Karst is a special type of geological landscape that is formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks, including limestone and dolomite. Karst regions contain aquifers that are capable of providing large supplies of water, and more than 25 percent of the world’s population either lives on or obtains its water from these aquifers.
However, due to the relatively rapid rate of water flow and the lack of a natural filtration system, karst systems are vulnerable to ground water pollution which puts local drinking water supplies at risk of being contaminated.
And that is the background to an ongoing community protest which in terms of the commitment, imagination, political shenanigans and tragedy has captured the interest and support of a very wide section of Indonesia’s population.
It is truly a ‘Them versus Us’ scenario, and this cement factory is ‘Them’.
Pabrik Semen Rembang
Kendeng, in the Central Java regency of Rembeng, is in a karst region whose waters have been used by farmers for many generations. In June 2014 PT Semen Indonesia began the construction of a cement plant in Rembang: limestone in karst is a key ingredient of cement. However, PT Semen had yet to produce a ‘strategic environmental assessment’ (KLHS), a legal necessity.
The farmers, therefore sought an injunction calling for a halt to construction, and to publicise their case the farmers held their novel protest of encasing their feet in cement and ‘camping’ in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.
In October last year , the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the farmers and ordered Semen Indonesia to cease its activities, as did President Jokowi who ordered Rembang’s cement factory to cease operations until the KLHS report was complete. Having revoked the permit on January 16th, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo then issued a new environmental permit on February 23rd, Yet the KLHS is still not complete, and so the protest resumed.
As the Post says, while the Supreme Court ruling is final and binding, especially because it gives no more room to the government to contest the matter, the government’s ignorance of the decision only demonstrates its disrespect for the rule of law, which it ironically has consistently been advocating. Worse still, the government’s failure to comply with the Supreme Court ruling will create legal uncertainty, one of the key challenges facing the country’s quest for legal reform.
It was the absence of legal certainty, or justice undelivered, that led the farmers to come to Jakarta
Sadly, Patmi, one of the about 100 farmers who were staging their renewed protest in front of the State Palace, died of a heart attack early on Tuesday. The sympathy.this has engendered has brought “snowballing support” from individuals, community groups and state organisations including the National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM). The Legal Aid Institute Foundation (YLBHI) has housed and fed the farmers while they have been in Jakarta.
The campaign has brought out the best in graphic artists, and I’ve included several examples and a few photographs, many found on the Twitter feed of Womens’ March Jakarta, in a downloadable folder here.
“Rage is the only quality which has kept me … writing columns for newspapers.” – Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jimmy Breslin
All residents in Indonesia can offer examples of the hassles of overcoming red tape in this country, But was the “ten working days” mantra I focussed on in my last post brought into Indonesia by my fellow Brits? I ask because Jakartass is nothing if not balanced, and to demonstrate that my rage is not indiscriminate, do have a read of this post from five and a bit years ago.
Continuing in that vein, I thought of various titles for this section of my analysis of the unseen barrier between Them and Us. Some included the word ‘stupid’. I know that if I were to use it my readership would inevitably rise because what I wrote here seven and a half years ago regularly pops up in the top post list in the sidebar to the right.
One synonym for ‘stupid’ is ‘mindless’ and another ‘thoughtless’.
(n): the conscious experience and thought process
(vt): to tend, take care of s/t. “Would you mind my seat while I get a coffee, please?”
“Sure, no problem.”
(vt): To object to s/t.
“Would you mind filling in this form?”
“Yes I would; you’ll have to do it for me.”
Simple Minds (n.pl)
“Because the world is full of fools … it doesn’t make them bad people.”
– Kevin Coyne 2007 Floods
1. The floods in early February 2007 were by far the most serious experienced in Jakarta, but Governor Sutiyoso, who had been appointed by central government, was quick to say that the floods are a natural phenomenon.
His deputy, Fauzi Bowo, who was to be the first directly elected governor, offered the excuse that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent them because “floods happen everywhere in the world.“
2. Permadi, the mystical member of Parliament, then aged 66, engaged a little more with what is sometimes called the reality-based world.
“From a spiritual perspective,” he said, “there are two ways of looking at the flood. One of them is the bad karma of both national and local leaders.”
“The other is that it is now the rainy season.”
2013 At the time, Indonesia was in the second lowest rank amongst Asia-Pacific countries in terms of average Internet connection speed. The then Minister of Communication and Information Tifatul Sembiring, popularly known as the Twittering Simplefool, tweeted this: “Fellow twitters, what would you use the internet for if its speed is faster?” (Jakartass exclusive interview)
2016 Indonesia Bermutu was a project part-funded by the World Bank which closed at the end of 2013. It aimed to reform education management and thus encourage universal teacher upgrading.
Education researcher from Indonesia Bermutu Eka Putri Handayani was reported to have said last December that the Ujian Nasional (National Exam) creates high psychological distress to students. As a result, the level of stress experienced by students increases.
Erm … yes, Eka … so?
Inoperable Laws which Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time’
Although Law No. 37/1999 on Foreign Relations mentions the right to apply for asylum, these provisions have not been properly implemented and remain inaccessible for asylum seekers coming to Indonesia who instead entirely rely on the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR
“That One-Stop-Shop in the HQ of the National Investment Board (BKPM) was lots of desks with a staff member at each from the relevant ministry which was expected to offer licences. In our case, it was umpteen stops, formal and informal meetings, and SMSs seeking confidential information The online form submission system was complicated, and any mistake was responded to with an email saying a mistake had been made … but without saying what it was.”
April 26th 2016
Trade Minister Thomas Lembong said during the National Consumer Day that “the small number of consumer complaints is due to a lack of knowledge of existing consumer protections.”
In other words, he thinks there should be a lot more complaints.
March 22nd 2017
“Consumer education and protection must be put as our first priority,” President Jokowi said at the opening of a closed-door Cabinet meeting. He noted that while Indonesian consumers were now starting to understand their rights, they were still unable to fight for them.”
Presumably that’s “due to a lack of knowledge of existing consumer protections.”
There may be some confusion about this, but it’s probably something to do with the International dateline.
Whatever, since then, I’ve posted something here, albeit originally on Blogger, nigh on 2,500 times, adapted a book about Jakarta – twice, edited four others, proofread theses, magazine articles, company docs et al, been interviewed by local and international media, and been criticised by silly asses who don’t know that ‘ass’ in British English does not mean rump, buttocks, bum or bottom.
Anyway, and to give a plug to my music blog and IndoJazzia, the jazz site I curate, here’s a small compilation of tracks from my archives which have a connection with 13.
“It is much like all the high streets across the UK,” says photographer Jim Grover. “A traditional part of everyday British life with all the features we’d expect: a post office, hairdressers, pubs and familiar chains such as Sainsbury’s, Superdrug, Boots, Oddbins and McDonald’s.
Yep, that’s how I remember it.
“But as I have immersed myself in this project, I have discovered an unusual street where some very different worlds are seeking to coexist.“
But then I never explored its night life like he did.
“World Sleep Day® is an annual event ……. energized by sleep professionals all over the world.”
Well, maybe not in Indonesia. Last year, there was a ‘delegate‘ who made “a booth with some bedroom accessories on the Car Free Day at Dago Road in Bandung“.
This year what you are reading may be the only celebration of what is one of the more important ‘world days’. And I say that in all seriousness despite the New Age-y slogan chosen for this year.
Now it may make more sense to you to have a National Sleep Night, but that’s because you aren’t aware of what a serious problem lack of sleep can be to your health. Doctors know that and those who deal with sleep disorders are also qualified in such subjects as Neurosonology, Neurovascular and Neurooncology.
This is “a quarterly scientific journal published by Perhimpunan Dokter Paru Indonesia (PDPI) or Indonesian Society of Respirology (ISR) and is focusing on pulmonology and respiratory care topics.
The publishing acknowledgement is in accordance to the Decree of Ministry of Information, of Republic of Indonesia (Surat Keputusan Menteri Penerangan RI) Number 715/SK/DitjenPPG/SST/1980 dated 9 May, 1980.
The journal is accredited as A-grade in accordance to the Decree of Directorate-General of Research and Development Reinforcement, of Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education, of Republic of Indonesia (Surat Keputusan Direktur Jenderal Penguatan Riset dan Pengembangan, Kementerian Riset, Teknologi, dan Pendidikan Tinggi Republik Indonesia) Number 2/E/KPT/2015 dated 1 December, 2015.
With official permission such as that you’ll know that dealing with sleep disorders is a serious matter. This page of links to academic pages offers further proof.
One example refers to a sleep disorder among East Jakarta’s traffic police which “might be correlated withobstructive sleep apnea(OSA) which causes dangerous pauses in breathing during sleep.” Actually, OSA is interruptions in breathing while sleeping!
If you want more accurate info, download the Toolkit(doc). Amid the wealth of information there are 10 Commandments, one of which says “do not smoke”. On Wednesday, President Jokowi killed the tobacco bill much favoured by legislators and their tobacco industry lobbyist paymasters.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla is also doing something to help. As chairman of the Indonesian Mosque Council, he regularly urges the lowering of their loudspeaker volumes “as part of efforts to promote peace and harmony.” Caretakers of the mosques in the vicinity of Jakartass Towers have got the message.
Now, if Pak Kalla could do something about the muffle-less motorbikes which set off car alarms then I could get a better night’s sleep.
This is creative noise which you don’t have to listen to.
And this is a downloadable compilation of ‘sleep’ music from my archives.
Civilian: “How long will this take?” Bureaucrat: “Two weeks or ten working days.”
I’ve had that mantra repeated to me for the past fifteen months, of which I’ll say more later.
I visited Bank Indonesia to deposit a letter requesting an urgent meeting. Naturally I should have remembered that bureaucrats clock in and clock out as if they are metronomes, so I shouldn’t have gone there twenty minutes before noon – lunch time.
“Send an email,” I was advised.
So I did, and this was what I received by return …
Four months later I received the letter notifying me about the requested meeting – it gave sufficient advance notice, but took three days to cross town by courier. A legless war veteran would have been quicker.
The meeting I requested took place ahead of a ‘Fasilitasi’. I’d wanted to know if that would be a waste of time … and so it proved thanks to a mixture of ‘alternative facts’ offered without proof. That the one piece of photographic ‘evidence’ produced verified what I’d been saying for over a year was not taken into consideration. Nor were the many possible alternative scenarios.
(The details of my unfinished saga are sub judice for now.)
“To see the self as deceiving itself has seemed the only way to explain what might otherwise be incomprehensible – a person’s failure to acknowledge what is too obvious to miss.” Bok, 1989, p. 60 (pdf)
While there has been a rush to explain and remedy the unethical corporate practices that now seem commonplace, one of the newest entrants – the psychological processes behind unethical decision making – appears to be the most promising.
This is all a bit academic for Jakartass, but labelling this process as Ethical Fading* makes it a bit clearer. However, given that research into it goes back at least fifty years, and that it is prevalent in most countries now, does lttle to encourage hopes for the future. We regularly hear about this service and that going online, but it must not be forgotten that there’s someone at the far end and all you might have saved are a few hours stuck in traffic.
And that’s time spent downloading forms, printing them, realising that 2mm high boxes for your name and address are w-a-a-y too narrow, and that you’ve then got to scan the completed forms, print them as a pdf file and send them back. But the internet is down, and when it isn’t, you haven’t got the bandwidth.
So you telephone, talk to a bot … oh, and hang-it-all … you go to the office, request a meeting, and are told to send an email … which is received by a Customer Care Centre and you get an automated reply like the one above.
*The easily digestible master’s degree thesis is focussed on the corporate world, and there is a substantial difference between corporate employees and civil servants. My last post highlighted the ‘me first’ attitude among the supposedly civil servants. This, thankfully, is slowly undergoing a change in mindset through the efforts of some regional governors and the national government. However, the corporate world in Indonesia is slow to acknowledge the need to service its customer/client base.
There was a time when wronged and uncompensated consumers would get results from a letter to the print media. However, newspapers now have a much lower circulation and face stiff competition from online social media. Here in Indonesia online complainants about bad service are liable to be sued for defamation.
fr. this page In 2008, Indonesia issued a Law on Electronic Information and Transactions (“Law No. 11 of 2008”). In Article 27 paragraph 3 in conjunction with Article 45 paragraph 1, and Article 36 in conjunction with Article 51 paragraph 2 Law No. 11 of 2008 has criminal sanctions for defamation on the internet, which is 6 years’ imprisonment, or 12 years’ imprisonment, if the defamation causes harm or losses to others.
In implementing Law No.11 of 2008, most Indonesian cyber law practitioners and scholars have related such provisions to Article 310 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (“KUHP”) specifically Article 310 paragraph 1, which reads: “Whoever intentionally harms a person’s honor or reputation with an accusation about a specific matter with a real intention to publish such accusation shall be sentenced for defamation to nine months of imprisonment and a fine of Rp 4,500.”
I won’t therefore name the ‘customer’, the bank or its branch where she sought a loan to meet immediate needs. With a land certificate as collateral, she filled in the forms and then waited the requisite two (plus one) weeks. Not having heard back, she returned to the branch where she was told that the loan had been refused because she was older than 55, the cut off point.
Now why wasn’t she told that immediately on her first visit?
I can only surmise that complacency and prevarication are written in to job descriptions, along with fake smiles.
Corporate staff have less job security, and are also prepared to change companies for a higher salary. They are also employed to protect the bottom line, the profits which are proffered to shareholders, the priority stakeholders within the company. Those of us not prepared to gamble on the stock exchange are often viewed and treated as fools to be fobbed off with advertorials extolling Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes and Buy Five, Get One Free promotions.
There is a Consumer Protection Law(pdf), Law No.8 1999, but it is little known among the populace, and its terms are blithely ignored as there is too little in the way of an infrastructure to enforce consumer rights.
Consumer Dispute Settlement Boards (Badan Penyelesaian Sengeta Konsumen – BPSK) were established by Presidential Decree No. 90 of 2001. Their decisions are final and binding on both parties, although they are “committed to resolve the problems of consumers on the basis of win-win solution.” They can only rule on “compensation directly experienced by consumers due to the fault or negligence of businesses.” Immaterial compensation, i.e. other losses incurred as a consequence of the business’ fault or negligence cannot be handled by BPSK.
These eleven – if there are more, please let me know – Bandung, Central, North and West Jakarta, Makassar, Medan, Semarang, Palembang, Surabaya, Yogyakarta and Malang, which was inaugurated on August 18, 2016 – appear to average a dozen settlements a month. After sixteen years, one would have expected a lot more.
Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen Indonesia (YLKI) is the national consumers organisation and was established as far back as May 11th 1973. They say that their main activities are mainly in the form of study, research, survey, education and publishing, advocacy, seminar, empowerment of the consumer society, and development and community assistance. They have limited resources, seek public donations and operate out of a backstreet house in south Jakarta and are staffed by young interns, albethey law graduates. Therefore, in terms of helping consumers get redress they can only offer advice. Find them on Facebook here.
Is there a conclusion?
There will be in my personal saga, but I can no longer describe myself as an “unashamed idealist”. I doubt that society will change in time to prevent the catastrophic events reducing humanity to pre-industrial revolution lifestyles. Rising sea-levels, the 20 million facing famine and starvation in Somalia, the proxy wars which lead to arms races are upon us now … and the process of turning us into consuming sheep began nearly 100 years ago …