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Following a sustained and lengthy battle against the evil (and mostly foreign) proponents of permissiveness, the Indonesian government has reportedly agreed to the demands of the anti-Bintang league, the nation’s leading organization for national prohibition in the Republic of Indonesia, and with immediate effect has banned the consumption of any type of alcohol on these hallowed shores!

This landmark decision is seen as crucial is saving the country’s youth, whom according to senior politicians from two of the country’s largest Islamist parties (no connections to IS), have been spending all their pocket money at brightly-lit convenience stores on bottles and cans of Bir Bintang even though they don’t actually like the bitter taste and would far prefer pulpy orange instead – that’s if they weren’t already hooked on a drink, which, to add insult to injury, appears to be brewed by communists! Communists I say! Because why else would there be a bloody large red star on the bottle?

And my God - the price! At Rp25,000 or more for a large bottle the communists or greedy western capitalists (we’re not quite sure who yet) who brew this stuff are really taking the piss. I mean that’s nearly the same as two packs of super strength kretek cigarettes, which all our kids naturally smoke – but that’s okay, I say, as they are far healthier for you than beer (some even say that kretek give you a deeper and sexier voice…)

And as for any tourists who think about bringing any alcohol into Indonesia through the airport they might want to think twice about doing that. Just ask Schapelle Corby what it’s like to spend nine years in an Indonesian prison.

We all know about the risks of injecting Bir Bintang but did you also know that the drink also causes adultery, violence, atheism and makes the drinker (and his children) suffer from diseases such as tuberculosis and VD?

Local people are also affected by this ruling of course - so let’s hear what they have to say:

Fanny Septiani

"As a bar waitress, I'm going to lose my job. What does this mean for me? Well, it’s not easy if you don’t have any qualifications so maybe I’ll just have to go with the flow and become an online PSK"

Sandi Wedhus, legendary youth smoker from Surabaya

“Couldn’t care less mate! It’s fags for me!”

German traveler Wolfgang Goffing

“I don’t think tourists will be happy. Everyone likes a beer. They’ll just say “’well if I can’t have a beer, fuck it - I’d rather go to Thailand.””

Tony Sinatra – well-known gangster cum businessman

“Hmm. There could be opportunities here…”

Made of Bali (like many Indonesians he only has one name)

Kuta Cowboys

"No tourists will come to Bali if there is no Bintang. We’ll have to sell our shiny cars and motorcycles, put away our surfboards, and return to the rice paddies to make a living.”

Lawmaker Ira Hydris and founder of the National Anti-Bintang League

Beer is like a “machine killing our youth”. It must be stopped before it stops us. Long live Indonesia!”

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“Not all those who wander are lost.”
~ J.R.R.Tolkien

Nomads are having a bloody hard time. Not the burnt-out office-worker types who throw it all in for a few years of travel, but the real nomads, the ones who hunt rather than farm.

This is from last week’s Kompas:

And here’s the translation:

Orang Rimba (literally, people of the jungle) have refused the government’s offer of free houses. This aid is deemed (by them) a symbol of external pressure to force them to permanently settle. This is not in accordance with the nomadic culture and traditions of these people.

“We don’t need aid in the form of houses,” said Tumenggung Nyenong, in a dialogue with army officials and the police in Jambi, on Thursday (12 March).

After the dialogue, Tumenggung Nyenong, one of the Orang Rimba leaders, said to Kompas that giving aid in the form of houses - which is often done by the government - is no different from forcing them to adopt a non-nomadic lifestyle. The nomadic tradition cannot be erased. Whenever there is mourning for a death in the tribe, Orang Rimba always choose to move on in the melangun (nomadic) tradition.

They believe if they don’t move, disasters will befall them - as experienced by members of the tribe who have already died. “The government does not yet understand our culture,” he said.

In the dialogue with Orang Rimba, the Military Resort Commando Commandant of Jambi, Cornel Harianto, stressed that it was important for Orang Rimba to settle permanently and undertake farming. This is so that they can be guaranteed food security. By continuously moving, it is feared that Orang Rimba will frequently face problems in attaining sufficient supplies of food, as is the case at the moment.

In Bandung on Thursday, the Ministry of Social Affairs Khofifah Indar Parawansa said that the government would prepare locations where Orang Rimba can permanently settle. The government hopes that they can integrate socially and that they are willing to live on land supplied by the government. (ITA/SEM)

I first heard of Orang Rimba before I ever came to Indonesia and even thought it might be worth passing through their territory as I took the bone-crunching bus journey up through Sumatra to Bukit Lawang near Medan to see the orangutan. I never did. But perhaps I should have as the Orang Rimba now have their backs truly up the proverbial wall with the island of Sumatra being cleared of forest and effectively turned into one giant palm oil plantation. Okay, it’s not quite as bad as that. But not far from it.

With no place to go the Orang Rimba are pretty much doomed (note that their "dialogues" are with the military and police and not the government as such). Indeed, the Indonesian government sees their removal from the jungle as progress – even non-nomadic tribes like the Mentawai, Baduy and, of course, the Papuans need to brought into the fold – let alone the footloose Orang Rimba.

It never used to be this way of course, and for most of human existence (i.e. many hundreds of thousands of years), everyone was basically a nomad. These roots run deep into the human psyche and scientists even believe that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has its origins in “a tendency in those individuals for behaviors characteristic of hunter-gatherer societies over those of farming societies”.

Nomadic cultures are also far more adaptable than non-nomadic cultures to changing environmental conditions and, in particular, natural disasters. You only have to ask the Achenese who settled coastal areas about that.

Where to next I wonder?