Author Archives: Duncan Graham

Duncan Graham

About Duncan Graham

Duncan Graham has been a journalist for more than 40 years in print, radio and TV. He is the author of People Next Door (UWA Press) and winner of the Walkley Award and Human Rights awards. He is now writing for the English language media in Indonesia from within Indonesia.

DUNCAN GRAHAM. More Jakarta, Less Geneva!

It’s become a ritual for every Australian leader for the past half-century.

Posted in Asia | 2 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM If Bali lets you in – will Oz let you back?

When is a pandemic suppression order not a lockdown? When it’s in Indonesia.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Blame – don’t shame

It’s warming to see Australians helping jobless Balinese felled by Covid-19 with tuckerbags as hotels shut and tourists flee. One donor called it her ‘moral obligation’, a commendable motive.

Posted in Asia, Politics, World Affairs | 1 Comment

DUNCAN GRAHAM. When in doubt, think up a number

Indonesia’s second president General Soeharto had a fix-all to calm restless citizens demanding improvements. He’d pronounce a numbered plan.

Posted in Asia, Health | 1 Comment

DUNCAN GRAHAM The year of living disastrously

Most days the ABC website publishes graphs showing the trajectory of Covid-19 cases. The charts feature nine countries including Taiwan, Japan and Australia. Though not Indonesia.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Not the Freshest Meat in The Australian.

The Australian has become very liberal with their use of the word ‘EXCLUSIVE’.

Posted in Media | 2 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM. A breakup’s unthinkable – so let’s give it another go

Australia and Indonesia are not the neighbours we ought to be. Many button lips for fear of arousing wrath, but here’s the truth: The neighbours aren’t part of the Anglosphere. They don’t understand or trust us, nor we them.

Posted in World Affairs | 5 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM Don’t cry for us,, Indonesia

Some foreign correspondents in Jakarta have done a bunk, leaving their Indonesian fixers and colleagues to confront the catastrophes they fear to face.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Normal service will be rezoomed forever

Witless vandals defacing the odd Zoom chat room have given repressive states (think Singapore) another excuse to stomp on a development they dread: Technology that’s letting a hundred schools of thought contend.

Posted in Media | 1 Comment

DUNCAN GRAHAM. Mobocracy rules in Indonesia.

The videos are ghastly. Young men stripped to the waist, roped together in a line, shuffling forward on their knees. Their bodies are bruised and bloodied, their smashed faces creased with fear. They’re not just the victims of kampong rough … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Politics, World Affairs | 3 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM But the dead are many

Indonesia’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic makes a train wreck seem structured. The fourth most populous nation has next to no testing, no info, no direction – and most important of all – no trust. Such is the legacy of … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM.- Not a model land

Curious about life as a sheep? Visit Incredible Indonesia, as the tourist promos once hollered.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM It’s looking real bad next door

Doomsayers are society’s detestables yet needed as truth-tellers. So here goes: The omens are awful. Thousands of Indonesians are threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic through denial and indecision. Responses have been too few, too late and too uncoordinated.

Posted in Health | 2 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM For sale: Bat viruses in Indonesia

Indonesia’s 8.9 per cent death rate for COVID-19 infections is the second highest in the world, just behind Italy nudging ten per cent. The apparent inaction of the Government is particularly concerning with Indonesian meat market practices being quite similar … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM The land of no social distance

While the Western world thinks staying apart is wise to avoid Covid-19 infections, Indonesians still remain together.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM.-The wealthiest one per cent (all men) own half Indonesia’s total wealth.

Ma’ruf Amin is a name few Australians would recognize. Before his election last year as Indonesia’s vice-president, the hard-right Islamic cleric showed minimal interest in his southern neighbour. Suddenly he wants Australian aid.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM Reporting from afar using mining models

The Australian Associated Press closure in June will shut Australians out of much domestic journalism. Courts, councils and commissions whose workings underpin democracy will often go unreported.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM The Washington watcher on UWA’s cast-iron balcony

Why is the Perth-based USAsia Centre backed by Australian taxpayers? If this foreign influencer was run by the Chinese or Russians it would be forensically examined. As a US show it slips past scrutineers.

Posted in World Affairs | 5 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM.The pachyderm on the patio

Kupang is at the bottom of West Timor. It’s the largest city in far eastern Indonesia. Imagine how Canberra would react if Jakarta allowed the People’s Liberation Army Air Force to station their armed jets just 830 km northeast of … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Politics, World Affairs | 1 Comment

DUNCAN GRAHAM. From blusukan to bland in five years

There are some cheering on-line videos worth checking from 2015 when Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull visited Jakarta.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Bali Nine ‘Black Sheep’ pleads for mercy

The media curtain-raisers for Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s visit to Australia focused on trade and visas. Human rights activists were hoping the agenda might include the fate of the five surviving Bali Nine.  One is Martin Stephens.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. This bus isn’t moving fast.

It’s not too difficult for outsiders to get the gist of Indonesian economics.  That’s because terms, like ‘administrasi, deficit, bangkrut, fiskal’ and others have been pinched from English and tweaked.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM.-Indonesian Free Trade – not there yet                        

For much of 2019’s last quarter Australian rural journals and politicians were forecasting a bonanza.But some reality is overdue

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DUNCAN GRAHAM . Can young voices get into elders’ ears?

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s Cabinet selection has been met with widespread dismay by liberal progressives. There have been some weird choices noted here https://johnmenadue.com/duncan-graham-dont-cry-for-me-indonesia/ The most disturbing was making Widodo’s bitter and brutal rival Prabowo Subianto, 68, Defence Minister, even … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM – Sunup in Sawojajar

Expat blogs praise the joys of living in Bali. A low-cost paradise, they say. Sundowners with fellow retirees while a maid (‘a real treasure’) prepares dinner and ‘our’ gardener trims the lawn. Good time to bitch about deemed interest rates … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM Don’t cry for me, Indonesia

Though it started well earlier this year, the signals now flashing from across the Arafura Sea are no longer cheering. The world’s third largest democracy celebrated a successful poll in April when the voters made their wishes clear. Since then … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM – Threatening unity by seeking harmony

Maintaining harmony (rukun) is a quality embedded in Javanese culture. This is one explanation for Joko Widodo publicly calling bitter rival Prabowo Subianto his ‘best friend’ at the Presidential inauguration. A few days later Widodo offered Subianto the Defence portfolio. … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM How not to engage with Asia

Every decade or so a Western Australian politician on the cast-iron balconies of the State’s Parliament glances outwards. Looking away from the Darling Range rippling in the heat rising from the Swan Coastal Plain, the watcher wonders: What opportunities lie … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM Bali alert! Busybodies at large

It was excruciatingly embarrassing. The hotel receptionist was adamant: We either proved our marriage or we left.  Voices were raised which drew more staff and onlookers to the foyer. Security guards appeared.

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 3 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM. PM in gaffe-strewn Indonesian TV interview

Scott Morrison has given a rambling error-littered interview to Indonesian TV where he fudged the figures of casualties in the 2002 Bali bomb blast. The Prime Minister told English-speaking journalist Andini Effendi that “more Indonesians were killed than Australians” when … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Media | 1 Comment