FAITH IN INDONESIA

FAITH IN INDONESIA
The shape of the world a generation from now will be influenced far more by how we communicate the values of our society to others than by military or diplomatic superiority. William Fulbright, 1964

Monday, August 07, 2017

50 YEARS OF ASEAN - AND WHAT'S TO SHOW?

 Image result for ASEAN logo                                                
Defending a toothless talkfest       


ASEAN is a dog’s breakfast.  The weird grouping of ten Southeast Asian nations with little in common other than a loosely defined geographical location and a history of rule by foreigners is easy to mock.
There’s no one market, currency, defence force, local language or position on Chinese adventures in the region of around 650 million. ASEAN’s infrequent communiqués are bland wishlists, not firm demands.
Members include communist states, military dictatorships, emerging democracies and feudal regimes.  The tiniest is Brunei with only 420,000; the giant is Indonesia with a population 600 times greater.
Despite its size and strategic importance ASEAN has little clout when measured against NATO, the European Common Market, ANZUS and the other defence and trade pacts dominated by the US and European powers.
After half a century its achievements are hard to catalogue.

Though not for former Indonesian Foreign Minister Dr Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa (far right with author); he sees the group as far more than an expensive chatathon for elite bureaucrats.
“ASEAN is indispensible,” he told Strategic Review.  “Without it divisions and distrust would still rock the region.  It has been resilient – I think indispensible.

“However it could become irrelevant if it doesn’t initiate policies and see these through.  Indonesia has the responsibility to lead and must do so. 

“If we go AWOL then ASEAN projects on human rights would stop.  There’s a need to prod. We can’t let things just drift, nor can we throw our weight around.  At the same time it’s not good enough for us to do all the heavy lifting.”

Before becoming emissary for the world’s third largest democracy (after the US and India) Natalegawa was the Ambassador to the United Kingdom and later Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, 

The career diplomat lost his job when President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo took office in 2014 and gave the position to little-known Retno Marsudi the former Ambassador to the Netherlands.

She’s also an ASEAN fan though warned against ‘failures to maintain unity and centrality’.  In a recent op-ed for The Jakarta Post she claimed this could lead to the group becoming ‘a proxy ground for major powers’ but didn’t back this with names and details.

Unlike his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Jokowi has shown little interest in foreign affairs, preferring to repair his nation’s crumbling and over-stressed infrastructure and its clumsy and often corrupt bureaucracy.

For five years Natalegawa was the voice of reason during the regular crises that bedevil foreign affairs everywhere, but particularly among nations with widely differing histories, and ambitions.

That includes ASEAN – but Natalegawa sees great potential where others observe inertia.  He likes to talk about ‘waging peace, prosperity and democracy’ without the phrase sounding trite.

 A favorite term is ‘transformative’ which is sufficiently ill-defined to be a handy tool in any diplomat’s word kit – but again it is use that matters. Natalegawa can even deliver clichés with enough conviction to smother cynicism.

The gist of his message is that ASEAN is a place where key ministers get to know their foreign counterparts – hopefully well enough to count back rather than count down when philistines start threatening. 

For taxpayers funding the junkets / seminars that all seems nebulous; but like British wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill said:  ‘Jaw-jaw is better than war-war’.

Although only 54 Natalegawa claims to be enjoying life in retirement with his Thai wife Sarnia Bamrungphong.  The couple have three children and a new grandchild. However he’s now an appointed member of the UN High-Level Panel on Global Response to Health Crises and has seats at other forums.

He doesn’t appear to suffer from the post-power syndrome that infects many high flyers and dismissed suggestions that he’s now an eminence grise doing the campus circuits.  He doesn’t tweet instant advice.

This interview was held during a lunch break at a closed-door session on Indonesia-Australia relations run by a local think-tank at the University of Western Australia.

Here Natalegawa has extra expertise.  He graduated from the Australia National University in 1994 with a doctorate and in 2016 an honorary degree from the same campus for his ‘visionary leadership.’

He dedicated the award to his children and journalist wife for their support during his career.  The couple met at the London School of Economics.

While a student in Canberra, the hot-house of Australian politics, he refined his understanding of the Anglosphere cultivated as a teen at the Anglican Ellesmere College in Britain. (Motto – ‘Striving for one’s country’). 

These insights have been valuable as he handled the regular tensions that trouble the neighbors, from terrorist outrages through animal welfare issues and even personal insults.

In 2013 Liberal Party strategist and pollster Mark Textor criticised Indonesia's outrage at reports Australian spies were bugging the phones of President Yudhoyono and his wife Ani.
Textor tweeted: ‘Apology demanded from Australia by a bloke who looks like a 1970's Pilipino [sic] porn star and has ethics to match’.
In reality the urbane Natalegawa comes across as the consummate diplomat too sophisticated so swat flies. Also absent is the aloofness donned by lesser lights in his old department.

“We have yet to find equilibrium, but we must keep trying,” he said.  “Both sides need to listen to each other more.  The era of Australian megaphone diplomacy identified by the late President Gus Dur (Abdurrahman Wahid) no longer applies.

“All the Australian academics and public officials I meet seem committed to an honest and sterling effort to improve relationships. Most are polite to a fault; they have genuine empathy and are well informed on Indonesia and the questions from history. 

“That’s not always the case with Indonesians.  We have yet to find the equilibrium so there’s a need for us to know Australia better.  That means improved education so we can communicate and explore issues through two ways.

“We should not be afraid of policy failures; the new normal is uncertainty. We do need to recognize the importance of ideas with an open mind using creativity and integrity. That’s also an individual responsibility.”

First published in Strategic Review 7 August 2017.  See: http://sr-indonesia.com/web-exclusives/view/defending-a-toothless-talkfest


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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

BRAIN DRAIN

Go south, young scholar                                                                   
When Kristiarto Legowo stood to open an academic conference in the South Australian capital of Adelaide he must have wondered: Have I really moved out of my homeland to take this posting?
For most of the hundred faces that the Republic’s new Ambassador to Australia could see were clearly Indonesian and young.  The few Caucasians in the lecture theater were mainly middle aged and beyond, white shocks among dark mops.
Why had so many of his compatriots flown 4,600 kilometers south to the Indonesia Council’s Open Conference at Flinders University when the small cluster of Westerners could have travelled north to a similar event? With access to higher wages, paid leave, travel allowances, study grants and stipends their journey would have involved little hardship.
In his first official engagement in the Great South Land Legowo told attendees that Indonesia should reverse the outflow and run similar conferences in the Republic.  His suggestion found wide acceptance, though wish and action don’t always cohabit well.
Getting them to come to us was also an attractive idea for those who’d funded their travel, like Bintar Mupiza and his three colleagues from the Indonesian Islamic University (IIU) in Yogyakarta. Although there was no registration fee the students paid Rp 15 million (US $1,120) each just to attend the two-day forum.
Many presenters were seasoned scholars keyboarding final references for their doctorates or post-docs and keen to defend findings before critics. However the two women and two men from IIU were undergraduates courageous enough to open up about venturing into research.
Their topics were equally challenging: Australia-Indonesia Relations, the Role of the Media on Foreign Policy Decision Making, and Measuring West Papua Independence Activists’ Rights in Indonesia’s Democracy.
Although still works in progress, the Gen Z youngsters’ contributions and their seriousness by finding the funds to fly drew compliments from senior scholars like Indonesian specialist Associate Professor Anton Lucas who used to run the Asian Studies Course at Flinders.
Since his retirement leadership has passed to Indonesian political scientist Dr Priyambudi Sulistiyanto.  Overseas academics are commonly found in Australian campus classrooms because the infusion of foreign talent is believed to enrich learning.
That’s seldom the situation in Indonesia where outsiders in the staff room are often feared as threats. Overseas academics visit to conduct research, meet colleagues and learn the language, but apart from volunteer work few teach; visa restrictions and low pay also deter. (Indonesian academic salaries are about one tenth of those in Australia.)
Foreigners are also faced with the reality that the Republic’s education system has a poor international reputation. Although government funding has risen and the numbers of Indonesian tertiary institutions rocketed, quality has remained earthbound. 
In 1950 Indonesia had ten institutions of higher education, including IIU; now there are more than 3,000 – though not all support the principles of intellectual exploration and critical thinking.
A couple have squeezed into the Times Higher Education Index of the world’s top 800 - the University of Indonesia (UI) and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).
 In Australia six of the nation’s 35 universities feature in the world’s top 100.  Australia has 11 Nobel prizewinners in science, medicine and the arts while Indonesia, with a population ten times greater has none.
According to a University of Geneva study released this year links between Indonesian and foreign universities are ‘noticeably underdeveloped’ when compared to Malaysia and Singapore.
Disincentives include poverty and language barriers because courses are taught in Indonesian.  This is slowly changing as major universities start using English in some seminars. At Yogyakarta’s Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) the Center for Security and Peace Studies is run by Indonesians teaching in English.
Collaboration could help lift standards; Flinders has formal partnerships with eight Indonesian colleges, and other campuses have developed ties.  However the Swiss report noted ‘quite stringent regulations that foreign universities must adhere to should they wish to establish a presence in Indonesia’.
So young Indonesians have to leave their homeland to set the right coordinates for future careers; the best places to showcase their talents are conferences.
Though not just any talkfest; a gathering of sharp minds in a McDonald’s café may yield splendid results just as ideas for independence were conceived last century by the nationalist Budi Utomo (noble endeavour) students in medical school classrooms, but attitudes have changed.
Professor Michele Ford from Sydney University warned participants in a postgraduate publishing workshop at the conference that to build a good CV they need to be careful about the journals they approach and seminars they attend.
The host and event must have a record of scholarship and preferably star speakers.  To get into that firmament usually means travelling overseas. 
More than a thousand Indonesians have graduated from Flinders.  Top names include Dr Pratikno, the former rector of Yogyakarta’s UGM and now Minister of the State Secretariat, and Dr Daniel Sparringa, former Senior Adviser in Public and Political Communication to the last Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Flinders is not the only university attracting Indonesians.  According to the Australian Embassy in Jakarta more than 8,500 – a quarter of all Indonesian tertiary students abroad -head south.  More Indonesians are squirreling away in Australian libraries than in Europe.
While nascent scholars are turning to the west, their Australian counterparts are shying away from the neighbors’ language and culture.  Government statistics show that fewer Australian students are studying Indonesian language and culture in their final high school terms than 40 years ago.
Professor Tim Lindsey of Melbourne University has said that if the enrolment slump continues Germany may have more universities teaching Indonesian than Australia.
So even if Indonesian universities learn how to play in the big league, follow Ambassador Legowo’s advice and start inviting their neighbors to fly north, few lunchboxes will be needed for visitors from Down Under.


The Indonesia Council is a professional association promoting study of Indonesian in tertiary education in Australia.  The author presented a paper at the Flinders conference.
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First published in The Jakarta Post 2 August 2017



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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

NO MORE MONKEYING AROUND

From killer to savior


It was never going to end well for at least one party: Four young men, three rifles and a single monkey.
Or so the hunters thought.
After the animal had been hit by about 20 rounds it seemed dead but was stuck in the top branches. Syamsul was the sharpest shot and might have joined the army to kill other primates had he not worn glasses.
So the bravest of the gallant woodsmen shinned up the tree to retrieve the cadaver for a meal.  Then he made a discovery that was to change his life.
The monkey had been executed for the crime of being simian but her baby was still clinging to its mother’s breast and life.  Shots had grazed its leg and face but done no lasting harm.
Syamsul took the little creature home and discovered compassion. He nursed it back to health and eventually gave it to a friend whose son wanted a pet.  He started thinking about the way he was behaving and his relationship with the natural world.
Syamsul no longer prowls the dense bush which cascades from his three-level home in a kampung flanking Brantas River in Malang.  When he hears men scouring the undergrowth with dogs and weapons he whistles to distract the pursuit.
He used to rain stones from a catapult onto the stalkers till dissuaded by his wife Suli who said he was being too aggressive. Certainly not appropriate behavior for the Buddhist convert and animal protector he’s become since his monkey moment decades earlier.

Syamsul is now an active member of an animal rescue and release field camp in East Java. (See breakout)
Syamsul (left) dedicates his work to his late mother Sutrisnowati who died of cancer in her early 50s.
“I was very close to my Mom,” he said.  “She was a wise person steeped in Javanese lore who taught me how to appreciate and honor our culture and people.  I’d dropped out of high school and just wandered around.  When she died and left me the house I set out to repair the damage I’d done.”
Syamsul is now helping rehabilitate langurs, which are often caged as pets, and so ease their suffering. He wants to encourage more care for the natural world but knows changing social behavior takes time and effort.  The Soeharto-era days of meek communities obeying government orders have gone. Instead he’s trying to alter by example.
This means using his talents as a musician and dalang (puppet master) to promote conservation under the stage name Kardjo.  He’s also mastered the art of wayang suket using dried mendong sedge (Fimbristylis globulosa) to weave the tiny figures.
He uses this skill while storytelling to emphasize the interconnectedness of nature and humanity, and by telling his animal adventure stories.
These include his first job relocating a crocodile and learning how to be wary of wildlife.  A colleague was badly kicked by a supposedly tame cassowary brought from West Papua by a returning soldier who found the bird too big to handle in suburbia.
It seemed docile – until the rescuers arrived; their intentions were good but not their planning.
“Returning animals to the wild has to be handled carefully,” said Syamsul watching field camp workers feed fresh-cut branches of acacia to the langurs living in a cluster of tall wire cages.
“Those born in captivity or captured young have lost foraging and survival skills. This is why we keep visitors away.  The langurs need to discover distrust.  They look ferocious when they make threatening faces but flee when that tactic fails.”
The field camp’s facilities include incubators, scales and a medicine cabinet.  The buildings are basic – dirt floors and bamboo walls but include a small library.

The workshop lists details of the seven males and 14 females going through the stages of acclimatisation. Rinda and Mira, Moses and Oat feature on a whiteboard but the volunteers, rostered to camp overnight as observers and security, try to avoid using names in their daily dealings.
“It makes the task so much harder if we develop emotional attachments,” said Syamsul.  “Our job is to ensure they can survive without our help. We wear masks and gloves and clean cages twice daily to avoid disease transmission.”
Langurs live in groups of five or six lorded by a dominant male; those who’ve spent years behind bars alone don’t know how to relate to others.  Watching how individuals interact with other langurs is critical prior to release which may come months after the animal is brought to the center.
So far more than 50, plus other creatures like the nocturnal loris have been released.  Although the center has access to only four hectares of forest leased from the government the langurs should be safe in the 100 hectare park where indigenous creatures are protected.
Apart from their attraction as pets, monkeys and langurs have been hunted because their meat is supposedly an aphrodisiac and cures skin diseases.  Although not grounded on fact the beliefs persist. East Javan langurs are now an endangered species with probably less than 3,000 in the wild.  As numbers fall values rise.
The illegal wildlife trade in Indonesia is now worth Rp13 trillion (US $975 million) a year according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

 (Breakout)
Opening the cages
Despite being in a heavily used holiday area in Central East Java, only the curious will discover the Javan Langur Center.  It’s tucked away from the foodstalls and sports grounds at the Coban Talun recreational park set 1,350 meters up in the cool and lumpy mountains around Batu.
Known locally as a field station it’s funded by the Aspinall Foundation, an international conservation charity ‘working in some of the world’s most fragile environments to save endangered animals and return them to the wild’.

It was founded in 1984 by John Aspinall, an eccentric British zoo owner and entrepreneur who made (and lost) fortunes though gambling.  He died in 2000.
The foundation has a center in West Bandung and two in East Java.  Last year 15 langurs were imported from zoos in Britain and France for return to the wild in East Java.
Leaf-eating langurs, frequently mistaken for monkeys, have long tails, often close to a meter and twice their body length.   Most have black fur but a few of the East Java variety are orange colored.

First published in The Jakarta Post 1 August 2017






Saturday, July 29, 2017

NOT LOOKING OUR BEST

Australia Plus doesn’t add                                                                   
Most nations strive to show their best sides to the world through international TV channels.  They see these as effective means of building rapport and dispelling distrust. 
On these platforms they serve documentaries, dramas and newscasts made to enhance their country’s real or imagined virtues.  BBC World, France24, Al Jazeera, NHK (Japan), Deutsche Welle and other telecasters offer vistas grand using serious money.
The French Government is reported to spend AUD$ 117 million a year on France 24 while Russia’s RT channel is believed to have an annual budget of US$ 300 million.    Now China is expanding its overseas reach with China Central Television (CCTV). The Voice of America has US$ 218 million, all from government funds.
We have Australia Plus, run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation with the help of Monash University, the Government of Victoria and Swisse - a food supplement manufacturer owned by a Hong Kong-based company.
Through this service we give the world the WotWots. Literally. Also Bananas in Pyjamas and Australian Rules played by no other country apart from a hybrid in Ireland. Yet we live in a region where projecting a positive image among the near neighbours is particularly important as the biggest in the block don’t like us.
According to a recent survey published by the USAsia Centre Indonesians responded to the question: Which country has the closest relationship with President Joko Widodo’s government? by putting Saudi Arabia first at 47 per cent, followed by China, and the US. Only two per cent said Australia.  Clearly we have problems.

Are we ashamed? Citizens may be, but our government is not. This is a new irresponsibility.  Our presentations to the Asia Pacific used to be different. For decades Australian governments believed that broadcasting and telecasting into the region was an important commitment, sowing ideas, informing and influencing. 
Radio Australia started in 1939 using shortwave, mainly to counter Japanese propaganda.  After the war it became a ‘soft power diplomacy tool’ in the jargon of foreign affairs. Other terms commonly found in the literature include ‘globally connected’ and ‘promotion of Australian values’.
Thousands developed their English skills huddled over crackling sets, particularly during the 1950s and 60s.  Technology forced changes. Satellites eclipsed land-based transmitters.  Rebrands became necessary but the vision remained and the mission expanded.
In 2006 Foreign Minister Alexander Downer announced that ABC Asia Pacific (formerly Australia Television International) would become Australia Network, with funding from Foreign Affairs and Trade plus advertising.
Downer said the ABC would run the network offering “high quality programmes about Australia and its engagement with the region.” Also promised were “extensive news and current affairs programmes, Australian-produced education, drama, entertainment and lifestyle programmes.” 
In 2011 the Labor Government called tenders to run Australia Network. The two main hopefuls were the ABC and Sky TV which had long campaigned to get the job.  When it seemed Rupert Murdoch’s company – no friend of Labor - would get the contract the tender process was scrapped and the job given to the ABC.
It was a short victory. After the Liberal-National Coalition won government in 2013 revenge was rapid - Australia Network was turned off. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the network ‘had failed to deliver a cost-effective vehicle’ but gave no facts to back the claim.
The then ABC managing director Mark Scott said the decision ‘sends a strange message to the region that the government does not want to use the most powerful communication tools available to it to talk to our regional neighbours about Australia’.
Killing the network may have satisfied a political ideology but a legal reality had to be faced: The ABC Charter requires it to be an international broadcaster so the gap had to be filled. Click onto Australia Plus. Image polishers have called it:
…an opportunity for Australian businesses and a case study in corporate entrepreneurship … an endeavour that should be applauded. It is a positive step for the broadcaster, for public institutions in general and for Australian business.
So far few corporates have clapped because their logos have yet to appear on Indonesian screens.  Absent from the sponsors are the 360 Australian businesses which launched a mighty assault on the Indonesian market in 2015 and again this year with 120 delegates.
The new service is believed to cost AUD $20 million a year with three ‘foundation partners’ – in the coy language of one report – ‘signing-on to advertising deals worth in the low single digit million dollar range’.  Presumably this means something between one and three million a year, so still a minority contribution.
As Australian leaders recite the mantra that Indonesia is our most important foreign relationship it might be logical to assume we’d be offering our best and brightest programmes selected specifically for the archipelago and other markets.
According to the ABC ‘the service is delivered as a single stream across all territories.  Programmes do not have separate versions for individual territories’.  So one size fits all in the 43 countries that get Australia Plus. This negates the ABC’s claim that ‘the ABC places the audience at the centre of everything it does’.
In Indonesia three pay-to-use cable services carry Australia Plus.  They get it free.  The ABC says it’s ‘available to three million people in Indonesia’ meaning that’s the number who pay for access to networks each offering 50 or more channels.
We are the closest Western nation to Indonesia with the ability to present a different perspective in the media jungle of Southeast Asia. Australia Plus says its mission is ‘to provide a television and digital service that informs, entertains and inspires our audience with an uniquely Australian perspective.’  Note the order of priorities.
Indonesian viewers comparing Australia Plus with other nations’ presentations might conclude that we’re a poor country offering an inconsistent fare and indifferent to audience needs. 
 This situation may not concern the Government but it appears to worry the ABC. In March this year it made an untitled submission to the Foreign Policy White Paper.  The document noted the expansion of the BBC World Service and other TV networks into overseas telecasting while reminding DFAT of some original principles:
Australia requires a strategy for engagement which enhances mutual understanding and respect and which encourages an exchange of ideas. Establishing strong cultural and social links with international populations will facilitate stronger economic ties and more productive collaboration.
Perhaps this late conscience-pricker might someday get a reaction.  However, so far nothing seems to stir the major parties. They enjoy ABC and SBS excellence at home and offer heart-warming statements about Australia being respected in the region.
If Australia’s overseas TV is supposed to project a robust Western democracy, a creative explorer of art and technology and a leader in education, then Australia Plus is a turn off. 
It could be a splendid showcase in Indonesia and the 42 other nations where it’s available, spreading Australian news, culture, values and opinions, equal to its international competitors. We have the skills and talent.  What we lack is political will.
(This feature is based on a paper presented at the Indonesia Council’s Open Conference at Flinders University this month.  The full text with references can be found here: http://indonesianow.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/australia-plus-is-minus-merit.html
First published in Asian Currents 26 July 2017.  See: http://asaa.asn.au/australia-plus-minus/











Tuesday, July 25, 2017

PEDAL POWER GETS MOVING

The politics of pushbikes
Jakarta cyclists are back-pedalling as commuting in the Big Durian gets too perilous, according to the NGO Bike to Work Indonesia. But it’s press ahead Down Under, as Duncan Graham reports.




Visitors to Adelaide have plenty of transport options.  They can jump on busses, taxis, trains and trams with some offering free rides; walking is a joy as the city is airstrip flat, not too windy - and this year seldom wet.
Or they can hire a bicycle during daylight hours – for no charge.
The South Australian capital claims to be the only city in the country offering this non-commercial service.  It started in 2005 with 20 bikes – now it has 400 available from 26 outlets – with most open seven days a week.
The show is run by the non-profit organization BikeSA which has expanded beyond the city center to nearby suburbs – though not yet to Yorketown.
So when the five-member Warren family arrived from their hometown 300 kilometers west of Adelaide they used two wheels to explore while learning lessons about the environment.
The local and state governments which fund the project are promoting cycling to reduce pollution from vehicle exhausts, keep citizens fit, eliminate congestion and eventually         park fossil-fuelled King Car and throw away the key.
Could it happen in Indonesia?  In smaller cities with committed leadership and a disciplined citizenry – meaning drivers stop at red lights and pedestrian crossings - a version of the Adelaide model could be trialled.
 However modifications would be necessary to cope with cultural differences, according to Christian Haag, CEO of BikeSA.
First a mindset change.  People who buy cars as status symbols and sneer at other road users won’t feel comfortable on a saddle until driving becomes more misery than fun through gridlocks and parking problems.
Commented Haag: “Bikes in the West are now seen as transport for smart people and not the poor; millennials concerned about the environment are making cycling trendy.
“About a thousand cities worldwide have a point-to-point system but ours is different.
 “Users have to return the bike to the collection point.  Now our fleet is ageing we may change the model using new machines with embedded GPS sensors so we can track movements.”
In point-to-point commuters leave bikes at train or bus stations for others to use.  The system has gone spectacular awry in some Chinese cities where hundreds of bikes have been dumped because there’s no docking system.
Meanwhile in cities like Brisbane in the Australian state of Queensland bikes in sidewalk racks are going unused because the credit and ID card system of unlocking and using is too complex. Australian law demands cyclists use helmets – not a requirement in cities like Amsterdam regarded as a world leader in bike use.
In Adelaide borrowers leave a driving license as security. Only two bikes a year are stolen, according to BikeSA coordinator Chelsea Austin.
“People return bikes because their licences are too valuable to lose,” she said. “We supply a locking device but sometimes borrowers forget to secure and the bike walks.”
Haag has studied systems overseas and forecasts an explosion of bike use as authorities work out the ideal way to get maximum usage with minimal hassle.
The big money and challenging ideas are coming from China where Ofo bikes are operating an Uber-style app system, now in Singapore. Users book bikes and are sent a code to unlock the machine.
“We’ll soon be scrapping our clunky but robust step-through bikes for new models, including pedal-assisted electric bicycles (known as Pedelec E-bikes)”, Haag said. “The cost will be up to AUD 500 (Rp 5 million) per unit wholesale, so we may have to start allowing advertising.
“We can buy cheaper bikes, around AUD 60 (Rp 600,000) each, but they won’t last.”
Most frames are made in China (35 million a year according to some reports) with European motors but demand is so strong manufacturing may start in Australia.
Public transport authorities who think traffic problems will be solved by getting commercial companies to open hire-bike centers will find their dreams punctured if they don’t spend on facilities.
In some parts of Adelaide there’s already a shortage of kerbside rails where bikes can be chained, so trees and street furniture are being used and annoying pedestrians.  Special cycleways complete with traffic lights just for riders have been installed to make pedalling pleasurable and safe. 
Community awareness programs are also essential. Cyclists can use sidewalks so the idea of shared-space has been promoted.  Motorists must allow a 1.5 meter gap between themselves and cyclists.
Haag is confident future public transport systems will become seamlessly integrated as the public sees benefits and demand action.
BikeSA offers visitors workshops on cycle maintenance, insurance policies and maps to guide their exploration of Adelaide.  A tour of religious centers includes a visit to the Adelaide Mosque, built in 1888 and the oldest major city mosque in Australia.
Haag doesn’t think licenses will be imposed by authorities hungry for revenue, though he said Oregon in the US plans to add a US $15 (Rp 200,000) tax on new bike sales.
“The economics are straight forward,” he said.  “The cost of moving people using conventional transport is continually rising. We need to make it easier to ride a bike than drive a car but we are not there yet.  Change needs leadership.”
Adelaide’s free bikes may soon be history as costs rise – but how will fees be imposed? Membership (difficult for visitors), credit cards, recharge cards, cash at a counter – these are issues still to be determined.
But Haag is convinced the Age of the Bike has arrived.  Though not yet in Jakarta.

(First published in The Jakarta Post 25 July 2017





Friday, July 14, 2017

PLASTIC PUPPETS ARE RUBBISH

Staging a trash show     
                                                 
Most of the props look familiar:  A white sheet, a sun gun and a jaunty tale-teller whose sage features set the mood for an authentic shadowplay. 
Although the characters that jerk and spin their way across the screen resemble traditional wayang characters there are notable differences. The flat features and curly coiffures prompt recognition, though not the colors.
They are too gaudy; they lack finesse. Which suits the message and messenger just fine.  For there’s not a lot of understatement in Jumaali’s Trash Theater starring the All New Plastic Puppets of Marvellous Malang, though he prefers to call his knockabout show Dharmakandha
The ancient Hindu word has so many literal and metaphorical senses that scholars wrestle with the subtleties. Jumaali is more pragmatic; he translates it as ‘good news’.
Ki (the title is a respectful recognition of knowledge) Jumaali, 49, (above with son Damar) looks the part with white turban and black gear.  He graduated from Yogyakarta’s prestigious Institut Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Arts Institute) after studying theater.
He started experimenting with puppets more than 20 years ago using the standards – cowhide, goatskin and buffalo leather.  All have to be well cured and flexible enough to be cut, shaped, perforated, trimmed, colored and finished with a character.
“I live near a trash dump so there’s no shortage of raw materials,” he said.  (The latest published estimates claim Indonesians consume 15.7 billion liters of bottled water a year and sends millions of empties to landfill.)

 “The best animal skins needed for wayang kulit are getting expensive and hard to source.
“I got the idea for using plastics when thinking about the way we are treating the environment and wondered if we could use some of the throwaways differently.
“It took a lot of experiments before I learned how to squash the water bottles and keep them flat.  I stamped on them, sat on them and hammered them. Now I use a steam electric clothes iron protected from the plastic by paper to smooth them into shape. 
“I can make about 50 puppets from a kilo of discards. I then apply a semi transparent paint to add color.”
There’s nothing arty-crafty about his puppets which are known as bolak balik, meaning they can be shown on both sides – but also implying different interpretations. They still look like wrinkled plastic, moving parts hinged with rivets, the lot tarted up to fit a tradition. 
The music comes from a tambourine.  Dalang (puppet masters) have to be multi-talented – flicking and flying the marionettes, telling the story with verve, sometimes singing and enhancing the mood with sound effects.
When he’s not behind the screen he’s in front declaiming verse in the bluster style now favored in cafes where poets cluster.

Jumaali’s stories include anecdotes about caring for nature and puzzling over lifestyles and religion.  He wonders why God didn’t instruct animals to fast like human beings.  In one scene the white sheet is filled by an image of a multi-hued blossomy tree, a delight to the eye. 
Enter an axeman.  The tree falls and vanishes. The feller flees. The screen is empty.   No doctorate in conservation required to get the point.
“I give performances everywhere, from foreign embassies in Jakarta to poor schools in the country,” he said. “I think what I do is unique.
“My tales are about our responsibility to nature and maintaining cleanliness, to cooperate and communicates, to be polite and helpful.  I hand out the puppets and let the kids play with them.  They are not precious and almost sacred objects like traditional leather puppets so can take rough treatment.
“With students I get them to name characters, develop stories and make their own wayang kulit, to develop their imagination.  I want to keep art accessible to grassroots people. 
“Wayang kulit performances in Yogyakarta are getting elitist, almost feudal. I can’t draw so I had to look for other ways to express myself.”
Jumaali was raised in Malang where his father and other relatives were involved in teaching silat and believes his move into theater was a reaction against the martial arts, though he stresses he was never hurt when his Dad practised.

Jumaali has a crafty family.  His teenage son Damar tags along to events involving children and is now playing with characters made from cardboard.  His wife Ariyani Pratiwi makes handicrafts from trash.
“We are now in an era where brands are almost sacred and halal (checked for religious purity). Names have become more important than the product and the purpose for which it was designed,” he said.
“That’s something I don’t like so I want to help them expand their creativity.  I don’t want to be a lecturer. I say: ‘Please be happy with what you have and not be greedy. Make your own entertainment.’”
 (Breakout)
Out of the shadows
Wayang probably came from India with Hinduism 19 centuries ago, but developed its own style and character, adding new figures and stories.
Originally performed in the royal courts of Java and Bali the puppets soon clambered over palace walls and into the lives of ordinary folk as a popular pastime.  Other islands in the archipelago found wayang appealing so picked up the skills and added new versions.
Jumaali’s puppets may be dismissed by purists but his innovations are faithful to a tradition of adaptation; had the art remained statistic it would not have survived.
In the days before radio and TV wayang performances were a popular means of spreading news and criticising authority in an oblique way to avoid censorship.  The shows often lasted all night – they now run for an hour or less depending on the audience.
In 2008 UNESCO added wayang kulit to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, putting the onus on the Indonesian government to ensure the art survives.

(First published in The Jakarta Post 14 July 2017)
##

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

AUSTRALIA PLUS IS MINUS MERIT

INDONESIA COUNCIL OPEN CONFERENCE
Flinders University 3 – 4 July 2017
Australia Plus doesn’t add**                                                            Duncan Graham*
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/94/Australia_Plus_logo.png
ABSTRACT
Despite a rapid rise in the use of smartphone apps an estimated 80 per cent of Indonesians still rely on television for news.[i]  This presents Australia with an opportunity to develop its Australia Plus channel to boost the presenting nation’s image and deliver accurate information about the country – as it once did with Radio Australia and Australia Television International.  In those days Australia believed that broadcasting into the Asia-Pacific region was important to sow ideas, counter falsehoods, develop friendships and influence opinions. 
 The chances of maintaining these principles are being lost as the underfunded Australia Plus service is showing poorly selected content often inappropriate for the market, particularly when measured against other international offerings. This paper examines how successive governments have quietly abandoned the idea that Australia has a responsibility to showcase its achievements and values – and why reviving this objective could help improve relationships with our nearest Asian neighbour.




·        Disclaimer: The author was employed by ABC TV and later Channel Nine as a current affairs reporter, producer and presenter. He also helped pioneer public broadcasting in WA and was founder-manager of Radio 6NR.  All long ago so relevant only for industry experience.
*Duncan Graham CV                                                                                                                                 Education: M Phil (UWA), Grad Dip Cultural Communication (Riverina), BA (Curtin)                              Currently employed: Freelance writer for English language media in Indonesia 2002 – present.  Currently in Malang, East Java  Australian citizen                                                                                                              Awards: (All in Australia): Walkley Award for Journalism; Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Media Award (Twice);  Equal Opportunity Commission Media Prize (Twice); Daily News Centenary Prize; Perth Press Club Award; MBE Health Award; WA Week Book Award (now the Premier’s Prize) for non-fiction.Published books: The People Next Door (UWA Press), Being Whitefella (ed) (FAC Press), Dying Inside (A & U). Doing Business Next Door (Wordstars).  Book project: The Tyranny of Proximity.
** This paper builds on a commentary published by New Mandala on 22 July 2016 as How Australia Plus became Australia Minus, See: http://www.newmandala.org/through-a-window-darkly/

Australia Plus doesn’t add
It’s common to start addresses with acknowledgements, so a big thank you to Monash University, the Government of Victoria,  food supplement manufacturer Swisse Wellness owned by a Hong Kong based company, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
These organisations are largely responsible for me and maybe a few other expats and some Indonesian Australiaphiles maintaining our enthusiasm for Bananas in Pyjamas, the WotWots and the AFL.  More seriously if the ABC and the three ‘foundation partners’ hadn’t bonded Australia might have an even more threadbare media presence overseas.[ii]
Radio and TV were once considered a vital part of the nation’s presentation of itself to the world and therefore the financial responsibility of the state.  But in 2014 the government suddenly gave the ABC 90-days notice that it would break its AUD 223 million deal to run the Australia Network.  Eighty staff – some in Asian news rooms – lost their jobs.
Why did the government do that?  As usual the answer is budget constraints, but the more realistic interpretation is politics, paybacks and placating Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited.
The ABC announced it this way:
The Australia Network has gone off the air after the Federal Government withdrew funding for the broadcaster earlier this year.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade cut Australia's international television service, which had broadcast content to 46 countries in the Asia and Pacific region including Solomon Islands, India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, in the May budget.
The ABC was one year into a ten-year contract to provide the service, which had a potential audience of 144 million people. [iii]
From the rubble has grown Australia Plus. Image polishers have called it:
…an opportunity for Australian businesses and a case study in corporate entrepreneurship … an endeavour that should be applauded. It is a positive step for the broadcaster, for public institutions in general and for Australian business.[iv]
So far few corporates have clapped because their logos have yet to appear on Indonesian screens.  If they thought it a ‘positive step’ they’d already be up several rungs.
First some background.
Our presentations to the Asia Pacific used to be different. For decades Australian governments believed that broadcasting and telecasting into the region was an important responsibility, sowing ideas, informing and influencing. 
Radio Australia started in 1939 using shortwave, mainly to counter Japanese propaganda.  After the war it became a ‘soft power diplomacy tool’ in the jargon of foreign affairs.[v] Other terms commonly found in the literature include ‘globally connected’ and ‘promotion of Australian values’.
Millions learned about Australia through RA; many tuned in to world news because local stations were censored.  RA was a trusted source in a region where facts were often scarce.[vi]
 Thousands developed their English skills huddled over crackling sets, particularly during the 1950s and 60s.  Technology forced changes. Satellites eclipsed land-based transmitters[vii].  Rebrands became necessary but the vision remained and the mission expanded.[viii]
In 2006 Foreign Minister Alexander Downer announced that ABC Asia Pacific (formerly Australia Television International) would become Australia Network, with funding from Foreign Affairs and Trade plus advertising.
It would reach 10 million homes and 200,000 hotel rooms in 41 countries; maybe one million viewers a month.
Downer said the ABC would run the network offering “high quality programmes about Australia and its engagement with the region.” Also promised were “extensive news and current affairs programmes, Australian-produced education, drama, entertainment and lifestyle programmes.”  Note the order of priorities.
The Minister included a homely metaphor with his Reithian principles:  ‘A key requirement of the service is to provide a credible and independent voice through programmes that present a 'window' on Australia and Australian perspectives of the world.’ [ix]
Australia Network CEO Ian Carroll added: ‘Our news and current affairs programmes provide more than the headlines – it is quality world class journalism offering a different view from the London and US-centric networks’.[x]
By then there were other windows to peer though. BBC World, France24, Al Jazeera, NHK (Japan), Deutsche Welle and other international telecasters were offering vistas grand using serious money.
The French Government is reported to spend AUD$ 117 million a year on France 24 while Russia’s RT channel is believed to have an annual budget of US$ 300 million. [xi]   Now China is expanding its overseas reach with China Central Television (CCTV). [xii]
The Voice of America budget is US$ 218 million, all from government funds. It broadcasts and telecasts in more than 40 languages, including Indonesian.
In 2011 the Labor Government called tenders to run Australia Network. The two main hopefuls were the ABC and Sky TV which had long campaigned to get the job.  When it seemed Rupert Murdoch’s company – no friend of Labor - would get the contract the tender process was scrapped and the job given to the ABC.
It was a short victory. When the Liberal-National Coalition won government revenge was rapid - Australia Network was turned off. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the network “had failed to deliver a cost-effective vehicle’ [xiii] but gave no facts to back the claim. The then ABC managing director Mark Scott said the decision;
…runs counter to the approach adopted by the vast majority of G20 countries. Countries around the world are expanding their international broadcasting services as key instruments of public diplomacy.
It sends a strange message to the region that the government does not want to use the most powerful communication tools available to it to talk to our regional neighbours about Australia.[xiv]
Killing the network may have satisfied a political ideology but a legal reality had to be faced: The ABC Charter requires it to be an international broadcaster so the gap had to be filled. Click onto Australia Plus.
The new service is believed to cost AUD $20 million a year with three ‘foundation partners’ – in the coy language of one report – ‘signing-on to advertising deals worth in the low single digit million dollar range’.[xv]  Presumably this means something between one and three million a year, [xvi] so still a minority contribution.

For this the ‘partners’ get the chance to exclusively back an ‘audience category’.  So, for example, in the Explore + Experience category sponsored by the Victorian State Government ‘stories about events, places, travel, arts, culture and music around Australia’ are featured.[xvii]

Absent from the sponsors are the 360 Australian businesses which launched a mighty assault on the Indonesian market in 2015 and again this year with 120 delegates.[xviii]
If they are not using the opportunities presented they either don’t know Australia Plus exists – which would be a failure of marketing - or they’ve researched its reach and decided it’s of no value.
Australia’s overseas TV is supposed to project a robust Western democracy, a creative explorer of art and technology and a leader in education, then Australia Plus is a turn off. 
As Australian leaders recite the mantra that Indonesia is our most important foreign relationship [xix] it might be logical to assume we’d be offering our best and brightest programmes selected specifically for the archipelago.
If only.  It seems no-one cares. Programmes are moved around or changed without notice. [xx]  Many, like the ad business rip-apart Gruen have us chuckling and Indonesians bamboozled. This is fill-a-space scheduling which treats viewers with no respect.
According to the ABC ‘the service is delivered as a single stream across all territories.  Programmes do not have separate versions for individual territories’. [xxi] So one size fits all in the 43 countries that get Australia Plus. This negates the ABC’s claim that:
…the ABC places the audience at the centre of everything it does. Through its international services the ABC has the content and infrastructure to enable it to connect with a range of international audiences in English and their own language, presenting Australian perspectives and values to the world.[xxii]
In Indonesia three pay-to-use cable services carry Australia Plus. [xxiii] They get it free.  The ABC says it’s ‘available to three million people in Indonesia’ meaning that’s the number who pay for access to networks each offering 50 or more channels.[xxiv]
Australia Plus TV is almost all in English, though some Indonesian subtitling is starting to appear, though not advertised as such. [xxv] NatGeo programmes are Indonesian subtitled.  Likewise the History Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery, BBC Earth and many others.
However there are other Australia Plus sites with stories in Indonesian, including Facebook which scored 365,000 visits last year. [xxvi]  Sounds good? Motivational speaker Mario Teguh, who used to perform on Metro TV, gets 20 million visits.
Apart from Singapore we are the closest Western nation to Indonesia with the ability to present a different perspective in the media jungle of Southeast Asia. Australia Plus says its mission is ‘to provide a television and digital service that informs, entertains and inspires our audience with an uniquely Australian perspective.” [xxvii] Note the new order of priorities.
Indonesians and others in the region can enjoy a 24-hour service with Play School and Little Ted’s Big Adventure on a loop for much of the morning plus a few English lessons.
ABC News Breakfast starts at 3 am in Jakarta. World News at 8 pm seems to be the only programme created for the channel, not just lifted and dumped, like a Bondi Rescue wave.
At 5.30 pm Java time 7.30 is shown. Q & A runs a day late; there are old editions of Australia Story and the brilliant Jenny Brockie SBS series Insight. Weeklies like Insiders and The Drum get a guernsey. Four Corners does sometimes, though late.[xxviii] 
At the height of the North Korea missile crisis in mid-April[xxix] viewers got to see the news at 1 pm and again nine hours later.  In between were back-to-back AFL games. The fearful went elsewhere to know whether Armageddon was nigh.  They turn to the trusted brands – the BBC, CNN, Bloomberg – when they could be choosing Australia Plus.
Home and Away fans get five episodes back-to-back, relieved by monochrome Kafkaesque-style promotions for Monash University [xxx] that would puzzle and probably frighten prospective students. [xxxi] It’s voiced by actor David Wenham, not well known in Indonesia.[xxxii]
Swisse also favours the obscure with former Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting talking about perfection in making bats and balls, though not the promoter’s products. Indonesian viewers are not used to subtle in advertising and expect to be heavily whacked with brand names.[xxxiii]  They certainly know little about hitting sixes, LBWs and Mr Ponting.
Dr Ken Harvey, Adjunct Associate Professor in Monash University's Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine has raised alerts about the ‘partnership’:
Swisse have an unenviable reputation for marketing their products, both in Australia and internationally. Their sales success reflects the large amount of money they spend on marketing hype and celebrity endorsement, not on science. 


… Swisse have had over 20 upheld complaints over the last few years for misusing scientific claims such as ‘clinically proven’ and ‘clinically tested’. Their advertising claims have also been the subject of a number of satirical segments on the ABC Checkout programme.’[xxxiv] 
There have been criticisms from other quarters, [xxxv] some so strong and mocking it’s a wonder the company hasn’t walked away. The ABC response implied complainants didn’t understand the law, should be better informed and that all editorial decisions were made independently by ABC staff alone. [xxxvi] 
Apart from being ideologically hostile to advertisements on the ABC, commentators feared the brand may be damaged by links with a company that’s attracted concerns from reputable Australian and overseas scientists. [xxxvii]
The Victorian Government’s ads focus on produce and exports from the Garden State.  They are informative but mainly sell tourism, foods and claims for port efficiency.
What’s the target audience for this curious mix? Asians play soccer, not rules. Australia Plus broadcasts six games a week during the Toyota AFL Premiership season, all matches in the Toyota AFL Finals Series and a ‘weekly highlights programme across 28 weeks’.[xxxviii]
Splendid for Victorian, South Australian and Western Australian fans in Asia – but are footy-crazed expats the prime market for Australia Plus? There is an AFL team in the Republic called the Indonesia Garudas but they say they are struggling with no oval and no money to buy boots and balls. [xxxix]  Nonetheless they plan to send a team to Melbourne this year.
Where are the other sports which SBS does well, the docos, programmes featuring the ‘uniquely Australia perspective’ on the region’?  They’re still in Australia.
Conclusion
Indonesian viewers comparing Australia Plus with other nations’ offerings might conclude that we’re a poor country offering an inconsistent fare and indifferent to audience needs.  There’s little that’s made for the market.  The dramas are little understood.[xl]
This situation may not concern the Government but it appears to worry the ABC. In March this year it made an untitled submission to the Foreign Policy White Paper.  The document noted the expansion of the BBC World Service and other TV networks into overseas telecasting while reminding DFAT of some original principles:
Australia requires a strategy for engagement which enhances mutual understanding and respect and which encourages an exchange of ideas. Establishing strong cultural and social links with international populations will facilitate stronger economic ties and more productive collaboration.
A strong, vibrant and trusted public and international broadcasting capability will be critical to Australia’s ability to engage economically, politically and culturally with the Asia-Pacific and beyond.[xli]
Perhaps this late conscience-pricker might someday get a reaction.  However, so far none of this seems to stir the major parties. They enjoy ABC and SBS excellence at home and offer heart-warming statements about Australia being respected in the region.
Meanwhile their neighbours get Australia Minus and are expected to believe that we really are serious about improving and sustaining relationships – as we so regularly proclaim.
Unfortunately Indonesians don’t like us according to a recent survey of attitudes. To the question: Which country has the closest relationship with President Joko Widodo’s government? respondents put Saudi Arabia first (47 per cent), followed by China (38), and the US (6). Only two per cent said Australia.[xlii]  Clearly we have problems.

Australia Plus could be a splendid showcase in Indonesia and the 42 other nations where it’s available, spreading Australian news, culture, values and opinions, equal to its international competitors. We have the skills and talent.  What we lack is political will.











Notes

[i] http://www.globescan.com/news_archives/bbcreut_country.html   But who are the viewers?  ‘We should understand that 60 percent of Indonesian viewers are either elementary school graduates, or have not graduated. Those people are the ones watching TV.’ Ishadi Soetope Kartosapoetro, the chairman of ATVSI (Indonesian TV Broadcasting Association) quoted by AMCHAM – http://www.amcham.or.id/politics/5381-indonesia-s-tv-industry-a-sinking-ship

[ii] The official statement in the ABC Annual Report reads: Australia Plus is produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and presented with the support of our Foundation Partners.

[iv] http://thediplomat.com/2016/08/australia-plus-abc-international-means-business/   However ABC International CEO Lynley Marshall put it more bluntly: ‘DFAT cancelled the contract two years into a ten-year agreement, leaving the ABC with a significant challenge in meeting its ongoing charter commitment to international broadcasting’  https://www.abcfriends.org.au/index.php/2016/09/19/swiss-advertising-response-from-abc-international/
[vi] For an analysis of the service’s importance in the Pacific see researcher Nic Maclellan’s The Gutting of Radio Australia: http://insidestory.org.au/the-gutting-of-radio-australia

[vii] The one in Darwin was felled by Cyclone Tracy in 1974.

[xiv] In late 2015 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Jakarta and smoothed the path for a delegation of 360 traders led by then Trade Minister Andrew Robb.  Another group, about a third of the size, went to Indonesia in early 2017 fronted by Trade Minister Steven Ciobo.

[xv] Lewis Hirst of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry writing in The Diplomat: http://thediplomat.com/2016/08/australia-plus-abc-international-means-business/

[xvi] The ABC won’t reveal the figures or length of contracts claiming ‘commercial in confidence’

[xvii]  The Australia Plus sponsors’ guidelines curiously claim ‘the Victorian State government (is) one of the prime tourist destinations in Australia  ...’ Presumably it means landscapes and events rather than the politicians and public servants.  See: http://www.australiaplus.com/international/sponsors/

[xix] This is now a standard chant in Australian politics, and like all over-used phrases has become a cliché and lost its meaning.  See: http://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/Pages/2016/jb_mr_161025.aspx?w=tb1CaGpkPX%2FlS0K%2Bg9ZKEg%3D%3D

[xx] A couple of examples:  At the end of 7.30 on 17 April presenter Leigh Sales threw to a programme of tributes to the late satirist John Clarke.  However viewers in Indonesia instead got an episode of Gruen first telecast in September 2015.  Unsurprisingly the topical gags were out of date.  On 23 May Q & A didn’t appear though advertised on screen and in the Internet TV Guide.
[xxi] Personal correspondence with ‘an ABC spokesman’.

[xxii] ABC Submission to Foreign Policy White Paper

[xxiii] First Media, Indovision and Telkomvision.

[xxiv] The ABC conducted audience research using Skype interviews in six Indonesian cities. Participants were recruited through the Australia Plus Facebook site. The research confirmed ‘strong audience interest in connecting with Australian stories and opportunities … (and) also highlighted shortcomings in market-specific user interface design.’  Changes were made in May 2016. http://about.abc.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/ABCAnnualReport2016.pdf


[xxv] ‘An ABC spokesman’ said that ‘due to budgetary constraints not all programmes can be subtitled.’  In fact I’ve caught only one with BI subtitles – an edition of Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery first telecast in Australia on 15 Feb – on Australia Plus on 16 May.  The Dreamhouse has also been captioned.

[xxvi] Personal correspondence with ‘an ABC spokesman’.

[xxviii] ‘The ABC spokesman’ says the Four Corners delay is because ‘there may be third-party footage present which needs to be cleared …’


[xxx] The latest available figures show 26,201 (37 per cent of all students) came from overseas. Of these 929 (below 3.6 per cent) were from Indonesia. The major sources are China and Malaysia.  https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/676304/pocket-statistics-2016.pdf

[xxxi] The Question the Answers campaign is on the Internet as a Vimeo video. Vimeo is banned in Indonesia.

[xxxii] If Indonesians did know of Wenham they might not be too enthusiastic as he featured in the TV film Answered by Fire as an Australian policeman.  The film was a fictional account of Australia’s role in the 1999 East Timor referendum, an event which severely damaged relationships between Indonesia and Australia.

[xxxiii] Some commercials are immediately repeated in case the viewer didn’t notice the first time around. The blunt force approach like that used by Harvey Norman ads in Australia is popular in RI.

[xxxiv]  Personal communication.  Dr Harvey stressed that ‘my views regarding Swisse and their partnership with ABC International are obviously my own and do not reflect those of Monash University.’

[xxxvi]I suspect many members of the public do not realise this history, nor do they understand ABC International has always carried advertising on its platforms,’ Lynley Marshall, CEO ABC International.  Full text: https://www.abcfriends.org.au/index.php/2016/09/19/swiss-advertising-response-from-abc-international/

[xxxvii] The ABC submission to the Foreign Policy White Paper includes this statement:
Reputation - The ABC is one of the most recognised and trusted brands in Australia and the region. As Australia’s primary public broadcaster with a Charter that requires editorial independence, the ABC’s core strengths are its enduring credibility and integrity.
[xl] In the early 1980s the TV soapie Return to Eden was a huge hit in Indonesia with lead actress Rebecca Gilling mobbed when she visited Jakarta in 1987.