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Departing from Rotterdam in the Netherlands on August 23, 2019, the crew of the Arka Kinari ship finally anchored in Indonesia on September 1 this year. On the ship were the artist couple Nova Ruth Setyaningtyas and Grey Filastine, and six international crew members. On this low-carbon journey, they visited a number of countries and gave mini concerts on board. Their expedition faced numerous challenges, from storms, the coronavirus pandemic, to permit processing that left them in limbo on the open sea. In addition to campaigning for the environment, the Arka Kinari crew was involved in the Spice Route movement proclaimed by the education and culture ministry’s directorate-general for culture. This made them change their sailing route onto a number of spice locations: Sorong (West Papua), Banda Neira (Maluku), Selayar and Makassar (South Sulawesi), Benoa (Bali), and Surabaya (East Java).
The arrest of Effendi Buhing, chief of the Laman Kinipan Customary Community, in late August has brought the name Tariu Borneo Bangkule Rajangk to the fore. A militia group named Pasukan Merah (the Red Brigade) has come forward to defend this traditional leader in Lamandau, Central Kalimantan. Red Brigade Chief Pangalangok Jilah claims that he has some 50,000 members spread all over the island of Kalimantan, including in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. While it used to be active in preserving Dayak customs and culture, the Red Brigade now also focuses on advocacy for its members who are entangled with the law. Tempo reports from Bukit Raya Toho, Mempawah Regency, West Kalimantan, one of the customary forests under the care of the Red Brigade.
In colonial times, the fight for independence was also driven by native doctors who graduated from the School tot Opleiding van Indische Artsen (STOVIA).
Indonesia faced several epidemics during the Dutch East Indies era. From outbreaks of cholera and pestilence in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in the early of the 20th century up until the impact of the Spanish Flu. Those pandemics resembled the current situation. After a late response to the outbreak, the colonial government finally enacted a regional quarantine. Many things can be learned from past epidemics. Mitigation strategies, appropriate isolation measures, and rapid responses are needed.
UNIVERSITY researchers are putting their heads together in conducting studies to counter the Covid-19 pandemic. Studies in a number of fields—from engineering and medicine to sociology and economics—are used to battle against the pandemic caused by the coronavirus.
THE keris (dagger or kris) belonging to Diponegoro, also known as Raden Mas Ontowiryo, was returned by the Dutch government to Indonesia on March 10. The dagger, known as Kiai Naga Siluman, was believed to have been given to the Dutch by Diponegoro. Dutch and Indonesian researchers who studied the kris verified that it was Naga Siluman based on a letter from Diponegoro’s former officer Sentot Alibasya Prawirodirdjo, and a description of the dagger by Javanese painter Raden Saleh, who lived and worked for many years in Europe in the mid-19th century. However, Indonesian kris specialists have casted doubt on whether the old weapon is indeed Diponegoro’s Naga Siluman as mentioned by Sentot. From the details, they say, it seemed that the dagger is a Naga Sasra, which has quite distinct characteristics from a Naga Siluman. These Indonesian experts deem it impossible that Prince Diponegoro would not know the difference between a Naga Siluman and a Naga Sasra. Thus, the National Museum will be waiting for a compromise between kris specialists and historians before exhibiting the dagger, together with other items owned by Diponegoro, at a certain point after the corona pandemic subsides.
THE government’s dream to reach garlic self-sufficiency in 2021 seems far-fetched. Importers have been required to plant garlic since 2017, but the program has not been able to overcome the annual garlic deficit of 500,000 tons.
The price of garlic skyrockets at the start every year, going over Rp50,000 per kilogram. Due to government’s requirement to plant garlic in the import quota system, garlic prices in the country are consistently high, even when prices in its exporting country, China, are under Rp10,000 per kilogram. With an annual profit of up to Rp8.4 trillion, garlic import regulations are creating illegal fees in the permit issuing process. As a result, prices continue to soar and the commodity is controlled by a number of companies with import quotas and the power to withhold or pour garlic into the market.
By all appearances, 2019 did not produce many surprising works of art. Nevertheless, the Indonesian art scene still managed to come up with some strong gusts of fresh air, and several efforts were made to explore new aesthetic realms. Tempo invited a handful of art scene observers to select and discuss nominees before we elected them to become the works and our artist selection of the year.