Social Media in the Political Sphere

When we think about politics, we often associate it with men wearing expensive suits sitting around large glass tables talking about how the economy is to blame for the civil unrest amongst citizens whilst subtly calculating which ally is more valuable in preventing World War 3. Naturally when we think about social media, it’s all about who appeals the most. Snapchat. Instagram. Facebook. It is where we choose to share our stories: whether our audience wants to see what we had for brunch with our squad last Sunday, or our politically motivated rant on whitewashing in Hollywood movies, or even a tagged meme post on when exam stress takes its tolls. However, when we combine both politics and social media, it is extremely unfortunate that Donald Trump and his ridiculous tweets spring to mind. Ridiculous yet highly effective, he has managed to annoy millions of people around the world in under 140 characters. Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure, it's not your fault” 6:37 PM - 8 May 2013. Tweet. Amazing, right? A genuinely intelligent person would not go around insulting others for not realising his/her “intellect”. We want to hate him and disregard his morally violating opinions. Yet we feed into it, like an addiction. We can’t ignore it. This tells us something about how politicians use social media to frame narratives and shape ideas. Donald Trump wants you to think that you can predict him when in fact, he has the upper hand on the element of surprise. His campaign manager must have been paid handsomely. There’s another prominent political figure with an equally fascinating social media reputation. Joko Widodo, the incumbent Indonesian president. His son, Kaesang, started a Youtube channel a while back. His videos would feature Jokowi from time to time, situating both of them in an intriguing and unusual setting. To most people, it is surprising to see Jokowi goofing around with Kaesang and competing on who has the better haircut. Through Kaesang’s videos, the world sees a new side of Jokowi -- a model of a loving dad -- behind the demeanor of the calm president that Indonesians are very familiar with. And down the rabbit hole he goes. Jokowi begins appearing on social media as a ‘gaul’ (chic) public figure. His public image and reputation soars tremendously as a result. How many presidents of a nation with 250 million citizens and one of the biggest global economic contribution can be photographed wearing band shirts while enjoying the concert? (Notably: Guns and Roses, WTF 2016 and 2017). There are even rumors going around Whatsapp that several Garuda Indonesia Airlines passengers had witnessed Jokowi sitting in Economy class during his trip to Singapore for his son’s high school graduation because he wanted to come as a father, not as the President of Indonesia. His well-known humility has garnered praises from the public, both locally and globally.. It is undeniable that Indonesia is still developing as a nation, but we are a rising, chaotic, and dynamic superpower. We are one of the most populated and diverse countries and we need a unifying common objective. Perhaps the positive responses on his appearances in social media were what led Jokowi to finally establish a Youtube account. His account is just like a regular Youtube channel, except for its content. Jokowi vlogs his interactions with reputable public figures such as Barack Obama, Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau. The president even vlogs about his day with his grandson or the time when he ate ‘bakso’ (meatballs) in Ambon. What really blew the roof was the time Jokowi vlogged his meal with the king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, during the latter’s rare overseas visits to nations with diplomatic ties. The video is short with only 2 minutes in length, but it features Jokowi talking to the camera while interacting with the king with the help of an interpreter. The king even directly addressed the camera and stated that it has been an honor for him to visit Indonesia. The Youtube comments section is bombarded with positive comments on Jokowi’s willingness to share. “Pak Jokowi gaul abis dah bikin vlog 😂 setau saya cuman presiden Indonesia yang nyempetin waktunya buat bikin vlog walaupun sebentar 👍” Zahra Safira (trans: Mr. Jokowi is so cool to make this video. So far, he is the only president who takes time aside to make vlogs, even if it does not last long.) These unique modes of storytelling have shaped Indonesia’s perspective of politics. The idea that politics is a dirty game played by officials for corruption and tax evasion purposes is now outdated. We now see that the dynamics of politics has two sides, just like every other story. Public figures are no longer beyond our grasps of understanding. They are not Gods or super-humans. They can be a president and a grandfather too. They can get up in the morning and make coffee and read the papers, just like most of us. Social media have opened communication between citizens and the state. The platform has redefined how a member of local community can interact with their leaders and how those leaders exercise authority to govern a nation through unconventional means. It has opened a two-way street of direct interactivity. Social media has removed the barriers of transparency because Jokowi decidedly shared his life. Jokowi’s decision to share what happens behind the screen, behind his daily life draws us into trusting him. By sharing the ordinariness of his life, he pulls us to create a sense of identification and relatability with him. It is important to note, however, that he does not act without an agenda. Every move in politics is calculated to be executed with minimal cost. Yes, state leaders conduct diplomacy to reach mutual agreements that may bear some consequences. Jokowi chooses to share with us the bits of his life that he wants us to see. That is the bits, not the whole thing. By emulating his past positive experience with vlogging, Jokowi appeals to the public’s liking and trends, and therefore anticipates further positive responses. He wants to seem reliable and relatable. He wants to appeal to the masses and he has done so effectively. In this sense, Jokowi is like Trump, only less controversial, infinitely nicer and with more uplifting responses.


Eudaemonia (Greek: εὐδαιμονία [eu̯dai̯mo’níaː]) A Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, "human flourishing" has been proposed, throughout the evolving history of the English language, as a more accurate translation.   She was singing. The forest was the orchestra of her mind -- one enchanting symphony after another as her lush green leaves danced to an unspoken beat. In a world blanketed with iridescent verdure, she stood amongst the clouds; her luminous silhouette seamless yet extended so starkly to each crevice among the trees —her ever-ubiquitous presence. Where lustrous petals of flora freckled the sky, she painted the wind with colours. Where the over-arching vault of leaves and limb flourished with prolific life, she was its pulsing heart. Amidst the fields of foliage and the smiling lips of fauna, the dulcet tones of aria cascaded into open spaces through the frill of flowers. She smiled, and breaths of life adorned the terrains. The landscape overflowed with potpourris of fruit. Euphonious as it all was, her heart brimmed with more joy when the life she created evolved into something more. Humans. They were strong, intelligent and different from other creations. She saw them laughing, beaming, grinning as they interacted with the animals. She smiled when they started building houses from straws, wood, bricks, then finally, concrete. She smiled as the humans began to forget how dependent they are on her. She smiled through it all — through their exponential reproduction rate, through the escalating clearing of prairie now reconstructed to form fields of grey. She could hardly see her veins within the trees; only monoliths of concrete soaring out of the sidewalk were at sight. The cityscape was unapologetically urban. Drowned were the sounds of animals masticating on nuts and slurping on berries — they meandered, dug, and disappeared in fear of the superior inhabitants. The evergreens that were once fine saplings with soft spring leaves became gnarled embittered trees, growing tall without strength as they competed unnaturally against the towering apartment blocks. Nature was subjected to the fangs of humanity, turning it insipid, tasteless, incapacitated. Her eyes brimmed with tears as memories of what used to be flashed before her. She felt herself grow colder as her sky was shrouded in mottled grey. She breathed in, and she let it all go. A great scar of seething light opened the cloud’s center. Writhing and wriggling, great forks of flame-gold zigzagged through the agonised air. Her tears sank into the skins of grey concrete, as the humans stood untouched, protected by the kingdom that they have selfishly built. Not even a thousand days of rain could stop their insatiable flourishing of urbanisation. She could only watch in torment as biodiversity dwindled in number — gone were the first traces of life that stood by her. Distress was swallowing her whole; the anguish that wrecked her entire being was unceasing. In her eyes, there was no beauty in the arrays of buildings colliding in a mixture of shadow and geometry. On her skin, there were only tiny vehicles scurrying along the coarse, tangled lines of asphalt streets. The sea of metropolitan skyscrapers was all intertwined in a cataclysmic mess of a dream — a dream from which she would like to wake up. The more she watched, the more her frustration morphed into anger. She could no longer comply with their bidding and let them soak in her like a drug. No more! She could no longer spoil them. She should not let them bask in the fresh breeze of spring or the brilliant shades of fall . Even the heat of sultry summer was too good for them. She needed to remind those humans that she was not there for them; they were there because of her! Darkness began to cover the earthy landscape as she howled a noise so terrifying it pulsated through all matters. Attacks of lightning burst on the streets. A ghastly orange grin tore through the terrain as she spat unfettered flames to the screaming creatures. Her blood simmering, her brain stewing, and her bones smoldering with the intensity of her wrath. She let the blaze devour everything in sight, licking and enfolding every coppice. She quaked and the sea gorged on life. For a moment everything became silent as fear had transformed intelligible words into searing moans and groans. Months had passed, but the earth had not forgotten. The terra was scarred by scorched fire as the trees were stripped of their evanescent beauty, leaving only their gaunt, skeletal remains rooted on the barren soil. She was tired. Her outpour of emotions was so intense that she was left empty — drained of the sentiment that once fueled her fury. She needed time, and so she let her eyes close. The breeze lifted the veneer of dirt and grime that clung to the land — a subtle sign that the life below took for a second chance. Just as fast as the way they collapsed into the ground, other concrete towers stretched out to the sky yet again, reaching out with their pallid, gnarled hands. Though these skyscrapers were just born, the history of their ancestors etched across their bodies like fresh blood. They tried so desperately to latch on to what was left of their once sacred realm. When she finally woke up from her daze, her eyes could not believe what they were seeing. More cities. More concrete. More humans! She stared at them in disbelief; these humans never gave up hope. Her eyes sparkled with awe as the clouds broke apart, reveal its golden-blue glory. Harp strings of coruscant light immersed the meadows in sheets of flaxen, as flora dazzled in the crisp air. Lush green leaves awoke from their slumber, dancing higher and higher in the vast expanse of light blue sky. Life was resonating through every being, and she realised that she should not be looking at it in spite. She still loved the humans nonetheless. She hummed quietly and beats of avian wings lilted across the air, serenading the murmur of the vibrant city. Her soft whispers hung suspended in the air, tranquil and mindful. All was peaceful, all was calm, as it always was before the storm. Seconds after, pain lanced through her core. Her insides began to twist, intensifying with each jagged breath she took. She tried to keep her eyes open, tried to endure the shooting aches, but with each movement, she quivered — her consciousness ebbing away. Black mists swirled at the edges of her mind, slowly drawing her into dark oblivion. As much as she tried to hold onto life, the pain soared and choked her alive, suffocating her from within. And before she could warn the creatures below, the wound took her far, far away. A deep bellow of pain roared through the sky. Then it sizzled itself to silence, its searing stilled, its anger quieted. Reboot. Reset.

Injecting Culinary Preservatives

Has anyone never tried instant noodles? Something like Indomie or Top Ramen. The kind of pre-prepared, processed food from factories that come with the solid block of carbs that become less stiff and flow more like proper noodles once they settle in the hot water for a few minutes. The flavor of hot water and bland dough are swathed in layers of condiments like chili powder, garlic powder, msg, and some oils. Those packets that come at the cost of spare change, and theoretically a few organs when eaten too frequently, have become an everyday meal for people who can’t afford to eat better because there are more important things to pay for, like rent. Aside from the health hazards, think about how advanced the technology is. To be able to create a massive amount of food on a large scale and have it be virtually non-perishable is an outstanding feat. The chemicals used to process the food and allow it to be immortal is not safe human ingestion, but it is certainly a large leap from a long time ago. Even if the food is going to decompose for certain, there exists refrigerators that delays that inevitable outcome. The seemingly simplistic method of refrigeration certainly goes beyond placing things in tin cans and hoping the copious amounts of salt can kill the germs before the raw food goes rotten. Or pre-cooking the food so that the bacteria are dead, but the food becomes cold, stale, and still at risk from fungal growth in a matter of days. In the modern era, not only are the food storage techniques more reliable, but the art of food preparation is also more advanced. With electronic tools such as blenders, toasters, ovens, and stoves, anyone can make any meal worthy of an Instagram story. Not everyone has the skill to make it impressive, but that doesn’t matter with the current technology. Anyone can cook a recipe they pull off from the internet on beginner-friendly kitchen appliances using ingredients from around the world. Capture and post the outcome on the digital media, and it will probably get the fleeting attention of some random strangers from somewhere in the world. With a few simple recipes and online video tutorials, people can claim to be master chefs, live a healthier lifestyle, and save money on food by buying only ingredients instead of everyday takeout. Perhaps not the “master chef” part, but the message is there. The scale at which human survival operates is global. It is not just the fact that raw ingredients can be imported across countries more efficiently, but also the options humans have when it comes to cooking. We get to not only purchase and cook non-native produce, but also decide the style of the meals, such as Italian, Greek, or Chinese. With the ubiquitous availability of information regarding recipes, ingredients and cooking techniques on the internet, an amateur home cook can compete with professional chefs in their own game. An average person with a mere internet connection can influence and be influenced from anywhere at anytime by anyone. Compared to the days before the internet, recipes had to be handed down from generation to generation, parent to child, chef to apprentice. The art of picking ingredients had to be taught by a professional or paid institution, or learned through trials and errors. The path to becoming a proper cook has become shorter and easier, and that is only with traditional cuisines from known places such as Asia and Europe. Imagine what these people could do if they learned a bit of science! With the progression of science and technology, professional chefs tend to have the same know-how and hygiene as medical doctors. Alongside the standard procedures of washing hands and keeping clean uniforms, the equipment both professions use for their jobs must be sterilized and cleaned to the highest degree, from syringes to knives. Higher level chefs have to enact a certain precision akin to surgeons, and an eye for food like painters to their art. A lot of chefs with Michelin stars talk about cooking as an art of passion, innovating dishes for the perfect set of flavors, and reinventing meals to suit a particular challenge, like a wholesome meal that tastes meaty for vegans. But sometimes, science wants to take a crack at food, like with Indomie packets, to create interesting and innovative treats within a field of culinary chemistry. This is a field known as “molecular gastronomy”. With foods like pop rocks, cocktail ice spheres, flavored gel and paper, ice cream frozen on the spot, and noodles that taste like herbs, the possibilities of new dishes and their various interpretations are endless. Professionals like Heston Blumenthal take that creativity to overdrive. This proprietor of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire uses scientific processes and tools to elevate the sensation of his dishes. He frequently attempts to reinterpret classic dishes and throw the concept of normal out the window. (Check out his bacon and egg ice cream). One prominent example is when he attempts on mimicking the sensation of being inside Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Blumenthal was able to use liquify nitrogen by cooling it down to subzero temperatures and make a waterfall of chocolate by adding some chocolate powder. Not a liquid chocolate waterfall, but a misty flow of chocolate liquid that dissolves in cool smoke, leaving fine chocolate dust in its wake. Videos of him taking advantage of the intersection between science and culinary arts are viral all over YouTube. They are certainly worth a watch. Blumenthal’s work is an extreme example of molecular gastronomy, but it demonstrates the potential of scientific play within the art of cooking itself. Technology has certainly made food global, safe and somewhat homogenized, but that is merely a shallow view. Science not only elevates the efficiency of food dissemination and consumption, but also pushes the boundaries on how a meal is viewed and consumed. Technology, as the byproduct of science, will inevitably help in this. Whether it is by supplying information and inspiration, or by helping to properly get a dish down, science and food will always play a part in each other’s flourish.

Balancing Indonesia's Charge

Indonesia has experienced its fair share of wins and losses across its history. For instance, we have recently lost Globe Asia’s 2015 Man of The Year, our beloved Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok), to Jakarta’s penitentiary due to an incredulous blasphemy accusation. However, the market researcher Indonesia Investments expects Indonesia to be one of the world's biggest economies by 2030. Unfortunately, Indonesia’s media doesn’t fancy a national positive news. Publications of ‘what’s good’ about Indonesia are rare as they are mostly drowned by yet another bureaucratic scandal. An example of this is, one of Indonesia’s prime news agency that had to create a sub-segment coined ‘Happivity’, in order to round up Indonesia’s happiest news. So here is a list of news about Indonesia’s accomplishments to balance the mainstream negativity: 1. Victors of International Academic Competitions This year, Gerry Widiarto and Ferris Prima Hutama from Indonesia won two gold medals from the 2017 International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) held in Yogyakarta. Another three Indonesian students, Bonfilio Nainggolan, Faizal Husni and Fikri Makarim Sosrianto, were also the recipients of silver medals. Since its inception in 1967, IPhO is a platform for students across the world to compete and improve international education relations in the field of physics. Indonesian students have always surprised the international community with their remarkable intellect. Despite the national challenge in the distribution of education system and Indonesia’s high number of out-of-school children (around 1 million between 7-15 years of age), The British Council reveals that Indonesia has one of the largest university-level enrollment and educational growth. With more support from the Ministry of Education and provision of funding for schools, Indonesia could top the global education rankings. 2. Higher Happiness Index Recent studies conducted by the Central Statistic Agency (BPS) indicates that Indonesian people are satisfied with their life. The report shows that Indonesia’s 2017 happiness index is at 70,69 out of 100. This is a fair improvement from 2014’s score of 68,25. Even though the report does not include the number of participants, it carries a representative range of categories such as income, age groups, marital status, education, urban or rural areas, household position and numbers of household members. If you look deeper into the report like Bloomberg did, you’ll find that single people are happier than married couples. We could only wonder why, but do rub it on the faces of your unavailable friends. But don’t use this report as an excuse to stay single!   3. Rising Star for International Business Ventures The international world perceives Indonesia as an emerging and durable location for business ventures. The World Bank, for instance, ranks Indonesia 72 out of 190 in Ease of Doing Business 2017. The index report indicates that Indonesia’s “regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.” In other words, it is fairly easy to start a business in Indonesia. The standard of this ranking system considers the measurement of permit process, registration, taxation system, and others. While we still rank below the neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, 2 and 23 respectively, our rank has increased from last year’s 91. It is an impressive jump that portrays a promising prospect for Foreign Direct Investments in our economy. In response to this good news, The Jakarta Post writes that the Indonesian government is preparing a ‘special task force’ to help smoothen and accelerate Indonesia’s investment procedure. Hopefully this will help improve Indonesia’s national economy, as foreign investments and business startups are integral to Indonesia future economy. 4. Pioneering Eco-City In October 2017, the second-biggest Indonesian city, Surabaya, became the recipient of United Nations’ “Global Green City” award. Surabaya’s head of public relations, Muhammad Faksir, said to Metro News that the award recognises Surabaya’s sustainable growth and progress: "Activities that received the UN’s appreciation ranged from the re-arrangement of slums, the greening of its parks and the movement by the community to care for the environment.” Indonesia owes this honour and recognition to Surabaya’s Mayor Tri Rismaharini for her hard work and dedication. Huffington Post calls the Mrs. Mayor “Indonesia’s best kept secret” for the lack of international recognition despite her leadership prowess and hands-on approach. At her direction, Surabaya comes to win numerous environmental awards for the city’s promotion of hygiene and parks. Not only that, she is also famed for her humble effort to pick up trashes at many mornings. Indonesia needs more people like Mayor Risma. Her love for her parks and greenery shows exactly how much she cares for her city. 5. Brighter economic prospects Indonesia’s 2016 economy highlight was the Tax Amnesty program, which had just ended this June. Executed by Sri Mulyani, Indonesia’s Minister of Economy, the amnesty ensures that Indonesian citizens declare their offshore assets to receive lesser penalty tax rates. With more than 900,000 people declaring their assets, Indonesia’s tax amnesty is internationally known as one of the most successful tax amnesties. More than IDR 4.88 quadrillion (USD 360 billion) in asset value was declared. There were many criticisms directed against the tax amnesty. The amnesty was deemed as benefiting the top percentage while the government secured only IDR 147 trillion in revenue from tariffs instead of the goal of IDR 1,000 trillion. Nonetheless, we ought to acknowledge that the money obtained through the amnesty would circulate in our national economy instead of a foreign nation. 6. Conquering World Championship Our country is famous for its badminton athletes, starring Taufik Hidayat, Liem Sui King, Christian Hadinata and many more athletes. In the 90s and early 00s, Indonesia was one of the primary actors in badminton leagues. Nonetheless, Indonesia is still going strong. In fact, we recently got to strike our chests with pride as Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon won the India Open 2017 in men’s doubles. Their final opponents were, ironically, fellow Indonesian athletes Angga Pratama and Ricky Karanda. The match culminated with a score of 21-11 and 21-15 in less than 30 minutes. Furthermore, Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir grabbed the gold medal in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championship in August 2017. Held in Scotland, the championship concluded after a vigorous match with China’s Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen, ending with a score of 15-21, 21-16 and 21-15. 7. Irresistible Tourist Spot - “Destination of the Year” At the 28th annual Travel Trade Gazette (TTG) Travel Awards, Indonesia was named 2017’s “Destination of the Year” for the Asia Pacific Category. The Ministry of Tourism received the award and was applauded for its effort to “[take] proactive steps and initiatives to the development and promotion of the travel industry.” Indonesia’s tourism promotional video “The Wonderful Indonesia: The Journey to a Wonderful Indonesia” that won two awards from UNWTO Tourism Video Competition was also screened within the gala. When you think about it, most of us Indonesian have not yet fully explored our native country when Indonesia is in fact a holy grail for many foreign travelers. The grass is always greener on the other side, but can we stop and look around once we step into the welcoming tropical air of Indonesia? You can visit to find out more about Indonesia’s wonderful travel spots.   Undoubtedly, Indonesia has more great positive news to offer. This article contains only so few out of possibly thousands or even millions of Indonesia’s accomplishments, be it nationally or internationally. We need to understand that there are many things to be proud of in the land of Garuda. The ‘fake news’ you see in front of your digital screens or the negative rumours you hear about Indonesia may mortify you, but [we] millennials are responsible for Indonesia’s future. Only we can make it better and only we can drive Indonesia to further success. So, do you have any positive charge to share regarding Indonesia?