Monday, March 28, 2011

Childbirth costs free - congratulations Indonesian women

This is a very good news for Indonesian women, especially mothers. Karolin Margaret Natasa, a member of commission IX People's Representative Council of the Republic of Indonesia said that this year the central government freeing the childbirth costs for the whole citizen. According to minister, government has budgeted Rp 1.2 trillion in the state budget 2011, and each city / district will get the allocation of Rp 2 billion to free up the childbirth costs.

Although this program applies to everyone, it seems the program is intended for the poor because Karolin says: "Jika masyarakat mampu juga ingin persalinannya gratis silakan saja, asalkan mau ditempatkan di rumah sakit kelas III. Kalau rumah sakit kelas mewah, jelas tidak bisa diberlakukan". (English: "If rich people also want it free for childbirth, go ahead, provided that they're willing to be placed in third class hospital. If luxury hospital, obviously not included in this program")

For me who lives in Indonesia of course this is an excellent news. But unfortunately when I convey this news to my wife and people around me, they did not know it. This proves that this program has not been socialized properly until the grass root. I realize that this takes time, but the government needs to immediately disseminate this program until grassroot, especially for rural society where they are the most in need.

Here I am still thinking whether this program for freeing the childbirth costs will trigger a boom in births in Indonesia, it means will disturb the birth control program. Whatever it is, congratulations for Indonesian women!

== Additional update on 29 March 2011 ==

Actually the plan of this program has been published in September 2010 through the official website of Health Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia. In there explained that in order to reduce the "Maternal Mortality Rate" and "Infant Mortality Rate", Health Ministry creates what's called "new iniciative", namely provides service for childbirth with the cost borne by the government. But again, when just last afternoon I was visiting my niece who was hospitalized due to illness, I just asked a mother who was accompanying his son in the same hospital by asking if she knew that the childbirth costs borne by the government? The answer was "not yet". Hopefully fellows blogger in Indonesia willing to spread this news in their respective area.

One of the targets of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to reduce the ratio of maternal mortality by three quarters from 1990 to 2015. Can Indonesia successfully achieve this target at the end of 2015?
Hmm... :( well, perhaps a news titled "A matter of life and death" from the Jakarta Post able to stimulate you to answer, and below I quotes four important points that makes me very focused (I'm sorry for a bit sad news, mothers):
  1. Many families prefer to use a dukun (traditional healer or shaman) because of traditional beliefs and because it is cheaper than using a trained midwife or going to the hospital. These traditional birth attendants usually perform household chores while the mother recovers. In many rural areas in Indonesia, traditional ways of delivering babies still exist.
  2. Of the 11 countries that contribute to 65 percent to global maternal death, five are in Asian countries including Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan India and Afghanistan.
  3. Indonesia is among Asian countries that have a limited national health budget at only 2.4 percent of the state budget, far below the World Health Organization (WHO)’s standard of at least five percent of the state budget.
  4. According to a study by Ascorbat Gani, medical professor at the University of Indonesia, decentralization of health authority from central to provincial and regional governments has worsened the women and children’s health conditions.
Previous posts related to mother and family:
1) Mother and child - an essay  2) Mother's Day - A tribute for mother  3) An hour with family

Images taken from Wikipedia under creative commons license.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ulil Abshar Abdalla, a piece of important story on him

Within this post, I just picked up the scattered stories from the media in Indonesia related to three book-bomb attact on 15 March 2011. The first news that has attracted me to publish this post was Jakarta Globe - titled "Democracy in Indonesia in 'Danger': Journalists Alliance":
"Judging from the package sent, the perpetrator was clearly trying to silence Ulil by killing him", said Nezar Patria, chairman of AJI (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen / The Alliance of Independent Journalists).
"The case has to be solved. An attack against an advocate of pluralism is a hard blow to our national ideals. Democracy in Indonesia is now in danger".
Tempo Interaktif also published the letter that found within the book-bomb's packet addressed to Ulil.

According to Jakarta Globe, there were three book-bombs. The first one addressed to Ulil Abshar Abdalla, co-founder of Jaringan Islam Liberal (Liberal Islamic Network). The second package was addressed to Comr. Gen. Gories Mere, a former key officer of the National Police’s elite counterterrorism unit, Densus 88 (Special Detachment 88). The books sent to Ulil and Gories were titled "They Deserved to Be Killed: Because of Their Sins to Islam and Muslims". The third book-bomb was addressed to Yapto with the titled "Masih Adakah Pancasila?" ("Does Pancasila Still Exist?").

Why Ulil Abshar Abdalla?
Because in 2002 Ulil wrote an article titled "Menyegarkan Kembali Pemahaman Islam (Rejuvenating the Islamic Understanding)" in Kompas, a popular newspaper in Indonesia. By browsing, I also found another piece of story about Ulil published in 2003, just to answer the question of why?

Who is Ulil? Please read at Wikipedia. Now what? Again, a test for the state constitution, Indonesia.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Indonesian students abroad - between elitism and hope

While a lot of Indonesian children are not able to get a good education because their parents can not afford, on the other hand there are some of the elite society send their children to study abroad. As we know, send the kids to get education abroad requires substantial extra costs. Indeed, this is a situation of high-contrast.

Here are some assumption of Indonesian society (perhaps also in other developing countries) towards oversea graduates (from developed countries) of their children:
  1. Higher quality education.
  2. More competitive in employment.
  3. Certainly able to speak English.
  4. They were considered elite. (ps: I should end this points with question mark).
This post is not intended to look at one eye on education in Indonesia because there are many qualified people who graduate from Indonesia's school/university has sat on managerial level at large companies or become high officials in government. Beside that, there's a saying stated that quality of a person is not solely measured by his/her educational level, right?

Apart from the matter of elitism and gap above, I try to think outside the box towards Indonesian students abroad especially in developed countries. What is my hope on them? My hope is not solely they are smart in science but there is much more than that, that is they have a good insight and open mind towards pluralism, multiculturalism, democracy, gender equality, and think more globally as they return to home. I hope you would like to think like me, do not focused on elitism matter, but think they will bring changes into your outlook and changing the way of thinking in the right path. For me, this is the core of education!

Of course I also do not want them to forget their ancestral culture, so please back home and build your country.

Related post: Equalize bachelor's degree with diploma's degree?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Leaked diplomatic wire, WikiLeaks, Internet, Blogging, What is this mean

When reading news through Google Reader, I found an interesting news reported by Antara News and Tempo Interaktif. There is mentioned that the two of Australia's famous newspaper, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, has reported confidential information about President Yudhoyono. The news on both paper were based on WikiLeaks's information, which have leaked from the diplomatic wire of U.S. Embassy.

Fellow blogger Martin Manurung, as I read on his profile was a President Director of PT Sekurindo Gada Patria (a company provides consultancy on managing risks and business continuity), has an interesting post about this issue titled Arti Heboh Wikileaks. Sadly he wrote in Bahasa Indonesia. He had quote and translate parts of the sentences from the Australian newspaper that he considers important (and I quoted from his posting), that is:
"...The US diplomatic reports-obtained by WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to The Age - say that soon after becoming President in 2004, Dr Yudhoyono intervened in the case of Taufik Kiemas, husband of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri..."
"...In December 2004, the US embassy in Jakarta reported that one of its most valued political informants, senior presidential adviser T.B. Silalahi, had advised that then assistant attorney-general Hendarman Supandji, who was leading the new government’s anticorruption campaign, had gathered "sufficient evidence of the corruption of former first gentleman Taufik Kiemas to warrant Taufik’s arrest"
"...But Mr Silalahi, one of Dr Yudhoyono’s closest political confidants, told the US embassy the President "had personally instructed Hendarman not to pursue a case against Taufik..."
Of course, the news got a lot of protests from senior officials of Indonesian government, like this:
"Suruh buktikanlah kalau itu benar. Kalau ada buktinya serahkan ke Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK)", kata Ketua Mahkamah Agung, Harifin A Tumpa.
Translated in English: "Tell to prove if it's true. If there was evidence, submit to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)", said Chairman of the Supreme Court, Harifin A Tumpa.
"Kalau memang (informasi) ini sungguh-sungguh tidak benar, kedutaan (AS) itu harus meminta maaf ke Pemerintah Indonesia," kata Jaffar Hafsah, Ketua Fraksi Partai Demokrat.
Translated in English: "If this (information) is really not true, the embassy (U.S.) must apologize to the Indonesian government," said Jaffar Hafsah, leader of Demokrat Party faction.

Like Martin, I do not want to comment on whether the news is true or not, factual or not, because I'm not involved in political mainstream, and do not have any evidence on my hand. I just want to release of what in my mind like this:
  1. Blogging is not just building our village (that is important too) as posted by Jim Belshaw. I think blogging has been ogled by many activists / journalist in this world as an alternative way out for channeling the freedom of expression without censorship, unlike printed news.
  2. WikiLeaks phenomenon is a signal that in the era of information technology, all things may be possible to open. Think about the incidence of a bank account hacked by hackers.
  3. Information through blogging, social networks like Facebook / Twitter, email, SMS via Blackberry, now seem more powerful. Unlike traditional media (printed newspaper), they do not know (not tied) with the journalistic code of ethics.
In closing I still wonder whether all the information stored in the WikiLeaks's safe deposit box are valid and accountable, or only partially that can be accounted. Hopefully the news from WikiLeaks, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald is not true, while I'm still love my president.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Between two interests - oil and democracy

As we know the pro-democracy movement was on the rise in the Middle East and North Africa. The victim started from Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Yemen, and the next candidate is Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, and maybe Bahrain. I also saw a wave of pro-democracy has brought a sense of worry for countries in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia.

When pro-democracy movement shook Tunisia, oil prices has not been affected, likewise when these movement travel to Egypt, because these two countries was not a significant oil producer for the world. But when the pro-democracy protests spread to Libya, oil prices have jumped since mid-February when the rebellion in Libya increases.

Thus Saudi Arabia was forced to increase its oil production in order to maintain the stability of world energy and cooling the overheated energy prices. The most frightening is that if pro-democracy demonstrations spread to Saudi Arabia.

It seems that USA and European countries are aware that the longer the oil supply disrupted, it will bring economic chaos for them as the countries who depend on oil supply from non-democratic countries (Islamic and/or authoritarian countries) like Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Middle East countries. Moreover, the U.S. economy was still giddy after the global crisis and European economy are not yet better.

Therefore I have an intriguing question. Which one you choose? If you choose oil, it means you better support the Islamic monarchy in the Middle East (of course to their unique value too). Or ... proactively support the pro-democracy movement in the Middle East.