Post C: Pedicabs of Prawirotaman

“The becak (pedicab) is as much a motif and symbol of Indonesia as the silhouette of a wayang kulit puppet, or the smell of a clove cigarette.”

(Admintih, 2016).

The pedicab is an integral part of Yogyakarta’s traditional culture. Stemming from the tourism boom pre 1980s, it is “employed as an important marketing tool for cultural tourism in Yogyakarta” and is in fact banned from major Javanese cities – but there it is “tolerated by the authorities” (Smithies in Dahles, H. & Prabawa, T.S. 2013, p. 242). Most of these men live in villages outside of the city, often travelling back to their hometown via motorbike (the pedicab is parked in location) or even sleeping overnight in their pedicabs to provide late service to tourists. More than any other participants in the informal tourism sector of Yogyakarta, pedicab men remain strongly embedded in their village community, with their earnings flowing back to the community they come from (Dahles, H. & Prabawa, T.S. 2013). However, given my recent visit to Yogyakarta, it was clear that the pedicab has lost its prevalence and the interests of many.

Pedicabs with Money Changer Sponsorship (Tan, 2019).

I had the blessing of speaking to one of these pedicab drivers in Prawirotaman, an area that is rich with the integration of traditional culture and modern design. Adi Tama, a 38-year old pedicab driver, points the cause of this fall towards people’s preference for convenience. With apps such as Gojek and Grab, tourists are less inclined to choose the pedicab, even when the bicycle of the pedicab had been swapped out for a motorcycle. With this decline in customers, I inquired what Adi and his fellow drivers do to cope, to which he answered “we find sponsors… we have other work.” Adi himself has 3 other jobs, 2 of them in the tourism industry, and 1 as a mobile handyman in his hometown, and is sponsored by Money Changer (they receive monthly funds for bike repair and are given packs of cigarettes, and also meat every religious holiday). The sponsorship of cigarettes is what was concerning, as “tobacco is responsible for 4.2 million deaths every year, a figure that… is estimated to reach 8.4 million by 2020” (Minh, H.V., Ng, N., Wall, S. et. al 2005, p.1) with “most smokers [coming from] lower education and economy levels” (Barkina, T., Dewi, V. K., Isnaniah. & Kirana, R. 2014, p.2). With the stresses of a declining job market, the sponsorship tips of cigarettes and the busy lifestyle of a pedicab driver, it is no surprise that these men are at risk of a low chance of cessation.

On this note, Adi details his choice to be a pedicab driver was due to the fact that he and many others his age couldn’t afford further education. He’s had to learn English, German and Dutch from tourists. He’s grateful that with the new government established 5 years ago that his children can afford tertiary education, as “education is an important predictor of being a regular smoker. Men with less education tended to smoke regularly and cease less.” (Minh, H.V., Ng, N. Wall, S. et. al, 2005, p.6).

Although the pedicab is becoming scarcer on the roads of Yogyakarta, the gentlemen behind the cab are here to stay. When asked what his plans for the future is, Adi replied “I’m saving up, I’m saving up for something else, something better.”


Admintih, 2016, Becaks, the traditional transportation in Indonesia, topindonesiaholidays, viewed 20 December 2019, <>.

Barkina, T., Dewi, V. K., Isnaniah. & Kirana, R. 2014, ‘ Smoking behavior and attitude towards cigarette warning labels among informal workers in Surabaya city – East Java, Indonesia’, Advances in Life Science and Technology, vol. 21, pp.1-2.

Dahles, H. & Prabawa, T.S. 2013, ‘The case of the pedicab drivers of Yogyakarta, Indonesia’, Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, vol. 26, no.3, p.242.

Minh, H.V., Ng, N., Wall, S. et. al 2005, ‘Smoking epidemics and socio-economic predictors of regular use and cessation: Findings Ffom WHO STEPS risk factor surveys in Vietnam and Indonesia’, The Internet Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 3, no. 1.

Post A: SYTC Yogyakarta

Upon visiting Yogyakarta – Indonesia’s “cradle of Javanese culture” (Dahles, H. & Prabawa, T.S. 2013, p.245), it’s clear to see the city’s pride through the design that’s found in every aspect of the environment. From the colourfully painted pedicabs to the bold walls coated with murals by the youth, it’s evident that “design plays a role in forming and communicating national identity in Indonesia” (Crosby, A. 2019, p. 53). However, within this rich city lies a poison rotting away at the heart of the culture. With its bright colours and encouraging messages you wouldn’t think harm of it, but let’s take a look at these examples.

Show Your Colours by Phillip Morris (Vital Strategies, 2017)

With its striking reds, blues, yellows and whites under the slogan “Show Your Colours”, these houses along Kali Code River in Yogyakarta “didn’t just catch the attention of local people – the stunt gained national and international notoriety” (Vital Strategies, 2017). Unknown to the residents, the village had in fact been transformed with the brand colours of Phillip Morris International (Indonesia’s largest tobacco company) to essentially be one giant advertisement (Emont, 2016) at an estimated exposure worth at US$220,000 a month (Vital Strategies, 2017). In response, the campaigns “Show Your True Colours” and #SuaraTanpaRokok (or “Voices Without Cigarettes”) was released in collaboration with Muhammadiyah Tobacco Control Centre and several organisations and activists in Yogyakarta “as a symbol of resistance towards the exploitation of the community by the tobacco industry” (Vital Strategies, 2017). Led by renowned local graffiti artist Koma, giant anti-tobacco murals painted onto these houses were unveiled on World Cancer Day. Although the tobacco industry has a tough grip on the community as the Indonesian government relies on the industry for “around 10% of state tax revenue” (Emont, 2016), the examples of activists working with the community shows that change can be made through the people.

Show Your True Colours (Vital Strategies, 2017)
Java Rockin’ Land Poster 2011 (Cranberries World, 2011)

Another example is the poster for Java Rockin’ Land 2011 posted around Indonesia, it boasts a line-up of bands like Thirty Seconds to Mars and Neon Trees. However, another name displayed alongside these artists is Indonesia’s second largest tobacco company, Gudang Garam (Hefler, M., Chapman, B. & Chapman, S. 2013). It’s not unusual for the tobacco industry to sponsor arts and cultural events such as these, but this sponsorship received a backlash due to the band’s high level of teen appeal and activity in philanthropic efforts in UNICEF and cancer charities. In response, a campaign by Tobacco Control was held through Facebook, tobacco control organisations, and Twitter to target the band’s management and press agents. In response to fan’s petitions, Neon Trees (a band with a history of antitobacco advocacy) announced that at the end of their set they would donate their earnings to an Indonesian cancer charity (Hefler, M., Chapman, B. & Chapman, S. 2013), and posters for Rockin’ Land post 2011 no longer feature sponsors by tobacco companies.

The examples of these two campaigns show the complex relationship between designers, culture-makers, artists, customers, and the tobacco industry. Each group is the source for cause and effect in the preservation of Yogyakarta’s culture.


Cranberries World, 2011, Java Rockin’ Land,, viewed 20 December 2019 <>.

Crosby, A. 2019, ‘Design activism in an Indonesian village’, MIT Press Journals, vol. 35, no.3

Hefler, M., Chapman, B. & Chapman, S. 2013, ‘Tobacco control advocacy in the age of social media: using Facebook, Twitter and Change’, Tobacco Control, vol.22, no.3.

Dahles, H. & Prabawa, T.S. 2013, ‘The case of the pedicab drivers of Yogyakarta, Indonesia’, Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, vol. 26, no.3, p.245.

Vital Strategies, 2016, Anti-tobacco advocates in Indonesia show their true colors, viewed 20 December 2019, <>.

Vital Strategies, 2017, Tunjukkan Warna Aslimu – Kali Code (1 menit), video, YouTube, viewed 20 December 2019, <>.

Post D: Mental Health Implementation

Based on the results done in 2010, Java is the province with higher rates of an active smoker (Barkina, T., Dewi, V. K., Isnaniah. & Kirana, R. 2014). A survey conducted in East Java’s Surabaya – Indonesia’s second largest city, found that there was a significantly higher prevalence of depression in women in comparison to other cities (Byles, J., Christiani, Y., Dugdale, P. & Tavener, M. 2015). Women have turned to smoking as a form of a quiet self-medication, with the odds of a depressed woman being a smoker being twice that of a depressed man (Liew, H.P. & Gardner, S. 2016). In the same research study, the results of Indonesia was compared to the results attained in USA, South Africa, and Glasgow (UK), and it was found that the common aspects to the co-morbidity of depression and smoking is due to lack of strong social support networks caused by stigmas with mental health.

Statistical analysis showed that with better knowledge about mental health, the lower the tendency to have negative attitudes towards mental disorders. This recommends psychoeducational programs through a variety of methods to improve the understanding of mental health and the resources available to treat it (Ariana, A.D., Fardana, N.A., Hartini, N. & Wardana, N.D. 2018). In Surabaya, the highest concentration of Puskesmas (Community Health Centres) are greatly concentrated in the city centre. However, it is found that “current smoking behaviour was more frequent among the poor.” (Byles, J., Christiani, Y., Dugdale, P. & Tavener, M. 2015). 

The support needed for these women and the community as a whole is greatly lacking. Indonesia possesses a Mental Health Law established in 2014, but its implementation is not yet optimal (WHO in Ayuningtyas, D., Maulidya, A.N., Misnaniarti, M. & Rayhani, M. 2018), with the causes being mainly due to limited resources and prevailing stigma against mental health. Although services in the field are increasing with 48 Mental Hospital and Drug Addiction Hospitals established in 26 of 34 provinces, there is still a low priority in the national budget for this area with only 1% dedicated to the cause (WHO in Ayuningtyas, D., Maulidya, A.N., Misnaniarti, M. & Rayhani, M. 2018). Where the mental health is low in exposure, a different industry is thriving with its voice in the community.

Indonesia ranks fifth highest in cigarette consumption, and “is the only country in the region that have not signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control” (Barber et al. in Barkina, T., Dewi, V. K., Isnaniah. & Kirana, R. 2014 ). The tobacco industry has begun to feature more young women in cigarette advertisements. With 87% of the female population being Muslim in Surabaya, advertisements are marketing cigarette-use with female independence, portraying “young women in sleeveless tank tops in a country where many women dress modestly and wear hijabs.” (Cohen, J.E., Hardesty, J.J., Kaplan, S., Kennedy, R.D. et. al 2019 p. 42). This has resulted in a steady increase in female smokers in Surabaya since 2012 (Cohen, J.E., Hardesty, J.J., Kaplan, S., Kennedy, R.D. et. al 2019).

The battle now is between the efficacy of public health awareness and the aggressive advertising campaigns of the tobacco industry. With the rates of female smokers rising, it’s important to recognise that more power must be given to the support of mental health programs.


Ariana, A.D., Fardana, N.A., Hartini, N. & Wardana, N.D. 2018, ‘Stigma toward people with mental health problems in Indonesia’, Psychology Research and Behaviour Management, vol. 11, pp. 535-41.

Ayuningtyas, D., Maulidya, A.N., Misnaniarti, M. & Rayhani, M. 2018, ‘Implementation of mental health policies toward Indonesia free restraint’, Policy & Governance Review, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 161-173.

Barkina, T., Dewi, V. K., Isnaniah. & Kirana, R. 2014, ‘ Smoking behavior and attitude towards cigarette warning labels among informal workers in Surabaya city – East Java, Indonesia’, Advances in Life Science and Technology, vol. 21, pp.1-2.

Byles, J., Christiani, Y., Dugdale, P. & Tavener, M. 2015, ‘Socioeconomic related inequality in depression among young and middle-adult women in Indonesia’s major cities’, Journal of Affective Disorders, vol. 182, pp. 76-81.

Cohen, J.E., Hardesty, J.J., Kaplan, S., Kennedy, R.D. et. al 2019, ‘Smoking among female daily smokers in Surabaya, Indonesia,’ Public Health, vol. 172, pp.40-42.

Liew, H.P. & Gardner, S. 2016, ‘The interrelationship between smoking and depression in Indonesia’, Health Policy and Technology, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 26-31.

Post B: Slip Slop Slap

(Cancer Council Victoria 2010)

The Campaign

The phrase ‘Slip Slop Slap’ has been ingrained into our memories as with other sun-conscious Aussie sayings such as ‘No Hat No Play’. The slogan, ‘Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat’, began as a transdisciplinary top-down mass-media campaign in the 1980s promoting sun-health for families and was soon synonymous with sun protection for everyone by the end of the next decade. It was created by the Anti-Cancer Council as funded by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, a fund that was created by taxing cigarettes and redirecting the money raised into health promotion and the sponsorship of sports and arts (Marks, R. 1990). What started out as a response to the need to increase the awareness of the devastating effects of skin cancer has grown into an ongoing series of campaigns set to change perceptions in individuals, communities and organisations.

The Context

(Montague, M. 2001)

Media messages are always carefully tailored with the prevailing culture and community awareness. The early introduction of the campaign was “positive, encouraging, and designed to be happy” (Montague M. et al. 2001, p. 301) with Sid the Seagull educating the ways to enjoy our wonderful climate whilst having fun.  With the growing sophistication of the public’s knowledge, the campaign moved onto the next stage of providing detailed information explaining the protective methods in preventing skin cancer. This stage of the campaign was received well with adults, however, both approaches failed to reach young adults as they were perceived to be too childish and too content-heavy. Research conducted in high school subjects revealed that although the ‘Slip Slop Slap’ slogan was highly recalled by these students, the childhood associations of cartoons and jingles had lowered the perceived urgency to act. Results shown preference to anti-smoking and safe-driving campaigns with ‘shock’ value to communicate consequences. This resulted in the introduction of hard-hitting, graphic advertisements such as ‘Time Bomb’ depicting the real-life effects on real people (Paul C. et al. 2003). The analytical and reflective reactions to the results signify the early successes of the campaign. However, raising awareness of skin cancer prevention was only the first step, now change needed to be seen.

(Cancer Council Victoria 2010)

The Change

The early identifier of the campaign’s success in changing attitudes was in conducting surveys in the prevailing beach-culture of Australian lifestyle. Since the campaign was launched, the percentage of Victorians who “liked to get a suntan [decreased] from 61% in 1988 to 35% in 1998… those agreeing that ‘I feel more healthy with a suntan’ [fell] from 51% to 20%… [also resulting in] a 50% reduction in people getting sunburnt.” (Montague, M. et al. 2001, p.2-3). The program researchers understood that in order to make structural and environmental change, shifts in behaviours and attitudes needed to be made first. From then, sun protection policies have been adopted in trade unions, primary schools, local government authorities, sport and leisure organisations, as well as workplaces (Redman, K. et al. 2001). Since the beginning of the campaign, it had been found that “rates of [melanoma incidence] has slowed since” and that an estimated “43,000 skin cancers and 1,400 skin cancer deaths in Victoria [have been prevented].” (Shih, S. et al. 2017).

Through ongoing evaluation and implementation of strategies, what began as a catchy jingle has developed into the national awareness of skin cancer prevention. By understanding the issue and the community, effective campaigns are created to reduce the devastating grasp of skin cancer on the population. This is a valuable lesson for the success of public health campaigns in a range of contexts, such as the tobacco problem in Indonesia. Although this issue’s complete erradication is far in the future, it is recognised that “the job is not finished, but much has been accomplished.” (Montague, M. 2001).


Cancer Council Victoria 2010, Slip! Slop! Slap! – The original Sid the seagull video, advertisement, YouTube, viewed 18 November 2019, <;.

Cancer Council Victoria 2010, Timebomb – SunSmart, advertisement, YouTube, viewed 18 November 2019, <;.

Marks, R. 1990, ‘Skin cancer control in the 1990’s, from Slip! Slop! Slap! to SunSmart’, Australia’s J. Dermatol, vol. 31, pp. 1-4.

Montague, M. Roland, B. & Sinclair, C. 2001, ‘Slip! Slop! Slap! and SunSmart, 1980-2000: Skin cancer control and 20 years of population-based campaigning’, Health Education & Behaviour, vol. 28, pp. 290-301.

Paul, C. Tzelepis, F. Girgis, A. & Parfitt, N. 2003, ‘The Slip Slop Slap years: Have they had a lasting impact on today’s adolescents?’, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, vol. 14, pp 219-21.

Redman, K. Sinclair, C. & Stent, S. 2001, ‘SunSmart – Twenty years on’, Health Education & Behaviour, vol. 28.

Shih, STF. Carter, R. Heward, S. & Sinclair, C. 2017, New study shows SunSmart success as melanomas decrease in Victoria, Australia, viewed 18 November 2019, <;.