Anies Baswedan made me proud when told Europeans how well Indonesia manages cultural differences. Then I heard news of the church burnings in Aceh.
Well it’s official. The Partai Aceh candidates for Governor and Vice Governor will rule Indonesia’s most fractious province for the next five years. Their election campaign was a strange mix of proto-militarism and religious fervour.
Poor David Cameron; something always seems to steal his thunder. During his visit to Indonesia today, it was two huge earthquakes in Aceh. I’m in Aceh just now, and was watching his press conference on Indonesian TV when the room started to shake and we had to tear ourselves away from his platitudes. The UK Prime Minister is reportedly looking for business for UK companies. If investment decisions were based on need, or on the impact they might have on…
I happen to be in Aceh for the local elections. These are interesting times, with rivalries between former comrades in the para-political movement formerly known as GAM hotting up. It’s a sensitive topic in a still-fragile part of this increasingly centrifugal nation; I’d say a lot more, but I have promised the Indonesian intelligence services that I won’t report on the ins and outs of local politics. True to my word, I’m going to write instead about Aceh’s creativity with…
It’s local election season in many areas of Indonesia. That means posters of well-fed used car salesmen promising vaguely to fight corruption and enrich the “rakyat”, the majority of Indonesians who live from day to day or month to month. It also means that towns and villages are filled with “Tim Sukses” — swarms of volunteers who try to get the vote out for their candidate, often with the help of envelopes of cash.