Endangered tiger brutally killed in Sumatra

Villagers on the island of Sumatra recently killed a male Sumatran tiger. They then skinned the animal and hung its body from the ceiling of the village hall. Some in the Indonesian press have called the incident “barbaric.”  Did the villagers not know that tigers are a critically endangered species? In fact, the villagers did know. But they believed that this tiger was a “siluman,” a shape-shifter, that had been lingering in the village for more than a month. It had to be killed. The … [Read more...]

The Impact of Indonesians Working Abroad

A report from the World Bank recently discussed the opportunities that Indonesians have to work abroad. Currently, approximately 7% of the Indonesian population is a migrant worker. In 2016, the nine million Indonesians who worked abroad sent home approximately the equivalent of 9 billion USD, which has contributed significantly to the economy, both in homes and nationally. They earn, on average, 4-6 times as much as they would in Indonesia. The skills learned abroad help to improve their lives … [Read more...]

Indonesia Recognizes Native Religions

In a landmark ruling made in early November, Indonesian's Constitutional Court allowed for Indonesians to register as penhayat kepercayaan, or native-faith adherents for the first time.  All Indonesians are required to register as followers of one of the official religions. This registration appears on their identity cards. The six official religions at this point have been Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. In the past, citizens also had the option of … [Read more...]

Survey Reveals an Increase in Intolerance Among Indonesian Students

Benar News reported that a survey released on October 30, 2017 showed about a fourth of Indonesia’s college students support fighting for the implementation of an Islamic caliphate system in Indonesia.  Jakarta-based Alvara Research Center and Mata Air Foundation polled 1,800 students from 25 leading universities in Indonesia plus 2,400 high school students from across Indonesia to determine if early detection of radicalism among campus populations could predict Indonesia’s future. The … [Read more...]

Several Indonesian Languages are on the Brink of Extinction

Dadang Sunendar, the head of language development for the Culture and Education Ministry recently stated that 139 local Indonesian languages are on the brink of extinction. With 707 languages, Indonesia has the second largest number of languages in the world. Only Papua New Guinea has more, with 839. There are several factors that cause a language to decline, including war, major natural disasters, mixed marriages, and geographical conditions. A language is considered “alive” as long as there is … [Read more...]

Leaving Islam

Adit grew up in a home with a Muslim father and a Catholic mother in Indonesia. His Catholic grandparents often babysat him when he was little, and they told him stories about Jesus, which he liked. But his father hired a Quran tutor so she could learn how to recite the Quran. And in fourth grade, Adit’s tutor told him only Muslims can enter paradise. That was the beginning of his journey to becoming atheist. In his second year of university, he stopped practicing Islam. He stopped praying, … [Read more...]

Churches in Aceh Burned, Others Shut Down

On Friday, October 16, a mob attacked several churches in Aceh Singkil and burned them down. The mob said that the churches did not have the proper permits to exist. Now, authorities in Aceh are shutting down several churches this week. Authorities have contacted church leaders, and at least 6 churches have agreed to tear down their churches after admitting that they don’t have the proper building permits. They did this because members of the hardline group Islamic Defenders Front demanded that … [Read more...]

Forest Fires on Sumatra

On Wednesday, satellite imagery picked up over 600 fire hot spots across Sumatra, with the worst areas being the Jambi, South Sumatra, and Riau provinces. The fires in Jambi are so bad that they have had to close schools. Another big concern in Jambi is that fires are threatening oil pipes that run through the forests there. Half of the fires along the pipelines have been put out, but the other half are still burning. In Riau, helicopters that were water-bombing the fires had to stop because … [Read more...]

No Survivors in Papua Plane Crash

On Sunday, a Trigana Air Service plane crashed into a mountain in Papua. The plane was going from Jayapura to Oksibil. There were 44 adults, 5 children, and 5 crew on-board, and none of them lived. The plane also had $470,000 that was going to help with a village assistance program. The treacherous terrain has made it difficult for those doing recovery efforts. The plane’s black box was found on Tuesday. Hopefully this will help investigators figure out what happened. Read the full story … [Read more...]

Bali Flights Being Cancelled

For the third day in a row, flights have been cancelled going to and from Bali. On July 9, Garuda tweeted that the airports in Bali, Lombok, Jember, and Banyuwangi were being closed due to ash. Mount Ruang has been erupting for several days now. The volcano is near Banyuwangi, East Java. People traveling from western Indonesia have still been able to go to Bali, but the many Australians in Bali are stranded. This is because the route they take is different, and the ash is in their … [Read more...]