Friday, December 19, 2008

Could your future lie in the palm of your hand?

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Thu, 12/18/2008 11:19 AM | Potpourri

Parents and teachers sometimes have problems in noticing a child's talent. There are some cases where adults mistakenly show children the wrong direction due to their lack of sensitivity in spotting his or her abilities.

A woman shows marks on her palm before having her fingerprints scanned by a computer-connected camera. The mark is used to measure learning sensitivity, one of the variables in human learning abilities. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)A woman shows marks on her palm before having her fingerprints scanned by a computer-connected camera. The mark is used to measure learning sensitivity, one of the variables in human learning abilities. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

However, a new method has evolved which may help solve the problem. The Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Assessment (DMI) will help a person to fully understand his strengths and weaknesses which in the end, can guide him toward the most suitable learning technique to improve his innate specialty.

The test combines computer scanning technology and knowledge based on the correlation between fingerprints and human intelligence.

Director of Comcare Interprise Singapore Eric Lim Choo Siang said the DMI technology used known dermatoglyphics statistics to map out a person's areas of potential.

The program's uniqueness is that it photographs one's 10 fingerprints and then feeds the data into the system, he said. The system will then automatically calculate and generate a report.

The report profiles the details of one's innate decision-making considerations, inborn intelligence potential, preferred learning styles, communication styles and work management styles.

"By knowing these potential abilities and preferences, we can tailor, guide and provide the best learning environment, suggestions and tools to nurture and develop one's strengths to the fullest and at the same time, improve on the areas that require strengthening," Lim said in his e-mail.

Lim, who bought the program from a Chinese-Taiwanese joint venture company in 2000, said dermatoglyphics research conducted over the past 200 years had not been intended for this program.

"The research was medically based to study neurologically challenged, learning-ability challenged children," he said.

However, this research and data were leveraged by business-minded individuals and developed into a tool for education and parenting.

Since it was first developed in the early 1990s, the technology has been used in more than eight countries including Australia, China and the United States.

It was introduced to Indonesia by DMI Primagama -- a subsidiary of Primagama learning center -- that bought the software copyright from Singapore's Comcare Interprise in March 2008.

Measuring human intelligence through fingerprint data is more accurate than any other method, Lim claimed.

"Fingerprints don't lie. They don't change when you are sad or happy, they are not affected by mood and environment," he said.

Other similar methods involve questionnaires and observations but while they were acceptable there is always a chance for errors, he said.

"A smart enough person interviewing to become a reporter will answer that he is very good at his linguistic ability even though he may fail his language.

"A person answering a test may be affected by moods. Thus, these tests reflect only that 'instant' assessment of the person at that moment for that test. A similar test conducted under different circumstances may reveal different results," he said.

Lim said the DMI system is believed to have more than an 85 percent accuracy.

"One person may be wrong, two persons may be wrong and three persons may still not be convincing ... but with more than three million people being tested, if this program is not accurate, the business would have collapsed long ago."

With a global shift in emphasis from teaching to learning at every level of education, a variety of active learning strategies have been advocated to optimize learning.

Understanding the way children learn, said Lim, was crucial to delivering the right educational method and its improvement.

"It is accepted that how best a person learns is influenced not only by social, psychological, emotional, environmental and physical factors but also by the individual's preferred learning style."

One of the key elements in getting children involved in learning lies in an understanding learning style preferences which can have an impact on the individual's performance and academic achievement.

"Information about learning styles can help parents and educators become more sensitive to the differences of the children."

It can also serve as a guide in thoughtfully and systematically designing learning experiences that match or mismatch students' styles, depending on the teacher's purpose.

It is not uncommon, however, to have a combination of two learning styles. There is usually a dominant learning preference followed by another less dominant style.

"Every child is unique and they use many different abilities they are endowed with or have developed to make sense of their environment and experiences," Lim said.

Dermatoglyphics is like a mind-map showing how the brain works. In the DMI, there is no child who is not great.

"There is only the child who does not know how to use his talent to maximum benefit."

However, Lim said many parents and teachers wrongly guide the child based on the most popular learning theories, knowledge and experience at the time, instead of each child's individual learning talent, preference and superiority or advantage.

The imposed or forced guidance, he said, means parents and educators spend a lot of time forcing the child to fit into some specific mold.

"Consequently, the lack of or incorrect knowledge about the child leads to many learning obstacles, such as misbehavior, psychological interference and learning deficits and might result in a frustrated child."

Behind the science of fingerprints

Thu, 12/18/2008 11:17 AM | Potpourri
Thousands of scientific studies on fingerprints have been done over the years, but they have received little media attention, probably due to the public's association with palmistry and fortune telling rather than as an object of scientific interest.
Harold Cummins (1893-1976) coined the term "dermatoglyphics" for the scientific study of fingerprints and is derived from an ancient Greek term which means "skin carving".
Cummins achieved world recognition as the "Father of Dermatoglyphics".
The findings of a lifetime of study and technique development, known as the Cummins Methodology, are accepted as important tools in tracing genetic and evolutionary relationships.
The methodology is commonly used to diagnose some types of mental retardation, schizophrenia, cleft palate and even heart disease.
A more recent trend is to look for the genetic basis of certain psychological disorders or characteristics by studying the dermatoglyphics of the hand, and even more recently, finger digit ratios.
In the early 1990s, a Singaporean couple and their Chinese partner saw the opportunity to use known dermatoglyphics data to statistically study and generate a pattern in the area of learning styles and intelligence potential.
A team of programmers was commissioned to study the known results of dermatoglyphics studies, and in collaboration with Chinese and Taiwan education entities, the first version of the software -- Multiple Intelligence System (MIS) -- was developed.
It was marketed in different versions to suit respective local markets -- mainly the Chinese and Taiwanese markets -- and was a big success.
In the late 1990s, the program was marketed in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia, but was canceled after about six months.
"The owners decided to call it quits as they expected quick profits similar to the Chinese and Taiwanese markets," director of Comcare Interprise Singapore Eric Lim Choo Siang told The Jakarta Post.
Lim, who has been involved in the project since its inception, bought the software and engaged programmers to study it, eventually revamping it to what it is today.
Since 2000, the program has been developed under the Singaporean Comcare Group of Companies, owned by Lim and his partners.
The group lists education consultancy as one of its core businesses and has interests in software development in education areas as well as in promoting a revamped Singaporean curriculum.
Dermatoglyphics’ multi-intelligence measurement is displayed via computer grahics at DMI Primagana’s office in Mayestik, South Jakarta. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)Dermatoglyphics’ multi-intelligence measurement is displayed via computer grahics at DMI Primagana’s office in Mayestik, South Jakarta. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)
Under Comcare, the program was renamed Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence (DMI) System and since 2004, has been marketed and represented by companies or individuals in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Maldives, Australia, the United States and the Philippines. Botswana, Burma and Vietnam are in the negotiations stage.
Indonesia's Primagama learning center, which has been involved in learning consultation for 26 years, saw the future of the technology so they bought the license from Comcare.
"Many people have wasted millions of rupiah only to find out that what they received from the university was not what they needed in real life," DMI Primagama's marketing manager W. Afifatiningsih told the Post recently.
When it comes to education, she said, parents usually imposed their own will or followed their children's liking.
In fact, "liking" is a social construction. Children might like certain activities or study certain subjects due to the influence of the media, parents, idols or role models, although they might not have a talent in that area.
"Too many parents force their own will on their child because they don't really understand the child's potential," Afifatiningsih said.
The DMI Primagama assessment package includes fingerprint sampling of all 10 fingers and a detailed report elaborating the following: Left or right brain dominance, multiple intelligence potential, psychological dominance, preferred learning styles and methods, learning communication character and work management style.
As soon as the test reveals the child's intrinsic qualities, a psychologist will help the parents and teachers to understand the details of the computer report.
"The assessment tells us what we need and how we learn. We can then transform our lives through a greater holistic educational approach and lifestyle."
Since its May launching, the DMI test has been available in Primagama's 667 branches throughout the country. Primagama has over 120 agents who are available to take fingerprint samples which are later assessed and analyzed at Primagama's branch office.
Beside adopting the test for its own kindergarten link, Primagama is also facing an increasing number of clients from pre-schools and kindergartens. Some prominent schools such as Jakarta Al Azhar kindergarten and Yogyakarta's Budi Mulia schools have become their clients because parents wanted to know their child's potential earlier.
By November, more than 4,100 individual and institutional clients had taken the test.
It has also been used by senior high schools and parents to determine the field of study for their children.
"We hope that after students take the test, our curriculum will be based around the student's talent."
Some companies, especially financial companies, have also used the test for their recruitment process while Yogyakarta, Central Java and East Java regional administrations will soon use the test for their staff replacement, Afifatiningsih said.
-- JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yang berbahaya di sekitar kita

1. Bekas botol air mineral (AQUA, VIT, Ades, cs)
Anda punya kebias
aan memakai ulang botol plastik bekas kemasan air mineral seperti Aqua, VIT, Ades dll? Segera tinggalkan kebiasaan itu, karena bahan plastic botol (disebut juga sebagai Polyethylene terephthalate or PET) yang dipakai di botol-botol ini mengandung zat-zat karsinogen (atau DEHA).

Botol ini aman untuk dipakai sekali dua kali saja. Kebiasaan mencuci ulang dapat membuat lapisan plastik rusak Dan zat karsinogen itu bisa masuk ke air yang kita minum. Lebih baik membeli botol air yang memang untuk dipakai berulang-ulang daripada memakai botol plastik.

2. Bahaya sate

Kalau anda penggemar sate, jangan lupa makan timun setelah makan sate. Karena ketika kita makan sate sebetulnya ikut juga karbon dari hasil pembakaran arang yang dapat menyebabkan kanker.

Timun disarankan untuk dimakan setelah makan sate, karena sate mempunyai zat Karsinogen (penyebab kanker) tetapi timun ternyata punya anti Karsinogen. Jadi jangan lupa makan timun setelah makan sate ya.

3. Udang vs Vitamin C

Jangan makan
udang setelah Anda makan Vitamin C. Karena ini akan menyebabkan Keracunan dari racun Arsenik (As) yang merupakan proses reaksi dari Udang dan Vitamin C di dalam tubuh dan berakibat keracunan yang fatal dalam hitungan jam.

4. Mie Instan (Supermi, Indomie cs)

Untuk para penggemar mie instan, pastikan anda punya selang waktu paling tidak 3 (tiga) hari setelah anda mengkonsumsi mie instan, sebelum anda akan mengkonsumsinya lagi. Dari informasi kedokteran, ternyata terdapat lilin yang melapisi mie instan. Itu sebabnya mengapa mie instan tidak lengket satu sama lainnya saat dimasak. Konsumsi mie instan setiap hari akan meningkatkan kemungkinan seseorang terjangkiti kanker. Seseorang, karena begitu sibuk tidak punya waktu lagi untuk memasak, sehingga diputuskannya untuk mengkonsumsi mie instan setiap hari. Akhirnya kanker yang didapat. Para dokter mengatakan bahwa tubuh kita memerlukan waktu lebih dari 2 (dua) hari untuk membersihkan lilin tersebut.

5. Kemasan makanan

Sebaiknya mulai sekarang Anda cermat memilik kemasan
makanan. Kemasan pada makanan mempunyai fungsi kesehatan, pengawetan, kemudahan, penyeragaman, promosi, dan informasi. Ada Begitu banyak bahan yang digunakan sebagai pengemas primer pada makanan, yaitu kemasan yang bersentuhan langsung dengan makanan.Tetapi tidak semua bahan ini aman bagi makanan yang dikemasnya. Inilah ranking teratas bahan Kemasan makanan yang perlu Anda waspadai.

  • Kertas: Beberapa kertas kemasan dan non-kemasan (kertas koran dan majalah) yang sering digunakan untuk membungkus makanan, terdeteksi mengandung timbal (Pb) melebihi batas yang ditentukan. Di dalam tubuh manusia, timbal masuk melalui saluran pernapasan atau pencernaan menuju sistem peredaran darah dan Kemudian menyebar ke berbagai jaringan lain, seperti: ginjal, hati, otak, Saraf dan tulang. Keracunan timbal pada orang dewasa ditandai dengan gejala 3 P, yaitu pallor (pucat), pain (sakit) & paralysis (kelumpuhan) . Keracunan yang terjadipun bisa bersifat kronis dan akut. Untuk terhindar dari makanan Yang terkontaminasi logam berat timbal, memang susah-susah gampang. Banyak Makanan jajanan seperti pisang goreng, tahu goreng dan tempe goreng yang dibungkus dengan koran karena pengetahuan yang kurang dari penjual. Padahal bahan yang panas dan berlemak mempermudah berpindahnya timbale ke makanan. Untuk pencegahan, taruhlah makanan jajanan tersebut di atas piring.
  • Styrofoam: Bahan pengemas styrofoam atau polystyrene telah menjadi salah satu pilihan yang paling populer dalam bisnis pangan. Tetapi, riset terkini membuktikan bahwa styrofoam diragukan keamanannya. Styrofoam yang dibuat dari kopolimer styren ini menjadi pilihan bisnis pangan karena mampu mencegah kebocoran dan tetap mempertahankan bentuknya saat dipegang. Selain itu, bahan tersebut Juga mampu mempertahankan panas dan dingin tetapi tetap nyaman dipegang, mempertahankan kesegaran dan keutuhan bahan yang dikemas, biaya murah, lebih aman, serta ringan. Pada Juli 2001, Divisi Keamanan Pangan Pemerintah Jepang Mengungkapkan bahwa residu styrofoam dalam makanan sangat berbahaya. Residu Itu dapat menyebabkan endocrine disrupter (EDC), yaitu suatu penyakit yang terjadi akibat adanya gangguan pada system endokrinologi dan reproduksi Manusia akibat bahan kimia karsinogen dalam makanan.
(disarikan dari seorang teman)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

'Two Signs' shows artists' magnificent struggle

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Tue, 12/16/2008 11:08 AM | Potpourri

The "Two Signs" exhibition reminds us that the word "art" foremost implies skill. Two artists -- painter Joko Sulistiono and sculptor Putu Adi Gunawan -- produced much of the art at the exhibition, which runs until Dec. 24 at Andy's Gallery -- one of the oldest galleries in the city.

The artists' work conveys a magnificent journey of struggle.
Joko's paintings incorporate mixed media on canvas. He mixes the elements of his painting with collating; a medium that he has prefered since his student days.
He began collating when he was a poor student unable to afford canvas.
He was instead compelled to search for pictures in newspapers and magazines, which he would then select for his collations. In the beginning, he worked with paper, and then moved to boards before finally settling on canvas once he was able to afford it.
The collating techniques incorporated in his current works represent his own development of those he observed over the past two decades.
Joko's technique is unique. His trick is to turn the graphics on the canvas upside down.
"I used to work using conventional collate techniques but I was afraid it would create bubbles," he says.
While many painters are not interested in collating by hand, preferring instead advanced computer software to achieve the same ends, Joko swears by the hard way.
He works manually because he believes there is a magnetic field of emotion that spreads from the canvas.
"Digital print is too technological for me," he says.
In this exhibition, Joko displays unusual fish fossils.
Joko says depicting the true forms of the fish species is not his aim, but rather that the true nature of the art work is produced by mixing the images with sweeps of brush strokes.
Although all of Joko's fossil images give the impression of ancientness and decay, they also seem to come alive as they are wrought and ornamented with other new realities of life.
Joko's fossil images seems to affirm Jacques Lipchitz's famous quote: "Art is an action against death. It is a denial of death".
Joko's work Sub Marine mimics a fossil of some living thing from the past as a veiled form between that of a submarine and another fish. Two other fossils, a larger and a smaller, appear to being moving through the water in a particular direction.
"Even the technology is obsolete, the only thing that is not obsolete is the change itself," says Joko.
"A fossil," he says, "has its own life. Even death has its own life."
By bringing fossils alive, Joko seems to echo Aristotle's saying that "Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish. The artist gives us knowledge of nature's unrealized ends".
Adi displays at the exhibition eight bronze sculptures that he created this year and last.
Adi's sculptures of fat figures are reminiscent of the works of Colombian painter Fernando Bottero.
"It's usual for artists to influence each other, but one will soon know that these figures are Adi's as they have specific characters, such as funny, fat and with afro hair styles," says gallery owner Andi Yustana.
The fact that all of his sculptures are of fat people suggests that Adi is trying to convince us that humor is more important than beauty and that beauty is not only skin deep.
A bronze statue titled Pada Suatu Hari (One Day), for example, depicts a fat pig being ridden by two fat boxers with afros.
In the sculpture, Adi appears to be playing with plasticity, which is not just to obtain humorous impressionism but also to induce us to become aware of the fleshiness of our own bodies.
Just as with Joko's work, Adi's also reflects his own experiences.
Unlike many artists who prefer to leave creativity in the hands of their laborers, Adi casts his own bronze sculptures.
His years of experience working as an apprenticeship in concrete iron casting jobs in Mojokerto, East Java, and the knowledge he acquired in Yogyakarta, compelled him to create his own style of iron casting.
The road to discovering a perfect casting technique was one of trial and error.
Adi says he used to submit statues that he created from resin to experts in reinforced casting.
However, he had a number of bad experiences at the casters, including enduring horrendous waiting lists as well as misshaped casts.
"They often easily missed some details because they didn't understand the artistic forms," Adi says.
In finding his own techniques, Adi was able to save more on materials, time and fuel costs.
The spirit of exploration is the theme behind the works of Joko and Adi, where through innovation and the beauty of humor and parody they were able to overcome the barriers of their early careers.
The real art in their works is not artwork but, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "the path of the creator to his work."
The exhibition curator Asikin Hassan said the uniqueness of the two artists reflected the spirit of exploration.
"Many artist now have too many ideas but they forgot to develop their skills."
"Two Signs"
Andi's Gallery
Jl. Tanah Abang IV/14, Central Jakarta
Open everyday until Dec. 24
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Glued to the tube

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 12/12/2008 10:40 AM | Potpourri

Children watch a TV program unsupervised by adults. Research has found that Indonesian children are exposed to TV for more than four hours a day. Data also shows children are being increasingly exposed to TV programs containing content that is dangerous or too sexual for young minds. (JP/Arief Suhardiman)Children watch a TV program unsupervised by adults. Research has found that Indonesian children are exposed to TV for more than four hours a day. Data also shows children are being increasingly exposed to TV programs containing content that is dangerous or too sexual for young minds. (JP/Arief Suhardiman)

Television is one of the most prevalent media influences on children and watching TV has become a daily activity for many, whether they are from the city or from remote areas of the country.

Many houses even have more than one set, and many parents are not aware that heavy exposure to TV can have negative consequences.

"Some busy parents put their kids in front of the TV because it is the easiest way (to keep them occupied). They think their kids are safe but really they are in danger," director of the Children's Media Development Foundation (YPMA), Boby Guntarto, told The Jakarta Post.

How much of an impact TV has on children depends on many factors, such as how much they watched, their age and personality, whether they watched it alone or with adults and whether their parents talked to them about what they watched, Boby said.

Research conducted by the YPMA involving 939 children in five elementary schools in Jakarta and Bandung in 2006 found that children in the country were exposed to TV for more than four hours a day.

"Normally a child should spend (no more than) 15 hours a week (watching TV). In fact, some spend more than 30 hours a week. They spent more hours doing that than studying," Boby said.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the Aesthetic Art and Technology Foundation (SET) in October and November of this year found that the AGB Nielsen Media Research rating had little to say about the quality of the country's TV programs.

The survey, which was took place in 11 cities, revealed that 15 programs which were rated highly by AGB-Nielsen Media Research were rated bad or very bad quality by the respondents.

About 89.2 percent of the 212 respondents said TV entertainment programs were the most aired programs, with 48.8 percent stating the quality of these programs was very bad.

The research found a relatively good response to news programs and talkshow programs, though it revealed that there were very few quality shows suitable for children.

About 69.3 percent said entertainment programs were dangerous for children; 61.8 percent said they provided bad role models; 48.6 percent said they were very bad in encouraging social empathy; 46.2 percent said the programs contained what they viewed as pornographic content and 61.3 percent said they failed to expose relevant social issues.

The survey was not aimed at discrediting the AGB Nielsen rating system but was done to provide an alternative perspective for the public, said Agus Sudibyo, SET's Foundation deputy director.

"The rating is still important but TV stations should realize that a program's rating should also take into account its quality and public impact," Sudibyo said.

Over the past two decades, hundreds of studies have examined how violent programming affects children and young people. While a direct "cause and effect" link is difficult to establish, there is a growing consensus that some children may be vulnerable to violent images and messages.

Researchers have identified three potential responses to media violence in children: Increased fear among children, also known as the "mean and scary world syndrome", desensitization to real-life violence and increased aggressive behavior.

The social learning theory states that people learn how to behave by observing others, including those in the media, said Santi Indra Astuti, a lecturer at the Bandung Islamic University.

"Just look at the media content, whether it is pro-social or anti-social. We need to be aware of the anti-social content. Like a virus, we need to prepare an anti-virus," Santi said.

Quoting a cultivation theory developed by George Gerbner, Santi said that television had long-term effects which were small, gradual and indirect, yet cumulative and significant.

Children who watch a lot of television were likely to be more influenced by the ways in which the world is framed by television programs than the children who watch less, she said. This can make children afraid of the world around them.

Another effect on children is desensitization to real-life violence. Some children's cartoons portray violence as humorous and realistic consequences of violence are seldom shown, Boby said.

"In a traffic jam, a child could easily tell his father to hit the car in front ... because of what he has seen on TV," he said.

It can also affect learning and school performance if it cuts into the time children need for activities crucial to healthy mental and physical development. Most of a child's free time, especially during the early formative years, should be spent in activities such as playing, reading, exploring nature, learning about music or participating in sports.

TV viewing is a sedentary activity, and has been proven to be a significant factor in childhood obesity. Time spent in front of it is often at the expense of more active pastimes.

Children are also exposed to sexual content on TV. While it can be a powerful tool for educating young people about the responsibilities and risks of sexual behavior, such issues are seldom mentioned or dealt with in a meaningful way in programs containing sexual and adult content.

There are many ways to minimize its potential negative effects. Knocking on the industry's door to push for safer program content for children during times of the day when they are watching can be a start.

Parents and teachers also need to take on a more active role, Boby said.

"The TV industry invests lots of money and they will do anything to make a profit. So, rather than facing them directly, we prefer to persuade parents to understand more about its negative impacts and how to deal with this," he said.

The YPMA conducts regular surveys on the media impact on children and teenagers as well as publishes Kidia (, a regular guide on media content for parents and children.

In an effort to expand media literacy among the public, the YPMA has held media literacy education seminars in Jakarta since 2002. These have been held in 35 elementary schools in Central Java and East Java.

"We train teachers to include appropriate media literacy materials in their existing curriculum. We choose elementary school students because the watching habit is formed at these ages," Boby said.

Bad TV content: Who's to blame?

Fri, 12/12/2008 10:39 AM | Lifestyle

TV programs have been accused of being of low quality, with many people blaming TV stations for relying merely on the single rating institution in the country -- AGB Nielsen Media Research.

Some blame the AGB-Nielsen system itself for not being transparent, and others accuse the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) of being powerless.

Who is really to blame?

Many media literacy activists have complained that TV stations should decided whether or not they should run a program based merely on the TV audience measurement (TAM) issued by the AGB-Nielsen Media Research.

The rating itself is a measurement of the numbers of people watching a program over a certain period of time.

Many companies prefer to have their commercials aired during a program that has a high rating, assuming, therefore, that their product will reach a larger audience.

Both TV stations and AGB Nielsen Media Research are to blame for the bad quality of programs, said Agus Sudibyo, deputy director of the Aesthetic Art and Technology Foundation (SET).

"TV stations are guilty of broadcasting programs merely based on AGB Nielsen's rating. But AGB Nielsen is also guilty as it is transparent in regard to their survey methods," Sudibyo told the Post.

"They always argue that their business secrets will be revealed but as an institution providing a public service, they should be scrutinized by the public."

Since March 2008, the SET Foundation in collaboration with Tifa Foundation and the Indonesian Television Journalist Union (IJTI) has periodically held public surveys on the quality of programs of 11 TV stations in the country.

Sudibyo said the KPI and the Information and Communication Ministry were in legitimate positions to control the industry but both were powerless without public pressure.

"Not all of the KPI's appeals are obeyed by the TV stations. The industry is very strong. So while waiting for the system to work properly, we need to support the regulatory body through a public movement.

"It takes time but we believe we have touched on something sensitive to media -- which is their image -- so they will listen to us. Advertisers will think twice if told that the highly rated programs, which they are lining up to advertise on, are actually of bad quality," Sudibyo said.

Media literacy activist Santi Indra Astuti, however, blamed TV stations for "misusing" the AGB Nielsen rating system.

Citing examples from the UK, Iceland and Finland, Santi said the industry should use several different rating systems rather than relying on a single rating institution.

"We cannot blame any rating institution. The media is to blame because they rely only on single system," said Santi, who is also a lecturer at the Bandung School of Communication Studies.

As it is performing a public service, AGB Nielsen should be transparent, she said.

Public relations executive of the AGB Nielsen Media Research, Andini Wijendaru, denied the claim that the company had not been transparent in their methodology.

"We are always transparent and we even put it on our website," Andini told the Post.

The survey has nothing to do with the quality of a program because it is designed to measure viewer numbers, she said.

"We would be more than happy if another party came up with a different kind of survey because it will enrich our way of looking at programs," Andini said.

Director of Children Media Development Foundation (YPMA) Boby Guntarto pointed the finger at the country's regulatory body, the KPI.

"The KPI has done their job but it seems to have little to do with surveillance. By our calculations, only about 10 percent of broadcasting material comes under their surveillance," Boby said.

The Broadcasting Law stipulated the need to protect vulnerable groups, such as children, teenagers, the very elderly and the disabled from media violence, but that lower regulations were not in line with the law, he said.

"The KPI's regulation on broadcasting program standards does not mention anything about broadcasting hours for children's programs," he said.

"It's like a vicious circle, but if someone has to be blamed, it should be the KPI, because according to regulations they carry out the public mandate," said Effendi Gazali, a lecturer at the University of Indonesia.

The KPI should be a more independent regulatory body, Effendi added.

In addition, prime time content should be more controlled.

"From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. the TV stations will only be allowed to broadcast programs 'supported' by public research. It should be initiated by public pressure and it should be supported by the KPI and the Information and Communication Ministry," Effendi said.

-- Matheos Viktor Messakh

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nicholas refuses to be called an icon

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 12/10/2008 8:17 AM | People

NICHOLAS SAPUTRA: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)NICHOLAS SAPUTRA: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

JAKARTA: Nicholas Saputra has been chosen by the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (Kontras) as an icon for the organization’s campaign on human rights — but the actor and popular VJ doesn’t want to be referred to as one.

“The term (icon) is too heavy for me. Being an icon requires a big responsibility and I think I haven’t reach that level,” Nicholas was quoted as saying by Tempointeraktif on Monday.

The 24-year-old said the movement “Human Loves Human” was a social movement established by Kontras to call on people to respect human rights and love each other.

Nicholas, who won the Best Actor award at the 2005 Indonesian Film Festival for his role in Gie, said he preferred to be called a volunteer rather than an icon.

Together with other celebrities such as director Riri Riza and Mira Lesmana, Nicholas was selected by the human rights defender organization as one of the icons of the movement.

Kontras also collaborated with the JiFFest management team to screen a “Human Loves Human” selection of films during the festival, which was held from Dec. 5 to 9.

“We want to create a more humanist image. The image of Kontras and human rights movement in Indonesia has been too political. People perceived Kontras as a hard and political movement. This movement is more social and ethical. We want to spread the anti-violence movement through a social movement,” Kontras director Usman Hamid told The Jakarta Post. — JP/Matheos V. Messakh

Dedy Mizwar slams TV rating system

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 12/05/2008 11:41 AM | People

JP/J. Adiguna JP/J. Adiguna

Jakarta: Senior actor and director Dedy Mizwar says that in order to improve the quality of TV programs the country needs more than one rating institution.

"The AGB Nielsen (rating system) has become like a god to all TV stations. There is no democracy in the media industry because we only have one window to view TV programs," Dedy told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the launch of a public rating survey on Wednesday.

The 53-year-old, who is also the chairman of the National Film Advisory Body, questioned why no local company was willing to invest in the business.

"Why doesn't (Indonesia) establish its own ratings company? Why should everything be supplied by foreign companies? There are many investors for the media industry in this country but maybe they just don't care (about TV rating)," said the man who has won five Indonesian Film Festival awards since 1986.

Dedy said the country needed more TV-watch organizations and more than one rating institution as the censorship system was ineffective.

"If an institution is the one and only source ... how can we know if they are manipulating (the system)," he said. -- JP/Matheos V. Messakh

Friday, December 05, 2008

Long, strange trip for one old building

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Tue, 07/15/2008 10:36 AM | City

ANTIQUE ELEGANCE: The National Archive Building, which was once the country house of the Dutch governor general Reinier de Klerk, is located outside the old city of Batavia. (JP/P.J. Leo)ANTIQUE ELEGANCE: The National Archive Building, which was once the country house of the Dutch governor general Reinier de Klerk, is located outside the old city of Batavia. (JP/P.J. Leo)

From the country house of a Dutch governor general to an orphanage and then to a mere office building to later an archive building, the National Archive Building is struggling to retain its value as one of the nation's heritage buildings.

As has happened to many historical sites in Jakarta, the building has been lost to new development, particularly to high-rise buildings.

Traveling along the busy Jl. Gajah Mada toward the Kota area, we can see the beautiful building to the left. The building, along with other buildings, earned the title of Batavia, or "Queen of the East".

The house was built in 1760 by Reinier de Klerk, a member of the Dutch highest council, Raad van Indie, or the Council of the Indies. Reinier was later appointed as Dutch governor general in 1777. He lived and held office here until he died in 1780.

Many houses in the area at that time were called buitenverblijven, or "house outside", because they were built on a rural area outside the old city of Batavia.

Built as the house of a high rank citizen during colonial time, the house occupied an enormous plot of land extending much further than the current 9,450-square-meter complex.

Baroque fanlight above the main entrance was carved with a symbol of hope. (JP/Matheos V. Messakh)Baroque fanlight above the main entrance was carved with a symbol of hope. (JP/Matheos V. Messakh)

The structure comprises of a main building, two separated pavilions on the left and right sides and a U-shaped annex building at the back of the main building.

The main house is a model of closed Dutch style, so called because it has no open gallery at the front or rear.

"As an 18th century building, it doesn't have any veranda surrounding it," National Archive Building Foundation director Tamalia Alisjahbana told The Jakarta Post recently.

"If you look at a 19th century building, for example Museum 45 or Gedong Juang, they have big verandas, open doors and windows."

Tamalia said that gradual change in the style of architecture of houses in Batavia was because of the attempt to adapt to the climate and the increasing control of the Dutch against the local rulers.

Batavia was just a small city back then. Around the city was a big city wall surrounded by a moat. This wall and moat is a defense against Banten in the west and Mataram in the east.

"We can trace the change of the style in its sister building, Toko Merah (Red Shop) on Jl. Kali Besar Barat, which is 30 years older," Tamalia said .

A dinning room setting upstairs in the main building, with an original painting portrait of De Klerk in the background. (JP/MVM)A dinning room setting upstairs in the main building, with an original painting portrait of De Klerk in the background. (JP/MVM)

"Because there was little land available, houses built in the 17th and early 18th century were like Amsterdam's town-houses. That is what Toko Merah is like."

"Thirty years later, the Dutch drained the swamp land in the north and created all these canals. This change brought in lots of mosquitoes causing malaria and other diseases, and Batavia became very unhealthy."

Tamalia said that around the same time, the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) or Dutch East India Company subjugated Banten and Mataram kingdoms so it was safe for the Dutch to come outside.

"Some rich people like de Klerk built their houses outside the city wall," she said.

To a certain degree the house is adapted to the tropics, with its high ceilings and long and broad windows, large open fanlights above the doors, a cool stone floor, and a high, well insulated roof.

"The Dutch also realized that Batavia was hot, so they started to build buildings with open windows and doors. With the archive building you can see the change in 18th century and in 19th century you can see the neoclassical style with veranda all around, much cooler, everything was open," Tamalia said.

With its big protruding roof, the two-story building looks more like a town house in a big garden than a country house.

Flower pot carvings on the staircase. (JP/MVM)Flower pot carvings on the staircase. (JP/MVM)

The flat front shows sparse ornamental work. Seven big windows on the second floor and three windows on each side of the broad double-wing entrance stress the overall symmetrical proportions. The six windows downstairs show simple ornaments over the skylights.

The main door is flanked by red pilasters with gold-painted grooves and renaissance capitals supporting a carved top beam. In its carved fanlight we can see an allegorical figure of hope: A woman under a big umbrella holds a anchor.

She is placed amidst leaves and waves. The surrounding waves, sea flowers and plants point to the humble beginnings of de Klerk's career as a naval officer.

Another door inside the main hall shows the symbol of faith.

Matched by its interior design, the outside of the house shows a distinctive impression. The allegorical carvings of the fanlights over the main doors provide subdued light to the cool inner rooms.

In general the carvings look rather baroque, but the dark red and gold paint as well as the execution of some ornaments suggests a strong Chinese influence.

"It is a kind of renaissance style with baroque features," said Tamalia, explaining the architecture style with its carving of the mid-18th century colonial mansion.

On the walls of the main hall, there are a few rows of Dutch tiles with scenes from the Bible.

Dutch tiles depicting scenes from the Bible are believed to have been made in China after models from Delft. Some missing tiles were transferred to the National Museum in 1900 and were replaced by replicas in 1998. (JP/MVM)Dutch tiles depicting scenes from the Bible are believed to have been made in China after models from Delft. Some missing tiles were transferred to the National Museum in 1900 and were replaced by replicas in 1998. (JP/MVM)

The house has four entrances, and in the room to the left of the main entrance hall is a fine staircase leading to the second floor. The upstairs was used exclusively as private apartments for the family.

Beside being a house, the building also served as an office. De Klerk also pursued his own business even though it was forbidden for an official.

The six rooms on the first floor are believed to have been used as for meetings and offices.

The rooms on the right were assigned to tuan besar, or the master of the house, while rooms on the left were assigned to nyonya besar, or the lady of the house.

Many fine pieces of antique furniture on the ground and the second floor help retain the ambience of the 18th century in these rooms. The current furniture, however, are not part of the original furnishing of the house being sold by the heirs of the late proprietors.

More than 111 pieces of furniture, such as cupboards, bookcases, tables, settees, chairs and chests of different styles, dating from different periods and also made in several different places, can be seen in the main building.

You can find, for example, a shelf wall hanging probably made in Sri Lanka between 1602-1795, a Dutch style baby chair probably made in 1880 in Holland with mahogany from Cuba, and a Madura-Biedenmeyer style of twin chair probably made in Madura in late 19th century.

One of the twin Madura Biedenmeyer chairs at the archive building. According to antique expert Jan Veenendaal, these chairs were probably made in Madura in the late 19th century and are influenced by the English Biedermeyer style. (JP/MVM)One of the twin Madura Biedenmeyer chairs at the archive building. According to antique expert Jan Veenendaal, these chairs were probably made in Madura in the late 19th century and are influenced by the English Biedermeyer style. (JP/MVM)

Most of these furniture were donated by Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen or the Batavia Society for Art and Science to the Landsarchief van Nederlandsch-Indie or the Dutch Indies State Archive in 1925 after the first major renovation.

This society, founded in Batavia in April 24, 1778 by some Dutch intellectuals, including de Klerk, also donated its collection of furnitures to two other institutions which later became the National Museum and the Jakarta History Museum.

Tamalia said the collection had increased in the last ten years. The collection includes 38 antique maps dating back to the 16th century, and a number of paintings and drawings. Some of these maps and drawings were donated by their artists.

Last year the three museum invited Jan Veenendaal, an expert in Dutch colonial furniture, to identify their furniture collections. Coming to Jakarta with his own expense, Veenendaal identified the style, the materials, the period of production, and the place of production of these furniture.

"None of us really have a good index or inventory about the antique collection in these museums," Tamalia said .

"But now we have all the information and the three museums are now working on completing their inventory."

On the grounds of the house, we find separate pavilions for guest on each side of the main building. One of these pavilions is now used as a museum shop.

Next to the pavilions are spacious bijgebouwen, or annexes, which were used as a kitchen and storerooms. The two gables of the annex buildings are similar to those very common of the Cape Town, South Africa, once ruled from Batavia.

A replica of a slave bell, once used in the house. The original bell was cast in Batavia in 1772 by Johannes Borchhard and is now kept in the Werkspoor Museum in Amsterdam. (JP/MVM) A replica of a slave bell, once used in the house. The original bell was cast in Batavia in 1772 by Johannes Borchhard and is now kept in the Werkspoor Museum in Amsterdam. (JP/MVM)

In the courtyard there are two old cannons and a replica of a slave bell. The original bell was used to announce works and meals hours as well as unusual happenings.

This replica was cast in Beerta, the Netherlands in 1999 by Klokken-en Kunstgieterij Reiderland. The original bell was cast in Batavia in 1772 by Johannes Borchhard and is now kept in the Werkspoor Museum in Amsterdam.

Between 1926 and 1979 the building served as the archives and afterwards its condition deteriorated until its total restoration in 1997/1998.

The Jakarta provincial administration designated the building as one of heritage buildings on March 29, 1993 and followed by the then Education and Culture Ministry on June 16, 1998.

The National Archive Building Foundation managed the building after the 1998 renovation.

Four years later, UNESCO awarded the building the first prize in Cultural Heritage Award for the Asia Pacific region.

However, with no donation from the government and no entrance fee, the foundation mostly earned its income by renting the building out for exhibitions, weddings, seminars, product launches, fashion shows and parties as well as from the selling of books and souvenirs of its museum shop.

A home truth about the house of a Dutch governor-general

Tue, 07/15/2008 10:36 AM | City

(JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh)(JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh)

The house of Reinier de Klerk has its own history that might explain why it is the only buitenverblijen, or 'houses outside' the city, left on Jl. Gajah Mada and Jl. Hayam Wuruk.

For a long time during the 18th century, the two roads were the elite quarters of Batavia. They were later replaced by Weltevreden, the area around the present Lapangan Banteng and Medan Merdeka.

De Klerk lived in the house for nearly 20 years before dying there in 1780 as a governor general.

According to Adolf Heuken SJ in his book Historical Sites of Jakarta (Cipta Loka Caraka, 2000), de Klerk's very rich wife Sophia Francina Westpalm supported him throughout much of his career.

The mansion's upstairs is richly furnished with VOC period furniture. (JP/Matheos V. Messakh)The mansion's upstairs is richly furnished with VOC period furniture. (JP/Matheos V. Messakh)

When Sophia married de Klerk in 1754, she was already the widow of a former Council of the Indies member. Her son from her earlier marriage, Francois R. Radermacher, inherited de Klerk's mansion.

In 1786 Radermacher, the son the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences founder, sold the property to another Council of the Indies member, John Siberg. The house's second owner eventually became governor general between 1801 and 1805, and stayed in the house during the entire French and English period (1808-1816).

After Siberg's death in 1817, the house was auctioned off by his widow and sold the following year, this time to Iehoede Leip Iegiel Igel, a Polish Jew who once served as a low-ranked guard to the house.

The story goes that on a hot day Igel fell asleep while guarding the entrance. When the governor general unexpectedly returned, he was given fifty strokes for his laziness. On that same day, he swore that he would own the premises one day.

(JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh)(JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh)

After finishing his military service Igel changed his name to Leendert Miero and started work as a goldsmith. He could neither read nor write, yet he made a fortune and bought the Pondok Gede estate.

In 1819 he acquired de Klerk's house and for the next fifteen years invited big crowds to celebrate the anniversary of his lashing day. Igel or Miero had no children from his two legal wives, but adopted his four natural children born to him by four different slaves.

The house was inhabited by Miero's heirs until it was sold again in 1844 to the College of Deacons at the Dutch Reformed Church. When used as an orphanage (until 1900), it suffered several alterations. But after it was sold to the government in 1901, the Greek-style chapel attached to its front was torn down in order to restore the original fa*ade.

For the next 25 years, it served as the office of the Mining Department with little attention being paid to its historic value.

There have been so many wonderful stories written about the events that happened in the mansion.

A box which was used as food container. (JP/Matheos V. Messakh)A box which was used as food container. (JP/Matheos V. Messakh)

It is said that in the simple houses behind de Klerk's mansion more than a hundred slaves lived and worked. Sixteen among them formed a band of musicians and entertained their master and his guests at night.

More than 50 slaves were emancipated and given some money to start their freedom, under the last will of Sophia in 1785. Others bought their emancipation.

The rest, roughly 100 slaves were auctioned off together with their wives and children. This auction took place on Jan. 28, 1786 in front of de Klerk's house.

In 1925 the house was thoroughly restored. Again it shined in its old splendor with its garden landscaped once more. It was used as office of the Landsarchief (State Archive).

The door on the right side of the main building. High ceilings, long and broad windows marked the change in Batavia's architecture style in 18th century after the Dutch conquered the local rulers. (JP/MVM) The door on the right side of the main building. High ceilings, long and broad windows marked the change in Batavia's architecture style in 18th century after the Dutch conquered the local rulers. (JP/MVM)

The institution was relocated in 1974 to Jl. Ampera Selatan in South Jakarta because humidity was creeping up and into the walls. After the transfer was completed in 1979, the house was no longer used by the national archives body.

The condition of the mid-18th century colonial mansion deteriorated. The paint peeled off and many carvings, doors, and windows split apart. The walls became wet because rain water could not flow into the canal in front of the house.

"The building was in a bad condition. There was half a meter of flooding every rainy season. Many parts of the building were dilapidated," said Tamalia Alisjahbana, executive director of the National Archive Building .

In 1995, some Dutch companies doing business in Jakarta collected money as a gift for the 50th anniversary of Indonesian Independence with the intention of restoring the mansion.

A memorandum was signed during the visit of Queen Beatrix, who gave a reception in this building, but for years no realistic proposals were made by Arsip Nasional.

In order to prevent further damage, the house underwent a thorough restoration from 1997 to 1998. The restoration was done to the highest standard using modern techniques after a careful study of the condition of the building, the problem of drainage and of all old paintings and photos.

An embedded strongbox in the offices of Tuan Besar. (JP/Matheos V. Messakh)An embedded strongbox in the offices of Tuan Besar. (JP/Matheos V. Messakh)

On Nov. 1, 1998, the 1,270-square-meter mansion again regained its splendor.

"The building is believed to have a very good

"They wanted to tear it down in 1900, but it was saved by the Batavian Society. In 1998, they wanted to burn it down, but it was saved because we were completing the restorations.

"There are so many people coming here telling us that the building has a very good vibration, bringing good luck." --JP/Matheos V. Messakh

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Monica sings from her cultural roots

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 12/03/2008 7:51 AM | People

MONICA AKIHARY: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)MONICA AKIHARY: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

JAKARTA: Lead singer of the Amsterdam-based group Boi Akih, Monica Akihary, said she sings almost exclusively in her father’s native language, Harukunese, because it is one of the most perfect languages to sing.

“This language is the perfect language for the singer because it has open vowels, which is good ... for melodies and also for improvisation. It’s a really beautiful language,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the JakJazz festival over the weekend.

In Harukunese, the language spoken on the Indonesian island of Haruku, in Maluku, Boi Akih means “Princess Akih”.

“Before we started Boi Akih, we listened to a lot of music from Africa. I didn’t understand the words but I really loved the African music. Then Niels (Niels Brouwer, Boi Akih’s guitarist) suggested I sing in my father’s language,” she said.

She added she often asked for her father’s help when writing song lyrics, because she barely understood the language.

“I grew up with Moluccan Malaysian and Bahasa Indonesia, not with Harukunese,” said the woman who studied sculpture at the Indonesian Arts Institute in Yogyakarta from 1989 to 1990.

“We perform a lot in Europe and also in Africa, and I have to say people don’t understand the words but they really love the atmosphere of our music,” said Monica. — JP/Matheos V. Messakh.

'It all started with the blues,' says Zue

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 11/30/2008 10:34 AM | Headlines

It often rains on jazz nights -- but that didn't stop fans from hearing world-class and local noted musicians on the second night of Jakjazz 2008 on Saturday.

Some 30 performances were staged around and inside the Bung Karno Sports Center in Central Jakarta.

Local Agam Hamzah Acoustic Connection featured British-born Zue Bonnington, who opened the show entertaining hundreds of spectators.

"I've got two missions here. First is the regeneration of jazz. It's good that so many people love jazz now but it's not going to be enough just to have your favorites from seniors. We also have to think about the new generations," Zue told the audience from the stage.

"We have to give them opportunities like JakJazz. My second mission is to bring blues to everybody in Indonesia."

"The blues is where everything began. Without blues there would be no rock 'n roll, there would be no jazz. It's not a mission impossible," Zue told The Jakarta Post after the show.

Both local band Iga Mawarni and Friends and Amsterdam-based Boi Akih band drew nearly 1,000 spectators to their respective shows.

Iga Mawarni and Friends, formed in 2005, opened their show with "From Now On"; and the audience sang along to top hits such as "Andai Saja" (If Only), "Masquenada" and "Dansa Yo Dansa" (Dance lets Dance).

"I sang this song because I know that even in a crowded city like Jakarta, many people are lonely," Mawarni said after singing "Alone", as her fans shouted in approval.

Amsterdam-based Boi Akih mostly performed in the Maluku Malayan and Harukunese dialect, a language spoken on Haruku Island in Maluku province.

Boi Akih also performed Indonesian folk songs such as "Nona Hitam Manis" (Sweet Dark Girl), "Ole Sio", as well as "When Evening Falls", a song written in a combination of English and Harukunese.

Boi Akih's vocalist Monica Akihary said they were so impressed by the response of the public to their songs, especially those in the local dialect -- even though the audience might not have understood the words. Many Indonesians have not heard of Haruku.

"It seems that this language is actually perfect for singers because it has open vowels especially for melodies and also for improvising. It's really a beautiful language," Monica said after the show.

"We have performed a lot in Europe and also in Africa ... people don't understand the words but they love the atmosphere of the music, they really feel it inside their body. As a musician, it is the best compliment you can get," she said.

Apart from enjoying the music, young and old visitors munched at the foodstalls and painted T-shirts to take home.

Among other international performers late Saturday were the Australian Michelle Nicolle Quartet, Dutch Daniel Sahuleka, Japanese DJ Shuya, Open Hands Project Abraham Laboriel of the United States, French Roland Tchakounte and Malaysian Bassgroove100.

World-renowned Mexican bassist Abraham Laboriel, who has over 4,000 recordings and soundtracks, became emotional when a reporter asked about the difference between jazz 30 years ago and today.

"We have teenagers and children coming to watch. Thirty years ago we were playing jazz and now we are able to play jazz with our children. The best way to inspire your people to fall in love with music is to explain to them that music is really alive. It is not an art form to put in a museum. It's a lifestyle," Laboriel said, who has been awarded a honorary doctorate degree in music by the Berklee College of Music in the United States.

Other local bands such as Indra Lesmana Reborn, Barry Likumahuwa Project, Ireng Maulana & Friends and young stars Afgan and Andien also powered up the night on each of their respective stages.

Rossa celebrates her music career with concert

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 11/29/2008 11:33 AM | Entertainment

Rossa performs on stage during her “Persembahan Cinta” (Gift of Love) concert Wednesday night at the Plenary Hall of the Jakarta Convention Center in Senayan, South Jakarta. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)Rossa performs on stage during her “Persembahan Cinta” (Gift of Love) concert Wednesday night at the Plenary Hall of the Jakarta Convention Center in Senayan, South Jakarta. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

Rossa's stage Wednesday night reflected her career -- it had its ups and downs.

Singing 18 songs, her concert, titled Persembahan Cinta (Gift of Love) and performed at the Jakarta Convention Center's Plenary Hall, was a lifetime achievement for Rossa.

Dressed in a turquoise flared skirt, the mother of one opened her show with "Nada-Nada Cinta" (Rhythm of Love), sung in a cappella, causing a hush to fall over the audience and giving the impression she owned the stage.

The Erwin Gutawa Orchestra and Erwin Gutawa Band appeared from behind large sliding screens on two separate moving stages and accompanied Rossa till the end of the show.

Her next song was, "Terlalu Cinta" (So in Love) from her seventh album Yang Terpilih (The Chosen One), which had won her a Malaysian Anugerah Industry Muzik award in 2006 for best foreign artist.

The next 90 minutes were filled with 15 chart-topping songs, combining fast- and slow-paced melodies.

With some new up-tempo arrangements of her songs by noted composer Erwin Gutawa, Rossa -- who is known for her slow and mellow songs -- at times joined in with the 24 dancers from United Dance Works.

The 2003 hit "Malam Pertama" (The First Night), which became the soundtrack for the soap opera of the same title, had been rearranged to a fast salsa beat, which had the audience moving and shaking.

Rossa had five dress changes, with noted designers Sebastian Gunawan and Sally Koeswanto in charge of her wardrobe.

The Erwin Gutawa Orchestra played a significant role in the pop-classic collaborative concert, not only by smoothly filling the transition of one fast dress-change to another, but also by leaving no doubt that this truly was a concert.

Art director Jay Subijakto also fulfilled his promise to bring his architectural talent to the stage, allowing Rossa and the dancers to move freely during some fast rhythms.

Rossa, accompanied by the Erwin Gutawa Band, dances on stage during her Nov. 26 concert, which was considered a lifetime achievement for the 30-year-old singer. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)Rossa, accompanied by the Erwin Gutawa Band, dances on stage during her Nov. 26 concert, which was considered a lifetime achievement for the 30-year-old singer. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

Jay, who has directed 14 concerts, also provided the Erwin Gutawa Orchestra and Erwin Gutawa Band with a separate stage one level above the quadrilateral moving stages.

Returning to the stage after her first dress change, Rossa performed hits from her fourth album Aku Bukan Untukmu (I am not for you). Almost in tears, she told her fans how her progression to the top of her career had also been filled with much frustration and pessimism.

"In 1999, after I finished my first adult album, I was very frustrated because I couldn't find a song that I thought would become a hit. Then my producer came along with one that make me strong and brave," Rossa said before singing "Tegar" (Brave).

Rossa, who was born in Sumedang, West Java, on Oct. 9, 1978, started her career young in 1988. Little Rossa, whose real name is Rossa Roslaina Sri Handayani, caught the attention of a record company when she attended a vocal test with her mother, a local singer from Cianjur.

The company gave her a contract and she began working with musicians such as Franky Sahilatua, James F. Sundah, Uce F. Tekol and Areng Widodo, who helped her prepare her first album Untuk Sahabatku (For my Best Friend), an album of children's songs.

However, the album failed to meet the selling target and Rossa took a long hiatus before returning to the music industry eight years later with her second album Nada-Nada Cinta (Rhythm of Love).

Although she started to gain popularity through her second album, it took three years before she hit her stride and began launching albums every two years.

"I started my career at a very early age, but I never imagined I would reach all these (achievements)," Rossa said from the stage.

Throughout the concert, Rossa thanked those who had helped her throughout her career, including her best friend Melly Goeslaw and her mother.

The song her mother used to sing for her as a bedtime serenade was the only piece performed that did not come from one of her albums. She asked her mother to stand up before the crowd before singing "Bubui Bulan", a traditional song from West Java.

Ungu Band, which collaborated with Rossa on the soundtrack album for the movie Ayat-ayat Cinta (Verses of Love), appeared on stage in soft purple lighting, as vocalist Pasha sang with her in the duet "Tercipta Untukku" (Created for Me).

"The music was great and Rossa's performance was perfect, but there were some annoying flaws, such as when the microphone cracked (midway through a song) and (one) big screen that didn't work properly," Agus Wisman, a member of the vocal group Elfa Singers, who was watching from the audience, told The Jakarta Post after the concert.

Rossa's best friend Melly Goeslaw stole the show for a while when she appeared on stage in Japanese makeup and a Samurai-style outfit to duet with Rossa in "Hati Yang Terpilih" (The Chosen Heart).

Near the end of the show, Rossa appeared in a black Arabian-style gown, hypnotizing the crowd with her latest hit "Ayat-Ayat Cinta" with an Arabian rhythm. She opened the song with a Koranic recital.

The 30-year-old mother closed the show with "Nada-Nada Cinta" (Rhythm of Love) in a fast jazz style.

"Nothing is perfect. Although we had a little (microphone) problem in the middle of the concert, it didn't disturb Pasha and I and we finished the song perfectly," she said after the concert.

JakJazz swings into life with Lica Cecato, Zarro

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 11/29/2008 11:30 AM | Headlines

Hundreds of music lovers turned out at Istora Senayan Stadium in Central Jakarta on Friday for the opening of the 10th Jakarta International Jazz Festival, known as JakJazz.

Sultry Brazilian singer Lica Cecato and local band Zarro wowed the audience at the Amphitheatre stage with a sizzling combination of excellent music, vocals and dance.

The performers had rehearsed together for only a few hours, Cecato said, "but we could feel the connection during the performance. I found out that this country is a musical country ... The artists are catching up with music (trends) very fast," Cecato said after the show.

Eighteen-year-old student Vidi Aldiano stole the show with his performance of 10 songs, including five from his latest album, released two weeks ago.

The newcomer kicked off his set with "Masquenada", following it up with "Friday Night", "Tomorrow" and others from his new album.

The show just got hotter as Aldiano brought Keenan Nasution, J-Flow and Tohpati onto the stage.

"This was my first performance at JakJazz. I was a bit nervous at the beginning but when I was on stage I felt free," Aldiano said after the show.

"Jazz is difficult but good to listen to, with lots of variation."

Local band Kunokini hypnotized their crowd with their unique combinations of traditional and modern instruments. The audience laughed and sang along with the reggae version of the traditional Ambonese song "Rasa Sayange", a jazz version of a re-mixed Javanese traditional tune "Gundul Gundul Pancul" and Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up".

Little-known Abe Simpson Trio, featuring young singer Alexandro, had the honor of starting the action at the Jazz on Green stage, watched by a crowd of about 40 people.

Other international acts in the lineup were Ray Harris & The Fusion Experience, Kyoto Jazz Massive, Marina Xavier & Enrique Marcos and Kiboud Maulana & Friends.

Rain delayed the schedules of some shows and some performances overlapped but, as with most festivals, crowds roamed around before deciding where to stop for a listen.

Anti-cigarette protest mars Rossa concert

Sat, 11/29/2008 11:29 AM | Entertainment

Rossa's concert on Wednesday evening was marred by a protest involving around 40 demonstrators from the Indonesian Tobacco Control Network, the National Commission for Children Protection and the Total Ban Alliance.

They came to the Jakarta Convention Center's Plenary Hall to protest the tobacco industry's sponsorship of the concert.

Citing the example of Alicia Keys, who asked Philip Morris International to pull down billboards and posters promoting her concert in Jakarta in July, the protesters said by using such sponsorship the concert was indirectly encouraging children to smoke.

They also said that the National Commission for Child Protection had sent a letter on Nov. 22 to Rossa's management asking them to cancel it -- but it was to no avail.

"We understand that it might be impossible to cancel sponsorship just a few days before the concert. We just want them to not have any cigarette promotional materials during the concert. But if it's impossible, we just hope that it will be the last concert Rossa holds that uses them for sponsorship," protester Lisda Sundari told The Jakarta Post.

Responding to the protest, producer Erwin Gutawa said: "We are happy to have any sponsor. Please tell us if there are other companies who are willing to support us besides the ones that support us now." -- JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh

Sys NS blames govt for high ticket prices

The Jakarta Post | Sat, 11/29/2008 7:33 AM | People

SYS NS: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)SYS NS: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

JAKARTA: Actor and director Sys NS said he blames the government for not fully supporting the development of the music industry in the country, which has led to expensive ticket prices for concerts.

Sys, who is also the secretary general of the United Regions Party, said it wasn’t’ fair to put the blame solely on the tobacco industry, which usually provided the main sponsorship for music concerts.

“It’s kind of a dilemma. The music industry really needs support but nobody wants to support it, except the cigarette companies,” Sys told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of Rossa’s concert Wednesday night.

Sys lamented that Jakarta, as the country’s capital, had no decent concert hall. “We are supposed to have a concert building with a larger capacity than that of the Jakarta Convention Center, which can only hold about 3,000 people,” said the man who co-founded the Democrat Party in 2001 but withdrew from the party in 2007.

The 52-year-old, who turned to politics in 1999 and was appointed as a member the People Consultative Assembly from 1999 to 2004, said the government needed to provide a large concert hall as well as pose reasonable taxes on the music industry.

“The government should look at art as means to attract revenue. For example, the film industry in the U.S. is the second largest contributor to the country’s economy after the weapons industry,” said the man who was named Indonesia’s best disc jockey in 1975. — JP/Matheos V. Messakh

Jay incorporates his architectural skills

Matheos V. Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 11/22/2008 11:25 AM | People

JP/Ricky YudhistiraJP/Ricky Yudhistira

JAKARTA: Although he has not made a career out of what he learned at university, choreographer and art director Jay Subijakto said he always tried to use his architectural skills in his work.

“In designing a stage, I used many architectural skills in order to accommodate the choreography, but also in order to come out with the best quality sound,” Jay said on the sidelines of a press conference at the JustSteak restaurant in South Jakarta on Wednesday.

The man who has been the art director for more than 12 musical concerts lamented the country’s arts and music facilities.

“We all know that we are a big country with lots of arts and music heritage, but there is no building feasible for a concert. That’s why we have to play in convention centers,” said Jay, who earned his degree in architectural engineering at the University of Indonesia.

Jay, who is also a film director, and composer Erwin Gutawa are busy preparing the first solo concert for singer Rossa, which will be held on Nov. 26 in the Plenary Hall at Jakarta Convention Center. — JP/Matheos V. Messakh

Nadine feels connection with sea

Matheos V. Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 11/21/2008 10:37 AM | People

JP/Matheos V. Messakh JP/Matheos V. Messakh

JAKARTA: With her celebrity status, Miss Indonesia 2005 Nadine Chandrawinata could become a messenger or ambassador for any cause she wants.

But the 24-year-old actress and model said she wanted to be an ambassador for coral reefs because she is a ocean lover.

“I have some kind of connection with the sea. If I fall in love or if I’m feeling blue, I will go to the sea. The sea also gives me inspiration and ideas. So I think I have to do something for the sea,” Nadine told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a national meeting on coral reefs in Jakarta on Wednesday evening.

Her concerns for sea conservation has seen the international environmental organization, the World Wildlife Fund, choose her as its ambassador for marine conservation. Wakatobi regency in Southeast Sulawesi province has also chosen Nadine, who is a certified diver, as its eco-tourism ambassador.

“The greatest users are human beings but the greatest destroyers are also human beings, so we need to educate people to preserve the abundance of colorful marine
life,” she said. “We can start form small things such as not littering.”—JP/Matheos V. Messakh