Climate Change and Urban Development


Welcome-to-the-Greenhouse, originally uploaded by mix's.

This post is an English version of my article published in the Indonesian newspaper of Kompas on Tuesday, December 15, 2009.

The attention to climate change and global warming is now on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 7-18, 2009. This conference is expected to reach a new agreement on decreasing global emissions of greenhouse gases after the ending of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

As one of the tropical countries with large forest areas, Indonesia is expected to play an important role in absorbing the emissions of carbon dioxide that cause the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Transtoto Handadhari (Kompas, December 7, 2009) reported that Indonesian forests have the carbon dioxide absorption as many as 25,733 billion tons excluding peat forests and dry lands. The government of Indonesia set a target of reducing the carbon emissions by 26 percent in 2020 through many ways including the expansion of new forests as much as a half hectare per year, the expansion of community forests about 4 million hectares, and the decrease of hot spots about 20 percent.

The decrease of carbon dioxide emissions for addressing the global warming is not only the responsility of those who work in forests, but also that of all citizens. Urban residents play also an important role in decreasing the carbon dioxide emissions. Human activities that use fossil fuel are a big contributor in the global warming. Increasing the efficiency of electricity uses such as lighting, cooling or the uses of electronic tools and recycling are some ways that can be offered to address the global warming.


Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference, originally uploaded by United Nations Photo.


Urban Green Areas

Urban development can be also aimed at addressing the global warming. Urban green areas are often sacrificed in urban developments in order to keep up with the fast-growth of urban population. Jakarta, for instance, in 1965 had green areas as much as 30% of the total Jakarta areas, and the proportion of green areas has been decreasing to 9.3% in 2009. The decrease of green areas also occurs in most Indonesian cities. Green areas are an important component of urban development, not only to create a city more beautiful and greener, but also to absorb carbon dioxide from human activities particularly transportation.

Green areas can also play a role of mitigating the impact of climate change such as floods and the rise of sea level. Green areas can be water catchment areas for preventing floods. In metropolitan areas, such as Jakarta, the area vulnerability to global warming will be even higher due to the land subsidence that is caused by extensive underground water exploitation.

The expansion of green areas should be one of the urban development priorities in in Indonesia. The ideal of green areas in urban areas is 30% of the total urban area as stipulated in the Spatial Planning Law 26/2007. This number is not easy, but is not impossible to achieve either. Lately, the Jakarta administration closed 27 gas stations located in green areas and converted them into green areas. Such a decision demonstrates a strong commitment from the Jakarta administration to expand green areas and can be followed by other cities in Indonesia or even in the world.

Mass Transit and Urban Sprawl

Urban development in metropolitan areas such as Jakarta needs to develop mass transit such as subway and monorail. The current public transportations such as busway and other public transportations need to expand the services and integrate with the needs and affordability of residents. Converting private vehicles to mass transits or other public transportation will reduce the use of fossil fuel. The decrease of fuel usage per capita in transportation will significantly reduce the carbon emission.


Planet Jakarta, originally uploaded by diankarl **will visit you soon**.

Urban planners need to avoid urban sprawl. Urban sprawl is not efficient, not only in the infrastructure provision but also in the fuel consumption. Urban sprawl will result in a longer commute distance for residents and consume more fuel. Urban areas should be planned as a compact city. Suburban areas should be directed as a self-sustained areas and it will reduce trips of suburban residents to inner-city areas.

Islamic Movements and Religious Orders

Islamic Movements and Religious Orders
Sudan Table of Contents

Islam made its deepest and longest lasting impact in Sudan through the activity of the Islamic religious brotherhoods or orders. These orders emerged in the Middle East in the twelfth century in connection with the development of Sufism, a mystical current reacting to the strongly legalistic orientation of orthodox Islam. The orders first came to Sudan in the sixteenth century and became significant in the eighteenth. Sufism seeks for its adherents a closer personal relationship with God through special spiritual disciplines. The exercises (dhikr) include reciting prayers and passages of the Quran and repeating the names, or attributes, of God while performing physical movements according to the formula established by the founder of the particular order. Singing and dancing may be introduced. The outcome of an exercise, which lasts much longer than the usual daily prayer, is often a state of ecstatic abandon.

A mystical or devotional way (sing., tariqa; pl., turuq) is the basis for the formation of particular orders, each of which is also called a tariqa. The specialists in religious law and learning initially looked askance at Sufism and the Sufi orders, but the leaders of Sufi orders in Sudan have won acceptance by acknowledging the significance of the sharia and not claiming that Sufism replaces it.

The principal turuq vary considerably in their practice and internal organization. Some orders are tightly organized in hierarchical fashion; others have allowed their local branches considerable autonomy. There may be as many as a dozen turuq in Sudan. Some are restricted to that country; others are widespread in Africa or the Middle East. Several turuq, for all practical purposes independent, are offshoots of older orders and were established by men who altered in major or minor ways the tariqa of the orders to which they had formerly been attached.

The oldest and most widespread of the turuq is the Qadiriyah founded by Abd al Qadir al Jilani in Baghdad in the twelfth century and introduced into Sudan in the sixteenth. The Qadiriyah's principal rival and the largest tariqa in the western part of the country was the Tijaniyah, a sect begun by Ahmad at Tijani in Morocco, which eventually penetrated Sudan in about 1810 via the western Sahel. Many Tijani became influential in Darfur, and other adherents settled in northern Kurdufan. Later on, a class of Tijani merchants arose as markets grew in towns and trade expanded, making them less concerned with providing religious leadership. Of greater importance to Sudan was the tariqa established by the followers of Sayyid Ahmad ibn Idris, known as Al Fasi, who died in 1837. Although he lived in Arabia and never visited Sudan, his students spread into the Nile Valley establishing indigenous Sudanese orders, the Majdhubiyah, the Idrisiyah, the Ismailiyah, and the Khatmiyyah.

Much different in organization from the other brotherhoods is the Khatmiyyah (or Mirghaniyah after the name of the order's founder). Established in the early nineteenth century by Muhammad Uthman al Mirghani, it became the best organized and most politically oriented and powerful of the turuq in eastern Sudan. Mirghani had been a student of Sayyid Ahmad ibn Idris and had joined several important orders, calling his own order the seal of the paths (Khatim at Turuq--hence Khatmiyyah). The salient features of the Khatmiyyah are the extraordinary status of the Mirghani family, whose members alone may head the order; loyalty to the order, which guarantees paradise; and the centralized control of the order's branches.

The Khatmiyyah had its center in the southern section of Ash Sharqi State and its greatest following in eastern Sudan and in portions of the riverine area. The Mirghani family were able to turn the Khatmiyyah into a political power base, despite its broad geographical distribution, because of the tight control they exercised over their followers. Moreover, gifts from followers over the years have given the family and the order the wealth to organize politically. This power did not equal, however, that of the Mirghanis' principal rival, the Ansar, or followers of the Mahdi, whose present-day leader was Sadiq al Mahdi, the great-grandson of Muhammad Ahmad ibn as Sayyid Abd Allah, al Mahdi, who drove the Egyptian administration from Sudan in 1885.

Most other orders were either smaller or less well organized than the Khatmiyyah. Moreover, unlike many other African Muslims, Sudanese Muslims did not all seem to feel the need to identify with one or another tariqa, even if the affiliation were nominal. Many Sudanese Muslims preferred more political movements that sought to change Islamic society and governance to conform to their own visions of the true nature of Islam.

One of these movements, Mahdism, was founded in the late nineteenth century. It has been likened to a religious order, but it is not a tariqa in the traditional sense. Mahdism and its adherents, the Ansar, sought the regeneration of Islam, and in general were critical of the turuq. Muhammad Ahmad ibn as Sayyid Abd Allah, a faqih, proclaimed himself to be Al Mahdi al Muntazar ("the awaited guide in the right path," usually seen as the Mahdi), the messenger of God and representative of the Prophet Muhammad, not simply a charismatic and learned teacher, an assertion that became an article of faith among the Ansar. He was sent, he said, to prepare the way for the second coming of the Prophet Isa (Jesus) and the impending end of the world. In anticipation of Judgment Day, it was essential that the people return to a simple and rigorous, even puritanical Islam. The idea of the coming of a Mahdi has roots in Sunni Islamic traditions. The issue for Sudanese and other Muslims was whether Muhammad Ahmad was in fact the Mahdi.

In the century since the Mahdist uprising, the neo-Mahdist movement and the Ansar, supporters of Mahdism from the west, have persisted as a political force in Sudan. Many groups, from the Baqqara cattle nomads to the largely sedentary tribes on the White Nile, supported this movement. The Ansar were hierarchically organized under the control of Muhammad Ahmad's successors, who have all been members of the Mahdi family (known as the ashraf). The ambitions and varying political perspectives of different members of the family have led to internal conflicts, and it appeared that Sadiq al Mahdi, putative leader of the Ansar since the early 1970s, did not enjoy the unanimous support of all Mahdists. Mahdist family political goals and ambitions seemed to have taken precedence over the movement's original religious mission. The modern-day Ansar were thus loyal more to the political descendants of the Mahdi than to the religious message of Mahdism.

A movement that spread widely in Sudan in the 1960s, responding to the efforts to secularize Islamic society, was the Muslim Brotherhood (Al Ikhwan al Muslimin), founded by Hasan al Banna in Egypt in the 1920s. Originally it was conceived as a religious revivalist movement that sought to return to the fundamentals of Islam in a way that would be compatible with the technological innovations introduced from the West. Disciplined, highly motivated, and well financed, the Muslim Brotherhood, known as the Brotherhood, became a powerful political force during the 1970s and 1980s, although it represented only a small minority of Sudanese. In the government that was formed in June 1989, following a bloodless coup d'├ętat, the Brotherhood exerted influence through its political expression, the National Islamic Front (NIF) party, which included several cabinet members among its adherents.

The Role of Women

The Role of Women

The role of women in Islam has been misunderstood in the West because of general ignorance of the Islamic system and way of life as a whole, and because of the distortions of the media.

The Muslim woman is accorded full spiritual and intellectual equality with man, and is encouraged to practice her religion and develop her intellectual faculties throughout her life. In her relations with men both are to observe modesty of behavior and dress and a strict code of morality which discourages unnecessary mixing of the sexes. Her relations with her husband should be based on mutual love and compassion. He is responsible for the maintenance of the wife and children, and she is to give him the respect due to the head of the family. She is responsible for the care of home and the children's early training. She may own her own property, run her own business and inherit in her own right.

She may not be married without being consulted and is able to obtain divorce. The system of limited polygamy can be seen to have its uses which may be in the interests of women as well as men.Finally she can look forward to an old age in which she is respected and shown every care by her children and by the society as a whole. It would appear therefore that the Islamic system has achieved the right mixture of freedom and security that women seek and that is in the interest of the society as a whole.

Life After Death

Life After Death

Muslims believe that individuals are accountable to God for their actions. Muslims also believe in the Day of Judgment, when all human beings will be called upon to render a complete account of their acts of commission and omission on earth.

The judgment will rest on one question: Did man conduct himself, in submission to God, in strict conformity with the truth revealed to the Prophets, and with the conviction that he will be held responsible for his conduct in life on the Day of Judgment? If the answer is yes, the reward will be Paradise. If not, Hell will be the punishment.

Belief in the hereafter divides people into three distinct categories.

First, there are those who do not believe in the hereafter and regard life on this earth as the only life.

Second, those people who do not deny the hereafter, but who depend on the intercession or atonement of some one to absolve them of their sins.

Third, are those people who believe in the hereafter in the form in which Islam presents it. They do not delude themselves that they have any special relationship with God, or that anyone can intercede on their behalf.

They know that they alone are responsible for their actions.

For them the belief in the hereafter becomes a great moral force.

A person who has the conviction that he is fully accountable for all his actions finds a permanent guard, stationed within himself, who cautions him and admonishes him whenever he deviates from the right path.

There may be no court to summon him, no policemen to apprehend him, no witnesses to accuse him, and no public opinion to press him, but the guard within him is ever on the alert, ready to seize him whenever he transgresses.

The consciousness of this inner presence makes man fear God even when he is all by himself.

He discharges his duties honestly, and refrains from doing anything which is prohibited.

Should he succumb to temptation, and violate the law of God, he is ever ready to offer sincere regrets, and enter into a firm contract... that he will not repeat the mistake.

There can be no greater instrument of moral reformation nor any better method to help man develop a sound and stable character.
Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

Fundamental practices and institutions of Islam

Fundamental practices and institutions of Islam

The Five Pillars

During the earliest decades after the death of the Prophet, certain basic features of the religio-social organization of Islam were singled out to serve as anchoring points of the community's life and formulated as the "Pillars of Islam." To these five, the Khawarij sect added a sixth pillar, the jihad, which, however, was not accepted by the general community.

The shahadah, or profession of faith

The first pillar is the profession of faith: "There is no god but God; Muhammad is the prophet of God," upon which depends the membership in the community. The profession of faith must be recited at least once in one's lifetime, aloud, correctly, and purposively, with an understanding of its meaning and with an assent from the heart. From this fundamental belief are derived beliefs in (1) angels (particularly Gabriel, the Angel of Revelation), (2) the revealed Books (the Qur'an and the sacred books of Judeo-Christian revelation described in the Qur'an), (3) a series of prophets (among whom figures of the Judeo-Christian tradition are particularly eminent--although it is believed that God has sent messengers to every nation), and (4) the Last Day (Day of Judgment).

Prayer

The second pillar consists of five daily congregational prayers. These prayers may be offered individually if one is unable to go to the mosque. The first prayer is performed before sunrise, the second just after noon, the third in the later afternoon, the fourth immediately after sunset, and the fifth before retiring to bed.

Before a prayer, ablutions, including the washing of hands, face, and feet, are performed. The muezzin (one who gives the call for prayer) chants aloud from a raised place (such as a tower) in the mosque. When prayer starts, the imam, or leader (of the prayer), stands in the front facing in the direction of Mecca, and the congregation stands behind him in rows, following him in various postures. Each prayer consists of two to four genuflection units (rak'ah); each unit consists of a standing posture (during which verses from the Qur'an are recited--in certain prayers aloud, in others silently), as well as a genuflection and two prostrations. At every change in posture, "God is great" is recited. Tradition has fixed the materials to be recited in each posture.

Special congregational prayers are offered on Friday instead of the prayer just after noon. The Friday service consists of a sermon (khutbah), part of which consists of preaching in the local language and part of recitation of certain formulas in Arabic. In the sermon, the preacher usually recites a verse of the Qur'an and builds his address on it, which can be of a moral, social, or political content. Friday sermons have usually considerable impact on public opinion regarding sociopolitical questions.

Although not ordained as an obligatory duty, nocturnal prayers (called tahajjud) are encouraged, particularly during the latter half of the night. During the month of Ramadan (see below Fasting), lengthy prayers are offered congregationally before retiring and are called tarawih.

In strict doctrine, the five daily prayers cannot be waived even for the sick, who may pray in bed and, if necessary, lying down. When on a journey, the two afternoon prayers may be combined into one; the sunset and late evening prayers may be combined as well. In practice, however, much laxity has occurred, particularly in modern times, although Friday prayers are still well attended.

The Zakat

The third pillar is the obligatory tax called zakat ("purification," indicating that such a payment makes the rest of one's wealth religiously and legally pure). This is the only permanent tax levied by the Qur'an and is payable annually on food grains, cattle, and cash after one year's possession. The amount varies for different categories. Thus, on grains and fruits it is 10 percent if land is watered by rain, 5 percent if land is watered artificially.

On cash and precious metals it is 21/2 percent. Zakat is collectable by the state and is to be used primarily for the poor, but the Qur'an mentions other purposes: ransoming Muslim war captives, redeeming chronic debts, paying tax collectors' fees, jihad (and by extension, according to Qur'an commentators, education and health), and creating facilities for travellers.

After the breakup of Muslim religio-political power, payment of zakat has become a matter of voluntary charity dependent on individual conscience. Some Muslim countries are seeking to reintroduce it, and in several Middle Eastern countries zakat is officially collected, but on a voluntary basis.

Fasting

Fasting during the month of Ramadan (ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar), laid down in the Qur'an (2:183-185), is the fourth pillar of the faith. Fasting begins at daybreak and ends at sunset, and during the day eating, drinking, and smoking are forbidden. The Qur'an (2:185) states that it was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur'an was revealed. Another verse of the Qur'an (97:1) states that it was revealed "on the night of determination," which Muslims generally observe on the night of 26-27 Ramadan. For a person who is sick or on a journey, fasting may be postponed until "another equal number of days." The elderly and the incurably sick are exempted through the daily feeding of one poor person.


The Hajj

The fifth pillar is the annual pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca prescribed for every Muslim once in a lifetime--"provided one can afford it" and provided a person has enough provisions to leave for his family in his absence.

A special service is held in the Sacred Mosque on the 7th of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah (last in the Muslim year). Pilgrimage activities begin by the 8th and conclude on the 12th or 13th. All worshippers enter the state of ihram; they wear two seamless garments and avoid sexual intercourse, the cutting of hair and nails, and certain other activities. Pilgrims from outside Mecca assume ihram at specified points en route to the city.

The principal activities consist of walking seven times around the Ka'bah, a shrine within the mosque; the kissing and touching of the Black Stone (Hajar al-Aswad); and the ascent of and running between Mt. Safa and Mt. Marwah (which are now, however, mere elevations) seven times. At the second stage of the ritual, the pilgrim proceeds from Mecca to Mina, a few miles away; from there he goes to 'Arafat, where it is essential to hear a sermon and to spend one afternoon. The last rites consist of spending the night at Muzdalifah (between 'Arafat and Mina) and offering sacrifice on the last day of ihram, which is the 'id ("festival") of sacrifice.

Many countries have imposed restrictions on the number of outgoing pilgrims because of foreign-exchange difficulties. Because of the improvement of communications, however, the total number of visitors has greatly increased in recent years. By the early 1990s the number of visitors was estimated to be about 2,000,000, approximately half of them from non-Arab countries. All Muslim countries send official delegations on the occasion, which is being increasingly used for religio-political congresses. At other times in the year, it is considered meritorious to perform the lesser pilgrimage ('umrah), which is not, however, a substitute for the hajj pilgrimage.

Doctrines of the Qur'an -- God

Doctrines of the Qur'an -- God

The doctrine about God in the Qur'an is rigorously monotheistic: God is one and unique; he has no partner and no equal. Trinitarianism, the Christian belief that God is three persons in one substance, is vigorously repudiated. Muslims believe that there are no intermediaries between God and the creation that he brought into being by his sheer command: "Be." Although his presence is believed to be everywhere, he does not inhere in anything. He is the sole Creator and sustainer of the universe, wherein every creature bears witness to his unity and lordship.

But he is also just and merciful: his justice ensures order in his creation, in which nothing is believed to be out of place, and his mercy is unbounded and encompasses everything. His creating and ordering the universe is viewed as the act of prime mercy for which all things sing his glories. The God of the Qur'an, described as majestic and sovereign, is also a personal God; he is viewed as being nearer to man than man's jugular vein, and, whenever a person in need or distress calls him, he responds. Above all, he is the God of guidance and shows everything, particularly man, the right way, "the straight path."

This picture of God--wherein the attributes of power, justice, and mercy interpenetrate--is related to the Judeo-Christian tradition, whence it is derived with certain modifications, and also to the concepts of pagan Arabia, to which it provided an effective answer. The pagan Arabs believed in a blind and inexorable fate over which man had no control. For this powerful but insensible fate the Qur'an substituted a powerful but provident and merciful God. The Qur'an carried through its uncompromising monotheism by rejecting all forms of idolatry and eliminating all gods and divinities that the Arabs worshipped in their sanctuaries (harams), the most prominent of which was Ka'bah sanctuary in Mecca itself.

The Universe

In order to prove the unity of God, the Qur'an lays frequent stress on the design and order in the universe. There are no gaps or dislocations in nature. Order is explained by the fact that every created thing is endowed with a definite and defined nature whereby it falls into a pattern.

This nature, though it allows every created thing to function in a whole, sets limits; and this idea of the limitedness of everything is one of the most fixed points in both the cosmology and theology of the Qur'an. The universe is viewed, therefore, as autonomous, in the sense that everything has its own inherent laws of behaviour, but not as autocratic, because the patterns of behaviour have been endowed by God and are strictly limited. "Everything has been created by us according to a measure." Though every creature is thus limited and "measured out" and hence depends upon God, God alone, who reigns unchallenged in the heavens and the earth, is unlimited, independent, and self-sufficient.

Man

According to the Qur'an, God created two apparently parallel species of creatures, man and jinn, the one from clay and the other from fire. About the jinn, however, the Qur'an says little, although it is implied that the jinn are endowed with reason and responsibility but are more prone to evil than man. It is with man that the Qur'an, which describes itself as a guide for the human race, is centrally concerned.

The Judeo-Christian story of the Fall of Adam (the first man) is accepted, but the Qur'an states that God forgave Adam his act of disobedience, which is not viewed in the Qur'an (in contradistinction to its understanding in the Christian doctrine) as original sin.

In the story of man's creation, angels, who protested to God against the creation of man, who "would sow mischief on earth," lost in a competition of knowledge against Adam. The Qur'an, therefore, declares man to be the noblest of all creation, the created being who bore the trust (of responsibility) that the rest of the creation refused to accept. The Qur'an thus reiterates that all nature has been made subservient to man: nothing in all creation has been made without a purpose, and man himself has not been created "in sport," his purpose being service and obedience to God's will.

Despite this lofty station, however, the Qur'an describes human nature as frail and faltering. Whereas everything in the universe has a limited nature, and every creature recognizes its limitation and insufficiency, man is viewed as rebellious and full of pride, arrogating to himself the attributes of self-sufficiency. Pride, thus, is viewed as the cardinal sin of man, because by not recognizing in himself his essential creaturely limitations he becomes guilty of ascribing to himself partnership with God (shirk: associating a creature with the Creator) and of violating the unity of God. True faith (iman), thus, consists of belief in the immaculate Divine Unity and Islam in one's submission to the Divine Will.

The Foundations of Islam

The Foundations of Islam

The Legacy of Muhammad

From the very beginning of Islam, Muhammad had inculcated a sense of brotherhood and a bond of faith among his followers, both of which helped to develop among them a feeling of close relationship that was accentuated by their experiences of persecution as a nascent community in Mecca. The conspicuous socioeconomic content of Islamic religious practices cemented this bond of faith. In AD 622, when the Prophet fled to Medina, his preaching was soon accepted, and the community-state of Islam emerged.

During this early period, Islam acquired its characteristic ethos as a religion uniting in itself both the spiritual and temporal aspects of life and seeking to regulate not only the individual's relationship to God (through his conscience) but human relationships in a social setting as well. Thus, there is not only an Islamic religious institution but also an Islamic law, state, and other institutions governing society. Not until the 20th century were the religious (private) and the secular (public) distinguished by some Muslim thinkers and separated formally, as in Turkey.

This dual religious and social character of Islam, expressing itself in one way as a religious community commissioned by God to bring its own value system to the world through the jihad ("holy war" or "holy struggle"), explains the astonishing success of the early generations of Muslims. Within a century after the Prophet's death in AD 632, they had brought a large part of the globe--from Spain across Central Asia to India--under a new Arab Muslim empire.

The period of Islamic conquests and empire building marks the first phase of the expansion of Islam as a religion. Islam's essential egalitarianism within the community of the faithful and its official discrimination against the followers of other religions won rapid converts. Jews and Christians were assigned a special status as communities possessing scriptures and called the "people of the Book" (ahl al-kitab) and, therefore, were allowed religious autonomy.

They were, however, required to pay a per capita tax called jizyah, as opposed to pagans, who were required to either accept Islam or die. The same status of the "people of the Book" was later extended to Zoroastrians and Hindus, but many "people of the Book" joined Islam in order to escape the disability of the jizyah. A much more massive expansion of Islam after the 12th century was inaugurated by the Sufis (Muslim mystics), who were mainly responsible for the spread of Islam in India, Central Asia, Turkey, and sub-Saharan Africa (see below).

Besides the jihad and Sufi missionary activity, another factor in the spread of Islam was the far-ranging influence of Muslim traders, who not only introduced Islam quite early to the Indian east coast and South India but who proved as well to be the main catalytic agents (besides the Sufis) in converting people to Islam in Indonesia, Malaya, and China. Islam was introduced to Indonesia in the 14th century, hardly having time to consolidate itself there politically before coming under Dutch colonial domination.

The vast variety of races and cultures embraced by Islam (estimated to total from 600,000,000 to 700,000,000 persons worldwide) has produced important internal differences. All segments of Muslim society, however, are bound by a common faith and a sense of belonging to a single community. With the loss of political power during the period of Western colonialism in the 19th and 20th centuries, the concept of the Islamic community (ummah), instead of weakening, became stronger.

Restoring Green Areas in Jakarta


New Style Gas Station, originally uploaded by cyberlucky.


On November 8, 2009 Jakarta’s Governor Fauzi Bowo closed and locked a gas station located on Jl. Jendral Sudirman to symbolically close down 27 gas stations and convert the areas into green spaces. The Jakarta Parks and Cemetery Agency announced that the 27 gas stations will be closed by the end of the year and the closure of these gas stations will add another 10,505 square meters of green areas in Jakarta (The Jakarta Post, November 11, 2009).

The conversion of gas stations into green areas is to meet the target for green areas in Jakarta stipulated in the Jakarta spatial plan 2000-2010 to cover 13.94 percent of Jakarta's total 63,744 hectares by 2010. In 1965, green areas made up more than 35 percent of Jakarta and have been shrinking ever since. Currently, green areas in Jakarta account for only 9.3 percent of the city's area, far below the target of 30 percent set by the Spatial Planning Law 26/2007.

I commend Governor Fauzi Bowo and his city administration for converting gas stations into green areas because of two main reasons. First, the conversion of gas stations into green areas is a good precedent for implementing spatial plans. Over the years, the spatial plan seems to be a legal document that is not fully enforced and implemented. The 27 gas stations are located in the areas designated as green areas in the Jakarta spatial plans 1965-1985, 1985-2005 and 2000-2010. For many years, the city conceded to the powerful owners of the gas stations and could not enforce and implement the spatial plans. In March 2008, the city proposed the plan of the gas stations conversion but it was rejected by the Jakarta City Council. This year, the city resubmitted the proposal and it was approved by the newly elected Jakarta City Council.


city (4)1, originally uploaded by budibudz.

Second, we must put a stop to disappearing green areas in Jakarta. Green areas are an important urban element that can help make cities self-sustainable and more livable. Annual floods in Jakarta indicate an urgency for green areas in the capital, because they absorb rainwater and help to avert flooding. New homes, condominiums, malls, hotels and commercial and office buildings have proliferated in Jakarta over the last three decades. These new developments have come at the cost of green areas and have decreased water catchment areas, making the city more prone to floods. Not only will the conversion of gas stations into green areas add the green areas but also contribute in preventing annual floods in Jakarta.

The cost of closing down and converting each gas station was around Rp. 75 million and I would argue that the benefit of the conversion of gas station into green areas will be much more than Rp. 75 million over the years. In addition to reducing the risk of floods, the new green areas will beautify and make Jakarta more livable. I would also suggest that the green areas that are close to residential areas be designed as recreation parks. The recreation parks will serve as a mode to build healthy, strong and vibrant neighborhoods and it will benefit the city even more. The conversion of these gas stations into green areas will also restrain the increasing city's carbon dioxide levels. The green areas can serve act as sponges for such pollutants.

In sum, the decision of the Jakarta’s administration to close down the gas stations and convert them into green areas in order to comply with the Jakarta spatial plan is a good move and should be appreciated. Not only will this decision become a good precedent for implementing the spatial plans in Jakarta or even in other areas in Indonesia, but also will provide a lot of benefits for the city and its residents.

(This article also appeared at The Jakarta Post on December 12, 2009; was reposted at Creative Cities ; was cited at Treehugger and at Reflection on Auckland Planning )

RA. KARTINI

Maya Raden Kartini was born in 1879 in the town of Rembang. He was son of a nobleman who was very obedient to the customs. After graduating from elementary school he was not allowed to continue their education to a higher level by the parents. He dipingit while waiting to be married. Small Kartini deeply saddened by this, he wanted to resist but did not dare for fear of being considered

KH. ABDURREHMAN WAHID

Abdurrahman Wahid, who often called Gus Dur was President of the Republic of Indonesia to 4 starting October 20, 1999 until July 24, 2001. He was born on August 4, 1940 at Denanyar village, Jombang, East Java. Gus Dur is the first son of six children. His father was a founder of NU great organization, named KH. Wahid Hasyim. While mother named Hj. Sholehah is the daughter of the founder of

W.R SUPRATMAN

Wage Rudolf Supratman (March 9 [1] 1903, Jatinegara, Jakarta - August 17, 1938, Surabaya) is the author of the national anthem of Indonesia, "Indonesia Raya". His father named Monday, sergeant in the Battalion VIII. Supratman six brothers, one male, the other woman. One was named Roekijem. In 1914, Supratman come Roekijem to Makassar. There he was schooled and financed by the husband Roekijem

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is the president of RI to-6. Unlike the previous president, he was the first president directly elected by the people in the Second round of Presidential Election 20 September 2004. Best graduates academy (1973) is familiarly called SBY was born in Pacitan, East Java, 9 September 1949. His wife was named Christian Herawati, is the third daughter of the late Gen. (Ret.)

SOHARTO

Suharto was President of the Republic of Indonesia. He was born in Kemusuk, Yogyakarta, on June 8, 1921. His father named Kertosudiro a farmer who is also the assistant headman of the village rice field irrigation, while his mother was Sukirah.Suharto entered the school when I was eight years old, but often moved. Originally schooled in the Village School (SD) Tens, Godean. Then moved to SD Pedes

B.J HABIBIE

The third President of the Republic of Indonesia, Jusuf Habibie Bacharuddin born in Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi, on June 25, 1936. He is the fourth child of eight children, spouse Alwi Abdul Jalil Habibie and RA. Tuti Marini Puspowardojo. Habibie, who is married to Hasri Ainun Habibie on May 12, 1962 was blessed with two sons namely Ilham Akbar and Thareq Kemal.Habibie childhood through with his

soekarno

The first President of the Republic of Indonesia, Sukarno, who was called Bung Karno, was born in Blitar, East Java, June 6, 1901 and died in Jakarta, June 21, 1970. His father named Raden Soekemi Sosrodihardjo and his mother Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai. During his lifetime, he has three wives and has eight children. Fatmawati wife of a son of Thunder, Megawati, Rachmawati, Sukmawati and Thunder. From
A * Aceh: located in the northern region of Sumatra island, Achin or Atjeh empire founded in the late 15th century. * Adonara: kingdom in the mountainous volcanic islands called island Adonara in the Lesser Sunda Islands. * Aga Nonsin * Agang Nionjo * Aitoon: kingdom on the island of West Timor. * Ajer Lebu: kingdom which is more or less a subordinate of the sultanate of Aceh, in Sumatra region.

NAME INDONESIA!

Name IndonesiaIn the year 1847 in Singapore published an annual scholarly journal, Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia (JIAEA), which is managed by James Richardson Logan (1819-1869), who won a Scottish law degree from the University of Edinburgh. Then in 1849 an expert on the English ethnology, George Samuel Windsor Earl (1813-1865), joined the magazine as editor JIAEA.In JIAEA

NAME OF INDONESIA IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES

People Indonesia Indonesia to name their children with a variety of ways. With more than 17,000 islands and a variety of cultures and local languages, Indonesia does not have a specific rule in giving a name. Some particular tribe has a surname which is derived from parent to child. Other tribes do not know the name of the family.The concept of the family name is unknown in some cultures of

HISTORY NAME NUSANTARA

Nusantara == == In the year [[1920's]], [[Ernest Francois Eugene Douwes Dekker]] ([[1879 ]]-[[ 1950]]), known as Dr. [[Setiabudi]] (grandson of the brother Multatuli), introduces a name for Indonesia, which does not contain elements of the word "Indian". No other name is'' '''Archipelago', a term that has been submerged for centuries. Setiabudi took the name from [[Pararaton]], codex era [[

REFORM ERA

Reform era == ==Habibie Government === ===President Habibie immediately form a Cabinet. One important task is to regain the support of the [[International Monetary Fund]] and the community of donor countries for the economic recovery program. He also frees political prisoners and reduce controls on freedom of expression and activities of the organization.Wahid Government === ===Elections for the

NEW ORDER ERA

New Order Era == ==After Suharto became president, the first one he did was enroll Indonesia became a member of the UN again. Indonesia on [[19 September]] [[1966]] announced that Indonesia is "intended to continue cooperation with the United Nations and continued participation in UN activities", and became a member of the United Nations again on [[28 September]] [[1966 ]], exactly 16 years after

INDEPENDENCE ERA

Independence era == == === ===((main | Indonesian Independence))Hearing the news that Japan no longer has the power to make decisions like that on [[August 16]], Sukarno read the "Proclamation" on the next day. The news of the proclamation of spread by radio and leaflets while the Indonesian military forces in time of war, Army [[Defenders of the

MASTERY OF JAPANESE

=== Japanese Occupation ((main | Indonesia: Era of Japan)) In July 1942, [[Sukarno]] accept the Japanese bid for a public campaign and form a government that can provide answers to the needs of the Japanese military. [[Sukarno]], [[Mohammad Hatta]], and the Kyai decorated by the Emperor of Japan in 1943. However, the experience of Japanese control in Indonesia vary widely, depending on where one

NATIONALISM MOVEMENT

Nationalism Movement === ===In [[1905]] the first nationalist movement, [[Trade Unions of Islam]] was established and then followed in the year [[1908]] by following the nationalist movement, [[Budi Utomo]]. Holland responded that after World War I by the steps of oppression. Nationalist leaders came from a small group of young professionals and students, some of whom have been educated in the

COLONIZATION OF THE DUNTCH

Colonization of the Dutch === === After the VOC went bankrupt in the late [[18th century]] and after a short British rule under [[Thomas Stamford Raffles]], the Dutch government took over ownership of the Company in the year [[1816]]. A rebellion in Java successfully suppressed in the [[Java War]] in [[1825 ]]-[[ 1830]]. After years of [[1830]] system [[cultivation]] known as''cultuurstelsel''in

COLONIAZATION OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY

Colonization of the East India Company === === Beginning in [[1602]] [[Netherlands]] gradually became ruler of the area is now Indonesia, to take advantage of divisions among the small kingdoms that had replaced Majapahit. The only thing that is not affected is [[Portuguese Timor]], which remains controlled by [[Portugal]] until [[1975]] when integrated into the province of Indonesia called [[

COLONIAL ERA

Colonial Era == ==Portuguese Colonization === ===((main | Sejarah_Nusantara # Zaman_Portugis))Colonization of the East India Company === ===((main | Indonesia: Era of the East India Company))Beginning in [[1602]] [[Netherlands]] gradually became ruler of the area is now Indonesia, to take advantage of divisions among the small kingdoms that had replaced Majapahit. The only thing that is not

ISLAMIC EMPIRE

Islamic Empire === ===[[Islam]] as a government presence in Indonesia around the [[12th century]], but actually [[Islam]] has been entered into the [[Indonesia]] in the 7th century [[BC]]. It was a busy shipping lane and the international nature through the Malacca Strait that connects the Tang Dynasty in China, the Srivijaya in Southeast Asia and the Umayyad dynasty in Western Asia since the 7th

HINDU-BUDDHIST KINGDOM

=== Hindu-Buddhist kingdom ===((main | Indonesia: Era of Hindu-Buddhist kingdom))[[Image: Inscription tugu.jpg | thumb | 200px | Tugu inscription remains of King [[Purnawarman of Taruma]]]]In the 4th century until the 7th century in the West Java region is patterned kingdom of Hindu-Buddhist kingdom [[Tarumanagara]] followed by [[Kingdom of Sunda]] until the 16th century. In the [[7th century]]

EARLY HISTORY

Early history === ===The scholars [[India]] has written about [[Dwipantara]] or kingdom [[Hindu]] [[Java Dwipa]] on the island of [[Java]] and [[Sumatra]] around [[200 BC]]. Initial physical evidence is the date from the 5th century the two kingdoms-print [[Hinduism]]: Kingdom of [[Tarumanagara]] control of [[West Java]] and [[Kingdom of Kutai]] on the coast of [[Mahakam River]] , [[Borneo]]. In

PRE-COLONIAL ERA

Pre-colonial era == == The scholars [[India]] has written about [[Dwipantara]] or kingdom [[Hindu]] [[Java Dwipa]] on the island of [[Java]] and [[Sumatra]] around [[200 BC]]. Initial physical evidence is the date from the 5th century the two kingdoms-print [[Hinduism]]: Kingdom of [[Tarumanagara]] control of [[West Java]] and [[Kingdom of Kutai]] on the coast of [[Mahakam River]] , [[Borneo]].

PREHISTORIC

Prehistoric == == In geology, region [[Indonesia]] modern (for convenience, hereinafter referred to as [[archipelago]]) is a meeting between the three major continental plates: [[Eurasian Plate]], [[Indo-Australian Plate]], and [[Plate Pacific]] (see article [[Geology Indonesia]]). Indonesian archipelago, as there is currently formed at the melting [[es]] after the end of [[Ice Age]], only 10,000

Raden Oto Iskandar Di Nata

Raden Oto Iskandar Di Nata (the starling Harupat)Prime Minister of Indonesia 1Term of office: 1945Born: Bojongsoang (Bandung), March 31, 1897BiographyOto Iskandar in Nata is a fighter. Pagoejoeban Pasoendan he led since 1929 to 1942. The organization is moving in the field of education (founded many schools), cultural, economic (Banks and cooperatives) and legal (legal aid organizations and the

A city without social justice: Jakarta needs more green space, but not the expense of the poor

This post was published in Inside Indonesia, an Australian magazine, in the October-December 2009 edition. Following is the link to the article:
http://insideindonesia.org/content/view/1246/47/



DSC01412, originally uploaded by Luis XII.

In case of the link is not available, I copied the article as you can find below. Thank you.


A city without social justice: Jakarta needs more green space, but not the expense of the poor

Jakarta is not only Indonesia’s capital and most dynamic city, it is also beset with a plethora of 21st century urban problems. As its population grows, its green spaces shrink. In the first half of the twentieth century Batavia, colonial capital of the Netherlands East Indies, was a small urban area with approximately 150,000 residents. Batavia has become Jakarta, Indonesia’s megacity of 14 million.

Green spaces in the city have shrunk along with this leap in population. As recently as 1965, green areas made up more than 35 per cent of Jakarta’s land area. Currently, they account for only 9.3 per cent, far below the target of 30 per cent set by Law No 26 of 2007 on Spatial Planning.

Shrinking green areas
As Jakarta is certain to continue to grow, the city’s master plan to protect remaining green spaces and add some more, especially along riversides, offer some hope. The city’s current 2000-2010 master plan aims to achieve green areas (legally defined as areas where plants can grow) of 13.94 per cent of the total city area. This is an excellent goal, but it is modest when we compare it to similar plans in the past. The 1965-1985 master plan, for example, planned for green areas covering 27.6 per cent of Jakarta’s land area. In part, these plans are simply catching up with reality. New luxury homes, condominiums, shopping malls, hotels, commercial buildings and offices have proliferated in Jakarta over the last three decades. Many have been built at the expense of green areas and have paved over water catchment areas, making the city more prone to floods.

Annual floods in Jakarta point to an urgent need to protect existing green
areas in the capital – and to create new ones.

Not surprisingly, annual floods are becoming more severe, and more deadly. The worst flood in memory occurred in February 2007, inundating about 70 per cent of the city. It killed at least 57 people and sent some 450,000 fleeing their homes. In the aftermath of the flood, Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar put the blame on excessive construction of residential and commercial buildings, which now cover many of the city’s former green areas.

Annual floods in Jakarta point to an urgent need to protect existing green areas in the capital – and to create new ones. Green areas absorb rainwater and thus help prevent flooding. Green areas also help make cities more sustainable and livable.


Canal - Jakarta, originally uploaded by pyjama.

Clearing out the poor
As part of its master plan, Jakarta’s administration has planned to expand the city’s green areas to nearly 14 percent of the city’s area by next year. However, even this modest expansion will come at the expense of some of Jakarta’s most powerless residents. Often, when the city government creates new green spaces it does so by evicting the city’s poor residents and operators of informal sector businesses.

For example, the restoration of Ayodia Park (on Jalan Barito in South Jakarta) led to evictions of fish and flower traders in January 2008. Many of the traders had run their businesses in that area for more than 20 years, yet Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo argued that the vendors were there illegally and had no right to the land. In February 2008, the city administration evicted ceramics sellers from beneath a highway overpass in Rawasari, Central Jakarta, in order to expand green spaces. It did the same to about 1400 families who had lived for years in Kampung Bayam (North Jakarta) in August 2008. In this case the aim was to restore the 66 hectare BMW Park (BMW in this case stands for Bersih, Manusiawi, dan Wibawa – Clean, Humane, and Esteemed). The Kampung Bayam eviction turned into a melee as many squatters, mostly women and children, resisted officers’ efforts to remove them.

While Jakarta authorities often use force to ‘free’ land used by the city’s poor, they lack the courage to prevent construction of the condominiums, malls, hotels and commercial or offices that developers and the rich build in designated green areas in blatant violation of the city’s spatial plans. The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) counted numerous Jakarta developments that converted green areas into malls and other commercial buildings, in violation of Jakarta’s spatial plan. WALHI’s May 2009 report identified these illegal developments in Kelapa Gading, Pantai Kapuk, Sunter, Senayan, and Tomang. Governor Fauzi Bowo told the media in February 2008 that it would not be realistic to demolish such buildings to restore green spaces.

The authorities often use force to ‘free’ land used by the city’s poor, but they
lack the courage to prevent construction of condominiums, malls, hotels,
commercial buildings and offices

Jakarta now has about 60 mid-size and large shopping malls. According to the Urban Poor Consortium (http://www.urbanpoor.or.id/ ), a Jakarta advocacy organisation, only about 500,000 Jakarta residents can afford to shop in those malls. The malls do not serve Jakarta’s poor, who outnumber Jakarta’s mall-shopping rich by seven-to-one.

Social injustice
Not only has the Jakarta government failed to prevent the loss of existing green spaces to malls and commercial buildings, influential commercial interests have also scuttled plans to re-establish green spaces. For example, in March 2008, Jakarta’s City Council rejected the Jakarta Parks Agency’s plan to create green spaces in place of 29 gas stations, caving in to the demands of the politically powerful gas station owners.

The city administration deserves support for planning to create additional green spaces.But it should not do so by mistreating poor people and the informal sector. It seems that Jakarta politicians find it easier to expand green areas by demolishing poor residents’ homes and forcing informal sector workers off public space, than by preventing, stopping, or demolishing developments that benefit only the wealthy.

Deden Rukmana (rukmanad@savannahstate.edu) is assistant professor and coordinator of the graduate program in Urban Studies and Planning at Savannah State University, USA. He publishes Indonesia’s Urban Studies (http://indonesiaurbanstudies.blogspot.com/ )

This blog in the GPEIG Newsletter


amazing, originally uploaded by BESTPHOTO.

In the early September 2009, I received an email from Dr. Vinit Mukhija, an associate professor of urban planning at UCLA who is also a co-chair of GPEIG, that invited me to submit a story about this blog for the GPEIG newsletter. I was certainly delighted to accept the invitation and submitted a description about the blog and my reflection on blogosphere two weeks later to him.

GPEIG stands for Global Planning Educators Interest Group and is an interest group under the ACSP (Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning). The mission of GPEIG is to foster global perspective in planning education and research. This link provides more information about GPEIG.

Following is the story about this blog in the GPEIG newsletter that can also be found in this link.

I am honored to share my blog of Indonesia’s Urban Studies with the readers of
the GPEIG newsletter. The blog, located at http://indonesiaurbanstudies.blogspot.com/ was created in January 2007. As mentioned in the first post of my blog, the purpose of this blog is to contribute to the advancement of urban studies and planning in Indonesia, and was inspired by the success of Randall Crane’s blog of Urban Planning Research.

My blog includes a wide-ranging collection of reflections and essays about urban issues in Indonesia, including poverty, informal sector, transportation, land uses, spatial planning, urban primacy and global warming. My reflections are primarily focused on the current urban issues in Jakarta and are based on my regular reading of two Indonesian newspapers, Kompas and The Jakarta Post. Most news stories in both newspapers are about Jakarta, and a few stories are about other cities in Indonesia. That’s why my blog posts are mainly about Jakarta.

Several urban issues in Jakarta are discussed in my blog, including the banning of
motorcyclists from Jakarta’s main roads, extortion by thugs of street vendors, an upscale neighborhood’s resistance against a new busway corridor plan, the Jakarta City Council’s rejection of a plan of converting gas stations into green areas and the change of the school start time. The blog also includes the reflections of the last three years of annual floods that inundated Jakarta. Interestingly, the floods always occurred in the first week of February. The blog documents the impacts of the flood each year and government efforts at preventing the floods. These posts were also submitted to and run by The Jakarta Post in its Op-Ed sections.

The blog also presents a number of essays including the history of urbanization and
suburbanization in Jakarta, the dominance of Jakarta in Indonesia’s economy,
urban planning and the informal sectors in developing countries, challenges of the planning profession in Indonesia, and a book review of Christopher Silver’s Planning the Megacity: Jakarta in the Twentieth Century.

Nearly 50,000 visitors have come to my blog and most of them are via Google. Many visitors also came from other websites and blogs that have a link to my blog, including the ACSP’s website. A number of students from many parts of the world contact me after visiting my blog for a variety of reasons, including asking further questions or for detailed data, asking for data sources in Indonesia, asking for definitions of urban terms, asking me to review their work on Indonesia, or simply for appreciating my work. In addition to students, a journalist of Singapore’s The Straits Times and a Norwegian journalist contacted me for their stories of Jakarta. I was also invited by the editors of an Australian magazine and several Indonesian newsletters to submit stories about urban issues in Indonesia. All these invitations and interviews came to me through visits to my blog.

Furthermore, I can trace from where and how long the visitors visit my blog. They come from countries all over the world, including countries in Africa and South America. I am amazed by their interest in Indonesia’s urban issues, and hope that my blog contributes to their interests.

When I started nearly three years ago, I never expected to get what I have accomplished with my blog today. We can witness the power of the Web in building and shaping our society. The world is now directed by the citizens of the new digital democracy. Blogging is a good way for scholars to be a part of this new world of digital democracy. I have learned from my blog that the voice of scholars in the blogosphere is well-respected and appreciated. The blog audiences have a lot of choices to read and they find the voice of scholars worth reading.

The Mightiest Indonesian Archipelago

The Mightiest Indonesian Archipelago


Galunggung Volcano
Preceding pages, aftermath of the eruption of Galunggung Volcano in West Java. Left, Mt. Mahameru makes a magnificent appearance above the clouds. Right, hiking through the Borneo rainforest in Dayak country


The Indonesian Archipelago is by far the world's largest-13,617 islands strewn across 5,120 kms (3,200 miles) of tropical seas. When superimposed on a map of North America, this means that Indonesia stretches from Oregon all the way to Bermuda. On a map of Europe, the archipelago extends from Ireland past the Caspian Sea. Of course, four-fifths of the intervening area is occupied by ocean, and many of the islands are tiny, no more than rocky outcrops populated, perhaps, by a few seabirds. But 3,000 Indonesian islands are large enough to be inhabited and New Guinea and Borneo rank as the second and third largest in the world (after Greenland). Of the other major islands, Sumatra is slightly larger than Sweden or California; Sulawesi is roughly the size of Great Britain, and Java alone is as large as England or New York State. With a total land area of 2.02 million sq kms (780,000 sq miles), Indonesia is the world's fourteenth largest political unit.

Befitting its reputation as the celebrated Spice Islands of the East, this archipelago also constitutes one of the most diverse and biologically fascinating corners of our planet. Unique geologic and climatic conditions have created spectacularly varied tropical habitats-from the exceptionally fertile rice lands of Java and Bali to the luxuriant rainforests of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Maluku, to the savannah grasslands of Nusa Tenggara and the snowcapped peaks of lrian. Found here are an amazing variety of spice, aromatic had hardwood trees (clove, nutmeg, sandalwood, camphor, ebony, ironwood and teak, among others), many unusual fruits (durian, rambutan, lengkeng, salak, blimbing, nangka, manggis, jambu), the world's largest flower (the Rafflesia), the largest lizard (Komodo's monitor), many rare animal species found nowhere else (like the orangutan, the Javan rhinoceros and the Sulawesian anoa-a dwarf buffalo), thousands of varieties of butterflies and wild orchids, and many exquisite plum-age birds-- like the cockatoo and the bird of paradise.

The geological history of the region is complex. All of the islands are relatively young; the earliest dates only from the end of the Miocene, l5 million years ago-just yesterday on the geological time scale. Since that time, the whole archipelago has been the scene of violent tectonic activity, as islands were torn from jostling super continents or pushed up by colliding oceanic plates, and then enlarged in earth wrenching volcanic explosions. The process continues today-Australia is drifting slowly northward, as the immense Pacific plate presses south and west to meet it and the Asian mainland. The islands of Indonesia lie along the lines of impact, a fact that is reflected in their geography and in the great seismic instability of the region.

The islands fall into three main categories of Indonesian Archipelago. Firstly, the large islands of western Indonesia: Sumatra, Kalimantan (Borneo) and Java, together with several smaller adjacent ones (the Riau chain, Bangka, Billiton, Madura and Bali) all rest on the broad Sunda continental shelf that extends down from the Southeast-Asian mainland. The intervening Java Sea is thus very shallow, no more than 100 meters (328 feet)deep at its lowest point, and in fact these islands were often connected to each other and to the mainland during the lce Ages, when sea levels receded as much as 200 meters worldwide and the entire Sunda shelf was exposed as a huge subcontinent. Now these islands are fringed with broad plains that are continually expanding. as new alluvial deposits collect and reclaim the shallow sea.

Vast New Guinea and the tiny islands that dot the neighboring Arafura sea, are connected in similar way by the Sahul continual shelf to Australia. New Guinea was in fact torn off from Australia long ago During a rift movement of the earth's crust.

In between those continental Shelves lie Sulawesi (The Celebes), Maluku and Nusa Tenggara (the Lesser Sundas) – several rugged island arcs which rise from a deep geosynclines that drops as much as 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) below the water's surface.

Geologically all these islands were created Along fault lines where the various tectonic plates of the earth's crust collided and folded at the edges. Subsequently, volcanoes arose along several of these same fault lines.

It is possible to distinguish between two sets of symmetrical folds for each island chain in the archipelago: an older, non-volcanic outer fold and a younger, intensely volcanic inner fold. Running down the west coast of Sumatra is a non-volcanic outer range known as the Mentawai chain of islands. This continues as the southern coastal ranges of Java, Bali, Lombok and western. Sumbawa, and then splits off to form the non volcanic islands of Sumba. Roti. Sawu. Timor, and Tanimbar farther to the east. Parallel to this is an inner, highly volcanic fold that forms the central mountain spines of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, and Flores, running through Alor and Wetar to the Banda islands in the east.

Portuguese map of Southeast AsiaEarly 16th Century Portuguese map of Southeast Asia with much ofthe Indonesian archipelago undrawn

Though structurally less well defined, a similar non-volcanic outer fold in the east forms the central ranges of New Guinea, Seram, Buru, and eastern Sulawesi, while an inner volcanic range runs up the western and northern sides of Sulawesi and Halmahera to the Philippines. Within this schema, Borneo forms. along with the Malay peninsula and the mainland, and old and stable non-volcanic core arnd Sulawesi, due to its intermediary position, is geologically the most confused a young volcanic arc (the southwestern central-northern range) welded onto an older, non-volcanic one (the eastern and south-eastern arms).

A Volcanic Legacy

The importance of volcanoes in Indonesia cannot be overstated. Not only do they dominate the landscape of many islands with majestic smoking cones, they also fundamentally alter their size and soils spewing forth millions of tons of ash and debris at irregular intervals. Much of this eventually gets washed down to form gently slopping alluvial plains. Where the ejecta is acidic. the land is infertile and practically useless for agricultural purposes.But where it is basic, as on Java and Bali and in a few scattered localities on other islands. it has Produced the most spectacularly fertile tropical soils in the world.

Of the hundreds of volcanoes, in lndonesia, over 70 remain active and hardly a year passes without a major eruption. On such a densely populated island as Java, this inevitably brings death and destruction. When Mt. Galunggung erupted in West Java in 1982, Many were killed and about 4 million were directly affected through loss of home, land and livelihood.

Yet Galunggung was only a small eruption. Tiny Mt. Krakatau off Java's west coast erupted in 1883 with a force equivalent to that of several hydrogen bombs, creating tidal waves that killed more than 35,00b people on Java. The bang of this eruption, 18 times larger than that of Mt. St. Helens, was heard as far away as Colombo and Sydney, and the great quantities of debris hurled into the atmosphere caused vivid sunsets all over the world for three years afterwards.

Even the Krakatau explosion, however, Was dwarfed by the cataclysmic 181"5 eruption of Mt. Tambora on Sumbawa-the largest in recorded history, in which 90,000 people were killed and over 80 cubic kms of ejected material blocked out the sun for many months, producing the famous "years without summer" of 1816. Geologists say that even greater explosions created Sumatra's Lake Toba and Lake Ranau eons ago.

Climate

Sumatran volcanoEarly Dutch painting depicts a Sumatran volcano

All of the islands in the archipelago lie within the tropical zone, and the surrounding seas exert everywhere a homogenizing effect on temperatures and humidity, so that local variables like topography, altitude and rainfall produce more variation in climate than do latitude or season. Mean temperatures at sea level are uniform, varying by only a few, degrees throughout the region-, and throughout the year (25-28 C/78-82 FF).

In the mountains, however, the temperature decreases about one degree C (two degrees F) for every 200 meters (656 feet) of-altitude, which makes for a cool, pleasant climate in upland towns like Bandung (in West Java: altitude 900 meters [2,950- it]) and Bukit Tinggi (in West Sumatra: altitude 1,000 meters [3.280 ft]).

Much of the Indonesian Archipelago also lies within the equatorial ever wet zone, where no month passes without several inches of rainfall. Most islands receive considerably more than this during the northeast monsoon, which blows down over the South China Sea picking up moisture, then veers to the northwest across the equator, unleashing drenching precipitation wherever it touches land from November through April. Moreover, the tropical sun and the oceans combine to produce continuously high humidity everywhere, and due to local wind patterns, a few places, like Bogor in West Java, receive rain almost daily-as much as 400 cm (200 inches) of it annually!

The Southeast Monsoon nevertheless tends to counteract this generally high humidity by blowing hot, dry air up from over the Australian landmass between May and October. Though much depends on local topography, on most islands this produces a dry season of markedly reduced precipitation, and as one moves south and eastward in the Indonesian Archipelago, the influence of this dessicating Southeast Monsoon increases dramatically. Thus, for example, Sumba and Timor in the Nusa Tenggara chain have an extremely long dry season, with occasional two years droughts. Similarly, the southern Bukit peninsula in Bali is much drier than the rest of the island. as are parts of Java east and south of Surakarta.

Arboreal Canopies

Ujung KulonMangrovesa long the Cihandeuleum River at Ujung Kulon
in West Java

The vegetation found in different parts of the Indonesian Archipelago varies greatly according to rainfall, soil and altitude. On the wetter equatorial islands. the Luxuriance of the rain forests is simply amazing The main canopy of interlocking tree crowns mar be -10 meters (130 ft) from the ground. with individual trees rising as high as 7 meters (230 ft). Beneath this grows a tangle of palms, lianas, Epiphytic ferns, rattans and bamboos, covered by innumerable lichens, mosses and lower plants.

One would imagine that to support such growth the soils would have to be very rich, but this is generally not so. The rain forests of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Irian typically thrive on very poor and thin soils, that have been heavily leached of minerals by the incessant rains. Cleared of their forest cover by shifting agriculturalists, they support only two or three Meagre crops before being exhausted, eroded or choked with weeds.

How does the rain forest flourish in such circumstances? The answer lies in the nature of its ecosystem, which has brilliantly adapted over millions of years to just such conditions. Essentially, the system holds most of its minerals and nutrients in the form of living tissues. As these die and fall to the ground, they are immediately decomposed and absorbed back up into the system once again. In effect, then, the Rainforest is a self-fertilizing system largely independent of the soil.

On each level, various plants play unique roles in the ecosystem. The upper tree canopy absorbs sunlight and photosyn the-size sit , while maintaining low temperatures and high humidity below. Growth is very slow on the shady lower levels. Lianas wind up from the ground; rattan canes use hooked barbs to grapple and climb; epiphytes simply settle on the branches of big trees.

All plants in the system face shortages of minerals and water, and have therefore developed water storage tubers and other strategies, such as providing shelter and special fluids for ants who in turn deposit their nutrient-rich faces for the plant to use. Some plants resort to piracy, living as parasites-like the garish Rafflesia flower found only in south-central Sumatra, which has no leaves and lives on the ground trailing Tetrastigma vine. Its cabbage-like buds swell and eventually burst open in enermous blooms, five reddish-brown petals splashed with white that can measure one metre across and sometimes weigh nine kgs (20 lbs).

Montane forestMontane forest at Cibodas in West Java

Carnivorous pitcher plants lure unsuspecting insects into liquid-filled cups, where they are dissolved to provide essential nutrients. And the strangler fig settles on a lofty branch, putting down aerial roots that eventually strangle the host tree itself.

Lowland-rain forests display the greatest diversity. Stands of a single tree are rare, rather the lowland forest is composed of a fantastic mosaic of different species, so that in Borneo alone. for example, 3,000 different tree species are known. On this and other islands, many economically valuable hardwood, aromatic and spice trees flourish-including teak, ebony, sandalwood, camphor, clove and nutmeg trees, as well as exotic fruit-bearing species: durian, rambutan, jackfruit, salak, jambu, tamarind, breadfruit and hundreds of varieties of banana and fruit-bearing palms. In New Guinea more than 2,500 species of wild orchids are found in the rainforest, including the world's largest-the tiger orchid (Grammatophyllum Speciosum) with its three meter-long spray of yellow-orange blooms.

Alpine Forests and Mangrove Swamps

cacao treeFruit of the cacao tree

At high altitudes, temperatures drop and cloud cover increases, resulting in slower growth, fewer species and less complex structure. Rain forest give way to more specialized montane forests, dominated by chestnuts, laurels and oaks. Higher up, one finds rhododendrons and stunted moss forests-dwarf trees draped in lichens. Higher still, there are alpine meadows with Giant edelweiss and other plants more reminiscent of Switzerland than Indonesia. This unexpected habitat can be seen a t Mt. Gede National Park, only 100k ms ( 62m iles) south of hot, humid Jakarta. Indonesia's highest peaks, the Lorentz mountains of Irian Jaya, rise to over 5,000 meters (16,000 feet), and are clad in permanent now fields and glaciers, the only rice fields in the eastern tropics.

Other specialized forests grow on ultra basic rocks, on limestone Karsts, in young volcanic areas and in poorly drained swamps where lack of aeration leads to the build-up of acid peat. In the vast tidal zones of eastern Sumatra, Kalimantan and southern Irian, specialized mangrove trees with looping roots and air-breathing nodules flourish. These trap silt washed down by rivers and creep slowly forward behind a wall of growing coral, forming new land. Mangrove swamps are inhabited by fiddler crabs, fish that skip out of the water, dancing fireflies and the amazing proboscis monkey unique to Borneo.

Moving east from central Java across Bali and Nusa Tenggara, the climate becomes drier and lowland jungles are replaced by deciduous monsoon forests and open savannah grasslands. Depending on how dry the climate is, these forests are partly or wholly deciduous, with fewer species and many broad-leaf trees like teak, which shed their leaves during the dry season. This renders them highly vulnerable to forest fires, and indeed most of the natural forests on Sumbawa, Komodo, Flores and Timor have been either cut or burned off in recent centuries by man. The exposed land has then been devoured by voracious alang-alang (elephant grasses), so that today there are only useless grasslands and scrub where once there were valuable hardwood forests.

Rice in in SumbaA wet-rice paddy in Sumba is "ploughed" by water buffal

Man's presence in the archipelago has not always had an adverse impact on the environment. Indeed, since prehistoric times, man has created exceptionally productive agricultural environments on islands like Java and Bali. This was accomplished through the introduction of irrigated wet rice cultivation to areas that already possessed soil and climatic conditions ideal for agriculture.

Not only are Java and Bali among the few islands where volcanic ejecta is basic and not acidic, so that frequent volcanic eruptions have in fact continually improved the soils by adding mineral-rich nutrients, but they are also areas which achieve something of a golden mean in climate, between the incessant rainfall of the equatorial islands and the extended droughts oT Nusa Tenggara. Java and Bali receive plentiful rainfall and sunshine during alternating dry and wet seasons, each of which lasts half of the year.

It remained, then, for man to harness these natural blessings to his advantage, through the construction of elaborate irrigation networks and labor-intensive wet-rice paddies. The results have been astounding-rice yields under traditional conditions (i.e. before the use of chemical fertilizers and miracle rice strains) that are by far the highest in the world. Such extraordinary fecundity, responsible in great measure for the numerous cultural achievements of the Javanese and the Balinese, has now resulted in runaway population growth. Java today supports 100 million people, two-thirds of Indonesia's population, on only seven per cent of the nation's total land area. This represents an average of over 750 persons per sq km (2.000 per sq mile)-more than twice that of densely populated industrial nations like Japan and Holland. And in many areas of Java, average rural population densities actually soar to an incredible 2,000 persons per sq km (5,000 per sq mile)!

The situation on other islands stands in marked contrast to this. The remaining 50 million Indonesians live spread over more than 90 per cent of the Indonesian Archipelago, with an average population density of only 35 per sq km (90 per sq mile). On some islands, like Kalimantan and Irian,Jaya, this figure drops to around 10 per sq km.

>lontar palmClimbing a lontar palm for tuak

Partly in view of this dramatic population imbalance and partly because of the historical importance of Java as a political center of gravity within the Indonesian Archipelago, many observers tend to distinguish between an Inner Indonesia (i.e. Java and Bali, including Madura and West Lombok) and an Outer Indonesia (all other islands).

Whereas Inner Indonesia has been characterized for centuries by high population densities and labour-intensive irrigated agriculture, Outer Indonesia is the home, traditionally, of dense rain forests, thinly-spread shifting agricultural communities and riverie trading networks. Now, the Outer Islands are also the source of almost all valuable exports: rubber and palm oil (from Sumatran estates), petroleum, copper, tin and bauxite (from Sumatra, Bangka, Billiton and Irian Jaya) and timber (from Kalimantan).

In a sense, the serious ecological problems of over-populated Inner Indonesia are now being exported to the Outer Islands. Java has already suffered for some time from problems of erosion, soil exhaustion and pollution. Now, as the nation's export resources are increasingly being called upon to support a burgeoning population, there are the beginnings of massive deforestation, leading to erosion and the replacement of rainforest by useless grassland.

tea plantationA tea plantation in the cool uplands of Java

These problems have been recognized by the Indonesian government. Realizing, for example, that if indiscriminate clear-felling in Kalimantan timber concessions continues at its present rate, there will be no lowland forest left by the end of the century, they are taking steps to encourage selective cutting and reforestation. Moreover, six per cent of the nation's land has been set aside as nature reserves and national parks. These are not just for the protection of a few wild animals-they safeguard a genetic treasure trove containing many species that may be valuable to man, as well as providing watershed protection and recreational facilities.

Indonesia Since Independence Day


Indonesia Since Independence Day


Indonesia Since Independence Day, Euphoria swept through the cities and towns of Indonesia following the withdrawal of Dutch forces and the secular of Indonesian sovereignty. Mass rallies and processions were held: flag-waving crowds thronged the streets shouting the magical words: " Merdeka, Merdeka!" (Freedom, freedom!). Independence had come at last, and though many obstacles remained Indonesian felt that nothing was impossible now that they held their destiny in their own hands.

Meanwhile. in Jakarta. the slow and arduous process of constructing a peacetime Government had begun. And while the uni-flying power of th6 revolution had done much to forge a coherent state, the fact of Indonesia's remarkable ethnic, religious and ideological diversity remained. Moreover, massive economic and social problems faced the new nation-a legacy of colonialism and war. Factories and plantations were shut down, capital and skilled personnel were scarce, rice production was insufficient to meet demand, the Indonesian people were overwhelmingly poor and illiterate, and the population was growing at an unprecedented.

Gunung Sahara Street(Jakarta's Gunung Sahara Street in the early fifties, a time of national reconstruction)

The inability of any single political group of Indonesia since independence day to effectively dominate it to others clearly called for a system of government in which a variety of interests could be represented. Largely due to the high profile of Dutch-educated intellectuals among the nationalists, a western-style parliamentary system of government was adopted.

From the beginning of Indonesia since independence day, however, the existence of more than 30 rival parties paralyzed the system. A string of weak coalition cabinets rose and fell at the rate of almost one a year, and attempts at cooperation were increasingly stymied not only by a growing ideological polarization, but also by religous and regional loyalties. Parties became more and more preoccupied with ensuring their own survival and less and less attentive toward the nation's pressing economic and social needs,frustrating those who wished to see the revolution produce more tangible results. Most impatient of.all were Sukarno, whose powers as President had been limited b-ythe provisional constitution of 1950, and the army leadership, who felt that their key role during the revolution entitled them to a greater political say.

A series of-uprisings by disaffected groups in Sumatra, North Sulawesi and West Java ever-popular Sukarno declared martial law and give a free hand to crush the rebels. By 1959. with the rebellions under control, Sukarno resurrected the '-revolutionary" constitution of 1945 and declared the beginning of Guided Democracy.


Guided Democracy
1959 - 1965


Indonesia since independence day, under the new political system, power as focused in the hands of the President and the army leadership, at the expense of political parties, whom Sukarno now resarded as counter-revolutionary. Militant nationalism became Sukarno's new recipe for national integration, and the blame for all sorts of economic and political problems was placed squarely at the feet of foreign imperialism and colonialism. In the international arena, Sukarno had, in 1955, made a significant impact by convening the Asia Africa Conference in Bandung. Attended by leaders such as Chou En-lai, Nehru and Nassar, the conference led to the formation of a non-aligned movement and placed Indonesia in the forefront among emergent Third World nations.


Soekarno Hatta CabinetSukarno (center) with his first cabinet, of which Hatta (right of Sukarno) was vice-president

In the early 1960s Soekarno's anti-colonial sentiments took a more militant turn. A long and successful campaign to wrest control of western New Guinea from the Dutch was followed closely by military confrontation with newly independent Malaysia, in 1963. Sukarno's audacity and growing contempt for the United States ("To hell with your aid!" he told the Americans) earned him the reputation of infant terrible among Asian leaders.

Soekarno's nationalistic 6lan was in some ways just what Indonesia needed. Many Indonesians saw in him a kind of father figure-a natural leader who offered a vision of a strong and independent Indonesia not seen since the 14th Century, during the reign of the powerful empire,of Majapahit.

Yet Soekarno's reliance on his charisma, and his lack of attention to day-to-day administration created a vacuum in which the government and the nation floundered. While Soekarno attempted to offset the growing influence of the military by identifying himself more closely with the most active of the civilian parties, the communist PKI, the nation's economy ground to a halt. Foreign investment fled, deficits left the government bankrupt and inflation skyrocketed to an annual rate of 680 per cent. By 1965, the year that Sukarno christened, "The Year of Living Dangerously," social, cultural and political ferment was intense.


The 1965 Coup

The political tinderbox was ignited in the early hours of Oct 1, 1965 when with the apparent encouragement of the PKI. a group of radical young army officers kidnaped and brutally .Executed six leading generals, claiming that they were plotting against the President. Failing to gain Soekarno's backing. however. the rebel officers soon lost the initiative to General Soeharto, then head of the elite Army Strategic Reserve. In the space of a few hours.Soeharto moved to assume command of the army and to crush the attempted coup.


Soekarno and Nehru( Nehru (left) standing with Sukarno(right) During a state visit of 1957)


The nation was shocked by news of the generals' execution.and. although the exact extent to which PKI leaders were involved is still not clear, the communists were charged with attempting to overthrow the government. A state of anarchy ensued, in which moderate, Muslim and army elements sought to settle the score. Thousands upon thousands were killed as long-simmering frustrations erupted into mob violence first in northern Sumatra, then later in Java,Bali and Lombok. The bloodletting continued for months, and the period 1965-66 is remembered today as the darkest in the Republic's history.

Meanwhile.in Jakarta. a political struggle broke out between the army, supported by students, intellectuals. Muslims and other middle-class groups on the one hand, and Sukarno, with his considerable populist/nationalist following on the other. Finally on March 11th, 1966, Sukarno was persuaded to sign a document bestowing wide powers on General Suharto.

Although Suharto was not formally installed as Indonesia's second president until 1968, immediate reforms were carried out under his direction. Martial law was declared and order was restored. 'the communist party, Marxist-Leninist teachings were outlawed. The civil administration was radically restructured and restaffed by military personnel. A major realignment in foreign policy restored relations with the United States and the West, while severing ties with China and the Soviet Union.

Economic 'New Order"

Indonesia since independence day building its political legitimacy upon promises to revive the moribund Indonesian economy, the new Suharto administration wasted no time in addressing the fundamental problems of inflation and stagnation. American-trained economists were called upon to over see the rapid reintegration of Indonesia into the world economy. and in a short space of time, foreign investment laws were liberalized, monetary controls were imposed, and western aid was sought and received to replenish the nation's exhausted foreign exchange reserves. These measures formed the cornerstones of Suharto's economic "new order." and served to dramatically curb inflation and to set the nation on a course of rapid economic growth by the early l970s.


Soekarno and Soeharto(Right, Soekarno reads a statement to the press handing over power,
while his success or Suharto looks on)

Indonesian first five-year plan. Repelita I was design to encourage growth by attracting foreign investment. Most of the targets of the plan were achieved-a first wave of investors moved in to take advantage of Indonesia's vast natural reserves of copper,tin, timber and oil, setting up facilities to extract these raw materials in Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Irian Jaya. As the political stability of the region seemed more assured a second wave of investors, largely Japanese and local Chinese, set up a wide variety of urban-based manufacturing industries. By 1915, textile manufacturing alone accounted for US$708 million worth of investments, and the economy was rocketing.

By far the greatest benefits, however, came from oil. The story began in northern Sumatra in 1883 when a Dutch planter took shelter from a storm in a native shed and noticed a wet torch burning brightly. Inquiring about this, he was led to a near by spring where a black viscous substance lay thick across the water. The discovery soon led to the formation of Royal Dutch shell Company, and eventually to the establishment of Indonesia as the world's fifth largest OPEC producer.

From a total of US$323million in i966, oil exports rose to US$5.2 billion in 1974, largely due to the steep OPEC price hikes of the early 1970s. Now oil has come to account for roughly 60 per cent of the state's total revenues, and the flood of petrodollars has been used to fund not only a number of capital works programs but also a significant upgrading of the nation's huge civil service.The most impressive advances have been in education. particularly at the primary level. Between 1912 and [97t1. no less than 26,677 primary schools were built, bringing the percentage of children enrolled from 69 to 84. Primary school teachers now account for roughly I third of the nation's 2.3 million government employees.

Indonesia's civil service though is not without its problems. Despite 106 per cent across-the-board wage hikes in the early 1970s,pay levels remain low. In 1983,over 70 per cent of civil servants were receiving less than US$20 per week. Inefficiency and corruption are the result, compounding a serious lack of expertise and training. Only 26 per cent of all government employees (including teachers)have more than a junior high school education.

A different sort of problem arose within the government body responsible for the oil bonanza, the State Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Pertamina. In the early 1970s, under the direction of Colonel Ibnu Sutowo. Pertamina poured huge sums of money into projects intended to reduce Indonesia's dependence on foreign technology and imports. These included a floating fertilizer plant to be anchored over offshore gas fields, the massive Krakatau steel mill in West Java, a three-million-ton tanker fleet, petrochemical and refining plants, as well as several non-industrial projects such as a first-class hospital, a sports stadium, a chain of hotels, an airline and a golf course.

Liberation of lrian Jaya(In Jakarta, the monument commemorating
the "liberation" of lrian Jaya)

Ibnu Sutowo's flamboyant spending came to an abrupt halt in 1975, when Pertamina announced that it was defaulting on one of its foreign bank loans. Sutowo,it turned out, had recklessly borrowed money that he had no chance of repaying, clocking up over $10 billion in foreign debts in the process!In the end, the Indonesian government was saddled with one of the largest peace time losses any country has ever suffered, and many industrial projects had to be scrapped or rescheduled.


Peace and Progress

Despite these and other problems, the 1970s and early 1980s have been characterized by relative political stability. The tenor of the Suharto regime and its supporters is well caught by the slogan, "Development yes,politics n-o!"Opposition political parties have been restricted and closely supervised, managing to poll only 40 per cent in the 1971 election and even less in 1977 and 1982. The big winner. meanwhile, has been the government's political "functional" group, Golkar, consisting of representatives chosen from various professional, religious, ethnic and military constituencies.

Yet politics refused to go away entirely. A proposed secular marriage law brought an angry response from Indonesia's Muslim majority in 1973 and had to be dropped. And pressure has mounted for the government to provide for a greater distribution of the wealth and benefits of economic growth, to curb the level of foreign debt, to contain inflation and to eradicate corruption. Frustration, particularly over economic matters, has erupted in the past, notably on the occasion of Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka's visit to Jakarta in I974, when the capital was rocked by two days of violent student demonstrations.

Among the influential middle class, however, opposition has been muted by the very prosperity the "New Order" has helped to generate. Most Indonesians consider themselves better off today than ever before-there are far more cassette players, motorbikes, cars, telephones, televisions and other consumer goods around than there have ever been.


Striking advances have also been made in the vital areas of population control and agriculture. In 1980, Indonesia's population was counted at 147 million. Java and Bali are the most seriously over crowded islands,representing only seven per cent of Indonesia's total land area, while housing two thirds of her people-equivalent to the entire population of the United States occupying the state of California.

The government first attempted to ease the pressure with transmigration-the resettlement of Javanese and Balinese villagers to the sparsely populated islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. Transmigration has proved slow and costly, though, and since 1970 has been complemented by an intensive family planning campaign, that has managed to reduce the birth rate from over two per cent to around 1.8 per cent per annual.

Directly linked to the population situation is the challenge of food production. The a highest,priority has been given to rice, lndonesia's staple food. The introduction of new high-yield plant strains, multiple croppings better irrigation, chemical fertilizers and pesticides has resulted in a spectacular 50 per cent increase in rice production between 1974 and 1984, A government rice stockpiling and distribution network has also reduced the threat of famine. stabilized prices and provided credits and subsidies to farmers.

oil exploration in Sumatra(Early oil exploration in Sumatra-where Indonesia's vital
oil revenue originated)

The problem has not yet been solved, however. Bad weather and insect infestations caused serious shortfalls in 1977. forcing Indonesia to import one third of the world's surplus rice. Since then, the introduction of a new pest-resistant rice strain and further intensification has raised average yields by 2l per cent, making Indonesia virtually self-sufficient in rice. Whether levels of production can keep pace with the rapidly increasing demand is the central question.The weather,of course,remains a key variable, though increase irrigation is reducing some of the uncertainty.

Indonesia OPEC producer(As the world'sfifth largest OPEC producer,the nation's economy is heavily dependent on oil)

Other food and export crops have not fared so well. Production of vital crops such as rubber. copra, peanuts,oil palms, soybeans, cassava and maize has remained virtually stagnant over the past decade, and in some cases has actually declined. Sugar has been the notable exception. and is a possible model for future governmental intervention in other areas. Where as Indonesia spent US$700 million on sugar imports in 1981, increased cultivation and higher price incentives reduced the figure US$261 million in l982 and Indonesia now a nett exporter of sugar.

On the intensely cultivated island of Java it is estimated trait only a quarter of the population own land. And as the population expands, so agriculture absorbs a progressively smaller percentage of the total labor force. In 1960 the figure was over 75 per cent, while now only about 55 per cent of Javanese are engaged in food production. This has created a massive unemployment problem, in which millions of landless laborers have moved into the cities to seek work.

Some of these migrants have been absorbed into the budding manufacturing sector. Yet despite the priority afforded the development of an urban industrial base in the government's second five-year plan, repelita II, job opportunities in industry have not managed to keep pace with a labor force that is growing by 1.4 million a year. As a result, these young people lead a hand-to-mouth existence in the cities--driving pedicabs, peddling noodles and fried bananas, selling cigarettes, shining shoes and scavenging from garbage dumps. Their plight represents one of the major challenges facing Indonesia now.

Unfortunately. "the world economic recession and oil glut of the early l9S0s has created financial circumstances which have temporarily pushed all other problems to the rear. Indonesia has recently been forced to cut back oil production and to reduce prices significantly. The resulting drop in oil revenues exacerbated by the declining value of other key exports and reductions in foreign industrial investment, has led to a critical shortage of foreign exchange and a drop in the economic growth rate to only two per cent in 1982.

The guiding principles of the government's present economic strategy are export promotion and import substitution-selling more abroad and importing less. Oil refining is one area in which significant advances have been made towards the goal of self-sufficiency. Indonesia now boasts eight state-run refineries, the largest of which are in central Java and east Kalimantan, and refining capacity is now supply in gall of the domestic demand for kerosene and gasoline.

Significant savings have also been realized through domestic fertilizer production. Indonesia's first plant was opened at Palembang, South Sumatra, in 1964 with a capacity of I00,000 tons per year. Fed by abundant supplies of local natural gas, the state-owned plant has over the years developed into the world's largest urea-producing complex,now turning out more than 1.6 million tons a year.

In the realm of exports, lndonesia's most promising source of revenue is natural gas. Massive reserves totaling over 7l trillion cubic meters were discovered in east Kalimantan and in Aceh, northern Sumatra. In 197l, Since then, liquid natural gas (LNG) plants have been set into operation at both sites, and Indonesia now ranks as the world's number one exporter of LNG, with 1982 revenues of over US$2.6 billion.

Yet another industrial priority has been cement production. In the past decade the number of plants has more than trebled, and production has risen twelve fold.

Indonesia's other manufacturing industries are more embryonic. Almost 90 per cent of those employed in this sector work in small-scale cottage industries, producing basic items such as salt, coconut oil and furniture.Larger factories more dependent upon imported machinery and capital have had some success in supplying consumer goods for the local market in recent years.In 1982, for example, Indonesia produced 847,000 television sets, assembled 210,000 cars and trucks and over half-a-million motor bikes.

Indonesia exporter of natural gas(Indonesia is also the world's exporter of natural gas)

The government has pinned its future hope son labour-intensive,export-oriented manufacturing and they are predicting an industrial "take-off " for Indonesia during the latter half of the 1980s. It is hoped that this will provide jobs and prosperity for a population that is expected to reach 1 212 million by the year 2,000.