On Sunday I took part in Indonesia's Hari Peduli Sampah Nasional (National Concern of Rubbish Day), joining thousands of other environmental activists across the nation in a march and cleanup actions in an attempt to raise awareness for the goal of #IndonesiaBebasSampah2020 (Indonesia free of trash by 2020). I find these kinds of movements help inspire change in people's lives, educating bit by bit about the need for a connection between us and the garbage that we create. This kind of change is good.
Recent positive change was also seen in President Jokowi's amendments to the Negative Investments List, and laws on foreign investment. Now that the nation has opened up 39 more sectors to foreign investment, many new opportunities will present themselves to this growing nation. This kind of change shows that Indonesia is moving forward, ready to join the world and forget its tumultuous past, brought on understandably by 300 years of colonialization.
Sometimes though, change can be frightening and can result in regression rather than progression. A recent series of events seem to be inspiring hate towards the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities in Indonesia. The pettiest of these was the banning of gay emojis on social chat applications, as they supposedly instill immorality in users. I've never felt that a tiny cartoon of two women or two men holding hands is going to make me feel any different about my sexual orientation – have you? And the sad thing is that LINE has already caved in, taking their ‘inappropriate' emojis off of their application. This kind of change worries me, as it does our observations writer Simon Pitchforth, who rants about this exact subject on page 25.
Also in our 160th issue, we discuss Zika – Leighton Cooseboom brings you the facts about this virus, which could be misdiagnosed as dengue fever. Lina Natalia also returns in a business feature on Indonesia's confidence of its ability to grow the nation's economy by five percent this year.