That was the week that was for me …
That was the week that was for me …
The Harvesters, oil on wood by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565.
This panel belongs to a series and the cycle originally included six paintings showing the times of the year. Bruegel’s series is a watershed in the history of western art, the religious pretext for landscape painting has been suppressed in favor of a new humanism.
The Met Museum in New York has released 375,000 images from their collection to the public domain for free and unrestricted use: slideshow.
Link to Met Museum’s artworks in the public domain.
Civil Rights 2a is here.
The following oligarchs have controversial track records in managing their palm oil holdings, and have also established education institutes named after their conglomerates and, in the case of one, himself.
*The aim of training ‘leaders’ is stated in the ‘brochure’ website of each of their educational institutes. In other words, they are inculcating their own personal values – which put vast profits before the rakyat not on their gravy trains.
Established by Eka Tipta Widjaja, the palm oil sector of the Sinar Mas conglomerate is under the umbrella of Golden Agri-Resources (GA-R), which is headquartered in Singapore. It has the largest area of palm oil plantations in Indonesia under the sub-umbrella of PT Smart Tbk. which is listed on Jakarta’s Bursa Efek (Stock Exchange). Although publicly committed to a zero deforestation policy, GA-R has a chequered history.
Another company founded by Eka Tipta Wijaya is Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) which as a result of the 1997 Asian financial crisis (krismon) defaulted on more than $10 billion of deb. Since then, the company has been at the center of many environmental controversies and has been accused of being involved in illegal logging in Cambodia, China, and Indonesia.
– In June 2012, APP published a sustainability roadmap representing its zero deforestation commitments: but APP is still continuously monitored by international environmental NGOs.
– In 2013 it was reported (p.13. WWF report) that Sinar Mas had a processing mill in what was the forest around the protected Tessa Nila forest complex in Riau. Also (p.4 ibid) APP had a plywood factory. With the increased economic value of the two commodities, illegal palm oil plantations encroached in the protected area.
Sinar Mas World Academy
Vision: “To shape the future as a dynamic learning community that embraces Asia and engages globally.”
“A sound mind, a sound body …”
So those with physical and/or mental handicaps are not acceptable?
“… ability of life-long learning …”
If you’re not learning, you’re already dead.
“… an optimistic attitude towards life and a strong sense of social responsibility.”
Open to interpretation and/or indoctrination.
– We will engage with our learning community.
– We will act as members of our learning community.
Two statements with basically the same meaning.
– We will thrive as leaders.*
Budi and Michael Hartono have been the richest oligarchs in Indonesia for several years, Their Djarum Group has expanded from tobacco into palm oil via PT Hartono Plantations Indonesia (HPI), “which presides over tens of thousands of hectares in Kalimantan” but doesn’t seem to have a company website. The link suggests that through seven companies, mainly in West Kalimantan, HPI’s palm oil holdings at the end of 2013 totalled 85,225 hectares (Roughly 859 square kilometres/330 square miles = 25% larger than Jakarta.)
HPI does not appear to be a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which, since 2004, “has been transforming the palm oil industry in collaboration with the global supply chain, to put it on a sustainable path.”
Getting more information about Djarum Group’s palm oil activities depends on the websites of sub-contracted companies, such as elma which offers “trustworthy natural services services“.
Such as …
“Djarum is committed to realizing Indonesia’s potential to become a well-rounded world citizen through the Djarum Foundation operates a number of programs in selected fields that have been chosen for their potential to make a positive difference to society. Specifically, Djarum Foundation promotes excellence through community, sport, environmental conservation, educational and cultural expression programs.”
Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but the feel good factor built into all these programmes ensures that the Djarum tobacco brands remain in the mind’s eye for all those susceptible to their addictive products. One would think that their Sports Initiative would be counter-productive. But no: “since 1969 Djarum has actively supported badminton, arguably Indonesia’s best sport. Furthermore, since 1992, nine PB Djarum athletes have scored Olympic medals for the nation, a record to be proud of.”
[Note: just 30 Olympic medals have been win by Indonesians.]
Their Environmental Initiatives are well co-ordinated and, it could be said, essential. Their co-ordinated corporate T-shirts worn by volunteers (or staff?) aren’t..
Since 1984, through Djarum Scholarship Plus, the foundation has given “both financial support and soft skills training to good graduates with bachelor degrees, honing recipients’ abilities and skills to become intellectual leaders. As such, it is hoped that recipients can widen their horizons and develop the emotional and intellectual skills necessary to build Indonesia into a strong country capable of rising to future challenges.“.
[Click for the full-sized image of a carefully posed Djarum ‘Leadership Development’ session.]
Putera Sampoerna gained his wealth as heir to the Sampoerna cigarette company (PT HM Sampoerna Tbk.) which he led from 1978 until 2000, when he was replaced by his son Michael. In 2005 he sold 97% of his family’s shares, and thus the company itself, to Philip Morris International which in the past had been charged with money laundering and racketeering.
After the sale, Putera and his family founded investment company Sampoerna Strategic which has businesses in the telecommunications, agriculture, forestry, and the micro-finance industry.
PT Sampoerna Agro TBK (SGRO) is their palm oil business.
As of September 2016 SGRO had 137,995 hectares of land. The company says it is committed to create a harmonious and balanced business practice through the triple bottom line concept (3P – People, Planet, Product) … which … serve as a foundation and belief that welfare creation is the peak of a sustainable business performance.
SGRO does not have a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy with its CPO buyers: Golden Agri-Resources, Louis Dreyfous, Wahana Citra Nabati.
It claims to preserve High Conservation Value areas, yet the company does not make known the amount of preserved hectares.
In August 2016 the company was ordered to pay $76 million over fires that burned across one of its concessions in Riau province in 2014.
Putera Sampoerna Foundation
I wrote at some length three years ago about the PSF, and my posts remain high in the ‘top posts’ list in the right side bar. Read Putera Sampoerna – Saint or Sinner? online here or download a pdf file.
Sampoerna Strategic HQ, Jakarta
Click for larger image.
If the walls inside this historic building could talk, they’d tell of serious agendas, of wars and peace talks, of wealth and poverty, of winners and losers … the whole spectrum of life.
Now they can add another chapter: tales of nepotism, bigotry, racism, misogyny and greed, all within one package: farce.
Quote of the Week
Donald Trump: a man so obnoxious that karma may see him reincarnated as himself.
– Frankie Boyle
Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
A mass of discarded traffic cones is revealed on the banks of the river Thames in London during low tide.
I took as my premise in Part 1 David Attenborough’s definition of democracy: “What we mean by parliamentary democracy is surely that we find someone we respect who we think is probably wiser than we are, who is prepared to take the responsibility of pondering difficult things and then trust him – or her – to vote on our behalf.“
I share that idealistic notion, yet neo-capitalism (aka ‘globalisation’), the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, is the reality in much of the world, including Indonesia. This was foretold sixty years ago in Aldous Huxley‘s 1958 Preface to Brave New World.
“Impersonal forces over which we have almost no control … are being consciously accelerated by representatives of commercial and political organizations who have developed a number of new techniques for manipulating, in the interest of some minority, the thoughts and feelings of the masses.”
I concluded Part 1 of this series with the suggestion that the rakyat (citizenry / masses) are mere disposable serfs. “Because national economic development remains superior in local developments, the private sector seems to have more power than local participants.”
So, who determines “national economic development”?
There is obvious collusion between the Indonesian business-political and judicial ‘elite’. There are State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in many fields, yet what could be expected to be ‘public’ concerns, e.g. hospitals, roads, transport, are privatised. There are vast sums at stake, both in the awards of construction contracts and in the provision of the services to manage them.
Not all the collusion is corrupt on the scale of Rolls-Royce (pdf), or that of the Constitutional Court judge and former Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar. I term much of the business sector’s “manipulation” as ‘moral corruption’ because certain activities are a mask, a thin veneer to deflect attention from how a decreasing number of oligarch controlled conglomerates are amassing the wealth of the nation.
The 2015 World Bank report Indonesia’s Rising Divide (pdf) gives these stats:
– a mere 0.2 percent own 74 percent of the land.
– the richest 1 percent own 50 percent of the country’s wealth.
In essence the report states that “fifteen years of sustained economic growth in Indonesia have helped to reduce poverty and create a growing middle class. Yet growth over the past decade has primarily benefitted the richest 20% and left behind the remaining 80% of the population – that is 205+ million people.”
Huxley’s “some minority” regularly feature in the Forbes List of the 50 Richest Indonesians. Most have made their fortune from the land they ‘own’: palm oil plantations, tobacco, mines et al.
In 2007, Law No. 40, 2007 on Limited Liability Companies was promulgated. Through it, Indonesia became the first nation in the world to adopt a mandatory approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It took another five years for implementing regulations to be passed into company law.
Government Regulation 47/2012 stipulates that all companies that manage or utilise natural resources or that impact natural resources are required to bear a social and environmental responsibility which is harmonious and balanced with the surroundings and the local society according to the values, norms and culture of that society.
Obligations include the preservation of the function of the environment pursuant to the law along with its implementing regulation regarding natural resources or matters pertaining to natural resources as well as the ethics of running a company.
So, is it effective? Or do the One Percent offer a nationalistic veneer through publicity of the ‘good’ they are doing on behalf of the country?
For my analysis, read Civil Rights 2b (Business People) – coming soon
But you could start with this (pdf) ….
Jatiluwih rice terraces in Tabanan, Bali.(shutterstock.com/ALINAT17/File)
On Bali, building height is measured by coconut trees because locals believe that anything taller would anger the Gods. Plans to renovate a decades old hotel and turn it into a bigger six-star resort, complete with a tower and an upgraded golf course, are causing some anxiety. It is not only because plans include purchasing some of the land in Tabanan pictured above.
From the lobby of the current resort, guests can look out to the 16th-century Tanah Lot temple, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, perched precariously on an offshore rock, said to have been built as a shrine by a traveler who founded a Hindu priesthood in Bali.
Donald Trump’s company has paired with MNC Group founder Hary Tanoesoedibjo to build the Trump International Hotel and Tower Bali which they say will be the largest resort on the island.
Tanoesoedibjo was on the guest list for Trump’s inauguration in Washington, DC, and has touted his friendship with Trump’s children.
He also has his own political party, and his smug countenance and that of his Stepford wife, regularly interrupt programmes with party political infomercials.
The country’s press law includes an article specifically guaranteeing newsroom independence, but it is never enforced. Media Nusantara Citra (MNC) runs several TV stations and two newspapers and producers working in MNC’s newsrooms say Tanoesoedibjo regularly summons them to meetings to ask for favourable coverage of his business interests.
As national and local newspapers and TV stations have been conglomerated there is less room for independent investigative journalism. Jakartass is but an opinionated observer, quoting reliable sources such as this one.
So I offer the above as a public service.
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