Peatlands policy needs to be carried and upscaled to the next regime

Peatland protection and restoration seem to be one of the most important environmental themes of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo regime, especially following the 2015 forest fire. However, with the election less than a month, we need to make sure that the important and critical work around peatland is carried forward and upscaled.

As we know, the massive forest and land fires of 2015 that paralyzed important cities in the region and led to health concerns, awakened the government to the importance of peatland restoration and protection. In response to the fires, Jokowi has since rolled out various measures to protect the carbon-rich peat forests.

One of these measures was the establishment of the peatland restoration agency, known as BRG. The agency led the nationwide efforts to restore degraded peat forests. Jokowi also announced a moratorium on the draining of peat swamps, issued an anti-haze regulation, and asked companies to conserve peat areas within their concessions. In 2016, this…

Privileges Transfer and The Leftover of Colonialism

Back when I had recently arrived in Phnom Penh, I struck up a conversation with, what I was hoping, a potential new friend at the birthday party of a mutual friend. She was born and raised in Cambodia but had lived in the US for a bit. Our conversation went like this:

Her: So, what are you going to do in Cambodia.
Me: I guess I will try to find a job.
Her: Oh, do you even have any qualification?
Me: What do you mean? (I was a bit confused)
Her: Do you even have a degree? Did you to school? Like a formal education?
Me: (I start to feel uncomfortable), ummm… I guess, yeah…

Her: You know that I work with all of these people, right? (at that time we are in a bubble of white people who live in Phnom Penh) You know that I work with them, right? (she repeated herself) I have a qualification, I am qualified. I went to school in the US. I plan to get my master degree in the US. That would be easy for me. Anyway, what is your undergrad?

Me: communication, but my m... (she cut me)

Her: Ooooh, th…

keber-agama-an dan ke-beragam-an

Dua bulan lalu saya berpapasan dengan sekelompok anak lelaki, mungkin berusia sekitar 10-12 tahun, yang memanjati pohon sawo di sebuah lokasi wisata. Dugaan saya, mereka tinggal di sekitar komplek wisata tersebut. Ketika saya lewat, mereka tetiba bertanya, atau lebih tepatnya berteriak dari atas pohon, “mbak, agamanya apa, mbak?”

Saya terkejut, dan membalas, “Ngopo e le, kok tanya agama?”

Adik-adik pohon sawo keukeuh ingin tahu agama saya, “apa dulu, mbak, agamanya?”

Sambil berlalu sama menjawab, “wah, aku nda mau jawab kalo tanyanya begitu.”

Namun, mereka tidak berhenti dan malah berteriak mengulang-ulang pertanyaan yang sama, “Mbak, opo e mbak agamane? Mbok dijawab toh, Mbak. Mbak!”

Karena tak digubris, salah satu dari mereka akhirnya berteriak, “apa e, mbak? Kristen, ya? Kalo Kristen sama seperti teman saya!”

Ternyata mereka kesal karena tidak mendapat jawaban yang diinginkan, lalu melempari buah sawo ke arah saya.

Saya menceritakan tentang hal ini di sosial media. Ternyata, kem…

Laki-laki, kontrasepsi, dan aborsi

Seorang anak perempuan, diperkosa, lalu hamil, kemudian dipenjara karena menghentikan kehamilannya. Meski hakim memutuskan dia tidak bersalah, jaksa justru mengajukan kasasi agar si anak dipenjara dengan tuduhan penghilangan nyawa.
Agar dapat menghilangkan aborsi, fokus utama kita harus bergeser dari menghukum pelaku, menjadi menghindari kehamilan yang tidak diinginkan dan tidak direncanakan. Dengan demikian, penghentian kehamilan, alias aborsi, tidak perlu terjadi sama sekali.
Kehamilan yang tidak diinginkan dan tidak direncanakan bukan melulu perkara remaja. Saya tidak dapat menemukan data terbaru di Indonesia, tetapi data 10 tahun lalu, 70% aborsi dilakukan dalam perkawinan, 30% dilakukan di luar perkawinan, dari 30% itu, 21% dilakukan oleh remaja.
Menghentikan kehamilan yang tidak diinginkan tidak bisa hanya berfokus pada perempuan. Perempuan tidak bisa hamil tanpa ada sperma yang masuk ke dalam sel telur. Sebab itu, laki-laki juga sudah semestinya bertanggung jawab penuh atas set…

Calming down the tourism craze, does enclosure serve its purpose?

If you look forward to spending summer in Southeast Asia, you might want to take Boracay and Maya Bay, two of the top-rated destinations in Thailand and the Philippines, off your list.

Thailand will officially make Maya Bay, which was featured in the 2000 movie The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio, inaccessible to tourists from June to September of this year. Meanwhile, even though technicalities are still being discussed, The Philippines interagency task force on Boracay recommend shutting down the island for six months beginning April 26. The Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte has supported this recommendation.

This is not the first time Thailand government has used an enclosure strategy to protect ecosystems. In 2016, the government shut down the Southern Similan Islands, a group of famous scenic islands in the Andaman Sea, to tourists from May to October. However, after the fifth month, one island, Koh Tachai, remained restricted indefinitely. The official announcement mentione…

Does Development in Singapore Jeopardizing Koh Kong, Cambodia?

Two environmental activists in the Kingdom of Cambodia pleaded guilty last month for filming illegal sand mining in the Mekong River. The same activists were also jailed last year for activism against the same illegal sand mining. ADHOC, the oldest Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, claimed that activists were being imprisoned because the company is scared of exposure to their illegal sand mining. ADHOC also accused the corporation of bribery to the police. For the last several years, at least two activists from Mother Nature had been imprisoned, and two others have been under international refuge for standing against Mekong River illegal sand mining.

Mekong River is a trans-boundary river, runs from Tibet, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand. Most of the sand mined from these countries goes to Singapore, to help the country reclaim the land and adapt to climate change by creating a buffer zone. Meanwhile, the sand mining ruins mangrove forests in Ca…


My best friend's mum passed away two days ago, and I just knew it this morning when I was in a meeting with friends.

She was one of the strongest women I've ever know. She raised two kids by her own hand, while worked hard in the military. She went to meet my mum when my dad passed away and offered so much help to our family. She forever inspires me.

This is the third time I lost important people in my life since I moved to the US.

My high school best friend passed away in the first month when I arrived in Michigan. The maternal mortality rate is high in Indonesia. My friend passed away when she was delivering her third baby. I had not talked to her for a while, our last conversation was when she told me that when we were in the high school, I always wanted to be a journalist. But I never knew what she wanted to be. She was the smartest, she can be anything, but she was not sure.

By the end of last year, I lost a colleague, one of the most dedicated people I knew in human righ…