POST A: The expressive typography of Banjarmasin

Walking down the streets in Banjarmasin is much like many other cities across the globe, as letters push their way into your eyesight, informing you of street names, food on sales and characteristic of Indonesia, cigarettes being sold. Due to the restrictions placed on imagery allowed on cigarette advertising in Indonesia, (Kharisma Rasa Indonesia, 2007) many rely heavily on eye-catching typography to communicate their message with display fonts and bold colours that scream their masculine ideals of a smoker to their audience (refer to figure 1). The many manifestations of type across Banjarmasin, from the colourful and hastily hand-made signs that adorn street vendors’ carts to the large-format digital prints above stores, type and design exemplify the “ubiquitous consumerism” of Banjarmasin and by extension Indonesia (Crosby, 2016).


Figure 1. San, W, 2018

Moreover, type serves to denote the different purposes of areas in the city, as residential streets feature an archway at their entrances with the street name, each one individual and full of character (refer to figure 2). Elements such as these serve to exemplify the vibrant and chaotic character of Banjarmasin, with pops of colour and the nature of both type and design within the city, contrasting the often sterile and corporate focused design present in other larger, more cosmopolitan cities such as Sydney. In this manner, the expressive and hand-generated nature of type in Banjarmasin reflects the context in which it was made, on the semi-isolated island of Borneo, with both different and more limited resources.


Figure 2. Nguyen, C, 2018

Observing the nature of type in Banjarmasin, it is revealed as acting not only as a means of communication but also informing the relationship between the city and the celebrated river that flows through it. Various examples of type are found along the riverside, primarily with a focus on celebrating Banjarmasin and its unique identity. The way in which type integrates with both the river and the public spaces constructed around it (refer to Figure 3), such as Menara Pendang serve to reflect Sheppard and Lynn’s analysis of cities and how the combination of the artificial and natural elements of a city occur together in a state of “uneasy coexistence” (Sheppard, Lynn, ).


Figure 3. Nguyen, C, 2018

Conclusively, typography in Banjarmasin is a complex mixture of purpose, materiality and character that reflects not only the context of the city but also contributes to the larger discourse between design and public space and identity.


Crosby, A, 2016. Designing Futures in Indonesia, UTS ePress, Vol. 13, No. 2, July 2016. Viewed 1 February 2018,

Kharisma Rasa Indonesia 2007, That Charismatic Indonesian Feeling’: Cigarette Billboard advertising in the city of Yogyakarta

Sheppard, E, Lynn, W.S, 2004, Patterned ground: entanglements of nature and culture. Reakton Press, London.

Tariq, Q, 2015, Indonesian veteran artist AD Pirous’ work shines at his first Kuala Lumpur exhibition in 12 years. The Star, viewed 1 February 2018,

Cover Image: Nguyen, C, 2018

Post C: Interview with University Student Haitami

As soon as we entered Lambung Mangkurat University’s campus in Banjarmasin I instantly began to compare the differences between the serenity of the wetlands that dot the campus with start and serious nature of the UTS tower. It’s always exciting to explore another university campus and to discover the varying ways in which a sense of community is forged alongside studying a degree, except this this experience was different, being in Banjarmasin a city with which I was both unfamiliar and embarrassingly bad at communicating with people.

It was here that I met Haitami, a Business Management student at Lambung Mangkurat University and was initially quiet but opened up about his life and ideas about the cigarette industry during our conversation. Haitami is originally from a small village some five hours away from Banjarmasin named Jamil (meaning ‘beautiful’), but rather than try to make the impossible happen and travel every day, he lives about a 20 minute walk from campus during semester. Haitami’s dedication to his studies is obvious, whilst he already attends classes five days a week he is a part of various university clubs whose meetings he attends on weekends. One of these endeavours includes being a part of AIESEC, with whom he was going to Thailand the following week to undertake a short-term volunteering trip.

During our conversation, Haitami was proud to announce that he himself was not a smoker, nor a fan of the smell it created and the negative impact on one’s health, having recently lost a brother-in-law to the effects of smoking. Still, he admitted that there is pressure to smoke in Indonesia, that it is expected of men to smoke (Hodal, 2012). He enjoyed telling me that the majority of the university campus was smoke-free, creating a more comfortable environment and the ability for non-smokers to be able to breather clean air, something which is often difficult to achieve in Banjarmasin.

Nonetheless, as our conversation continued I was surprised to learn more about Haitami’s perception of the importance of tobacco companies in a variety of aspects of life in Indonesia, including their sponsorship of music festivals, sports games and providing university scholarships to students from low socio-economic areas (Tobacco Free Kids, 2013). I began to realise that Haitami, alongside other Indonesians perceive the tobacco industry as playing an integral role across many aspects life in Indonesia, even expecting it due to the wide influence they wield and their deep pockets. I found this realisation to be particularly surprising, especially in trying to understand the paradox of an anti-smoking stance with a support of the tobacco industry.

Throughout the time I spent talking with Haitami, I became more aware of some of the nuances that make up the wicked problem that smoking is in Indonesia.  Whilst much of our time in Banjarmasin we looked at the issue of the cigarette itself, the influence of tobacco companies across other aspects of Indonesian life remains a complex web of issues that will take a long period of time to unravel.


Myself and Haitami at Lambung Mangkurat University.


Daffi, R, 2012, ‘Taru Martani: A Story Of Cigars And Indonesia’. Latitudes, March 14, Viewed 20 January 2018,

Hondal, K, 2012, ‘Indonesia’s smoking epidemic – an old problem getting younger’. The Guardian, 22 March, Viewed 20 January 2018,

Reynolds, C, 1999, ‘Tobacco advertising in Indonesia: “the defining characteristics for success”’. Tobacco Control, Volume 8, page 85 – 88.

The Jakarta Post, 2013, ‘Your letters: Tobacco sponsorship of sporting events’. June 20, Viewed 20 January 2018,

Tobacco Free Kids, 2013, Oh Really? Tobacco-Sponsored Indonesia Jazz Festival Now Claims It’s Opposed to Youth Smoking. Viewed 20 January 2018,

POST B: Tobacco Free Florida

The wicked problem of tobacco control is a worldwide phenomenon, as
countries endeavor to reduce the popularity of the harmful and often
deadly practice. In 2005 , the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco
Control (WHO FCTC) entered into force, with countries party to it
obligated to prioritize tackling the global health issue that is
tobacco through factors including advertising, foreign investment and
illicit trade in tobacco products.
A standout initiative is that of Tobacco Free Florida in the United
States (not directly correlated with the FCTC), promoted by the
Florida Department of Health since 2007, as about 480,000 deaths in
the United States is a result of regular tobacco use. Their campaigns
have utilized dynamic anti-smoking television advertisements and
posters that are both emotive and contain confronting imagery (see
images below) to convey a strong message regarding the serious health
dangers associated with smoking, not ignoring other common practices
such as social smoking. Their straightforward approach is mirrored in
one of their catch phrases, which quite simply states “Stop spending.
Start living”, the direct and serious tone conveying the significance
of the message.

Additionally, Tobacco Free Florida exists not only through its
effective advertising campaign, but also as a wealth and variety of
resources for people who want to quit smoking such as their “3 Ways to
Quit”, easily accessible via their website .  A more recent
initiative was that of their Smokers Store (2017), in which items were
priced equivalent to the number of cigarette packets to draw attention
to the amount of money that consumers spend on cigarettes each year.
At the Smokers Store, smokers were confronted with a visualization of
the financial cost of their smoking habit, and not simply on their
health. Items included hiking boots priced at 37 packets of cigarettes
(equivalent to $200) and a tent for 73 packets ($400).

The success of Tobacco Free Florida has seen the rates of smoking
across various demographics in the state decrease, with adult
cigarette smoking rate decreasing from 19.3 percent in 2011 to 16.8
percent in 2013, and mirrored in ages 13-17 from 8.3 percent in 2010
to 4.3 percent in 2014.  This success is attributed to the usage of
“graphic and hard-hitting media techniques” that truly affects
viewers, altering their perceptions and desire to quit smoking. In
this manner, through using a multi-disciplinary approach incorporating
media, readily-available resources for the public as well as
interactive campaigns, they capture the attention of the public and
achieved lower smoking rates in the state of Florida.



WHO FCTC, 2015, The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: an
overview. Accessed December 2017,

Tobacco Free Florida, 2017, About Us. Accessed 12 December 2017,

Sandu, B, n.d., Remarkable Anti-Smoking Advertising Campaigns – 53
Examples. Design Your Way, Accessed 12 December 2017,

Rao, S, Kanwal Aslam, S, Zaheer, S & Shafique, K, 2014, Anti-smoking
initiatives and current smoking among 19,643 adolescents in South
Asia: findings from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey. Harm Reduction
Journal, Accessed 12 December 2017,

Micheal Cummings, K, 2002, Programs and policies to discourage the use
of tobacco products. Oncogene, Accessed 12 December 2017,

Post D: The food bloggers of Indonesia

When we think of Indonesian cuisine, dishes such as nasi goreng and gado gado come to mind, which can often be found in small canteens like Ayam Goreng 99 in the Sydney suburb of Kensington. What is not so commonly recalled is the rich and multifaceted culture that these dishes convey, from Dutch colonialism to the array of ethnic groups across Indonesia.

Food plays an integral role in daily life in Indonesia, with 41.6% of income in Indonesia going towards food as based on a 2005 study, being spent on ever-present and wide variety of offerings provided by the  traditional street food vendor or a common food court where a family shares dinner (Clements & Chen, 2006). Street food in Indonesia is a staple of daily life as vendors form part of the important informal activities in the urban areas of the country, such as in the cities of Jakarta and Yogyakarta.

More recently, the rise and dominance of social media has seen changes in the relationship with food in Indonesia. Whilst Indonesian cuisine may not be recognised globally to the Michelin stars or as commonly found on world’s best restaurant lists, the emergence of Indonesia based food bloggers on platforms such as Instagram has been swift in becoming the most popular method of instantly sharing tantalising images of indonesian cuisine.

Food bloggers such as Prawnche Ngaditowo, who is is known on Instagram as “foodventurer”, began sharing images of the meals he ate in Jakarta as a student after moving there from a small town. The extensive culinary options afforded by living in a big city was inherently exciting for Ngaditowo, who wanted to share his exploration of Indonesia’s gastronomic diversity. As Ngaditowo was not financially capable of studying overseas, exploring the diversity of Indonesian cuisine through food blogging provided an alternate method of exploration in Jakarta itself. Through social media. His audience is unhindered by geographical location, and via his own interactions with his audience he can connect on a global scale, also learning about their own perceptions of Indonesia and the influence his blog has.


Other bloggers such as filipusverdi, a medical student in Jakarta similarly blogs about eating Indonesian street food such as tempeh or bakpao to gado gado, which translates somewhat to “mix mix”. Gado gado is an interesting indicator around Indonesia of different ethnic and historical influences depending on the region, with gado gado betawi referencing the Betawi, who consider themselves the original inhabitants of Jakarta and are now the second largest ethnic group in the city after the Javanese. Continue reading