Archive for the tag "Indonesia"

Elizabeth Pisani’s next project – “Indonesia Etc. – Exploring the Improbable Nation” (16/01/14)

                                        In late 2011, epidemiologist, writer and adventurer Elizabeth Pisani granted herself a sabbatical from the day job and set off to rediscover Indonesia, a country she has wandered, loved and been baffled by for decades. […]

Indonesia’s health minister shocked by her own failure (23/11/12)

The always provocative Unspun asks how it is that Indonesia’s minister of health is shocked at the country’s HIV prevention failure. It’s a good question, most especially since before becoming minister of health just a few months ago, Nafsiah Mboi spent six years at the helm of the National AIDS Commission. The failure was highlighted […]

Indonesia: a miracle despite itself (19/06/12)

I’m nearing the end of the first (nine-month long) leg of my Indonesian Odyssey and I don’t feel much closer to understanding the heart of this torturously complicated but endlessly fascinating nation. I’ve done my best to try and sum up some of my thoughts in the June issue of Prospect, one of UK’s more […]

In Indonesia, even “free sex” is safer than going to work (17/06/12)

As part of the Makassar Writers’ Festival, I’ve been asked to give a talk about HIV in Indonesia at the faculty of public health at Hasanuddin University. I’m reluctant. I’ve been wandering Indonesia without any thought of focusing on HIV for over eight months now. In that time I’ve met a surprising number of widows, […]

A sad day for Indonesian sex workers (04/05/12)

Wednesday was a sad day for Indonesia, and for me. It marked the death of Endang Sedyaningsih, who encompassed what is best in the women everywhere: courage, determination, integrity, compassion and humility. It is a rare combination at the best of times; in the Indonesian cabinet, where Endang held the position of Minister of Health, […]

What’s wrong with Indonesian penises? (05/03/12)

[Note: I’m still on sabbatical. But even on sabbatical, one sometimes thinks about sex… For reflections on democracy, corruption and other dirty subjects, see my other blog, from which this is a cross-post.] Reading the newspapers in cities across Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province, I cannot help but notice the full-colour ads for penis extensions. In […]

No wonder Obama’s cool: chicks with dicks department (11/11/10)

The New York Times has cottoned on to the unpredictable glories of Indonesia. But they’ve got it just that little bit wrong. Here’s what they have to say about US President Obama’s childhood minder: “His nanny was an openly gay man who, in keeping with Indonesia’s relaxed attitudes toward homosexuality, carried on an affair with […]

Kalau ada di Jakarta, ayo mendamping kawan2 waria (01/10/10)

Salaam kepada pembaca di tannah air kita. Kalau seandenya ada di Jakarta hari Minggu ini (Tanggal 3 Oktober), ayo ikut skrining khusus film baru Madame X, di Senayan XXI, Jam 9.30 (blerch!). Di minta 250,000 rupiah; dana akan digunakan untuk mendamping kawan2 waria yang perlu di rawat HIV. Satu di antara setiap tiga waria penjajah […]

Vaccinating against election fever (08/04/09)

For the last 10 days, I’ve been watching Indonesia gear up for parliamentary elections, which take place tomorrow. My expectations of politicians are lowest around this time, but even I was cross to see the country’s health minister undermining kids’ well-being in a bid to rack up the votes. When I was here six months […]

The philosophy of porn (13/12/08)

It is with pride that I post my first link to Indonesia’s new-born English language newspaper, The Jakarta Globe. Not just because its editor appears in The Wisdom of Whores, translated the book into Indonesian and is one of my dearest friends, but also because they are publishing fun stuff. Including this reflection on the […]

It’s not HIV that kills, but hospital administration (01/12/08)

To mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, and the 1st anniversary of The Wisdom of Whores, I offer a post stolen wholesale from Michael Buehler. ‘It is actually not HIV that kills us but the hospital administration’, says an Indonesian woman with HIV. Oh, and corruption in the Ministry of Health, complacent self-satisfaction […]

Cry the beloved country: microchip madness from Indonesia (25/11/08)

Two wrongs don’t make a right. And Papua’s “plan” to implant HIV positive people with microchips is definitely wrong. As the Jakarta Post pointed out yesterday (in a profile that called me a “raging dinosaur” — a compliment, I think) I was wrong to dismiss Indonesia’s “anti-pornography” bill as so silly it would never get […]

Indonesia goes over the edge (31/10/08)

I don’t usually mind being wrong. Really I don’t. But today it hurts. Indonesia has passed a bill that makes it illegal to bathe in rivers or wiggle your hips while dancing. The news reached me at exactly the time I was on air on one of the country highest rated TV shows, talking about […]

The Lady and the Lab: politics and populism in Indonesia (28/09/08)

Indonesia’s Minister of Health Siti Fadilah Supari told Reuters this week that a major US navy lab in the country, NAMRU II, had stopped all its work, which she thinks is of “little benefit” to the country. It’s the latest punch in a dust-up that has been running for months. It’s not actually about what […]

More is less in HIV, according to new UNAIDS figures (30/07/08)

When UNAIDS put out their new figures yesterday (in a stonking 357-page report), they accompanied it with a press release that began: “New HIV infections and HIV-related deaths declining — however AIDS epidemic not over in any part of the world”. If you made it to the second page of the press release, you’d find […]

Ways to be gay part 2: Places to pee (20/06/08)

Still on the subject of the multiple meanings of masculinity: whatever your identity, you’ve got to pee. But if you’re a person with a penis who dresses as a woman, where should that be? There’s a debate about this over at The Lost Boy, continued at by Roger Tatoud at Peripheries whom I thank for […]

The key to HIV prevention: chastity pants for masseuses (28/04/08)

A fashion designer turned massage parlour owner in Indonesia has come up with an inspired solution to the problem of unsafe sex: he’s padlocking his girls in to their trousers. Paul Watson of the LA Times spoke to Franky Setiawan, owner of Doghado Massage Parlor, who came up with the chastity pants. Setiawan “says he […]

How to earn a quick 50 bucks: selling sex in Jakarta (04/03/08)

Want to know why nice girls sell sex? I’ve trawled through hundreds of academic papers pontificating about the motivation for selling sex, I’ve listened to quite a bit of gender-jargon from self-righteous feminists, and I’ve been sjubjected to too much of the sexploitation rhetoric from right-wing religious relics. But I’ve rarely seen a more straight-forward […]

Ayo, hadir ke pameran dan film ini, dong! (27/02/08)

Untuk kawan-kawan pembaca di Indonesia: di CCF Salemba ada pameran tentang AIDS, dan juga akan putar film “Harapan Lahir Dari Pengetahuan”. Menerutku judul aggak norah, tetapi gaya film belum tentu ikut judulnya, kan?

New condom rings the changes for sex in Indonesia (18/02/08)

Well, those folks at DKT in Indonesia have done it again. Not content to rest on their laurels with the official Democrat Party condom, they’ve now got Indonesia abuzz in anticipation of The Earthquake, a vibrating condom which will be launched on February 23 (but which is available to the cognoscenti of Jakarta from today […]

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