Underpaid and Underappreciated. That is what Indonesia’s Journalist is all about!

Magelang Journalist Indonesia

By: Sahrudinalwaysmagelang@gmail.com

WHERE on earth can one find unbiased information? Don’t you deserve the fundamental right of honest reporting? So, where can people find objective media coverage?

There are only three answers: difficult, difficult, and difficult.

This is my lament on journalism in Indonesia. From Sabang Municipality, the country’s most western point to Merauke Regency, the easternmost point; from Miangas, Indonesia’s northernmost island to Rote, the southernmost one; journalists just probably have the same problems.

What are they?

Pressures? Of course not. Now everyone in the country can write and speak freely. Even making fun of the President has become a more common thing.

So what happen with the journalists?

I answer the question with a question. Will 500,000 IDR (equals 44 USD) per month salary enough to survive and save money?

I tell you a fact of life in Indonesia’s news business: some reporters of local mass media paid only 500,000 IDR and above (700,000; 900,000; 1,000,000; 1,500,000), and many others are even earning less than that amount.

Journalists working at big papers in major media markets, of course, earn more and take home fatter paycheck than those at smaller papers in smaller markets.

But I am not talking about a few best-paid journalists working at national level mass media, whose average monthly salary are millions of Rupiahs.

I am now writing about many, many, many “unlucky” journalists, in order to survive, to receive money from conference hosts or governmental agencies for content, or any media coverage at all.

We, sadly, must recognize it’s called corruption. We have absolutely no right over the money.

But many journalists, usually working at local mass media, took the money, often mislabeled as a “transportation cost” or a “credit/balance expense” from conference hosts or governmental offices.

Biased news coverage then becomes unavoidable impact may occur. Remember that most citizens have no opportunity to see government first hand. They form their opinions based on what they read and what they see and how they interpret the news.

Indonesia Journalist Underpaid

These types of journalists, who often receive such a “transport expense”, can still be divided into two categories: really low-paid journalists, and, the so-called “enough is never enough” journalists.

The definition of the first category is fairly clear. For a full time journalist, it is so hard to live in Indonesia only with 1,000,000 IDR salary per month, let alone 500,000 IDR.

How can that amount of money cover daily expenses, from working with such a high mobility that needs transport cost, to credit/balance expense and PC maintenance cost? We are, unfortunately, still not talking about basic household needs.

How do a low-paying full time reporter find time for moonlighting, while at the same time, his/her editor obliges him/her to cover and write three to four news per day?

The second category, “enough is never enough” journalists, is also clear. Earning millions of Rupiahs salary per month, money just still slip through their fingers.

They have fallen into a habit of letting money control them rather than the other way around. In this case, the problem lies in their moral integrity and responsibility.

All these long time issues should be answered, especially by media companies.

Instead, there should be continued public pressure on the companies still insist to pay their journalists below standard.

And if necessary, all Indonesian journalists strike to show solidarity for their peers, the low-wage journalists.***

*Coming up next: How Politicians and Tycoons Tarnish Indonesia’s Journalism?

A Peaceful Morning Walk in Banyurojo Village

MORNING MAGELANG INDONESIA

By: Sahrudin@SahrudinSaja

IT WAS nearly 08.00 a.m. I woke up with my kid, so late. He, as well as I, washed face immediately before going for a morning walk.

I took my Canon EOS 60D and its best suited partner, the Sigma 10-20mm. Ok then, here we go…

Thick blanket of mist had gone by mid-morning. But a lighter fog still descended on Banyurojo Village, Mertoyudan District, Magelang Regency, shrouding villagers homes in the morning.

Mothers overran itinerant greengrocers. Some people swept yards with brooms made of coconut leaves stick. Some others were sharing the latest gossip under a shade tree.

We walked along the Manggis river bank. It had, and still has a muddy brown color. Many people throw away garbage into the 5-meter wide river.

We passed Wirabuana, the one and only Hindu temple in Magelang Regency.

A HKBP (the Congregation of Batak Protestant) church stands just a few hundred feet from the temple.

Majority of Banyurojo Village, as well as Magelang Regency people were, and still are Muslims. However, the existence of the Hindu temple and the church makes our life seem more colorful.

In rice fields, which also just a few hundred feet from our home, paddy plants turned yellow. Crops were ready for harvest a few days later. But most other paddy leaves had been cut, and grains of rice were collected. Here, people planted and harvested crops all at almost the same time.

I and my kid went home after about an hour morning walk.***

MORNING MAGELANG INDONESIA

MORNING MAGELANG INDONESIA

He took a pee!

MORNING MAGELANG INDONESIA

Among the harvested rice fields.

MORNING MAGELANG INDONESIA

Wirabuana, the one and only Hindu temple in Magelang Regency, the Province of Central Java. It stands just a few hundred feet from our home.

Magelang’s Karate Kids: A Photo Story

By: Sahrudinalwaysmagelang@gmail.com

 

MAGELANG KARATE INDONESIA

CHILDREN practicing karate in an elementary schoolyard in Banyurojo Village, Mertoyudan District, Magelang Regency, the Province of Central Java. Most of them are elementary school students, and few others are kindergarten students. Being trained by a TNI military personnel and some assistants, the karate classes are held every Sunday and Tuesday afternoon.

 

KARATE MAGELANG

 

Enrolling a kid into this karate training, parent will only need to buy a Gi (karate uniform), and pay meetings fee, and pay for belt promotions once every six months. Karate sparring gear like fighting gloves, face shield and foot protectors, and the other equipment have been provided by the trainer.

Enrolling a kid into this karate training, parent will only need to buy a Gi (karate uniform), and pay meetings fee, and pay for belt promotions once every six months. Karate sparring gear like fighting gloves, face shield and foot protectors, and the other equipment have been provided by the trainer.

 

MAGELANG KARATE

 

Although karate (also other martial arts) can be a lot of fun, it is not intended merely for sport. Kids must sometimes be reminded that they are learning how to defend against real-life bad guys. Parents need to motivate kids in learning practical self-defense rather than totally depending on others for protection.

Although karate (also other martial arts) can be a lot of fun, it is not intended merely for sport. Kids must sometimes be reminded that they are learning how to defend against real-life bad guys. Parents need to motivate kids in learning practical self-defense rather than totally depending on others for protection.

 

MAGELANG KARATE

 

Magelang's Kyokushin karate instructor Prabowo said: "Karate is more about improving self-confidence than fighting back against threats with aggression. We do not advocate fighting back. That is not what karate is all about. We teach the children how to lift their self esteem. Once you gain confidence, it is very hard to frighten a confident kid.

Magelang’s Kyokushin karate instructor Prabowo said: “Karate is more about improving self-confidence than fighting back against threats with aggression. We do not advocate fighting back. That is not what karate is all about. We teach the children how to lift their self esteem. Once you gain confidence, it is very hard to frighten a confident kid!”

 

KARATE INDONESIA

 

When a parent registers a kid in a karate training, it is logical to presume the parent wants the child succeed. Unfortunately, so few kids who start will go all the way to their junior black belt. It is sad to see the fact that the main reason why most kids drop out of karate training is that it stops being fun for them, and they felt bored.

When a parent registers a kid in a karate training, it is logical to presume the parent wants the child succeed. Unfortunately, so few kids who start will go all the way to their junior black belt. It is sad to see the fact that the main reason why most kids drop out of karate training is that it stops being fun for them, and they felt bored.

 

KARATE MAGELANG

 

The essential point in supporting kids in karate is respect. Karate is a resilient subject for children to undertake without parental support. Children need to know that parents think highly of their needs, and their hard work and achievement, not only drop-off and pick-up service. They need their parents to be interested in them, and proud of them, and to respect them for the good things they do. Only parents who can do this will see benefits out of all proportion to the financial expense of karate training.***

The essential point in supporting kids in karate is respect. Karate is a resilient subject for children to undertake without parental support. Children need to know that parents think highly of their needs, and their hard work and achievement, not only drop-off and pick-up service. They need their parents to be interested in them, and proud of them, and to respect them for the good things they do. Only parents who can do this will see benefits out of all proportion to the financial expense of karate training.***

Shooting Simplicity: A Different Way to Celebrate Kartini Day

Magelang Java Borobudur Humble Simple Modest

By: Sahrudin@SahrudinSaja

I always wished education to begin in simplicity and modesty…” (Raden Ajeng Kartini, December 11, 1903.)

EVERYTHING began with simplicity.

My friend Sulung, mom of a cute 7-year-old daughter, asked me to take pictures of her somewhere in Magelang Regency rural.

She knew that I was not a fashion photographer. I was more interested in street photography and photojournalism. I didn’t have any experience in working with models. When it comes to modifying light and directing poses I was totally blank.

Magelang Java Borobudur Humble Simple Modest

“Nothing to worry about”, she said. All I had to do was find one or two humble houses in countryside of Magelang. “Ups, once more… clothing that usually worn by Javanese farm women.”

Simplicity completely meant everything for us.

We only brought one camera, Canon EOS 550D, and its kit lens Canon 18-55mm. No external flashlight, and no other photography equipment.

Magelang Java Borobudur Humble Simple Modest

I set the camera in the basic modes, landscape and portrait. I was often too lazy to change the ISO, the metering mode, white balance, or exposure compensation.

“The camera had done everything for me”, I once thought.

The process was so simple that I just concentrated on taking photos. Forgot about camera’s settings, just had fun, and enjoyed the action of shooting her.

Magelang Java Borobudur Humble Simple Modest

“Creativity works best within restraints”, some people said. Great wording that I had proof it.

(At least, Sulung seemed pretty pleased with her pictures I shot. I knew, she was a very straightforward woman. This was the only thing I used to measure what I have done for her.)

What I felt at that moment was by limiting options, my mind started seeing ways to make images within the boundaries that I have set. It could be surprising how much variety I achieved with one camera and its cheapest lens.

Magelang Java Borobudur Humble Simple Modest

Like I said above, I consciously forgot that photography is ultimately about taking beautiful photos with such complicated pieces of equipment.

I was just enjoying the process as I went along. I thought, the basic idea of photography is actually quite simple but some people tend to overcomplicate it.

Magelang Java Borobudur Humble Simple Modest

THIS is April. For me and Indonesians, it is month of women. We will celebrate Kartini Day on April 21. It is the day when Indonesian women pay tribute to our heroine, Raden Ajeng Kartini.

Kartini, that was her only name as Raden Ajeng is her Javanese feudal title. She was born on April 21, 1879. She was considered to be one of several Indonesian women’s rights pioneers.

Kartini died when she was 25. During her momentary life, she set up a school for women. The school was believed the first ever in Indonesia, which at that time was under the power of the Dutch.

Magelang Java Borobudur Humble Simple Modest

Kartini Day has been commemorated since 1964, after President Sukarno declared her an Indonesian national heroine.

Inspiring facts about Kartini was disclosed after her letters were first published at the Hague of Netherlands in 1911 under the title “Door Duisternis tot Licht” (from Darkness into Light).

The letters were collected and edited by Dr JH Abendanon, former Minister of Education and Industry for The Dutch East Indies. Many of the letters were written to him and to his wife “Moedertje.”

Besides stories of the struggle for Javanese and Indonesian female emancipation, one thing that always shines from every Kartini posters nowadays is her simplicity and modesty.

No crown upon her head. No luxurious accessories and dress.

Magelang Java Borobudur Humble Simple Modest

Let female activists always continue rallying to demand emancipation, and kindergarten students wear traditional clothes in every Kartini Day.

But you, photographers and models, it never hurts to celebrate this honorable day by applying humble and modest concept in every your photo session. Isn’t it?***

An English-Unfriendly Country Namely Indonesia

Magelang's elementary school students greet Slovakia President Ivan Gašparovič on his visiting in Borobudur temple last 2011.

Magelang elementary school students greet Slovakia President Ivan Gašparovič on his visiting in Borobudur temple last 2011.

By: Sahrudin – @SahrudinSaja

FIRST of all, please try to put yourself into my mental process of switching from Bahasa Indonesia, my mother tongue to English.

You, native speakers and I are completely different since the beginning. You acquired English in early childhood. Your father, mother, as well as sister and brother, everybody speak English. They kidding you, and they scolding you using English.

And I?

Well, Indonesia is generally not an English-friendly country. (It’s about language, not people). We Indonesians even call it strangers language.

(Almost) nobody, I mean local people to engage in an English conversation in the market or in a public transportation.

It takes courage to do that. People will have problem getting around using English almost everywhere in this country.

If my partner and I converse in English as quickly and as smoothly as native speakers, maybe the people around us will show us good responses. Someone will probably say: “Wow, you are so great! Teach me, teach me English!”

But I can’t imagine how they would react if they hear I am talking to my friend using English haltingly. Perhaps they will ridicule me: “Sudahlah, tidak usah bergaya. Kalian itu ngobrol pakai bahasa kalian sendiri sajalah…” (Oh come on, speak your own language, please…)

You can’t imagine how hard it must be to learn to talk comfortably in a second language.

As a matter of fact, many of Indonesia’s government officials can’t even speak English well, let alone ordinary people like me.

Since it is not widely spoken here, it is so hard (almost impossible!) to meet someone speaking perfect English grammar.

Take an example Bali Island, Indonesia’s main tourism center, where many people talk English fluently. You can try to ask someone you meet in Bali to make 10 or 20 English sentences in a certain amount of time (minutes).

You will soon know what is it like their English grammar.

However, it is always stressful to tell someone that they made a mistake. You may be afraid of an awkward social situation.

When I make a mistake, you will probably pretend that nothing has happened.

As long as you can understand what I mean, you will completely ignore all my mistakes in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

So that is why I am writing this today.

I am not complaining. I just want to share something that so far we have been facing.

It is because of second language, especially English, becomes one of Indonesia’s determinants of competitiveness not only in the tourism but all industries.

How can this country compete, let’s say deal with other countries, while at the same time not improving its people’s second language ability?

I am totally not interested to involve our government in this situation. For me, the government is simply a bunch of people with their own political interests rather than willingness to give intellectual, moral, and social examples to citizens.

I am more attentive to go into Indonesia’s mass media and how far their role in spreading “English viruses” to audience.

Today, there are only two English-language daily newspapers in the country inhabited by more than 250 million people. They are The Jakarta Post, and The Jakarta Globe. It contrasts with hundreds of Bahasa Indonesia-language dailies still exist.

It has been reported that both the Post and the Globe are currently publishing between 40,000 to 50,000 copies per day. It means, the figures are much less than one-tenth of daily circulation of some big Bahasa Indonesia-language newspapers like Kompas and Jawa Pos.

Is that a shocking comparison?

Not really. You know why.

What about Indonesia’s televisions programs?

As far as I know, state-owned TVRI has its English-language news broadcast. Metro TV, self-proclaimed Indonesia’s first 24-hour news channel airs Indonesia Now and World News.

None of the programs are aired in primetime. I have no idea whether any other TV’s English-language shows or not.

All of the facts lead me to conclude that because Indonesia is not an English-friendly country, it is not a good idea to run an English-language mass media here.

Otherwise, due to so few people of Indonesia are able to speak English well so far, while at the same time considering that it is important, becoming an English teacher or tutor may be financially favorable.***

Pondok Tingal, a Home for Javanese Culture

By: Sahrudin – @SahrudinSaja

I REFER to Pondok Tingal as a-very-Java hotel. For me, it is a truly “culture hotel”.

I wouldn’t recommend Pondok Tingal to luxury enthusiasts, partygoers, and the like. I would suggest this hotel to anyone looking for something different – simplicity.

Located just hundreds of meters east of Borobudur temple, Javanese traditional nuance will deeply felt as soon as you set foot in the Pondok Tingal’s yard.

Limasan, a Javanese style architecture, gains ascendancy over entire buildings of the hotel.

Rare fruit trees, woven bamboo wall, teak wood furniture, clay roof tiles, become the dominant view during your stay.

Will there be anything else? Of course yes, but additionally, let the pictures do the talking…

 

Pondok Tingal Magelang Borobudur

Welcome to Pondok Tingal! It is located on Jalan Balaputradewa 32, Borobudur, Magelang Regency, Central Java. Pondok Tingal has been a valuable legacy that was left by the late Haji Boediardjo. He was 1968-1973 Indonesia’s Minister of Information. He also served as the Indonesian Ambassador to several countries during his lifetime. The hotel construction began in 1988 and was inaugurated in 1991. Haji Boediardjo died at the age of 75, in March 15, 1997.

 

A woven-bamboo-walled space provided to pray for Muslims.

A woven-bamboo-walled space provided to pray for Muslims.

 

Pondok Tingal employees washing instruments of the Javanese gamelan orchestra.

Pondok Tingal employees washing instruments of the Javanese gamelan orchestra.

 

The gamelan music instruments are being prepared for monthly shadow puppet show, or wayang kulit, as it is called in local tongue.

The gamelan music instruments were prepared for monthly shadow puppet show, or “wayang kulit”, as it is called in local tongue.

 

Time for dinner! So simple, down to earth with lengthy menu: kerupuk, sayur tempe, sambal terasi, ikan asin. No need to explain the meaning of the dishes. All you have to do is try, try, try!

Time for dinner! So simple, down to earth with lengthy menu: kerupuk, sayur tempe, sambal terasi, ikan asin. No need to explain the meaning of the dishes. All you have to do is try, try, try!

 

Kunti, a small restaurant in Pondok Tingal's front building.

Kunti, a small restaurant in Pondok Tingal’s front building.

 

Other, bigger restaurant, also often used for meetings in the middle building of the hotel.

A semi open concept restaurant, also often used for meetings in the middle building of the hotel.

 

They are preparing meals for your dinner.

They are preparing meals for your dinner.

 

Look, the greenery is very soothing to eyes!

Look, the greenery is very soothing to eyes! A hotel with such quiet and serene surroundings.

 

Stelechocarpus burahol or locally known as "kepel". Some people also call them kepel apples. Sweet, but rare fruit.

Stelechocarpus burahol or locally known as “kepel”. Some people also call them kepel apples. Sweet, but rare fruit. Pick one when you come to Pondok Tingal someday…

 

Last year's photography exhibition in Pondok Tingal held by artists and journalists in Magelang Regency.

Last year’s photography exhibition in Pondok Tingal held as a tribute to the late Haji Boediardjo by artists and journalists in Magelang Regency.

 

Pondok Tingal's "Sasana Gunarasa" Wayang (puppet) Museum houses a collection of more than 1,500 of puppets in different kinds. It is also known for almost 700 puppets books, includes a collection of varying wayang stories recorded in 83 audio tapes and 59 video tapes.

Pondok Tingal’s “Sasana Gunarasa” Wayang (puppet) Museum houses a collection of more than 1,500 of puppets in different kinds. It is also known for almost 700 puppets books, includes a collection of varying wayang stories recorded in 83 audio tapes and 59 video tapes.

 

Pondok Tingal, literally "lodge to view". In fact, from a corner of the hotel's yard, you can look at Borobudur temple with foreground of tobacco plantations and Menoreh Hill background.

Pondok Tingal, literally “lodge to view”. In fact, from a corner of the hotel’s yard, you can look at Borobudur temple with foreground of tobacco plantations and Menoreh Hill background.

Canka Lokananta, the Melodious Sound from Tidar Valley

Magelang Lokananta Military Sahrudin

Snare drummers of the Indonesia Military Academy’s Canka Lokananta Pipes and Drums ensemble in a field show in Magelang, Central Java on Friday (January 31, 2014).

By: Sahrudin – @SahrudinSaja

ALTHOUGH using the same Sanskrit name of “Lokananta”, there were, and still are, no link between Canka Lokananta and Lokananta Records.

Lokananta itself literally “the sound of heaven”. In fact, both were founded in the same province, Central Java in the 1950s. Both were, and still are, also organizations engaged in the presentation of music.

Canka Lokananta is a Magelang-based Pipes and Drums ensemble consisting of the Indonesia Military Academy cadets.

Established in April 17, 1959, Canka Lokananta became Indonesia’s oldest marching band ever. While Lokananta Records is the first record label in Indonesia, since it was founded in Surakarta City in October 29, 1956.

Canka Lokananta's drum major or locally known as "Penatarama".

Canka Lokananta’s drum major or locally known as “Penatarama”.

Canka Lokananta is the only active duty Pipes and Drums band in the Indonesia Army. Whereas the Indonesia Naval Academy has the “Gita Jala Taruna” and the Indonesia Air Force Academy runs the “Gita Dirgantara”, as well as the Indonesia Police Academy with its “Cendrawasih” marching bands.

Canka Lokananta’s membership is open to all cadets of the Indonesia Military Academy, no prior skill in piping, or drumming is required.

The ensemble supports corps of cadet activities year round, as training and academic schedules permit.

Canka Lokananta provides musical support to the military school also known as the “Tidar Valley” in order to motivate and inspire the corps of cadets, and even to promote national interests at home and abroad.

Tubas between cadets.

Tubas between cadets.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was the best 1973 Indonesia Military Academy graduate, was also among 1971-1973 Canka Lokananta players.

The Pipes and Drums band is considered an icon of the Indonesia Military Academy, even the country’s Army.

Besides in Magelang, Canka Lokananta has also long been an interesting “colossal” show for thousands of people in Jakarta, Surabaya and many other cities in Indonesia as it may only be performed in certain national, important holidays like Independence Day (August 17th), the Indonesian Military Anniversary (October 5th) and Heroes Day in November 10th.

Like many other marching bands, each Canka Lokananta Pipes and Drums member also has his permanently assigned position.

A drum major, locally known as “Penatarama” is the leader of the band during rehearsals and in performance.

His job is to execute the instructions of the band director and other instructional staff regarding what needs to be done with the ensemble.

An aerial or toss move, where the drum major throws a baton into the air, is usually the most risky but interesting maneuver to see.

A bass drummer wearing imitation leopard skin.

A bass drummer wearing imitation leopard skin.

Another position in Canka Lokananta is the assistant drum major. He is the next-in-command behind the Penatarama. He assumes the Penatarama role whenever the drum major is not present or is unable to perform.

An assistant drum major is actually step into Penatarama’s job at a moment’s notice. He may also be asked to help during rehearsals.

Often seen in Canka Lokananta seven bass drummers. Their normal position is in the middle front of the band.

They march in front of the other drummers and instruments like tuba and pipe and bell lyre players. This means that the strong rythm can be heard more equally by the other musicians with less time delay or volume problems.

The Canka Lokananta’s bass drummers are literally the heart of the band and are large cadets commonly wearing imitation leopard skins or similar.***