Post C: A young female’s perspective on the role of gender in Indonesia’s growing smoking epidemic

An Indonesian man smokes a cigarette during a protest near South Jakarta court in Jakarta(Beawiharta 2018)

The widespread use of tobacco in Indonesia was clearly evident when walking the streets of Banjarmasin and one observation that could be made immediately was the abundance of men smoking and the lack of women. This posed the question of why that was the case thus I conducted an interview with female university student, Kiki (22), who provided insightful answers on her personal thoughts regarding the role of gender in the smoking culture of Indonesia.

Kiki stated that the main reason as to why men start to smoke is for the style and to appear ‘cool’ which outweighs the negative impact of cigarettes on their health and to those around them. She mentioned that only the male members of her family have had experience smoking; her dad, a regular smoker who started from the young age of 15, and her brother, who started to smoke at 12 years due to the influence of his friends but stopped after she had convinced him to quit. This social pressure to smoke is also addressed in a study where participants viewed smoking as a reflection of being in a group and being a smoker among their smoking peers being a sign of solidarity (Ng et al. 2007). Kiki also mentioned that men smoke due to stress from physical labour which ties in with the idea that smoking cigarettes presumably symbolizes masculinity; thus, many people associate it with the ‘male sphere’. In contrast, many consider smoking among women and girls impolite and ill-mannered (Leutge & Tandilittin 2013).

WOMAN(Farahdiba 2009)

She mentioned that women who smoke are deemed irresponsible by society as most women will bear children in the future and thus have a responsibility to take care of their health. A majority of males believe in this idea as a 14-year-old states, “I wouldn’t want my girlfriend to ever smoke. Women have babies and if they smoke then that’s bad for the baby,” as well as many men citing it as “too unhealthy, dangerous and bad” (Hodal 2012). Being a well-recognised custom in Indonesia for women to be non-smokers, Kiki also touched on how women who choose to smoke are considered rebellious and daring. The acts of Indonesian women who choose to smoke parallel the established idea that the newfound freedom and higher status of women promote the undesirable behavior of smoking (Pampel 2001).

Conducting this interview with Kiki and following it up with secondary research reinforced the theory that gender plays a significant role in the growing smoking epidemic in Indonesia. The masculine qualities associated with smoking and the social stigma against female smokers greatly contribute to the stark difference in the number of smokers of each gender. However an increasing number of women who decide to rebel against social norms may result in the closing of the gap.


Beawiharta. 2017, An Indonesian man smokes a cigarette during a protest near South Jakarta court in Jakarta, Reuters, viewed 24 January 2018, <>.

Farahdiba. 2009, Mom and baby in urban slum area Jakarta, Flickr, viewed 24 January 2018, <>.

Ng, N., Weinehall, L. & Öhman, A. 2007, ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’ – Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking’, Health Education Research, vol. 22, no. 6,  pp. 794-804.

Hodal, K. 2012, ‘Indonesia’s smoking epidemic – an old problem getting younger’, The Guardian, 22 March, viewed 24 January 2018, <>.

Pampel, F. 2001, ‘Cigarette Diffusion and Sex Differences in Smoking’, Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 388-404.

Luetge, C. & Tandilittin, H. 2013, ‘Civil Society and Tobacco Control in Indonesia: The Last Resort’, The Open Ethics Journal, vol. 7, pp. 11-18.

Post B: In Conversation with Reza Ariz, SUB > KUL

“We don’t do it because we hate smokers, we do it because we love them” – Rico, Vital Strategies briefing, Day One.

Our collaboration with Vital Strategies and the local government of Banjarmasin placed an important emphasis on the fight against tobacco as one fought against policy, industry, and public education, rather than individual smokers themselves.

On my flight from Surabaya to Kuala Lumpur, I sat beside Reza Ariz, a 41-year-old Bandung-born office-worker, now relocated to Kuala Lumpur. Reza was visiting Java for a friends’ wedding and a short trip to Ijen. After hearing a bit about our Banjarmasin projects, he recounts the wedding reception, its platters of food, drink, and among them — a small cup filled with complimentary cigarettes. He pulls out his phone to show me a photograph of the hilarious spread, and tells me how when confronted, the groom shrugs it off as something his parents insisted was customary.

IMG_0565Cigarettes at the wedding reception (Ariz, 2018)

Reza himself was once a smoker. He tells me about how — typical of many young Indonesian males — he and his school friends began smoking socially at around age 14 and 15 (Ng et al, 2007).  From a pack-a-day habit, he tells me his addiction changed dramatically after relocating to KL, where the average annual consumption of tobacco is 583.67 cigarettes per person, a great deal less than Indonesia’s 1322.3 (The Tobacco Atlas, 2014). Reza tells me the most influential factors to his smoking habits came from changes in social circles, and office environments. He tells me quitting his habit has helped him discover running, hiking, and he’s now encouraging his father and brothers to follow suit.

We reflected on both our visits to Ijen crater, and Reza tells me that as he wheezed up the mountain, he saw miners carrying 90kg of sulphur up the rocky cliff, with cigarettes in top pocket, eager to join their friends for a break. It reaffirmed many of the observations we made on our first day mapping in Banjarmasin, where the prevalence of tobacco consumption, and few bans on smoking in public and indoor spaces mean cigarettes seem a concurrent facet of everyday life, rather than something consumed on a designated ‘smoko’ break — a new phrase that brought great delight to Reza.

Reza’s experiences present a very real, lived perspective to a conversation previously revolved around faceless industry and dense policy. It highlights the unique ways smoking culture affects us both at home, and the places we migrate to, and brings to light the positive impacts anti-tobacco changes can make to the lives of people like Reza.


Reference List

Ariz, R., 2018, Cigarettes at the wedding reception, 18 January 2018

Ng, N., Öhman, A. Weinehall, L. 2007, “If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’ – Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking’, Health Education Research, vol.22, no.6, pp. 794-804.

The Tobacco Atlas, 2014, Cigarette Use Globally, The Tobacco Atlas, viewed 24 January 2018, ,<>




POST A: Contextualising Design

Design is a practice that perpetually dances between input and response. As designers, it is our job to take an informed approach to design situations to drive a pragmatic yet creative response. Under different contexts, however, this equation becomes subject to immense change; we must widen and shift our intellectual scope to accommodate for the assumptions and preconceptions we bring with us.

The physical setting in which the design sphere exists greatly influences the thought processes of the designer. The sights, smells, sounds and feel of an environment all act as inspiration, shaping the way we perceive a design problem; above all, it contextualises any design outcomes produced within that space. We must understand physical constraints and leniences in order to produce a contextualised design, and critically observe the collective purpose behind the elements of which a physical space is comprised (Madanipour, 1999).



Banjarmasin, Helander 2018. 


Reading a physical space simultaneously advances our understanding of the sociocultural forces actuating the movement and change we call ‘life’. Upon studying the differences in lifestyle between Sydneysiders and residents of Banjarmasin, in Banjarmasin itself, it became evident that we couldn’t simply apply a globalised design approach to a local context; instead, the design problem was culture-centrically framed, with the values and lifestyles of the locals integrated ahead of our own for the purpose of generating genuine interest (Dorst et al. 2011). This basic framework can and should be applied to any design context to provide the designer with further insight.

Arguably the most important aspect of intercultural exchange is the way it facilitates the translation of vastly different ideologies, viewpoints and idiosyncratic ideas, providing global links between local scale sociocultural spheres. This of course extends far beyond the confines of design; however the impact on design is pronounced. Newfound ways of seeing, approaches to problems, and noticing the little things are all things that can be applied to our own practice regardless of where we are; as long as we learn from every design context we enter, we begin to build a rich tapestry of experiences that can be applied whenever they are needed, as explored in Susan Piper’s In Between’ (Piper 2008). 

Design has the same effective meaning across all contexts – solving a brief for a client. However, the process, application, and outcome differs immensely across different contexts. The way a context is read, and the way that context asserts its own culture upon the designer forces a broader scope to be developed, which can then be applied to another context at a later time.



Madanipour, A. 1999, ‘ Why are the design and development of public spaces significant for cities?’ Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Vol. 26, pp 879-891

Dorst, K., N.F.M. Roozenburg, L.L. Chen & P.J. Stappers. 2011, ‘Themes as bridges between problem and solution’, Diversity and unity: Proceedings of IASDR2011, the 4th World Conference on Design Research, IASDR, the Netherlands, pp 1-10.

Piper, S. 2008, gang Re:Publik, Gang Festival Inc. Sydney

Helander, T. 2018, Banjarmasin

Post C: Primary Research into the smoking culture of Banjarmasin


After the first week of our studio in Banjarmasin, I was still trying to understand the attitudes and behaviours tied to smoking, especially among the youth. Dylan Albrecht and I conducted an interview with Dina Ferdiana, a 2nd year university student studying primary school education. We conversed with her about her personal experiences and opinion of smoking, and how actions might be taken to combat it.

Dina was well educated on the toxic effects of tobacco consumption, referring to a local anti-smoking TV ad where a laryngectomy patient was recounting her experience of smoking and cancer. This may have been the same campaign Vital Strategies launched, as the ad was screened across Indonesia and other countries. She also stated that most Indonesians were also well aware of the harmful impact of smoking, for themselves and those around them. There are no smokers in her household, but she talked about the prevalence of youth smoking as many boys from her high school started smoking when they were fifteen. She attributes this to peer pressure, stating that friends would try them together and this would become a habit due to the “good taste”. (Ferdiana, pers. comm., 2018) A report on youth smoking in Java also attributes the prevalence of youth smoking to cigarettes being part of social interaction and events; conveying cultural ideals of masculinity as male elders smoke and a sense of camaraderie is created. (Ng et al, 2007)

This correlates with other interviews my group conducted for our billboard project, where interviewees who had tried cigarettes did so in social settings. However, many of them did not like the flavour and sensation of smoking, and joined the burgeoning anti-smoking movement in Banjarmasin. Dina also commented that the number of smokers is declining, suggesting that the growing anti-smoking sentiment across Indonesia is making an impact. When asked how this change might be improved and expanded, she spoke about the government’s need and responsibility to regulate tobacco advertising and sales for the health of the country – smokers, non-smokers and especially children. (Ferdiana, pers. comm., 2018)

Considering the complexity of the tobacco industry and its network of consumers, producers, and suppliers, government control is certainly part of the solution but also the problem. (Astuti et al, 2017) The economic interdependencies that tobacco companies exploit and thrive on, such as making up the majority of sales for independent vendors and being the biggest source of revenue and jobs for the country, makes it a difficult issue to navigate and tackle. (Danardono et al, 2009)



Astuti, P. A. S. Freeman, B., 2017, “It is merely a paper tiger” Battle for increased tobacco advertising regulation in Indonesia: content analysis of news articles’, BMJ Open, vol.7, no. 9.

Danardono, M., Nitcher, M., Ng, N., Padmawati, S. & Prabandari, Y., 2009, ‘Reading culture from tobacco advertisments in Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol.18, no. 2, pp 98.

Ng, N., Öhman, A. Weinehall, L. 2007, “If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’ – Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking’, Health Education Research, vol.22, no.6, pp. 794-804.

Post C: Interview with Junaidi

A trip to Banjarmasin, Indonesia has shown me many interesting perspectives of the country I thought I knew. Fortunate with the opportunity to grow up in two contrasting countries, Australia and Indonesia, I have witnessed the difference of smoking culture and the attitudes surrounding “Rokok”.From living in Australia, where Rokok would be heavily criticised, coming to Indonesia and experiencing first hand the Rokok culture has been astonishing. Many young Indonesians in Banjarmasin still believe that smoking is a symbol of masculinity and bravery (Ng 2006). This belief is also true for Junaidi, my interviewee, from a young age.


(source: Nicholl 2017)

Junaidi is a 43 year old man who worked in Menara Pandang as a page during our stay in Banjarmasin. His stories revealed an insight different to what I’d have thought toward Rokok based on his own experiences. Junaidi admitted that he was a smoker, labelling himself as a casual smoker based on his financial instabilities and being wary of the long-term negative impacts of smoking which deterred him from falling to severe dependency and complete addiction. Junaidi confessed that one of the reasons why he picked up smoking in his high school years is because the act was perceived as a cool, brave thing to do. This emphasizes the idea of peer pressures alongside the false sense of self-image as a prevalent catalyst of smoking and its addiction in Indonesia. Junaidi, despite being aware of the consequences of smoking, continues to smoke occasionally. Junaidi said “Sudah terlanjur”, saying that the reason he continues is because he has already had a taste of the cigarette; the tobacco along with the bravado he believed came with it. He acknowledged that had it not been for his current financial situation, he would most likely consume more cigarettes and become dependent on them as many of the population has.

The supposed disadvantage of being unable to purchase as many cigarettes as he’d like has actually helped Junaidi in some areas. He mentioned that with his limited funds he could only buy cigarettes individually. The one stick may not satisfy his overall addiction however it allows him to work toward consuming less cigarettes, because he is forced to. This method gave me an insight to the different ways tobacco can be sold to accommodate the different lifestyles of the Indonesian population.

Junaidi, aware of the dangers of smoking, strongly advises his children not to smoke. His father was a smoker and he wished he had been taught the same thing. He believes that his children, as a new generation of young non-smokers, can pass the ideal onto the future generations, smoking addiction decreasing with each generation until it’s completely abolished. In spite of being a casual smoker himself, Junaidi is slowly carving a healthier future for his family and also others around him.

My interview with Junaidi was definitely an interesting and memorable.Through the interview, one can easily recognise the big impact of ‘Rokok’ culture in Indonesia that sellers can even accommodate low income people by selling it individually. Our small exchange convinced me that Indonesia’s Rokok culture can change for the better as it is slowly being recognised as bad.




Nawi Ng, Weinehall, L., Öhman, A. 2006., ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’—Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking’ ,Health Education Research, vol. 22, no.6, pp. 795

Nicholl, A. 2017, Untitled, Slack, viewed 25 January 2018

Semba, R., Kalm, L., de Pee, S., Ricks, M. 2016, ‘Paternal smoking is associated with risk of child  malnutrition among poor urban families in Indonesia’, Public Health Nutrition, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 10




“Its so cheap (to buy cigarettes), its like buying candy and its everywhere either advertised or sold.” (Fatiana, 2018)

Tobacco advertising in Indonesia is extremely aggressive and innovative, and tobacco advertisements saturate the environment. Tobacco companies are politically and financially powerful in the country because they are one of the largest sources of government revenue. As a result, there are few restrictions on tobacco marketing and advertising. National surveys reveal that 65% of Indonesians are smokers. Smoking is firmly embedded into everyday life, and is perceived by many to make up historically the social and cultural fabric of Indonesia. The tobacco industry reads, reproduces and works with culture as a means of selling cigarettes. This is all achieved in the guise of the tobacco companies as ‘supporters of Indonesian national identity’.

Ampihi Mangaramput! 3 copy

Statistic shown during the Vital Strategies presentation about the rise in youth smoking over the last 4 years. It is a major concern that they are working to reduce. (Image: Vital Strategies. 2018.)

I interviewed Rayda Nurlies Fatiana (21), a local university student, hoping to understand further and gain an insight into there home town of Banjarmasin, why it is that smoking is a rising issues especially among the youth to hopefully provide a window more broadly into the social paradigms of Indonesia.

Rayda is part of a youth organisation that conducts projects that aim to inform youth of the wicked implications of tobacco. They aim to promote health and positive change throughout her city. When I asked who the tobacco company target, she responded in a mater of fact tone ‘the youth’. She further explained that it wasn’t just with posters on main streets and in residential areas or posters out the front of school yards but their marketing ran deeper; “they run music concerts with international musicians playing! It was hard even for me to resist.” (Fatiana, 2018)


Statistics produced by CNI documenting the percentage of males over 15yrs smoking in the South-East Asia area.(CNI,2015)

Indonesia can best be described as an “advertiser’s paradise”, as it is a largely unrestricted regulatory environment. Cigarette marketing in Indonesia is among the most aggressive and innovative in the world. As Sampoerna noted in their annual report in 1995: “Indonesian companies have almost total freedom to advertise their products in any format and through any communications vehicle in the country”.(Sampoerna,1995) This statement is as true today as it was over a decade ago Rayda explains; “there is very little regulation. Companies still advertise outside schools.”(Fatiana, 2018)

Another prominent form of advertisement in Indonesia is the sponsorship by the industry of local and international jazz and rock concerts, cultural events, and sporting events such as Formula One and national and local basketball and soccer competitions. The tobacco industry offers numerous scholarships to attend colleges.


Concert advertisement poster for popular American singer Kelly Clarkson sponsored by tobacco brand ‘L.A. Lights’ (Java Musink Indonesia, 2010)

“its just sad to think that these big companies have so much power because they’re rich and they don’t have our (Indonesia) interests at heart.” (Fatiana, 2018)

For the young and impressionable youth they sell and aspirational image of what it is to be a man and not only that its so cheap, ‘its like buying candy.’ (Fatiana, 2018)a-mild-mula-mula-722x400

Billboard depicting a youthful, carefree ‘aspirational’ couple. ( L.A Lights, 2011)

As Rayda explained this and her hope for the new generation to different, to alter the generational values. However, with a culture  where tobacco is so strongly invested so deeply in the economic, social, and political fabric, the need for not for profit organisations like Vital Strategies who work as an independent unit become crucially clear.


Reference List:

Schewe, E. 2012, ‘Why Do So Many Indonesian Men Smoke?’, Tobacco Control, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 306-312, viewed 23 January 2018, <;

Vital Strategies. 2018, ‘Ampihi Mangaramput!’, PowerPoint presentation, viewed 08 January 2018

World Health Organisation. 2014, Global Youth Tobacco Survey, Indonesia, viewed 23 January 2018, <;

Steinberg, L. & Monahan, K. C. 2007, Age differences in resistance to peer influence, Developmental Psychology, Vol 43(6), 1531-1543

Senthilingam, M. 2017, Chain-smoking children: Indonesia’s ongoing tobacco epidemic, CNN, viewed 22 January 2018, <;

Sohn, K. 2014, A note on the effects of education on youth smoking in a developing country, Vol. 19, Iss. 1, viewed 22 January 2018, <;

Google images. 2018. Tobacco advertising.…36724.38898.0.39313.….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..1.0.0….0.eTv2z_rPWCM#imgrc=CUgrmmUF0NOWBM:. [Accessed 25 January 2018].

Google images. 2018. Tobacco advertising.…36724.38898.0.39313.….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..1.0.0….0.eTv2z_rPWCM#imgrc=CUgrmmUF0NOWBM:. [Accessed 25 January 2018].

Google images. 2018. Tobacco statistics.…36724.38898.0.39313.….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..1.0.0….0.eTv2z_rPWCM#imgrc=CUgrmmUF0NOWBM:. [Accessed 25 January 2018].

Google images. 2018. Tobacco concerts.…36724.38898.0.39313.….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..1.0.0….0.eTv2z_rPWCM#imgrc=CUgrmmUF0NOWBM:. [Accessed 25 January 2018].

POST C: The Rise In Youth Smoking? An Interview With Youth Leader Gading Fajar

As one of the top four tobacco consuming countries in the world (Anshari, D. 2017.), Indonesia is lagging behind in terms of control systems. (Schewe, E. 2012.) It wasn’t until I arrived in Banjarmasin that I fully understood the severity of the issue, particularly in the prevalence of youth smokers. As Vital Strategies mentioned in their presentation, the increase in youth smokers in South Kalimantan rose from “25% in 2013 to 48% in 2017”. (Vital Strategies. 2018.)

Ampihi Mangaramput! 3 copy
Statistic shown during the Vital Strategies presentation about the rise in youth smoking over the last 4 years. It is a major concern that they are working to reduce. (Image: Vital Strategies. 2018.)

During my travels, I noticed that there are many factors that have contributed to this. For example, there were social influences like peer pressure and smoking role models such as parents and teachers. There was also heavy exposure to tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorships. Even the opportunities to smoke in Indonesia were easier than Sydney. For example, people could smoke in public places like the hotel lobby.  My collaborative experience in Banjarmasin, working closely with Vital Strategies led me to several opportunities to meet and interview the local community and students. This allowed me to gain insight into where exactly the tobacco issue comes from and why the issue is increasing rather than decreasing.

Gading Fajar, aged 19, is a non-smoker who works in Banjarmasin. He volunteers with a few organisations, including Vital Strategies, that aim to promote health and positive change throughout his city. I decided to interview Gading given the trend for increased smoking amongst the youth. “About 30%” (Fajar, G. 2018.) of Gading’s friends smoke, but he goes against the social norm to do this because he believes that “the new generation can make a good movement to make Banjarmasin a beautiful and healthy city” (Fajar, G.) that is “tobacco free.” (Fajar, G.) Gading would also be able to help me better understand why youth smoking has increased over the last four years in South Kalimantan.

Data from the most recent Global Youth Tobacco Survey in 2014 shows that the frequency of youth smokers aged 13 to 17 in Indonesia was 35% among boys and 3% among girls. (World Health Organisation. 2014.)

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 6.16.44 pm
Data from the most recent Global Youth Tobacco Survey shows that in Indonesia, it is mostly the men who smoke. (Image: World Health Organisation. 2014.)

Smoking rates may be higher for young boys because “it portrays the image of potency, wisdom and bravery”. (Nawi Ng, L. Weinehall, A. & Öhman, P. 2017.) Similarly, Gading believes that smoking is more popular amongst men in Banjarmasin because “they think if you smoke it can make you more of a gentlemen and women will like you more but if a female is smoking they are seen as a bad girl.” (Fajar, G.) Gading further explained that even though his father smokes, he has never felt pressure from him to do so. However, when he hangs out with his friends who do smoke, he says he often feels “alone” (Fajar, G.) because he is “teased and laughed at.” (Fajar, G.) During our interview, he recalled one “painful” (Fajar, G.) memory of being physically hurt by his friends for choosing not to smoke. “In junior high school when I did not smoke, my friends who were smoking put out their used butt on my arm, leaving a scar”. (Fajar, G.) I believe that if organisations like Vital Strategies want to decrease youth smoking prevalence in South Kalimantan, they need to focus on breaking down the stigma that men should smoke.

gading arm.jpg
Gading’s scar from when he was purposely burnt by his friends with a used butt for choosing not to smoke. (Image: Nicholl, A. 2018.)

One aspect of Banjarmasin I noticed that is different to Sydney is the large amounts of signage promoting tobacco products and street stores selling them. We even saw one right outside a primary school. This moment made me wonder whether these tobacco advertisements have contributed to the rise in the number of youth smokers in South Kalimantan. Gading agreed with me during our interview as he thinks that the youth believe it is “cool to smoke because there are so many tobacco advertisements, information and sponsorships in Banjarmasin.” (Fajar, G.)

Glamourised signage directly above a street market selling cigarettes opposite a primary school. The legal age to purchase cigarettes (18+) is only put in small writing in the top right hand corner. (Image: Nicholl, A. 2018.)

I also observed that the youth in Indonesia may be encouraged to smoke as the health concerns related to smoking and second-hand smoking are not emphasised. Although the packs have small health warnings on each side, I noticed it does not appear to be enough to put people off smoking. However, Gading thinks that the health warnings on cigarette packets are strong enough because they made him realise that smoking would make him “sick.” (Fajar, G.) He is of the view that maybe some people do not “care” (Fajar, G.) about the pictures because they think “if I’m not smoking I will die, and if I’m smoking I will still die too, so it is better to smoke to death.” (Fajar, G.)

When analysing cigarette packaging in Banjarmasin, I noticed that the health risks related to smoking are not as obvious compared to the plain packaging I see in Australia (see previous post). (Image: Nicholl, A. 2018.)

As an advocate for many smoke free initiatives, hearing Gading’s experiences of working in Banjarmasin was fascinating as it has confirmed my perspective on what smoking is like for the youth of Banjarmasin. I have understood the necessity for organisations such as Vital Strategies and volunteers like Gading to emphasise not only the positive change a smoke free environment could bring, but to also promote the detrimental effects tobacco smoke has on their surrounding community members and environment, particularly for the youth.


Reference List:

Anshari, D. 2017, ‘Effectiveness of Pictorial Health Warning Labels for Indonesia’s Cigarette Packages’, Doctoral Dissertation, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1, viewed 23 January 2018, <;

Fajar, G. 2018, Interview, 19 January 2018

Nawi Ng, L. Weinehall, A. & Öhman, P. 2017, ‘If I Don’t Smoke, I’m Not A Real Man’-Indonesian Teenage Boys’ Views About Smoking’, Health Education Research, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 794–804, viewed 23 January 2018, <;

Nicholl, A. 2018, Cigarettes Advertised and Sold Outside of School, 08 January 2018

Nicholl, A. 2018, Gading’s Burn on Arm, 19 January 2018

Nicholl, A. 2018, Glamourised Cigarette Packaging, 08 January 2018

Schewe, E. 2012, ‘Why Do So Many Indonesian Men Smoke?’, Tobacco Control, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 306-312, viewed 23 January 2018, <;

Vital Strategies. 2018, ‘Ampihi Mangaramput!’, PowerPoint presentation, viewed 08 January 2018

World Health Organisation. 2014, Global Youth Tobacco Survey, Indonesia, viewed 23 January 2018, <;

Post C – Feminism & Islam

My interview with Dewi Rara enlightened me to an understanding of Islam, as a source of faith and a daily routine. Though we discussed a multitude of topics, from petrol prices to smoking and drug trade in Banjarmasin, what was most inspiring was the pride and vigour with which this woman regarded her religion.

27479686_1599654490104281_286990128_o (1)

My introduction to Islam begins rationally: with talk of their god, Allah. Everything relates back to him and to ensure there is no devil. Small tasks such as entering a room with the right foot, and exiting with the left, form the details of a larger image of ultimate dedication and submission. We discuss dress codes and the use of the hijab as a woman’s symbol of respect and decency. I ask if it matters that I wore a t-shirt with my arms showing, and she says “it doesn’t matter, we still respect other religions so you don’t have to cover up.” Dewi Rara continues, that women should cover themselves for their husbands’ privacy and that only he should know what is underneath, comically adding, “it’s like, SURPRISE!”

The struggle for equality, justice and freedom against patriarchal Islamic structures is undeniable. Dewirara explained that when girls menstruate they can’t pray because they are “unclean.” So how could a woman assert her independence and advocate feminism when even an involuntary physical occurrence is a facilitator of dishonour? Western feminism defines women as not being subject to tradition, culture or social coercion. [Afrianty 2017] The liberation of public protests and social media campaigns such as #freethenipple is worlds away from acts that are acceptable within the umbrella of Islam. However, Malaysian speaker Zainah Anwar CLAIMS that “Islam gives women the right to define what Islam is.” Concurrently, Ghayda confessed that she did not believe that “all problems can be solved within an Islamic framework because not all problems are strictly Islamic” [2017], which promotes a re-evaluation of teachings and oppressive behaviours.

I chose, perhaps boldly, to discuss Islam as it was the most startling cultural difference I encountered whilst in Banjarmasin. With Muslims covering 88% of Indonesia’s population, it was hard for me to accustom to such a large volume of people sharing the same, seemingly restrictive devotion. Feminism is a fickle issue in consideration of existing practices and principles, but perhaps it is not about challenging one’s beliefs, but more so about empowering oneself with a dutiful and more notably, enjoyable approach.

Symons, E. (2017). ‘Dangerous’ women: Why do Muslim feminists turn a blind eye to Islamist misogyny?. [online] ABC News. Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2018].

Afrianty, D. (2017). Indonesian Muslim women engage with feminism. [online] The Conversation. Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2018].

Baulch, E. and Pramiyanti, A. (2017). Hijabers of Instagram: the Muslim women challenging stereotypes. [online] The Conversation. Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2018].

George, K. (1998). Designs on Indonesia’s Muslim Communities. The Journal of Asian Studies, 57(3), p.693.

Mir-Hosseini (2006). Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality: Between Islamic Law and Feminism. Critical Inquiry, 32(4), p.629.

Vandenbosch, A. (1952). Nationalism and Religion in Indonesia. Far Eastern Survey, 21(18), pp.181-185.

Majid, A. (1998). The Politics of Feminism in Islam. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 23(2), pp.321-361.


Post C: Banjarmasin youth and smoking

imageFrom preparing to visit another country to part-take in a project focused on anti-smoking and researching statistics, I had a somewhat expectation of the wicked problem of tobacco use in Banjarmasin, Indonesia. However, it wasn’t until arriving in the beautiful city and being immersed in the interesting culture and environment, that I came soon to understand that my initial expectation of the tobacco problem was very much underestimated.

Though I was able to visually observe the use of tobacco in Banjarmasin and the extremity of tobacco advertising, it was only through discussing with a university student named Nadira, that I came to understand the smoking culture in Banjarmasin. Born in a small town near the capital city of the Banjar Regency in South Kalimantan; Martapura, Nadira spent the majority of her life witnessing tobacco use in her friends.

Being a part of the youth in Banjarmasin, Nadira has recently witnessed the quick increase of tobacco use amongst her friends. She explained that in Indonesia it is very typical for teenage boys around the age of 14 to 15 to start smoking, and to increase their tobacco use quite frequently till the point where at the age of 20 the majority of her male friends are having two packets of cigarettes a day.

When discussing these extremities, I observed quickly that Nadira automatically associated smokers with being male. Wanting to understand this association, I asked Nadira questions focused on the link between smoking and gender. She explained that as a vastly rough and exaggerated estimation that she believes that 99% of the smokers in Banjarmasin are male. She believes the smoking culture in Banjarmasin is centred on “smoking equalling being manly.” Nadira describes this characteristic of the smoking culture being a leading factor as to why the majority of the male youth start smoking cigarettes.

Nadira discussed, that the majority of the Banjarmasin youth grow up in homes with families of smokers. Young boys would witness potentially their brothers, fathers and grandfathers smoking. And consequently from this, a connection between smoking and manliness has formed and added a social pressure on young teenage boys to start smoking.

Through this discussion with Nadira I was able to understand that the root attraction to begin smoking amongst youth in Banjarmasin typically starts within the family/home environment.

Reference List:

Bevins, V. 2017, Indonesia, where smoking is widespread, just placed tough restrictions on e-cigarettes, The Washington Post, viewed 23 January 2018

Hurt, R. Ebbert, J. Achadi, A. & Croghan, I. 2012, ‘Why do so many Indonesian men smoke?’, Jstor: Where News Meets Its Scholarly Match, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 306-312

Jong, H. 2016, Indonesia on track to world’s highest smoking rates, The Jakarta Post, viewed 23 January 2018

Ng, N. Weinehall, L. & Ohman, A. 2007, ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’- Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking’, Health Education Research, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 794-804

Sulaiman, N. (2018) Primary Research- Interview about Tobacco use with youth in Banjarmasin


Post C: Dina

Banjarmasin is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with a captivating clash of old and new cultures. From its floating markets to its immense industrial shipping yards, it is very clear upon first observation that the city revolves around its rivers, which seemingly act as the veins of the land.  Although Indonesia is home to many cities, with many different cultures within them, a common thread unites the nation – high rates of cigarette usage and addition. Banjarmasin is not exempt from this dark shadow that falls over the country.

Walking through the city of Banjarmasin, there is no escape from this fact: men smoke while they work, and conveniently located cigarette stalls and large billboard advertisements fill the streets. During my time in the city I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to visit Universitas Lambung Mangkurat, the oldest university in Kalimantan. There I met a student named Dina who studies Primary School Teacher Education. She is 20, and she enjoys her education, K-pop, and spending time with friends after university. I took the chance to understand more about the problem of tobacco in the area, and had an engaging conversation with Dina about young people’s involvement with smoking, and her own personal experience of this.


Dina, a 20-year-old student at Universitas Lambung Mangkurat.

Dina currently lives with her grandparents, as her parents live in a small village far from the city. Dina recounted the first time she was affected by smoking – at school. When some of the boys in her class began smoking, aged 15 years old, they would “leave the classroom and go out for a smoke, as they were not allowed to do it inside the class.” Hearing this was shocking, as not only did it reveal that kids as young as 15 were smoking, but that they were also missing out on their education. At that age teenagers are extremely susceptible to peer pressure (Steinberg & Monahan 2007) meaning others in the class would be at high risk for taking up smoking too. As discussed in a previous blog, Smoking Culture in Indonesia, there are a number of reasons why smoking is taken up by the youth in Indonesia, especially in males.

However, Universitas Lambung Mangkurat is a smoke free area and Dina (a non-smoker) is very aware of tobacco’s damaging effects on the body. She spoke about how she was taught in school about the dangers of smoking and described the confronting television advertisements that she has seen in Indonesia. Although it does not prevent all the students from smoking, Dina believes that less people are now smoking in Banjarmasin because the dangers of smoking are taught in school and at university. This presents a contrast to the rest of the country as the rate of smokers under 18 in Indonesia between 2013 and 2016 rose from 7.2% to 8.8% (Senthilingam 2017). This provides an interesting contrast to Dina’s personal perception that fewer people in Banjarmasin are smoking, and taking up smoking. One explanation for this might be that only the children who are receiving an education are aware of the dangers of smoking, so in Dina’s immediate circle of friends (who are all at university) it might seem like fewer people are smoking, when outside of Dina’s social circle, the opposite is true. Another explanation could be that the effects of tobacco are less important to Indonesians of lower income who focus more on working to survive, rather than aiming for a longer and healthier life. Regardless, it is evident that smoking is deeply interwoven in Indonesian culture, affecting countless victims – both first-hand and second-hand smokers. From my experience with Dina, is seems as if education is Indonesia’s path to a clear future.



Steinberg, L. & Monahan, K. C. 2007, Age differences in resistance to peer influence, Developmental Psychology, Vol 43(6), 1531-1543

Senthilingam, M. 2017, Chain-smoking children: Indonesia’s ongoing tobacco epidemic, CNN, viewed 22 January 2018, <;

Sohn, K. 2014, A note on the effects of education on youth smoking in a developing country, Vol. 19, Iss. 1, viewed 22 January 2018, <;