NY Times: “Nature Roars. Washington Hears Nothing.


Our beliefs is the unity of God and people

In a country where religion plays a large part in public life, followers of traditional beliefs, known generally as aliran kepercayaan, hope the ruling will finally end decades of unofficial discrimination that makes it difficult for them to get permits to open gathering places, obtain marriage licenses and get access to public services like health care and education. It also complicates efforts by those believers to get military, police or civil service jobs, or even burial plots in cemeteries.

There are hundreds of different forms of aliran kepercayaan spread across the vast Indonesian archipelago. In Java, the most populous island, it is often a mix of animist, Hindu-Buddhist and Islamic beliefs.

Forms of kepercayaan can include certain periodic religious observances, such as communal meals or acts that could be compared to Muslim men praying together on Fridays or Sunday Christian services. These may include ritual offerings to appease spirits, even though the practitioners could also be registered as Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists or one of the other recognized religions.

It is estimated that at least 20 million of Indonesia’s 260 million people practice local traditional beliefs, but the numbers could be much higher, according to analysts, as some are also followers of Islam, Christianity and other major religions.


“We’ll keep fighting for equality; we have equality, legally speaking, but in reality we don’t,” said Endang Retno Lastani, an elder with one Java-based group, whose national identity card is blank in the religious affiliation section.

“Our belief is the unity of God and people, just like other religions,” he said. “So what’s wrong with that?”

Click here for more, “Indonesia’s Ancient Beliefs Win in Court, but Devotees Still Feel Ostracized“.

World greatest hitchhiker

Soon, Villarino set out on a journey for his next book, “Invisible Routes,” an attempt to hitch the length of the Americas, from Antarctica to the Arctic. At an internet cafe in Jáchal, Argentina, he received an email that caught his attention. He always hoped he would find a “wandering princess,” and he had a premonition that this fan, Laura Lazzarino, a 24-year-old travel agent from Rosario, Argentina, might be her. After a passionate exchange, Villarino proposed they travel to the village of Alemania, where, while hitchhiking as a 24-year-old college dropout, he had first dreamed of “becoming a nomad.” He would teach Lazzarino to hitchhike; she would provide him some much-needed companionship.

This is nice story I read today in NY Times by Wes Enzinna – previously contributor to Vice, “On the Road with the World’s Greatest Hitchhiker“. A quote: “Villarino didn’t choose to be poor, but he did choose how to be poor, and he thinks a life on the road is a pretty rich way to be penniless.”

Light for Mr. Assange

Ecuador announced on Thursday that it had granted citizenship to Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks co-founder who has been living in a tiny room in the South American country’s London embassy since seeking political asylum in 2012.

It was an extraordinary development in the prolonged diplomatic standoff, and came only hours after Britain said it had rejected a request by Ecuador to grant Mr. Assange diplomatic immunity so he could leave the embassy.

I just follow the news, its interesting. Firstly read in The Guardian, other media publication followed too, including Al Jazeera. But that story is from NYTimes. After spending more than five years in the Ecuadorian embassy, now Mr. Assange see some ‘lights’.

Larry King: “I guess I’m an atheist, agnostic, I don’t believe in an afterlife.”

Jesse Thorn of Turnaround Podcast interviews Larry King. Copied from Columbia Journalism Review, this is the best line. Read the excerpts here.

I joined CNN in ’85, had the heart attack in ’87. CNN is when I really blossomed, ’cause it was television, it was worldwide. I read the obits every day. And my biggest fear is death. I guess I’m an atheist, agnostic, I don’t believe in an afterlife. And since I can’t believe in an afterlife, I don’t want to die. Someone asked me the other day, “What do you want your obit to read?” I read obituaries every day. Today there was two 83s, an 81, an 87, and a 71. I see the ages right away. I wanted my obit to read, “Oldest man who ever lived passed away today. He was shot in the head and died immediately by an angry husband as he was sleeping with the former Playmate of the Year. He was 136 years old. It took three days to wipe the smile off his face.”

You the readers might be interested to read an article about “Bright” which is written at 2003 in New York Times by Daniel C. Dennet.

What is a bright? A bright is a person with a naturalist as opposed to a supernaturalist world view. We brights don’t believe in ghosts or elves or the Easter Bunny — or God. We disagree about many things, and hold a variety of views about morality, politics and the meaning of life, but we share a disbelief in black magic — and life after death.