Updates and Footnotes1.
Following worldwide derision, the Malaysian fatwa has been dropped. I have no news as yet about decisions here in Indonesia, except I expect the ulemas will say something profound to the effect that the practice of yoga is acceptable as long as there is no chanting. Strangely enough, one of the pleasures of the yoga courses I took in London were that they were generally held in a quiet contemplative environment. We were all looking inwards rather than appealing to our gods way out yonder.....
But then, a recent survey
suggests that Islamic teachers are not interested in pluralism, considering it and inter-religious tolerance to be “minor subjects”.2.
Further to his false promises to the Pesta Blogger folk that no bloggers will be arrested in Indonesia during the current term of the Minister of Communication and Information, comes the news that his directorate is attempting to track down someone who used the WordPress hosting service to post a comic of Prophet Muhammed.
The blog has since gone off line, but what seems strange is that there isn't anyone in the Indonesian blogosphere who claims to have seen it. So what's the fuss about?This article
has some good comments.
Never let anyone stop anyone from saying, writing, listening to or reading whatever they like. Protect children from pornography and from violence, by all means. Protect people from the incitement of rabble rousers, yes. Don't allow fraudulent use of other people's words. But that is the absolute limit of restriction. People will always be offended. That is the price of discourse and it is what makes us human. Only bullies are afraid of criticism.The state and its minions hiding under the cloak of Islam are becoming bloated self-righteous bullies representing only the bigotted and powerful and not the people they are supposed to serve. Time and again they are vomiting laws crushing the peaceful aspirations of every one of us.
Unspun, a key organiser of Pesta Blogger, has a 'retrospective' here
I was intrigued by the following comment:The way I see it, the speech from our ministry were looking blogger as a tool and not partner. The way they say “that blogger must”, and not “we need help” is rather hurting me. I meant whose side being helped here. It is not blogger that requires the minister to come, it’s the other way around.
That neatly encapsulates the pre-Pesta concerns of a number of us who chose to be non-attendees. We prefer to keep our independence and freedom to write about societal concerns without undue interference and/or control.
That is our constitutional and human right.3.
Shortly after Erick Jazier Adriansjah of PT Bahana Securities was declared a suspect for defamation and spreading false information about the dodginess of five banks, one of them, Bank Century
(formerly Bank CIC
) was placed by the central bank, Bank Indonesia, under the control of the state-owned Deposit Insurance Corporation (LPS), thereby preventing systemic risks to the whole banking industry. It was the first bank to 'fail'
since 1998.Lack of transparency regarding the real condition of our banks could spread more rumors and various other forms of speculation about the condition of our financial institutions. When rumors spread two weeks ago about Bank Century's severe liquidity problems, the same rumors classified several other small banks as being in similar financial distress.Now that the government's takeover of Bank Century has validated the rumor, Bank Indonesia has to do a lot of explaining about the condition of those banks named by the rumor mill, or the public will draw its own conclusions.
It really is an uphill task for Bank Indonesia, which is in charge of supervising nearly 130 city-based banks and hundreds of secondary banks, against the backdrop of a wildly volatile global financial situation.
But whither Erick?4.
Imported food and drinks are important for the tourism industry. But spirits are low because of a reputed 400% (that's four hundred percent
) tax on imported foodstuffs. Another version has it that these are foodstuffs which have not been approved of by Indonesian regulators, even though they've been imported for donkey's years. Presumably these are the same regulators who've recently discovered formaldehyde being used to 'preserve' tofu and chickens, and which allowed the import of melamine-tainted dairy products from China.
Another, more credible, suggestion is that this is a pre-Xmas scam for some extra-curriculkar income.
I've been told that many restaurants have closed in the Kemang enclave of expats as they don't have supplies. I can only feel a limited sympathy about this, but particularly for those who are now facing unemployment, because I very rarely eat food that hasn't been produced here. Marmite and duty-free allowances brought in by visitors are enough for me.