A tale of Indonesian migrant workers

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang A tale of Indonesian migrant workers?

The Jakarta Post, Indraswari , Kuala Lumpur | Sat, 11/28/2009 1:06 PM , Opinion

On Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009, The Jakarta Post published an article written by Silvester *Syl'Asa, titled "Migrant workers: Have we done our part?"

The article reminds me of the stories told by some migrant workers whom I encountered when I traveled back and forth between Malaysia and Indonesia, which I have done quite frequently in the last few months.

Their stories support Silvester's views on the importance of tackling our domestic problems such as poverty and unemployment with regard to the high flow of Indonesian workers going abroad - legally and illegally - in search of a better life.

At one time I chatted with a female migrant worker who was on leave to visit her family in West Java. We were about to board in the same plane from Malaysia to Indonesia. This woman was in her early thirties, married, and had two children aged 10 and five years old.

She had been working as a maid for some years in Malaysia. Prior to working in Malaysia she worked in Saudi Arabia, also as a maid. Her husband remains in Indonesia and works as a pedicab (becak) driver whose income is hardly enough to be relied on for living.

She left her two children when they were months old, leaving them under the care of their grandmother. Her prolonged absence leads to the children regard their grandmother as their mother and call their mother teteh, which means older sister in Sundanese.

She recalls economic reasons for working overseas and leaving her family behind. She wishes for her children to pursue proper education as she said "I wish my children would become clever persons *orang pandai* so they can have a better life *than their parents*".

On another occasion I met a woman in her mid-forties who happened to sit beside me on the plane on our way back to Malaysia.

She had just visited her family in Indonesia, the first time after working as a maid in Malaysia for three years.

She is a widower with five children. The eldest child is married while the other four children who are still studying range from primary to high school.

Her husband died one-and-half years ago and worked as a security guard (satpam) in West Java. Since then she has been the sole breadwinner of her family and leaves the care of her four children in the hands of the eldest married child.

She was thinking of shortening her appointment in Malaysia in order to be able to stay with her children but wondered, "How can I pay their school's fees if I stop working?"

There are other stories from other migrant workers I encountered at the airports and on the planes. Also in these places I often met those who needed help to deal with simple tasks such as how to fill in arrival/departure cards and customs declaration forms.

Others asked me to translate what was written on their boarding passes. In fact these matters may not be that simple for them, which is why they asked for help.

Traveling frequently between Malaysia and Indonesia gives me this unique experience, which is less likely happen when I travel to other places such as Europe.

There are millions of Indonesian migrant workers overseas and most of them are blue-collar. Many of them come from poor families, unskilled and with low education.

Nonetheless if we look at them through a different lens, despite their limitations, these workers are brave people who make a huge personal sacrifice and dare to take the risks to fight poverty.

Just like everyone else, they wish for a better life for themselves and their families.

I agree with Silvester who writes that many of migrant workers working overseas were lured by the dream of improving their lives and those of their loved ones.

Migrant workers that I encountered at the airports and in the planes are all legal workers with employers who treat them well. But there are workers who are unfortunate, being mistreated and even dead at the hands of abusive employers.

Yes, the protection of our migrant workers overseas needs to be improved. Nonetheless at home it is a high time for the government to tackle the roots of the problem, namely poverty and unemployment.

We can do our part too. If we are one of those employing maids at home, at the very least we must treat them fairly.

When possible we can do more such as helping them improving their skills, supporting their children's education or doing other things to help them fulfill their dreams of having a better life for themselves and their families.

The writer is an Indonesian visiting senior lecturer at the Gender Studies Program, School of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Indonesians face 20-year sentence for alleged smuggling

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Indonesians face 20-year sentence for alleged smuggling?

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 11/27/2009 5:49 PM

Three Indonesians are facing 20-year prison sentences for their alleged roles in smuggling more than 50 people to Australia last month.

They also face fines of up to A$220,000 (Rp. 18 billion), news portal tempointeraktif.com reported.

One of the defendants, a 19-year old man, heard the charges during a trial session at the Perth Magistrates Court on Friday. His trial will resume Monday.

The defendants were arrested by the Australian Federal Police in October as they sailed close to Ashmore islands. (ewd)

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Ancol to perform in Thailand and Vietnam

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Ancol to perform in Thailand and Vietnam?

Nani Afrida , The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 11/24/2009 4:35 PM

Jakarta-owned developer and recreation operator PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol will expand its business to overseas markets by performing dolphin shows in three countriesâ€"Vietnam, China and Thailand, starting next year.

The company president director, Budi Karya Sumadi, said that Vietnam would be the first country to be visited, which would cost Rp 10 billion (US$ 950,000) in investment.

“We will work together with Soui Tien Park in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. So, the budget would be smaller,” Budi Karya told reporters and investors during the company public expose in Jakarta on Tuesday.

According to Budi Karya, Ancol would spend about Rp 20 billion to perform dolphin shows in those countries.

“The shows overseas are part of our plans to boost our revenue next year. We also have several other programs in the city amusement park,” he said.

Related Article:

Ancol gains more revenue on amusement parks

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RI, EU hold seminar on maritime security in Brussels

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang RI, EU hold seminar on maritime security in Brussels?

Antara News, Monday, November 23, 2009 14:34 WIB

London (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and the European Union organized a seminar themed "Measures to Enhance Maritime Security: Legal and Practical Aspects" at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Brussels on Monday.

The seminar was initiated jointly by Indonesia, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) SOM Leaders and EU President Karl-Olof Anderson of Sweden, according to Priatna, a diplomat of the Indonesian embassy in Brussels, Monday.

Priatna said the seminar was a follow up of a decision taken during the last meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) senior officials held in Phuket last July.

The Second ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Senior Official Meeting on Maritime Security will be held in New Zealand in March 2010. The results of the meeting will be put forward as recommendations to an ARF ministerial level meeting to be held in Vietnam in mid 2010.

The Brussels seminar was jointly chaired by the Indonesian foreign ministry`s Director General for Asia, Pacific and Africa (Aspasaf) Hamzah Thayeb, who was also the head of the Indonesian delegation, and Head of the European Commission Adviser on ARF SOM Tomasz Kozlowski.

Indonesian Ambassador to Belgium Nadjib Riphat Kesoema at an informal gathering with the seminar`s participants at the Indonesian embassy in Brussels, hailed the cooperation between the European Union and Indonesia within the ARF forum.

It demonstrated that bilateral relations between Indonesia and the European Union were at a very conducive level, he said.

"There are a lot of things that can be implemented jointly by Indonesia and the European Union such as cooperation in the political and security fields," he said.

The Indonesian ambassador hoped that the bilateral relatitions between Indonesia and the European Union could be intensified through activities to mutual benefit.

Related Article:

RI considering request for extended participation in maritime task force

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Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang MALU?
Saya merasa tergelitik setelah membaca dalam sebuah blog tentan budaya malu yang disampaikan oleh sebut saja "Ingkang Mbaurekso" selamat membaca bro!
Bangun tidur pagi ini(kalo jam 9 boleh disebut pagi) bikin kopi dan nyalain sebatang rokok saya buka-buka Koran hari ini. Ada berita yang agak menarik perhatian saya. Bukan soal perseteruan presiden dengan seorang tokoh reformasi yang udah jarang meneriakkan reformasi lagi itu, melainkan berita di halaman 11 di koran terbesar di Indonesia itu tentang seorang menteri di negara asalnya Doraemon dan detektif Conan yang mengakhiri hidupnya dengan gantung diri. Bukan bunuh dirinya yang menarik bagi saya, tapi sebabnya dia bunuh diri itu yang agak menggelitik rasa ketertarikan saya. Pak menteri pertanian itu bunuh diri karena dia ketauan terlibat kasus suap. Dalam hati saya bertepuk tangan dan mengacungkan dua jempol buat menteri pertanian Jepang yang biasa saya panggil Om Matsuoka itu. Bukan kagum dengan style dia mengakhiri hidupnya(biasa banget kok, cuma gantung diri), melainkan dengan sikapnya yang pilih mati daripada harus menanggung malu akibat kecurangan yang dilakukannya. Menurut saya hal itu merupakan salah satu bentuk pertanggungjawaban kelas tinggi, yang saya rasa para pelaku kecurangan2 semacam itu di Indonesia belum dapat menyamai level Om Matsuoka ini, dalam hal bertanggungjawab tentunya.
Kita ambil contoh aja para pengemplang dana BLBI yang sampe sekarang gak ketangkep-ketangkep. Alih-alih bunuh diri karena malu telah berlaku curang, mereka malah ngacir ke luar negeri, dan sangat dimungkinkan saat anda baca tulisan ini, mereka lagi asik main roullet di salah satu kasino di las vegas sono sambil ngisep cerutu dan dikelilingi cewek-cewek blonde sexy(kebanyakan nonton film Hollywood ni…).

Memang tampaknya Indonesia harus mengembangkan budaya malu mulai sekarang. Udah telat sih tapi better late than never kan? Andaikata budaya malu itu udah membudaya di Indonesia, maka saya rasa gak perlu ada macam ICW atau KPK di Indonesia. Tapi menurut saya pasti gak akan semudah merebut permen dari anak kecil(wong anak kecil sekarang pada makan French fries), kita udah dididik dan disuguhi budaya malu-maluin macam korupsi, kolusi, nepotisme (KKN) selama seluruh hidup kita. Lha coba anda bayangin, saya yang lahir tahun 1983 dimana mbah Soeharto udah menancapkan cakarnya dibumi Indonesia sebagai penguasa tunggal yang untouchable, sepanjang waktu hidup saya, saya disuguhi berbagai realita seperti memberi kemudahan bagi anggota keluarga dengan kekuasaan yang dimiliki adalah sah, memotong anggaran negara untuk kepentingan pribadi adalah boleh, dan bermacam realita-realita lain yang menyesatkan pandangan hidup saya. Secara perlahan namun pasti saya ternyata juga mulai bermental seperti itu. Baru pada 1998 kemaren era budaya malu-maluin yang diusung mbah Harto(begitu saya biasa memanggil dia) berakhir, eh maksud saya eranya si embah itu ding yang berakhir, kalau tentang budaya malu-maluin sampe sekarang juga belum berkahir.

Tapi saya sebagai orang awam berpandangan positif terhadap pemerintahan Om Bambang (panggilan akrab saya buat SBY). Gebrakan yang dibuatnya untuk menghapus segala warisan jelek era mbah Harto pantas untuk diacungi jempol. Tapi saya sarankan kita juga jangan terlalu berharap banyak Indonesia akan berubah menjadi negara yang bersih dari segala praktek-praktek budaya malu-maluin tadi, waktu 5 tahun yang dimiliki Om Bambang gak akan cukup untuk menutup dosa yang dibuat mbah Harto selama 30 tahun lebih. Paling nggak perubahan ke arah yang lebih baik sudah terlihat. Dan perubahan itu memang harus dimulai dari para pemimpin bangsa ini dulu, karena seorang pemimpin adalah contoh yang akan ditiru oleh rakyatnya, sebuah contoh yang baik akan menghasilkan sebuah tiruan yang baik pula. Saya sarankan lagi jangan bisanya cuma demo teriak-teriak menuntut perubahan ini dan itu secara instan, gak ada yang instan didunia ini selain mie. Sebagai kaum terpelajar seharusnya kita mendemo diri kita sendiri dulu untuk menjadi lebih baik, kalo semua berpikiran seperti itu patilah Indonesia ini menjadi sebuah negara yang kalo dalam pewayangan disebutkan gemah ripah loh jinawi, entah apa arti tepatnya, yang jelas kayaknya artinya baik,he3x..
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