Post D: Indonesian Culture- Warias

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. It is estimated that around 86% of Javanese people are Muslim. Even though Javanese culture is known for its openness, Islamic law does not approve of deviation. As a result there are only a few places to worship for Javanese Muslims who fall outside the boundaries of Islamic law (Brooks, 2012).

When a man or woman wants to learn how to pray there is a place to go, but for transvestites, practising the Islamic religion, they are simply not accepted. A Waria as they are known is an Indonesian transsexual or “Indonesia’s third sex”. The Islamic law, which is now the dominant religion in Indonesia, only acknowledges male and female, transvestites have been forbidden, making it difficult to practise their faith. They believe that even if all of Islamic state doesn’t accept them, god does. The Senin-Kamis School in Yogyakarta is an Islamic school for Javanese transvestites. The main purpose of the boarding school is to provide a place for the Warias to worship, a place to feel comfortable and to be accepted. Most Warias lead unhealthy lifestyles, especially those working as prostitutes at night. Most young transvestites start working as prostitutes because they leave their homes without any money. A lot of transvestites now are changing directions from prostitution to street singing, where the income is better and more predictable, making around Rp100000 ($10) per day.

Injecting silicon into their faces and breasts helps the girls feel more feminine. Breast implantation is an expensive procedure, which is why they usually get injections that are more affordable. Different from the transvestites that we may know or hear about, Warias accept what god has made them, and for that reason do not wish to have sex-reassignment surgeries. “We believe we are born as men and must return to God as men.”

They want to live their lives accepted by society, like any normal woman would. Even though their situation is far from perfect, there is a strong determination to better themselves. It takes courage. Their main opinion is that it is their relationship with god that matters in the end and not their relationship with people. With lipstick in their pockets, and god on their side, it seems a Waria, can have a fighting chance.

Waria -vice



Vice, ‘Indonesia’s Transsexual Muslims (Documentary)’, viewed 3rd May 2015,

The Blog, ‘Tales of a Waria’, viewed 3rd May 2015,

The Advocate, date unknown, ‘Who are the Waria’, viewed 3rd May 2015

Image1:, viewed 3rd May 2015

Image2:, viewed 3rd May 2015

Post C: Interview Sarah Nathan

I conducted an interview with my friend Sarah Nathan, whom I went to boarding school with for 3 years. I had experienced a lot of different people from different cultures/countries over my time living in Sydney but no one quiet as interesting as Sarah. Sarah has grown up and lived in Jakarta her whole life with her mum Elizabeth, Dad John and brother David. “My mum is Chinese and dad is Indonesian”. I asked her what it was like growing up in Indonesia with a Chinese mother and Indonesian father. “It was pretty normal, there are quiet a lot of families in Indonesia with the same situation, I mean yes at times there were some racial comments, but I love my parents so I moved on quickly.” When Sarah was in year 7 she was sent to an International school in Jakarta. “This is where I first started to learn English. English was so hard to learn and I struggled.”

With a bit of wealth behind the family name Sarah and her brother were fortunate enough to be raised with a proper education. After a few years Sarah moved to Sydney Australia where she attended Kambala, Rosebay as a boarder in year 9. “Moving to Sydney was very scary, especially when mum and dad left me. I had travelled to Sydney on numerous occasions as my uncle lived there and it was always such a wonderful and beautiful place to visit, but I had never been there alone. When I first started classes at Kambala I was terrified, I didn’t know anyone, and I struggled with the English language. Luckily for me it usually resulted in the girls laughing at me because of the way I said things, so I’d just laugh with them, and soon enough I had made friends that I will keep forever”. It took Sarah about 2 years to become fluent in English. She was always the life behind any entertainment at school doing stupid and hilariously things that made us all laugh for hours.

Her mum and dad would come and visit a few times a year, and take us out for hot chocolates and sweets. Trying to communicate with them was difficult and Sarah would always talk to her parents in Bahasa. Sarah is now studying at the University of Sydney doing a degree in Commerce. “I consider Indonesia now as my second home and Sydney my first. I go back and visit my family during the holidays sometimes but I have now set up a better lifestyle for myself here were I can earn a proper income and be successful. I love going home and Indonesia will always be my home.”

Sarah and brother David


Interview with Sarah Nathan


Post B: Waste reduction, Fujimae Tidal Flat, City of Nagoya, Japan

B) The city of Nagoya, Japan lies on the Nobi Plain in the centre of Japan, with a population of approximately 2.2 million. The area is composed of a diverse landscape that covers 326.45 sqkm. (Convention of Biological Diversity, Japan). The area now is almost completely urbanised with only a few remaining woodland areas which is threatening local plant species, with a further problem of foreign species. Atmospheric and water pollution have increased considerably with the industrialisation and urbanisation with an impact of climate change as another major concern.

Public Participation in Design for Sustainability Fumio Hasegawa is an economics graduate of Nagoya City University, and has been employed by the City of Nagoya since 1975 of which he is now deputy director general. Hasegawa gave a presentation at the World Economic Forum an international conference in Turin, Italy, where he illustrated the fascinating history of Nagoya from the construction of its castle 400 years ago, to the devastation of World War II and the 1959 Ise Bay Typhoon, to its remarkable turnaround in becoming a prosperous industrial city, home to Toyota, Brothers Industries and more. It is a city with a strong cultural identity and the will to change.

In 1999 Nagoya launched the “Emergency Announcement for Garbage Awareness,” a campaign to reduce waste without having to construct a new landfill on the tidal wetland of Fuji-Higata. To achieve this goal, the City of Nagoya called for public cooperation in a huge recycling operation. The target was to reduce waste by 20%. They managed to reduce it by 60%, and the preservation of the tidal wetland was ensured. The preservation of the wetland has implemented educational programs and environmental awareness. These efforts have both prolonged the usage of existing landfill sites, and enabled the preservation of the Fujimae Tidal Flats. Although the overall volume of garbage and recyclables has only reduced slightly, the city is aggressively promoting the achievement to reduce landfill waste to 20, 000 tons annually. To achieve this they are promoting (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) among citizens.

This successful campaign has made action of a more sustainable future a priority for the city and its citizens. With the support of local Government and industries and the innovative help of the public, the city of Nagoya now provides an excellent example of a win-to-win approach, where in the face of a crisis they were able to lead toward more sustainable behaviours and social well being to provide a more promising future.

Trends in Waste/ Recyclable resources processing volumes


Convention on Biological Diversity, City of Nagoya Japan, viewed 2nd May 2015,

Waste reduction through citizen collaboration and conservation of the Fujimae Tidal Flat, City of Nagoya, Japan, viewed 2nd May 2015,

The Best Design Policies, New York, 2008, viewed 2nd May 2015,

Image1:, viewed2nd May 2015

Image2:, viewed 2nd May 2015

Post A: Indonesia’s Social and Political Context

Indonesia recently witnessed dramatic changes in its economic, political and spatial landscape. There is an uneven economic development between religions in urban and rural areas, which thus result in wide gaps in per capita income. This economic context places an understanding on specific mechanisms that may vary from one country or region to the next, depending on the institutional context within which they take place.

The fall of Sutarto in 1998 transformed the political landscape of Indonesia from an authoritarian regime toward a more democratic society. Greater autonomy is being delegated in areas such as public works, health, education, agriculture, industry, trade and environment. Indonesia is now regarded as a middle-income country given its sustained economic growth in the past 15 years. In recent years Indonesia has shown an increase in the Human Development Index (HDI), corresponding to improvements in most social indicators.

Indonesia is a high-context society, meaning that Indonesians are more likely to rely on implicit communication rather than on explicit messages. They place more time in reading into what is said, and what the words actually mean.

In Europe there is mass development of new and exciting innovative user-centred projects. It is not until now that other countries are coming to terms with the fact that design is a priority on their policy agenda. Song Weizu states that is was not until yesterday that design wasn’t exactly a priority on the Chinese policy agenda as other matters were at stake. This can also be said for many other countries. Indonesia is one of the top ten countries that will contribute to most of the world’s population growth over the next 30 years. (Data from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis–IIASA).

Due to this reason at a spatial level, metropolitan areas are increasingly facing challenges due to rapid urbanization and motorization, which in combination with insufficient investment in transport infrastructure – are linked to urban poverty and social exclusion. Major investments have been made on a recent design initiative made in Bus Rapid Transit systems in Jakarta and Bandung to elevate the roads where the buses travel.

This system has been designed to provide citizens with a fast public transport system to help reduce rush hour traffic. The buses run in dedicated lanes and the regional government subsidizes ticket prices. As of 2014, the buses carried more than 350,000 passengers per day with more than 500 buses in operation.

Designers all over the world, reflect current trends as well as social and economic situations. Critical questions are asked about how we think and see ourselves. One of the many challenges within the design industry is balancing creativity with the demands of cost-effective and innovative construction. A customer’s satisfaction with a product depends on the context of its use. Everything is interpreted through some context. A very important part of our job as designers is to create a visual context that enhances what our designs are trying to communicate. Context also comes from those who view and interpret the design. A visual impression is constructed as soon as someone sees it.


A Governance Approach, date unknown, ‘Local and Regional Dimensions in Indonesia’, viewed 20th April, 2015,

New Product Development, date unknown, ‘What Is Context’, viewed 20th April 2015,

Encyclopaedia of Business 2nd Ed, 2015 ‘Indonesia Doing Business’,viewed 20th April 2015,

Vanderbeeken. M, 2008, ‘The Best Design Policies’, viewed 20th April 2015,

Empowerment of Women and Girls, date unknown, ‘Social, economic and political context in Indonesia’, viewed 20th April 2015,

Image1:, viewed 20th April 2015

Image2:, viewed 20th April 2015