Category Archives: Politics

After tense election season, Indonesians breathe sigh of relief

Today my Indonesian language teacher showed up for our lesson wearing a blue and red checkered shirt, typical of the supporters of the newly elected president Joko Widodo (known by his nickname, Jokowi). Today, it seems like the wait is finally … Continue reading

Posted in Indonesia, Our Daily Life, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stark contrasts, historical ignorance on display in Indonesian presidential race

Watching the 2014 presidential campaign in Indonesia is sometimes like watching a bad movie’s overwrought metaphor for the tension between democracy and authoritarianism playing out in real life. The choices have narrowed since I last described the presidential candidates, and … Continue reading

Posted in Indonesia, Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Mixed messages from Thai coup and a growing divide in the streets

The leaders of the military coup under way in Thailand shortened a nationwide curfew, doled out payments to rice farms, and cracked down more strictly on freedom of speech today. The leadership seems to be trying to soften their image while … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thais weigh peace, democracy

The situation in Thailand escalated from martial law to full-blown military coup around 5 p.m. on May 22. Despite new restrictions imposed by the army (especially those limiting media outlets), most Thais are sticking to their usual daily routines, and … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Under martial law, Thais take little notice, but lots of selfies

This is not how I pictured martial law. At 3 a.m. Tuesday, two days into our vacation in Thailand, the Thai military declared martial law across the country. According to Wednesday’s Bangkok Post, a top Army’s general said martial law … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Indonesia’s legislative elections, even more complex than expected

On April 9th, 2014, across nearly 8,000 islands, the citizens of the world’s third-largest democracy cast ballots for over 235,000 candidates in legislative elections. The Wall Street Journal called it “a massive logistical undertaking”. In this complex environment, none of the … Continue reading

Posted in Indonesia, Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

America is not a “banana republic”: A response to Salon.com

In a recent Salon.com article, “Look at the stats: America resembles a poor country,” writer CJ Werlemen likens America to a Third World nation. Having spent the last three-plus years in developing countries, I feel this deserves comment. I don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Bureaucracy, Culture, Indonesia, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bangkok can provide lessons for Jakarta

When describing Indonesia, people often refer to its nearest neighbors as points of comparison. These include Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. Its two fellow middle-income countries, the Philippines and Thailand, make useful points of comparison because their respective capitals, … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Indonesia, Politics, Religion | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Extremists’ moral muscle forces detour for female stars

Jakarta is no stranger to major international events and concerts, such as a recent Metallica concert and the Mixed Martial Arts (cage fighting) world championship. But many events planned for Jakarta are canceled on short notice for vague reasons; some … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Indonesia, Politics, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A tale of two Jakartas

We have moved into our new house recently. We were lucky to find a gated community with good security and quiet streets that we could afford, but as Bruno and I peeked over the concrete wall that surrounds our neighborhood, … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Indonesia, Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment