Indonesia In The News

It’s pretty rare to see the country of Indonesia mentioned in the news and is not associated with jihad, terrorist, political turmoil, or tsunami, so I’m rather surprised to see it in several international newspapers and even (hold your breath), E! news. However though, the news are still not as delightful as I want them to be.

An Indonesian maid is suing her employers for treating her like a beggar and forcing her to sleep in the dining room. According to the Telegraph, Yoyoh Binti Salim Udin is suing Firas Pasha and his wife Lina Chamsi, claiming race discrimination, constructive dismissal and unpaid wages.

The Indonesian, who was born in West Java, said she came to London to work for the Muslim couple in 2004 in their five-bedroom flat in Portland Place, near Regent’s Park.

Miss Udin said she would get up at 6.30am and regularly work until 11pm and was initially paid £200 a month (Rp 2.8 million), which then was increased to £260 a month. She said she did not know there was a minimum wage in England (which, according to HM Revenue and Customs website, is £5.80 per hour. It means that by working 16.5 hours a day (which I think is illegal as adult workers should not work over 48 hours a week, or less than 10 hours a day) she would have to get £95.70 per day or, assuming she works non-stop without weekends off, £2,871 (or almost Rp 40 million) per month. Rather different from what she’s paid so far, isn’t it?).

I did a bit of googling and found out that 5-bedroom flat will cost £2,000 per week to rent (or about Rp 28 million/WEEK!) and over £3 million to sell. Mr Pasha, Miss Udin’s former employer, is the managing director of Moxon, a textile manufacturer based in Huddersfield. Clearly, money isn’t an issue here.

Good for Miss Udin for finally come to her senses and realises that she had been treated poorly.

Across the Atlantic, there is also some news from E! Online about Indonesia. Kelly Clarkson, the first winner of American Idol who is scheduled to perform in Jakarta, Indonesia, in April 29, is having a tough time even before she lands in the country. It’s nothing like Malaysia, which normally bans artists and performers who dare to show some skins in public (Beyonce canceled her tour in Malaysia in 2009 following accusations by Islamic conservatives that the show would be immoral). It’s more about who pays for Clarkson’s private jet, entourage, and the rest.

Quoted from E! Online,

the original American Idol winner created quite a stir when billboards and TV ads popped up in Jakarta promoting her concert—and its sponsor, Indonesian cigarette company L.A. Lights. As with Alicia Keys before her, antismoking activists immediately challenged Clarkson to cancel the show or risk sending a bad message to her young fans.

Alas, Miss Independent claims she knew nothing of the matter.

“My morning began with finding out that I am all over billboards, TV ads and other media formats alongside a tobacco company who, unbeknownst to me, is sponsoring my Jakarta date on my current tour,” she writes on her blog. “I was not made aware of this and am in no way an advocate or an ambassador for youth smoking. I’m not even a smoker, nor have I ever been.”

Hopefully Miss Clarkson will stick with her schedule though, as there has been to many artists canceling their performances in Indonesia.


  1. John Doe says:

    Heh. Clarkson’s visit reminds me of Pamela Anderson’s visit to Australia the other day.
    When asked, Anderson (being a PETA activist) claimed she didn’t realise that her visit was mainly backed by KFC, one PETA’s biggest picketing targets~

    Do-gooders need to relax, mind their own business and not insulting people’s intelligence by deciding what’s good and bad.

  2. Being a wealthy person, doesn’t necessarily mean you are kind at heart. Maybe ( or probably) Firas and Lina got their money by being stingy and greedy. They may have thought after hiring the maid: never change a winning strategy. If the opportunity arises just exploit people.

    I’m sorry. Just got carried away by my cynical self.

  3. Too often, I hear of the abuse of domestic staff either abroad or in households in Indonesia. I’m glad one finally got to fight for her rights. It makes me sick how slavery is alive and well in some parts of the world. Even worse, a family claiming to have religious moral values treating someone like that.

    I hope Kelly C. cancels her concert because the message needs to be sent to Indonesia that “your blatant promotion of smoking is killing your people!”. I was always shocked at how accepted smoking was there and how kids started at such young ages encouraged by their parents. Worse yet, most public places allow smoking except for Starbuck thank God and some malls. Worse yet, the large tobacco companies are soaking it up and basking in the “free market” of willing smokers in Indonesia and the Phillipines ayeeee
    .-= Marc N´s last blog ..Obama Vodka =-.

  4. nice article….thanks


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