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60 years later revisiting Michael Rockefeller’s disappearance in Papua Part III: A twin’s grief and whether Savage Harvest proved Michael’s disappearance

An Asmat carving at the Asmat Museum in Agats. Photo credit: Si Gam, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

IO – It was on the 17th of November 1961 that Michael Rockefeller disappeared in Papua. Yesterday, that would have been exactly 60 years ago. Both his parents have died during the interim. The one person still alive today who was probably most affected by Michael Rockefeller’s death was his twin sister Mary Rockefeller Morgan who accompanied her father to Papua when Michael first disappeared.

After his disappearance Mary went through years of repressed grief and trauma. Before Michael left on his trip to Papua or the Netherlands New Guinea as it was still known then, Mary already had a premonition that he would die. When she first heard the news of his disappearance, her reaction was that he was dead. Later, flying low in a plane with her father over 150 miles of Papuan shoreline and jungle she realized the enormity and sheer unlikelihood of his survival. In Papua, she went through the first phase of grieving which is a sense of numbness. Reaching home in New York, she rushed to her mother’s embrace but her mother who was herself suffering tremendous shock and grief told her that the one thing they could not do was to cry. Mary says that her mother probably felt that she would not be able to hold things together if they began to cry.

Beginning with the End (2012) by Mary Rockefeller Morgan. Photo credit:

Unfortunately, crying which is an expression of grief is also nature’s way of healing the psychological wounds of great loss. Forbidden to cry, Mary went into 27 years of denial, trauma and pain which culminated with a nervous breakdown. Then followed years of therapy which ultimately brought her healing. As a result, she herself became a psychotherapist who specializes in twin loss and bereavement, for what she discovered during her own healing process was that twin loss is different – not exactly the same – as sibling loss. Later, she formed a special twin bereavement group for the 12 twins who lost a twin during 9/11 and afterwards wrote a book about her experiences called ‘Beginning with the End: A Memoir of Twin Loss and Healing’ in which she shares her healing journey and moving forward to new beginnings in her work helping other twins in bereavement.

Mary says, “I wrote the book for people who had this sort of deep personal loss using my story as a sort of magnifying lense,” and adds, “With twin loss there really are two issues that make twin bereavement unique. The first one is the twin bond: from the moment of conception the tiny embryos are growing in relationship. New sonographs show that at 14 weeks, twins are already reaching out to each other in a kind of primitive relationship. That is extraordinary. So by the time they are born, that little “I”-that sense of who you are as a person is already framed in a “we” and that is the key to understanding twin bereavement.”

Mary then goes on to explain, “Until I really got a sense of myself as an individual and felt safe with my identity as an individual, it was very hard for me to let go of my brother in terms of really coming to grips with the fact that he was gone-he was dead-and that the physical manifestation of him in my life had to be let go. It’s important for therapists to know that the first identity step needs to be taken… So, we (the twin suffering loss) need to start listening to who we are and where we are.

…Twins are so used to talking to the other twin before they really know what they even think about something – so, you have to get used to saying to yourself, “What do I think about what that person just said?” You have to learn to form a new relationship to yourself so that your own sense of the “I” can really come forward in your life.”

Mary found that the second issue that needs to be dealt with in twin bereavement, is that twins need to claim their right to that healing process because as in the case of the Twin Towers disaster, support was given to the spouses, parents and children of victims but not their twins when in fact usually, the twin relationship is the most important relationship in a twin’s life.

When Grief Calls Forth Healing (2014) by Mary Rockefeller Morgan. Photo credit:

In 2014 she came out with a second book on the subject entitled, ‘When Grief Calls Forth the Healing: A Memoir of Losing a Twin’. Although it took her many years, Mary Rockefeller has managed not only to find healing after Michael’s tragedy but also managed to use it to increase knowledge about twin grief and help other twins in bereavement.

Nevertheless, the question of what truly did happen to Michael Rockefeller, persists even 60 years later. In 2014 Carl Hoffman’s book ‘Savage Harvest’ argues that he was killed and cannibalized by the Otjaneps. The book was a bestseller and many people have accepted his view but the Rockefellers have not –not publicly anyway. In an interview with Jim Axelrod at the New York Explorer’s Club, Hoffman declared, “I’m absolutely convinced that he was killed by the Asmat. I’m 100 percent convinced. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

During a talk at the Indonesian Heritage Society in 2016 Carl Hoffman told his audience that he did not understand why the Rockefeller family would not meet with him and speak with him about what had happened to Michael. In an interview with Axelrod, Mary Rockefeller explained, “To many who read this book, it’s a sensational whodunit about a wealthy, famous family whose twin is portrayed as being killed and cannibalized. To us, Michael’s death is traumatic and real.”

That sums it up very well. The first two chapters of Savage Harvest are purely Hoffman’s imagination about what might have happened to Michael. In chapter two he goes into gruesome detail about how Michael might have been killed, beheaded and cannibalized. He writes as though this is what truly happened and it reads like a horror story.

Carl Hoffman’s book about Michael Rockefeller’s disappearance. Photo credit: Tamalia Alisjahbana/IO

Even if Hoffman had indisputable proof that this was Michael’s fate, would Michael’s family really want to read that? Hoffman seems unable to put himself in their position. During the sixty years since Michael’s disappearance they would have come to terms with what must have been an enormous trauma for each of them. The Rockefellers, especially his twin Mary went through what must have been a horrendous grieving process and after many years finally managed to continue their lives. One can well imagine that reading Hoffman’s book could reopen many old wounds and traumas – and for what? What Hoffman has theorized in Savage Harvest is not impossible. It may have happened but he does not actually offer any concrete proof that this is what actually did happen to Michael Rockefeller.

“Mary’s response to what she thinks happened to her brother has been, “I don’t know – I mean, honestly I could not tell you for sure, but I think it would be an extraordinary feat for a young man, for anybody, to swim approximately 10 miles in that choppy water and that current.”

What she says makes sense. The area around the mouth of the Eilanden River leading to the Arafura Sea where Michael disappeared was considered one of the most dangerous areas in the world. It has large and ferocious salt water crocodiles that are considered even more dangerous than fresh water crocodiles. At the mouth of the river and in the surrounding sea beside the crocodiles there are also very large sharks as well as sea snakes and box jelly fish, both of which can be quite venomous. Powerful tides and currents would also have been pushing Michael through choppy waters with mud banks and energy sapping eel grass. Although not impossible, it is difficult to imagine that somehow defying all the difficulties at sea Michael made it to shore.

On the shore there are plains of flat, muddy mangrove swamps that are extremely difficult for a person to travel across, especially for someone alone, ill-equipped and unfamiliar with the area. Rivers meander through these swamps to the sea. These flat mangrove swamps around the shores of Papua are the largest alluvial swamps in the world. Here are crocodiles, gray nurse sharks and sea snakes as well as land snakes and huge monitor lizards. The Otjanep village lies on the banks of the Ewta River which is many miles, far upstream from where the Eilanden River meets the sea where Michael would have come ashore. It would be a really enormous coincidence that at that precise moment a party of Otjanep warriors just happened to be where Michael came ashore – so very far from their home village.

Carl Hoffman the author of Savage Harvest in 2014. Photo credit: Slowking, GFDL 1.2 ( /licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html), via Wikimedia Commons

Hoffman bases his proof on his interviews and the reports made by a few Dutch missionaries who were in Asmat at the time and claim to have been told by several Asmat that the Otjaneps found and killed Michael. They reported this to their superiors who reported it to the Dutch government. The Church was told to keep the matter secret and the documents in Catholic Church archives and Dutch government archives were kept from the public because the Dutch were involved in a struggle to keep Papua and needed to show the United Nations that they had eradicated headhunting, cannibalism and tribal wars. Hoffman told Axelrod, “We’re not talking about my opinion; the documents show there was a cover-up. The docs say, ‘Don’t tell Nelson Rockefeller about this. Say nothing. Mark it secret.”

A cover-up is not proof however, that the Otjenaps did in fact kill Michael Rockefeller. Hoffman’s proof is all anecdotal. There is no concrete evidence that that is what happened. Money was offered and the Asmat produced a skull. Just not Michael Rockefeller’s skull. Money was offered and glasses were produced, Just not Michael Rockefeller’s glasses.

The Asmats are not stupid. They would have realized that Michael Rockefeller’s disappearance was a happening of major importance. They certainly know it now. If the Asmat tribes, especially the Otjenaps themselves knew that the Otjenaps had killed him, they would also know where his skull is but that has never surfaced. No concrete evidence has.

Perhaps, something that Max Lapre wrote in his report about the Asmats and that was in a sense also echoed in the Dutch missionary, Gerard A. Zegwaard’s article about the headhunting practices of the Asmat, can shed some light on all these reports and claims. Max Lapre wrote, “…the Asmats have a fine sense of humour and in general a friendly character.

One of their greatest handicaps is what they refer to as their jispaaratakam or a fondness for exaggeration or bombast which often causes misunderstandings in their lives. This characteristic has unfortunately, the consequence that they are not too careful with the truth, so that the jispaaratakam can quite easily turn into lying or what they call soe-atakam. This is why it is often difficult to obtain accurate information or results from them.”

Gerard Zegwaard describes a ceremony known as the dewen atakan where the achievements of the headhunters are called out. They boast, “I killed a big man on such and such a river; I killed another man…”. He says that it is the general attitude of the Asmat to cope with a frightening situation by overawing the forces behind it by bragging about themselves. According to Asmat tradition even after death the deceased will, at his arrival at the realm of souls tell hair-raising stories of wars in which he was the hero. He describes them as inventing and spreading lies and using tricks against their enemies and in situations to their advantage.

Mary Rockefeller in Papua in 1961. Photo credit: Gouvernements Voorlichtingsdienst Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Common

At the end of the day Mary Rockefeller is right. Michael may have drowned or been killed by sharks or crocodiles or by the Otjaneps. We do not know what happened to him. The only possible evidence to emerge was a red petrol can found by the Dutch navy out at sea a few days after his disappearance which was presumably one of the cans he tied to himself – it may however, have been some other red petrol can that somehow exactly at that time found its way to the sea.

Mary Rockefeller sums it up best when she says that the manner of her brother’s death has so overshadowed who he was “when in fact his short life had tremendous meaning, to his friends and his family; his short life also has tremendous meaning to so many others. His papers, his beautiful photographs, and his amazing art collection shows respect for the Asmat people, who are so much bigger than this idea of cannibalism. That is his legacy.” (Tamalia Alisjahbana)

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Part I:

Part II:

UI Team fifth in Flying Car Design Teknofest

UI Team fifth in Flying Car Design Teknofest
Members of the University of Indonesia Flying Car Team, and the Skylark prototype. Photo: UI

Jakarta, IO – A University of Indonesia Faculty of Engineering Flying Car (“UI Flying Car”) Team, comprised of six students in the Faculty’s Department of Machine Engineering, won fifth in the Flying Car Design Competition Teknofest 2021 held at the Atatürk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey. Representing Indonesia, it won an honorable place, in competition with 206 participants from various countries. The competition was jointly held by the Turkish Ministry of Industry and Technology, the Turkish Technology Team (T3) Foundation, and several partner companies.

The UI Flying Car Team was set up to carry out research on Urban Air Mobility (UAM), or to design and build a flying car by 2020, in teams of students interested in the subject. The members mentored by lecturer of
UI Faculty of Engineering’s Machine Engineering Department Dr. Ing. Mohammad Adhitya, ST, MSc. are: Muhamad Ilham Santoso (Team Head), Mochamad Rifqi N.A., Yogasatya Adikhansa, Tristan Adhika, Khalfan Nadhief, and Farhan Almasyhur.

“The flying car is an advanced research project, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), with differences in loads carried and the objective of getting it to fy. For this competition, we developed a research concept titled “Fully Autonomous Tandem Quad Tilt-Wing Flying Car with Thermal Imaging Camera, 5G C-V2X Communication, and Advanced Cybersecurity System”. We added reliable features to allow the vehicle to fly its users safely and securely from one point to another,” Mochamad Rifqi stated, as quoted by on Monday (8/11/2021).

Indonesia was also named a Guest of Honor in the Teknofes 2021. “Other than competing, the UI team prepared a pavilion representing Indonesia in the exhibition complementing the competition. We hope that UI’s participation in the Teknofest 2021 Flying Car Design Competition will become a milestone for the development of flying cars in Indonesia, evolving into something better for the future,” Ilham said.

The UI Flying Car product is called the “Skylark”. It was designed with a
hybrid urban air-land mobility concept that combines the concepts of two different types of vehicle, the light airplane and the automobile. As it has
both wings and wheels, the Skylark can be used on air and on land. Despite being ftted with wings, it is designed for vertical takeoff and landing (“VTOL”).

UI Team fifth in Flying Car Design Teknofest

“The Skylark uses tandem-tilt wings with 16 motors attached to them, and these wings can be positioned upwards or frontwards. During vertical takeoff and landing, the wings will tilt up; when it is traveling, the wings will tilt forward. For land transportation mode, it uses its wheels, which move using their own separate mobility system. The wings can be folded in land mode, to ensure that the Skylark is the same width as other four-wheeled vehicles on the road,” Yogasatya said.

Skylark is designed to carry two passengers. It has camera sensors, ultrasonic sensors, and radar in various parts. “These sensors help the Skylark to identify the conditions of its surrounding areas and determine
the direction we want it to go. It also uses the vehicles for everything (V2X) communications system, which will help provide information concerning
surrounding vehicles and objects,” Tristan said

Mentor Dr. Adhitya stated that “The technologies used by the UI Flying Car Team result from these students’ own research on future transportation technologies. They consider speed, safety, fuel and movement efficiency, automation, and green energy sources. May their achievement help us all welcome future technologies, with their dynamic changes and competitiveness.” (est)

Saung Pengkolan, Sundanese cuisine in spectacular views

Saung Pengkolan, Sundanese cuisine in spectacular views
Photos: Caecilia Linggarjati

IO – Eating out at a purported “homemade cooking” restaurant tastes a great deal better when shared with your closest kin or friends. “Saung
Pengkolan”, with its breathtaking highland scenery (in accord with Pengkolan, meaning “curving”) is located along the turn of a road in the mountainous area of Lembang, Bandung.

With the COVID-19 rate declining and community restrictions being relaxed, Bandung is a most auspiciously-awaited holiday destination, and one of the most admired locales is Lembang, offering a wide range of
culinary selections and areas to relax and enjoy yourself.

Getting to Lembang has never been easy, since the traffic is always congested, but a traffc jam never puts an end to our foodie journey!

Saung Pengkolan, Sundanese cuisine in spectacular views

We parked our car just as our tummies yearned for warm tea and freshly cooked Sundanese foods. Saung Pengkolan, a bamboo-built restaurant with a breezy open-air atmosphere, is worth the trip.

The rain was pouring heavily; we had to run towards the bamboo chalet and choose the best-sited seats for the hilly vista – out of sight of many tables. Seated guests wait patiently to sate their appetites.

You can either sit on chairs at a dining table or snuggle in the warm cubicles of lesehan, a small on-foor seating arrangement with a low table and mat. Since the lesehan spots with outdoor views were mostly taken, and some of us found lesehan challenging, we opted for the traditional dining table.

The Sundanese atmosphere, with bamboo decorated walls and ceilings, the wooden- and bamboo- crafted tables and chairs, and the trickling sound of water from the fish pond filled the air.

Fingerbowls are well provided for guests to wash their hands before the feast. After washing, I took a brief walk to the corners of the restaurants and found souvenirs and local snack food stalls. These local snacks brought back my childhood memories, as I was born and raised in Bandung. My choice went to the dried corn leaf-wrapped dodol, a steamed glutinous mix of rice four and brown sugar in a finger-sized cake. We had a few nibbles of the dodol while we were awaiting the food to come.

Saung Pengkolan, Sundanese cuisine in spectacular views

Aside from chicken menus, the restaurant offers a selection of freshwater fish and seafood recipes, including crispy fried Gurami, crispy fried Calamary, soups and complementary foods: fried tofu and tempeh, fried salted fish, fried or grilled petai—peculiarly smell bitter beans—, and of course Sundanese sambal (traditional chili sauce).

Assorted drinks are available to quench your thirst; among them are bajigur—a hot and sweet Sundanese beverage made of coconut milk, palm sugar, ginger and a pinch of salt— hot teas and various fruit juices. I obviously picked bajigur, which is rarely found in Jakarta. The waiter took our order, and the drinks arrived not long after we ordered. The bajigur tasted different from what I had in mind; the coconut milk was less savory and simply dominantly sweet.

The signature dish here is Nasi Timbel, a plate of banana leafwrapped of rice, fried chicken, a selection of fried tofu and tempeh with a bowl of hot sayur asem—sour and sweet vegetable soup— as a side dish and of course, sambal. Hot Sundanese cookery and a rainy afternoon are just a perfect match.

After the fulflling afternoon supper, and once the rain had stopped, we were ready for our journey to our next adventurous destination around Lembang, Bandung. Do you care to follow? (cl)

Bali’s enchanting Bloom Garden

Bali’s enchanting Bloom Garden
Photos: Mia Kamila

IO – The Bloom Garden represents one of the must-visit holiday destinations
in Bedugul, Bali. The neat vibrant-color fower beds await your photo documentation.

Visitors explore each and every part of the Bloom Garden and enjoy the sight of the flourishing flowers, with the statue of Dewi Danu towering
in the center.

Bali’s enchanting Bloom Garden

The garden is situated near Ulun Danu Beratan, Bedugul, a cool lake located in the highland area of Bali, known for its cozy breezes.

Entering the garden in November demands you bring your umbrella, as its wide-open space only holds a little place to nestle, should it be raining.

The Bloom Garden—one of the most spacious in the mountainous region of Bali—fits your wishes to freshen up, as it provides tranquil wooden bungalows for your weekend stay. Imagine waking up to the beautiful scenery of a flourishing garden.

Bali’s enchanting Bloom Garden

The Bloom Garden Bali opens daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with visitors regularly spending 4 to 5 hours enjoying the sights and aromas.

Ticket prices are different for local and foreign tourists. It costs only IDR 20,000 for local adults and IDR 10,000 for children; it costs a little more for foreign tourists: IDR 40,000 for adults and IDR 20,000 for children.

Have we intrigued you enough to want to pay a visit? (mia)

Choi Duk Jun, President Director of PT Mercedes-Benz Distribution Indonesia Latest Mercedes models locally assembled in Indonesia launched

Choi Duk Jun, President Director of PT Mercedes-Benz Distribution Indonesia Latest Mercedes models locally assembled in Indonesia launched
Choi Duk Jun, President Director of PT Mercedes-Benz Distribution Indonesia. Photo: Roosyudhi Priyanto/IO

IO – Legendary German automobile company Mercedes-Benz released its latest model cars for the Indonesian market – and had them assembled locally.

“Today, we are pleased to introduce Mercedes-Benz’s latest two luxury sedans, the New E-Class and New S-Class. For years since their introduction to Indonesia, the two models have created their own loyal segment,” said Choi Duk Jun, President Director PT Mercedes-Benz Distribution Indonesia, during the opening of the Mercedes Benz Star Expo at Senayan City, Jakarta, on Wednesday, 3 November 2021.

“With their latest looks and technology, the New E-Class and New S-Class are again becoming the benchmark of their respective classes. We are also proud of the fact that they are both locally assembled locally in Indonesia by our supremely skilled and trained technicians at the Mercedes-Benz
factory in Wanaherang, Bogor. These luxury sedans follow up on our successful line-up, including our locally assembled Mercedes-AMG model since October,” Choi said. “With the introduction of the new E-Class and S-Class at the Star Expo, we continue our commitment to provide the Best
Customer Experience to our visitors, and to provide better safety, security, and comfort in our amazing products for our honored guests.”

When asked about the possibility of Mercedes investing in electric cars in Indonesia, Choi stated that it is too early to speak about. “However, we are defnitely launching electric cars to Indonesia,” he said. “There are still so many things Mercedes-Benz still need to study on – supply chains, manufacturing costs, logistical costs, technology to use, regulations, taxes and levies, and many others to consider.” (rp)

Ma’ruf Amin, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia “Disabled athletes are an inspiration”

Ma’ruf Amin, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia “Disabled athletes are an inspiration”
Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia K.H. Ma’ruf Amin. Photo: Kemenpora

IO – After the recent closing of the XX National Sports Week, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia K.H. Ma’ruf Amin returned to Papua. He was back to open the National Paralympics Week on Friday, 5 November 2021. It will be held on 2-15 November in two clusters, i.e. Jayapura City and in the Regency of Jayapura. 1,985 athletes from 33 provinces are competing in 12 fields of sport: weightlifting, athletics, boccia, badminton, chess, judo, shooting, archery, swimming, CP soccer, wheelchair tennis, and wheelchair table tennis.

Ma’ruf expressed his appreciation of the disabled athletes participating in the National Paralympics Week: “Ladies and Gentlemen: you are an inspiration and energy for your fellow citizens and for your country. You are the torch that fires up the fames of passion to achieve with your persistence. Spread the fearlessness that you all carry within your souls! Success awaits all of you,” he said during the Grand Opening at Mandala Stadium, Jayapura City, Papua. “You show everyone that you are able to do what others can do despite your disabilities. Achieve even beyond your aspirations! Your disabilities shall not obstruct your aspirations and achievements. Rise, unite, achieve victory in the Land of Papua! Shout out now, Torang Bisa, We Can Do It!”

Ma’ruf further expressed his appreciation of everyone involved in the preparation of the Papua XVI National Paralympics Week 2021. “I thank the Minister of Youth and Sports, the Ministers in the Indonesia Onward Cabinet, the Governors of all provinces, especially the Governor of Papua, the General Chairman of the Indonesian National Paralympics Committee (NPC), and all of their management and staff members who have worked hard to prepare for the National Paralympics Week,” he said. “Thanks to the support of my beloved people of Papua, my affectionate people of Papua, we have successfully prepared competition venues and facilities according to National Paralympics Week competition standards.”

The Papua XVI National Paralympics Week Opening Ceremony features national artists such as Anggun, Edo Kondologit, Nowela, and Putri Ariani, as well as national dances such as the Papuan Traditional Home Dance, the Sampan (Boat) Dance, the Soldiers’ Dance, the Cendrawasih (Bird of Paradise) Dance, and the Papua Bisa (Papua Can Do It) Dance. The XVI National Paralympics Week fag was then hoisted with the accompaniment of the song “Sang Patriot” (“The Patriot”), followed by a drum and marching band show, the Hara and Wara mascot show, and a parade of athletes from the 33 provinces, starting from the Aceh contingent as the representatives of the westernmost region and ending with the host Papua contingent as representatives of the easternmost region of the country. Also present in the Ceremony were Ambassadors of friendly countries stationed in Papua, the Ministers of the Onward Indonesia Cabinet, and the Regional Heads of Papua. (rp)

From Pariah to Paragon: Indonesia’s Covid-19 handling becomes the world’s envy

From Pariah to Paragon: Indonesia’s Covid-19 handling becomes the world’s envy

IO – The global spotlight is shining on Indonesia, due to its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of cases has continued to
trend down by a whopping 92% since the peak of a Delta-fueled second wave in mid-July. In fact, Indonesia is now at a better position than its neighbors. This has earned it global admiration, for ways to best deal with Covid-19. Many countries are looking forward to learning from Indonesia’s “best practices”. Countries like the U.S., Poland, and New Zealand have sought cooperation with Indonesia in a joint effort to combat the pandemic.

During the G20 summit and Health Ministers’ Meeting in Rome, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was highly commended by world leaders. Italy, was amazed at how Indonesia could quickly vaccinate its huge population. Even U.S. President Joe Biden personally invited President Jokowi to be a speaker at the Global Covid-19 Summit to share his experiences with the world on the achievements of the Indonesian government in reversing the course in such a dramatic manner. President Jokowi was one of four leaders in the world chosen by President Biden to advise the world on how to tackle the virus.

From Pariah to Paragon: Indonesia’s Covid-19 handling becomes the world’s envy

President Jokowi envisaged three strategies. First, the world needs to immediately build a new global health resilience system, because a health system between one country and another is closely interrelated, especially during this pandemic. Second, to promptly build a global mechanism to pool health resources that can be accessed by all countries, especially developing countries facing crippling health crises. Third, the need
to develop standard health protocols so that all global activities, such as
transportation, meetings, or other events can follow the same guidance.

Other than global leaders, Indonesia was also praised by the World Bank, in its article “Indonesia has passed 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses. What can we learn?” World Bank Indonesia and Timor Leste country director Satu Kahkonen said Indonesia has succeeded in two major areas vaccination and mitigation. As a result, in addition to containing infections, it has also managed to rejuvenate its economy and soften the social impacts. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also recognized Indonesia’s achievement. “I really appreciate the government of Indonesia’s handling of Covid-19 and the various strategic steps it has taken to restore the economy,” said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

Further, according to Japan’s Nikkei Asia, Indonesia has been recognized as the most successful country in Southeast Asia in curbing the pandemic. Based on the Nikkei Recovery Index, with the Covid-19 situation in the country improving, Indonesia is now ranked 54th in the world with a score of 54.5. Previously, Indonesia was in 92nd place.

Even the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated Indonesia as a “green zone”, indicating that it has a low infection rate and is safe to visit. This has led to several countries reversing their stance toward Indonesia. For example, the UK has removed Indonesia from its red list as of October 11. Fully vaccinated arrivals from Indonesia now no longer need to undergo quarantine in government-designated hotels. Mexico opened its border to Indonesians. Saudi Arabia plans to welcome umrah pilgrims from Indonesia. Cambodia also followed suit, by lifting travel restrictions on Indonesia. (GRAPH-1)

Business Network International – sustaining small business development

Business Network International – sustaining small business development

IO – At both national and international levels, numerous people and organizations undertake various efforts to encourage our local small businesses to link up with a wide network. This is necessary to speed up the recovery of the economy, following the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these organizations is Business Network International (BNI), which launched its “BNI Amplify Chapter” in Jakarta last Wednesday (03/11/2021).

The Amplify Chapter launch was held virtually at 08.00 WIB, attended by BNI Support Director Consultant Setio Priyono, Launch Director Consultant Grace Hakim, and 200 invitees – entrepreneurs, BNI members from other Chapters in Jakarta and Bandung, and members of BNI Chapters overseas.

BNI operates a 36-year-old referral business organization with more than 10,000 Chapters and more than 300,000 members worldwide. Its latest Chapter, the Amplify Chapter of West Jakarta, had 40 members at its launch and is managed by young entrepreneurs: Chapter President Aadhistya Handy Christyanto, Chapter Vice President Violison Martheo, and Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Arman Lie. With this launch, BNI has created three Chapters in 2021: Grow Chapter (West Jakarta, launched on 21 January 2021, with a membership of 63 entrepreneurs), Rise Chapter (Bandung, launched on 5 October 2021, with a membership of 47 entrepreneurs), and Amplify Chapter.

“By launching the Amplify Chapter, we of BNI are doing our part to develop the businesses of our small and medium-sized enterprises and revive the national UKM economy, amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Grace Hakim, BNI’s Launch Director Consultant, in her speech during the launch. “We initiated the Amplify Chapter in early July 2021. Our 40 members are businesses in real estate, investment, health and beauty, business services, and trade. Each business group in the Amplify Chapter runs a different type of sub-businesses. For example, our real estate members include sales agents, contractors and interior designers, among others.”

BNI regulations stipulate that each Chapter can only register one member for any single type of business or profession, to prevent duplication and competition among members of the same Chapter. Each member must actively provide business referrals to fellow members. This is precisely where BNI’s power lies. It has generated USD 16.7 billion through its business referrals worldwide, and each member is supported by a global team that provides them with the necessary training, structure, and technology that they need to succeed.

Support Director Consultant Setio Priyono declared that Business Network International creates an environment wherein its members, all of whom are active entrepreneurs, can get business from the referrals given to them by other members of the BNI Chapter. “There is an ethic in providing a good referral: you don’t just provide info about the business, but you must mediate them until something really comes out of it, to the satisfaction of both parties. Each member must provide at least one referral to another member. Did you know that our Chapters in Japan have a tailoring business which took in 80% from its earnings just from fellow BNI members? This is a small example of the powers of referral, and that happens at BNI,” he said.

Referrals have become even more relevant nowadays, in a time when Indonesia’s small and medium businesses are challenged to sustain exports and business connections with international clients and markets. “We at BNI are helping the Government revive our economy by connecting Indonesia’s small and medium businesses with potential foreign business partners through BNI’s network in 74 countries. Such small businesses need only apply for membership, then we will include them in our system and immediately partner them up with our members abroad. This is in line with BNI’s tagline – ‘Local Business, Global Network’,” Setio said.

Organizations like BNI are becoming more relevant than ever in the development of Indonesia’s enterprises, as they share the burden of marketing, which usually requires a great investment. Marketing of
any company’s product or service is traditionally carried out using
one of three methods, or a combination of them: direct selling by sales workers; through advertisements, whether in traditional media, electronic media, or social media; and referrals. The most effective of these methods is the referral, including in terms of economic effectiveness. The other methods are “scattergun” approaches, and must be executed on a large scale, or they will only reach a small, quickly saturated segment of society.

“Here in BNI, we cherish this value “givers gain”. We don’t just receive from others – it is only by helping others that we succeed. This is why not any business can be part of BNI, even though it is an open organization: not only do we only accept one member for each type of profession or business, we also only accept those businesses that are stable enough to have survived for at least three years, and that we can be sure to have the soul and spirit to continuously share their network by constantly referring other members. We seek to prevent internal competition, and we only want those reliable companies that are worthy of being referred to and that can themselves provide reliable referrals to their fellow members,” Setio said.

ITS Platinum Team wins silvernat 2021 Taiwan Innotech Expo

ITS Platinum Team wins silvernat 2021 Taiwan Innotech Expo
The ITS Platinum Team: Kamila Zahranisa, Mohamad Ikbal Pangestu, Miftah Eka Andrayani Wangsa, and Eka Wahyu Muliana.

IO – The November Tenth Institute of Technology (Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember – “ITS”) Surabaya’s Platinum Team – Mohamad Ikbal “Ikbal” Pangestu, Miftah Eka Andrayani Wangsa, Eka Wahyu Muliana, and Kamila Zahranisa – brought honor to Indonesia by defeating 100 teams from 12 countries in the 2021 Taiwan Innotech Expo, Friday (29/10/2021). In this competition, held by the Taiwanese government, the Team wowed everyone with their innovative use of mango skin extract as an organic inhibitor of corrosion in ASTM A36 low-carbon steel.

ITS Platinum Team wins silvernat 2021 Taiwan Innotech Expo
Filtration of mango skin extract.

Ikbal, the Team’s Head, declared that leaving organic waste alone will damage the environment, because of the excessive volume rotting away, unused. Therefore, his Team takes the common waste mango skin and turns its extract into an organic inhibitor to prevent corrosion in the carbon steel used in the petroleum and shipbuilding industries. “This innovation can resolve a major problem when using steel, i.e. corrosion, because of the chemical action of sea water (NaCl),” he explained in a press release received by the Independent Observer on Sunday (31/10/2021).

ITS Platinum Team wins silvernat 2021 Taiwan Innotech Expo
Mango skin extract being dehydrated using an evaporator.

The Team, comprised of ITS Class of 2018 Department of Chemistry students, choose to use mango skin because it contains many organic favonoid compounds, which are known to have antioxidant characteristics.
These compounds added hydrogen by contributing a reduced group out of
the hydroxyls, which will stick to the aromatic rings and delocalize radical compounds. Furthermore, it is readily available in large quantities due to the large scale of Indonesia’s mango production, and very cheap.

ITS Platinum Team wins silvernat 2021 Taiwan Innotech Expo
A virtual booth at the 2021 Taiwan Innotech Expo.

The processing commences with the washing of the mango skin that’s already separated from the fesh, in running water. It is then dried out and the essence extracted by maceration. The resultant mango skin extract is then mixed with an acrylic resin, and the final mix is coated on low-carbon steel ASTM A36. “We tested corrosion rates using the PGSTAT302N Autolab instrument. Our tests show that using mango skin extract reduces corrosions rate by 1.12 x 10-7 millimeters a year with an effciency rate of 99.999%,” Ikbal said.

Even though the competition was a virtual one, the Platinum Team still enjoyed the excitement of witnessing innovations from across the globe, by
checking the virtual booths shown on the Taiwan Innotech Expo website.
Ikbal and his team hopes that their research can be of use to the petroleum and ship-building industries, a pride to their country… “…and an anniversary gift for ITS from its Platinum Team. Here is our gift to the alma mater,” he said. (est)

60 years later revisiting Michael Rockefeller’s disappearance in Papua Part II: The Rockefeller’s role in the acceptance of primitive art as fine art

The Michael C. Rockefeller wing at the Met Photo credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

IO – When we look at the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in Papua in 1961, we cannot separate it from the subject of primitive art, a topic very close to the heart of Michael’s father Nelson Rockefeller. Michael shared that love with his father and it created a very special bond between them. It was also the reason for Michael being in Papua in the first place. Modern art and in particular primitive or indigenous art as it is now known, lies at the centre of the whole story of Michael’s disappearance, and even after his death, Michael and his father’s fascination with primitive art continued to influence its role and acceptance as a fine art.

John D. Rockefeller Jr 1920. Photo credit: Underwood & Underwood, Public domain, via Wikimedia Common

Michael Clark Rockefeller was the great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller Sr., the founder of Standard Oil who with US$ 900 million was during his time the richest man in the world. He was not a popular man in the United States and neither was the Rockefeller name. He was accused of trying to create a monopoly within the railroad industry and in 1911 Standard Oil was found guilty of breaching anti-trust laws, and was ordered dissolved. The public viewed the Rockefellers as unethical in their business practices and despite donating half his wealth to charity, the Rockefeller name remained tarnished.

Michael’s grandfather, John D. Rockefeller Jr. was a conscientious, serious man who dutifully dedicated himself to restoring the family reputation in the public eye. To do so, he too donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charities and insisted that his family behave ethically flawlessly. He succeeded in changing the image of the Rockefellers which by the end of his life was associated with “the good of mankind”. By helping to establish or supporting outstanding institutions including amongst others the United Nations, national parks, several universities, the United Negro College Fund, the Lincoln Center, the Rockefeller Centre, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and many more, they helped to create a new America.

The Rockefeller Center with its annual Christmas tree. Photo credit: Michael Vadon, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In 1901, John D. Rockefeller Jr married Abigail Greene Aldrich, known popularly as Abby Rockefeller. It proved to be a happy marriage and Abby helped her children to better understand their strict and formal father. She had a deep interest in modern art despite her husband’s disapproval and in 1925 began collecting paintings by contemporary American artists as well as the European Modernists. Abby became a patron of the arts and was the main driving force in the establishment of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, also known as MoMA and which her children referred to as ‘Mother’s Museum’.

Portrait of Abigail Aldrich Rockefeller in 1893. Photo credit: Anonymous Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

American folk art was another of Abby’s interests which she became a patron of and soon also began collecting. Six years after her death in 1948, her husband established the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in St Williamsburg, Virginia – a town that the Rockefellers restored and preserved to its 18th century appearance. Meanwhile, at MoMA, she sat both on its board of trustees as well as later on its board of directors. Abby’s son, Nelson Rockefeller also developed a great love for modern art, perhaps stirred by his mother’s deep passion for it. He too became involved in MoMA and eventually became its president. The prints room and the sculpture garden at MoMA were both named after his mother.

Michael’s father, Nelson Rockefeller was the governor of New York at the time of Michael’s disappearance and would later become the Vice-President of the United States of America, besides also running for president in which he did not succeed. Despite such a busy political life, his passionate fascination for art especially, modern art never waned, and the love of modern art that he had shared with his mother, he also shared with his son, Michael.

What made Nelson Rockefeller unique during his time, was that he was passionate about collecting not only Western modern art but also sculptures and paintings from the Far East as well as Pre-Colombian, South Sea Islands and African art. This may have been inspired by his mother’s interest in folk art. In 1930, he was already a member of the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is one of the finest and leading art museums in the world with a collection of over two million works of art spanning all periods and most of the world’s cultures. At the time however, it was not interested in modern art and this was one of the reasons why Abby Rockefeller established MoMA in 1929.

Nelson Rockefeller as vice president. Photo credit: unknown, The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As far as art was concerned Nelson very much followed in his mother’s footsteps. He began by trying to persuade the Met to include Pre-Colombian art in its collections but its director Herbert Winlock was not to be persuaded. So, in 1954, not far from MoMA, Nelson set up the Museum for Indigenous Art which in 1957 became the Museum of Primitive Art. Within two decades, he managed to assemble there the most important and finest collection of art from the Americas, Africa and Oceania, in a determined quest for aesthetic eminence in traditions across the globe. His goal was to have the arts of these indigenous cultures accepted as fine arts in the West, and as one of the great artistic expressions of the world. In this he was assisted by the art curator, René d’Harnoncourt who became the Museum’s co-founder and vice-president and the art historian, Robert Goldwater who became the Museum’s director.

When the museum opened, Michael was only 19 years old but he was already made a board member. His sister Mary, says that both her father and her brother were dyslexic and that dyslexic people often compensate for their disability by having a very fine visual sense and what Abby Rockefeller referred to as ‘the arranger’s disease’. They were always very interested in how objects were placed, and could not resist rearranging them. With the same passionate love for modern art and primitive art as his father, Michael wanted to collect some of the most superb indigenous artwork in the world for the Museum.

He decided to go to the remote Asmat area in Dutch New Guinea. There are about 70,000 Asmats living in around 100 villages. Now, the Asmat are known for their intricately carved and highly aesthetic wood carvings which are desired by art collectors all over the globe. With their strong, elegant lines the Asmat sculptures are amongst the most powerful primitive art in the world.

The Asmat have an extremely elaborate and intricate culture that is filled with symbols, the spirits of the ancestors and their worship, animals and in the past headhunting and cannibalism. Their outstanding sculptures and carvings are an expression of their culture and belief system. Like many indigenous cultures, their belief system centers around the search for balance.

Nelson Rockefeller approached primitive art through the lens of aesthetics in trying to obtain world recognition for it as a fine art. The Asmats however, viewed their sculptures differently. Like the West centuries ago, their art was about their belief system. As an anthropologist Michael Rockefeller would perhaps have had a better understanding of that.

This different way of viewing an object, either purely from an aesthetic perspective or looking also at the cultural, historic and belief system behind the object is one that has caused disputes within museums. A case in point was the ‘Asia in Amsterdam’ exhibition held in 2016 by the Peabody Essex Museum where the Peabody Essex Museum had to struggle within itself to determine whether they would look at objects purely as works of art or also take into consideration their historical and cultural dimensions.

After Michael graduated with honors as an anthropologist from Harvard he served for six months in the army in 1960. Then, he went out on a Harvard Peabody Museum expedition to the Dani tribes in the Baliem valley for six months. During this expedition the documentary film ‘Dead Birds’ was filmed by Robert Gardner.

Michael Clark Rockefeller on the cover of Life magazine. The photograph was taken before his disappearnce. Photo credit: HurayforZay, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Michael was deeply impressed by the Asmat carvings that he witnessed on his first trip to Papua and in the following year he went out again with a Harvard Peabody Museum expedition to the Asmat. On the expedition he acted as sound recorder and photographer but also used the trip as an opportunity to collect Asmat carvings for the Museum of Primitive Art. During his collecting trips he managed to reach 13 villages where he collected hundreds of objects including four enormous, carved bisj poles which are amongst the most striking objects now at the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each is They are around 18 feet high with carvings of men standing on top of each other with birds and crocodiles and other creatures carved in between. Michael was planning an exhibition about the untouched world of the Asmat and their outstanding sculptures. After his death his collection of Asmat art was housed at the Museum of Primitive Art and in his father’s private collections.

In 1962 a temporary gallery was erected in the MOMA sculpture garden to exhibit Michael’s collection of Asmat artifacts together with his best photographs. There were hundreds of exhibits. In January 1964 Michael was declared legally dead by a court in White Plains, New York. Four years later the Museum of Primitive Art published a book of Michael’s Asmat photographs and quoted from his notes. Nelson said of his son Michael, “He had that joy of life that is so rare today. Maybe he was too lacking in fear. But there is no use in speculating. He wanted to do it.”

In 1964, Nelson Rockefeller’s work to obtain recognition for primitive art as a fine art and as one of the great artistic expressions in the world was not finished yet. It was a continuation of his mother’s struggle for modern art and it became a tribute to his lost son, Michael. With the help of Rene d’Harnoncourt, Nelson was able to finally persuade and enter into an agreement with the great and renown Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Male Figure, 19th–early 20th century from the Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection at the Met.
Photo credit: Wikipedia Loves Art participant “trish”, CC BY 2.5 , via Wikimedia Commons

Consequently, in 1969 the Metropolitan Museum of Art, made the ground breaking and controversial decision to include primitive art in its fine arts collection. It agreed to establish a new department for primitive art by creating a Rockefeller wing. It took over the Museum of Primitive Art and Nelson Rockefeller’s personal collections of non-Western art, including Michael Rockefeller’s Asmat collections. The Museum of Primitive Art closed in December of 1974 and its library, staff and 3,500 artefacts were moved to the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing of the Met.

“When an encyclopedic museum like the Met finally decides to incorporate non-Western art, it is making a statement saying this art is as important as Greek statues and the Impressionists,” says Nancy Lutkehaus. “It’s broadening its canon in terms of what is considered to be art, and that has a cultural impact in terms of a statement about a broader recognition, a more multicultural, more racially and ethnically diverse national identity.”

Nancy Lutkehaus is professor of anthropology, gender studies and political science at the University of Southern California who has done research in Papua New Guinea and is writing a book entitled “The Met Goes Primitive: Postwar America, Cultural Politics, and the Creation of the Rockefeller Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”

Lutkehaus explains that as a politician Nelson Rockefeller was very interested in the role that art could play in cultural politics. She reveals how he used this interest to promote democracy, “When he became president of the Museum of Modern Art, he created an Inter-American Council and used it to bring Latin American artists to the U.S. and to send American art to Latin America. He was concerned during World War II about fascism overtaking Latin America, so he used art and the Museum of Modern Art as a vehicle for intercultural exchange to create a counterforce to fascist interests in South America.”

Ceremonial Fence Element, Late 19th–early 20th century from the Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection at the Met.
Photo credit: Wikipedia Loves Art participant “shooting_brooklyn”, CC BY-SA 2.5 , via Wikimedia Commons

If we compare this with the situation in Indonesia than it is not surprising that Indonesian philosopher, sociologist. linguist and novelist Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana who played such a prominent role in the creation and development of an Indonesian national language and culture, was an admirer of Nelson Rockefeller in this respect. He too promoted the values of democracy through language and culture and through novels such as Defeat and Victory.

Nelson Rockefeller died in 1979, three years before the wing, dedicated to his son, Michael was opened to the public in 1982. In the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing on the first-floor gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visitors encounter the striking funerary bisj poles intended to guide the spirits of the dead that Michael gathered in Papua for his father’s museum and the exhibition he had planned. Indonesia is indebted to the Rockefellers for their struggle for the recognition of indigenous art for it opened the way for the acknowledgment that Asmat art receives all over the globe today, as both a fine art and as one of the great artistic expressions of the world. (Tamalia Alisjahbana)

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