Categorie archief: Regio Azie

A regular club night, but not for me


By Ila Luijten         For my master’s research I’ve gone to Bali, Indonesia, to do fieldwork. My aim is to get an insight into the lives of sex workers, mostly freelance sex workers; the girls who go to clubs in the tourist destinations of Bali to look for money by spending a night with a guy. Here I will describe one night of fieldwork.

In the second week of fieldwork, I came in contact with Lola (23) and Dewi (22)*, two Indonesian friends living in Kuta, Bali. One Thursday evening in January I went for a night out with these girls to their favourite club, Sky Garden. 

That morning, I was a bit nervous about my night with the girls, so I send Lola a text message to be sure if we were still on for the night. She responded quickly and told me to meet her at 1 a.m. in front of Sky Garden. Around eleven in the evening Lola sent me a text message asking if I wanted to come over to her place for some drinks. I jumped under the shower, got dressed and looked for her address on the GPS in my phone. It would be half an hour’s drive. On the way I bought some beers for us.

Lees verder

Serieuze studenten

BEAMDoor Bonnie de Beer. Opgegroeid in Nederland en studerend aan de universiteit, dacht ik dat ik wist wat het betekende om een serieuze student te zijn. Er zijn genoeg mensen om me heen die studeren op nummer 1 hebben staan en heel erg ambitieus zijn. Maar dat was voordat ik met mijn veldwerk in Chiang Mai, het noorden van Thailand, begon bij een NGO genaamd BEAM (Bridging Educational Access for Migrants). Ieder jaar biedt BEAM de mogelijkheid aan vijftien tot dertig Birmese studenten een tweejarige opleiding te volgen, waarna ze hun GED (General Education Development) kunnen halen en in Thailand naar de universiteit kunnen gaan.

Maar zo makkelijk gaat dat allemaal niet, merkte ik al snel. Hoewel de studenten BEAM niet hoeven te betalen om lessen te volgen, hebben zij vrijwel allemaal hulp nodig van leraren en sponsoren om hun leven in Thailand te kunnen bekostigen en de GED te kunnen behalen. Ze komen namelijk allemaal uit arme gezinnen in Myanmar en hun ouders kunnen zelf niets bijdragen. Veel studenten wonen in gebouwen naast de school, waar zij een kamer met een tweepersoons bed en een klein badkamertje, zonder WiFi of warm water, met vier mensen delen. Studeren aan de universiteit kan alleen wanneer de studenten een beurs krijgen. De leraren die aan BEAM verbonden zijn helpen hen met het schrijven van de aanvraag voor een beurs. “You need to say that you plan to go back to Birma and help your community” is een zin die  steeds terug komt bij het schrijven van de aanvragen. De Thaise overheid geeft alleen beurzen aan migranten die beloven terug te gaan naar hun eigen land om daar hun landgenoten te helpen met de nieuw verkregen kennis. Lees verder

Umbrellas… but revolutions?

hong-kong-protestBy Pál Nyiri. Yesterday I organized a discussion at Spui 25 to make sense of the recent events in Hong Kong. The student demonstrations demanding the direct election of Hong Kong’s chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017 — a promise made by Chinese government for 2012, but postponed and now broken — have spread to high schools and office workers, resulting in the largest mass protest in China since the 1989 democracy movement that led to the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The panelists included Frank Pieke, an anthropologist and Professor of Modern Chinese Culture at Leiden University, and two media scholars: Jeroen de Kloet, Professor of Globalisation Studies at the University of Amsterdam, and Donna Chu, Associate Professor at the Media and Communications Department at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. We quickly agreed that seeing the Hong Kong events as a repetition of 1989 or a revolution is misleading. China’s political system, based on Communist Party rule, is in no immediate danger. Although the Party — like in 1989 — accuses demonstrators of being the instruments of foreign countries wishing to instigate a “color revolution,” they have gone to pains to stress that their ambitions are limited to Hong Kong, and anti-Communist Party slogans have been conspicuously absent. Lees verder

Verkiezingen in Indonesië: het feest van de democratie

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADoor Freek Colombijn    In de tijd van President Soeharto stond de uitslag van elke politieke verkiezing van tevoren vast en de term ‘pesta demokrasi’ (het feest van de democratie) had een erg cynische bijklank. Sinds zijn val in 1998 is Indonesië in een verbluffend hoog tempo gedemocratiseerd en zijn verkiezingen echt een soort feest geworden.

Vandaag streden Prabowo Sugianto en Joko Widodo (roepnaam Jokowi) om het presidentschap. Jokowi heeft naam gemaakt met zijn sociale beleid als burgemeester van Solo, wat hij heeft voortgezet als gouverneur van Jakarta. Prabowo, een schoonzoon van Soeharto, en oud-militair, staat voor een krachtig bestuur-oude-stijl. Terwijl veel Indonesiërs hem steunen zijn anderen niet vergeten dat hij verantwoordelijk was voor de verdwijning van protesterende studenten kort voor de val van Soeharto en zij gruwen bij het idee dat hij president wordt. Wat in Indonesië minder bekend is, is dat daarvóór zijn troepen honderden, zo niet duizenden, burgers en verzetstrijders in Oost Timor en Aceh hebben omgebracht. Lees verder

The unhappy nations

Freek Colombijn 32 nations play in the World Cup 2014. The football matches create excitement (and feelings of irritation, or indifference) to the inhabitants of these nations. As only one team can become champion, supporters of 31 nations will be disappointed, but at least their favourite team took part in the tournament. Most nations do not even get that far and have lost during the qualifying rounds.

Take Indonesia. As I write this blog, it ranked 158 in the FIFA ranking of 209 nations. Actually Indonesia did not do badly at all during the qualifying round. It passed through the first two qualifying rounds of the Asian zone, but in the third round lost in a competition with three other teams. When the Timnas (tim nasional, or national team) did not stand a chance anymore and had to play Bahrain, which needed a 9-0 victory to keep their chances alive to go the next round, the Indonesian team suffered an astounding 10-0 defeat. The Indonesian goalkeeper was sent off in the third minute and Bahrain scored the first goal with the associated penalty. From there the score went regularly up till the desired 9-0 in the 82nd minute and 10-0 in extra time.

How could this happen? How could a nation with almost 250 million inhabitants lose from a country with 1 million citizens? Allegations of corruption were quickly made. Somewhat surprisingly the Indonesian media did not have doubts about any of the Indonesian players, but questioned the fairness of the Lebanese referee. Another reason put forward was the fact that professional football in Indonesia had split between a competition supported by the national football association, and a professional competition, of which the players were barred from playing for the national team. There were public calls to form a united timnas in the interest of the nation. Even Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held a press a conference to give his view on the matter. Clearly the national prestige was at stake and in letters to the editor, ordinary people, who in no other way were involved than having Indonesian citizenship, expressed to feel humiliated.

It has not always been this way for Indonesia. In 1938 Indonesia (then still Netherlands East Indies) sent a team to the World Cup, played in France. It was on the eve of the Second World War, and only 15 teams participated instead of the planned 16, because of the recent annexation of Austria, one of the prospected participants, by Nazi Germany. The Indonesian team was beaten by 6-0 in the first round by Hungary. As at this World Cup the loser of each match was ousted, it was the only match ever played by an Indonesian team at a World Cup.


Dutch East Indies players at the 1938 World cup

Despite the honourable defeat at the hands of the later runners-up, Hungary, it was a memorable match. The selection counted Javanese, Moluccan, Chinese and Dutch players, like Achmad Nawir, Isaak Pattiwael, Tan Mo Heng, and Henk Zomers. The Netherlands Indies team was thus a symbol of tolerance, overcoming ethnic differences. The Netherlands Indies team can be a source of inspiration of today’s national team. Timnas only stands a chance of making it to the World Cup if players stand united and overcome internal divisions.



NB. I owe many details to the Bachelor thesis of a Monash University student, Timothy Flickers, and Christian Tugnoli, ricercatore sportive from Bologna, Italy.

This blog was originally written for the Jakarta based Whiteboard Journal ( and with permission of the editors also published on Standplaatswereld.

Media Freedoms, Coercive regimes and Blasphemy-mania

pakistanBy M. Amer Morgahi. Media revolutions in development countries are seen as important factors in democratization processes, in acquiring information and in enhancing consciousness. However, the media can be manipulated, coerced and used to develop certain consensuses that favor the ruling groups, as the example of recent happening in Pakistan show.

On 19 April, a famous anchorperson, Hamid Mir, of Pakistani Geo TV was attacked in Karachi. He was shot six times but luckily he survived his injuries. A few minutes after the attack his family and the channel accused the head of the main intelligence agency in Pakistan, the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), of being involved in the incident. Apparently Hamid Mir had named his would-be killers, and the channel released the allegation with pictures of the intelligence head. The military intelligence denied the allegations and asked for an impartial investigation. It was not the first attack on a journalist in Pakistan. Since its participation in the so called ‘war against terrorism’ the country tops the list of those considered dangerous for journalists. In the following days an open and discrete media-war started between the Geo and other print and electronic media, as well as different state and non-state actors, allegedly supported by the intelligence agencies. Lees verder

Sterke vakbonden oplossing voor textielarbeiders in Bangladesh

ellen Door Ellen Bal en Sandra Bos
Precies een jaar geleden, op 24 april 2013, stortte Rana Plaza in. Het meest dodelijke ongeval in de geschiedenis van de textielindustrie eiste de levens van ruim 1100 arbeiders. Meer dan 2500 medewerkers raakten gewond. Het acht verdiepingen hoge gebouw vlakbij Dhaka, herbergde een aantal kledingfabrieken, een bank, appartementen en diverse winkels. Nadat er barsten werden geconstateerd in de muren van het gebouw, werden de bank en de winkels gesloten. De fabrieksarbeiders, voor het merendeel jonge vrouwen, moesten gewoon aan het werk. Anders zouden ze hun baan verliezen. Tijdens de drukke ochtenduren stortte het hele gebouw als een kaartenhuis in. Nog steeds liggen er lijken begraven onder het puin. Lees verder