30 September 2009

Australian Slang...

Will has been wandering round the house today and having a lot of fun making a mess. Normally, making a mess means pulling all the books off the book shelves and the CDs from the CD rack. It just so happened that one of the books he pulled off the shelves was one on Australian Slang. I thought I would have a look at it before putting it back on the shelf. There were stacks of phrases that I have not heard or used in ages,

Here is a sample of some.

1. Mad as a cut snake - a little crazy;

2. Put the bite on - ask for money;

3. I could eat the horse and chase the jockey - hungry;

4. Fair crack of the whip - fair go;

5. A few roos loose in the top paddock - not all there;

6. Onya - well done;

7. Flake out - collapse;

8. On for young and old - commotion or fight;

9. Hair of the dog - cure for a hangover;

10. Bush telegraph - gossip;

11. Come a gutser - fall off something or make a mistake;

12. Not within cooee - long way away;

13. Cobber - friend;

14. Not enough brains to give himself a headache - stupid or silly;

15. Keep your shirt on - stay calm;

16. Knuckle sandwich - punch in the mouth;

17. Do your lolly - lose your temper;

18. face like a sucked out mango - ugly;

19. Green around the gills - feeling sick; and

20. Pull your head in - mind your own business.

Maybe, and only maybe, if I feel like it I might post some more, but when it is all said and done, it might just be that I am as cunning as a shit house rat, and in any event I wouldn't be dead for quids.

Have a nice day!

29 September 2009

Blog Housekeeping...

Dear All...

I have enabled comment moderation.

It seems that I have attracted some unwarranted attention and one particular thread has become a platform for defaming and slandering a number of individuals who do not voice an opinion that is in agreement with their views.

These commenters have opted to post anonymously or under pen names, but have so far failed to show the courage of their convictions and post under their real names. So, if you want your comment to be published use your name, or provide me with a reason why I should let you post under a pen name. That said, any tame comments posted by anonymous posters might make the grade provided they do not defame. If you post anonymously, then you take your chances with my discretion.

I feel that I have little choice but to enable comment moderation and prevent defamatory and slanderous comments from making their way into the public domain.

If you want to know what I am talking about then feel free to ask me and I will direct you to the relevant post and comments.

The Jakarta Bombings and Democracy...

The death of Noordin M Top provided the Indonesian National Police with a wealth of information and data apparently. During the shootout which saw Top finally topped, the police managed to recover a laptop that supposedly belonged to Top.

The police have today said that the laptop contained a number of videos. One of these videos was supposedly shot on 21 June 2009, about three weeks prior to the bombing, and shows the bombers, Dwi Permana and Nana Ikhwan Maulana, having a meeting that is being described as a picnic by some, in the vacant lot opposite the JW Marriott hotel and not far from the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The video is allegedly shot by Saifuddin Jaelani. The video zooms in on Nana pointing to the hotels and saying, "this is our target". It is being reported that Jaelani's voice can be heard saying, "destroy America, destroy Australia, destroy Indonesia".

The video then cuts to Dani saying, "this is not suicide, this is what our enemies fear!" Dani then goes on to say, "this is an obligation for all, those who do not execute this obligation are sinners." Remember, Dani is just a youngster at 18 years of age. If Top and his jihadis could convince an 18-year-old to become a suicide bomber, then it is fair to say that they are a sophisticated and dedicated organization.

If anyone thinks that the death of Top puts an end to the scourge of terrorism in Indonesia they just do not understand the nature of the beast, or the mindset of those, who will go to any lengths to create a world in their own warped version of what they think God intended it to be. There might be a lull, but this is likely to be a lull before the storm. The laptop, according to police, also indicates that Top's band of jihadist warriors were well-organized, well-equipped, well-supported, and had recently re-established links with other terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda.

Apparently, the laptop also includes a letter that Jaelani wrote to his family accusing Americans and Australians of "slaughtering his brothers". This explains the earlier comment, but may also go to show why the James Castle Breakfast gathering was targeted in the JW Marriott. It would seem a pretty good target for a terrorist trying to make a statement about American and Australian involvement in activities that a terrorist considers to be an insult to Islam and an affront to his Muslim brothers.

But, perhaps most terrifying for Indonesia and Indonesians is that Top and his band have decided to target Indonesia and Indonesian interests and the Indonesian government because of its efforts to promote democracy. This begs the question, when one considers, and in spite of the teething problems, the majority of Indonesians would consider more open government and greater democracy a step in the right direction.

It would seem that the more fundamental interpretation of Islam adopted by Top and Jaelani runs counter to what the great majority of Indonesian Muslims believe with respect to democracy.

Perhaps, the drive to democracy will be the trigger that invigorates moderate Muslims to oppose the radical or fundamental elements that seek to destroy rather than build on Indonesia's potential for greatness.

Viva Indonesia and Viva Democracy!

Did You Know...Revisited

And, now for something a little lighter than the fare of the past...

Did you know that

1. the poisonous copperhead snake smells like fresh cut cucumbers;

2. the poison-arrow frog has enough poison to kill about 2,200 people;

3. more than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a phone call;

4. an iguana can stay under water for 28 minutes;

5. Some lions mate over 50 times a day; and

6. the youngest pope was eleven years old.

Have a nice day!

Malaysia, Caning, and Beer -- Part V

Sooner or later it seems Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno is going to feel the thud and sting of the cane. The case is an interesting test of Malaysia's claims to be a moderate Muslim nation and the acceptance of strict forms of Sharia law that impact on only certain groups within the Malaysian ethnic, cultural, and religious fabric. Shukarno has upped the ante in the case by refusing to appeal.

Once the sentence is carried out, she will become the first Muslim woman in Malaysia to be sentenced to a caning and then have the sentence imposed.

Shukarno's crime was to be a Muslim caught drinking beer in a nightclub in Pahang state. The religious court found her guilty of the crime and sentenced her to six strokes of the cane. I have written about the details of the case here.

The government stepped in and requested a review of the case because it believed the sentence to be too harsh and the press about the case could conceivably damage Malaysia's reputation as a moderate Muslim nation.

However, and perhaps in a sign of separation of powers, the religious high court in Kuantan has affirmed the lower religious court's decision and has stated in unequivocal terms that the sentence was correct and it must be imposed as handed-down.

It was also decided that a good ol' caning during the month of Ramadan was not in the spirit of the month where fasting, praying, and cleaning oneself of sins are paramount.

Islamic scholars in Malaysia have generally supported the sentence and have said in any event Shukarno is to be fully clothed and the cane is much smaller and lighter than the canes used in criminal matters. Perhaps this is meant to suggest that it is a lesser offense and hence there is a lesser punishment or it just won't hurt that much anyway, so let's get this over and done with.

27 September 2009

Sir Edmund Hillary -- Tops the List of Greatest Living New Zealanders...

There is probably only one thing wrong with these recent poll results, Sir Edmund Hillary died more than 18 months ago on 11 January 2008. Sir Edmund Hillary was a fine man, a wonderful ambassador for New Zealand, and a humanitarian, at least in my reckoning.

When I was little, or perhaps younger, I wanted to climb Mt. Everest and Sir Edmund was one of the people that inspired such grand visions.

Even though Sir Edmund is dead, it seems that New Zealanders still remember his feats and his contributions. Perhaps, Sir Edmund remains alive in the hearts of many New Zealanders.

Following Sir Edmund in the list are New Zealanders who are in fact still alive: Helen Clark, the former Prime Minister; Sir Colin Meads, an All Black; and Sir Peter Snell, triple Olympic gold medallist.

The Police vs. KPK Spat Heats Up...

The spat between the Head of the Criminal Investigations Branch, Comr. Gen. Susno Duaji, and the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi / KPK) should nver have been allowed to get this far. The fact that it has highlights a complete lack of leadership at the pinnacle of Indonesian government. The president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, or SBY as he prefers, has seriously damaged his credentials as a fighter of corruption and has seriously undermined a basic tenet of his campaign platform.

By issuing an Interim Law allowing him to nominate new commissioners to the KPK without those prospective commissioners from going through the recognized standard vetting procedures makes a mockery of the successes the KPK and Indonesia have enjoyed to date in the fight against the scourge of corruption. If the president is thinking about a legacy and a spot on the world stage, then it is time he stood up on his principles and ended this repugnant abuse of power by the police.

The idea that an Interim Law is going to be used in this way is an attack on the independence of the KPK and undermines the legitimacy of the agency. It is an attack on democracy and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens as envisaged in Chapter XA of the Indonesian Constitution of 1945, and it is a step backwards to the authoritarian ways of the past.

All that aside, it appears that the spat is escalating with two of the KPK commissioners being further charged with bribery. This is in addition to them being declared suspects in an abuse of authority matter last week. However, the two commissioners, Chandra M Hamzah and Bibit Samad Rianto, are not going to sit back and allow the police to run roughshod over the law as it stands.

The legal team defending Chandra and Bibit have declared their intention to report the Head of the Criminal Investigations Branch, Comr. Gen. Susno Duaji, to the General Supervision Inspector (Inspektur Pengawasan Umum / Irwasum) at Police Headquarters. There are to be seven specific breaches of the prevailing laws and regulations that will form the bases of the report.

These include articles from Government Regulation No. 2 of 2003 (Art. 5 and 6(N), (O), and (Q)) and the Indonesian Criminal Code (Kitab Undang-undang Hukum Pidana / KUHP [Arts. 421 - 423]).

If successful in proving their case, then the KUHP articles in particular could see Duaji dishonourably discharged from the national police force.

This case is certain to get even more interesting as the KPK Defense Team is pushing hard and highlighting the fact that the police are seemingly on a fishing expedition in order to drum up any evidence that they can. Simply, the spokesperson for the KPK Defense Team, Luhut Pangaribuan, is regularly quoted as stating that the police just do not have the evidence to proceed in this matter and as a matter of course must stop the investigation.

If this is the case, and the police insist in continuing to pursue the case, then when the case does finally fall over, heads must role. There really needs to be presidential leadership on this one, and it is unfortunate to date that the president is seemingly siding with the police in their pursuit to dismantle the independent investigative authorities of the KPK.

Very sad.

Viva KPK!

More Maria Ozawa (AKA Miyabi) and Her Non-Porn Film Career...

I am a sucker for site visitors, not. But, I could not but help noticing that my blog stats as they relate to visitors searching for particular material and visiting certain pages highlighted that there are a lot of people out there searching for Maria Ozawa and Miyabi. It is also worth noting that the majority of these are from Indonesian IPs.

It seems that Mari Ozawa, the Japanese porn star with Japanese - Canadian heritage, courts as much controversy in keeping her clothes on as she does taking them off. However, this is probably because more people would prefer to see her with her clothes off.

Nevertheless, it appears that Miyabi might be trying to construct a non-porn film career. "Kidnapping Miyabi" is her second clothed film (some might say mainstream film, but who am I to judge) after last year's "Invitation Only", a Taiwanese slasher / horror film.

Now, Kidnapping Miyabi has a very basic story line, Miyabi is in Indonesia as a tourist where some infatuated undergraduates decide to kidnap her. The film has all the potential to become a porn flick. Let's face it these undergraduates are infatuated with Miyabi for one reason only; they have watched all her porno films and have probably self-gratified during a few of them, and on seeing her in the flesh, real life flesh, they figured they probably would not mind a few rounds themselves.

Admittedly, I have not seen the script, and I am unlikely to be bothered watching the film when it comes out. The whole premise seems a little silly to me. Maybe I am just getting old, but there is probably a reason why big name porn stars have not been able to successfully cross over into mainstream films. Perhaps Ron Jeremy or Traci Lords have a view or two on this. But, it seems that for most porn stars they lose their allure and charm when they have their gear on.

Although, to be fair to Lords, she has appeared in a number of mainstream movies and TV shows, such as Tommyknockers, Married...with Children, and MacGyver, among others. Ron Jeremy has also done some non-porn stuff that has tended to capitalize on his porn star fame like: Fuck: A Fuckumentary.

So, to all my happy Miyabi searchers, this one is for you.


Alexander Downer, Schapelle Corby, and a Home Invasion...

It would probably be fair to say that Alexander Downer as Foreign Affairs Minister in the John Howard Liberal Government that he would have expected to take some heat over any role he could have played in securing the release of Schapelle Corby from Kerobokan Prison in Bali. This might be particularly so considering that Ms. Corby is still in Kerobokan prison and suffering from severe mental illness, including two attempts at suicide.

However, as a former Foreign Minister who has been out of government for some time and who is focused much more on conflicts in other parts of the world, he probably was not expecting a stranger to walk into his home and start abusing him on his failure to get Ms. Corby released from prison and then imploring him to do something to get her out now.

Yet, this was the case last Thursday. Downer was sitting down watching the news at 6.15pm when an elderly woman walked through an unlocked front door, sat down on his couch and then proceeded to give him an earful. There is little doubt that incidents like these get people to thinking about their home security. Without a doubt there is going to be some ramped up security at the Downer household from now on, starting with locking the doors.

It would seem that Mr. Downer was not in fear of his life, and asked the woman who she was, which triggered a tirade that culminated in the old lady suggesting that if Mr. Downer did not get Corby out of jail then God would damn him. Cutting to the chase, Downer called the police, the woman disappeared through his garden, the police arrived, the woman was gone. The police believed that they knew who the woman was and apparently an arrest has subsequently been made.

There is plenty to be said for the passion and commitment of Schapelle Corby's supporters, but it is incidents like these that make one wonder to what extremes some people are prepared to go in pursuit of their cause. A home invasion of the former foreign minister's home is certainly ratcheting it up to the next level.

It is a worrying development, aside from the action being a home invasion, I really fail to see how this sort of thing helps Schapelle and her supporters get her out of jail.

Latest Fashions -- Sunglasses...

Being an avid surfer of the internet, means that it is little wonder that I come across stuff that not only infuriates me or disturbs me, but stuff that also amuses me. Perhaps it is a case of small things amusing small minds, but there is nothing small about these sunglasses!

The picture above is available on the internet, the address is on the picture itself.

Corruption at the KPK...

The fight for justice against corruption is never easy. It never has been and never will be. It exacts a toll on our self, our families, our friends, and especially our children. In the end, I believe, as in my case, the price we pay is well worth holding on to our dignity.

-- Frank Serpico

It is certainly going to be interesting to watch this particular case unfold. If for no other reason that you have two commissioners of the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi / KPK), Chandra M Hamzah and Bibit Samad Rianto, accused of taking bribes to drop a case against a local Indonesian businessman who has since fled, and is thought to be living in Singapore.

Interesting because both successfully negotiated a very long and difficult vetting process which ultimately saw them appointed to the KPK, and by default one would have to assume that the vetting process turned up nothing of contention and certainly nothing that would have pegged them as being corrupt.

So, it appears, at least to the police, after having had long and successful careers outside of the KPK both Chandra and Bibit have turned to the dark side and take a bribe of allegedly IDR 1 billion for Chandra and IDR 1.5 billion for Bibit. Chandra allegedly collected his bribe, in cash, at Pasar Festival, and Bibit collected his at the Bellagio Residences.

This is most definitely out of character. So much so, that it seems almost impossible that the police are going to be able to put together a sustainable case. Particularly when it seems that the police have not been able to track the money nor place any other eyewitness accounts of the alleged payoffs. This is surprising for Pasar Festival as it is a place that generally has large numbers of people about.

However, the police have to have something because it would be extremely poor judgment to proceed without sufficient evidence. On the evidence front, the primary evidence is said to be an unsworn statement by the former Head of the KPK, Antasari Azhar, who is waiting to go to trial for his alleged role in a murder conspiracy.

It is a big call for the police to want to try and take these allegations all the way by filing a dossier with the Office of the Attorney General if the only "solid" evidence is an unsworn statement from an individual facing some pretty serious charges. The police have also said that they expect to file more criminal charges on top of the abuse of authority charges and the more recent bribery charges. But, they are not at liberty to disclose what those charges are likely to be.

The police case against Chandra and Bibit is simply that they abused their authority as commissioners of the KPK by seeking, obtaining, and then removing a travel ban against Anggoro Widjaja and Djoko Tjandra. Apart from some rather obvious repercussions of criminalizing administrative powers, the police case has absolutely no chance of success.

The idea that the administrative functions of public officials can be criminalized is one that even Indonesian courts will find a little repugnant. Mainly because if the courts were to accept arguments then by logical extension many, if not all, of the administrative functions of all public officials would conceivably be criminalized, perhaps even those of the president.

When the police realized the weakness of the case it was seemingly decided that there was a need to up the ante with criminal charges relating to bribery. If there is a fishy smell about this then it is that the Head of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Comr. Gen. Susno Duaji, that is investigating this alleged crime is also caught up in a KPK investigation relating to Bank Century.

Bank Century is the bank that was bailed out by the government under somewhat debatable circumstances as to the importance of the Bank to the overall Indonesian economy and during a time where the founders and upper level executives were allegedly syphoning off large sums of cash.

Therefore, it would seem to be a simple ask that the Chief of National Police, Bambang Danuri, would remove Duaji from his position in order to avoid any apparent conflict of interest. Any failure to do so will continually expose the police as a whole not only to the idea that there is a personal element of payback to this investigation, but that the police themselves are operating not solely in their own interest and the interest of the broader community, rather they have abandoned the ideal of the broader community to act on behalf of a couple of individual citizens who have fled the jurisdiction.

Perception is sometimes more powerful than the truth, the idea that the pen is mightier than the sword.

24 September 2009

One For the Record Books -- 8.7kg Baby...

A woman has given birth in a hospital in Medan, North Sumatra. Nothing to shocking or newsworthy about that, except that the baby weighed in at a massive 8.7kg (photo). This makes it the heaviest baby ever born in Indonesia (at least in recorded births). The not so little fella is also some 62cm in length.

There is little surprise that the young one was delivered via caesarean. Apparently, even doing a c-section was a challenge in terms of getting the boy out of the mother's womb.

The boy and his mother are both doing well, according to news reports.

So, how did the young fella end up so large. Apparently, the mother has diabetes, and doctors believe that diabetes in pregnant women impacts on the amount of glucose that the fetus receives during pregnancy. Simple, the boy had too much glucose and this is what caused his massive growth.

I hope all continues to go well for bother mother and son.

Will's First Trip To The Zoo...

23 September 2009

"Break Out" -- Micheal Mackinnon & Iain Croucher...

This is something that Dilligaf posted on his Facebook Wall and I discovered it there. The video embedded here is available on YouTube.

The video "Break Out" is a Micheal Mackinnon and Iain Croucher production and is apparently produced on a low budget. The video is encouraging the British electorate to reject the British National Party (BNP). It is part of the "Hope Not Hate - Stop the BNP" campaign.

The BNP's leader, Nick Griffin, has won a seat in the European Parliament which should make for some interesting viewing. The BNP is a far-right political party and there is active debate and argument, often quite heated, about whether the BNP is racist (you can follow the links here).

I found the video interesting and disturbing at the same time. The interesting angle was the idea that Arabs and Jews can work together where there is common ground, in this case survival or a common enemy. However, to be successful in thwarting the far-right agenda the base needs to be so much broader than just Arabs and Jews. It is disturbing because Mackinnon and Croucher felt there was a need to make the video in the first place.

Break Out starts off fairly innocuously, but the injection of the neo-Nazi skinheads into the equation does make for some intense viewing.

Joko Anwar, Janji Joni, and Naked in Circle K...

Joko Anwar, movie director of Janji Joni fame, promised that if he ever reached 3000 followers on twitter that he would do the Circle K naked run. A promise is a promise.

However, this sort of promise was, and always is, like a red rag to a bull. In next to no time, Anwar not only had 3000 followers on his twitter account but had sky-rocketed to more than 13,000 followers. I guess getting to see a director naked in Circle K gets some people in. I am wondering though if he is inclined to make another promise. For example, if he reaches 30,000 followers he will get naked at Monas, or if he reaches 50,000 followers he will walk naked round Grand Indonesia plaza or something, and at a more popular time like during the lunch rush hour?

For those of you who don't tweet and who think twittering and tweeting are things that birds (with feathers) do, then you can check out the photo above. The photo has an appropriately placed large red dot. I have heard that the dot is in fact larger than it really needed to be. Unfortunately, if you do not twitter or tweet then this news is coming late to you.

Some people will do anything to get a little publicity or to become popular. I am sure this has to violate a number of laws and regulations. I wonder if the Indonesian authorities are going to do anything about this public display of human flesh.

Nevertheless, it might be good news for Circle K as this might reinvigorate a trend and be a boon for sales as people hang around waiting for the next celebrity to offer to do the Circle K naked run when they hit a pre-agreed number of followers on twitter. I wonder, should I promise to get naked somewhere if I reach a 1000 followers on this blog? I really don't think that promising to get naked in my case would help, as I cannot think of one person that might be even slightly intrigued at seeing me naked.

This is probably also a good advertisement for social networking media like twitter as it highlights the immediacy with which information, and in this case, photos, can change hands.

22 September 2009

Maia, Dhani, Krisdayanti, and Divorce...

Ahmad Dhani is not one to miss an opportunity to see his name up in lights or in the press. He was most certainly aware that as soon as he said that Krisdayanti was involved in his divorce that he would attract plenty of media attention. According to Dhani there were three people who busted up his marriage, and one of these three was Krisdayanti or KD.

Dhani has gone on TV to offer his support to Anang and has provided some advice. This advice included finding himself a younger wife and leaving the old one behind.

Maia in response has, in essence, called Dhani's claims garbage, and has stated unequivocally that KD had no bearing on her divorce from Dhani. To the contrary, she seems to suggest that it was an internal conflict between her and Dhani that led to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

The Maia vs. Dhani divorce has been messy and very ugly from the outset. It has quite often, almost always played out on national TV, and sadly the children of the marriage have seemingly been used as pawns in the whole affair. Dhani, even claims that Maia has tried to indoctrinate his children against him but has failed in her attempts.

I wonder if there is anything that Krisdayanti can learn from Maia's experience?

The video is in Indonesian.

Is Krisdayanti Scared To Meet Her Kids?

It would seem that in spite of missing her children, Auriel and Azriel, terribly, Krisdayanti or KD as she is known, is too anxious to meet with her children because she is worried about what sort of reception she would get. It seems that KD is particularly worried that her children might hate her and treat her with a degree of disdain. At least this is what I take from a recent press appearance by her.

There has been some suggestion that the children are being indoctrinated that it is KD that is the guilty party and the one responsible for the break-up of the marriage. I wonder if the old adage of "it takes two to tango" can be applied here, at least with respect to fault?

The truth is that children in divorce situations, at least when they are young, tend to suffer the consequences of the public laundering of somewhat personal matters. This is exacerbated where the couple has a public profile and any dirty laundry is aired in public to satisfy the appetite of a hungry public.

Apparently, KD wanted to give some of her hard earned cash to her children, but Anang has not approved any contact and in the end she left the [envelopes of] cash with a maid to pass on to the children.

When one looks at the way divorces unfold and the high emotions they evoke, I understand why it takes dedicated souls to become involved in a family law practice.

The KPK Perpu Has Been Signed...

The President has signed the Peraturan Pemerintah Pengganti Undang-Undang (Interim Law) into effect on Monday (21 September 2009). I have not yet received a copy of the Perpu, but have been in discussion about the content.

The Perpu adds two articles to Law No. 30 of 2002 on the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi / KPK), namely: Article 33A and 33B. These additional articles deal with the execution of duties of the commissioners of the KPK and provides the president the authority to nominate additional temporary commissioners to the KPK when there is a vacuum of leadership. Presumably, this provides requisite authority for whatever reason underscores the dismissal or suspension of commissioners from the KPK.

In this case, the Head of the KPK, Antasari Azhar, has been arrested and is to go on trial for his alleged involvement in the assassination of a Director of PT Putra Rajawali Banjaran, Nasrudin Zulkarnaen. Consequently, Antasari has been dismissed from his position. Furthermore, two other commissioners, Chandra M. Hamzah (I used to work for Chandra before he became a commissioner - just in case any disclosure is needed) and Bibit Samad Rianto, have been declared non-active as they have become suspects in an abuse of authority matter involving the issuance of travel bans (cekal) and their subsequent lifting of the bans against two corruption suspects, Anggoro Widjoyo and Djoko Tjandra.

A perpu in this case is not the right way to go. It sends the wrong message. By issuing a perpu the president is in effect stating that he agrees with the manner in which the police are going about this matter. He is also stating that it is legitimate for the police to criminalize actions that are explicitly within the administrative field. Even the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Mahfud M.D., has stated that this is an administrative matter that would require the two individuals who feel that they have been victimized by the administrative actions of the KPK to file suit to seek compensation or damages for any loses sustained.

Issuing perpus in this context is a slippery slope that might come back to haunt the president when he is a former president.

A President With A Sense of Humour...

There has been much made of whether race is a factor in politics no matter where you live in the world. The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States of America was historic, perhaps for many reasons, but none more so than the fact he is a black man. The USA's first African-American president.

The current health care debate has had some commentators foaming at the mouth about whether or not the race card is being played in the sense that some people are anti-health bill for no other reason than the president is black. Obama has addressed these concerns in two ways, one a little more serious than the other.

The more serious version has Obama talking about the fact that the election showed that lots of folks voted for him irrespective of the colour of his skin, these folks were not only African-Americans, but Caucasians, Hispanics, Asians, and a whole lot of others as well. He acknowledges that maybe some people voted for him because he is black and some others voted for the other fella, John McCain, because Obama is black.

The less serious version popped up on the David Letterman Late Show where Obama said, "First of all, I think it's important to realize that I was actually black before the election."

However, it is worth noting that Obama himself has rejected the racism claims as they relate to health care reform and the passage of a health care bill. It is interesting that race is now re-appearing and raising its ugly head after so much talk and discussion of the USA entering into a post-racial phase. Post-racial being used to indicate a period where issues no longer had to be defined on race as there was a common or shared challenge in facing the future. To many this was the hope that the "Yes, we can!" campaign envisaged.

Health care reform is not about race, but rather it is about selling public policy and selling reforms. Simply, it is not going to ultimately matter what the colour of your skin is if you do not have health insurance.

In any event, the irreverent humor displayed by a sitting president appearing on a late night comedy show says much about the man.

21 September 2009

Krisdayanti, Anang, and the Kids...

Anang, KD, and the Kids...

KD in one of her more photogenic moments (It's not like I could do a KD post without a provocative shot now, is it?)

Anang has spoken out about why he has custody of the children. In essence, and at least my understanding of it, he has custody because he is leader of the family.

The rationale is that as leader of the family if he remarries then any future wife must understand that he comes as a unit with his kids. The prospective new wife either accepts this or she does not. Whereas, and in contrast, if Krisdayanti marries again then it will be her new husband that is leader of the family and there is no guarantee he will accept Krisdayanti's kids as his own.

Therefore, the custody of the children has been assumed by their father.

On a side note, it seems that Anang is going to insist that Krisdayanti does not sing his songs anymore. However, he intends to stay on as the manager of the Tiga Diva (3 Divas - Krisdayanti, Ruth Sahanaya, and Titi DJ).


There is current debate in the cyberworld over at Politikana as to the nature of a PERPU. A PERPU is Peraturan Pemerintah Pengganti Undang-Undang. This is translated as Government Regulation In Lieu of Law which is literally what it says. However, when I translate it I always use the term "Interim Law". The simple rationale here is that the regulation is put into place to act as a law and behaves as a law for a defined period of time.

This debate has come about as the President of the Republic of Indonesia, one Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has decided that the best way to deal with the current conflict between the police and the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi / KPK) is to issue a PERPU to replace the KPK commissioners that have become non-active as a result of being declared suspects in an investigation of alleged criminal activity (this will be the subject of another post).

Getting to the legal nitty gritty. The Law on Legislation Drafting (Law No. 10 of 2004 on Pembentukan Peraturan Perundang-undangan) in Article 7 lists the hierarchy of laws and regulations in Indonesia. This places a PERPU under the 1945 Constitution but on the levle of a law (undang-undang). This would seem to resolve any dispute about where the PERPU fits and the intent, or understanding of the Parliament, as to the function of a PERPU.

Nevertheless, a PERPU has really limited use. A PERPU can only be issued in a moment of crisis or emergency. Now, this is where it all becomes a little subjective and discretionary. It depends on who is making the decision as to whether something is an emergency or not. In any event, Article 25 of Law No. 10 of 2004 requires that a PERPU be submitted (normally in the form of a Bill) to the next sitting of parliament. At this point the DPR gets the opportunity to pass the Bill (former PERPU) into law or reject it. If the DPR rejects the bill or decides to bounce it around for a while then the PERPU by default expires and there is a return to the previous incarnation of the law.

It is debatable as to whether the current situation with the KPK is an emergency for the purposes of a PERPU. There are obviously those for and against the proposition. I am against it. I do not believe that the current situation warrants a PERPU in order to resolve the conflict. Appointing commissioners to the KPK through a PERPU runs counter to the idea of independence that the KPK is supposed to enjoy from political interference. It is clear that the KPK commissioners are some of the most vetted individuals to date in Indonesia. To then make them a presidential appointment begs the question, "who will prosper in a scenario of political / presidential appointments to a corruption eradication body?" The answer to that question might tell one why a PERPU is being touted as the best possible option.

A PERPU is by default a law, but a law of restricted use and of limited value.

At least in my humble opinion. So, as "Big" John McCarthy used to say in UFC, "Let's get it on!"

19 September 2009

Eid ul-Fitr...

To all my family, friends, colleagues, and all Muslims celebrating Eid ul-Fitr or Idul Fitri, may it be a good time enjoyed with family and friends.

Happy Eid!

Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Bathin.

The greeting was found here.

18 September 2009

World Wide Chain Of Compassion...

Maybe it is time to spin off the posts that I have done on Schapelle Corby and her case into a blog of its own. I am intent on The RAB Experience remaining a blog on a wide and varied subject matter. However, I received this email earlier today. My visitor statistics are showing that there are lots of people passing through looking for information on Schapelle Corby and her plight.

If you feel strongly enough about wanting to help then perhaps you could start with copying and pasting the letter included on the previous post about letters to the PM of Australia, which you can find here. I have not heard of the World Wide Chain of Compassion before (but it turns up about 515 hits on a Google search).

From The World Wide Chain of Compassion

Regardless of how you, the reader of this email, currently feel about her
innocence or guilt, I ask you, please, to show compassion for Schapelle

Jailed for 20 years, she has maintained her innocence to the crime and now,
after 5 years, has been reduced to a severe state of mental illness.

A report from eminent psychiatrist Dr Jonathon Phillips, who has just been
to Bali to assess Corby's mental condition, has been sent to the Australian
Government. It paints a shocking picture of Schapelle's state of mind. This
once fun loving, clean living young woman, has been reduced to a state of
mental illness with severe psychosis, hallucinations and suicidal
tendencies. She has already cut her arms with broken glass in an attempt to
end her life.

I believe this action was a desperate and final cry for help. Next time she
could go all the way and die in a pool of blood, somewhere in the squalor of
her prison hell.

In 2006, Schapelle wrote this:

"Right now I'm empty, lost and numb. I used to have a clear fresh sparkle
radiating within, showing through my laugh and my eyes. I never had a
problem looking in the mirror, I knew who I was, I didn't question myself.
Lately now, two years on from that fatal date and after repeated blows, I'm
finding a confusing, distant reflection in the mirror; it's dull, my eyes
don't seem to speak anymore, they're lifeless as though my soul is drying
up. Where have I gone, where am I going?"

In a letter to supporters she once said:

"Courage doesn't always roar, sometimes it's just a little voice at the end
of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow'."

How many more tomorrows does Schapelle have? How much longer can she last
before she finally succumbs to the voices in her head saying, "enough is

Is it now time for us all to say, "enough is enough?" She has suffered
enough! It's time for compassion.

Maria Ozawa, Miyabi, Indonesia, and the MUI

On the completely unimportant news front, Maria Ozawa, or as she is better known, Miyabi (all images freely available on the internet), has made a trip to Indonesia and is to appear in a film. Now, before you get all hot and bothered, and despite her claim to fame as a recognized porn film star from Japan, the film is not to be porn. That said, the title of the film is "Kidnap Miyabi." So, perhaps the Indonesian producers of the film are capitalizing on her fame as a porn star.

I wonder would this film contravene the provisions of the new film law?

Nevertheless, the Indonesian Ulema Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia / MUI) an organization that considers itself as spokesperson for all things Islam and Muslim, has decided that Maria Ozawa appearing in an Indonesian film is going to damage Indonesia's standing in the rest of the world. Although, I would have thought that any damage in the eyes of God might have been something more to fear.

It is a little bizarre that the MUI is worried that a Japanese porn star is going to damage Indonesia's standing in the world community, but seem less worried, or actually not worried at all, that the passage of regional legislation in Aceh that permits stoning of adulterers is not going to damage Indonesia's standing.

It would seem that the MUI is worried what message this sends to the world community, namely: that Indonesia has to import porn stars to appear in Indonesian non-porn films. Besides, it is not like Indonesia does not have some home grown porn stars that it could have turned to for this role, is it?

17 September 2009

Will This Cause Inflation?

There is a bit of concern that the introduction of the new 2000 rupiah note will lead to inflation as merchants jack up their prices with a view to not having to give change. However, these concerns have been dismissed by the Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, as "theoretically impossible".

I have been hearing that the notes are pretty popular in the lead up to the Idul Fitri (Eid ul-Fitr) celebration. Indonesians tend to give crisp new notes as gifts to young children in recognition of the end of the fasting month.

There is a press release on the currency release here (in Indonesian).

Noordin M Top -- Dead

Noordin M. Top is dead. His death has been confirmed by Indonesia's National Police Chief, Bambang Hendarso Danuri, today.

Top was killed in a raid on a suspected terrorist hideout in Solo, Central Java. This brings to an end the seven or so years that Top has spent on the run terrorizing and killing innocent Indonesians and foreigners. The identification has been based on fingerprints on file with Malaysian police authorities.

Top was the leader of a small splinter group, Tandzim al-Qaeda, which separated from Jemaah Islamiyah (Jemaah Islamiyya). Apparently, Jemaah Islamiyah had become too soft for Top's liking as JI was moving away from violent jihad. Although, if one listened to the rhetoric and oration of JI's alleged spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, you might wonder if this were true.

It might have been better if Top had been capture alive because he would potential be a well of information that if properly handled might have assisted in averting future terrorist attacks in the months and years ahead. But, by all accounts Top was never likely to be captured without a fight, and it seems he has gone out with a bang, so to speak.

All previous posts on Top can be found here.

I guess now he gets to find out if he gets the promised reward of 72 virgins.

Toys for Children -- Stuffed STDs

It is mid-September and getting close to Christmas. We have been planning to get away and go up the New South Wales north coast for a week or so just after Christmas. This obviously gets one to thinking about buying gifts in preparation for the big day where the fat fella in a red suit comes down the chimney and leaves a bag full of goodies for the kid.

Anyways, the best place to get ideas for gifts I reckon is the internet. So, online I went.

The above is what I found. It was one of those moments where one shakes their head, smiles, and then thinks, "I wonder who bought one or all of those?"

You can see the water cooler conversation now, can't you?

John: Hey Bill, what did you get your kid for Christmas?

Bill: I gave him chlamydia and the pox! What about yourself? What did you give yours?

John: Funnily enough, I gave my kid the clap and herpes.

There is something that does not sit right with the idea of making stuffed toys to represent sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STD / STI) and then giving them to children.

Imagine your kid takes one of these stuffed toys to school:

Teacher: Johnny, what did you get for your birthday?

Little Johnny: Miss, my parents gave me the clap!

Teacher: Oh, OK, how do you like it?

15 September 2009

Abortions, Plastic Surgery, Breastfeeding, and Other Goodies in the Indonesian Health Bill...

No apologies for a really long post...read it if you want to (it is interesting though) :D

The Health Bill which will repeal and replace the current law, Law No. 23 of 1992, has been doing the rounds of the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat / DPR) since at least 2003. The passage of the bill was somewhat controversial as it includes clauses that permit abortions to occur under very specific circumstances. Ultimately, these clauses saw one parliamentary faction reject the bill outright and another pass the bill but with notes as to their objections included. These factions were the Prosperous Peace Party (Partai Damai Sejahtera / PDS) and the Star Reform Party (Partai Bintang Reformasi / PBR), respectively.

Nevertheless, PDS did accept the right to an abortion where there was a medical reason detected early in the pregnancy (Art. 75(2)(a)). In contrast, the PBR rejected the clause that permits a rape victim to abort the product of that rape. The PBR rejection is based on the rights to life of the fetus / baby.

However, the bill is so much more than just a few clauses legalizing abortion in certain circumstances or more generally female reproductive rights. The bill also includes provisions on generic medicines and the rights of babies to be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their young lives, and the amount of the respective government budgets that are to be allocated to health.

The provisions permit abortion within a very narrowly defined set of circumstances. It is important to note that these circumstances do not include abortion as a form of birth control. Abortion is permitted where the pregnant woman is pregnant as a result of a rape. Abortion is also permitted in circumstances where there is a medical reason for the procedure to be conducted. Some of the medical reasons include where there is an identified risk of severe genetic defects in the fetus or where the life of the mother is at risk if she were to carry the fetus / baby to term.

Before an abortion can be performed, counseling must be undertaken by the woman to determine whether she has considered all of the pros and cons of what she is about to do. The bill lists who may provide this counseling.

The bill also requires that the government ensure the availability and supply of generic medicines. This is intended as a measure to ensure that all Indonesians have access to medicines and drugs that they can afford. It is worth noting that the only obligation on the government with respect to generic medicines and drugs relates to those medicines and drugs listed on the essential list.

Interestingly, the bill recognizes the rights of babies to be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their young lives, and then in combination with other foods up to the age of two. The bill also recognizes that some mothers, even when they want to, for medical reasons are unable to breastfeed. Where this is the case the mother is exempted from the provision. However, it would seem that there would need to be a provable medical reason for this before the exemption would come into effect. It is unclear whether mothers need to have a medical certificate that they must carry with them in order to prove this. The bill is also silent on how this is to be enforced.

More interestingly, the bill requires that the ability to breastfeed be facilitated by not only family members, but also by the central and regional governments, and the broader community. This implies that there is an expectation that employers respect the need for women to breastfeed and provide specialized facilities for this purpose.

Anyone that intentionally interferes with the breastfeeding program is liable for a term of imprisonment up to one year and a fine of IDR 100 million.

Furthermore, the bill sets out provisions that require the central government to set aside at least 5% of the state budget for the health sector. The bill also requires that the regional government set aside a minimum of 10% of their respective budgets for the health sector. There is an important stipulation with these minimum amounts, namely: that they are the minimum amount required to be set aside and these numbers do not include the salaries of any employees. Therefore, in real terms the budget for health related matters is likely to be larger than the amounts noted when salaries are factored in.

The bill also addresses issues such as malpractice, an obligation on health services and providers to provide emergency health care to anyone who requires it irrespective of that person’s ability to pay, traditional healers and therapies, plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery, and expressly prohibits the trafficking in organs.

The provisions relating to malpractice and the obligation to provide treatment are attacked to a criminal sanction that provides that where medical treatment is refused then there is a liability to a term of imprisonment up to two years and a fine of up to IDR 200 million. However, where this refusal results in impairment or death then the penalties are ratcheted up to a maximum of ten years imprisonment and a fine of up to IDR 1 billion.

Traditional healers who use “tools” are required to have those tools registered by the relevant authorities. I would be guessing that this includes Mak Erot and her sons with respect to their noted abilities in fixing male issues like small penis syndrome. If a traditional healer causes injury then they are liable for a term of imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine of up to IDR 100 million. This is the case even where the injury caused results in death.

So, in that sense it is better to be a traditional healer and kill someone than be a doctor and kill someone. In fact it could be better by about nine years.

The bill explicitly prohibits the commercialization of organ transplants by stipulating that transplantation of organs and body parts can only be done for humanitarian reasons and not for commercial purposes. Therefore, anyone caught trading human organs and body parts are liable for a term of imprisonment up to ten years and a fine of up to IDR 1 billion.

The plastic and reconstructive surgery provisions are interesting. Probably more interesting because the elucidations to the bill only state “self-explanatory” which in essence means that the bill is silent as to how these provisions might be interpreted. This is of concern considering that the penalties are severe, up to ten years in prison and fines of up to IDR 1 billion.

Yet, the provisions prohibit the use of plastic and reconstructive surgery if the objective is to change one’s identity. But, isn’t that the purpose of plastic surgery to change or improve how you look, and consequently change your identity? The bill also prohibits plastic and reconstructive surgery that is against community norms. Unfortunately, the elucidations are silent as to what these community norms (and presumably values) are. So, it is worth wondering out loud whether the provision can be used to prevent gender re-assignment surgeries? I guess that this will all become much clearer when the necessary implementing legislation is enacted. So, until then perhaps this is all much ado about nothing.

It is clear that the bill is a lot more than just a few clauses on abortion and when abortion is permitted. Nevertheless, it is expected that it is the abortion provisions that will dominate news headlines. However, the articles dealing with matters such as generic medicines and drugs, breastfeeding, and minimum budgets are equally as important as these in effect significantly alter the regulatory framework from the current law and also seemingly place additional burdens on both the public and private sectors.

The bill comes into immediate force once it is enacted. Enactment requires the signature of the President. If the President fails to sign the bill into law then the bill will self-enact after 30 days pursuant to the 1945 Constitution.

Keith Floyd -- Rest In Peace...

Keith Floyd has died of a suspected heart attack. He was 65.

I sort of grew up in a cooking sense with Floyd and at one stage would not have minded being as famous as he was. Famous for my cooking that is.

"Food is life, life is food. If you don't like my approach you are welcome to go to McDonalds."

May he cook up a storm wherever it is that dead chefs go (and rest in peace of course).

Schapelle Corby -- The Innocence Side...

I have written frequently about the plight of Schapelle Corby (image from here). And, I must admit from the outset that I am not convinced the girl is innocent. Nevertheless, there are those very passionate people who are convinced of Schapelle's innocence and they are going all out to prove their case. I admire their passion and conviction and the commitment to the Corby cause.

There are a lot of believers out there in Schapelle Corby's innocence. I list them here and I encourage you to read and get a feel for what the alternatives are to the guilt that was established in a Bali court that saw Schapelle Corby sentenced to 20 years jail.

I have always held that the sentence was too harsh, even by Indonesian standards, but believe that it was harsh because the case was handled so very poorly from the outset.

I remain unconvinced of her innocence, but, that said, it is worth reading what those who support her innocence have to say in order to get n overall understanding of the pros and cons of this case. I would also be interested in becoming involved in an innocence project style project if one was to come together.

Here are the links.

1. The Truth About Aussie Gold;

2. The Corby Case - Part I;

3. The Corby Case - Part II;

4. On My Honour;

5. Free Schapelle;

6. Corby and the Bali Police;

7. Rodent Millenium;

8. Foreign Prisoner Support Service;

9. Free Schapelle.net;

10. Schapelle Corby;

11. The Hidden Truth Report (Very Interesting and Worth the Read);

Patrick Swayze -- Rest In Peace...

He might be remembered as much for the movies that did not do well as for the two films that made him a household name, Dirty Dancing and Ghost. However, I actually remember him in the North and South televisions mini-series. This is probably because I read the books by John Jakes.

Patrick Wayne Swayze lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Monday. He was 57.

May he rest in peace.

14 September 2009

What Is The World Coming To?

I have titled this post "What Is The World Coming To?" for the simple reason that this photograph represents, to me, the problems that we face as a community.

That said, I hope that the missus and I can raise young Will with a healthy dose of respect for his elders and an appreciation of the difficulties faced by those less fortunate than he. I would be a little annoyed if I saw a photo like this floating around the twitter-sphere or the internet with young Will front and center giving the bird to some poor old lady. He'd be off down to the nearest shelter or soup kitchen for a cold hard dose of reality to see how some others have to struggle to survive.

My first thought was that this photo was photoshopped or it was staged. Then, I started thinking about some of my experiences in Indonesia. I can see this photo, and I have seen this photo many times, the only difference was that I was not carrying my camera to catch that moment.

This is a sad indictment of where we are as people and what we are teaching our children if this sort of behaviour is acceptable.

I borrowed this photo from the treespotter and his incarnation of treeatwork. I would like to give credit to whoever took the photograph. So, if anyone knows, feel free to drop me a line. I will add a postscript to give credit where credit is due.

But enough of the preaching. I look forward to comments (if anyone wants to make one or two).

Stoning for Adultery -- Aceh Stepping Back In Time...

This is one of those moments where you shake your head, and fear for the future of Indonesia, all the while thinking, why? I have been thinking about writing this post for a while, but have held off to see whether the Aceh Regional House of Representatives (DPRA) would push this piece of legislation through before the term of the current legislature ends. I am not surprised that it passed, but it does pose some interesting issues going forward. I am also writing this post now because I have a copy of the Qanun and have taken the time to read it.

The DPRA passed the Qanun (Regional Regulation) on Jinayat (Crimes). Regional autonomy provides that regions can have more control over the regulation of their own affairs, and this includes the passage of regulations. In Aceh, this includes specific provisions that recognize the predominantly Muslim nature of Aceh. So, the drafting, enactment, and implementation of Syariah based regulations was not only contemplated but expected in the case of Aceh.

The Qanun is a perfection of a number of other previously issued Qanun (Nos. 12, 13, and 14 of 2003) and relies on Law No. 44 of 1999 on the Administration of the Special Province of Aceh and Law No. 11 of 2006 on the Governance of Aceh to provide the legal foundation for the drafting, enactment, and implementation of Syariah law in Aceh.

Interestingly, in the"In View Of ..." section of the Qanun, which generally lists the laws in hierarchical form, the Al-Quran (Koran) and the Al-Hadits (Hadiths) appear before the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia and all subsequent legislation. This is interesting because it suggests that "God's Law" is superior to all "man-made law" (for want of a gender neutral term).

Stoning is not a punishment recognized in Indonesian law. In fact, it would not be too difficult to make an argument for stoning to be a cruel and unusual punishment that is also in every sense inhuman and degrading. And, consequently, clearly contrary to several constitutional rights guaranteed to all Indonesian citizens, particularly Article 28(I).

Yet, it is worth noting that caning is also not a punishment recognized in Indonesian law, but remains on the statute books in Aceh. So, it remains to be seen who will make a constitutional challenge to the stoning provision (at the moment there seems to be plenty of punters willing to step up and take the challenge).

My view is that it might not even have to go to the Constitutional Court. It is possible that this Qanun breaches the requirements of legislation higher in the hierarchy of laws. It would also seemingly breach a number of international obligations that Indonesia has signed on to. This would conceivably allow the Minister of Home Affairs to question the validity of the Qanun and any subsequent implementation, and ultimately this process would lead to the Qanun being declared unconstitutional.

The House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat / DPR) could also be more proactive in seeking to overturn this legislation as it would clearly suggest that a Qanun such as this one leads to a two-tiered justice system that discriminates against the followers of a certain faith.

Stoning is the sentence for those that knowingly commit adultery. However, this only applies to those who are married and knowingly commit this offense. For those that are unmarried, the punishment is up to 100 lashings with a cane. One of the accepted forms of evidence of adultery is a sworn oath that requires the oath maker to acknowledge that if they lie they will be damned in both this life and the afterlife. I am guessing this is meant to dissuade the aggrieved party from telling fibs. If you are a Muslim and not particularly devout then this might not be a consideration for you.

Funnily enough, not that there is anything funny about this Qanun, a woman who is pregnant outside of wedlock cannot be accused of adultery without sufficient evidence of her crime. Now, I would have thought aside from the immaculate conception that the chances of a woman outside of wedlock being pregnant would be pretty remote. I am obviously excluding cases where the woman has been raped from this scenario.

The Qanun also deals with rape. Rape includes anal and oral sex. However, somewhat disturbingly the definition implies that rape cannot occur between a husband and a wife. So, if you are married then "no" means "yes".

The other interesting aspect of this Qanun is that it provides for criminal fines to be paid in grams of pure gold. For example, if you get caught in the act of Liwath or Musahaqah, then the penalty is 100 lashes of the cane and a fine of 1000 grams of pure gold or 100 months in jail. It is a bit of a decision as to whether you want to part with the 1000 grams of gold or do the 100 months.

If one was thinking that this Qanun is the imposition of Syariah law and therefore only applies to Muslims living in Aceh, then you would be wrong. The Qanun definitely applies to all Muslims without exception. The Qanun also applies to any non-Muslim who commits an offense in concert with a Muslim, although this would seemingly require the non-Muslim part to acknowledge and choose to be tried under the provisions of this Qanun. The Qanun also applies to any non-Muslim who commits an offense under the provisions of this Qanun and where the offense is not explicitly regulated in the Indonesian Criminal Code.

The defense of the provisions are that they reflect what is contained in the Koran and the Hadiths, and thus are essentially the words of God and agreed recollections of the sayings of the Prophet. Simply, they cannot be changed or amended. In many senses, this is a step back in time to the time of 7th Century Saudi Arabia and one has to wonder what the relevance of those times are to 21st Century Aceh and more generally, Indonesia.

Hopefully, the incoming DPRA will see the error of the ways of the current DPRA and repeal this Qanun of their own accord.

Anti-Corruption Forces Under Siege -- Indonesia...

I will be wearing my best white outfit in support of this action. I am not sure what difference it will make here in Sydney. Perhaps I can swing around Maroubra way and set up shop out in front of the Indonesian Consulate in my best whites and a sign or something.

It is a sad indictment of Indonesian politics and law enforcement that the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is being slowly but surely set up for dismantling. The KPK has grown into an organization that has had some considerable success. It would seem that this success is the root cause for the animosity that is now prevalent between the KPK and the police and the Office of the Attorney General.

It was an unfortunate and ultimately untimely coincidence that the Head of the KPK found himself embroiled in a over-heating love triangle (perhaps because of his fancy for the old triangle of love) that ended in the murder of his competitor for the triangle of love.

Probably what is even sadder, but simultaneously more interesting, is that the President who campaigned for a first term on a platform of cleanliness or anti-corruption, and then similarly campaigned for a second term on a similar platform all the while toting the successes of the KPK and the great strides Indonesia has made in this area, has remained out of the fray.

In fact, the presidential spokesperson on legal affairs has stated in unequivocal terms that the president is watching but is not going to become involved. In essence, the president is going to let this thing run its course. Presumably even if it means that the KPK is stripped of its powers and ultimately dismantled.

By my reckoning this would be the perfect time for the president to stand up and be counted. If he truly wants to leave a legacy of reform, good governance, and more importantly clean governance, then this is the issue to stand up on. If for nothing else, the man must stand on his principles, and judging by his campaigning and public statements his principles are that anti-corruption is something that he holds dear. Now, if that is true, now would be a good time to prove it.

The idea that the president is going to stand back from this one makes a mockery of all those who argue that having won 60% of the popular vote in the presidential elections that the president has a mandate to force through change. The man seemingly does not have the testicular fortitude to stand up for the one institution that can cement his legacy as a reformer, as a man dedicated to the people who have suffered for so long at the hands of corrupt officials. No, at this rate the president will be remembered as the president who presided over the dismantling of one of the more prominent successes of the reformasi period.

So, get out your white shirts and stand united with those who support the work of the KPK to date and support the idea that the KPK must continue with the ability to do this work into the future.

Viva KPK!

Yemen - 12-Year-Old Dies During Childbirth...

This is one of those moments where you are thinking about what you were doing at 12 years of age. It certainly was not thinking about getting someone pregnant and for my female readers I bet it was not about giving birth to your first child sometime through that last year before reaching teenager-hood.

I consider myself culturally aware and sensitive and all those other politically correct ideas, but for the life of me I cannot fathom the interest that some men have in wanting to marry pre-pubescent girls and then wanting to consummate that marriage after the girls first period. I am sure that there are arguments to be made for and against whether the Koran permits such unions.

My take as a non-Muslim who has read a little was that perhaps these unions might have been part of the cultural landscape and perhaps even permissible back in the prophet's day but even then the prophet was given special leeway from Allah in this respect. And, it was very much a case of the prophet saying do as I say and not as I do on this particular front. I am guessing that if I have misunderstood on these details someone is sure to want to set me on the straight path.

Anyways, this post is about a 12-year-old Yemeni girl who was forced into marriage as an 11-year-old and subsequently fell pregnant. She has died during childbirth and the child she was carrying has also died. Apparently, Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, endured a complicated labour and delivery that lasted some three days, according to the Yemeni Organization for Childhood Protection (Seyaj).

The problem is that the law that has been passed setting a statutory minimum age for girls to marry has not been enacted by the President, Ali Abdullah Saleh. So, even if law enforcement was inclined to stop the practice of grown men taking young girls as brides they could not legally do it.

Another issue is that even if the law is signed off on by the President then the reality is that many Yemeni families are impoverished and illiterate. When this is combined with ignorance of the harm that young girls will suffer as a consequence of being married off before reaching there teens means that tragedies such as Fawziya are all the more likely to occur.

Seyaj estimates that the marriage rate for girls under the age of 15 is approximately 50% in the rural parts of Yemen.

The marriage of children is not an uncommon thing in Yemen. I have written about this in the past here.