Conversation with Michol Dalcourt, Inventor of Fitness Equipment


One can’t talk about the fitness center business without talking about fitness equipment, without which there wouldn’t be any fitness center. There are hundreds of type of fitness equipment, but the one that recently became a favorite among gym-goers in Jakarta is the ViPR, an acronym for vitality, performance and reconditioning. On Friday (April 10), we managed to speak to Michol Dalcourt, the inventor of ViPR. [Continue reading]

Fitness Center Business


Businesses are being built around the healthy lifestyle. There are new organic food and beverage shops/restaurants, yoga centers, fitness events, and fitness centers. Fitness centers are nothing novel. But more and more of them are popping up at shopping centers in big cities in Indonesia. Most of them are part of national or international fitness center chains.This phenomenon picked our interest. Some of the well-known fitness center brands in Indonesia Gold’s Gym, Fitness First, Jatomi Fitness and also Celebrity Fitness. Today’s we’ll look into the first two. [Continue reading]

Jokowi’s Christmas in Papua


The government will hold a joint national Christmas celebration in Papua for the very first time. But some Papuans reject the idea altogether, referring to the December 8 incident in Enarotali of the district of Paniai, which caused the death of five Papuans. [continue reading]

Conversation with Bambang Sugiarto, The Head of Pasar Santa


Pasar Santa is a traditional market located on Jalan Cipaku, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. The market was left empty for the years. But things started to change. The market managed to attract new kinds of tenants. Since then, Pasar Santa grew in popularity and has now transformed to become one of the most interesting youth scene in Jakarta. We spoke to the man managing the Pasar Santa Market Bambang Sugiarto to understand what’s happened. [continue reading]

New MataMassa app empowers regular people to help monitor elections

Khabar Southeast Asia

New MataMassa app empowers regular people to help monitor elections

by: Yositha Nirbhaya

Free mobile application encourages citizens to monitor violations during the election, inviting greater engagement in the democratic process.

A smartphone app offers greater Jakarta area residents a way to help ensure free and fair upcoming 2014 general elections.

The Jakarta branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the ICT Laboratory for Social Changes (iLab) launched MataMassa (“Eyes of the Public”) in November as a way for citizens to monitor and anonymously report administrative, criminal or ethical violations during voting or campaigning.

Those could include installation of campaign banners in houses of worship, highways, or hospitals; vote buying; or other violations as defined by the General Election Committee (KPU) and the Election Supervisory Committee (Bawaslu).

Nelson Simanjuntak, Bawaslu committee commissioner, said the app encourages direct societal participation of the process.

“It needs to be understood that MataMassa really helps us improve the 2014 election,” he told Khabar Southeast Asia.

Users can download MataMassa for free and use it to submit a report of a violation by text, photo or video to AJI Jakarta. Project personnel investigate and submit verified reports to Bawaslu.

Between December 15th last year and March 13th, MataMassa received 1,249 reports, and verified 1,154 of them, according to AJI. Because of limited funding, project personnel could only verify violations in Jakarta and outskirts including Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi, AJI Jakarta Chairman Umar Idris told Khabari.

Direct participation

Renanda Laksita, a Partai Demokrat candidate for the House of Representatives (DPR) wished the app could be more widely used.

“I think this is a new innovation to invite society to participate in our democratic process, as we know that many Indonesian people love to use gadgets. I hope society takes advantage of it,” the candidate from Bali told Khabar.

“It would be better if it is applicable all over Indonesia than greater Jakarta only,” she added.

Stefani Bilwa tried, but failed to submit a violation in the form of a massive poster of a candidate in Setiabudi.

“Unfortunately, I was unlucky in submitting it directly through my iPhone,” she told Khabar. “Therefore I have to submit it through the website, which is not as efficient.” Still, Stefani liked the idea of the app to help deliver a fair election.

Reports can also be submitted through SMS center to 081370202014 or via email at for people without a smartphone or the app.

People: Umar Patek


Umar Patek, an accused bombmaker in the 2002 Bali attacks, was speaking to reporters in West Jakarta District Court [2012: Oktofani]

Umar Patek, an accused bombmaker in the 2002 Bali attacks, was speaking to reporters in West Jakarta District Court [2012: Oktofani]

Name              : Hisyam bin Ali Zein

Alias                : Umar Patek alias Umar, Abu Syekh, Arsalan, Abdul Karim, Umar Arab, Umar Syekh, Zacky dan Anis Alawi Jafar.

Date of birth    : 20 Juli 1970

Place of birth  : Pemalang, East Java

Wife                : Fatimah Azzahra binti Husein Luceno alias Ruqoyah

Case               : 2002 Bali Bomb

Summary        : Umar Patek was found guilty of murder and bomb-making in connection with the Bali attacks, which killed more than 200 people, mostly foreigners. West Jakarta District Court has convicted a militant of making explosives used in the deadly 2002 Bali bombings and sentenced him to 20 years in jail in 2012.

On March 2014, Umar Patek was relocated from the Brimob prison in Kelapa Dua, Depok, West Java to Porong Penitentiary in Sidoarjo, East Java. The relocation was due to the police’s efforts to uncover a regional terrorism network.

Related article about Umar Patek:

  1. Witnesses: Loopholes in system helped Patek flee
  2. Patek: Bali bombings were “against my conscience”
  3. Prosecutors seek life sentence for remorseful Patek
  4. Witness: Patek said terror attacks were against Islam
  5. Judge: Patek can help deter youth from radical extremism
  6. Patek lawyers: client didn’t know what bombs were for
  7. Money for Bali bombing came from bin Laden, witnesses say
  8. Bali suspect apologises to victims, says bombings were wrong
  9. Muslim leader: terrorists must stop undermining Islam’s image

Muslim, Christian leaders gather to seek common ground

Khabar Southeast Asia

Muslim, Christian leaders gather to seek common ground

Religious leaders from 16 Asian countries came to Jakarta for the February 26 – March 1st Conference of Muslim-Christian Religious Leaders of Asia, which emphasised that the two religions share a core teaching: love. [Photos: Elisabeth Oktofani/Khabar]

Religious leaders from 16 Asian countries came to Jakarta for the February 26 – March 1st Conference of Muslim-Christian Religious Leaders of Asia, which emphasised that the two religions share a core teaching: love. [Photos: Elisabeth Oktofani/Khabar]

International interfaith conference discusses need for dialogue, collaboration in tackling modern problems in the region.

Muslim and Christian leaders from 16 Asian countries pledged to work side by side to tackle present-day problems in the region at a recent conference here, grounding their common vision in religious teachings both share.

“Asia is currently facing serious problems of poverty and environmental degradation,” M. Nashihin Hasan, executive director of the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS), told Khabar Southeast Asia.

“Here, we are trying to find a solution based on religious values, and not secularism,” he added.

ICIS organised the four-day Conference of Muslim-Christian Religious Leaders of Asia, together with Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) and The Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI).

Both the Qur’an and the Bible teach love of God and love of one’s neighbour. That shared teaching “provides a common ground for Muslims and Christians to work together for peace and harmony in this violence-torn world today”, a conference statement said.

Rejecting extremism

Held February 26th-March 1st at Jakarta’s Hotel Acacia, the gathering was attended by 120 Indonesians and 55 religious leaders from 16 countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, India and Malaysia.

Many participants stressed the need for dialogue among believers of different religions as a means to foster a culture of harmony and peace in Asia.

Religious leaders need to come together on a regular basis on the local level, and to have a clear process of identifying common problems, Monsignor Felix Machado, archbishop of Vasai, India, told the forum on its opening day.

“This collaboration must be founded on the rejection of fanaticism, extremism and mutual antagonisms which lead to violence,” he said. “Education is also an important tool to promote mutual understanding, co-operation and respect.”

The growing gap between rich and poor was another common theme.

“I often heard various problems which could be identified as social and economic injustice in Asia as the result of modern prosperity only enjoyed by a few people, while many are exploited and marginalised,” Bishop Felix said.

The importance of dialogue

The chairman of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organisation, told Khabar he appreciated the event and hoped it would be fruitful.

Both Islam and Christianity value humanity and both “have a significant role in developing and anticipating the dynamic of Asia as the future of the world,” Din Syamsuddin told Khabar outside Istiqlal Mosque, during a visit there by conference participants.

Dialogue among moderate religious leaders is important to push the government to take serious action on eradicating religious conflict, he said. He voiced hope that in the future, the conference would also invite religious leaders from fundamentalist groups, so their voices can be heard.

Afghan participant Fazalghani Kakar said he wants to apply what he learned in his home community.

“Although we don’t have many religions in Afghanistan …. This conference is very important for us because we are all aware that Afghanistan has been in war these past three decades,” he said.

“We also need dialogue to get a mutual understanding both technically and also professionally to create tolerance among us,” Fazalghani said.

A path of moderation

In their concluding statement participants pledged to renew efforts to promote peace and justice, prevent violence and facilitate dialogue in situations of conflict.

“We believe that if human dignity is respected, human values are promoted and the path [to] dialogue remains open, conflict can be avoided in every circumstance,” it said. “…A path of moderation and a pedagogy of persuasion are more in keeping with the Asian genius than the use of force or mutual denunciation.”

Conference participants understood such goals cannot be instantly achieved.

“We do not want to be in a rush,” Nashihin, of ICIS, said. “Perhaps, we would hold another meeting within three years to see the result of the implementation of our agreement.”

Prisoners’ products a source of pride, income

Khabar Southeast Asia

Prisoners’ products a source of pride, income

Ade, 37, demonstrates his skill making footballs at the Napi Craft 2012 exhibit in Jakarta. Income from sale of prisoners' products will be given to them upon their release, according to officials from the Directorate General of Corrections. [Photo by Clara Prima/ Khabar]

Ade, 37, demonstrates his skill making footballs at the Napi Craft 2012 exhibit in Jakarta. Income from sale of prisoners’ products will be given to them upon their release, according to officials from the Directorate General of Corrections. [Photo by Clara Prima/ Khabar]

Ade, a 37-year-old prisoner at Cirebon Class One Prison, recently had the opportunity to demonstrate his skill making footballs at the Napi Craft 2012 exhibition in Jakarta.

The event held December 17-21st at the East Building, Mega Kuningan, South Jakarta, was intended to show that inmates – napi – can be creative, innovative and productive.

Ade, who is serving a six-year sentence, said he enjoys making footballs because it allows him to develop his abilities and keep busy.

The father of a six-year-old boy is also hoping to use his skill to work in a factory or establish his own business when he is released from prison two years from now.

“I can make four to five footballs in a day. If the material is soft, it only takes me an hour to make one football,” Ade told Khabar Southeast Asia.

Some 149,873 inmates are incarcerated across Indonesia, according to the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, which sponsored the exhibit.

“That number has great potential and can be used to produce certain types of products. So it also can support government programmes in economically creative ways,” said founder of Napi Craft 2012 Evi Amir Syamsuddin during its December 17th opening. She is wife of Minister of Justice and Human Rights Amir Syamsuddin.

“Other than that, the exhibition is also expected to improve the inmates’ quality of life as well as their welfare – especially for those who join the Prisoners’ Workshop,” or Bengkel Kerja Naripidana,” she said.

Ismail Nasrul, a public relations representative from the Directorate General of Corrections, told Khabar his department is putting greater emphasis on marketing prisoner products to help motivate inmates to join the skills training workshops.

Though many inmates think the training is a waste of time, he said, because they are unsure how to market what they make, false eyelashes made in West Java’s Garut Penitentiary have already found customers in Taiwan, Switzerland and China.

“Through this exhibition, we wanted to show to them that their products can be appreciated and recognised by society,” he said. “It needs to be understood that getting recognition will motivate them to improve the quality of their product.”

In total, more than 1,500 products were displayed at Napi Craft 2012, including artwork, false eyelashes and synthetic rattan chairs. On the third day, six paintings ranging in price from Rp. 5m ($518) to Rp. 17m ($1,761) were sold.

“The income from the sale will be given to the inmates upon their release. They will have their own money to start a new life because not all of them will be simply accepted by their own family,” Ismail said.

Arum Wahyuni, 26, an exhibition visitor, said she was impressed with several of the products. “I would say that many of the handmade crafts are properly made. It is also amazing that those fake eyelashes, which were made by prisoners, are exported to other countries,” she said.

“I just hope that when they are released from prison, they use their skills to start a new, creative and innovative life, especially knowing that they have the ability to be a better person,” Arum added.