About the Seminar
In February 2017, Indonesia will stage yet another round of direct local elections for governors, mayors and district heads. Arguably, the most highly anticipated of these upcoming polls will be the gubernatorial election in the capital Jakarta where incumbent governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, will seek to become the first Christian ethnic Chinese to win an executive election in the nation’s capital. In recent months, the Jakarta election has already captured the public’s attention as Ahok reneged on an earlier announcement to run as an independent candidate and accepted a party nomination instead. Meanwhile, speculation and rumours about who will challenge Ahok in the election have also mounted ahead of the registration deadline on 23 September. Given the pivotal importance of this election and the immense public interest in who will become Jakarta’s next governor, this seminar will provide a preview of the 2017 Jakarta election. It will introduce the candidates who registered with the General Election Commission, trace their pathways to the nomination, and assess their respective strengths and weaknesses. It will then contextualize the election in broader political trends in Indonesia and analyse the significance of the impending campaign for future elections in Indonesia.
About the Speakers
Dr Charlotte Setijadi is Visiting Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Her research interests include Chinese soft power in Southeast Asia, ethnic Chinese business networks, transnational migration, and identity politics in Indonesia.
Dr Deasy Simandjuntak is Visiting Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Her research interests include democratization, decentralization, local elections and identity politics in Indonesia.
Dr Dirk Tomsa is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. His main research interests include electoral and party politics in Indonesia as well as comparative Southeast Asian politics.
About the Seminar
Since the beginning of this century, the relations between Indonesia and China have become much closer. Trades between the two countries have significantly increased, especially after the strategic partnership agreement between the two countries was signed in 2005. In recent years, the incoming investments from China have also grown unprecedentedly, especially in the mining and infrastructure sectors. Cultural and political relations between these two Asian countries have also improved, as exemplified by the establishment of several Confucius Institutes in Indonesia, and the mutual visits between a number of Indonesian political parties and the Chinese Communist Party.
About the Speaker
His publications include, “‘Search for Knowledge as Far as China!’ Indonesian Responses to the Rise of China”, in Chinese Encounters in Southeast Asia, How People, Money, and Ideas from China Are Changing A Region, Pal Nyiri and Danielle Tan (eds.) (Seattle: University of Washington Press, Forthcoming). He also wrote an ISEAS Perspective on “What Does Indonesia’s Pribumi Elite Think of Ethnic Chinese Today?”, and “Cultivating the Past, Imagining the Future: Enthusiasm for Zheng He in Contemporary Indonesia” in Zheng He and the Afro-Asian World, Chia Lin Sien & Sally K Church (eds.) (Singapore: Melaka Museums Corporation [PERZIM] and International Zheng He Society, 2012). He is currently working on the perception of China and the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, especially among the pribumi Indonesian political and economic elite.
About the Seminar
Once regarded as inherently antagonistic arenas of contests, formal electoral politics and the political activism of social movements are now increasingly seen as closely intertwined. While in established Western democracies issue-based movements often form alliances with programmatic parties and complement the campaign efforts of these parties through informal activism, the nexus between movements and elections in new democracies is more commonly defined by personality-driven electoral movements that mobilize support for populist candidates for executive positions. In Indonesia, this trend has been evident since 2012 when Joko Widodo (Jokowi) won the Jakarta governor election on the back of an unprecedented mobilization of volunteers. In 2014, another volunteer movement emerged to mobilize support for Jokowi’s presidential campaign. Right now, volunteers are once again lining up to help Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) in the 2017 Jakarta governor election.
This presentation analyses this new political activism in Indonesia by examining how informal, non-partisan mobilization affects the party-dominated arena of electoral politics. Building on a conceptual framework developed by McAdam and Tarrow, it puts forward three main arguments. First, volunteer activism has added a new dimension to electoral campaigning in Indonesia which is otherwise dominated by professional consultancies and the rampant use of money politics. Second, new electoral movements are posing a challenge to the supremacy of political parties in electoral contests as they not only complement but often take over important functions that are conventionally regarded as the domain of political parties. Third, the emergence of these electoral movements are both products of broader regime dynamics as well as potential determinants of the future trajectory of Indonesia’s current democratic regime. The presentation concludes with an outlook to the 2017 Jakarta election and a critical assessment of the prospects for this new kind of activism to spread to other elections.
About the Speaker
Dirk Tomsa is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Philosophy at La Trobe University, Melbourne, and a Visiting Senior Fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. His main research interests include Indonesian and comparative Southeast Asian politics, especially electoral and party politics. He is the author of Party Politics and Democratization in Indonesia: Golkar in the post-Suharto era (Routledge, 2008) and co-editor (with Edward Aspinall and Marcus Mietzner) of The Yudhoyono Presidency: Indonesia’s Decade of Stability and Stagnation (ISEAS, 2015).
About the Seminar
Bugis Indonesians were long encouraged to informally emigrate to the East Malaysian state of Sabah as labourers, where they were readily assimilated as Malay-speaking Muslim members of the greater “Malay race”. In recent years, however, these immigrants have been accused by Sabah’s ethnic Chinese and indigenous Christian groups of displacing “genuine Sabahans”. Bugis immigrants have been framed by these groups as instruments of attempts by the United Malays National Organization to augment the Malay population and re-engineer eastern Malaysia’s political demography. Opposition leaders and concerned Sabahans allege that hundreds of thousands of falsified national identity cards have been distributed to such immigrants, allowing them pass as citizens and illegally vote in elections for UMNO. Minority groups and opposition politicians claim that these illegal interlopers are difficult to distinguish from their “authentic,” co-ethnic Malaysian counterparts due to a practical challenge: they look like locals, speak Malay, and carry fake IDs marking them as citizens. In response, state agents and concerned citizens have begun relying on a particular sensory modality — hearing or listening — in order to sort non-citizens from citizens.
This paper examines how state agents and concerned citizens are identifying illegal immigrants by virtue of their “foreign” or “awkward”-sounding Malay accents. So too, it addresses how undocumented Bugis immigrants are identifying, minimizing, and masking the out-of-place sounds in their Malay speech in order to more effectively pass as locals.
About the Speaker
Andrew M Carruthers is a linguistic and sociocultural anthropologist and a Visiting Fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. His dissertation research centred on undocumented Indonesian labour migrants in the East Malaysian state of Sabah, evaluating how their assimilatory strategies are shifting amidst ongoing state crackdowns on illegal immigrants. His more recent work focuses on infrastructure and social dynamics of urban life in Makassar, Indonesia. He is the recipient of several grants and awards, including a Fulbright-Hays GPA grant, a Fulbright IIE research grant, and the Society for Linguistic Anthropology Graduate Prize. He holds a B.A. from Cornell, an M.Phil. from Yale, and receives his Ph.D. from Yale in May 2016.
INDONESIA STUDIES PROGRAMME
About the Seminar
ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute is honoured to host an exclusive preview of a major new report, Indonesian Students in Egypt and Turkey, co-authored by Sidney Jones and Navhat Nuraniyah from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta and Anthony Bubalo from the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia. This report will be launched in Sydney, Australia next week. The report, based on extensive face-to-face interviews of Indonesian students studying across Egypt and Turkey, analyses their views of the Islamic State phenomenon, the relationship between Islam and democracy, and the significant cultural and religious differences between Indonesia and their host states. The report concluded:
“Despite the fact that all the students we interviewed were religious students, religion was only one criterion by which they judged political events and leaders. Finally, and perhaps most importantly for an age when Western political leaders still talk loosely and superficially about Islam and Muslims, our interviews with Indonesian students underlined how far off the mark such a monolithic view of the Islamic faith and its faithful really are.”
About the Speakers
Sidney Jones is the Director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) based in Jakarta. From 2002 to 2013, Jones worked with the International Crisis Group, first as Southeast Asia project director, then from 2007 as senior adviser to the Asia program. Before joining Crisis Group, she worked for the Ford Foundation in Jakarta and New York (1977-84); Amnesty International in London as the Indonesia-Philippines-Pacific researcher (1985-88); and Human Rights Watch in New York as the Asia director (1989-2002).
Navhat Nuraniyah is an analyst at IPAC. Before joining IPAC in 2014, she worked as a researcher on terrorism and radicalisation in Indonesia at the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore. She holds a Master of Arts in International Relations, with Honours, and a Master of Diplomacy from the Australian National University. She obtained a BA in International Relations from Muhammadiyah University Yogyakarta and was trained in Arabic and Islamic studies at pesantrens in East Java and Yogyakarta.
Anthony Bubalo is the Deputy Director and Research Director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. He has also produced research on a variety of Middle Eastern issues, including Middle East – Asia linkages, Islamism, democratisation, terrorism and energy security. He comments on Middle Eastern politics for the Australian and international media outlets. He has written for The Australian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, the Financial Times, Ha’aretz and Asahi Shimbun newspapers as well as The American Interest and ForeignPolicy.com. Before joining the Lowy Institute Anthony was an officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He served in Australian diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia and Israel and was Middle East Analyst with the Office of National Assessments from 1996 to 1998.
ABOUT THE SEMINAR
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
ABOUT THE SEMINAR
Following forty years of censorship, the 1965 coup (also known as the Thirtieth of September Movement) in Indonesia and the ensuing mass killings have only received international attention in recent years, especially through the widely acclaimed documentaries “The Act of Killing”. There has been a lot of uncertainty around the role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Indonesian politics immediately before and during the coup.
This seminar will first clarify the role of the Chinese government in Indonesia between 1964 and 1966 by a close reading of PRC archival materials. It will be argued that, although deeply invested in Indonesian politics, Beijing’s actual influence over the Indonesian Communist Party and the turn of events in Indonesia in 1965 was far more limited than what the Suharto regime and some English language works have previously claimed. An investigation on the Indonesian communist exiles who used to live in China will be done by reconstructing some of the exiles’ experiences of participating in the Cultural Revolution in China, tracing some of the long journeys they took from Moscow to Beijing and then to Western Europe, and tapping into their evolving spiritual world that pivoted on the fluctuating tides of the international communist movement. Another focus of this talk is the tension between the state’s efforts to dominate the writing of history and individual attempts to steer the direction of public discourse, as well as individuals’ inner struggles to reconcile life decisions made in the past and the new socio-political environment they are situated in at the present.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Taomo Zhou is a Post-doctoral Fellow at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University. Taomo received her Ph.D. from Cornell University, where she specialised in modern Chinese as well as modern Southeast Asian history. She has long-term interest in the nexus between international relations, migration, and political movements. Before entering Cornell, she studied at Peking University (B.A.), Waseda University (B.A.) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (M.Sc. with Distinction). Taomo has published two peer-reviewed journal articles on the interactions between China and Indonesia during the Cold War period: “Ambivalent Alliance: Chinese Policy towards Indonesia, 1960-1965” (in The China Quarterly) and “China and the Thirtieth of September Movement” (in Indonesia).
ABOUT THE SEMINAR
On 9 December 2015, Indonesia conducts its first simultaneous elections of regional leaders (Pilkada) in 263 regions across the archipelago. The simultaneous direct elections provide a close look at local politics, particularly at how parties manage the various elections in different regions, how candidates were nominated, and how voters decide. This presentation focuses on the elections in North Sumatera, North Sulawesi, and East Java. Regions in East Java are dynamic politically and economically, and the record of healthy competition between the various parties makes it important to observe. Regions in North Sumatra host a variety of ethnic and religious identities, which are influential during elections. North Sulawesi is a province that displays a high level of political fragmentation, competitiveness and participation. Manado, in particular, is one of the most important economic centers in Eastern Indonesia, and one of the few major cities in the archipelago with a predominantly Christian population in a Muslim-majority Indonesia.
This seminar will bring together findings and trends from these various regions, to build a better understanding of the current shape of local politics in Indonesia.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Deasy Simandjuntak is a political anthropologist and Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. In 2010, she obtained her PhD from the University of Amsterdam, with a dissertation on “patronage democracy in Indonesia”. She was post-doctoral fellow at Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) Leiden (2009-2011) and guest fellow at Southeast Asian Studies, University of Freiburg, Germany (2010). Some of her most important publications are “Gifts and Promises: Patronage Democracy in a Decentralized Indonesia” in European Journal of East Asian Studies (EJEAS) 2012, and “Milk-Coffee at 10 AM: Encountering the State through Pilkada in North Sumatra” in Van Klinken and Barker (eds) State of Authority: The State in Society in Indonesia, New York: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publication 2009. Her most recent publication is “Doing Anthropological Fieldwork with Southeast Asian Characteristics? Identity and Adaptation in the Field” (with Michaela Haug), in Huotari, Rüland, Schlehe (eds) Methodology and Research Practice in Southeast Asian Studies, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2014. She wrote the ISEAS Perspective “Persistent Patronage: Explaining the popularity of former corruption convicts in Indonesia’s Regional Elections (October 2015).”
Ulla Fionna is Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. She studied at Airlangga University, the University of Warwick, and the University of Sydney. After receiving her PhD, she held post-doctoral positions and taught at the University of Sydney. She is the author of The Institutionalisation of Political Parties in Post-authoritarian Indonesia: From the Grass-roots Up (University of Amsterdam Press, 2013) and Watching Indonesia’s Elections 2014 (ISEAS, 2015). Her main research interests are Indonesian politics, political parties, electoral politics, and democratisation. Currently, she is studying the Indonesian Muslims’ political aspirations.
ABOUT THE SEMINAR
As a strategy to appease the pressure from its regions in the end of New-Order, Indonesia initiated a rapid decentralization in 1999, aiming to meet the local needs, stimulate political participation and encourage the accountability of local governments. Decentralization was seen as a prerequisite of democratization. As a consequence, the government began to sponsor local elections (Pilkada) and the creation of new administrative regions (pemekaran).
Fifteen years after its initiation, Indonesia’s decentralization has shown mixed results. On the one hand, it has assuaged secessionism by allowing resource-rich regions to use their income to benefit the local people and allowed poorer regions to function with the help of central government’s funding. On the other hand, the widespread corruption perpetuated by patron-client structures and the persistent dependence of new regions to Jakarta’s funding indicate the lack of improvement on the quality of local governments.
To curb these shortcomings, the government recently re-empowered the provinces and the central state vis-à-vis the districts, imposed stricter regulations on pemekaran while still preserving directelections as the means of leadership succession in the regions. Some observers are wary of a possible “democratic rollback”, however, to what extent is this “recentralization” harmful to democratization?
Using ethnographic and secondary data, the seminar sheds light on the experience of pemekaran and pilkada which have called for the redesigning of decentralization.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Dr Deasy Simandjuntak is a political anthropologist and Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Studies Programme of ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. She wrote her MA thesis in 2003 at the University of Amsterdam on the subject of Chinese-Indonesian ethnicity and nationalism. In 2010, she obtained her PhD from the University of Amsterdam, with a dissertation on “patronage democracy in Indonesia”. She was post-doctoral fellow at Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) Leiden (2009-2011), guest fellow at Southeast Asian Studies, University of Freiburg, Germany (2010), and guest-speaker on “the elites in Indonesia’s local elections” at the Study of Social Distinction workshop at Oxford University (2010).
Deasy was lecturer at University of Indonesia. Some of her most important publications are “Gifts and Promises: Patronage Democracy in a Decentralized Indonesia” in European Journal of East Asian Studies (EJEAS) 2012, and “Milk-Coffee at 10 AM: Encountering the State through Pilkada in North Sumatra” in Van Klinken and Barker (eds) State of Authority: The State in Society in Indonesia, New York: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publication 2009. Her most recent publication is “Doing Anthropological Fieldwork with Southeast Asian Characteristics? Identity and Adaptation in the Field” (with Michaela Haug), in Huotari, Rüland, Schlehe (eds) Methodology and Research Practice in Southeast Asian Studies, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2014.
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