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The Root Cause of HIV AIDS

Root causes and controversies surrounding HIV/AIDS in Indonesia

Many people know that, as far as HIV/AIDS sufferers in ASEAN goes, Thailand is the largest in terms of actual numbers and potential victims. Yet, Indonesian HIV/AIDS victims are growing and grows fast.

Jane Wilson writes in The Jakarta Post today that “… between 169,000 and 216,000 Indonesians now estimated to be living with HIV and AIDS.”

The National AIDS Commission, Wilson further explains, also give us province by province data — the highest being 26,805 in Jakarta, 21,487 in Papua and West Irian Jaya (48 percent of which are women) and 15,999 East Java, 14,341 in West Java, 11,044 in North Sumatra and even 973 in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam.

While Jane Wilson in her capacity as UNAIDS Country Coordinator discusses on prevention matter and some technical loopholes on the part of our governments on this regards, some Indonesians on the street have been through a long debates on the root causes of this most deadly and contagious endemic.

The Rootcause

At least there are two major contradictiory extreme opinions regarding the spread of HIV/AIDS in Indonesia among grass root level which we can see through any debates on popular mailing list like this one:

First, those who think that it happens merely because of extramarital relations (adultery with prostitute or any sexual relationship outside the wedlock). By this proposition, this group conclude that HIV/AIDS is a punishment from God for the sinners.

Second, those who nullify the first opinion; regard it as mere rubbish and focus heavily on the mother-to-child or blood transmission as the sole cause.

As usual, any extreme opinion is unwise; and any unwise thought always lead to partial truth or at times, partial lies. The fact is both are correct causes which are needed to look into by any individual and community leaders and discuss what to do as pre-emptive action to avoid further spread of the desease.

Having said that, those who think like the first one can be understood in the context of Indonesia. Despite being the largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesian life-style is mostly far away from being Islamic in its strictest sense of the term.

There are at least four major sins any Muslim must avoid at all cost: adultery, killing people, drinking alcoholic beverage and gambling.

As a matter of fact, however, prostitute can be easily found in every nook and corner of any Indonesian city; those who have licence to be ones or not, day in and day out. Indonesian society is much more “open” in any “universal” term you can imagine. Finding sex worker in Indonesia is much more easier than say, India, the largest Hindu countries in the world. An ironic but true. There’re many stories among Indonesian officials visiting India who feel frustated because it’s so hard to find any chick-in-service even at five-star hotel (I can tell you more on this privately even some names…).

So, keeping that in mind, no wonder if opinions like the first one emerges and even prevalent in Indonesia.

Kebab Turki Baba Rafi in BBC

After having dinner this night, I need a little relax; sipping tea and switching on BBC news channel and am pleasantly surprised to see a Indonesian young man in his early twenties, 23-year-old to be exact, named Hendy Sutiono being interviewed.

Surprisingly he’s responding to BBC’s queries in reasonably fluent English. In the upcoming weeks, BBC plans to feature some young enterpreneurs around the world. And Hendy Setiono got the honor to be the first.

Brief Profile

Hendy is the person behind the potentially big and global food company franchise Kebab Turki Baba Rafi which according to its website has already opened 14 branches throughout Indonesia including Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Jawa, and Bali and has been “operating more than 73 outlet.” It’s also got the prestigious honor as “The Indonesian Small Medium Business Entrepreneur Award ” (ISMBEA 2006). Obviously, the award is one of the main reasons that attracts BBC to interview him. According to BBC reporter, Kebab Rafi has accrued around $100,000/month in revenue.

Interesting enough to note his vision: he wants to make his company a globalised food franchise like KFC and McDonald. Considering his success in such a young age and his from zero-to-hero achievement (his started his company from $400 loan from his family), an uncommon phenomenon among non-Chinese Indonesian, I believe he can make it and wish him luck from the deepest part of my heart.

Entrepreneurship as a Trend

I am so happy to see young dynamic fully motivated person like him. I wish him luck and want to see his company grows steadily well and fast. And on top of it all, I hope all young Indonesian look at him as the father-like figure: be entrepreneur; be a brave job creator instead of job seeker!

We need much more Indonesian like you who are giving (job) instead of taking. History tells us that big and rich nations is made of many entrepeneurs who contribute a large chunk of revenues to their countries and nations. If Hendy’s phenomenon becomes a trend, I’m optimistic Indonesia is going to reach such honor as big nation sooner or later. Of course, government policy in easing up any regulation barrier will help. India can be a good case in point.

Polygamous Holy Man and MP’s Sex Scandal

There is nothing more ovelwheming than the conversations among Indonesian blogosphere these past few weeks. The talk involves two occurences that looks similar but are actually unrelated – Aa Gym’s second wife and an Indonesian MP of Golkar party’s sex scandal.

First off, for non-Indonesian, here’s an intro by TIME magazine about Aa Gym dubbed by TIME as “Indonesia’s hottest Muslim preaches’ a slick mix of piety and prosperity.

So, the hottest Holy Man is now living with two wives. And that sparked the controversy among the Indonesian blogosphere as to the propriety of such an act. Having more than one wife is permitted in Islam but it’s highly discouraged. It’s only permitted when (1) you can do justice to them (wives) and/or (2) to avoid extramarital relationship (zina, in Islamic term) which is one of major sins in Islam.

That said, ordinary Muslims think that a respected Muslim preacher of his stature with millions of followers should take a high standard example to his followers more than anyone else, including in this case, to avoid having two wives.

Ridho Putradi, quoting a verse from the Quran which is often used by pro-polygamous husband, says that “for whatever reasons I dont agree with polygamous life.” There are 49 comments (and counting) in his post on Aa Gym’s polygamy most of which fully support his opinion with various reasons. Similar opinions are posted by many bloggers including Rohprimardho, Tata Danamihardja, Morning Dew, Ida Abidin, Agus Setiawan, Rani, and many more.

Muhammad Solihuddin, however, has no problem with it and wish Aa Gym a good luck and happily ever after with both of them.

MP Sex Scandal

Yahya Zaini, an Indonesian MP from Golkar party, in the meanwhile is making news for very wrong and stupid reasons: his sex scandal with a singer recorded by and through her mobile phone gets out of hand and spreads like a virus among Indonesian mobile phones users and gets talked about by Indonesian bloggers.

The incident forced him to resign from his position as MP and he may also get dumped from Golkar party headed by Jusuf Kalla (pron, Yusuf Kala) the current vice president of Indonesia. Ironically, Yahya Zaini is head of Golkar’s religious affairs committee (which is responsible for moral issues!!).

Originally posted in Global Voices Online

Budi Sutomo, VCO and Book

My apology to Budi Sutomo, SPd for being late congratulating him upon his book publication on VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil). Nothing special about book publishing, except that he’s got that opportunity by way of his blog. And for that, he urges everybody to blog actively no matter what. Someday, sooner or later, fortune favors the braves (and the resilients).

Here’s the excerpt of his fairy tale:

Awal bulan April, 2006, saya posting tentang Informasi Lengkap Virgin Coconut Oil, posting saya di blogger ternyata di baca oleh Yuni Harlinawati, salah satu editor buku yang bekerja di penerbitan Puspa Swara. Sodara Yuni tertarik tentang tema VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil) yang saya tulis. Komunikasipun terjalin, pihak Puspa Swara berminat menerbitkan buku tentang VCO namun dari sisi yang berbeda karena buku tentang VCO sudah banyak [Read more in Indonesian…]

On early April, 2006, I posted a Complete Information of Virgin Coconut Oil. My post in my blog happened to be read by Yuni Harlinawati, one of book editors works with Puspa Swara publishing house. Yuni was interested with the VCO or Virgin Coconut Oil I’ve written. After several correspondece, Puspa Swara intend to publish a book about VCO with different angle which might attract readers.

So after the publication, he’s also interviewed by BBC Indonesian Section who reviews his book.

Congratulations to Budi Sutomo, may other bloggers got as lucky as he’s in the future. Keep blogging!

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