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.

Is Indonesia’s ‘dreamy idealist’ losing the plot?

Akhirnya! At last! Just in time for the 75th anniversary of the declaration of Indonesia’s independence next week (17 August) we’re starting to examine our big neighbour with some honesty.

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Killing slowly to show love

WARNING: This article contains observations which some may find disturbing.

Posted in Asia, Religion and Faith | Leave a comment

The dragon in the room next door

He’s one of China’s most high-ranking and experienced diplomats yet he was caught on TV squirming when confronted by video showing manacled men shunted onto trains. The prisoners were alleged to be Chinese Uyghur, a Muslim ethnic group.

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How academics are killing freelancers

Thou woldest han oure labour al for noght. The hye god, that al this world hath wrough Seith that the workman worthy is his hyre. Geoffrey Chaucer: The Summoner’s Tale.

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Let the flag follow the trade

It’s a curious cluster – Jamaica, Luxemburg, Costa Rica and Jordan. Squashed in the middle at 73 is Indonesia. It’s a lousy rank on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Register because it shouts at potential investors: Beware! Yet … Continue reading

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Scared of the same bogeyman? Let’s cooperate.

Was Indonesia alerted ahead of the PM’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan announcement? The presumption is that key people were tipped off, largely because there’s been no blow-back.

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Indonesia’s President Widodo finally takes a firm stand, but will it matter?

Indonesia’s founding president Soekarno was a dazzling demagogue, feared and loathed by the West and admired by the East. Apart from Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), his successors’ performances at the podium have been pedestrian, but suddenly Joko Widodo, the epitome … Continue reading

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The ABC-Out of sight, out of care

This continues yesterday’s feature on ABC Australia, our underfunded and neglected TV presentation to the Asia Pacific. Look on, ye neighbours, and despair.

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ABC sending a strange message to the region.

The slashing and burning of ABC workers, their goodies and services seems to have missed the overseas TV service ABC Australia. That’s no reason to whoop. Further cuts will kill.

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Chinese ties put Indonesia in a bind.

Beijing has warned citizens against travel to Australia claiming ‘a significant increase’ in racial discrimination and violence against Chinese and Asians blamed for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Posted in Asia | 4 Comments

Back to the good ol’ ways in Jakarta

Cities can snap-back from the Corona-19 crisis – though not necessarily to a New Normal. Jakarta shows how.

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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