Post A: The importance of local context in design

Design is aimed to be impactful and transformational; a key determinant to our quality of living (Hewkett 2005). This momentous goal is achieved through the designer considering further than just the aesthetic and functional qualities of a design, but rather relishing in the importance of understanding who the design is for and how it relates to the user. The profound understanding of users is only attained through exploring and analsying the social, political and environmental aspects of the user. These spectrums all fall into the user’s local context, thus making an intrinsic link between design and local context.

When comparing the fashion design market between the city of Sydney, Australia and Banjarmasin, Indonesia, it is explicit of how different local contexts produce varying designs based on the user. With the city of Banjarmasin majoring with 96% identifying as Muslim, this has significantly directed the fashion market, and what people choose to wear. The religious and environmental context for the people of Banjarmasin, has guided the fashion market within this location.

For the women of Banjarmasin conservative wear is paramount, with the majority of the women choosing to wear traditional items such as the kurung (traditional scarf) or the jilbab (traditional veil). The women also combine these traditional garments with typically full length trousers and skirts, and full sleeved shirts. Additionally, due to Banjarmasin being a tropical destination, the weather is constantly warm throughout the year, consequently also effecting the fashion market. This heat has led the majority of the clothing in Banjarmasin to be made from cotton due to its breathability properties. Through illuminating the religious and environmental spectrums of this city, it is notable of how understanding local context is necessary for design.

A local Banjarmasin woman wearing the kurung (Raviraj 2018)

However, with the city of Sydney, Australia there is a significant shift in the fashion market when compared to Banjarmasin due to the varying local context. Sydney fashion, though broad with its numerous influences from America and Europe, is described to be practical, informal and casual (Craik 2015). For the people of Sydney, the aesthetic, economical, environmental and functional attributes depict their clothing of choice. The fashion market within Sydney comprises of a range of styles but all within the constraints of shirts, pants, dresses and outerwear. The weather in Sydney, unlike Banjarmasin, ranges through out the year, which has significantly impacted what users choose to wear, thus directing the market to correlate with weather seasons (Craik 2015).

Through comparing the fashion market between Sydney and Banjarmasin, it is explicit of how local context significantly impacts a design. In order for a design to be successful, it is necessary for the designer to analyse the local context for which the design is to be situated in, as it will greatly influence how the design is received by the user and how it is used.


Craik, J. 2009, ‘Is Asutralian Fashion and Dress Distinctively Australian?’, Fashion Theory, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 409-441

Heskett, J. 2005, Design: a very short introduction, Oxford University Press, England.

Jones, C. 2007, ‘Fashion and Faith in Urban Indonesia’, Fashion Theory, vol. 11, no. 2, pp.211-231

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 B: Is smoking just always going to be considered cool?

“The bottom line is smoking cool and you know it,” Chandler Bing (Friends 1994).

With a long of history of stigma with smoking equalling ‘being cool’ this type of association had led tobacco companies to frequently direct their advertising to youth with the message of ‘smoking is cool.’ Initiatives around the world have worked hard in order to oppose and overcome this type of advertising and social illusion.

The California Tobacco Control Program or the CTCP is a leading example of how targeting this specific tobacco trend can lead to a long-term reduction of tobacco use. The California Department of Public Health; the founder and funder of the CTCP, have estimated through their work for over 30 years now in overcoming social challenges with tobacco use in California, has reduced the number of tobacco users from 1 in 5 persons, to 1 in 8 (CTCP 2017). CTCP’s aim is it ‘denormalise’ social acceptance of tobacco use (CTCP 2017). With their deep understanding and experience with tobacco use and studying the emerging trends in society, the CTCP have recently directed their fight to e-cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are a handheld electronic device which mimics the experience of normal tobacco smoking. E-cigarettes come in a range of types such as with or without nicotine and also in a variety of flavours such as fruit or candy. In recent years, the ‘smoking is cool’ trend has directed its path to the act of smoking an e-cigarette called vaping, which has rapidly increased as a social trend, particularly within youth. This trend has led tobacco companies to directly advertise e-cigarettes to young people (American Academy of Paediatrics 2014). However, as CTCP explores, there is a social disillusion with the safety of e-cigarette, with users ignoring that e-cigarettes most frequently possess nicotine.

There’s a lot the e-cig industry isn’t telling us about vaping. Wake up. California Department of Public Health 2015

CTCP has launched a campaign ‘Still Blowing Smoke’ in order to fight the use of e-cigarettes and the blurred understanding of what an e-cigarette is. The aim of this campaign is to educate the youth in particular to the potential dangerous harms of e-cigarette use. The campaign encompasses online advertising, a website and TV commercials, and is also a high school program to educate the youth before they start. These platforms make explicit of the potential harms of e-cigarette use and the need to dissociate vaping with ‘being cool.’

‘Smoking is cool’ is a statement that the majority would argue now is not applicable. However, through exploring campaigns that counter oppose current trends with tobacco use, such as ‘Still Blowing Smoke’ by the CTCP, it is clear that the trend it still alive, but has just manifested into new markets within the tobacco industry.

Reference List:

American Academy of Paediatrics 2014, Expose to Electronic Cigarette Television Advertisements Among Youth and Young Adults, AAP News & Journals Gateway, viewed 9 December 2017 <>

Bach, L. 2017, Campaign for Tobacco- Free Kids: Electronic Cigarettes and Youth, Tobacco Free Kids, viewed <>

Broadwin, E. 2013, Tobacco Companies Still Target Youth Despite a Global Treaty, Scientific American, viewed 9 December 2017  <>

California Department of Public Health 2015, Still Blowing Smoke, CTCP, viewed 12 December 2017 <>

CTCP 2017, California Tobacco Control Program, CDPH, viewed 9 December 2017 <>

Lightwood, J. 2013, The Effect of the California Tobacco Control Program on Smoking Prevalence, Cigarette Consumption, and Healthcare Costs: 1989-2008, PLoS ONE, viewed 9 December 2017 <>

Pierce, J. & Gilpin, E. & Emery, S. 1998, Has the California Tobacco Control Program Reduced Smoking?, The JAMA Network, viewed 10 December 2017 <>

Rogers, T. 2010, The California Tobacco Control Program: introduction to the 20-year retrospective, Tobacco Control, viewed 10 December 2017 <>

Still Blowing Smoke 2017, Still Blowing Smoke, CTCP, viewed 9 December 2017  <>



POST D: Erupting volcano; natural disaster or natural phenomena?

Headlines of destruction, danger and tourist safety have flooded the Australian news recently due to the ongoing volcanic eruption of Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia (Hannam 2017). But whilst the Australian news captures this natural occurrence as a natural disaster, the Balinese perceive this event as a natural phenomenon. But what’s the difference? For Australians, a natural disaster encompasses; hurricanes and flooding, while supermoons and rainbows are categorized as natural phenomena (Brook 2016). However, for the Balinese, natural phenomena include the wonder of volcanic eruptions.

Located within the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is home to frequent and large-scale natural occurrences. With a history filled with an assortment of experiences with natural events from volcanic eruptions to tsunamis (The Jakarta Post 2016), Indonesians have developed a unique reaction to these events overtime.

The recent eruption of Mount Agung, has illuminated this almost foreign response to natural disasters, when compared to how Australians handle these catastrophic situations. The Balinese are no stranger to volcanic eruptions, and it is through this past experience, knowledge and sacred outlook on these natural structures, which has stemmed this almost unnatural peaceful attitude (Mallonee 2017). The Balinese describe the eruption of Mount Agung as being ‘part of a natural cycle’ (BBC 2017) which will offer ‘gifts’ of new rocks and a more fertile land than before.

The Balinese Hindus believe that the four volcanic mountains within Bali; Agung, Batur, Abang and Batukaru, ‘form Bali’s backbone’ (Radu 2017) and is held of high value and sacredness. Mount Agung; translated to ‘The Great Mountain’ is the largest point in Bali and is believed to be home to one of their gods, the deity Shiva (Reuter 2002). The sacred value of Mount Agung combined with false alarms of eruptions in the past has led the majority of the Balinese to choose to stay within their home; within the danger zone of the erupting volcano.

“Emergency call counter in a hotel in Bali. There are many hotels with a so-called ‘tsunami ready’ certificate.” Hahn, M. & Hartung, J.

For the Balinese, the eruption of Mount Agung is a message from the gods which can only be controlled through rituals and prayers for their safety and avoiding disaster (Reuter 2002). Dwea Ketut Soma; a Pura Besakih priest, suggests that only through sincere prayers will the eruption be tamed and not catastrophic. However, if the Balinese were to ignore their ritual duties, the scale of the eruption will be disastrous (Radu 2017).

When faced with natural threats, the immediate Australian response is to evacuate and find safety (Stuart 2017). However, for Indonesians and the Balinese in particular, their peaceful attitude has been formed through their religious views and past experiences. Consequently, shifting events such as volcanic eruptions and hurricanes from natural disasters to natural phenomena.

A map showing the intrinsic relationship between the land of Bali and it’s four mountains; Mount Batukaru, Batur, Abang and Agung.

Reference List:

BBC 2017, Bali on alert as feared and revered volcano rumbles, BBC, viewed 1 December 2017 <>

Brook, B. 2016, ­­Supermoon, which will look brighter and larger than any moon for 68 years, to pass by Earth on 14 November, Australia, News, viewed 1 December 2017 <>

Cameron, L. & Shah, M. 2015, ‘Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters’, JHR: The Journal of Human Resources, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 484-515

Casimir, M. 2008, Culture and the Changing Environment: Uncertainty, Cognition and Risk Management in Cross-cultural Perspective, Berghahn Books, New York

Hahn, M. & Hartung, J. Beauty and the Beast, Hahn+Hartung, viewed 4 December 2017 < >

Hannan, P. 2017, ‘Potential for major impacts’: Australian team readies for Bali’s Mt Agung eruption, Australia, SMH, viewed 1 December 2017 <>

Kuzma-Floyd, E. 2017, No. 3 Mount Agung Erupting, Eyes of a Nomad, viewed 4 December 2017<>

Mallonee, L. 2017, What it’s like living in the land of natural disasters, Wired, viewed 4 December 2017 <>

Radu, A. 2017, Balinese Hindus await the eruption of Mount Agung, home of a god, RNS: Religion News Service, viewed 3 December 2017 <>

Reuter, T. 2002, Custodians of the Sacred Mountains: Culture and Society in the Highlands of Bali, Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, Hawaii

Stuart, R. 2017, NSW floods: One dead, 20,000 evacuated as water inundates Murwillumbah, Lismore, Australia, ABC, viewed 1 December 2017 <>

The Jakarta Post 2016, Indonesia sees highest number of natural disasters in 10 years, Jakarta, The Jakarta Post, viewed 1 December 2017 <>