Selamat siang! Here is AIYA’s selection of the best reading on Indonesia and the Australia-Indonesia relationship to keep you informed and entertained over the weekend.
- The issue of people smuggling continues to dominate news coverage of the Australia-Indonesia relationship this week. The Australia Network’s Jakarta correspondent Helen Brown (@hbrown10) reports that the Minister for Law and Human Rights, Amir Syamsuddin, has announced that Iranian citizens will no longer be able to access Indonesia’s Visa-on-Arrival service, which the Australian Government saw as facilitating the use of Indonesia as a transit point for asylum seekers.
- Good news for Australian beef producers and Indonesian shoppers—Indonesia has signalled that it urgently wants to import 25,000 head of cattle to bring down the skyrocketing price of beef, of which there has been a shortage in recent months.
- Australian wheat growers will also be pleased by this Reuters report, which explains how many Indonesians are incorporating more wheat-based foods in their diet—either through eating more Western foods, or replacing (increasingly costly) rice with mass-produced wheat noodles.
- SBS correspondent Rhiannon Elston highlights how Indonesia struggles to respond effectively to drug addiction despite recent reforms to legislation, with harsh laws leading to overcrowded prisons in which drug use and the spread of HIV remains common.
- Bloomberg reports on efforts to boost the number of women holding political office in Indonesia. Though there are signs of progress as some parties endorse gender quotas, it’s clear that there’s a long way to go before female representation in politics is up to scratch.
- File this one under ‘boom watch’: the Hilton hotels group wants to cash in on the growth of Indonesia’s consumer class by significantly expanding its business in the country, according to this report in the Wall Street Journal.
- Human Rights Watch has criticised Indonesia’s Law on Mass Organisations, saying that the legislation—recently passed by the national parliament—could ‘infringe upon the rights to freedom of association, expression, and religion, and provide the government wide latitude to obstruct NGO work’.
In other news…
- If you ever owned a Datsun…well, you might be a bit old for the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association. But we can all share in some nostalgia as Nissan will soon relaunch the brand in Indonesia and other developing markets, catering to new middle class motorists with the super-cheap Datsun Go. A sign of increasing prosperity, for sure, but one wonders how Indonesia’s already traffic-choked cities will cope as car ownership becomes increasingly affordable.
- Thanks to an AIYA Facebook friend who introduced us to Indonesia Tempo Dulu, a Facebook page which regularly sources and shares lovely old photographs and postcards from Indonesia and the Dutch East Indies. Have a look!
- The unconventional, challenging and slightly controversial documentary The Act of Killing—which explores the legacy of the 1965-66 political massacres in Indonesia—premiered in the United States this week, getting good press in the New York Review of Books and the Wall Street Journal amongst other places. After having its Australian premiere at the Sydney International Film Festival last month, it will be screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival on 28 July and 3 August.
- Applications to be part of the inaugural Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth (CAUSINDY) in Canberra on 17-20 October are still open. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet with academics, business leaders and other young people at the forefront of building people-to-people relationships between Australia and Indonesia.