Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Macro-Economic Policies Consolidation

Macro-Economic Policies Consolidation for National Economic Security In The Mitigating Circumstances of The Global Down-Turn

By Gadis Ranty
The World Economic Outlook published by the International Monetary Funds and East Asia & Pacific Update (topic: “East Asia: Testing Times Ahead), published by the World Bank, in April 2008 had unfolded the East Asia and the world economic preview for year 2008 and 2009. They stressed that the whole world will undergo the economic slowdown for these two years.

According to the Bappenas (National Development Planning Board) analysis publication on May 27, 2008, during 2008-2009, the world economic growth will wane from 4,9 % in 2007 to 3,7 % in 2009. The whole world will follow the US economic slowdown (due to the subprime mortgage crisis), from 2,2 % in 2007 to 0,5 % in 2008, and 0,6 % in 2009. This economic slowdown will affect either the developed countries or the East Asia developing countries.

These past few years and the last one was in 2001, the US economic slowdown generally followed even by the worst slowdown in the rest of the world. However, for 2009, the US economic slowdown purportedly would not turn the severe impact within the East Asian developing countries economies. If the US economy tumbles from 2,2 % in 2007, to 0,5 % in 2008 (descended 77 % from the past years), in the same period, the East Asia developing countries will experience slowdown for only 15,7 %. Consecutively, Indonesia economy and Korea economy will be suffered slowdown by 4,8 % and by 6,1 %. Meanwhile, Thailand economy will otherwise increase by 4,2 %.

Based on The World Bank publication, there are several reasons behind the leverage of East Asian developing countries economic securities. First, the East Asian countries underlying trend is higher 4-5 % than developed countries trend. Hence, whenever there is any economic growth fluctuation among the industrial countries (e.g. the US economic slowdown in the early of 2008), the fluctuation happened inside the East Asian region would not diverge from the trend. The trend is going to ease the economic shocks towards the region. Second, in the prior US recession in 2001, caused by the burst of growth “bubble” in “high-tech” sector, the fall of US import incited incommensurate US import from other countries. Notwithstanding, as stated in the World Bank report, the development data of 2008-2009 indicated no significant on East Asian countries import decrease, as happened in 2001. Third, unlike the 2001 crisis, and the years before, after the China and Middle-East countries had emerged as the new economic forces, the level of trade dependency on US recoiled from 34 % in 1999 to 29 % in 2006.

Learning of how strong are the East Asian developing countries withstanding the cyclus economic tremors from the developed countries, Indonesia could start to consolidate its macro-economic policies (fiscal policies, monetary policies and its payment balances). The term of consolidation was implied from the “Leader-Follower” model--suggested by Miranda S. Goeltom, as cited by Mudrajad Kuncoro (2008) . The point is, the coordination has to refer to the sequence of the policies actions. An authority has to issue the policies which are compatible with the external environmental challenges. Next, these policies shall be responded by the other policy makers. Whenever the oil price soars, the fiscal authorities need to adjust the government expenditure policies immediately, while the monetary authorities need to be the follower by setting the monetary policies which not disrupt the macro-economic stability. The monetary authorities in other case (the currency crisis), could undertake the leader position by direct intervention in the obligation and the foreign currency markets while the fiscal authorities become the follower by countenancing the safety net to diminish the serious serial effects of financial systemic risk.

Not only the policy mix on the macro level, the policies coordination on the metaeconomy level shall be conducted as well. The meta environment comprises the anticipation of the natural disruption in the sectoral and in the regional scale. Integrating the farming policies, industries and national energy to optimize the whole capabilities that we have, for warranting the food and energy security.

Indonesia needs to prioritize bridging the national economic development gap (by supporting the most impoverished areas and strengthening the partnership between the areas). The simultaneous movement of the planned economy towards the market economy (through the market liberalization for foreign direct investments)--oriented to boost the export flows; and focused in the education and health management development and real economy rescues for the poverty reduction. In addition, the saving culture could be a recourse for capital and education accumulation for the youth generation. As we can see from China, the saving is a domestic investment prerequirement that become the crucial factor for the economic growth.

The Soap Opera Discourse

The Sinetron a.k.a. Indonesian Soap Opera Discourse

by: Gadis Ranty

The sinetrons screened on television have already been far from educative element. At least that's what I saw from the soap opera ala Indonesia that circulates around prime time, from 6pm to 10pm to be exact. Hatred, jealousy, profanity, mockery, become the sentimentality elements, comodificated in form of entertainment. Women's image are discredited, becoming the evil who love violence and profanity.

Indonesian society apparently likes such drama. Not only making the audience to sympathize with the victimized women, but the audience are also most likely would scream cursing the demoralized women who intimidate other women. What is this?! Some sort of a match between women, which is then packed in form of sinetron, then presented in front of stupid audience?!

Such sinetron programs, bizarrely, are approved by Film Censor Institution (as seen in the opening of the sinetrons). What standard has they used in measuring the decency of a sinetron to be screened in national-scale TV stations such as RCTI and SCTV (two TV stations that sell sinetrons)? I also honestly don\'t understand whether such sinetrons are still monitored or not by Indonesian Broadcasting Commission or KPI.

Where's the heart of TV programmers in selecting such sinetrons? We surely don't want the society to keep fed with such boring substance. This equals hidden trickery.

If Louis Althusser claimed TV as an Ideological State Apparatus with false consciousness in commercial terms, I will go beyond that to think about the impacts of trickery, dementia or madness, to psychological disorder. A bit paranoid? Yes. I care with the young generation who is continuously exposed to programs with unclear content such as stripping sinetrons that only sell sensationalism of life conflict, tears and meanness beyond the limit of normality. For example, in an episode of “Alisa”, there's a scene where Alisa Subandono was forced to clean her boss' teeth using toothpick. The scene (though it didn't shoot the boss' teeth), clearly doesn't portray decency in information ethics.

How difficult it is for the entertainment workers to look for money, until they continuously have to stay angry during the sinetron shoots. I think, a good artist at least should be wise in selecting smart scenarios also to care more on the impacts caused by tasteless sinetrons, which are usually very profitable (for the artist).

Why do production houses in Indonesia also continuously produce such tasteless sinetrons? Is the young's creativity in this country has sunken down? Or do they see that such sinetrons are the ones preferred by mothers, teenage girls and other women from certain groups?

Women are women, why women are the only ones seen?! Production houses have acted politically incorrect or only move through stereotypical mind frame, by thinking shallowly that only women watch sinetrons and women are the only target for such sinetrones because only women have sensitive feelings, which will be crushed when they watch the tacky sinetrons.

What do production houses see from the existence of the audience? Is the audience considered as a passive group who will gawk and absorb every program given? Or, media practitioners, particularly these production houses see the audience as an active and smart group that select the desired program themselves?

Audience has choices. Audience needs to say ENOUGH to these sadistic, boring sinetrons. Never be proud seeing sinetrons that display your own country's polemics. I think, an information program is a representation of a nation's reality of life. Such argumentation was born without detaching itself from the essence of hyper-reality presented by a media.

Indirect socialization that occurs in a long span of time, I believe, can cultivate certain behavior to children and young generation. If sinetron's content is still stuck in the trends of wrath and other heartaches, it is highly possible that Indonesians will change into a temper, emotional, irritable, unfriendly society.

We have a need to boycott Indonesian sinetrons. We have to show that we care for the nation's character building. If a hundred even a thousand people don't watch TV, I think it will influence AC Nielsen's rating significantly. Further impact, the sinetrons might be plugged off, because they're no longer considered preferable.

Indonesians' diversity should be anticipated by media institutions in Indonesia. I think, the broadcasting system in Indonesia still needs to transform again. The large amount of centralized national TV station (with the emergence of local TV stations), can no longer be relied on in disseminating information variations with quality. The morality of market's taste, is still held tightly by our TV industry. No wonder the national TV stations can determine what program will they choose as they like. Their standard is rating, for bigger ad cakes.

If that's the case, I think many things need to be improved for a friendlier Indonesia, aside form its media program side. There's a broadcasting system that also supports each other with the national education system, for more educative programs. I gave this statement without wanting to deny Indonesia's broadcasting industry condition that highly needs capital. I think smart programs can also attract the market—if only media practitioners are more aware on their smart audience. Creativity is surely the answer—where there's a willingness, there should be a way, moreover for a good intention.

Aside from that, the creation of a better broadcasting system by facilitating local and community broadcasting should be facilitated. So the unique local content from a certain area can raise to the surface and is not always marginalized. It's even better if, for instance, our broadcasting system can facilitate local entertainment exchange from one area to another, so we know more cultural diversity of each area in Indonesia.

Boycotting sinetron and rearrangement of broadcasting system are the only things needed to banish the inhumane sinetrons. The birth of new rating institutions aside from AC Nielsen, can reduce its monopoly in delivering 'magic' ratings for our national TV sinetron programs—if only the institution's auditing is more transparent to the public.

Rejection against sinetrons that degrade intellectuality and humanity, along with reorganization of broadcasting system and rating institution, contribute to the birth of friendly Indonesia, that respects its national culture. We need refreshing enterteinment, not a mere schadenfreude entertainment—or entertainment that comes from other people's suffering!

*Gadis Ranty is currently a diplomat in training in Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She still actively writes articles for Indonesian Student Association for International Studies.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Asian Regionalism: New Poising Architecture for Global Financial and Economic Cooperation

*Noodle bowl architecture for global economic and financial cooperations*

On September 10th 2008, Asian Development Bank (ADB) in conjunction with Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), launched an open forum announcing the coming ADB meeting in Bali on 2-5 May 2009. As for the ADB regionalism report, this forum acted as a warm-up event to address the emerging ASIAN regionalism.

Mari Elka Pangestu-minister of Trade, Republic of Indonesia stated that the 1997 financial crisis had taught an importance of regionalism in at least economic cooperation. Focused on Asian Economic Regionalism from the outset, the process propelled by strengthening Asia's short term financing facility which mentioned in Chiang Mai initiative, and next it will be elaborated in the ASEAN economic integration (based on ASEAN blueprint and ASEAN charter). As the growing needs, ASEAN requires real integration with China, Japan and Korea, under ASEAN + 3 PLUS the following India, which working more solid than that of EAS (East Asia Summit). The single market integration roughly estimated to produce outputs as much as to 50 percent greater than the total outputs of European and North American countries. Even the regionalism has some greatest virtues compared to European Union. For instance, free to join for any economy (not need to be an officially recognized state e.g. Taiwan), no specific economic standards to uphold as a member, and open for countries, subregions and prefectures to be partially integrated and entering at its own pace.

Regionalism can be the stabilizing factor when crisis occurs. The regionalism intended to be an open regionalism (not necessarily mean keeping business opportunities in Asia for Asian only) in which ASEAN becomes a hub for regional cooperation. ASEAN in particular oriented outwardly to all over Asia. This regionalism designed to instigate the maximum participation for all countries and use the liberalization as merely tools for countries development. By strong leaderships and innovation or technological competitiveness improvements, this design directed to share wealths amongst the regional components.

The world financial crisis had piled-up the significance of Asian Regionalism which not only market led but orderly managed by governments. As T.J. Pempel from University of California-Berkeley said that markets not always leading in direction desired or as fast as desired, because many of the goals of regionalism lie beyond economics itself (e.g. environment, drug controls, health, and anti-pandemic help). The markets yet remain open, and at the same time Asia increasing its relative influence globally through IMF, World Bank and WTO--though Asian economies is oftenly under-represented in these institutions. Asia must collectively and provide a "common front" through institutional format and aligned with that, strengthen regional stock markets and other financial links. Weaving the outlying states (not just the lower classes) such as Laos, Cambodia, DPRK, Myanmar--into Asian miracle is a matter of importance as well, since the economic gap should be overcome beforehand.

Asian Regionalism is predicted to be the outward model for single integrated market by 2020 with the ADB as the trusted partner in Asian integration. Asian Regionalism allowing each Asian countries expenditure reach minimum three percent of the point targeted by ADB (for further targets, see the ADB 2008 report on www.adb.org). The economic-based market integration would be expedited by the bank and attaining the robust economic growth for the countries involved. This indeed would snap the global economic and financial architecture centralized in global dollar standard.

Global dollar standard has been proven wrong by Gao Haihong from Institute of World Economics and Politics Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as the US' "benign neglect" policy has uneven effects for the US and the rest of the world. The other havoc potentials come from the negative wealth effect of shrinking dollar on dollar assets holders (e.g. China, Japan, Korea, China-Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillipines, Singapore and Thailand). So briefly speaking, fragility arises from over-reliance on the trust in the US' ability of managing the dollar.

Asian countries should reconsider the global dollar standard and their positions as creditors to the rest of the world. To hinder the global crisis impacts, asian regionalism as an Asian economic community for cooperation is inclined to be the solution. In terms of the new architecture would create a substitute for the US dollar and invigorate a deep and sophisticated regional institusional integration (to supplement the existence of global organizations) and regional financial markets.

The Asian regionalism is apt to switch the APEC moribund since Bush insistence on securitization of economics. It's still a great boon to Asia that Bush was unilateral and US still #2 or 3 trade partner for most Asian exporting countries. Inevitably, to be the global leader through the new architecture, Asia still link to US and Europe as well as internally . Nonetheless, it does not mean Asian regionalism would necessarily use the US' economic standard.

The new archiecture involving great works of each countries in intra-region and extra-region, and fetching functional spill-over effects to the regions (successful results in one area requires cooperation in others and expansion of regional cooperation arena towards multi-track cooperations, including new issues cooperations--climate change, social security issues etc). Regional connectivity should be enhanced and while maintaining the open investment regions in the regions, the architecture should support the global trading system as well.

The open question: would the Asian Regionalism wrench the live of local farmers and home industries?

The challenge: How can the Asian countries move together to meet the economic challenge?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thesis Abstract..the Final Results of A Perseverance..

Finally..the curtain has fallen down..the show is over..and i'm asking earnestly for an ovation..haha..silly me, i guess. Yet, inspite of taking long hours blabbing on my thesis gory process..anyway..i'd like to show here my abstract..the final one, which involved Radit--a friend of mine as the proofreader..yet actually, this final abstract wasn't originally his writing..i had modified it..quite the last minute before i submitted my thesis..
hope this would be a learning thing for all of us..


In the construction of women and feminist counter-public sphere, the media series organized by a specific identity-based women community (feminist) for social actions campaign on Violence Against Women, became the very crucial parts. Futher, this research aimed at revealing the dynamics inside the construction of counter-public sphere process which could be seen from the response of the media series towards the patriarchal hegemony and mainstream media domination. The response of which, could bring about the construction of women identity representation within the gender-equality values (the new women identity) amidst the society at large.
To scrutinize the counter-public sphere construction process, this research focused on the counter-public sphere theory. In fact, this theory supported by other theories such Gramsci’s hegemony and counter-hegemony theory, and Archer’s structural dualism. In regard to the emphasis on the construction of women and feminist counter-public sphere by the series of gender-political movement community medias, this research was equipped by the theory of identity, feminism, the politics of identity and movement, the theory of feminist media and professional identity on alternative media. To be rigorous, this research adopted two different interconnected perspectives, which were the radical feminism and the critical constructionism. Both perspectives allowed this research to divulge the social powers that thrusted the gender political movement in Indonesia. The movement of which struggled towards patriarchal hegemony that performed the Violence Against Women, and towards the domination of mainstream media in the public sphere.
As the consequence of both perspectives, this illustrative case study utilized the theoretical framework as a normative guidance for the study of the construction of women and feminist counter-public sphere in gender-political movement on Violence Against Women in Indonesia. Each sub issues of a main issues, were thoroughly researched using the qualitative approach. In regard to the single-case design embedded as the research strategy, each social actions of Violence Against Women issues comprises the violence against women in conflict areas, public and political domain, and domestic; polygamy; pornography; trafficking—were singled out as the research subjects.
Violence Against Women, was a major issue that became the main concern of gender-political movement network with Women’s Journal Foundation as an active organization in its many women movement. Its media programs series, routinely pointed at bearing out the gender-political movement since 1996.
To learn about the social powers gap which caused the construction of counter-public sphere, this research purposively involved six informants from Women’s Journal Foundation, who were active in women and feminist gender-political movement in social actions of each sub issues on Violence Against Women. Meanwhile, four practitioner informants from mainstream medias, were also purposively involved, to express parts of discourses on Violence Against Women social action sub issues--which are covered up by the mainstream medias. Next, these latter discourses dominated the public sphere in Indonesia and strengthen the hegemony of patriarchal culture.
Within the intense years of gender political movement on each Violence Against Women sub issues (2004-2007), media became gimmicks for narrating the voice of women as the rejecting subjects towards Violence Against Women. The movement medias (not only routine media program series, Women’s Journal Foundation also published the media program series for gender-political movement coalition and alliance—such as newsletters, postcards, online movement sites etc), disseminated every dynamics of gender-political movement, including its public campaigns and represented new women identity through its discourses. Generally, the movement medias in conjunction with the public campaigns, could construct the counter-public sphere.
The gender-political movement network, was one element of counter-public inside the multiplicities of public in Indonesian society. The existence of counter-public sphere which in turn reconfigurated the structure of public sphere in Indonesia, were generated by the gender-political movement. Nowadays, the public sphere is filled by the overlapping multiplicities of counter-public sphere.
The women and feminist movement counter-public, had undergone the counter-processes. The counter-processes could be examined from the distinctive nature of discourses culture (expressed in the movement medias and the public campaigns), which took a side in feminine values within women and feminist movement. The counter-processes attempted to elaborate the structural and cultural order, in order to reconstruct the representation of new women identity in Indonesia.
Gender-politics in Violence Against Women issue, still could be imparted through the movement media series which applied the mass media logic. By persuasion strategy, these media series endeavoured to reach the public multiplicities in the society. The foreign donors behind the gender-political movement, indicated the foreign penetration in gender-political agendas for the construction of movement counter-public sphere. Next research is expected to examine the existence of other couter-public spheres with their own politics of identity.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trafficking: Impending Cases Surround Prostitution

Since i am the freelance journalist..and writing about shits happen around this country..including about Womenness and international concerns on trafficking. We'll see..and hereby..my delayed article on trafficking..take a smart look..

« Dari Kramat Tunggak Mengikis Trafiking
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Emmy Lucy Smith: It Takes Synergy to Fight Trafficking
The synergy between NGOs, the Police, and the Government to empower trafficking survivors is urgent to follow up the adoption of the Anti Human Trafficking Law (PTPPO). This statement from the Coordinator of the Indonesia against Child Trafficking (Indo ACTS) is confirmed by the participants to the “Cross Sector Synergy for the Eradication of Child Trafficking in Jakarta Area” workshop at the Mayor’s Office of North Jakarta, Thursday (1/1).
Indo ACTS is a network of 16 NGOs in 12 areas throughout 10 provinces. For Asian network, Indo ACTS is part of the Asia ACT for Southeast Asia level comprising seven countries, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia and part of the larger international networks of Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Southeast Europe.
With such a vast network, Indonesia needs to hold cross sector and cross border cooperation on bilateral as well as multilateral bases to combat human trafficking. “Multi sector cooperation is absolutely necessary,” says Emmy.
Emmy adds that female children survivors have been subject to commercial sexual, prostitution, pornographic, and labor exploitations. They come from Sumatra (Lampung, Lahat, and Palembang), West Java, Central Java, East Java, and East Kalimantan destined to domestic and overseas markets.
One thing that we must also consider is that child trafficking is different from human trafficking. Adult trafficking must meet the three criteria called the process (recruitment, transportation, handover, and sheltering), the mean (persuasions, threats, or kidnappings), and purpose (exploited as beggars, exploited sexually, exploited as domestic helpers and human tissue trafficking, and so on). On the other hand, child trafficking does not need meet those criteria. Even when only two of those elements have been met, children can be considered trafficked.
In the meeting supported by Terre Des Hommes Netherlands and European Union participated by local and international non government organizations – among whom are Yayasan Putri Mandiri, Plan International, and IOM, and social elements such as the North Jakarta Sector Police, the Mental and Social Welfare Development, district employees, school education office, and North Jakarta AIDS Prevention Commission – it is clear that several non government organizations are very serious in supporting child and woman trafficking survivors. These supports are intended that commercial sex worker and street children survivors can be more creative to explore the personal skills and switch to better and meaningful professions, such as, factory workers or even creators of new employments. These supports will be backed up with religious and school educations they can enjoy during breaks.
Nur Azizah, an ex commercial sex worker now an active member of Yayasan Perempuan dan Anak, has a strong desire to help her colleagues quit their professions as commercial sex workers. “What I direly expect is the cooperation from the Manpower Office. While the issue is on trafficking, I am expecting a letter from the Manpower Office. It is how to help these children survivors, those working as commercial sex workers, switch professions. It is my dream to do that,” says she at the end of her sharing experiences.* (Gadis Ranty)

*Gadis Ranty is working as freelance journalist at Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan

Monday, October 1, 2007

Man condemned to be free..

Suddenly my mind struck by a piece an old song lyric..well it does represent my thoughts and feelings towards this chaotic living..enjoy..

Imagine by John Lennon

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Embers in a tarnish governance..

Somethings have sprung to my mind when i recalled the serial public discussions with Jurnal Perempuan counterparts—lots of Non Governmental Organizations, for instance law aid institution—or in Indonesia, we call it Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH) Jakarta, LBH Apik, a Coalition of Indonesian Women etc. I don’t deem them as scumbags for the government mechanisms yet i envisage them as embers in a tardy-governanced country, our beloved archipelagic Indonesia.

They audaciously speak about the festering wounds amid the Jakarta or generally—Indonesia societies. They whip on the government for the fair law enforcement for the rabbles. As for, living in Jakarta is so much uneasy for the poors and the disabled people. They’re classified as marginalized groups, often detracted from social facilities, disenfranchised and racked by the mainstream society, or to say the least, by the Satpol PP—Satuan Polisi Pamong Praja—sort of an official police division.

The NGO thereafter lean against the unfair justice hailed by the central government. Thankfully, they’re hefty granted by many funders—e.g. United Nations, Ford Foundations, etc. They stand for their fellow what-so-called a trifling part of society. All the NGOs huddle to repel the supercillious rules and incur many risks.

Well, i have a hunch,..while our society engulfed by the capitalist—yeaah let say..we’re hooked on branded high-tech gizmos, we’re busy of embellishing ourselves by high-brow apparel brands, our under-privileged family still dwells under the bridges, at the river sides, even under the firmament.

I deeply concern about the trend of jeering society towards them. Should the NGOs keep pestering our government and society to show an endearment for them??! I’m not trying to give some caveats of the ever-existence innate and tenacious society gap. We shall attune to the multifacet of society. Give them space to practice their own politics.

Frankly speaking, i do not assault them who keep on basking and self-preening. It’s your damn right to enjoy your stardom living in such an opulence, to have such wanderlusts. What i’m trying to do is bursting out an awareness of our crooked picture of society.

These things need not to be fixed out. The poverty is such a structural gander of society. The government entrepreneurial bent must refurbish the vendors especially for the street vendors, by funding them and allocating more budget for their development. Or else, by empowering the nascent vendors—in the small town or in the city.

To put in another side, in spite of ramming the capitalist blow, i shall think about how to deal with them. I’m not accusing the NGOs are near-sighted in favoring the capitalists. Well, i’m fetching something beyond the mere-niggardly capitalists. We need to be tactful, such as gripping progression of ideas on corporate social responsibility and community development. My advice for the NGOs...don’t put yourself in an enmity to the capitalists...please concoct a negotiated-mode of your contention..for the sake of our enduring idealist projects.