News Week Ending 28/09/08

I thought we’d start the week with a bit of culture. Following the recent discovery of the Majapahit town square, archaeologists from various universities have been challenged to locate the palace of the ancient kingdom, believed to be the biggest across the archipelago. I Made Kusumajaya, head of the conservation center (BP3) in Trowulan, Mojokerto, said his office had given out the challenge to the team of archaeologists excavating the site and told them to continue their work there. Trowulan is proving to be an Archaeologists utopia. Continuing with the theme, the Arab-Indonesian community in Empang subdistrict, Bogor, has lived side by side with their uphill Sundanese neighbours for over a century. They even share food, especially during the fasting month of Ramadan. Whilst still on the subject, Idul Fitri is still a week away, but people are already queuing up at bus terminal ticket windows to pay their fares homes. It is going to be one mad rush as usual.

The proposed porn bill has certainly ruffled feathers and bikinis in Bali this week. About 1,000 people protested against Indonesia’s anti-pornography bill on the resort island of Bali on Tuesday, prompting the local governor to vow he would ask the president to drop the controversial legislation. The protesters, who wore traditional Balinese sarongs and headdresses, and carried banners with the words “Anti-porn bill no, Indonesia yes”, marched to Governor Made Mangku Pastika’s office in Denpasar. That’s what I like to see, a good response! Here’s a good statement from a would-be-president. Retired Indonesian general Wiranto, a controversial figure over rights abuses in East Timor who looks set to run for president next year, said his country needs to spread its wealth among the poor. Yes, we all have dreams.

This is guaranteed to ruffle a few feathers in Australia. Nine Islamic radicals convicted over Bali’s two terrorist attacks are in line to receive sentence cuts next week – on the same day as the anniversary of one of the bombings. The third anniversary of the October 1, 2005, bombings – which killed 20 people including four Australians – falls on the same day as the start of the major Islamic holiday Idul Fitri this year. And talking about Islam, support for Islamist-based parties is expected to remain low in the 2009 elections as Muslims look set to vote for nationalist political groups promoting better welfare for the public, according to a new survey released on Thursday. It suggested the political stance of Muslim voters would stay unchanged from previous general elections.

The Indonesian government is looking to the future prospects of the country with a new airport in the capital of cocoa-and-coffee-producing South Sulawesi province officially opened on Friday, paving the way for an increase in tourism and trade in Indonesia’s eastern islands. This is an interesting article. Access to prayer, transcendence and feeling closer to God are the religious rights of every human being. However, in practice, it seems that heterosexuals maintain a monopoly over access to these needs in many places of worship. No doubt this will not go down well with most Islamic groups.

And to finish off this week, the Idul Fitri exodus has yet to peak, but four people have already been killed in three separate accidents in West and Central Java provinces Tuesday and Wednesday. Let’s be careful out there. It’s a jungle on the roads and patience should be a priority and especially if you have children in the car.

And Folks, that’s the news that is the news from around the archipelago this week, or at least, that what is worth mentioning!