Friday, October 28, 1994

Indonesian journalists say they are harassed

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian journalists under government pressure for forming an independent association said on Friday they had complained to the national human-rights commission, accusing their employers of harassment.

The Alliance of Indonesian Journalists (AJI) told the official commission during a meeting on Thursday that members and sympathisers faced intimidation from their editors, themselves under pressure after a media crackdown in June.

"We are telling the Human Rights Komnas HAM (commission) that journalists grouped in AJI along with its symphathisers are being repressed," AJI member Satrio Arismunandar said after meeting commission Secretary-General Baharuddin Lopa.

AJI was set up in August to challenge the official Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) seven weeks after the government banned three leading weeklies, Tempo, Detik and Editor, for their critical coverage of sensitive political issues.

The journalists said PWI had told editors to dismiss members of the alliance. They also alleged that two reporters from the Jakarta Post daily had been banned from covering next month's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting.

Media sources said the Department of Information had long required reporters covering major events to be members of PWI.

AJI, recognised by the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists, said one of its members, Jakarta Post reporter Andreas Harsono, had been dismissed on Tuesday after being accused of partisan reporting. He has denied this.

"Terror tactics against AJI members have started to occur via pressure from chief editors at various publications. And the Jakarta Post has triggered this action," AJI said in a statement.

AJI called on newspaper editors not to imitate the Jakarta Post's treatment against the organisation's more than 80 members.

Jakarta Post dismisses AJI member

Andreas Harsono, a journalist working for The Jakarta Post, was dismissed from the paper this month. The following is a slightly abridged translation of his Open Letter circulated on 26 October 1994.

I have been asked by many people about my dismissal from The Jakarta Post. Within a couple of hours of being told that I had lost my job, more than twenty friends had asked me what happened. The queries came not only from members of the Alliance of Independent Journalists but also from Tessa Piper in London.

I am grateful for all this sympathy.

I was officially notified of my dismissal by the editor-in-chief of The Jakarta Post, Susanto Pudjomartono, who called me to his office to tell me that the management had decided not to prolong my work contract (my period of probation) which expires at the end of October because I was considered to be unsuitable for the job.

He said that my skills as a journalist were not in doubt; they were beyond what The Jakarta Post required. He said he was satisfied with the features I had written, though not with my handling of 'straight news' which tends to be 'unbalanced'.

The General Manager Raymond Toruan had said earlier that I had a tendency to be one-sided, against the government and called me 'partisan'.

This was why I would not be taken on as a member of the permanent staff, unlike the other nine who joined the staff with me, all of whom were given new work contracts in May, August or September.

Susanto stressed that this decision was not take under any pressure from outside - from the government or from Fikri Jufri, a director of PT Bina Media Tenggara which prints The Jakarta Post, who phoned to say that he wanted me to be taken on permanently.

"Mas Santo" also said the dismissal had nothing to do with AJI, though he acknowledged that people outside would make the connection.

Speaking personally, Mas Santo said he had enjoyed my being in the office and found my ideas attractive. His advice was that I should behave tactically, like Taras Bulba, the Kossack who made a pretence of siding with those in power then crushed the Russian colonisers.

My personal thoughts

Although I was well aware of the risks I was taking, the dismissal came as a shock. There are personal problems. Having been on probation, I am not entitled to severance allowance and I don't have another job. I have also just signed a one-year contract for a house that is located near the editorial office of The Jakarta Post.

But this is of secondary importance. I knew that I would have to pay a price if I took a firm stand and fight openly for my point of view. Nor do I think that the reasons given for dismissing me were the real ones.

Take the question of 'imbalanced straight news'. All the desk editors have denied this, except for the one who supervised my work. Dozens of journalists working for the paper signed a petition to the Works Council urging the management to stop pursuing management methods that confuse the journalists; one of the problems raised was the lack of criteria for how journalists are appointed.

I find it very regrettable that I was not informed of my dismissal until late October even though in May, Raymond Toruan promised to let me know by August. Some members of the editorial staff and the personnel department had told me that I was likely to get an appointment. One even advised me to prolong my housing contract because my appointment was assured. There are many people who can confirm that this is true.

One interesting thing that happened is that the management of The Jakarta Post was recently summoned by the Ministry of Information and the Indonesian Association of Journalists (PWI) and told of the need to 'give guidance' to journalists on the staff who have become involved with AJI. It is widely known that the ministry and the PWI are very unhappy about the emergence of AJI and want to prevent it from becoming effective.

I have been told that one person on the management of The Jakarta Post has been talking about the need for quick action against any members of staff who have joined AJI.

If this is true, I am the first victim. I am a signatory of the Sirnagalih Declaration and an AJI activist which makes me one of those who need to be 'excised'.

Finally, I do not consider myself to be important enough to be treated like this. I am just an ordinary journalist who decided to take a stand at a time when the act of doing so meant putting my career in jeopardy.

It is my opinion that the banning of Tempo, Editor, DeTik and Simponi is damaging for all of us. There is no justification for it and we must say so, loud and clear.

It's not that I don't appreciate the need for tactics. But what worries me is that people destroy themselves and turn traitors, all in the name of tactics.

My dismissal will not make me afraid to take a stand.


Jakarta, 26 October 1994

Andreas Harsono

Sunday, September 11, 1994

Right from the beginning

The Alliance of Independent Journalists
Rumah Susun Tanah Abang Lt. II No. 4
Jl. K.H. Mansyur 39
Jakarta 10240
tel. 62-21-315 5918


JAKARTA: The history of media bans in the Indonesian archipelago dates back as early as 1744, when the first tabloid, the Bataviache Nouvelles, was closed by the reigning Dutch East Indies Company (VOC).

Since then, it is not uncommon for the local mass media to face risk of being closed down. The other colonial rulers, the British and the Japanese, also frequently censored and closed down any media they perceived as opposing their interests. Now, after 250 years, the story continues with a different ruler.

Unlike the previous bans, toward which journalists avoided publicly expressing their dissatisfaction, the latest media closure has developed unprecedented solidarity among them.

Young reporters staged protests at the compound of the state-sponsored Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI). They urged its executives to demand that the Minister of Information, Harmoko, who stands behind the ban, cancel his decision.

Some journalists, the activists of the protests, are also being intimidated by their superiors, who were scared to follow the fate of the three media.

Dhia Prekasha Yoedha, a journalist from Kompas daily, which has the biggest circulation in the country, 600,000, was reprimanded by his superiors and is facing the threats of dismissal.

Adi Lazuardi of the state-owned Antara news agency is facing a similar fate. Journalists from other media such as the Pos Kota, which belongs to Harmoko, and the Bisnis Indonesia dailies are in the same boat.

AJI's main objective is to fight for the freedom of the press in Indonesia. "We reject all kinds of interference, intimidation, censorship and media bans which deny the freedom of speech and open access to information," the declaration says.

AJI also says that it refuses the concept of a single compulsory organization for journalists which is imposed by the Soeharto administration.

Santoso, the secretary-general of AJI, said that Indonesian journalists should not passively wait for changes any longer. "We have to fight against this media ban and say no to media bans," he said in his election speech. He told Indonesian journalists they will have to fight together against the two-and-a-half century habit of press bans.

"We cannot do anything but protest. And please, tell the world that a number of journalists in this country are starting to stand before the truth," Yoedha, a member of the presidium of AJI, said.
***

Presidium member of AJI:

Ahmad Taufik (tel. 62-22-215 599 fax. 62-22-215 029)
Dhia Prekasha Yoedha (tel. 62-21-520 2170 fax. 62-21-548 6085)
Nurrudin Amin (tel. 62-274-62 597 fax. 62-274-88 795)
Santoso (tel. 62-21-725 5625 fax. 62-21-725 5645)
Zed Abidin (tel. 62-31-515 233 fax. 62-31-510 703)

Bank account: Bank BNI 246.78010707.5 (Jl. Rasuna Said - Jakarta)

Friday, August 26, 1994

Joan Jett brings messages on womanhood

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): Singer-guitarist Joan Jett proved that she is one of rock'n'roll most dedicated and hardest-working performers. 

Clad in a black catsuit and red court shoes, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts performed an 80-minute show at Hard Rock Cafe on Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, early this week in the first leg of her Asian tour. 


Tuesday, August 09, 1994

Agus Sumule: PWI Tandingan

Dari siaran internasional Radio Australia pagi ini saya mendengar bahwa kemarin telah dibentuk organisasi wartawan tandingan sebagai reaksi terhadap PWI yang dinilai tidak becus memperjuangkan nasib wartawan Indonesia. 

Organisasi wartawan yang diberi nama Asosiasi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) (Association of Independent Journalists) ini nampaknya adalah reaksi terhadap pembreidelan dua majalah dan satu tabloid berita baru-baru ini. 

Wartawan Radio Australia di Jakarta mewawancarai pegiat hak-hak azasi manusia, Dr. Arief Budiman, yang hadir dalam pertemuan itu. 

Berikut keterangan Dr. Arief Budiman, "Semangat para peserta sangat tinggi. Mereka membicarakan banyak hal, termasuk konsekuensi dari terbentuknya AJI ini. Mereka juga telah mengeluarkan statemen yang menolak setiap bentuk campur tangan pemerintah dalam organisasi profesi wartawan, termasuk menolak adanya wadah tunggal untuk wartawan". 

Menurut Radio Australia, sudah sekitar 50 orang wartawan yang tercatat sebagai anggota AJI ini. 

Diperkirakan kebanyakan anggota AJI adalah wartawan-wartawan yang majalah/tabloid-nya diberangus tempo hari. 

Dari Siaran Reuter - Amerika pagi ini saya baca, bahwa Goenawan Mohamad, pemimpin redaksi TEMPO (alm.) telah menegaskan komitmen AJI untuk membawa pemerintah ke pengadilan karena tindakan pembreidelan yang dilakukan itu. 

Radio Australia juga memberitakan, bahwa seorang konglomerat yang dekat dengan pihak penguasa telah menawarkan untuk membeli TEMPO -- namun belum mendapat tanggapan dari pemilik TEMPO.

From MAIL_SUMULE@uqvax.cc.uq.oz.au 
Mon Aug 8 19:34 EDT 1994 
Date: Tue, 09 Aug 1994 09:33:37 +1000 (AEST) 
Subject: PWI Tandingan 
To: apakabar@clark.net 

AGUS SUMULE 
A.SUMULE@cc.uq.edu.au AGRICULTURE 
The University of Queensland 
Telephone +61 7 870 9996 
Facsimile +61 7 365 1199
Brisbane Qld 4072 AUSTRALIA 

Monday, August 08, 1994

Sirnagalih Declaration


Sirnagalih Declaration signatories near the swimming pool in Wisma Tempo Sirnagalih, Puncak, Bogor.
The following document signed by 58 journalists from a variety of cities was issued on 7 August. The English translation was received with the original in Bahasa. (tapol@gn.apc.org)

We acknowledge freedom of speech, access to information and freedom of association as a basic right of all citizens.

We recognise that the history of the Indonesian press is marked by press struggles to uphold truth and justice as well as to oppose all types of oppression.

In carrying out its mission, the Indonesian press places national unity and national priorities above individual and group interests.

Indonesia is a constitutional state. Because of this the Indonesian press bases its struggles on legal principles rather than power.

Based on the above mentioned principles:

We reject all kinds of interference, intimidation, censorship and media bans which deny the freedom of speech and open access to information.

We reject all efforts to dissipate the spirit of the Indonesian press venturing to fight for their concerns.

We reject one-sided information advanced for the benefit of individuals or groups in the name of national interest.

We reject any diversions from the law and legal regulations conflicting with Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution (UUD 1945).

We reject the concept of a single conpulsory organisation for journalists.

We proclaim the establishment of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen) as an organisation which upholds the struggles and concerns of the Indonesian press.

Sirnagalih, 7 August 1994

Signatories:

Achmad Taufik (Bandung)
Andreas Harsono (Jakarta)
Ardian T. Gesuri (Jakarta)
Arief Budiman (Salatiga)
Aristides Katoppo (Jakarta)

Asikin (Bandung)
Ati Nurbaiti (Jakarta)
Ayu Utami (Jakarta)
Bambang Harymurti (Jakarta)
Bina Baktiati (Jakarta)

Candra Negara (Surabaya)
Christianto Wibisono (Jakarta)
Dadang Rachmat HS (Jakarta)
Dhia Prekasha Yoedha (Jakarta)
Didik Budiarta (Jakarta)

Diah Purnomowati (Jakarta)
Didik Supriyanto (Jakarta)
Goenawan Mohamad (Jakarta)
Happy Sulistiyadi (Bandung)
Hasudungan Sirait (Jakarta)

Heddy Lugito (Yogyakarta)
Hendrajit (Jakarta)
Ida Farida (Bandung)
Idon Haryana (Jakarta)
Imran Hasibuan (Jakarta)

Indrawan (Jakarta)
Jalil Hakim (Surabaya)
Janoe Arijanto (Jakarta)
Keliek M. Nugroho (Surabaya)
Lenah Susianty (Jakarta)

Liston P. Siregar (Jakarta)
M Faried Cahyono (Yogyakarta)
M Thoriq (Yogyakarta)
Fikri Jufri (Jakarta)
M. Anis (Surabaya)

Moebance Moera (Surabaya)
Nuruddin Amin (Yogyakarta)
Putu Wirata (Surabaya)
Ragawa Indra Marti (Jakarta)
Rinny S. Doddy (Bandung)

Rustam Fachri Mandayun (Yogyakarta)
Rudy P. Singgih (Jakarta)
Santoso (Jakarta)
Satrio Arismunandar (Jakarta)
T.J. Wibowo (Jakarta)

Yopie Hidayat (Jakarta)
Yopie Lasut (Jakarta)
Yosep Adi Prasetyo (Jakarta)
Zed Abidin (Surabaya)

The remaining names are the signatures only without the city added. Some signatures are difficult to decipher:

Jus Soema di Pradja
Budiman S. Hartoyo
Yoanida Rosita
Wahyu Muryadi
Toriq Hadad

Saifullah Yusuf
Eros Djarot
Amir ... Jus ... (?)
Dwi Setyo Irawanto

Sunday, August 07, 1994

Deklarasi Sirnagalih


Penandatangan Deklarasi Sirnagalih bergambar depan kolam renang di Wisma Tempo Sirnagalih, sesudah teken deklarasi, pada 7 Agustus 1994.  

Bahwa sesungguhnya kemerdekaan berpendapat, memperoleh informasi, dan kebebasan berserikat adalah hak asasi setiap warga negara.

Bahwa sejarah pers Indonesia berangkat dari pers perjuangan yang menjunjung tinggi kebenaran dan keadilan serta melawan kesewenang-wenangan.

Dalam melaksanakan misi perjuangannya, pers Indonesia menempatkan kepentingan dan keutuhan bangsa di atas kepentingan pribadi maupun golongan.

Indonesia adalah negara hukum. Karena itu pers Indonesia melandaskan perjuangannya pada prinsip-prinsip hukum yang adil dan bukan pada kekuasaan.

Indonesia adalah negara hukum, karena itu pers Indonesia melandaskan perjuangannya pada prinsip-prinsip hukum yang adil, dan bukan pada kekuasaan.

Berdasarkan prinsip-prinsip tersebut maka kami menyatakan:

Satu, menolak segala bentuk campur tangan, intimidasi, sensor, dan pembredelan pers yang mengingkari kebebasan berpendapat dan hak warga negara memperoleh informasi.

Dua, menolak segala upaya mengaburkan semangat pers Indonesia sebagai pers perjuangan.

Tiga, menolak pemaksaan informasi sepihak untuk kepentingan pribadi dan golongan yang mengatasnamakan kepentingan bangsa.

Empat, menolak penyelewengan produk-produk hukum yang bertentangan dengan Pancasila dan UUD 1945.

Lima, menolak wadah tunggal profesi kewartawanan.

Enam, memproklamirkan pendirian Aliansi Jurnalis Independen sebagai salah satu wadah perjuangan pers Indonesia.


Sirnagalih, 7 Agustus 1994

Saturday, May 28, 1994

Nuryana: Bus Conductor who wants to go that extra mile

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): Unlike other Jakarta bus conductors who fail to provide their passengers with comfort and safety, 20-years-old Nuryana Suparman is a responsible conductor who places her customers first.
Many passengers who watch her in action on the air conditioned buses of the privately-run Masstrans executive bus company attest to her positive attitude. 

“A woman with a good manner,” said one regular rider.

Nuryana is one of dozens of female conductors currently employed by PT Steady Safe, a land transport company which operates 18 Masstrans buses. 

Every other day, Nuryana arrives at her office in Lebak-bulus, South Jakarta at 5 a.m. and works straight through to 10 p.m., making five round trips between Lebak bulus and Senen, Central Jakarta.

Her main duties include collecting passenger fares, managing the bus’s daily financial report and answering queries from riders, Westerners included, about Jakarta’s streets.

To ensure a more comfortable trip, the bus company prohibits smoking, a rarity in Jakarta where most of the male population smoker.

Nuryana and her colleagues must work hard to enforce this rule. Some passengers react angrily when they are reminded not to smoke. 

At the end of the day, Nuryana deposits the money, usually some Rp 600.000, with a cashier and files the daily financial report before calling it a day. 

“My daddy always takes me to the office early in the morning and picks me up later,” said Nuryana, the youngest of two daughters.

The native Jakarta claims she enjoys her job because it is “challenging” she wants to prove that not all bus staff are reckless and irresponsible.

Many busses operating in the capital those run by private companies, are already run-down and decrepit, prompting people to question whether they are still worth operating.

Nuryana, who was raised in a clerical family, said that her parents deserve credit for her sterling job performance. They taught her that maintaining strict self-discipline is the key to living a meaningful life.

During her school years, her grades were always among the best, and this has carried through to the present. “Nuryana is one of the best employers here,” beamed Datin Rashidah Nor, the vice president of PT Steady Safe. 

Nuryana, who last years graduated from high school, sees her current job as a place to adopt sound work ethics and make friends.

On her days off, Nuryana sometimes visit the families of the drivers and security personnel, whom she considers part of her own.

Police officer

Masstrans deploys three personnel on each bus; a driver, a security guard and a female conductor, “The security guard is important to prevent pickpockets and other criminals from entering the bus and making passengers feel insecure, “ Roshidah said. 

Nuryana initially wanted to become a police officer or a flight attendant, “My mama, however, objected to my career choice. She wanted me to work as a clerk in an office instead.”

Masstrans is known for its good customers ultimately pay for this. Masstrans charges five times the standard bus fare of Rp 250.

“My customers usually wear ties,” Nuryana said bluntly, referring to white collar commuters who work in Jakarta but live in the suburbs, adding that Masstrans limits seating to 54.

Nuryana’s mothers, however, has repeatedly voiced concern that her baby daughter is too tired to work 16 hours every day.

“Mama worries that I spend most of my time in the street,"  said the conductor in her purple uniform and floral scarf.

Her mother finally agreed to her career choice when Nuryana convinced her that her fears were unfounded, and that the pay is quite attractive.

After all, Rashidah said that Masstrans is doing its part to better Jakarta’s shoddy public transportation system. 

People like Nuryana indeed play a role in helping transform the public’s image of transport services in the capital.

Nevertheless, customers are sometimes annoyed when they are forced to wait for a long time at bus stops. Buses often run behind schedule because of traffic jams.

While also irritated by the daily traffic congestion, Nuryana, however, keeps her emotions in check and soothes passengers by telling them that the situation is “beyond our control.”

Tuesday, May 03, 1994

Phnom Penh

Andreas Harsono
Matra, Mei 1994

KETIKA PESAWAT MENDARAT DI BANDARA Pochentong, Phnom Penh, saya tidak membayangkan Kamboja sebagai negeri yang memikat sebagai objek pariwisata. Soalnya, perang berkepanjangan melanda negara tersebut selama ini. Khmer Merah membunuh etnis minoritas Vietnam, menyerang kereta api, meledakkan jembatan, dan membantai penduduk desa.

Media massa rajin menayangkan aksi keganasan di sana. Sering terlihat gerilyawan Khmer Merah berpatroli naik jeep buatan RRC di jalan-jalan. Atau serdadu Hun Sen sedang berjaga-jaga di check point sambil menghisap rokok lokal dengan AK-74 menghadang dada.

Belum lagi langkah-langkah kontroversial Norodom Sihanouk yang sering berubah sikap. Apalagi kalau mengingat film Killing Fields, yang menggambarkan periode berkuasanya Khmer Merah pada 1975-1979, dimana sekitar satu juta orang Khmer meninggal. Di film tersebut, tokoh wartawan Dith Pran digambarkan makan cicak dengan bergairah, hanya karena kurang makan daging. Suatu hari, dia bahkan nyaris dihukum mati gara-gara ketahuan mencuri-curi minuman ... darah sapi!

Mana ada turis yang mau berwisata di tempat seperti itu? Pendek kata, dalam benak saya, Kampuchea yang bernoda darah, berdesing peluru, dan berbau mesiu, bukan tempat yang cocok untuk berlibur. Saya ragu akan keberhasilan Visit Cambodia Year pada 1996 nanti. 

Tapi, setelah satu minggu di Phnom Penh, dengan jujur saya harus akui, bahwa bagaimanapun Phnom Penh, tak dapat menyembunyikan kecantikan yang telah bertahun-tahun tertutup cadar duka, keamanannya tak lebih jelek  dari kota-kota besar di Indonesia. Artinya, yang bisa menimbulkan rasa tidak aman buka bahaya perang. Tapi, lebih pada soal kriminalitas. 

Dibandingkan Singapura, boleh jadi Phnom Penh masih kalah. Dengan Jakarta, angka kriminalitas masih sama. Kalau ingat pencopetan, penodongan, pemerasan bahkan pembunuhan yang terjadi di Jakarta, Phnom Penh relatif jauh lebih aman. 

Saya tiba-tiba jadi sadar, bahwa pemerintahan Khmer Merah sudah berakhir 14 tahun yang lalu. “It was a long-long time ago,” ujar seorang Filipina, yang bekerja di di sebuah NGO. 
 
Membandingkannya dengan keadaan di Filipina sendiri, skala kerusuhan yang terjadi di Kamboja hampir sama dengan di Mindanao Selatan. Atau kalau di Indonesia, mungkin bisa sedikit disamakan dengan Timor Timur. Memang di daerah-daerah seperti Pallin, Campot dan Siem Riep banyak gerilyawan Khmer Merah berkeliaran. Tapi, peperangan tidaklah sampai ke Phnom Penh. 

Hal yang sedikit menggambarkan kalau Phnom Penh belum normal hanya listrik yang sering byar pet. Atau air ledeng yang sering terbatuk-batuk. Hingga wajar kalau tiap bangunan punya generator listrik dan pompa air sendiri. Hotel-hotel besar, seperti satu-satunya gedung bioskop yang terletak di Monivong Boulevard, memiliki ruang diesel sendiri. 
 
Pada siang hari, mobil-mobil berwarna putih dengan tulisan  “UN” (United Nations) lalu-lalang. Ini bukti kehadiran pasukan PBB yang masih mengawasi situasi keamanan di Kamboja. Selain itu, hanya ada gemuruh mesin diesel di Phnom Penh. Tak ada gemuruh peperangan!

Tiap turis memang ditawari untuk melihat Tuol Sleng Extermination Center, yang koleksinya termasuk serakan baju-baju tua bernoda darah, alat pencabut kuku, meja pemecah tulang, sel ukuran 1x0,75 meter, ribuan foto korban, dan dokumen-dokumen hasil interogasi. Sebelumnya museum ini terkenal sebagai rumah tahanan Khmer Merah. 

Para wisatawan juga diajak melihat-lihat Museum Killing Fields, yang penuh dengan tengkorak-tengkorak manusia korban kekejaman Khmer Merah. Atau mendengar cerita pelayan hotel, penjaga bar maupun sopir di jalanan, yang bercerita kepada setiap orang asing, bahwa zaman sekarang jauh lebih enak daripada zaman Pol Pot. 

“Pol Pot suka begini,” kata mereka sembari menggerakkan tangannya melintang di batang leher. 

Cerita tentang anak kecil yang direnggut dari ibunya lantas dibanting, saya dengar sendiri dari seorang bekas penghuni kamp konsentrasi. 

Jacques Bekaert, penulis buku Kampuchea Diary yang  juga dikenal sebagai ahli Khmer Merah, mungkin satu-satunya orang asing yang dengan detail pernah memaparkan cara-cara pemeriksaan yang sadis ala Khmer Merah. Di antaranya, kisah tentang seorang istri tokoh Khmer Merah yang suaminya dianggap berkhianat. Untuk membuat suaminya mengaku, maaf, payudara sang istri digunting di depan mata suaminya sendiri.

Ketika Khmer Merah berkuasa, ada 16.000 tahanan yang dimasukkan ke kamp konsentrasi. Kebanyakan mereka personil Khmer Merah yang dianggap melakukan subversi. Seorang diantaranya Hu Nim, bekas Menteri Penerangan Pol Pot. Mereka disiksa, dimintai keterangan dan “pengakuan”. Ketika Khmer Merah jatuh, hanya lima orang yang keluar selamat. Sisanya mati ketakutan, atau karena tak kuat menahan siksaan.

“Pengakuan” kader-kader Khmer Merah yang dianggap berkolaborasi dengan Vietnam atau Amerika Serikat bisa dilihat di Museum Toul Sleng. Agaknya menggelikan juga kalau membaca cara agen-agen Khmer Merah menyeluruh para tahanan menandatangani pengakuan yang jelas dibuat itu.

Sebelum digunakan Pol Pot sebagai rumah tahanan Security Service -21 (SS-21), dulunya Tuol Sleng adalah bangunan sebuah SMP di tengah kota Phnom Penh. Sebagai rumah tahanan, kelas-kelas diubah menjadi ruang penyiksaan. Di tiap kelas di bangunan A, misalnya, terdapat sebuah ranjang, lengkap dengan sebuah kotak US Army Ammunition dan jerigen tempat hadas. Juga ada besi panjang dengan rantai dan ring di ujungnya sebagai alat pengikat kaki tahanan. 

Terdapat pula papan tulis dengan gambar-gambar mayat yang terurai. Aula penuh dengan alat-alat penyiksaan seperti meja pemecah tulang, kursi dengan dudukan tajak, bak besar bersisi air, atau lukisan seorang perempuan yang ketakutan. 

Keluar dari Tuol Sleng, saya disambut puluhan pengemis yang satu atau kedua kakinya sudah lenyap terkena ranjau. Mereka mengemis, apalagi kepada orang asing, mengharap 100-200 riel.  

Menurut seorang rekan Khmer, kebanyakan yang menjadi pengemis ini adalah bekas serdadu dari fraksi-fraksi yang bertikai. Ketika masa damai datang, mereka kehilangan pekerjaan. Kalau badan tidak cacat, boleh jadi mereka akan menjadi bandit seperti kebanyakan. 

Phnom Penh juga punya keindahan nan romantis. Makan malam ditepi sungai Tonle Sap, di antaranya Uniknya, sungai ini berganti arus tiap setengah tahun. Di musim hujan, arus mengalir ke arah laut. Di musim kemarau, arus berbalik mengalir ke arah danau Tonle, yang berada di utara.

Di Tonle Sap kita juga bisa menikmati ikan bakar, udang, kepiting yang manis dan lezat. Atau sekedar menikmati sebotol Angkor Beer di tepi danau Boeng Keng Kang bersama dengan tenggelamnya matahari. Saya punya restoran favorit di tepi danau ini.

Monivong Boulevard di malam hari juga punya daya tarik tersendiri. Semua ada di sini. Dari nasi ayam yang beraroma manis hingga jus buah-buahan yang penuh citra rasa. Dan jangan lupa, srei saat (gadis cantik) ada di mana- mana. Dengan wajah berhias ringan, mereka ramah melayani pembeli di warungnya, di tengah celoteh bahasa Khmer yang nyaring. 

Angkor Beer mereka kenalkan dengan senang hati. “Made in Cambodia, Sir,” ujar seorang di antaranya, sembari menunjukkan botol besar berwarna gelap. Rasanya agak mirip Tiger Beer buatan Singapura. Es batu senantiasa tersedia. Tiap gelas berisi bir kosong dari es batu, dengan cekatan srei saat akan menambahkannya. 

Bir buatan Kamboja ini diperam dan dibotolkan di Sihanoukville, di pantai selatan Kampuchea. Ironisnya perusahaan yang menyandang nama legendaris “Angkor” itu milik orang Thailand. Dan orang Khmer suka sekali minum bir. Di desa-desa sekalipun, mereka menyuguhkan bir dingin kepada tamu terhormatnya. Bir dalam kaleng dijual dimana-mana, sama seperti minuman soft drink, “Tetapi mereka cepat mabuk,” komentar seorang rekan dari Swiss.

Harga minuman kaleng relatif mahal, karena harus didatangkan dari Singapura, Thailand atau Vietnam. Kalau makanan relatif murah. Roti ala Perancis baguette dijajakan tiap pagi oleh penjaja bersepeda yang membawa keranjang besar pada boncengannya. Jangan lupa, di Phnom Penh wisatawan masih bisa merasakan nikmatnya naik siklo, becak ala Indochina. 

Para penjaja roti ada yang membawa siklo sambil berteriak, "Peng-peng!" dengan suara cempeng, Peng-Peng berarti roti dalam bahasa Khmer. Pendek kata, Kampuchea adalah surga bagi mereka yang suka mencicipi makanan. 

Menurut seorang pegawai  Departemen Pertanian yang menemani saya, ada empat kategori rumah makan di Phnom Penh. Pertama, kategori pedagang kaki lima di pinggir jalan. Dari pisang goreng hingga kwetiau tersedia di sini. Kedua, warung makan kecil, butuh Rp 2.000-Rp 5.000 untuk makan di warung seperti ini. Orang Khmer yang makan tanpa sendok tengah, membuat saya terganggu. Soalnya, tiap orang dengan bebas menambah nasi atau lauk-pauk menggunakan sendok sendiri.

Yang ketiga, adalah restoran besar di jalan-jalan protokol yang kebanyakan menawarkan masakan Cina, Thailand atau Prancis. Di dalam terdapat semacam pub yang membuat orang bule betah berbincang berjam-jam lamanya. Restoran yang terdapat di hotel semacam Cambodiana Hotel – hotel mewah bintang lima kebanggaan orang Phnom Penh – merupakan kategori keempat.  

Di ibu kota Kamboja ini juga terdapat Le Royal Hotel yang berdiri sejak tahun 30-an. Saat Lon Nol berkuasa, bangunan antik buatan Prancis itu berganti nama Le Phnom. Lantas dikosongkan saat Khmer Merah berkuasa. Semua orang kota “didesakkan” dengan bekerja di lahan pertanian pedesaan.

Le Royal kembali jadi hotel ketika Khmer Merah takluk pada Heng Samrin. Namanya berubah lagi menjadi Samaky Hotel. Kini, hotel megah itu kembali menyandang nama Le Royal. Setiap rezim tampaknya punya selera dan nama tersendiri bagi hotel tersebut.

Terdapat juga hotel terapung di Tonle Sap. Tiap sore, dari kamar hotel dapat dilihat warga Phnom Penh sedang mencari angin di tepi barat sungai yang membelah kota Phnom Penh itu. Tidak hanya itu, tentu, Tonle Sap juga terkenal banyak ikannya. Biasanya, para tamu juga ditawari untuk mencicipi sup lobster yang rasanya manis campur kecut.

Bila tertarik pada kisah para wartawan perang yang meliput hari-hari terakhir tiap rezim yang jatuh bangun di Kampuchea, menginaplah di Hotel Monorom. Hotel ini terkenal sebagai tempat wartawan dan sukarelawan internasional bermalam.

Karena strategisnya lokasi Monorom sampai-sampai Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen der Schweiz, sebuah NGO dari Swiss, menyumbangkan sebuah lift awal 80-an. Tujuannya, agar pekerjaan wartawan maupun pekerja sosial dari NGO yang membantu rakyat Khmer memulihkan diri dari kekejaman Khmer Merah, bisa berjalan lebih mudah. 

Rugi rasanya tak melihat Istana Khemarin bila telah mengunjungi Phnom Penh. Istana yang terletak di tepi Tonle Sap ini dibangun paman Norodom Sihanouk 64 tahun lalu. Arsitekturnya khas Kampuchea. Ketika Sihanouk akan kembali dari pengungsian pada 1991, pemerintah Phnom Penh menghabiskan U$$ 200.000 untuk merenovasi istana itu. 

Sebelumnya pemerintahan Heng Samrin menyalahkan Khmer Merah karena menjarah istana ini. Belakangan, setelah penarikan mundur pasukan Vietnam dari Kamboja pada 1989, masyarakat Khmer banyak yang menuduh pasukan Vietnam yang merampok habis-habisan isi istana. Di sebuah paviliun istana itu pula Sihanouk bersama istrinya, Monique, dan dua putranya ditahan Khmer Merah selama tiga tahun. 

Monumen Kemerdekaan yang terletak di Sihanouk Boulevard merupakan bangunan monumental lain. Monumen indah dan bertaman luas – yang kini banyak digunakan rakyat Khmer untuk berolahraga di pagi hari dan lokasi foto pernikahan – ini di peroleh kemerdekaan dari Perancis pada 1953. 

Kampuchea juga terkenal dengan pagoda–pagoda nya  yang cantik. Mayoritas penduduk Kampuchea memang penganut ajaran Buddha Theravada. Setiap pagi kita harus menyaksikan para pendeta Buddha mendatangi rumah meminta makanan. Mereka memang dilarang memiliki harta benda selain jubah kuning, jarum, buku dan beberapa kebutuhan dasar lainnya. Mungkin dari kacamata kita, setiap pagi para pendeta itu mirip pengemis. 

Walau ritual Buddha sehari-hari bisa disaksikan, tapi pengaruh Hindu masih terasa kuat. Memang sebelum Buddha masuk ke (waktu itu) Kerajaan Angkor, “agama negara” adalah Hindu. Raja Jayawarman memutuskan masuk Buddha, antara lain untuk mengurangi subordinasinya terhadap kerajaan Hindu di Pulau Jawa. Jayawarman dalam salah satu prasasti yang diselidiki para ilmuwan, memang dinyatakan dalam masa mudanya pernah tinggal di Pulau Jawa – yang waktu itu menganut agama Hindu.

Hingga kini, pengaruh kebudayaan Hindu masih berakar dalam masyarakat Khmer. Atap rumah kebanyakan rakyat Khmer yang sekitar 9 juga orang itu misalnya, kebanyakan berhiaskan patung Dewi Apsara – dewi kesenian dan ilmu pengetahuan zaman Hindu.

Banyak dewa-dewi ini merupakan bukti masih adanya politeisme yang sangat Hindu. Di mana-mana dengan mudah kita jumpai gambar Apsara meskipun si empunya rumah adalah penganut Buddha. Dalam tari-tarian tradisional, pengaruh Hindu ini juga tercermin lewat cerita-cerita yang dibawakan. 

Mulai dari kekejaman Khmer Merah hingga keindahan tari klasik, semua bisa dijadikan komoditi pariwisata dan sumber uang. Karena itulah, menyambut Visit Cambodia Year, Tuol Sleng juga direnovasi bersama dengan Museum Purbakala Nasional.  

Angkor Wat pun turut berhias. Jembatan yang putus akibat  perang dibangun kembali. Layanan di bandar udara terus ditingkatkan. Para manajer Kampuchea Airlines dikirim belajar ke Eropa dan Amerika Serikat agar standar pelayanan penerbangan international terpenuhi. Kelak, manajer-manajer itu memang diharapkan mampu mendatangkan turis untuk berbelanja sejarah Kamboja.

Wednesday, April 13, 1994

Levi Strauss's decision draws various reactions

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): The decision of San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co., the manufacturer of Levi's and Dockers brand clothing, to stop its contract with the Jakarta-based PT Duta Busana Danastri garment factory has drawn various reactions from a number of experts here. 

Frans Hendra Winarta, a noted lawyer, praised the action as proving that an American company can have a commitment to establishing workers' rights despite a profit-oriented policy. "It will set a good precedent."



Saturday, April 09, 1994

Levi Strauss stops contract with Danastri

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): The San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co. has decided to stop placing orders with the Jakarta-based PT Duta Busana Danastri garment factory, which it believes has ignored guidelines on worker rights.

Senior manager David Samson, in a statement faxed to The Jakarta Post yesterday, said that his company has a commitment to ensure that workers are treated respectfully.

Levi Strauss & Co. is the manufacturer of Levi's and Dockers brand name products. 

As part of this commitment, Levi Strauss & Co. has traditionally shared with its contractors a set of rules that outline their expectations, he added. 

"We seek to work with contractors who obey local laws, respect workers' rights and provide a safe and healthy work environment," Samson says.

However, recent labor troubles at PT Duta Busana Danastri have shown that the company did not abide by the guidelines, thus forcing the American company "to take quick action" by terminating its contract with the Indonesian company.

Yesterday, approximately 80 workers continued their protests against the management by asking the National Commission on Human Rights to mediate a three-way meeting between the workers, the management, and the Ministry of Manpower to solve the six-month-old labor dispute.



Wednesday, April 06, 1994

Garment workers seek help from human rights commission

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): Thirty-four workers of the PT Duta Busana Danastri garment factory called on the National Commission on Human Rights yesterday to influence the management to treat them fairly.

"The management forces us to work at night under day-time conditions. We demand that the management provide us with extra food and transportation facilities," Siti Nurrofiqoh, the spokeswoman for the protesters, said.

Nurrofiqoh, 25, said the workers need extra food to stay healthy and transportation from home and back again when they work the night shift because most of them are women. 



Thursday, March 31, 1994

Michael Bolton concert marred by reporters' boycott

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): Although pop star Michael Bolton, who is well-known for his romantic love tunes, has repeatedly stated that he has incorporated new themes in his latest album, his concert on Tuesday in Jakarta was nothing but the same old thing.


Monday, March 07, 1994

Strip searches to be stopped at factory

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): The management of PT Duta Busana Danastri garment factory denied allegations that they removed the panties from their female employees to check whether the laborers were menstruating. 

"We merely moved their blouses aside to assure that they were really having their periods," said vice director Elliani Sapta Dewi during a meeting at the Human Rights National Commission on Saturday.

But Dewi claimed that her subordinates had no other choice but to order workers wearing trousers to remove their pants. 

Dewi said the investigations were conducted by female officials and that the management decided to do so after they found that a large number of their female employees in the garment factory declared themselves to be menstruating at the same time. 



Saturday, March 05, 1994

Action to be taken against garment factory management

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): The Ministry of Manpower indicated it may take punitive measures against the management of the PT Duta Busana Danastri for failing to attend a meeting at the National Commission on Human Rights yesterday.

"If we find they are just fooling around, we will take firm action against the company in line with the existing labor regulations," said director of labor supervision Amrinal.



Friday, March 04, 1994

Rights commission warns firms to respect rights of workers

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): The secretary general of the Human Rights Commission warned companies to respect the rights of their workers, including the right of women laborers to have menstruation leaves. 

Baharuddin Lopa said yesterday, while receiving protesting workers of a garment manufacturer, that checking menstruation by ordering the workers to take off their undergarments is "intolerable."

"Starting tomorrow, no stripping should be allowed," Lopa said after some 90 laborers of PT Duta Busana Danastri had told him at the commission's office on Jl. Veteran, Central Jakarta. 



Wednesday, February 09, 1994

Police use soothsayers to trace criminals

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): There is a joke here about two anthropologists, who once quarreled about the age of an Egyptian mummy. One of them said the mummy was about three thousand years old, while his colleague stated that the mummy was two thousands years old. As they couldn’t agree they appealed to third party for help.

They were lucky. The two met a police officer. “I’ll do my best,” the policeman said. 

Two days later, the officer told them they were both wrong, as the mummy was 2.789 years old. The anthropologists were baffled and asked him how he determined the age of the relic so precisely.

“Well, I just sent the mummy to a police precinct and had it interrogated in the usual way,” the policeman explained. 

Thirty Policemen

Although this kind of interrogation is still in use –for instance, the investigation of the murder of Sgt. Bambang Sumarno, where Stephanus Bambang, one the three accused of the crime, said that around thirty policemen beat him at the police station during his interrogation.

Modern policemen, however, can boast of not using the “classical semi-torture” method any longer. Now they have a less violent helping hand to unearth the truth ... the soothsayer.

“A wizard helped me to catch the notorious robber Slamet Gundul,” said a police captain who used to be posted in Semarang, Central Java. 

The officer, who asked not to be identified, said the wizard had helped catch the bandit. “It proved to be true,” said the officer, who is now getting his promotion though advanced courses at the Jakarta-based police command school.

When they police are baffled, they usually head for diviners, asking them to show the criminal’s den or the place of his lover. 

Ki Gendeng Pamungkas, the fabulously wealthy and up-beat sorcerer who now heads a loose trade organization of around 470 sorcerers nationwide, confirmed that there is cooperation between the police force and the diviners.

Ki Gendeng, who was a speaker at a seminar on sorcery at the police academy last December, noted that psychics and diviners can help a lot. The sorcerer, whose real name is Isan Massardi, said that faith healers can put not only spell on someone but also foretell the future.

Diviners serve their clients professionally. The police are just one of their clients. 

Judging from his monthly net income of around Rp 60 million (over U$$8500) as well as his regular travel abroad, he must have a lot of clients indeed, serving top government officials and tycoons. 

Another soothsayer, Ki Ageng Selo, explained that occult practices are very popular among Indonesian people from all walks of life. 

Both sorcerers, however, declined to give the names of their clients, “A” professional like me, of course, has to keep the clients' identities a secret,” Ki Gendeng noted, adding that he plies his trade internationally.

Cultural Background

It seemed that the practice of sorcery, incantation, whichcraft, enchantment, or spells for whatever purpose, are still widely adhered to here.

In 1889, a Dutch writer published a book De Stille Kracht (The Hidden Force), which uncovered the practice of black magic throughout the country, then a Dutch colony.

Writer Louis Couperus mentions the story of one top Dutch official here, who dealt with many hideous crimes but dared not to report them to the central government in the Netherlands, because he was afraid that his fellow countrymen would think he suffered from a mental disorder. 

Criminologist Mulyana W. Kusumah, however, believes that such practices are real and that they persist here. 

Mulyana, the executive director of the Indonesian legal Aid Foundation, explained that the phenomenon has resurfaced lately after faithealers, particularly Ki Gendeng Pamungkas, exposed their unearthly magical power to the press.

“The public, including the police, have long considered the help of soothsayers as a last resort," the criminologist noted.

Mysticism is deeply rooted deeply in every layer of society. It is a cultural phenomenon, which is sometimes quite difficult to analyze. 

Based on his experience in the foundation, Mulyana explained the police hire faith healers only, when they are at their wits ends. “From the professional police point of view, soothsayers are not considered legal sources, as they could not act as expert witnesses in a court trial,” he said.

“They can only give hints,” Mulyana said, arguing that the police need to seek conjurers help because they are not equipped with the latest crime technology.

Citing an example, Mulyana pointed out the case of starlet Ria Irawan, whose friend and former lover, was found dead of a drug overdose in her house. “The police spent too much time on finding the type of drug in the corpse,” Mulyana added. The police do not have the modern equipment to perform reliable autopsies.

Newspaper reports said the police could not use a lie detector for Ria. “I doubted if they have the latest make of equipment?” asked Mulyana, who is also a lecturer at the University of Indonesia.

He also said that the current forensic laboratory in the university is out of date too. 

According to Mulyana, it is important to update the crime-solving technology due to the rising rate of criminal cases in the country.

“Killing techniques have progressed remarkably nowadays. Criminals use not only knives, but also poisons. The police have to update their know-how to cope with modern crime,” he added. 

Indeed, possessing such technology will end the delight of the police beating information out of a corpse, but when the police turn to diviners, one can expect to hear another joke on occultism. 

Wednesday, January 26, 1994

Salatiga "dokar" coachmen fight for their existence

Text and Photo by Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

SALATIGA, Central Java (JP): As dusk falls, the dimly lit street of Margosari suddenly turns into a coachmen's haven for dokar, or horse-drawn carriages, after a long day of hard work competing with the growing number of minibus drivers in this small but well-reputed college town.

It is there on Margosari, a street which by night become a horse-drawn carriage terminal, that dokar coachmen take a break, feed their horses, have dinner together and vent their frustrations from the unpleasant experiences of the day. 


Photo Caption: Coachmen in Salatiga, Central Java, have organized to defend their threatened livelihood in the face of motorization, Pictured here (left to right) are Achmadi, chairman of the coachmen's association, Persatuan Sais Dokar, Wagimin, the treasurer and Sukardi, the secretary.