Published in the Jakarta Post Weekender magazine. 

Indonesia’s Maluku archipelago, famed for its historical attractions and natural beauty, was struck off tourist itineraries during the religious strife of the late 1990s. Belinda Lopez visited some of the islands to see the changes taking place.

Picking one of Maluku’s estimated 999 islands to visit can be a risky affair. Over near Banda Neira Island, an active 650-meter-high volcano on the appropriately named Gunung Api (Fire Mountain) Island only just blew her lid in 1988.

In Ternate, North Maluku, it’s best to stay away from civil servants, especially if you’re a state prosecutor. One poor prosecutor is reportedly recovering from a blow to the head after he tried to find evidence of graft in the North Maluku governor’s office and the staff allegedly jumped him.

Published in The Sunday Jakarta Post. See here.

Laksmi Pamuntjak can tell you exactly where she was on April 22, 2006.

As she tells it, on the day after founding feminist Kartini’s birthday, a 6,000-strong carnivale of cultures from Aceh, Bali, Java and other islands, of Batak, Betawi, Dayak and Minahasa, met at Monas to face an anti-pornography bill that they felt was trying to hijack the very essence of Indonesia’s Pancasila, of its tolerance of difference.

It “smelt like a gas”, aimed at women, she says.