Indonesia Anonymus

We are a group of Indonesians, ranting about our beloved country. This blog is a result of many people grumbling about many things in many ways.
Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com


Anonymus is the Latin word for anonymous, the correct English spelling. The Latin spelling, however, is traditionally used by scholars in the humanities to refer to an ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Read more at Wikipedia.

Our blog in Bahasa Indonesia (but rarely updated) can be found here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Are drug-users criminals?

The news about Indonesia's (used to be) famous singer jailed for drug-possession reminded us of a tragic event occurred about a year ago. A colleague, call her Z, was a rising star. Smart and insanely hard-working, she climbed up the rank so fast many people couldn't believe it. Her last assignment was a high-profile project, so important that everybody thought a seat in senior management was pretty much reserved for her, if she could pull the project off. And we all knew she could.
In her late twenties, she would be the youngest person holding such position.

Then one day, when she was supposed to attend a very important meeting, she failed to show up. Nobody knew where she was. Being single and living alone, with parents miles away in eastern Indonesia, we had no other way to find her other than sending an Intern to her house after hundred of phone calls went unanswered.

In short, she was found dead in her bedroom.

Everybody was in shock. Not one soul ever knew she was a drug user. Not her close friends, not her colleagues, not even her own mother. No one. Pretty, very active, sporty, always on top of the situation and always with very witty sense of humor, the thought of her being a drug-addict had never crossed anybody's mind.

We have failed to recognize that she needed help until it was too late.
And we believe there are many who share Z's problem out there. Stressed-out, feeling helpless unable to fight own addiction, with nobody to share the problem with. Utterly and completely alone.

Right then we realized how we have criminalized and demonized drug-users so much. We shame them, we scare them, we force them into hiding.

Drug users are not criminals. They are people who need our help. They are our friends, our husbands, wives, sons, daughters.
No, we are not defending drug-use, and yes, drug abuse is a problem, a very big problem.
That is exactly the point: the first step in solving a problem is by admitting that we do have a problem. How are we going to ask drug users to admit their addiction if we are going to throw them in jail as soon as they open their mouth?

Drug dealers are criminals. Drug users are not. Drug dealers belong in jail. Drug users don't.
Yes, that's right. We think it is important to decriminalize drug use.
Because if it can happen to Z -- a lovely, smart, highly educated girl with very very bright future ahead of her -- , it can happen to anybody. And if by any chance it happened to any of our loved ones, there is nothing else in the world we would give other than help and support to fight the addiction.

Not jail.

To our Z (1979 - 2006)
We still remember you fondly. Rest in peace.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The story of our life

See the comic strip below and please admit that you feel this way too. (At least when you read newspapers or watch the news...)

Source :

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Too much love will kill you

Sorry to do a Freddie [1] on this one, but really. What's up with this world? two countries are fighting over a song?

Background story:
Malaysia uses the song 'Rasa Sayange' for tourism campaign. Indonesians claim the song belong to them, and Malaysia claims the song has been heard for many many years throughout the archipelago, therefore it is not exclusively owned by Indonesia.

Since then everybody got all angry and worked-up with the dispute, it turned the title of the song into an irony. (Rasa Sayange : rasa = feeling, Sayang = affection, love)
Rasa sayange? We don't see much of it these days. Or is it maybe because of too much love?
Ah, Indonesia & Malaysia. Aren't we madly in love.

Things went even more bizzare when we read the latest news:
the people's rep of Maluku is thinking of taking the dispute to the International Court of Justice [2].
Eh? Over a song? And we want the International Court of Justice to do what, exactly? To officially hand it over to Malaysia just like they did with the islands of Ligitan and Sipadan in 2002? [3]

Now let's be realistic about this:
Indonesia has been sitting on this song for many many many maaaany years. What did we do with it? Nothing. We didn't even bother to find out who wrote it. We all know the song. We all know how to sing the song. We all teach our kids to sing the song. But we stop short in protecting it.
Who wrote it? Dunno.
Don't we have to pay royalty to someone? the composer? the composer's descendants, maybe? After all, it has been used in many tv shows, movies, recordings, etc
Dunno, Don't care.

And now Malaysia used it and we act like we were robbed.
Isn't that a tad too late?

We agree with Unspun:
"Is the issue one of rights or of marketing savvy?
If it is one of rights then Indonesia wins hands down.
If, however, the issue is one of marketing savvy, then Indonesia losses big time to Malaysia."

Spot on. Read more there. (We don't want to steal his thunder. It's an excellent piece. Fellow Indonesians, please read it with the spirit of introspection).

And don't call us unpatriotic because we write this -- or by agreeing with Unspun, who (we assume, but we think this is accurate) is a Malaysian.
Please. Spare your judgement, our fellow countrymen.

Being patriotic means we take good care of our national heritage. We treasure them, preserve them and protect them. That's patriotic.
Ignoring what we have and got all upset only after some other country claim ownerships over them is not being patriotic.
It's being careless. And stupid.
And if we cannot force our government to protect our national treasure, then it is not just the government who is stupid.
It's us. Because we elected them.
We only have ourselves to blame.

So, Indonesia, be smart next time: protect what you have.
And Malaysia, be smart: write your own song. Honestly. Is it really that difficult? Come on.
Not only it's sad, it is also an insult to Malaysian composers and song writers, who surely can write better song that will better serve Malaysia's tourism.

[1] Watch Freddie
[2] - DPRD Maluku akan Mengadu ke Mahkamah Internasional
[3]International Court of Justice - Press Release - Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia)