Indonesian Ghost Mythology

There are some ghosts mythology which is very popular in Indonesia and some have made a movie version.In fact,ghost mythology in Indonesia not very different from the mythology of ghosts from other Asian countries, especially when viewed from the physical form of the ghosts.

1. Kuntilanak

Kuntilanak (Malay language: puntianak, Pontijanak) is a ghost believed to come from pregnant women who died or women who died in childbirth and child was not born yet.The name “kuntilanak” or “pontianak” most likely comes from the combination of the word “pregnant” and “Child”.

kuntilanak characteristic feature is :
1. Pitched laugh
2. Crying
3. Like the old buildings or building debris
4. Often reside in the estuary of the River,in the edge of the lake or the edge of the pool.
5. like the flesh of children (and therefore often referred to as they like to kidnap a baby)

In Malay folklore, figure kuntilanak represents in the form of a beautiful woman whose holes behind.Kuntilanak often described like to terrorize the villagers to revenge.Kuntilanak as appears always accompanied by fragrant frangipani flowers.It is said that men who are not careful could be killed after kuntilanak transformed into blood sucking.kuntilanak also loves to eat babies and harm pregnant women

Slightly different from the Malays, according to Sundanese tradition, image of kuntilanak does not have a hole in the back and only interfere with the appearance, or often called as “Sundel Bolong”.Kuntilanak reportedly also like certain trees as “a place to live”, like the hibiscus that grows biased toward one side (popularly called the “tend hibiscus”).

Based on the beliefs and traditions of Javanese society, kuntilanak will not interfere a pregnant woman if the woman is always with nails, knives, and scissors when traveling anywhere.This causes frequent practice apparently put scissors, needles and knives on the bed.

According to the Malay public confidence, sharp objects like nails can ward off kuntilanak attacks. When kuntilanak attack, a nail stuck in the holes in the back of the neck kuntilanak. While the beliefs of others in Indonesia, which will shift the location of a nail driven into the kuntilanak crown.

2. Genderuwo

This spirit is believed to communicate and make direct contact with humans.Various legends say that Genderuwo can change the appearance of its physical form to follow someone to entice people.Genderuwo creature believed to idle and dissolute, because the tendency to tease people, especially women and children.Genderuwo sometimes happy slapping the women ass, caressing her body while she slept,or even to move women’s underwear to others.Genderuwo occasionally appear in the form of furry little creatures that can grow in an instant, Genderuwo also like to throw stones at people’s houses at night. One of the most favorite main Genderuwo is tempting lonely wife which leaves by the husband or a widow, and sometimes even Genderuwo get sexual relationship with them. It is believed that the seed that Genderuwo can cause a woman to become pregnant and have offspring of Genderuwo.

According to legend, Genderuwo have a very strong ability to attract women to want to have sex with him.Genderuwo sexual game believed also very unusual, so that women feel often satisfied and extraordinary favours, if having sex with Genderuwo.But the victims are usually women who mess by Genderuwo not realize that they having sex with Genderuwo,because Genderuwo will impersonate as the victim’s husband or the victim’s lover. It Added that Genderuwo have libido and large sexual desire and far in excess of the man who is very awake easily to see the beauty of women and make it a creature who likes seducing women.

There is a legend says Genderuwo sometimes happy to stay in the womb of a woman.
A woman who was possessed by Genderuwo will have a high sex drive and could not contain her passion.The women will want to always make sex.If the female partner was not able to keep his passions, then she will not hesitate and try to find another partner.This happens due to the excitement of women is controlled by Genderuwo, if the woman has sex, then Genderuwo that resides in the womb will also feel the pleasure of intimate relationships that women do.

3. Leak

In the mythology of Bali leak is the wicked witch. “le” means witches and “ak” means evil.Leak is visible in the night by the shamans of leak hunters.In the afternoon he looked like a human being, while at night he was in the cemetery to find the organs in the human body that is used to make magic potions.A magic potion that can change the shape of leak into a tiger, monkey, pig or like the Rangda.if necessary he can also take organs from living people.It is told also that Leak can be a human head with organs that are still hanging in the head.Leak said to fly to search for a pregnant woman, for then the blood sucking baby who is still in the womb.There are three known leaks. Two of them women and one man.According to Balinese belief, Leak was a human being who practice black magic and need embryo blood to live.It is also said that Leak can turn himself into a pig or a ball of fire, while the actual form of Leak is has a long tongue and sharp teeth.Some people say that the magic of Leak works only on the island of Bali, because Leak is found only in Bali.If someone stabbed Leak from under the neck to the head when the head separated from his body, then Leak can not be reunited with his body.If the head is separated in a certain period time and then leak will die.Mask of leaks with sharp teeth and long tongue is also sometimes used as house decoration in Bali.


Indonesian men in the eyes of Japanese women

This is just a personal observation from the experience of living in Sapporo, cold city in northern Japan, famous for its Snow Festival. Despite Sapporo ranked as the third largest city, the city is quite far from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area. Cycling little away from the center of the city, you’ll feel the silence of the field, though still full with typical Japanese apartment which predominantly wooden construction. A Japanese friend once said that in Sapporo clock ticked more slowly than Tokyo. In other words, even with the same work ethic, the Sapporo seems more relaxed than others in Tokyo. However, the typical Japanese person who “workaholic” was also seen in everyday life in Sapporo.

Sapporo City

Saturday in Japan is a holiday (to work), but we will still see plenty of men in suits down in Sapporo Station (main station and located in the center of town). suit was the office uniform. This means that, in spite of holiday, many Japanese people, especially men, working overtime. even the same condition we can see on Sunday. On Saturday and Sunday, especially in the summer, you often see the mother and the child walking and enjoying the beauty of Odori Park, Maruyama, or any other park. There are just a walk, sit and even play with children. Odori Park is a city park along the nearly 1.2 km is located in the Centre of the city. In this park in winter, the very famous snow festival where often celebrates. Maruyama is a park in downtown as well, but not in the heart of the city like Odori. In the centre there is a small lake where the people riding the boat in the summer time. that garden is a central for flea market. In the winter, the Park was used as a simple cross-country skiing. What’s interesting is rare to see a father who accompany their children to play. Where appropriate, only has one or two men, usually they are still wearing a suit, which means new homes overtime. The same conditions will be encountered in the subway and malls. Very little visible intact families where the father, mother and son walk together.

Sapporo Snow Festival

It is different from many major cities in Japan, where the values of the family in Sapporo is still quite high. Married, have children and family life, is still part of life that most of the population who live in Sapporo. In contrast to what was observed and explained in Hiroshima, Kobe, Yokohama, and some other major cities.There, very rare to see families playing in the park or to see mothers pushing the strollers. Generally in those city parks is dominated by teenagers who playing with each other.

However, Japan as a whole, men were more dominant than women. In the family, women are responsible for everything from taking care of husbands and households. husband’s job was working for a living. Japanese Novels and movies, both old and new adjust also indicate that indirectly. If a family is going to traveling, then the wife got everything ready. In fact, to prepare and put all things in the car was done by the wife. The husband just went straight into the car and drive. which is often seen at the mall or at the park was equally, husband was never bothered with the matters of a child. Children splattered food, dirty clothes, change hats, clean face, and all the ‘little tasks’ done by the wife.

in Japan, men are superior to women has been seen since a teenager. More than once I saw a young couple, if they were to travel, so that the burden of carrying bag or more is done by woman. Even the few times I’d see, if there was only one bike, then the men must ride the bike, while women is walk !

So that is the Japanese culture and it seems there is no problem with it. This was proven, with hundreds of years of culture like that, the Japanese people continue to survive and progress until now.

Apparently some Japanese women’s view of cultural change as a little more closely familiar with Indonesian citizens who living there. In Sapporo, there are many Japanese people, who are usually female(because men prefer to work and get drunk), often accompanied with students events and Indonesian families. They will observe the simple things, but very unusual when compared with the culture that they run in daily life. The strange thing for them to see the husband washing the dishes, or husbands in the mall carrying groceries, or a husband who closed and locked the door were family will doing trip, or a husband change his son clothes or the husband in the park feed the food to their children. It is also remarkable to see the husband doing Cook and prepare food for his wife, or playing with children while his wife sitting and reading.

They also feel surprised if see some male students from Indonesia always deliver and not allow the female students to go home alone in the night. Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. no fear to go home alone at night. They were even more surprised if knew the reason for not let them alone because fear something would happen on the road, but because of their value as a woman. They feel more surprised if there is someone that is willing to give his bike to riding by them while the owners is walk. There was an event, we walked five, three men (Indonesian students) and two Japanese women. we all bring a bicycle, and very difficult to make and also convince them to use two of our bikes. things become difficult because of the ordinary language and opposite cultural differences. Frankly, when it was offered not because we want to look gentle, but we want them to get home soon. But still very difficult to convince them and in the end we all walk and a bit of delay to get home. In another case, eventually we no longer offer a bike but firmly say, “take this bike or we do not go”.

Incidentally, in a discussion to discuss things, almost all Indonesian people, are people who will listen and respect other people’s opinions. In every discussion, Japanese people are usually quiet and obedient. In many cases, they saw that the Indonesian people have a better culture than their culture, especially in relation to men and women. Two of the three Japanese female friends if asked whether they liked the Indonesian man or not ? Then they will say that they like it and even wanted to marry an Indonesian man. Many Japanese friends who often joined are those aged at least the end of the age of 20 years, which saw the opposite sex is not the handsome and dashing, but more on the characters. The evidence of how ‘famous’ Indonesian man in Japan, at least in Sapporo area alone was found about six families, where their husband was an Indonesian. Perhaps a coincidence, the people of Indonesia who come to Japan are the chosen people. But if we know more about Japanese friends, we’ll know that almost all of them had been to Indonesia, especially to Bali. They already know and interact with Indonesian man ‘directly from the source’. And their opinions have not changed that Indonesian men appreciate women more than Japanese men.


Java Jazz Festival 2010: Brings the Good Reputation Of Indonesia In The World

Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival’s is an annual Jazz Festival held every March in Jakarta, since 2005. Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival is not only one of the best jazz festival in Indonesia, but also one of the most prestigious event and the largest in the world. This festival originally pioneered by a fan and also actors in the jazz music industry in this country, Peter F. Gontha.

Peter is a man who brought jazz to Indonesia and he is the owner of Jakarta’s top jazz, Jamz where great artists like Bob James, Lee Ritenour, Chick Corea, Ramsey Lewis, The Rippingtons, Brecker Brothers, George Duke container assembly and expression jazz community that lives and breathes for jazz.

From here that he began to be motivated and inspired by the vision that people from all over the world can work together in peace and harmony through the wonderful medium of music, he sees music as the only international language, and through all obstacles and open the hearts and minds of every human beings. And jazz became the most perfect language to be expressed as an expression of heart in the work. So the idea to develop and more popularized jazz festival in the concept of international-scale urban areas continue to roll and officially labeled the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival. Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival is produced by PT. Java Festival Production.

Java Festival Production is a company engaged in providing world-class integrated service music entertainment and lifestyle, working together with government, private sector and communities, local and international, in a mutually beneficial and sustainable relationships. And bring the vision to be recognized as one of the most professional entertainment providers in the region with a program known for quality, innovation and impact in promoting peace, cross-cultural synergy and growth in the music industry and tourism.

With the support of the best resources in the industry to ensure the quality of each event, Java Festival production is expected to have more values: quality, innovation, service, commitment, offering the best solutions and long-term relationships.

In addition to presenting jazz musicians abroad and domestically, this festival is also accompanied by musicians from other musical genres such as R & B, soul, reggae. Among the leading musicians who were present at the event in 2006 was James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Eric Benét, Bubi Chen, and Angie Stone in 2007, while Sergio Mendes, Chaka Khan, Lisa Ono and Jamie Cullum are among the musicians scheduled to perform. According to the official site of this festival, more than 67,000 visitors attended the festival for three days in the year 2006.

From the way since 2005, organizing this event is always centered at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC), but the performances this year 2010 to organize this event will experience a slight change, namely the transfer capacity is not sufficient reason and to create comfort for the audience, where it eventually transferred to the JI Expo Kemayoran. It must be done because, according to him, every year the audience continued to increase. In the implementation in 2009, each day an average of 30,000 spectators filled the arena show.

In the implementation of this year, the number of spectators are expected to largest. Furthermore, he added, ticket prices reduced to the range of IDR 100 thousand / day, outside the special tickets for special musician.

In addition, the existence of the Java Jazz 2010 affirmed the position of Indonesia as one of the largest jazz festival organizers in the world. Even now the world’s great jazz musicians glanced at the Java Jazz as one of the jazz festival was to be followed. Its existence was parallel to the prestigious jazz festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands and several jazz festivals that have been established. According to Peter, is not an overstatement to several jazz musicians or musicians from different musical streams competing included his name in the Java Jazz 2010. Names will certainly show skills are Hubert Laws, including, Randy Brecker, Bill Evans, Steve Lukather (guitarist for TOTO) support more.

Jazz genre also appeared in the cuban jazz, latin jazz, brazilian jazz and will be broadcast by Arturo O’Farril, Adonis Puentes, Bryan Lynch Latin Jazz Quartet, Emilio Santiago’s Pristine Voice, Ivan Lins, and Hendrik Meurkens Samba Jazz Quartet.

While famous jazz musicians from Indonesia also would be given the same opportunity in this annual event,such as Tohpati, Bubi Chen, Indro Hardjodikoro, Oele Pattiselanno, Jeffrey Tahalele, and Jakarta Broadway Team. In addition, there was Andre Hehanusa, Ligro Trio, Idang Rasjidi, Skate, Elfa’s Bossas, Aksan and Titi Sjuman, RAN, Barry Likumahuwa, Rossa, Dewa Budjana, Gugun Shelter Blues, Soul Opustre Big Band, Laura Suwages, Ballerina, Notturno, and David Manuhutu.

Paul Dankmeyer as Director of Java Jazz 2010 asserted, this year’s festival will explain the position of Indonesia in the world of jazz repertoire, but it would bridge the jazz musicians from different cultural backgrounds, nations, and languages.

Note Paul, Java Jazz has been bringing various actors of jazz, blues and various other musical genres to Jakarta to mark the festivals are more meaningful and respected in the world.

For more information about the musicians that will follow the Java Jazz Festival 2010, please check this site : http://www.javajazzfestival.com/

Source : Viva News




Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island. Measuring 1600 km north-south and 600 km east-west, it lies in the Indian Ocean, 500 km off the south-east coast of Africa . It is an island of spectacular beauty and ecology, an estimated three-quarters of which is unique.

Madagascar’s topography and geography are very varied. Essentially, the island comprises a central highland region which runs north-south down its spine, flanked by two coastal strips which meet the Mozambique Channel on the western seaboard and the Indian Ocean on the eastern. The highlands rise up to over 2800 metres (9100 feet). The coasts possess beautiful beaches largely unsullied by major tourist developments. Between the two are landscapes dominated by extraordinary rock formations.

The capital, Antananarivo (‘Tana’) lies roughly in the centre of the island. Surrounded by twelve hills, it is one of the world’s highest capitals at 1310 metres (4260 feet). Other major towns are Toamasina (usually called ‘Tamatave’) on the east coast and Toliara (pronounced ‘Tuléar’) on the west coast.
Parts of the island are covered by rain forest reflecting the island’s tropical climate and home to lemurs, chameleons, trees (including the baobab) and plants which exist nowhere else. Average temperatures range between 10 degs C in the dry winter months (April to September) and 30 deg C in the summer (October to March). The rainy season usually runs from December to March. However, Madagascar has several microclimates which create substantial regional variations.

Madagascar ‘s 18 million people are mostly descended from Indonesian seafarers who settled the island some 2,000 years ago. However, there are also strong African, Arab and, latterly, European and Chinese influences.

Until 1960, Madagascar was a French colony. The president of Madagascar now is Andry Rajoelina. French remains an official language along with the indigenous Malagasy.Very little English is spoken.

The majority of the population are Christian, mostly Catholic although there are also growing Protestant sects including Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists. Animist beliefs based on ancestor worship are also prevalent. Around 10 per cent of the population are Muslim.

Madagascar has recently changed currency from the Malagasy Franc (MgF) to the Ariary. In August 2006, the Ariary became the sole legal tender, although prices are still often quoted in Malagasy Francs. The conversion between the two is fixed at 5 MgF = 1 Ariary. The exchange rate in August 2006 was £1 = Ariary 3600.
Sterling can only be exchanged at banks in the main towns. Travellers are advised to take Euros or US dollars. (€1 = Ariary 2600). ATMs are available in major towns.
Time in Madagascar is GMT + 3 hours
Electricity is 220 V AC. Two-pin plugs are standard.


Madagascar is home to one of the worlds less widely known human cultures. Situated in the Indian Ocean, over 400 kilometres from the coast of Mozambique, it cannot really be said to be part of Africa, especially as Malagasy cultures, and particularly the Malagasy language, have more in common with Asia, and specifically Indonesia, than they do with Africa.

The difficulty which Western social scientists have had in deciding how to classify Madagascar, other than as a part of what until recently was called the Third World, causes no similar confusion among the 12 million people who live in Madagascar. They have a strong sense of their own identity. Scholarly doubts over how to classify Malagasy society, while they do not bother the Malagasy themselves, and only occasionally disturb the small group of professional Madagascar specialists, have nevertheless had a considerable effect on the literature. Quite simply Madagascar does not fit easily into either the African or the Asian category used in area studies, and only occasionally does an individual social scientist, typically an anthropologist or a historian, stumble across the world’s fourth-biggest island. The study of Madagascarþs human culture has become the monopoly of a rather small group of specialists. Like all specialist groups they have a tendency to talk among themselves in ways which are difficult for non-initiates to penetrate.
This is all the more a pity in that Madagascar presents raw materials of exceptional quality for social science, particularly in the field of history. Madagascar is one of fairly few parts of Africa (that is, if we consider it African at all; it is a member-state of the Organisation of African Unity) where there existed a pre-colonial state governed by a literate bureaucracy which has left abundant archives. These are quite well catalogued and, until recently at least, were open for use by historians. 70 Years before the country was colonized by France, the central highlands were the home of the Merina kingdom which has left behind diplomatic and administrative correspondence, memoirs, tax and judicial records and many of the documents which are the staple diet of Western historiography. In addition, the British and French diplomatic and missionary archives covering Madagascar are particularly good from the early 19th century onwards. It is partly because of the richness of its historical materials that Madagascar has also been a fruitful area for anthropological research. Some of the classical anthropological studies which have taken Madagascar, or parts of it, as their theme have gained in value from being able to trace the evolution of cultural patterns over time, sometimes over quite considerable time.
Inasmuch as malgachisants – as academic specialists are known – have had a background in area studies, it has tended to be a grounding in Africa rather than Asia. This is rather paradoxical, for not only is the Malagasy language of the Malayo-Polynesian group, but it is generally believed that Madagascarþs earliest immigrants were probably of Indonesian origin, and subsequent influences have been assimilated into what is still sometimes recognizable as an Indonesian-related culture. Despite the existence of a number of excellent works on the Malagasy language, it has been relatively little studied by specialists of Asia who may find in Malagasy culture, and in the language especially, clues as to the history of some Asian languages which have developed from common roots.
Just as Madagascar has been the preserve of specialists in the academic world, so it has also in the business and commercial world. Madagascarþs economy has stagnated since the early 1970s, and it is rarely the subject of international attention for this reason. Periodic attempts to build a tourist industry have not led to the development of mass tourism, and, in general, those outsiders who have personal knowledge of the island remain rather few in number.

First inhabitants

Until the publication of Sir Mervyn Brown’s recent History of Madagascar, there did not exist an English-language history of the island from earliest times until today. Sir Mervyn Brown came to know the island when he was accredited as the British ambassador there some 20 years ago. He invested time and energy to the study of things Malagasy to the extent of learning the language and reading extensively on its history. In 1978 he published a history of Madagascar up to the end of the colonial period which he called Madagascar Rediscovered, based partly on original research in archives and on manuscript sources. He has now produced a second edition so substantially altered and updated as to warrant a new title. It is a good read, and can be recommended as a starting-point for anyone interested to know more about Madagascar, whether because they are travelling there, or contemplating doing research, or are simply curious.
This new book, A History of Madagascar, is divided into five parts. The first part, which actually occupies less than a tenth of the book’s total length, describes briefly the physical geography of the island and discusses its first inhabitants. As with much early African history, much of this is based on the analysis of modern language and culture, supplemented by a few precious archaeological records. Specialists have tended to divide into those emphasizing the Indonesian or Asian-Indonesian origin of the Malagasy, and those emphasizing the African or at least the creole aspect of Madagascars first inhabitants. Sir Mervyn Brown sides with the majority point of view in suggesting that the first inhabitants of Madagascar were groups of Indonesian origin who had gradually migrated around the Indian Ocean rim, touching the East African coast before settling in Madagascar, a process which probably took place over a considerable period of time, beginning in the earliest centuries of the Christian era.


Who Are the Big Emerging Markets, and Why Are They Important?

Ten big emerging markets, located in every part of the world, will change the face of global economics and politics. They are: Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Poland, Turkey, India, Indonesia, China, and South Korea.
Each big emerging market is important as an individual country; but it is the combined effect of the group as a whole that will have a critical impact on American interests at home and abroad.
The big emerging markets are the key swing factor in the future growth of world trade, global financial stability, and the transition to free market economies in Asia, Central Europe, and Latin America. They are also crucial to nuclear nonproliferation, the improvement of human rights, environmental cooperation, and the avoidance of war in several critical hotspots.
The big emerging markets (BEMs) are often in the news these days, but without a broader framework for thinking about them, the stories appear far less significant than they are. When the Mexican economy went into a tailspin in 1995, it looked like a story about Mexico, but in fact that nation’s troubles were but an advanced state of similar economic and political pressures found in many other BEMs–growth that was too reliant on foreign borrowing, mixed with a government unable to manage the powerful political pressures acting on it at home and abroad. In 1996, when Washington and Beijing went to the brink of a trade war over China’s refusal to enforce laws protecting patents, trademarks, and copyrights–what is called “intellectual property”–it was an acute case of problems similar to those America has with many other BEMs. A few months later when India refused to sign the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty despite massive U.S. arm-twisting to do so, or when the Turkish prime minister concluded an oil deal with Iran in defiance of American efforts to isolate Iran with sanctions, New Delhi and Ankara were reflecting the growing political independence that the Big Ten are exercising. And when South Korean police brutally stormed several universities to quell rioting in August 1996, or when Indonesian President Suharto repressed political dissent that same month, the seething pressures for more freedom reflected similar, albeit less acute, tensions in other BEMs undergoing tumultuous political and economic change.
Why should Americans care about this group of ten countries? Who are they, and why are they important? Let’s take a look at the ten central players in the dramatic global transformation that is underway.



As so many Americans now know from the heated political debates over NAFTA in 1993 and the financial crisis of 1995, Mexico presents both great opportunities and great dilemmas for the United States. A nation of 88 million people, it is the second largest country in all of Latin America and shares a thousand-mile land border with the United States. Our two nations are closely intertwined by trade, investment, banking, legal and illegal movement of people, as well as the need for close cooperation on environmental protection and narcotics trafficking. Mexico represents an enormous commercial market for American firms, but its cheap labor also poses threats to the American workforce, and its history of booms and busts has on more than one occasion created havoc with our economic links. In the late 1990s, Mexico will be preoccupied with recovering from a financial crisis, opening its economy toward greater foreign trade, and moving its political system to more democracy.
Before the peso collapsed in 1995, Mexico was gaining substantial political influence around the world. It was the first developing country in the hemisphere to join the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development–the “rich nations’ club” of the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Western Europe–and the first Latin American country to join the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, a Pacific Rim grouping that includes the United States and that seeks to create a free trade zone within the next few decades. To its great credit, Mexico responded to its financial crisis decisively and courageously, resisting severe pressures to erect new trade barriers or to slow down important free market reforms. It has already repaid the emergency loans to the United States that kept it afloat in 1995, and has regained its ability to borrow funds in international markets. Mexico, in fact, is moving from being a very closed economy to one of the most open trading nations. Today, an economic recovery appears on the horizon, and the economic fundamentals look strong. And although the road back will take time to travel, before the end of the century, Mexico is likely to reemerge as a prosperous nation, and one with substantial influence in the hemisphere and beyond. It will also resume its place as one of America’s most important markets. Already U.S. exports are back to pre-crisis levels.


With 165 million people, Brazil is the largest country in South America in population and also in geographical territory. Charles de Gaulle, former president of France, is rumored to have said, “Brazil is the country of the future … and will always be.” For Brazil, the future is now. Historically plagued by hyperinflation, sometimes as high as 2,500 percent per year, under its last and current government Brazil has reduced annual price rises to below 15 percent. The economy used to be protected by large tariffs and tight quotas on imports, and some products like computers and cars were kept out completely. All this is ending. There has been substantial trade liberalization and an unprecedented welcoming of foreign investment. Today Brazil accounts for over a quarter of all imports from around the world into Latin America and the Caribbean. It is the single largest destination for American investment in South America, and is our largest trading partner there. The country has a highly advanced technological base, and huge requirements to build a modern infrastructure in such areas as transportation and communication–auguring well for its potential as an ever greater trading partner for the United States.
Brazil is also playing a larger role on the world stage than ever before. It is a strong voice in global trade negotiations, a supporter of nuclear nonproliferation, and a provider of troops for peacekeeping operations. Closer to home, Brasilia is taking the lead in building a South American trading block called Mercosur, which now links the country to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Chile, and which could become a rival to NAFTA. Brazil’s growing political clout in the hemisphere is tangible. Over the past few years, Washington has worked hard to build cooperative ties with governments from Canada to the tip of Argentina. Before every important policy decision, it has had to get Brazil’s consent and agree with Brasilia on the next steps.


Until the early 1990s Argentina, like Brazil, was decimated by inflation. It, too, has brought runaway prices under tight control. It has transformed itself from a highly protectionist economy to an open one. Probably no other country in the developing world has moved so extensively to sell its government-owned companies to private investors. Until the Mexico crisis in 1995, which cast an economic shadow across Latin America, Argentina experienced industrial growth that was among the highest in the world, fueled by a rise in investment and productivity. The strength of a nation is judged by many criteria these days, but in an era in which economic and financial policies count for so much, Argentina has impressed the global markets by its ability to withstand a serious recession in 1995 and continue pursuing free market policies. The country has a highly sophisticated industrial and agricultural sector. Despite its relatively small population–35 million–it has become an attractive commercial partner for the United States, not only because of its extensive economic reforms, but also because of its membership in Mercosur. American companies like General Motors or IBM see great opportunities to use Argentina as a base to sell and invest throughout the region. Together, Argentina and Brazil account for over half the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Latin America.

South Africa

Across the Atlantic, South Africa, with a population of 41 million, represents over 45 percent of the GDP of its entire continent. It is the most advanced, productive, and balanced economy in all of Africa, not to mention the most vibrant democracy and the most potent military force. It has a modern infrastructure, and highly sophisticated industries in finance, communications, transport, and energy, as well as several home-grown multinational companies. It has one of the most advanced stock exchanges in the world. Its market absorbs products from all of Africa and its companies provide critically essential goods and services for all of its neighboring countries.
Pretoria’s success will spill over into all of Africa, as will its failures. A peaceful, democratic, and prosperous South Africa would set a good example of a country that has managed to reconcile and overcome ethnic divisions, whereas a South Africa that fails in this effort would send alarming signals throughout the continent. But in addition to being so influential in its own neighborhood, South Africa could be a powerful trading partner and ally to America because of its future growth potential as well as its ethnic bond with African-Americans.


Turkey, with a population of 61 million people, occupies one of the most strategic positions in the world, sharing borders with Syria, Iraq, and Iran, not to mention the Balkans and several countries on the southern flank of the former Soviet Union. It is a member of NATO and has formed a customs union with the European Union. It has long been a military ally of the United States, supplying bases and troops, most recently in the Gulf War. The country has overwhelming importance to America as a strategic ally in a highly volatile Islamic region; indeed, Washington is counting on it to be a bulwark against the spread of Islamic fundamentalism into Europe. Turkey is among the most industrialized nations outside of America, Western Europe, and Japan, and it aspires to be an economic hub for the vast region that surrounds it. Its strong historical and ethnic ties to neighboring countries, as well as its huge market and its commercial expertise, put it in a good position to achieve this goal, provided it gets its own economic house in order with sounder budget policies and privatization of state-owned firms. It is already the largest U.S. trading partner in the region, but the potential is much greater.


The largest country in Eastern Europe, with 39 million people–more than Hungary and the Czech Republic combined–Poland was the first post-Communist country to emerge from the recession that blanketed the region after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. Poland quickly established a democracy, moved rapidly to privatize its economy, and made remarkable strides in getting its finances in order. Once a Soviet-style economy dominated by heavy industry, it has moved quickly to build a service-oriented sector based on banking, tourism, health care, and leisure activities. Poland has emerged as the most entrepreneurial country in the ex-Communist region, sprouting some two million new businesses in the 1990s. With one of the fastest growing economies on the continent, it has become the beneficiary of large-scale investment from Europe, particularly from Germany and the United States. It is also emerging as a key trading partner for American firms in a region with a highly educated workforce and the biggest and most stable middle class in the former Soviet bloc. This country, which aspires to join the European Union and NATO and has an excellent chance of doing both, wields a great deal of influence in a region that is now at the heart of a much enlarged Europe.

South Korea

Across the Pacific there are four Asian BEMs. South Korea, with 45 million people, is the most highly industrialized of all of the Big Ten. In the last few decades, Seoul’s rapid economic advancement has made South Korea one of the most economically powerful nations outside of North America, Western Europe, and Japan. Its economy represents about 7 percent of the entire East Asian GDP, and its highly protected market, were it to open more quickly, holds great potential for American firms. Between 1994 and 1995, for example, despite its huge trade barriers, both exports and imports of South Korea increased by over 30 percent–more than those of any other major country.
Seoul has become a major foreign investor in Asia, with hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and elsewhere. It is also a fierce competitor, as companies like Samsung or Goldstar have burst onto the global scene in the last decade. In education, as well as research and development, South Korea can match many European nations.
Strategically, South Korea is a crucial partner for the United States in Northeast Asia, where the North and South Korean armies maintain a state of high readiness to confront one another in what may be the most serious possibility of large-scale war anywhere in the world today. Nevertheless, peaceful reunification of the two Koreas is also a plausible scenario, in which case we may see the emergence of a powerhouse in all dimensions–economic, industrial, and military.


With a population of 1.2 billion, China is by far the biggest of the BEMs. By several measures it is likely to be one of the three largest economies within the next decade. Beijing has attracted commitments of overseas funds on the order of $80 billion per year in 1994 and 1995, half of which has already been invested, making it the largest destination of direct foreign investment in the developing world, and the fourth largest in the world behind the United States, Great Britain, and France.
No market holds more long-term potential for America, and China has become a key element in the global strategy of hundreds of America’s top firms. The future of China is also the future of most of Asia. If China is able to link its vast economy further into the global network of trade and finance, world commerce could expand significantly. If China can establish itself as a nation seeking peace with all of its neighbors, as well as become a force to help settle regional disputes, then the prospects for Asia are indeed bright. On the other hand, China may prove to be an enormously disruptive force in the region, creating serious military and economic tensions from Seoul to Sydney. It is likely that our relationship with China will emerge in the next decade as the most important focus of our entire foreign policy.
Not only is China itself a big emerging market, but so is the “Chinese Economic Area” comprising China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Hong Kong, after all, will become part of China in the summer of 1997. And despite political tensions, commercial ties between Beijing and Taipei are booming. Taiwanese investors have had a heavy focus on low-technology production of such items as shoes and toys. Now, however, they are moving into more sophisticated products such as Chinese-languages computer software and biotechnology. Many innovative companies already see the Chinese Economic Area as an integrated market. From the outset the Clinton administration called the Chinese Economic Area a BEM, rather than just China.


Indonesia, with a population of 194 million, is the world’s fourth largest nation in terms of people, and the world’s largest Muslim nation. It has become not just one of the world’s fastest-growing countries but also the home to billions of dollars of American investment, particularly in the energy sector, but increasingly also in manufacturing. Indonesia has also been a regular supplier of peacekeeping forces around the world.
Like many other BEMs, the significance of Indonesia to American interests can be accurately gauged only by looking at its role and influence in its wider region. And in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is both a major economic and military force. It plays a leading role in the important Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a group comprised of several very rapidly growing countries including Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam, and one that is now beginning to coordinate its trade and military policies and is becoming an integrated market with a population of 414 million and a combined GDP of over $500 billion. In fact, the real BEM is not just Indonesia, but ASEAN itself; this actually was how the Clinton administration ultimately defined the BEM in the region. This broader interpretation of a big emerging market in Southeast Asia makes good sense, because American companies are seeing it the same way–linking themselves through trade and investment to one or another of the countries, often with the idea of using them as a platform to serve the entire ASEAN market.


India, with a population of 914 million, including a “middle class” of well over 100 million people, is vast by any standard. It has a diversified industrial base, with large-scale production of coal, steel, cement, chemicals, heavy machinery, and textiles. Its highly trained and educated workforce has helped make it one of the world’s largest exporters of computer software.
Unlike many BEMs, India has a sophisticated commercial and legal code. Like the others, it has placed economic progress at the heart of its national policies, and in just the last few years it has succeeded in opening its economy to the rest of the world beyond anything that most observers would have imagined possible in so short a time. Between 1991 and 1995, the government largely abolished a heavy-handed system in which anyone wanting to set up a business needed to struggle through months, if not years, of red tape to get a license; it slashed tariffs from a maximum of 300 percent to 50 percent; it ended government monopolies in electric power, telecommunications, and aviation; and it welcomed foreign investment for the first time in fifty years.
The United States is already India’s largest economic partner, and its trade and investment links with America are sure to grow. Like China, India has a nuclear weapons capability, a large army, and an aspiring navy, guaranteeing it influence well beyond economics. India and its neighbor, Pakistan, have clashed three times since independence in 1947, and continued military tensions among those two potential nuclear powers make the region one of the world’s most dangerous hotspots.

The Selection Criteria

It is never easy to select some countries and reject others. No two countries are alike, so many criteria must be weighed. In identifying the BEMs, here are some of the key considerations used in selecting which countries qualify:
They have large populations, large resource bases, large markets, and are powerhouses in their respective regions. China, India, and Indonesia are three of the four most populous countries in the world. Each of these, plus Brazil, occupy enormous land masses. If any of the Big Ten are economically successful, their progress will spur development in the countries all around them. Conversely, if they experience an economic crisis, they have the capacity to bring down their neighbors.
They are bursting onto the world scene, shattering the status quo. With the Cold War over, the big emerging markets are seeking their place in the global hierarchy. They are finding a new sense of national pride. They want a larger voice in international politics. They want a bigger share of the global economic pie. In order to build their economies and to enhance their global competitiveness and prestige, they want to acquire the latest technology and put it to work effectively. Their young workers will produce hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products that will be less expensive than ours, and often just as good. This will cause major changes in the structure of world trade and investment, painful dislocations for millions of American workers, and strong downward pressure on American wages.
They are critical participants in the major political, economic, and social dramas taking place on the world scene. All the BEMs are struggling to make the transition from authoritarian state-run economies to democratic capitalism, and on their success rests the future of global politics and economics. The three Latin-American BEMs will determine whether the entire continent can escape the recurrent boom-and-bust cycles of the last century. The four Asian BEMs will determine whether East Asia will be characterized by expanding trade and investment and stunning economic progress, or whether it will descend into the political and military rivalries more characteristic of Europe in the first half of this century. India will be the most significant test case for whether democracy and capitalism can deal effectively with mass poverty. Turkey is the wall that could stop Islamic fundamentalism from reaching well into Europe. South Africa will show whether racial harmony and democratic capitalism can coexist.
They are the world’s fastest expanding markets, and responsible for a good deal of the world’s explosive growth of trade. The United States now exports more in goods and services to the ten big emerging markets than to all of Europe and Japan combined. Over the next decade, East Asia alone will account for almost half of all growth in the purchase of cars, telecommunications equipment, and movies. The ten countries are all moving quickly up the ladder of economic development, educating their populations, training their workforces, expanding technical research, building modern infrastructures.
They are all trying to open their economies, balance their budgets, and sell off their state companies. All but two have instituted substantial political liberalization. The pace of economic opening in Argentina, India, and Poland has startled most experts. The opening of political systems in Brazil, South Africa, and South Korea is also impressive. But not all of the BEMs have made good on the promise of capitalism and democracy, and where this hasn’t happened there are offsetting factors of overwhelming commercial or strategic importance to the United States that still compel their inclusion in the BEM category. For example, China and Indonesia have made significant economic strides, even though Beijing remains a Communist government. However, their markets are critical for us, as are their political stability and the dampening of any expansionist ambitions they may have. Turkey’s economic policies have floundered, but it is a vibrant democracy, and Ankara’s strategic position is too important for us to ignore.
While ten countries do stand out, this is not a static number. The ten should be considered representative of a category of country. During the Commerce Department’s examination of the BEMs, several countries were heatedly discussed but ultimately rejected from this category. For example, in the original selection, the most controversial decision was to exclude Russia. After all, it was big, powerful, and would surely rate high on America’s radar screen for years to come. Ultimately, we chose not to put Moscow on the list. It was not far enough along with its economic reforms, its political leadership seemed too precarious, and consequently the prospects for progress were simply too uncertain. Also, because of its enormous military and nuclear capability, Russia belonged in a category by itself and was already getting an enormous amount of high-level attention in Washington.
In selecting India, we also considered Pakistan, but it carried nowhere near the global influence of its southern neighbor. And although it has made some impressive economic reforms, the potential of Pakistan’s market appeared much less than that of India’s. In focusing on Indonesia, Thailand also arose as a candidate. That was a close call, but Indonesia carried much more weight on the global scene. Ultimately, moreover, it made sense to think of Indonesia as the hub of the ASEAN region, which would, in any event, include Thailand.
When we were looking at Argentina, Venezuela also popped up on our screen. But whereas Buenos Aires had taken the hard economic decisions toward economic reform, Caracas’s policies were in a total shambles, with little prospect, in our view at the time, that they would improve. On more than one occasion, representatives of the Greek government admonished us for having included Turkey and not Greece. Although the two countries have been rivals, we did not ascribe to them the same geopolitical significance.

Why BEMs Matter–A Tale of Two Very Different Futures ?

The starting point for a discussion of why BEMs really matter to the United States is the range of changes that are occurring in the international arena and in the BEMs themselves, and the relationship between the two.
As we all know, the end of the Cold War brought a dramatic decline of global military tensions and a parallel increase in our focus on our everyday lives, including our schools, health care, pensions, and crime. These preoccupations coincided with increasing trade and foreign investment around the world, such that it has become difficult to divorce our future from the state of the world economy.
Even for the United States, despite its size and strength, the global links have been increasingly critical. Over the last four years, our exports have grown about three times as fast as the overall economy, and our sales to foreign countries have accounted for about a third of our economic growth. Today exports support about 11 million jobs, which typically pay some 15 percent more than the manufacturing wage, and which are more resistant than others to downsizing and recession. Exports will be even more important in the future. Over the last twenty-five years, trade as a percentage of our economic activity (GDP) has grown from 11 percent to 23 percent, and the trend is straight up. By the year 2000, over 16 million jobs are likely to depend on exports, and nearly 30 percent of America’s GDP may involve trade. A similar story could be told about the importance of our imports, how dependent we have become on oil or certain electrical components, how foreign goods stimulate competition in our country and help hold down inflation, how much our everyday choices are expanded by the enormous volume of foreign-made products available to us. Or we could look at the hundreds of billions of dollars that America borrows from other countries to help service our debts while keeping interest rates lower than they would be if all our borrowing had to be drawn solely from the savings of Americans.
International linkages are growing because of the dramatic expansion of capitalism and democracy abroad. But the simultaneous blossoming of more open politics and more open economies has created a very uncertain environment to which our fate is being hitched. On the one hand, it is plausible to believe that we are entering a golden age in which businesses will join hands across borders, barriers to international commerce will fall, modern technology will spread everywhere, and economic growth around the world will soar. On the other hand, new democracies tend to be chaotic, because they do not have the underlying foundations–a history of elections, the presence of a skilled government bureaucracy to provide efficient services without corruption, or an effective judicial system–that give mature democracies stability. And countries opening their markets for the first time create another form of chaos, as government controls are lifted and business experiences a free-for-all without sound regulations or other established rules of the game. On top of this simultaneous political and business chaos is the fact that newly freed people demand more from their governments than can possibly be delivered, leading to widespread popular disillusionment and a backlash against both democracy and free markets.
We can therefore envision two different futures. In the first, capitalism and democracy flourish, even if there are some ups and downs along the way. Some countries take two steps forward and one back, but the favorable trends persist, and with them comes an age of unprecedented prosperity. A second scenario, however, is that political and economic chaos leads to a return to authoritarianism and government-controlled economies, including a sharp rise in trade protectionism. This would happen if large segments of the population in many nations experiencing democracy and free markets for the first time conclude that this form of capitalism is not working for them, that lots of people are getting rich but many more are mired in misery, and that the Darwinian environment is too painful and not politically acceptable.
Obviously, the United States has an enormous stake in which scenario materializes. We will gain enormously from a steady increase in democratic capitalism, not only because trade will increase but also because the environment will be more peaceful and there will be less need for U.S. military intervention. But if the second scenario comes to pass, our economic interests will suffer greatly, global political tensions will mushroom, and we could be drawn into foreign conflicts as governments return to the tradition of building up their armies as a diversion from their domestic problems.
The ten big emerging markets stand in the middle of all these currents. That is why they are so important to the global scene, and to the United States in particular. As a group, the BEMs hold the key to the steady expansion of global trade and investment and to the evolution of democracy. They are, after all, the territories where large-scale experiments in creating open political and economic systems are taking place. Their size and power make what happens within their borders, and between them and other countries, of global significance. If they succeed, we all do. If they fail, then they will have thrown a gigantic monkey wrench into the wheel of global economic and political progress.

The Big Emerging Markets:

As Important as Europe and Japan
It is precisely because of their pivotal role in the international arena that the importance of the big emerging markets must be reweighed in the total calculus of American interests. For a century we have been preoccupied with Western Europe and Japan. This is understandable given the history and culture we share with much of Europe, the important alliances that we have had, the personal friendships that have been built up, and the fact that the overwhelming bulk of our commercial relations has historically been with these industrialized nations. Although the glue that has bound us together is sure to loosen now that we do not have the Soviet Union as a common enemy, it will be of great importance that we maintain these ties. But a true assessment of our future interests would compel at least as much attention to the BEMs–which would mean a sea change in our foreign policy.
Indeed, if we make a cold-eyed assessment of where our future priorities lie, we would conclude that the world’s dynamism is unlikely to be found in Europe or Japan, but instead in the Big Ten. Our global commercial interests, so important in this era, will be expanding in the big emerging markets to a much greater degree than in Europe and Japan, if for no other reason than that the BEMs will be growing much faster and our trade and investment will be starting from a much smaller base. But beyond commercial stakes, there is the question of partnering with countries that share America’s political and economic energy. For the foreseeable future, that means the BEMs.
Europe is sure to be preoccupied with a broad range of issues that are fundamentally focused inward: building technical and bureaucratic arrangements for enlarging the European Union, creating a common currency, dismantling large-scale social welfare systems, dealing with enormous problems of youth unemployment, and coming to grips with the need to rejuvenate European technological capabilities, which have lagged so far behind those of the U.S. and Japan. As for Japan, no one should discount the possibility that it will reemerge from its long recession and its huge banking problems to become economically vibrant again. But the Japanese economy is still mired in heavy innovation-stifling regulation that, judging from the past pace of reform, is likely to take at least another decade to dismantle. And Japanese internal politics is still in the throes of a very slow transition to a modern democracy, making it incapable of facilitating any dramatic changes in Japanese society.
The lack of vitality in Europe and Japan stand in direct contrast to the rapidly changing character of American society–our entrepreneurism, our technological capabilities, and our political laboratory, which allows fifty state governments to experiment with new approaches to governing. There is nothing static about the United States; in fact, we are still a revolutionary society. We are also a multicultural nation, becoming even more so with immigration from Asia and Latin America–a situation that is likely to shift the weight of attention of the American people away from Europe and Japan to countries like Mexico, Brazil, China, India, South Korea, and the ASEAN region. In this respect, in the future we are likely to have at least as much in common with many of the Big Ten as with our historic trading and military partners. We will certainly have much more in common with them in the emerging global arena than ever before in history.

Source : http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/g/garten-ten.html


Solomon islands, and tales of Indonesia

Make sure you write SOLOMON ISLANDS, a beautiful country far away in the middle of the shade of the Pacific Ocean, which inspired Hollywood movies in 50-60s. Elvis and James Bond movies while very “worship” the beauty of the small islands in the Pacific Ocean, with a picture of a girl dressed leaves, distinctive guitar beaches, white sand beaches sloping, and underwater scenes are amazing. Well, this picture is almost right in the Solomon Islands, except the girls who are no longer dressed leaves.

In March 2007, the big boss ordered me to immediately fly to Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands and forwarded to Gizo, a popular dive sites there.on holiday ? of course not ! I was assigned to work together as a Global Medic Canada towards joint operation with the United Nations, who already be reached there. Five days before,the tsunami struck the western Solomon Islands that killed a small class “not until” a hundred people. Of course I’m not going to discuss my work in this paper.

With all the preparation of a sudden, the dollar is (thank God) enough, I flew from Yogyakarta-Jakarta-Singapore-Brisbane, and to Honiara next day. Hold on! I get by the valued from an officer at Brisbane Int’l Airport, to be delivered to you all.”I love Indonesia, perhaps more than some people of Indonesia itself. Please tell to the mass media in Indonesia, to STOP preaching “only” the bad news about Indonesia,and setting aside the good news which is very reasonable to inform”. WOW! I wondered how he could get the gossip channel and provocateurs like Lativi, SCTV and Global TV? Apparently he was often to Indonesia, and watch Buser, Liputan Siang, Liputan 6, and others. Horeeee….! It turned out that outsiders are also fed up with news like that..enough..enough..back to Honiara.

Honiara is a city that umm..very ordinary looks. Take Timika (without kuala kencana) as an example, and multiply by two, namely Honiara. The city is “built” the full support of the United States and Australia after World War II, of course, after the island of Guadalcanal, was destroyed by the Japanese and Allied soldiers.The main roads in Honiara is the size of Ciledug narrow streets (without jamming), and through a narrow bridge made of wood.The one thing that worried me, was when I saw many people walk past and do not wear sandals. do not think that they are people who are still (forgive..) primitive. No! They dress like us and know that the Japanese capital is Tokyo (while many of my friends call Palembang as the capital of West Nusa Tenggara Province, what a shame ! :(). And most surprising is, that “most” of them speak English better than the average Indonesian, articulate far better than the Singaporeans and Indians English.

I was nervous because if they live as limited vision, goals objectives can not be hung in the sky, as if the future if they can be seen and confirmed.that’s my opinion, before I met Jessie, a young man 20 years, local residents. He said that indeed, the Solomon Islands is a remote country, far away from everywhere, all the expensive prices, employment slightly.But according to him, most people accept it with relief, and optimistic that this nation will achieve progress in the near future. “My country is the best tourist destination in South Pacific” he proudly. ok,well..if only there is no new zealand (I wonder..)

On the other day I met Michael, and he was surprised when he knows I’m from Indonesia. in his eyes, Indonesia is a country that produces Rinso (Detergent), Blueband (Margarine), Buavita (Juice), Tango (Biscuit), Garuda Peanut, and so on. ‘What is BUAH-BUAHAN ? “He said ..(hahaha…it’s really funny, we export goods but ‘forgot’ to change the language packs) 😀 Michael was not alone, in the eyes of his friends, Indonesia is a country that told by their teachers in primary school time, about beauty, plurality, and the friendliness of the people. “Before God take me, I hope to visit Indonesia. hopefully God will hear” he continued, (Ameeennn..)

I flew from Honiara to Munda, a small rural area of remote, once again so many people who know much English. I flew with a small plane in which the passenger is limited only for 6 people. Believe me, I feel more enjoy and feel safe with a small aircraft compared with Boeing 737. From the height of “enjoy”, I can see the small islands scattered in the bottom, with white sandy beaches and blue sea and a shallow green. It’s beautiful, such a loose pearls and pearl out of each charm. from the small islands, I could see the children and parents “walks” with a small boat in calm water, clear, and shallow. I just realized that small islands were inhabited, I could see the tin roof of some houses on each island.

“I am sure yours are beautiful too, mate” I was surprised. An Australian beside me, suddenly shouted in my ear. The engine is very noisy, so the screaming is the “only” way to communicate with one another. His name is Bruce, he is from Cairns, Australia. He several times to Jakarta and Bali, but do not have time to see the expanse of sea that dotted by 17.000 islands. I just nodded and smiled. (Maybe) of about 10-12 million Indonesian people traveling abroad to “enjoy” the beauty of Singapore, Phuket, Paris, Rome, or Australia, imagine how much money they “send” to that countries, and imagine if they also travel to Wamena, Sabang, Mentawai, Kepulauan Seribu, or …..


Gizo is my last journey in Solomon islands. Gizo is the biggest city in western Solomon Islands. For the divers, Gizo famous because of natural beauty which under the sea was still awake. Gizo is more like a small village in Kupang (west Timor,Indonesia), the only paved road is less than 3 kilo meters, which is inhabited by about 2000 people who live around the beach. Gizo is a fairly large island and surrounded by small islands which are beautiful, and separated by a shallow sea full of fish and blue to purple dolphins. I could feel “chased” by the dolphins when visiting one remote island with a boat containing only 4 people. Amazingly, the driver, an Aussie took with dolphins that live playing 3 games. Gizo also has a small island that serves as a special airport …..Yes…airport. in isolation of Gizo, I’m still have a good connection Internet speed. Solomon Telekom, is a subsidiary of Australia’s AT&T Wireless, and only a few years began to hit a lot of penetration to the Solomon Islands.

I got interviewed by Associated Press reporter, and asked a tantalizing question “What is your purpose in the Solomon Islands?”. The point is clear, the Solomon Islands is a powerful Christian state, and my organization (and of course I) is a Muslim.I thought this was my chance to explain to the west of what is islam. It’s time to show them the beauty of Islam. Finally, the story was published, and told by the thousands of sites and newspapers around the world, with a great title “MUSLIM AID SHOWS ISLAM’S TRUE FACE” proud hehehe.. 😀 unfortunately they misspelled my name be akyari hanonto,some are writing akyari hanoto.

I am not stay long in Gizo, only 3 days, before finally returning with a small aircraft is limited to 6 people to the capital Honiara. That’s the last time I saw (again) small and beautiful islands from the air, and probably, I do not (will) have the opportunity to visit the Solomon Islands. My friend from Indonesia fell asleep, I was so sleepy, but as far as possible I try to stay awake. Sunny weather, and from that height, (which is not too high), I could see a group of cargo ships (small) with Indonesian flagged.
In Honiara, I have met with the consul general of Indonesia to the Solomon Islands, I forget his name, as well as some defense attache, and also some Indonesians which has endured decades of living in Honiara. It turned out that the inauguration of the consulate general, which of course is very formal. I ventured to approach and boast a little that “I’m an Indonesian, just like you”. Apparently they welcomed me with good, friendly, and full of friendship, although that time I was wearing knee-length pants, and T-shirts. unfortunately I forgot to record their email…

So far, the Solomon Islands is highly dependent on Australia and New Zealand in many aspects, economic, political, security (army and police in the Solomon Islands conducted by the RAMSI, the combined army and police from Australia and New Zealand), and diplomacy. It makes (some) of the people of Solomon Islands is very angry because the Aussie and NZ (especially Aussie) is very pressing and interfere the “Internal” of Solomon Islands. So, once again I am proud when headliness locally morning newspaper (just before I left for Brisbane), entitled “WHY NOT INDONESIA?”. Good one .
The plane which I was riding, the Solomon Airlines appropriate take-off at 2 PM. I still vaguely saw the Indonesian fleet down there ….

Written by : Akhyari Hananto

March 2023