Tag Archive | "Indonesia"

A Role Model for Myanmar

Our country is probably in a transition, but in ASEAN, we are expected to influence Myanmar (originally known as Burma) to improve its human right records. History has shown that Indonesia can survive from dictatorship and have been developing faster than other countries which were in the same condition. therefore, many countries believe that Indonesia has become a positive example of how a democracy can emerge from a dictatorship.

JAKARTA—Twenty-five years ago, both Indonesia and Burma were ruled by totalitarian regimes known for their human rights abuses, lack of genuine democracy and corrupt leaders who siphoned off national resources. Indonesia is now a functioning democracy and human rights advocate with a relatively transparent, free market economy. Burma, on the other hand, has slid further into the pit of oppression and corruption.

Former Burmese dictator Ne Win, left, and Indonesia’s then President Suharto in Jakarta in September 1997. Less than a year later, in May 1998, Suharto was forced to step down after 32 years of military-dominated rule. (Photo: AFP)

With Indonesia set to chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2011, and given its recent transformative history, some observers believe Jakarta is the best suited of all Asean members to influence Burma. But if Indonesia is able, directly or indirectly, to effect a positive change in Burma, it will have to succeed where Asean and the international community have previously failed.

Although Asean’s general-secretary, Surin Pitsuwan, once vowed that Asean would be a “wheel of change” in the region, observers say that since its establishment in 1967, the organization has come up short in its meager efforts to improve the human rights record of member states. While Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia have recently become more active in calling on the Burmese regime to institute democratic reforms, members such as Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam are still reluctant to pressure the junta.

Observers hope that when Indonesia—Asean’s largest and most populous country— takes over as chair of Asean, it can help find a common platform among Asean members that could provide a basis for calls for reform in states such as Burma. Sources within Asean also said that Indonesia may use its chair position to actively pressure the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to push Burma to improve its human rights records and institute democratic reforms.

Ready to Lead?

Jakarta may already be laying the groundwork for that push. At the 16th Asean summit that took place in Hanoi in July, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the bloc wants very much to see an election in Burma that meets international standards for recognition and credibility. And in March 2010, Natalegawa told his Burmese counterpart in Naypyidaw that Jakarta expected the regime to “uphold its commitment to have an election that allows all parties to take part.”

This is not the first time, however, that expectations were raised regarding Indonesia’s potential influence on Burma. In August 2009, the executive director of the US Campaign for Burma, Aung Din, said “Indonesia is a leading member of Asean, a close friend of Burma and has access to the generals in Naypyidaw. Indonesia is also a reliable partner of the US and EU in many areas. Therefore Indonesia can help to build a bridge between the Western powers and the generals in Burma.”

News Source : Irrawaddy

Photo Source : saveburma

Thank you Mr. Ahmad Saiful for the news tips!

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The $ 672 billion roars !

Indonesian stocks are traded by Japanese investors every day, but one recent request from Tokyo was out of the ordinary. A big investor phoned up a local fund manager asking to buy $1bn in equities on the Jakarta stock exchange within just 20 days.

Jakarta is not liquid enough to handle that kind of money. But the anecdote shows the scale of interest that has made it one the world’s best performing stock markets this year.

According to EPFR, a research firm that tracks fund flows, net inflows into equities in the first half of 2010 were $971m. At that rate, net inflows are on track to top last year’s $1.1bn. Much of that came from Japan, which recently upgraded Indonesian government debt to investment grade and is the largest foreign, long-term investor in the nation. With sturdy economic growth, stable politics, low inflation and a consumer market of 240m people, there is an unusual absence of bears questioning Indonesia’s prospects. It seems Asia’s sleeping $672 bn tiger has finally awoken.

“You’ve got a scenario of very sustainable 5.5 per cent to 6 per cent growth, historically low inflation prevailing for some time, a stable currency and bond yields falling to record lows,” says Tim Condon, chief economist for ING Asia. “This is a very attractive climate for investors.”

Indonesian equities are now valued at an average multiple of 17.5 times the consensus of forecast earnings this year and 15 times 2011 profits. That compares with an average multiple for the emerging markets universe of 11.9 times 2010 earnings and 9.9 times next year’s profits. The Jakarta composite index rose 86 per cent in 2009 and is up 19.4 per cent this year. It was a safe haven when most economies slipped into recession, largely because two-thirds of gross domestic product is generated by domestic consumption.

Morgan Stanley warns that the country’s stock market is over-priced compared with India and China or south-east Asian peers. Others analysts say Indonesia is too poor and has too small a middle class to be ranked investment grade.

But Mr Condon says: “In a world of considerable uncertainty, countries that are able to show resilience and some insulation from that uncertainty, like Indonesia has shown, will remain standouts … that will continue into the second half.”

Foreign buying of bonds has driven down the yield on the 10-year government issue to slightly more than 8 per cent this year. EPFR says net inflows into the country’s bond markets have been $2.1bn this year, making Indonesia second only to Mexico among emerging markets in attracting bond investors. Investors are optimistic about the rupiah and sound monetary policies under the first directly elected leader, President Susilo Banbang Yudhoyono. The economic outlook is also robust. Interest rates are expected to remain steady, although a surprise spike in July inflation above 6 per cent could prompt a sooner-than-planned rate hike.

Ito Warsito, president director of Jakarta’s stock exchange, says market capitalisation has more than doubled since the end of 2008 to more than $250bn. His goal is to take public 75 companies and boost the market capitalisation to $300bn by the end of 2012.

“My main focus is market capitalisation,” Mr Warsito says. “The current appreciation of our index and prices also creates a burden, but it is a nice problem for us.”

Investors are looking to buy shares in the natural resources, banks, infrastructure and consumer goods industries. Upcoming IPOs will include miner PT Berau Coal, telecommunications company Tower Bersama Group, Krakatau Steel and the national airline, Garuda.

[via Financial Times]

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New Celebrities of the Sea

by Ahmad Saiful Muhajir

We already posted some new rare species found in Indonesia, but it seems that more and more beautiful and fabulous rare species are found gaian, by the joint expedition between Indonesia and NOAA called Indonesia-USA Deep-Sea Exploration of the Sangihe Talaud Region (INDEX 2010).

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010.

A benthopelagic sea cucumber swimming in the near freezing waters of the abyss, 3200 meters deep

This expedition started from June to August 2010 with collaboration from Indonesian scientists will work side-by-side on two ships, the Okeanos Explorer and the Indonesian research vessel Baruna Jaya IV, and at Exploration Command Centers ashore. The areas of expedition is surrounding the Sangihe and Talaud island chains northeast of North Sulawesi, where there are sure to be many geological and biological discoveries.

Until today, Tuesday, they found 52 new species and eight sea mounts in deep waters. The species were found at the depth between 300 to 2,000 meters beneath the ocean’s surface including fish, shrimp, coral and shells.

Researchers also identified six sea mounts near North Siau Island and two sea mounts near Bunaken in 700-1,600 meters below the sea. Here are some pictures that’ll amaze you.

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010.

Large barrel sponges and their associates, 700 meters depth

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010.

8cm long gastropod snail crawling on a wood fall (log) at 1525 depth

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010.

The sea spider

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010.

A stunning purple Sea Lily filters the current for food

Ladies and Gentlemen, BATFISH !

Check more pictures and stories at INDEX 2010′s site. All images courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010.

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Global Companies Should Be In Indonesia

A fertile archipelago of 17,500 islands, and one of the world’s most populous countries, Indonesia is enjoying an unprecedented consumer and resource-driven boom. In April, the International Monetary Fund predicted that its $514 billion economy, the biggest in Southeast Asia, would grow 6 percent this year, up from 4.5 percent in 2009.

James Castle, a Michigan native who founded the CastleAsia consulting firm, has been doing business in Jakarta for more than 30 years and has more than 100 multinational clients, including Citigroup, Siemens and Shell. Mr. Castle spoke in an interview this month about why the Indonesian market was starting to get the recognition it deserved.

Q. What are some of the pleasures and pitfalls of doing business in Indonesia?

A. The real pleasure is that it’s a good place to make money. Companies tend to be quite profitable here. The pitfalls are that it is highly bureaucratic, regulations can be confusing and sometimes implementation can be inconsistent. These things can be intimidating, especially for new-to-market people. But it’s also a very practical country where most problems get worked out, and not in a corrupt manner; most multinationals can do business here consistent with other codes of conduct around the world.

It has a stereotype of not being a very efficient manufacturing economy, but that’s not true. There are exporters here, aside from the normal natural resource and commodity exporters, who are gaining market share and are reasonably competitive.

Q. Has it become easier to do business here as Indonesia’s political system has stabilized into a relatively solid democracy?

A. We’ve had pretty stable politics here for a decade now, since ’99. That’s certainly a big plus and one reason companies are profitable. Because the democracy is young, you do get a lot of bureaucratic uncertainty. People aren’t quite sure where the political power lies. But our regulatory uncertainty is not political instability. In terms of law, order and safety, it’s a very good place to operate.

Q. You have survived two separate terrorist blasts in Jakarta, one of which took place just last July. How real is the threat of terrorism in Indonesia? Should it scare off investors?

A. That last blast was the first attack in several years. It’s part of the global trend in political terrorism we see around the world, and it’s a tragedy. But as I’ve said before, more people die of dengue fever than die of terrorist activity here.

I think it does deter some businesspeople, but not too many. Indonesia, because of its performance economically and because it’s one of the faster-growing members of the G-20, has got a lot more interest at headquarters. I think most companies, if they don’t have a position on Indonesia, want to have one.

Q. Do you think Indonesia should be a contender for the BRIC club (the group of powerful emerging economies named after Brazil, Russia, India and China)?

I think BRIC is a catchy term, but the countries in the group are so different. What’s the common denominator of a BRIC? That said, the world is changing, countries that were low-income are able to move up, a variety of political and social systems can make that happen. I would say that the long-term stability ones are India, Indonesia and Brazil. I think both China and Russia have tremendous political obstacles to overcome, though meanwhile they both can be very good places to do business. Large companies will have the resources to go into all these countries if they want to. So it’s really just a question of, ‘Is that particular market ready for us right now?’

Q. Does Indonesia get forgotten by the global business community amidst all the attention lavished on India and China?

A. After ’98 and the Asian financial crisis, Indonesia just got ignored. Now it’s in the discussion. Some companies may for very good reasons decide that now is not the right time for them to come here, but they will have made a conscious decision. Indonesia can no longer be ignored. If you’re a global company, and you’re not in Indonesia, you really have to ask yourself why, or why not.

It’s really starting to get the attention it deserves, and that I attribute to its visibility in the G-20 and the fact that it was one of the high-growth countries in the slowdown of the last 18 months. Most big companies are looking at Indonesia and trying to find opportunities here.

And if they’re not, they should.

Q. What important changes does the government need to implement to improve the country’s business climate?

A. Where the government has made some progress is the anti-corruption movement. I’ve been here a long time, and this is the first government that’s made a real, noncynical attack. But they’re still not halfway there, whether you’re talking about judicial reforms or bureaucratic reforms.

The other area where the government is being too slow is in all the regulations that are preventing infrastructure investment, whether public or private sector. They ought to be able to forge a political consensus on how to move ahead. That we haven’t had more infrastructure investment and that Indonesia’s been unable to create the policy environment to make that happen has been the big disappointment of the last number of years. It’s been a huge loss to the country.

Q. Do you have any advice for newcomers to the market?

A. If you think there’s a market for your product here, there’s a legal way to get into the market. It just may take more time and energy. Indonesia’s what I call a ‘management intensive market.’ It takes a lot more senior management time. If you’re confused, there are plenty of lawyers and accounting firms and consultants here who can give you advice and help you through the thicket. The Investment Coordinating Board has a new chairman now, Gita Wirjawan, who is very much pro-business. We’ve never had a head who has understood the private sector as much as he has and he’s instilled that spirit through the board.

You can’t do something here overnight. You can’t fly into town, set up a company and be operating in 48 hours like you can in some countries.

Singapore is friendly in that way. So are some of the Middle Eastern countries. But they don’t have the market.

Study the market very carefully. Don’t come in with a very short-term objective of getting something going in three to six months. Don’t cut corners, don’t get frustrated by the bureaucracy, because you will get through it.

One of the reasons a lot of the new investment here is coming from people already in the market is because some new-to-market companies give up too soon. Indonesia is a little harder than some of the other markets to get into. But it’s worth the effort.

[Source / image credit: Digirain]

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Moody’s: Indonesia’s Credit Rating is Positive

Indonesia’s credit rating outlook was raised to positive by Moody’s Investors Service, highlighting the strength of Asia’s emerging economies amid soaring debt burdens in developed nations from Greece to Japan.

The outlook on Indonesia’s Ba2 local-and foreign-currency sovereign ratings was changed from stable, Moody’s said in a statement today, three months after Standard & Poor’s raised the country’s credit rating to a 12-year high. Moody’s last upgraded Indonesia’s debt, to two levels below investment grade, in September 2009.

“The core of Indonesia’s growth story is driven by a large domestic market that is appropriately managed by a well-tested economic policy framework,” Aninda Mitra, Moody’s vice-president and its lead sovereign analyst for Indonesia, said in the statement.

The rupiah has risen 15 percent against the dollar in the past 12 months, the biggest gainer in Asia, as investors poured money into an economy that expanded even as the global financial crisis pushed Japan, the U.S. and Europe into recession. Southeast Asia’s largest economy is less reliant on exports than its neighbors, and the re-election of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to a second term last year boosted confidence.

“In the eyes of the international investor, the Indonesian story is a good one,” Fauzi Ichsan, a Jakarta-based senior economist at Standard Chartered Plc, said in a telephone interview today. “In Asia, after China and India, where can investors go?”

Stocks, Rupiah
The benchmark Jakarta stock index rose 1.5 percent to 2,973.36 at noon local time, exceeding its April 30 record close. The rupiah gained 0.9 percent to 9,013 per dollar as at 12:23 p.m.

Moody’s said it expects Indonesia to post “sustained strong growth” and further improvements in the government’s financial and debt position. External disturbances such as the “instability in several European sovereign debt markets” have had no serious implications on Indonesia’s “improving” credit fundamentals, Mitra said.

S&P raised Indonesia’s sovereign credit rating to BB from BB- on March 12, with a positive outlook. S&P and Moody’s both rank Indonesia two levels below investment grade, while Fitch Ratings on Jan. 25 raised its rating to one step below investment.

Race to Raise
Improvements in the level and composition of the government’s debt, along with sustained gains in the country’s external position or a deepening of domestic markets, would be the most likely triggers for a rating upgrade, Moody’s said.

“The three houses are racing in raising Indonesia’s” ratings, said Ichsan. “If the government’s fiscal policy stays conservative and stable with a budget deficit below 3 percent of the gross domestic product, investors will be more convinced that from a fiscal perspective the Indonesian government is prudent.”

Indonesia’s central bank unveiled measures last week to encourage investors to keep their money in the economy longer and reduce volatility in capital flows and the rupiah. The move is “ratings neutral as it does not fundamentally restrict the timely and comprehensive servicing of credit obligations,” Mitra said today.

In the past five weeks, President Yudhoyono has moved to fill a yearlong leadership vacuum at the central bank by nominating Bank Indonesia Acting Governor Darmin Nasution to take the job permanently. He also named Agus Martowardojo as finance minister to replace Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who joins the World Bank as one of three managing directors this month.

“Recent appointments and nominations at the finance ministry and at the central bank are supportive of policy continuity and institutional credibility,” Moody’s said. “The increase in Indonesia’s foreign currency reserves is also notable, while better prospects for foreign direct investment could sustain further improvements in the overall external position in line with its sovereign ratings peers.”


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The Only Way of Indonesia is Up!

While the telecom services “growth market” focus has been on the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) nations in recent years, a new Pyramid Research report suggests the industry should be paying closer attention to Indonesia too.

The report, “Indonesia: Rising Competition to Spur Telecom Revenue Growth,” reveals that there’s a marked under-penetration of most telecom services in this vast, fragmented country of more than 240 million people.

But rapid service uptake, driven by increased competition and rising disposable income, is expected, with the Pyramid team predicting that, while China and India are still set for significant expansion, Indonesia will become the fastest-growing telecom market in Asia/Pacific during the 2009-2014 period, with overall revenues from communications services growing by a staggering 80 percent.

In the mobile sector, subscription penetration stood at 63.7 percent in 2009 — below the global average of 68 percent — and actual user penetration at 38.6 percent. There has already been some growth -– in 2006 subscription penetration was just 28 percent –- but the report’s authors believe there will be much more in the coming years, with penetration set to exceed 93 percent by the end of 2014. In revenue terms, the report predicts that this will translate to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.4 percent for the mobile sector to 2014.

Broadband of any kind has yet to reach 1 percent of the population, but mobile broadband is on the march, claiming 2.4 million connections in 2009, compared with only 1.6 million on fixed broadband. This is partly explained by the archipelago nature of the country: The population is spread across more than 6,000 of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands, which makes wireless technology more suitable for broadband rollout. And in a country where only 5 percent of the population owns a PC, mobile phones look set to be the standard platform for Internet access.

PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) , the mobile arm of fixed incumbent PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk. (Telkom) , will probably be the main beneficiary of this growth, and will likely still dominate the market with a market share of more than 50 percent in 2014. (See Telkomsel Plans Capex Hike.)

But it’s not just a mobile story. The report predicts that fixed-line revenue growth will outstrip that of the mobile sector during the coming five years. Indeed, Pyramid projects that total fixed-line revenue will increase at a CAGR of 13.6 percent to the end of 2014. The main driver of this will be the continued popularity of limited mobility services — or fixed-wireless access (FWA) — throughout the archipelago. FWA already accounts for three quarters of all fixed connections in the country. (See Indonesian Operator Soars With FWA.)

The popularity of FWA, says the report, will mean that the fixed space will predominantly serve the need for voice services, while broadband data needs are met by 3G platforms. This, it adds, is “in stark contrast to other markets.” Perhaps surprisingly, WiMax looks set to remain a niche technology in Indonesia.

The simple fact is that while Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, it ranks only seventh in Asia/Pacific in terms of telecom revenue. And in terms of telecom revenue as a percentage of GDP, Indonesia stands at 1.7 percent, compared with Vietnam on 5.3 percent and Thailand at 3.3 percent.

For Indonesia, the only way, it seems, is up.


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Open Wider for Foreign Investment

Indonesia has raised the foreign ownership limit on certain sectors, such as agriculture and health care, in a bid to lure investments, according to a presidential decree.

The decree said the government will allow foreigners to hold up to a 49% stake in individual companies in the staple food plantation industry. Previously, only domestic investors have been allowed to enter this area.

The government is also raising the ceiling for foreign ownership in hospitals to 67% and is opening doors to facilities across the country. Previously, foreigners could hold up to 65% of hospitals in certain major provinces only.

Indonesia, however, is still retaining a ban on foreign investment in telecommunication towers despite strong interest from overseas investors.

The sprawling archipelago has drawn more investment interest of late because of its strong growth prospects and relatively stable government. Some investors have tipped Indonesia to rank beside the burgeoning BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China due to its big market potential and rich natural resources.

However, bureaucratic red tape, corruption and overlapping regulations have hobbled foreign investment. In 2009, actual foreign direct investment in Indonesia dropped about 20%, to $10 billion, from a year earlier amid the global economic crisis.

The Bin Laden Group from the Middle East last year cancelled a plan to invest around $1 billion in a food estate project in Papua province because the government planned to cap its share of ownership in the project at 49%.

The opening up of the hospital sector could pave way for some regional health-care providers, such as Parkway Holdings Ltd. of Singapore, to enter the world’s fourth most populous country, analysts said.

The decree is effective immediately, but detailed rules haven’t yet been set.


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Tallest Mountain Between America And The Himalayas

Carstensz Pyramid is the highest mountain in Australia and Oceania. It is the eight summit in the Seven Summits project (7 summits on 7 tallest mountains on 7 continents).

Carstensz Pyramid is situated in west Papua (now named Papua province Indonesia). This Indonesian Province was called Irian Jaya till 2005. It lies in New Guinea, which is the world”s second largest island.

Carstensz Pyramid

Carstensz Pyramid

Carstensz Pyramid
Photo©JahodaPe­tr.com (Carstensz Pyramid & Papua Guide)

“Anyone who has once seen Carstensz Pyramid longs for it like it was a beautiful woman. It seduces you while remaining mysterious. Once in a while it shows you all of its beauty, only to be covered in the veil of mist a minute later. It is provocative but unattainable. It makes you tormented and restless, as it does us”"

Petr Jahoda – climber, Papua & Carstensz guide

Carstensz Pyramid or Puncak Jaya or Jaya Kesuma

Carstensz Pyramid, called Puncak Jaya by some, and Puncak Jaya Kesuma or only Jaya Kesuma by others, is located to the west of the central highland called Jayawijaya and Sudirman Mountains. It is the tallest mountain in Australia and Oceania. Technically this means that Carstensz Pyramid is the tallest mountain between America and the Himalayas.

Officially it carries the name of its discoverer – of John Carstensz, who was a Dutch sea-farer. In 1623 he brought news to Europe about the snowbound mountain right on the equator, but no one believed him. He was the first European to see Carstensz Pyramid with his own eyes.

Indonesian communists called it Puncak Jaya (the summit of victory), even though this name belonged to a different summit which was considered to be the highest (Nga Pulu). Yet another name for Carstensz Pyramid which is also often used, is Jaya Kesuma. This name is used in books published by Mapala University. However, these days Indonesia uses (rather inconsistently) both names of the mountain – Carstensz Pyramid and Puncak Jaya.

Sometimes you can run into misspelled „names“ used when referring to the Carstensz Pyramid, these include Karstens , Carstens, Carstenz, Carstenzs, Carstesz, Carstes, Carstez, Karstensz, Karstenz, Karstesz, Karstes, Karstez or Piramid. However, these all are typos. The only correct name is Carstensz Pyramid. Sometimes, the second name for Carstensz Puncak Jaya is mispelled and following incorrect forms are used instead: Puncak Jaja or Puncak Jaia. The most frequent typos are undoubtedly Karstens and Carstens. The former typo stems from the name of the Carstensz Pyramid discoverer, who is sometimes spelled as Jan Karstens.

The Question of Carstensz Pyramid’s height

The officially recognized height of the Carstensz Pyramid is 4884 m (16023 feet some sources claim 16013 feet). Despite that many sources still claim its height is 5030 meters (16503 ft). Australian navigational air maps quote 16503 feet (5030 meters). Still, in 1994, the height of the world recognized publisher of maps and guides from Verlag noted on the map „Indonesien Ost“ the height 5030 m.

All our equipment (both altimeters and GPS”s) showed its height lower than 5000 meters (16400 feet) at the top of the Carstensz Pyramid. Therefore, in line with other reputable mountaineers, we denote the official height of Carstensz Pyramid 4884 meters (16023 feet). However, we are still in doubt about the reasons behind air navigational maps and Verlag being wrong.

Snow mountains on the equator

Carstensz Pyramid – Middle Peak

Carstensz Pyramid – Middle Peak


Carstensz Pyramid – Puncak Jaya (4884 m, 16023 ft), Puncak Mandala (4640m, 15223 ft), and Puncak Trikora (4730m, 15518 ft), are the three tallest and most well known mountains of west Papua. Carstensz Pyramid is the tallest of them, and it belongs to the Snow Mountains (Pegunungan Maoke in the local language). They are situated in the west of the central highland Jayawijaya.

The legendary tropical Snow Mountains are situated in the middle of endless jungles in West Papua. They are the logical ending of Cembalo Plato. Out of the three mentioned mountains, only Carstensz pyramid belongs among them. Although the massif of the Snow Mountains is not too high, and it lies 4 degrees south of the equator, it contains four relatively large glaciers. The largest of them is not the Carstensz Glacier, but Meren Glacier which fringes the Nga Pulu peak (4862 m, 15951 ft). Some Indonesians call this peak Puncak Jaya, because it was long considered to be the highest peak of Papua.

And where does the name Snow Mountains come from” There are not only glaciers on the summits, but the reason is also the fact that snowing is not unusual there. Tropical snow storm often bring snow to areas situated as high as 4000 m (13123 ft).

Carstensz Pyramid – wall

Carstensz Pyramid – wall

Graceful wall of Carstensz Pyramid


The wall of the Carstensz Pyramid is about 500 – 600 meters (1640 – 1968 ft) high. In the upper part it is traversed by a gigantic ledge, in which to big culoars went. The bottom part of the wall – approx. 300 m (984 ft) is „neatly“ bowed at an angle of 10 – 15°. The upper part of the wall is approx. 80 m (262 ft), and it is almost vertical. The peak crista of Carstensz Pyramid is largely rugged and exposed. Some climbers say that the wall of Carstensz Pyramid is as sharp as glass, and they are not far from the truth.

You can ger much more information about climbing the Carstensz Pyramid by exploring the pages linked from the menu on the left hand side.

Source: CarstenszPapua.com

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Solomon Island: Why Not Indonesia?

Honiara, the capital city of Solomon Islands, cannot be reached directly from any city in Indonesia. You have only 2 options: you go to Brisbane (Aussie) then Honiara, or you go to Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), then fly using Air Nugini. Most people in Honiara knows Indonesia, and they simple called it the… Australian neighbor. Not really comforting, but it’s enough for some of them who don’t even know Hongkong.

I have once written about my experience when I spent almost 3 weeks in Solomon Islands, I don’t think I need to repost it.

Well, on my last day in Honiara, I bought a local newspaper (I can’t remember the name). There was a big headline there, titled “Why Not Indonesia?”. Solomon Islands has long been reliant to Australia and NZ for its international and diplomatic issues, and I am not sure, but I sensed some disappointment among the Solomon people.

Solomon Islands, the paradise of pacific

The answer to the headline is a question. Is Indonesia rising and shining in global politics? Well to me, yes it is. But what about others’ opinion? I am sure, many seem to think so, especially considering its democratic success story, continued economic growth and increasing global profile and influence in a wide range of issues, from human rights, peacekeeping, its convincing role as UN security council member, to trade, and climate change.

Most recently, Indonesia was at the G20 Leaders Summit in Pittsburgh to voice not just Indonesia’s interests, but also the concerns of the Muslim world and developing nations. This is showing the forefront responsibility Indonesia has in its shoulder.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s standing in Southeast Asia also appears unshaken. In fact, when the US signed ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in late July, some speculated that the move was meant to support Indonesia’s regional role rather than to benefit the whole region.

It is easy therefore to get caught up in the flurry of excitement as Indonesia seems ready to take on the mantle of global leadership. And I believe, that we should not overlook small countries like Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, as they have the same vote power in the UN seat. Taiwan has been losing its grip in the pacific Islands, and China becomes the new “friend” for them. Indonesia, can play a pivotal role in finding diplomatic ties, and no-string attached. Unlike what China and Taiwan did it in the past. I am sure, our friends in the pacific islands will welcome us, as I was warmly welcomed 2 years ago.

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Not too serious, please, Sir!

I got an email from one GNFI reader, and she is….9 years old and lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She said something like this:

Sir, I visited your blog at least once a week, and my sister said that she visits your blog every other day. My father work for Indonesian company here in Ho Chi Minh City, and I would like to know more about your country, because my father wants to take me to Indonesia next year. However, I do not understand your blog as it is for adult and old man. Can you please write something for children, so that readers like me can be your segmented market too? I speak English a little, my sister translates this letter for me. Sorry for your inconvenience.

Srey – Ho Chi Minh

I was laugh-fully shocked to have that letter, and then realized that GNFI has been “too serious” for long. Well, I will try to fulfill her request, or maybe, your request, too? Here we go…

  • Indonesia is situated in Southeast Asia. It stretches from Sumatra in the west to Papua in the east.
  • The archipelago is roughly divided into Greater Sunda Islands, Smaller Sunda Islands and East Indonesia.
  • Indonesia is a republic, with an elected parliament and president. Its capital is Jakarta.
  • The biggest island in Indonesia is Sumatra, which is a part of the Greater Sunda Islands.
  • Of the ten largest islands in the world, three are located in Indonesia.
  • Indonesia is the fourth largest country of the world, in terms of population.
  • Indonesia is counted amongst the largest producers of nutmeg in the world.
  • The local name of Indonesia is ‘Tanah Air Kita’, which means Our Land and Water.
  • The national motto of Indonesia is ‘Unity in Diversity’.
  • Indonesia is the largest archipelago the world, comprising of five main islands – Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua.
  • Indonesia boasts of thousands of islands, out of which around six thousand are inhabited.
  • Indonesia is home to some of the rarest creatures in the world, including miniature deer, fish that climb trees to catch insects and spiders that catch and devour small birds in giant webs.
  • Indonesia spreads over “Ring of Fire”, situated in Western Pacific. It has over 400 active volcanoes and bears over 3 earthquakes per day.
  • Java Island of Indonesia is one of the initial places in the world where ape-man lived. Even the skull of an ape-man was found buried in ice there.
  • The highest point in Indonesia, Puncak Jaya is situated in the highlands of Papua.
  • The islands of New Guinea and Borneo are amongst the largest islands in the world.
  • ‘The Sangiran Early Man Site’, situated in Indonesia, has the status of a World Heritage Site and has served as home to around half of the world’s hominid fossils.
  • Marco Polo was one of the first Europeans to visit Indonesia.
  • Indonesia is home to Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), the largest lizard in the world.
  • Indonesia has a lot of Good News and also full of Achievements!

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