzfeed.com

I had a bonanza in terms of page views and visitors yesterday and I have buzzfeed.com to thank for that.

I average a paltry 150 page views per day. On a good day I might hit 200 page views. I generally average out at about 80% of those views will translate into a visitor. However, yesterday I hit 1,009 page views and 784 visitors. These are records for me and I am not expecting that this popularity will be maintained.

When I logged on this morning at about 10.30 I already had some 500 page views.

I thought this to be a little weird seeing that 500 views is about 3.5 times my whole day average. So, I checked out the stats and found that I was getting all these hits from buzzfeed.com. It seems my post of the virtual strip search was linked to a piece on the buzzfeed site. Maybe I will have to start dropping hints to them so they link to more of my stuff.

In any event, buzzfeed.com thanks for making my Friday a statistical record breaker.

17 October 2008

France, Friendlies, and The National Anthem

There is one thing that is certain when the President of your country and then the Ministers start jumping up and down declaring that they are going to cancel soccer friendlies if the opposing fans boo the National Anthem, there are serious domestic political issues that need a diversion.

On Tuesday, France played a soccer friendly against Tunisia. Tunisia is a former French colony so there is a long history there and it just so happens that there are plenty of Tunisians who are living in France and perhaps quite a few who have even become citizens but still support the land of their birth.

It has been reported that at the match the number of Tunisian supporters outnumbered those of the French side. So, when "La Marseillaise" was played a loud chorus of boos rang out around the stadium. It seems that some are saying this is an insult to France.

The reaction, or perhaps over-reaction, has seen the President denounce the booing as "scandalous incidents" at the Stade de France. The Sports Minister is jumping up and down on the spot saying any future friendly where the fans booed would be called off. The Interior Minister, not wanting to miss out obviously, wants to deploy cameras in an attempt to video the culprits in action.

Platini, a French football legend, former captain of France, and current president of UEFA, seems to be the only one making any sense on this when he called the whole thing absurd.

I wonder what's next. If someone whistles at the President's wife then the whistler gets the guillotine?