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Besides films adapted from books and biopics, the year 2019 has harvested grass-root indie movies. Several of these indie movies have even broken through at international festivals. Tempo has the annual tradition of selecting films as an alternative to the annual Indonesian Film Festival, and as a way to celebrate quality cinema. These are our picks.
THE directorate of culture at the ministry of education and culture launched a new book titled Art & Diplomacy on August 17. The book contains rare pictures from the independence movement taken by photographers under IPPHOS—the nation’s very first photojournalism news agency—and posters, caricatures and cartoons created by artists of the day.
THE life and times of Amarzan Loebis was much like a long, winding road. From Tanjungbalai, Asahan, North Sumatra, he landed in Jakarta with an aim to continue his studies. But Amarzan, at the time just 23 and already known as a poet under the moniker Amarzan Ismail Hamid, was drawn to being reporter for the daily, Harian Rakyat Minggu, instead. At the newspaper, which happened to be affiliated with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), Amarzan edited the culture page.
THE life and times of Amarzan Loebis was much like a long, winding road. From Tanjungbalai, Asahan, North Sumatra, he landed in Jakarta with an aim to continue his studies. But Amarzan, at the time just 23 and already known as a poet under the moniker Amarzan Ismail Hamid, was drawn to being reporter for the daily, Harian Rakyat Minggu, instead. At the newspaper, which happened to be affiliated with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), Amarzan edited the culture page. When the PKI established the People’s Culture Institute, better known as Lekra, Amarzan was one of a long line of artists who lent their support to the initiative. This involvement ended up with the New Order regime detaining him and finally throwing him to Buru Island after the political melee of 1965, without a trial. In 1979, after being released and returning to Jakarta, he began working for Tempo. After a year or so struggling with his stroke, the poet breathed his last on September 2 at the age of 78 years.
Andi Syamsuddin Arsyad, owner of Jhonlin Group
In the name of national sugar self-sufficiency and to cover the 1.1 million ton shortage in annual demand, the government called on companies to invest in the development of sugar cane plantations and processing plants. Of 10 locations in Java, Sumatra, and Nusa Tenggara, one of the largest of these producers is found in Bombana, Southeast Sulawesi. The concession there is held by Andi Syamsuddin Arsyad, a man in the coal business. He is a cousin of Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman and a former deputy treasurer of the Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin election campaign team. Amran was directly involved in taking care of authorization down to the regency level, an action which broke zoning regulations and went against the ministry’s own program.
Even though a five-year prison sentence awaits anyone who hunts and trades the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), many still risk breaking the law.
The Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) is popular in China. Its meat and scales are used in traditional and psychotropic medicines. In 2007, the Chinese government legalized the use of its scales for medicinal purposes at clinics, based on hospital approval. Since then, 26.6 tons of pangolin scales have legally entered China from a number of countries. A report from Traffic.org, a non-profit organization focused on wildlife trade, mentioned that the total amount of illegal scales—originating from countries where the animal is protected—reached 34.9 tons from 2007-2016, with the most coming from Indonesia.
The hunting of the Sunda pangolin and its smuggling abroad is on the rise. The police consider it to be transnational crime. Belief in this animal’s healing power—from increasing libido and to being used in the preparation of psychotropic medication—and the legalization of its use in some countries has increased demand. The price of this rare nocturnal creature remains high because it is illegal to hunt. As a kilogram of Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) sells for US$4,200, the value of its smuggling reaches Rp3.6 trillion annually. The illegal trade of this animal ranks second only to wild birds. Those involved in this trade continue to operate freely.
AN exhibition of works by the late I Gusti Nyoman Lempad is currently on at the Salihara Gallery, South Jakarta. Lempad’s pictures are wide-ranging, with inspiration from mythology, folklore, ancient Balinese script, and the daily life of humble Balinese folk. Lempad’s interpretation of life was singularly unique.