POST D: Jokowi Dan Basuki – Corruption in Indonesia

Jokowi Dan Basuki – “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction (PARODY) is video about the living conditions of Jakarta. It was produced by youtube sensations Cameo Projects encompassing on the major key election issues.

Having viewed the video I quickly gain an aspect of a culture. Though, not in a positive way, it was enough to grasp the underlying issues that Indonesia is facing. The issues that are apparent surrounds transport, living conditions, corruption and bureaucracy.

The choice of music as with the title “What Makes You Beautiful” is ironic. There is a play on word presented in a challenging way. I question myself why was this chosen? Was this seen as the only effective way to exaggerate Indonesian politics? Or is it perhaps an ideal “mockumentary” containing subliminal messages implying the possibilities in making Indonesia beautiful (politically speaking) ?

A beacon of hope was later shed in the video when the collectives desired change by putting emphasis for “Jokowi and Basuki” to come and save the day. Interestingly enough, the video became a transparent campaign for change making politician Joko Widodo.

corruption satire in Indonesia symbolising how hard the country’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) efforts to combat corruptions are

As corruption was heavily referenced in the video, this was something I wanted to explore.

An in-depth analysis of the main causes of corruption might be required to understand why corruption remains such a large problem in spite of several reforms (e.g.decentralisation, establishment of an anti-corruption agency, etc) and recent efforts to curb it. Several factors, ranging from structural factors, such as income levels, and inequality, to a weak judiciary seem to have a strong correlation with corruption (Martini 2012).

Cochrane (2013) states Indonesia’s campaign finance laws have not kept up with changes after taking its’ first step towards democracy. Political parties are increasingly financing their operations with the same shady practices that symbolised the era of President Suharto who’s tenure lasted from 1967-1995.

“That’s not a secret anymore,” said T. Mulya Lubis, chairman of the executive board of Transparency International Indonesia, which monitors political corruption. “It’s public knowledge. This is the biggest kind of corruption now.” (Cochrane 2013).

According to a 2013 survey by Transparency International, Indonesia ranked 114th out of 177 countries, with the nation’s Parliament, its police and the judiciary considered the least trustworthy public institutions (The Editorial Board 2013).

KPK editorial caricature depicting corruption within powerful figures

In present, Jokowi’s successful election meant promises needed  to continue Indonesia’s hard-won post-Suharto reforms – especially the fight against Indonesia’s notorious endemic corruption. However, Jokowi had not lived up to these high expectations after failing to defend Indonesia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK), who is currently under concerted attack from powerful figures it has investigated.

The questions here I raise as a foreigner (who is eagerly waiting for his trip to Indonesia in July), is whether corruption in Indonesia is inevitable? Would there be another parody video calling for a radical change? Will corruption remain inherent? Only time can tell… References

Image References

POST A: Shapeness of Design

I was fascinated with the reading of Sidelines: writing for tempo in which the author G. Mohamad referenced the sarong as a design that is shifting its purpose. What I found fascinating was the the way the sarong had a strong social use, however slowly dying in a modernised world. This lead to my understanding why a particular design such as the sarong can be shaped differently overtime by its’ local context. I was also able to find relationships with the notion of the sarong to that of other ideas shaped by differing situations.

The sarong according to Mohamad (1994) is a technological invention that has countless use. In Indonesia, it is worn as part of a ceremonial dress, used as a blanket, can be worn as a mask and used as a container to carry books. However its’ use have shifted as a result of experiences in a culture changing social relationships (Mohamad 1994). What was once an article of both elegance and casual is now becoming private. Mohamad later implies the sarong as a symbol of indigenous that is fading and something that is well suited to the environment however threatened by modernisation.

In a historical context, according to Mohamad dress such as the sarong is a history of conflict between culture and politics. In Indonesia, the sarong has become a socio-cultural article in a time of flux. In contrast, these ideas can be further supported to that of the punk activists in Indonesia. The punk scene can be regarded as a response to the brutal dictatorship of Suharto. The ideas of punk was seen as a gateway drug: a portal to countercultural ideas and radical politics (Munn 2014). The ideology of punk is considered dependent on everyday struggles which remains a threat to established power. Just as the use of sarongs were an indication of change in the social scene, punk however can be regarded as an agency for change. Both in comparison have a notion of being shaped by its local context.

Another perfect example is transparent in Crosby’s Remixing environmentalism in Blora, Central Java 2005–10. The need to form environment movement  in the likes of the punk activist can be seen vital as it needed to raise voice and make representations. In this instance identities were needed which resulted in activist groups forming Rapala, anakseribupulau and SuperSamin Inc. as they were confronted with issues involving corruption, gang violence, timber theft and plans for development. Overall these groups were formed as a result of inter-related social and ecological issues (Crosby 2013).

The overall shapeness of design is all determined by the issues of its context. The sarong for example had seen its initial use fading overtime due to a change in social relationship. Others with the formation of punk was seen as a form of resistance. While environment activists including Rapala, anakseribupulau and SuperSamin Inc. were formed to make representations against confronting social and ecological issues.


  • Mohamad, G. 1994, Sidelines : writings from Tempo, electronic book, Hyland House and Monash Asia Institute, Monash University

POST C: Reiz Ariva Hale

I interviewed my friend Reiz Ariva Hale about his art. We have known each other for 4 years. We met in the same intake as candidates for a food and beverage role at the Sydney Aquarium.

A riveting artist of many talents he is a musician and a writer.

Born in Bandung Indonesia, Reiz was raised by an artisitic family. He has described his upbringing as a “remix”.

“ My grand mother was a singer while my grandfather owned a guitar factory back in Indonesia. My mum paints and my father plays several instruments and makes video documentaries. I am pretty much a remix of all of them, if I could say that.” 

Reiz music home demo album art

I was able to find a possible correlation in regards to Reiz’s creativity. In the Jakarta Post titled ” Bandung: Get the creative juices flowing “, Bandung have been described as a city with vibrant creative scene in which contemporary art exhibitions, concerts, fashion shows and community gatherings regularly take place (Sabirini 2008). Furthermore, compared to other cities in Indonesia, Bandung’s cultural economy differs in the sense that it is closely related to human creativity. Whereas Yogyakarta is best known as the centre of ‘traditional’ culture, Bali for ‘religious’ based culture and Jakarta for ‘commercial’ related culture, Bandung can be described as a city of ‘creative culture’ (Radjawali & Somardi n.d).

It is rather intriguing whether Reiz’s creative root a result of his cultural upbringing or, regarded as a natural phenomena? After asking him how and why he makes art he simply credits his parents.

” I started making art when I was very young because, both of my parents always loved music, drawing and painting.”

Reiz also embodies raw human emotions through writing. Most are inspired from personal experiences. He perceives writing as a mirror to understand one’s own perception.

” Writing is a mirror by which we can understand our own perception of the world. I would love to just keep on creating and share them that hopefully it can help inspire people in any shape of form.”

An example of Reiz’s writing showcasing raw human emotion and personal experiences

During the interview I asked him how he perceives his audience? The response was quite poetic and endearing (not surprising coming from a writer).

” I see them as the people whom I share my finished progress/product with.”

According to Reiz, he holds a passion that have shaped him to have a clear understanding of the world. As a result built him to be more patient and persistent in reaching his goals. He concludes “What I enjoy most about my passion is that it keeps me busy doing what I love. It has shaped me as a person to have a clear understanding that the better you master your art or passion, the better your artwork can be. It’s built me as a person to be more patient, more persistent, in reaching goals or whatever it is I want to achieve in life.”


Image References all courtesy of the artist

POST B: Creativity is Universal

“Creativity is universal and can be found in places where one does not expect to find it.” (THNKR 2013, 8:27) These are the words of Kelvin Doe, a young engineering prodigy who was supported by charitable organisation Global Minimum.

This post aims to focus on the mutual relationship between the two entity. It also wishes to encapsulate the integrity of the quote.

Global Minimum (GMin) is a not-for-profit charitable organization co-founded by David Sengeh, an MIT Phd graduate. GMin’s main project was Innovate Challenge. A mentorship program to foster a culture of innovation among high-school students in Sierra Leone, Kenya and South Africa. It encourages young innovators and leaders in Africa to engage with critical thinking skills and hands-on learning programs to tackle challenges affecting their communities (Sengeh n.d).

Its’ philosophy states “We believe that young people everywhere have the capacity to “learn to make and make to learn”. However, we also recognize that youth are not homogeneous and opportunities for learning and making are often curtailed by a confluence of factors, including socioeconomic inequities. At GMin, we seek to create an ecosystem in which youth from all segments of society have opportunities to innovate, effect positive change in their communities and demonstrate thought leadership within a local and regional context.” (GMin n.d)

This philosophy have been greatly attributed to Kelvin Doe. An innovative inventor from an impoverished area of Sierra Leone he assembles and fix radios. Radios were seen as an important form of communication in his community as it informs, entertain and educate. He sources electronic parts from trash areas and use them to make things work. Following this passion he felt he needed to do something big.  This led him to make his own radio station under the moniker DJ Focus.

Kelvin Doe’s invention. Under the moniker DJ Focus, Kelvin broadcast music, news to his local community

His talents were later recognised by GMin who flew him to MIT. Hosted by David Sengeh, Kelvin became the youngest visiting practioner. At MIT he presented his inventions to students, engaged in with community members  and involved in hands on research. Apart from this, he gave a lecture to final year undergraduate engineering students at Harvard University with the focus on the idea of frugal inventions.

Kelvin Doe assembling electronic parts sourced from trash areas of Sierra Leone. Radio broadcasting

The collaboration between GMin and Kelvin Doe proved to be a success in both the entities. It has been thought that if Kelvin and the mentorship program are any indication of what lies ahead, GMin initiatives will no doubt come to a halt. Instead, GMin looks forward to engage with the new cohort of disadvantaged youth in years to come .

Kevin Doe and co-founder of GMin David Sengeh collaborating at MIT

As for Kelvin, he returns home with a stronger determination to help young makers like him “learn through making” while inventing local solutions with the pressing challenges of their community.


Image References