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Kopi Luwak: “good to the last drop(ping)…”

In this shot of caffeinated wisdom, Alun Evans explores what might just be the strangest phenomenon in global coffee consumption…
“For those of you who do not know what kopi luwak is, take a deep breath, put your cappuccino down and read on. Luwak is the Indonesian name for the Masked Palm Civet. This animal has close relatives throughout most of Asia, as well as in Ethiopia and Kenya. Its poor cousin in China got blamed for being a link in the SARS epidemic in 2004 and got pretty much wiped out in a government cull. Before that it had been a culinary delicacy in Mainland Chinese cuisine. In Indonesia, the range of the luwak is quite widespread. Their habitat includes higher altitude, less densely populated areas of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi and the islands of Nusa Tenggara. The luwak is nocturnal by nature and is quite wary of human contact. It nearly always comes out at dusk to hunt for food and to forage, by morning it is tucked up sleeping…”

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IHS Booklovers’ Lunch Fundraiser featuring Elizabeth Pisani

As a fundraiser to sponsor emerging Indonesian writers to attend the 2009 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, the Indonesian Heritage Society is organising a lunch with Elizabeth Pisani on April 7th in Jakarta. Pisani’s life as an HIV prevention researcher has taken her from the brothels of southwest China to the gay bars of Bangkok, and in Indonesia she has worked with the health ministry to map HIV risk. She will speak about her experiences and her book The Wisdom of Whores at the IHS lunch, in a talk entitled ‘Landscapes of Desire: sex, politics and AIDS in Indonesia.’
Funds raised at the event will be used to send two or more Indonesian writers to participate in the October festival, and also to fund 5 Indonesian readers, students and aspiring writers to attend.
For more information and to buy tickets (Rp.300,000), contact IHS at +62 21 5725870.

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Jermal: A tale of a father, a son, and the isolation of a Malaccan fishing platform.

In the midst of the homogeneous stream of today’s Indonesian cinema, Jermal (released March 12) challenges the flow. A thoughtful portrayal of the relationship between a father and a son, it explores a classic theme given a unique twist by its setting: an isolated fishing platform, or jermal, in the middle of the Malacca Straits off North Sumatra.

The central character is Jaya, a 12-year-old schoolboy whose orderly life is dramatically disrupted when, after his mother’s death, he is sent to the jermal to be with his father Johar. Johar, a taciturn and solitary figure, is an escapee from the mainland with a past he is determined to reject. Snubbed by his father, Jaya is left to fend for himself in a tough new environment that transforms him from a naïve schoolboy into a hardened survivor.

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Indonesian Surf Star Dazzles on the Silver Screen

Mengejar Ombak, the documentary about Dede Suryana, a young surfer from a West Java village who became an international star, has just won two awards at X-Dance Film Festival in Salt Lake City, a sports documentary festival that runs in conjunction with Sundance Film Festival.

Big congratulations to Jakarta-based director Dave Arnold – this has been a labour of love many years in the making, and all the hard work has resulted in an excellent and thoughtful film that explores the journey of a very special kampung kid thrust into the international surfing spotlight.

Click here to view the trailer and read the article about the film that Dave wrote for Kabar back in 2007. Premieres are planned soon for several locations in Indonesia – we’ll keep you posted!

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The Great Banten Beach Hunt

Somewhere out there, it had to exist. Somewhere, while Jakarta steamed, warm blue water lapped cream-coloured sand. Somewhere along the jungled coast between Anyer and Pelabuhan Ratu, within a few hours’ drive of Jakarta, it had to exist. We wanted to find it.

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My Surabaya Sun

Shaianne Osterreich shares her fondness for East Java’s coastal capital…

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Muara Karang – A Glimpse of the Past

Brandon Hoover braves the smell to visit a historic Jakarta fish market.

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A Space for Art & Culture: gedungDUA8

GedungDUA8 is a building tucked into the heart of Kemang that functions as a space for exhibiting its collection of artifacts from eastern Indonesia, as a venue for events – with its various rooms and an amphitheatre – and as a place in which to be inspired as you work or contemplate.

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