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Political Communications Fail: Crafting the OIC Message

By N Mark Castro

Can’t believe they fed President Jokowi to such an awkward situation.

Whoever encouraged the president to be embarrassed this way should be shot.

They made him ban ALL ISRAELI PRODUCTS YET MANY OF HIS OWN ISLAMIC BROTHERS DID NOT FOLLOW HIM. Other fellow Islamic leaders didn’t even send their leaders to the Extraordinary Summit.

Couldn’t there have been a quiet polling conducted prior to this?

To assess how the support would go?

Read the rest of this entry


La Quadriga in Indonesia

There are only two of these Murano glass masterpieces crafted by Pino Signoretto. One is owned by a European and the other by an Indonesian businessman.

For enquiries and private viewing …

Vesākha: Selamat Hari Waisak

By N Mark Castro

Although it is not “Buddha’s Birthday,” it is sometimes referred to as such as it commemorates the birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition.

In Indonesia, it is celebrated as a national holiday based on the constitutionally recognized official religions. The exact date varies as it follows the Asian lunisolar calendars.

The World’s Largest Buddhist Temple


You would normally associate Buddhism in China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Japan as major points of references considering that it’s been said Siddhartha Gautama spread his way of life in China and India, while emanating from Nepal. Sri Lanka’s 70% and Thailand’s 90% of population practice Buddhism while Japan’s Zen Buddhism had been responsible for its entry in the West.

What is amazing to note is that in the world’s largest Moslem population, Indonesia, sits the world’s largest Buddhist temple.

It’s a testament to the commitment of the ancestors and founding fathers of Indonesia to its Pancasila Principle or Unity in Diversity.

Read the rest of this entry

And Justice For All – The Mary Jane Veloso Case

By N Mark Castro

Close your eyes and picture Indah.

Picture Indah living a provincial life in one of the thousands of islands in Indonesia. She has two young boys that has become the source of her life, her happiness.

She was abandoned by her husband, her children abandoned by their father.

She was dirt poor.

She wasn’t exactly pretty.

Picture Indah.

She’s one of many living a life under $2 a day. Read the rest of this entry

How A Loser Lived Forever and the Influence of the Roman Empire to the World


By his own account Quintus Horatius Flaccus was a rotten soldier. He fought for the losing side in the civil wars; when the order came to “Charge!” he dropped his shield and ran like mad in the wrong direction.

Back in Rome he landed a post as a petty bureaucrat, a quaestor’s clerk — not much of a job but one that left time for writing poetry on the side. He came to know great architects and builders, judges, sculptors, and political leaders. And Quintus Horatius Flaccus himself never governed a province, never built an aqueduct or temple, never created a striking bronze sculpture.

Still, when this Roman sat down in 23 B.C. to review his life’s accomplishments, he concluded that his contributions in poetry would outlast whatever the soldiers and builders had achieved:

Exegi monumentum aere perennius

Regalique situ pyramidum altius …

Non omnis moriar.

(I have erected a monument more lasting than bronze

And taller than the regal peak of the pyramids …

I shall never completely die.)

That famous epilogue from the third book of Odes has been endlessly quoted as testament to the immortality of literature and, most of all, its writer.

It was written by a man named in the entire known world as Horace. Read the rest of this entry

Blunder Upon Blunder on the Prabowo Campaign

By N Mark Castro


With presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto steadily gaining ground with his campaign, it pains me to see how the communications team of Prabowo fail to enlighten their candidate of the repercussions of his statements at Jakarta’s Taman Ismail Marzuki.

According to the report, “Prabowo began by saying that Indonesians had a tendency to be overly influenced by Western ideas such as democracy.” Read the rest of this entry

Is it the End of the Road for Partai Demokrat?

By N Mark Castro

Everyone has their own opinion about the exciting and closely-contested presidential elections between Prabowo Subianto of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and Governor Joko Widodo of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) .


And let’s let them have a party on that while we look at the real power behind the next administration and what is shaping up to be an exciting power play behind the scenes. Read the rest of this entry

Buddha Bless: Selamat Hari Raya Waisak

by N Mark Castro



Celebrating the Enlightenment of Gautama Buddha.

Happy Waisak Day to all Buddhists. May you achieve the enlightenment the world needs.


Places I Hate In Indonesia

By N Mark Castro

So this is where I live for the past decade.

And at dusk my view from my old office was this

Read the rest of this entry

What is ASEAN and What Will Really Happen on 2015?

By N Mark Castro

3 days ago Singapore-based journalist Sourav Goy posted in his article in Huffington Post the inherent problems of ONE ASEAN as applied to the “common man” of each member state.

He was right.


Picture1But who really cares anyway?

Because insofar as the governments of each member state of the ASEAN bloc is concerned, the Common Man is the least of their concern.

Actually, it’s also true for the European Union (EU) and other Western countries, kick in the Arabian peninsula as well.

Because if there’s one thing that the elite hate, it’s the whining, crying, begging noise of the Common Man. Read the rest of this entry

Charlotte Setijadi

Anthropologist & Contemporary Historian of Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia


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