Jakarta to Jogja By Train: Booking Tickets, Key Indonesian Phrases

Indonesia With A Toddler

Image courtesy wiki commons Javanese countryside

Before my daughter was born, I regularly travelled between Jakarta and Jogjakarta by train as I found it was a peaceful opportunity to get some work done (there are power points by most seats). It was also a wonderful opportunity to see Java’s beautiful countryside.

But without Bahasa Indonesia skills, navigating the trip can be a little tricky. So I’ve put together a basic guide in the form of this blog post.

There are two main stations for trips Jakarta to Yogyakarta. The station you choose will depend on the ticket class you purchase.

Business class and economy class trains depart from Pasar Senen station, and Executive (the more expensive, but only slightly more comfortable so it’s not really worth the price difference) trains depart from Gambir Station. Take the Executive service however if you take the night train (don’t forget, you’ll arrive around 3am, which is ok…

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Jokowi Talks About Indonesia’s Creative Industries with Arkana

By LINDA SILAEN in the Wall Street Journal Blog


JAKARTA–Matt Hart, the guitarist for popular British dance band Arkarna, congratulated President-elect Joko Widodo and talked with him about the music industry during a visit to Jakarta.

President-elect Joko Widodo posts for the media with Arkarna guitarist Matt Hart. The British rocker was in town to personally congratulate Mr. Widodo on being declared the winner of Indonesia’s July 9 election.
Linda Silaen/The Wall Street Journal

In a meeting at City Hall Mr. Widodo said the two mainly discussed Indonesia’s creative industries, particularly music. To boost the country’s creative industry, Mr. Hart, who wore a full black suit, suggested that Mr. Widodo strengthen law enforcement, set the basic infrastructure and give incentives to people who plan to invest in those areas.

Mr. Widodo, who has resumed his duties as governor until inauguration in October, said he knows several songs of Arkarna’s songs, including “Eat Me” and “Block Capital.”

A number of international musicians – including Sting and Jason Mraz –  sent Mr. Widodo messages of support during the campaign. Guns N’ Roses’ guitarist Bumblefoot and a popular metal magazine sent words of congratulations to Mr. Widodo, a well-known metal head, after Indonesia’s elections commission declared him the winner of the July 9 election.

Since then, a number of Mr. Widodo’s supporters have clamored to be seen with him. His volunteer team has also set up a post in Central Jakarta to handle applications coming in for Cabinet positions.

Arkarna performed in Jakarta in late May and Mr. Widodo, also known as Jokowi, appeared on stage and sang during the show.


“I said to Ollie, please sing a Betawi song,” Mr. Widodo says in the video, referring to an ethnic group native to Jakarta. “But he said he would agree on the request that I sing with him… that was a hard request. Then I contemplated for two days and decided alright. But I have to [warn] you again, my voice is not good.”

Wearing a leather jacket over a black t-shirt, Mr. Widodo battled through microphone problems to croon the song called “Nonton Bioskop” alongside Arkarna lead singer Ollie Jacobs and two other Indonesian musicians, Dyandra and Bondan.

Mr. Hart spoke with reporters about his latest visit with Mr. Widodo. Edited excerpts.

WSJ: What do you think about Jokowi?
Mr. Hart: It’s no surprise that officially we’ve been supposing his campaign. For me it is important to come in person [to congratulate him]. When you see how humble he is, how well he listens to the people … I think will bring a strong future for Indonesia.

WSJ: What change do you think he’ll bring for Indonesia?
Mr. Hart: I think the change will be extremely positive, and I think it’s now the time that people look to the changes

WSJ: Do you have plans to sing together with Jokowi?
Mr. Hart: I will be delighted to teach him.

WSJ: What kind of songs?
Mr. Hart: When I teach people, I like to teach them pop songs.

Some 187 million Indonesian’s Will Vote for Their Next President Today

Amazing atmosphere over here in Indonesia today, as the country prepares to vote in their next President

Kate Grealy

Street art promoting a "clean election free of money politics" Street art in Indonesia promoting a “clean election free of money politics”

It’s 7:30am in Jakarta and I can hear the local mosque over loud speaker encouraging people to go out and vote today with their hearts, and praying that it all goes smoothly at peacefully. The atmosphere is calm, yet electric and anticipatory. It certainly isn’t an ordinary day, that’s for sure.

Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy, with 187 million voters including 67 million first-time voters, will vote today for their next President.

This really is an occasion to celebrate the consolidation of democracy in the world’s fourth-largest nation, and  the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world.Indonesia is still a young democracy.

The country is holding its fourth presidential contest, sixteen years after the fall of the Suharto Miltary regime.75% of the Indonesian police force are on standby across the city of Jakarta just in case it isn’t. The military…

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Cultural Conservation Through Enterprise

I was on an Air Asia flight a couple of days ago and read about a great initiative aimed at reviving traditional trades and professions through community-led conservation efforts in their in-flight magazine. The project in the article highlighted a collaborative initiative between expert designers from the UK, and traditional Jogja silversmiths called ‘Conservation Through Enterprise’. 


Slider HS 4
More Than Craftsmen
In April, the AirAsia Foundation collaborated with the British Council to organise a design innovation workshop with experts from the UK for 22 traditional silversmiths in Kotagede, Yogyakarta.
During the five-day workshop, the silversmiths were introduced to the latest design processes by Simon Fraser and Elizabeth Wright from Ultra-Indigo, a London-based design consultancy.
They were guided by Fraser and Wright in design techniques to help the transition from craftsmen to designers. This workshop is part of the Air Asia Foundation’s ‘Conservation Through Enterprise’ initiative with the Indonesian Community Architects’ Collective (Arkom Jogja) to encourage community-led conservation efforts by reviving traditional trades and professions.
The link to this article can be found here in Air Asia’s online version of its’ in-flight magazine. The above image is from http://www.hssilver.com



What Can Social Entrepreneurs Do for the Future of Indonesia?

By Nancy Margried on 08:45 pm Jun 10, 2014 in the Jakarta Globe
Category CommentaryOpinion

(JG Graphics/Josep Tri Ronggo Laksono)

With the upcoming election the question of who we prefer to lead the country has become one of the most discussed topics in Indonesia. But putting aside political debate that we are being exposed to these days, it will be a lot more enlightening to evaluate another type of leader that may profoundly change Indonesia in the future.

These leaders come from the business world, and are known as entrepreneurs. Many people disregard the fact that entrepreneurship comes in many packages; sure there are some conventional ones who focus almost solely on making as much money as possible. But we often overlook the other kind of entrepreneurs, those whose desire is not to acquire more wealth for themselves but mainly to empower others through their business ventures. They offer long-term solutions by embracing others in their social business and offer much more than just temporary aid. These entrepreneurs, who utilize entrepreneurial principles for the benefit of society, are called ‘social entrepreneurs.’

In a developing country such as Indonesia, the existence of social entrepreneurs is crucial and their number has expanded in the last 10 years. Indonesia needs leaders who can not only help people but also teach them how to independently achieve a better economic and social standing. Leaders with these qualities will not only help the country in terms of economic growth, but they will also promote equality, social engagement and public participation.

It can even be argued that the activities of social entrepreneurs will decrease the potential of social turmoil, which is often caused by a widening gap between a country’s haves and have nots.

One of the main factors that make social entrepreneur a great leader is his or her ability to inspire action that leads to positive change. Simon Sinek, who wrote the influential book “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” explained that there always is strong reasoning — or a strong ‘why?’ — behind a great leader’s actions.

These leaders are deeply invested in their ideas and often prefer to change the direction of their field. Social entrepreneurs are the people who best fit these criteria; they are individuals who collectively desire to tackle major social issues and offer new ideas for wide-scale change through their business.

The pursuit of excellence in their business is not dedicated only to achieve individual success, but most importantly they are trying to make improve the quality of living for people in need.

Strong reasoning is the vital root that will help these social entrepreneurs survive in spite of the criticism and rejections coming from the general public and sometimes even those communities they are trying to help. Yet, if they manage to overcome these obstacles, they will be able to instigate radical change and inspire the community to take action according to their vision.

To survive and prosper, Indonesia needs more than the leadership coming from the big cities or the central government alone. This is simply not enough. Each and every rural area in Indonesia needs the presence of a leader.

Those who are neglected for whatever reason, like a lack of education, urgently need people who can awaken their fighting spirit. Time and time again we witness people forfeit in the game of life because of their personal economic turmoil. But social entrepreneurs are the leaders who may help these people cope.

For these reasons, it is very important for us to recognize the future social entrepreneurs in our midst as early as possible. Many big companies who are concerned about leadership organize events and competitions to select those among the younger generations whose eyes are set on the target to incorporate business models that are both socially responsible and economically viable.

Some companies hold annual competitions to honor university students for their creative and innovative social entrepreneurship ideas.

At the same time, universities in Indonesia have also introduced social entrepreneurship in their programs and see it as one significant aspect of economic development.

Thomas L. Friedman, the author of the famous book “The World Is Flat,” has stated that one of the newest figures to emerge on the world stage in recent years is the social entrepreneur:

“This is usually someone who burns with desire to make a positive social impact on the world, but believes that the best way of doing it is, as the saying goes, not by giving poor people a fish and feeding them for a day, but by teaching them to fish, in hopes of feeding them for a lifetime.”

Ultimately, whether it is in the realm of politics or economics, Indonesia needs such great leaders, those whose solutions are sustainable and long-lasting.

It may sound overtly ambitious to hope that we can achieve economic equality in a country with more than 250 million citizens any time soon. However, the existence of great leaders that can inspire people to create and make use of equal opportunities may be just one of the solutions for this crucial challenge.

Nancy Margried is an entrepreneur.


The Importance of Indonesia’s Art Patrons

When we consider the position of Indonesian art today and it’s rise in the context of Asian and Global Art, we cannot underestimate the role of its’ dedicated and passionate patrons

Kate Grealy

This is an article by Djuli Djatiprambudi about the import role of Indonesia’s generous art patrons which I translated from Indonesian to English. The original article in Indonesian is at the bottom of this post

Indonesian Art Minus It’s Patrons

Dr. Oei in an interview with leading Collectors of Asian Art, sitting in front of a magnificent painting by Hendra Gunawan, one of the leading modern artists of Indonesia. Image copyright © 2012 Patricia Chen. All rights reserved.

With the death of former President Sukarno in 1970, the Indonesian art world fell into a period of mourning. This grief was not only caused by the fact that Sukarno was a collector of art, but because he was a great patron and supporter of the Indonesian arts.

As a patron and supporter of Indonesian art throughout his life, Sukarno played an instrumental role in nurturing the development of Indonesian art as well as…

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Jakarta’s Betawi Batik Tradition



Iconic Ondel-Ondel of Jakarta’s Betawi People – image from twicsy.com

Two women are drawing ondel-ondel (traditional Betawi giant effigies) with hot wax on pieces of brown cloth on the terrace of a house in Terogong, South Jakarta, while two others are busy preparing batik for display.

Aap Hafizoh, one of the women who works at the Terogong Betawi batik workshop, told The Jakarta Post that batik with motifs reminiscent of Jakarta, such as ondel-ondel and the National Monument (Monas), attracted buyers, particularly tourists visiting the capital city.

“As demand is increasing, we are producing more batik with Jakarta-related designs,” she said.

She said that Betawi batik had its own traditional motifs, like buketan (flowers), but demand for such designs was low.

Siti Laela, a 50-year-old Betawi native who owns the workshop, said the prospects for a Betawi batik business were promising, even though its development had been reinvigorated only within the last few years.

“Although my revenue is still unstable, it has been increasing since I opened the workshop in September 2012,” she said.

Siti explained that the workshop’s monthly sales, for example, had increased to between Rp 15 million (US$1,320) and Rp 25 million this year, up from between Rp 6 million and Rp 10 million in 2013.

However, despite the promising outlook, Betawi batik producers needed to work hard to popularize their products because their competitors from other regions, many of whom have produced batik for far longer, were also promoting their own products, she said.

Batik is becoming more popular in Indonesia and a number of regions in the country are revitalizing their batik production since the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added Indonesian batik to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in August 2009.

Laela said Betawi batik was still struggling to gain the same popularity as batik from other regions, such as Pekalongan and Surakarta in Central Java, and Yogyakarta.

She said her business had become more popular, thanks to media coverage.

“It would be hard for me to promote the business on my own as my finances are limited,” she said.

Nur Yaum, the owner of the Gandaria Betawi batik workshop, also in Terogong, said that her business was growing more popular as several government institutions bought batik uniforms for their employees.

She said the workshop’s income ranged between Rp 5 million and Rp 10 million per month.

“Besides the lower popularity, the Betawi batik industry is also facing a challenge in recruiting human resources,” Laela said.

She added that she had tried to encourage unemployed women living near her workshop to work for her, but they were not interested.

Laela’s workshop only employs eight women, meaning they have to work overtime when several orders come in at once.

Shanda Chandradini, deputy chairman of the Betawi Batik Family (KBB), a community of Betawi batik makers in Jakarta, said half of the group’s 12 members had difficulties in obtaining production equipment, such as canting (a pen-like tool for imprinting designs with hot wax), dyes and wax pans.

“Because of the lack of equipment, some of our members have to dye the cloth and cleanse wax at the KBB’s workshop in Marunda, North Jakarta,” she said.

Shanda said another challenge in developing Betawi batik businesses in Jakarta was the environmental impact.

“KBB members based in Betawi batik workshops have expressed their concerns about the management of the waste produced,” she added.

Shanda said that to help overcome some of the challenges, the Jakarta administration planned to establish a workshop in cluster C at the Marunda low-cost apartment complex in North Jakarta to support the Betawi batik industry.

Meanwhile, Laela proposed that the administration should establish an exhibition space in the heart of the city to promote Betawi batik.

Note from Tresno Artisanry – The Betawi (Orang Betawi, or “people of Batavia”; also called “Betokaw” in Betawi slang) are the descendants of the people living around Batavia (the colonial name for Jakarta) from around the 17th century.[1] The Betawis are mostly descended from Southeast Asian ethnic groups such as MalaySundaneseJavaneseBalineseMinangBugis, Makassar, Ambonese, mixed with foreign ethnic groups such as MardijkerPortugueseDutchArabChinese andIndian brought to or attracted to Batavia to meet labour needs, including people from Indonesia. They have a culture and language distinct from the surrounding Sundanese and Javanese. The Betawis are known for their music, traditions and food as well as being overtly Islamic, egalitarian, short tempered, direct and open to others.



Ethics in Fashion Hitting the Mainstream in Australia

A repost of ‘Desert Designs – Don’t Be Afraid’ in The West Australian by PIP CHRISTMASS April 7, 2014, 4:33 pm

Desert Designs’ spring-summer 2014 collection is called Together, Towards the Water and it’s inspired by the works of the late indigenous artist Jimmy Pike.

The brand’s creative directors, Jedda-Daisy Culley and Caroline Sundt-Wels, have quickly become known for their respectful use of indigenous art in their print work.

The print and colour is really what Desert Designs is all about – there is nothing radically new in the shapes and the silhouettes, which are relaxed and casual – but what a vibrant conception of colour and print they celebrate in their work.

Out came the dresses, relaxed-fit pants, long vests, sarongs and swimwear in a rainbow of hues. Graphic and earthy, these are  prints for men and women unafraid of standing out.

I like this brand very much; it feels authentic and as if it is coming from a place of respect for indigenous art and culture.

I like the diversity of models on the runway too, a comparative rarity at Australian fashion parades. We are so used to seeing one look on the catwalk – usually pale, thin and angular – that it is a refreshing change to see anyone that veers from that description.

I also like that they have a political message to bear. Ruby Rose sat front row wearing imploring us to accept and welcome refugees.

At the end of the show, the creative team all stepped out wearing the same T-shirt. Fashion with a social conscience? In the case of Desert Designs, yes.