Monday, May 7, 2018


Kerry B. Collison Asia News: AUSTRALIA - WELCOME TO WHOSE COUNTRY?: AUSTRALIA - WELCOME TO WHOSE COUNTRY?  In the last several years I have observed many “Acknowledgment of Country” ceremonies. The wo...



 In the last several years I have observed many “Acknowledgment of Country” ceremonies. The wording varies but typically, at the start of a meeting, the master of ceremonies declares that the meeting is being held on the traditional lands of a particular indigenous people or peoples in general.

He/she then describes them as the traditional custodians or owners of the land, acknowledges their close ties with the land and pays respect to their elders. I have observed versions of this ceremony at many public meetings. Prime examples would be the New South Wales Parliament, in school assemblies, and on television and radio broadcasts.

Do you feel included in these Acknowledgement of Country ceremonies? Probably not. This acknowledgement is not an inclusive statement, it is an exclusive one. It excludes the vast majority of Australians who are not Aboriginal, and it ignores their contribution to the building of this nation.

The typical Acknowledgement of Country is incomplete and needs to be updated to include an acknowledgement of more than just the Aboriginal people who were here before the Australian Nation began. The following statement would be far more inclusive, and it honours not just the First People, but the founders of the nation itself.

“We acknowledge the explorers and pioneers and their descendants who planted the British flag and Christian faith on this continent, creating the Australian nation. We acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have lived here since the Dreamtime. And we acknowledge the Federal Commonwealth of Australia, created by the nation under the Crown to guard the liberty of all citizens.”

Detail could be added to fit the occasion. For example, the identity and achievements of the pioneers and indigenous peoples might be elaborated, as might the functions of the Commonwealth.

The “Acknowledgment of Country” ceremony purports to recognise Australia’s origins but focuses exclusively on indigenous peoples. It purports to respect the traditional owners of the land but ignores the nation’s sovereignty.

That is a pity because, whatever its motivation, it amounts to a psychological assault on most Australians. Because it is not accompanied by an acknowledgment of national origins the ceremony ritually degrades most Australians’ sense of national identity and alienates the nation from its homeland and from most of its history.

The saddest examples are recitations at school assemblies, where children are told, repeatedly throughout the year, that their country belongs to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. The Acknowledgment appears to have taken the place of the loyalty pledge.

Usually words other than “owned” are used, but the meaning is clear. One school I know of concludes its ritual with the words “under the concrete and asphalt, this land was, is, and always shall be, the traditional lands of [the local indigenous people]”.

Only three per cent of Australians are of indigenous descent, yet the ritual makes no reference to the ancestors or national identity of the overwhelming majority of students.

There is no counterbalancing statement of national origins used in school assemblies or public meetings. To correct this imbalance, an Acknowledgment of Nation should be adopted, that adds to the recognition of original indigenous habitation by acknowledging the origins of the Australian nation and the Federal Commonwealth it created under the Crown.

We all need secure communal identities that position us historically, culturally and geographically. That is especially true of children and young adults. The Acknowledgment of Country ritual is meant to affirm that identity and pride for indigenous peoples.

Unfortunately, it ignores the origins of the nation as a whole. The Aboriginal acknowledgment is justified as a statement of origins. However, national origins consist of much more than indigenous prior habitation. The Acknowledgment of Country needs to be supplemented to become an Acknowledgment of Nation, one that accurately describes national origins.

Any recitation of national origins should have at its heart, a historically accurate description of how the nation was founded. Indigenous Australians are a part of that story because their ancestors occupied the land when it was settled under British auspices.

Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are Australia’s first peoples. Anglo Australians are Australia’s first nation.

An acknowledgment of the historic nation needs to talk primarily about the people among whom national consciousness first arose in the late nineteenth century. Who were they and who did they think they were?

The acknowledgment should also state the connection between this national awakening and the establishment of the Commonwealth, formed in 1901 when the self-governing colonies became States within the new Federation. It is often asserted that the nation began in 1901 with Federation, but that is not true.

National consciousness arose among people of mostly British descent who thought of themselves as such. At the time there was no Commonwealth but self-governing colonies. Most thought of Britain as the mother country but also identified with Australia.

This was the most cohesive class of nation, an ethnic group living in its homeland. It was not the type of “nation” whose only social glue is belief in an ideology or set of values or a constitution. It was the heavy-duty type of bond, the kind needed to undertake great things.

Indeed, this identification inspired and facilitated the constitutional conventions of the 1890s, with the goal of federating the colonies for the purposes of common defence and economy. The nation created the Commonwealth.

An organising principle of the proposed Acknowledgment of Nation is that “Peoples” take priority over political systems. The nation has priority of recognition because it was the first nation in Australia, and it created the Commonwealth.

It represents continuity of identity stretching back to the emergence, in the second half of the nineteenth century, of national feeling among people who thought of themselves as a branch of the British people and Empire.

That consciousness and descent connected the new nation to the First Fleet of 1788, to Britain and its constituent nations, to Christendom and its European precursors in ancient times. In that sense the Australian nation has roots as ancient as the indigenous peoples it absorbed.

In addition, the descendants of the historic nation and those who have assimilated into it remain the largest ethnic group in Australia. It is also the leading culture in the sense that all other ethnicities tend to acculturate to it more than vice versa.

The indigenous peoples should be acknowledged because they identified with their parts of Australia long before British colonisation began. Any recognition of origins demands acknowledgment of indigenous peoples, whether one believes that their lands were annexed or conquered by the British.

The Federal Commonwealth should be acknowledged because it is the original instrument of continent-wide government and the institutional basis for citizenship, which defines the rights and duties of all Australians.

A brief statement necessarily fails to acknowledge all contributions to origins, some important. For example, the statement recognises the explorers and pioneers and that they came under British auspices, but it does not acknowledge the nations of Britain – England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Nor does it acknowledge the investment made by the British people through their government in colonising Australia. The statement does not mention convicts, subsuming them under the category of (involuntary) pioneers.

Neither does it mention the contributions of law, politics, culture, national character and technology brought by the largely British settlers. Also unmentioned are the hundreds of indigenous peoples and languages, their way of life and spirituality, and special connection with their lands.

It would be appropriate for acknowledgments recited in particular districts to name and describe the local culture, which would convey a greater degree of particularity.

The Christianity of the nation’s founders is made explicit in the proposed Acknowledgment because it was a prominent conscious element of their identity, as it was of Britain and the remainder of Western civilisation in Europe and America.

Some will object that the proposed Acknowledgment of Nation omits the non-Anglo-Celtic identities that now form a substantial fraction of the population. Typically, those identities are encompassed using the adjectives “multicultural” and “diverse”.


It is sometimes contended that Australia is no longer an Anglo nation, that it has become a new type of nation whose identity consists of the multicultural character of its citizens. It is sometimes argued that Australia’s lack of a single cultural identity is now its identifying mark.

A likely assertion will be that an acknowledgment that omits the non-Anglo elements of the nation would be divisive by creating ill-feeling among millions of citizens. This potential objection should be taken seriously, though it is noteworthy that those who promote and accept the present acknowledgment ceremony express no concern about its own exclusions.

It is reasonable to reject the objection on two grounds. Firstly, the diversity that has arisen in recent decades was not part of national origins. Recall that the nation emerged by about 1880.

It is wrong to claim that diversity was a founding principle then or in 1901. Not diversity but continuity with British and European identity was in the minds of the Founders and in the census statistics.

The nation and Commonwealth were in existence long before diversity began rising after the Second World War. Unless the Acknowledgment is to become a running commentary on every demographic change, it should remain focused on origins.

If it were to focus on the present population instead of origins, that would necessarily demote the indigenous component. If they were given a special acknowledgment, it would be unprincipled to ignore the historic nation.

The second reason it is unnecessary to acknowledge diversity in a statement of national origins is that the proposed Acknowledgment of Nation recognises the Commonwealth and citizenship, which encompasses Australians of all backgrounds.

It is not beyond the maturity of immigrants or their children to acknowledge that the nation was in existence before they arrived.

If it were decided to acknowledge multicultural Australia, two avenues present themselves. The first would be for the acknowledgment to list all the ethnicities of post WWII immigrants, perhaps on a first-come-first-served basis.

The second would be to refer to these peoples collectively as “multicultural”. I think that most would reject the first approach as impractical. However, the latter ignores the actual identities of citizens.

For example, to include Italian Australians under the heading “multicultural” would give no particular recognition to that culture; the same term would apply if not one Italian had immigrated after 1949.

The same term would apply to any diverse country. It seems the only practicable way to recognise the country’s diversity would be in terms that are exceedingly shallow.

Placing the historic nation and Commonwealth in the acknowledgment ritual would restore their proper places in the story of Australia. An Acknowledgment of Nation would be relevant to all Australians.

Of course, this will not happen unless we all get behind it. It is time for us to take the initiative away from the far-left elites. We need to start politely suggesting that the Acknowledgement of Country statement should be upgraded to reflect the reality of the Australian Nation.

Unless we contact MPs, journalists, school principals, heads of RSL clubs and other local dignitaries, they will never know how strongly we feel about this issue.


By Frank Salter

Frank holds a PhD. and has taught at universities in Britain and the U.S. and Europe. He is an authority on the biosocial study of ethnicity and nationalism.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: All Asian tigers and tiger cubs grew under strongm...

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: All Asian tigers and tiger cubs grew under strongm...: ASIA’S STRONGMEN. 1st row: Korea’s Park Chung-hee, Taiwan’s Chiang Kai-shek and son Chiang Ching-kuo; 2nd row: Singapore’s Lee, Thailand...

All Asian tigers and tiger cubs grew under strongman rule

ASIA’S STRONGMEN. 1st row: Korea’s Park Chung-hee, Taiwan’s Chiang Kai-shek and son Chiang Ching-kuo; 2nd row: Singapore’s Lee, Thailand’s Thanom, and Indonesia’s Suharto; 3rd row: Marcos and Malaysia’s Mahathir.

THE recent Time magazine article “Era of the Strongman”—which included President Duterte as among the strongmen who’ve risen in recent years, together with Russian President Putin—has a very questionable assumption underlying it: That strongmen are bad for countries and people. The reality though is more complex.

This bias of US media isn’t surprising. Russia was ripe for the picking by the US and the West when the USSR was dissolved, and a weak (or drunken?) leader Boris Yeltsin was at its helm. It was only when the strongman Putin emerged that his nation broke the West’s encirclement—even literally as the US came to control many of the former Soviet republics—of Russia. It is now claiming its position as a superpower in a multi-polar world. Why, it could even have played a crucial role in electing the current US President!

What the Time article, nor most Filipino intellectuals, even its supposedly objective economists, do not say is this: All of the Asian “economic dragons,” as well as the “tiger cubs” grew to be industrialized nations under the authoritarian rule of strongmen.

The biggest, incontrovertible proof of this idea is of course modern China, ruled by “Paramount Leader” Deng Xiaoping for 11 years from 1978 to 1989. Deng steered the country of over 1 billion and its Communist Party of 30 million at that time to embrace “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” That was really a euphemism for capitalism guided and directed by the party in order to grow the economy fast and to benefit the masses.

China has really been from Deng’s time to this day under strongman rule, with smooth transitions to power from Deng to the present leader President Xi Jinping. China two months ago even lifted term limits for its president, which potentially allows Xi to rule the way strongmen rule – without term limits.

Is strongman rule bad? China lifted out of extreme poverty (those living on $1.90 per day, roughly P96 per day) 800 million of its citizens from 1988 to 2013. Was getting 800 million souls out of the hell of poverty bad?

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and then his son Chiang Ching-kuo, ruled Taiwan with an iron fist from the day they fled to the island from China in 1947 after their Kuomintang forces were defeated by Mao Zedong’s forces, to the time Taiwan embraced democracy in 1988.

Two strongmen ruled South Korea for nearly three decades: Syngman Rhee for 12 years until 1960, and Gen. Park Chung-Hee for 17 years (1962-1979).

Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, whom so many Filipinos seem to idolize, ruled Singapore for 31 years. After a clever hiatus, during which Go Chok Tong was prime minister, Lee’s son Hsien Long took the reins of government and has since been prime minister for 12 years now. Lee’s People’s Action Party, as in the 1950s, continues to control the press through Singapore Press Holdings.

What Lee’s fans never note is that Singapore has been under so much dictatorship that its press has never been “free” to this day, with print, broadcast, and new media mostly run by state-owned firms like Singapore Press Holdings and Temasek Holdings.

Correspondents of critical foreign outfits have been routinely expelled, sued and their publications banned. I should know. The Far Eastern Economic Review where I worked was banned in Singapore for more than a decade, losing that lucrative market. Even I couldn’t visit Singapore as a tourist as it banned all our staff, even the lowliest janitor, from entering the island state. Lee lifted the embargo on our magazine only after our British editor was fired, and replaced with an appeasing young American lawyer.

Suharto and his cronies
Indonesia’s Maj. Gen. Suharto grabbed power in a bloody coup d’état in 1967, and stayed in power for 31 years. Marcos’ cronies were amateurs compared with those of Suharto, whose closest crony Soedono Salim was given monopolies on cloves, flour, cement and even government bank deposits.

While most of Marcos’ cronies are forgotten now, Suharto’s top cronies, the so-called Gang of Four, set up First Pacific Co., Ltd in 1981, now one of the biggest regional conglomerates in Asia, which owns PLDT and Meralco, ironically controlled by Marcos’ cronies during martial law.

Malaysia’s Mahathir was in power for 22 years starting in 1981, and is still a formidable political force in his country, having effectively suppressed the leading opposition figure, Anwar Ibrahim, on charges, of all things, of sodomy.

Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn ruled Thailand as military dictator from 1963 to 1973, until violent student protests forced him out of office.

The average length of strongman rule in these Asian countries was 23 years; Marcos’ held on to power only for 13 years. Is there a case for claiming that strongman rule didn’t work here, since Marcos’ strongman rule did not last as long as those in other countries did?

How Asia’s strongmen fared
The reality stares us in the face: The Asian economic tigers grew to industrial status in one generation, all under authoritarian rule, and not under democratic systems, as in the West.

The tiger economies all grew under strongman rule. But for us it resulted in poverty, which we haven’t been able to overcome after 27 years. Why?

Two short answers. Marcos from the start really wasn’t too strong a strongman, because he maintained the nation’s legal framework. There wasn’t even the extermination of our insurgencies on a ruthless level as occurred under Indonesia’s Suharto and South Korea’s Park Chung-hee.

And secondly, whatever degree of strongman rule he had imposed became weak when he lifted martial law, even if only on an official basis, in 1981, and diffused his power to the three competing factions at the time: that of his wife Imelda with his cousin, Gen. Fabian Ver; Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile with the Philippine Constabulary Chief Fidel Ramos; and the technocrats under the World Bank-International Monetary Fund’s aegis led by Finance Minister Cesar Virata.

The weakening of his strongman rule was even paralleled by the weakening of his body. His kidneys started to fail in 1982 that he had to undergo a transplant of his two kidneys in 1984.

It is not just coincidental that the Philippine economy surged at an average of 6 percent under Marcos’ strongman rule 1972-1980, and then tumbled when he became a weak ruler, from 1981’s 3.4 percent GDP growth rate to a recession in the two years of 1984 and 1985.




Wednesday, May 2, 2018



For over 50 years, the Indonesian government has systematically banned foreign media from reporting in West Papua. Local journalists are regularly arrested, tortured, and even killed. Those who gain access are heavily monitored, told what to report, and face strict punishment for non-compliance.

This year World Press Freedom Day 2018 falls on the 55th anniversary of the day Indonesia invaded and occupied West Papua in 1963. West Papuans call May 1st "The Day of Terror." Each year the Melanesian people of West Papua silently mourn the loss of their freedom as they are banned from publicly expressing their discontent. When they do organize public demonstrations, their voices are often met with brute force, prison, or worse. On May 1st in 2016 over 1000 West Papuan people, including children, were arrested for peacefully demonstrating.

This year the theme of #WPFD2018 is ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law.’ We would like to highlight Indonesia’s effective media blackout in West Papua, and call on all journalists to please call for free and open access to West Papua to ensure the protection of local journalists and all media outlets.

In February 2018, BBC journalist Rebecca Henschke and her team were deported by the Indonesian government from West Papua because she "hurt soldiers feelings" by uploading photos of the situation on Twitter.

In 2014, French journalists Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat were arrested and jailed for 2 and a half months for reporting in West Papua.

In October 2015, after journalist Marie Dhumieres visited West Papua, three men who spoke to her were arrested and interrogated for 10 hours by the Indonesian police about her activities.

In 2016, journalist Cyril Payen found out that he was permanently banned from going to Indonesia, for making a documentary about West Papua in 2015.

In 2017, Al Jazeera journalist Jack Hewson, was about to go to West Papua to report on the situation but was banned from going there by the Indonesian military who accused him of "dangerous activities."

Two journalists Franck Escudie and Basile Longchamp were deported from West Papua and Indonesia on 17th March 2017 and have been banned from returning to Indonesia.

On May 1st 2017, 2 days before as Indonesia ironically hosted World Press Freedom Day, the Indonesian police arrested and tortured West Papuan journalist Yance Wenda, just for covering a peaceful demonstration.

THE PEOPLE’S PETITION In addition to journalists being banned in West Papua, all websites that advocate or speak about the issues of Independence or human rights abuses have also been subject to attack. Last year the global site for activism, Avaaz, was banned in Indonesia for hosting a petition calling for West Papua to be returned to the United Nations. Anyone caught signing the petition was threatened with arrest and a lengthy prison sentence for treason. Despite serious threats of punishment, an unprecedented 1.8 million West Papuans risked their anonymity and freedom by secretly providing their handwritten signatures. Their signatures represented over 70% of the Melanesian population in West Papua; making their achievement one of the most significant petitions of the century..


West Papua is the western half of the second largest island in the world. It is located just north of Australia. The Island of New Guinea is divided by an independent Papua New Guinea to the East and occupied West Papua to the west. West Papua is larger than France and rich in natural resources. It is home the largest gold mine, and and 5th largest copper mine, in the world. Since 1963 West Papua has been occupied and colonized by Indonesia. Over 500,000 indigenous Papuans have been killed. Papuans can be jailed for 15 years for raising their independence flag independence.

Although the people of West Papua have no geographical, ethnic, or cultural ties to Indonesia, Indonesia decided that they had a right to everything that formerly belonged to the Dutch. They began asserting authority over West Papua immediately after the Dutch government withdrew in 1962. Through U.S. led negotiations the Dutch and Indonesia signed The New York Agreement which included the infrastructure for a voting process known as the Act of Free Choice. What should have been a vote under U.N. supervision of 800,000,000 came down to 1,022 handpicked Papuans who were forced under the threat of violence to vote for Indonesian rule. The General Assembly ‘took note’ of the report of the UN Secretary-General but the UN General Assembly has never voted to approve the Act of Free Choice. In fact, there was strong opposition from Ghana, Senegal, Guyana and other African and Caribbean countries to the Indonesian takeover of West Papua. By 1969 West Papua was completely absorbed under Indonesian control. To this day the former Dutch colony of West New Guinea has never exercised its right of self-determination under international law.

The United Liberation Movement For West Papua (ULMWP) is comprised of the three main political independence movements seeking independence for West Papua. Their representation leads the call for an internationally-supervised vote on independence to rectify this historical injustice and end Indonesian colonial rule over West Papua.

In December 2015 Indonesian security forces broke up a peaceful meeting, fatally shot four men and wounded several others. In April-May 2016, nearly 2,000 Papuans were unlawfully arrested for demonstrating in support on the ULMWP. By the end of 2016, 8000 West Papuan people were arrested. Extra-judicial killings, torture and intimidation are institutionalized and daily occurrences. Discriminatory State practices have resulted in West Papua becoming the lowest human development index of any province in Indonesia, and the highest HIV and infant mortality rates. Human rights abuses are increasing. Children are being arrested, and dying of malnutrition and curable diseases.

We are deeply concerned about the on-going human rights abuses, and the alarming number of arbitrary arrests and torture of West Papuan citizens, peaceful protesters, and journalists. The Government of Indonesia has isolated West Papua by severely limiting freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of information.

Without intervention, there is a real threat that West Papuan people, and their lands, face extinction. Despite the powerful forces of oppression, the Papuan people continue to resist and fight for Merdeka: liberation and independence.

We must let foreign journalists in to tell West Papua’s story before it is too late

For more information please visit and


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: The Most Polluted River in the World, Citarum Rive...

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: The Most Polluted River in the World, Citarum Rive...: The Citarum has been called the world's most polluted river. Around 5 million people live in the river's basin, and most of th...

The Most Polluted River in the World, Citarum River, Indonesia

The Citarum has been called the world's most polluted river. Around 5 million people live in the river's basin, and most of them rely on its flow for their water supply. Heavy pollution of river water by household and industrial waste in the Indonesian province of West Java is threatening the health of at least five million people living on the riverbanks, say government officials and water experts.

Poor sanitation and hygiene cause 50,000 deaths annually in Indonesia, with untreated sewage resulting in over six million tons of human waste being released into inland water bodies, according to an ongoing study by the World Bank.

Citarum River-Ironic between History and Environmental Tragedy

Citarum River flows from headwaters in the South of Bandung (Windu) towards the North and its canal is in Kerawang (West Java). With 225 kilometres in length, makes this river the longest river in West Java. The Citarum River comes from two words, namely Ci and Tarum. In the Sundanese language (one of the local languages in Indonesia), the word “Ci” or “Cai” means water and “Tarum” which means plants with purple colour. In the 5th century, from a small village built on the side of the river by Jayasinghawarman, another area became crowded and later became the basis of a large Kingdom in Indonesia, namely the Kingdom of Tarumanegara, the oldest Hindu Kingdom in West Java.

The river becomes very important as a source of water for 25 million people who are spread across nine counties and three cities in West Java; they are Bandung Regency, Karawang, Purwakarta Regency, Cianjur, Bandung, Cimahi and Bekasi. As well as 15 million people who live along the riverbanks. The huge potency of it is due to the vast watershed that reaches 6.614 kilometres square. With the River, about 420 thousand hectares of rice field in West Java, especially in the coastal areas of the North, can be flowed by water through irrigation networks and reservoirs. The Citarum River flows in several reservoirs like Saguling, Jatiluhur and Cirata Reservoirs. The River is also a source of water power plant that produces (HYDROELECTRIC POWER) electrical power to Java and Bali of 1,400 Megawatts.

Behind the famous name of Citarum River, the River has a complex problem that is very embarrassing. Till this day, the River is still in a very poor condition. According to the head of the House of Commons of the Citarum River, a river that had flourished in the 1970s now belongs to the tainted heavily. It even had a chance to be crowned the world’s most polluted rivers! The condition is caused by the large number of concern industrial waste as well as the household directly dumped into the river without being processed first. Every day people dispose of 400 tonnes of waste of livestock into the River. Every day, as many as 25 thousand cubic of household waste accommodated there and 280 tonnes of industrial waste flowed towards the Citarum River. Those things are causing pollution and sedimentation in the Citarum River. The sad thing is there are 46 thousand hectares of critical land in the upper course of Citarum River. It also results in increased sedimentation of the River. Aquacultures farming that do not comply with the rules of the conservation and control of land in the area of the upper function became one of the causes of the emergence of these critical lands.

Additionally, as written by the daily Trouw, the river is now coming to be used as a toilet and garbage dumps. Shoes, baby diapers and plastic bottles are floating in the water. Fishermen that used to find fish, is now collecting garbage. One kilogram of plastic generate nearly 10 euro cent. On the other hand, deforestation happened to be another problem. It is causing erosion so the river becomes more easily to dry and trash cannot flow. Especially in the dry season river issued bitter smell. Sometimes it can make people around to fall unconscious.

To renovate the river, Asian Development Bank (ADB) is willing to give a loan of 500 million US Dollars to the Government of Indonesia. Quote from comment of Chris Morris (ADB): “Rivers in the United Kingdom had issued Theems smell so bad like that, and then the Parliament is considering moving the Government buildings as well as the Big Ben from the Centre of London. Now the fish swim in the river again. The people in the sides of Citarum River also should be able to dream that someday their children can return to swim in the water safely”.

by Titisari Juwitaningtyas (INDONESIA)