Amanda Siddharta

Organisers of outdoor events in Indonesia often hire rain masters to make sure the sun shines on the big day. The rain masters, known as pawang hujan, recite incantations and perform rituals to keep the skies blue.

A church in Jakarta that became the first to openly welcome members of the LGBT community to services has become a lifeline for some, but has also been threatened by hardliners amid rising conservatism in the country.

P3SY was set up to help prostitutes deal with the threat of sexually transmitted diseases, but now it also helps the women develop new skills and fights a government that want to close down all the country’s red-light districts

Often performed by male doctors, the tests have been labelled degrading and a violation of human rights, and are keeping some women from applying in a country where only 5 per cent of active soldiers and police officers are female.


From the Dutch colonial-era Old Town to the bustle of Chinatown, and a wealth of history at the National Museum, there’s plenty to see between Asian Games contests in the city some call the ‘big durian’. Just mind the traffic

Non-profit and state groups work to deradicalise jailed Islamists militants and empower them to make an honest living, but critics say such schemes fail to reach hardliners and many who take part had already abandoned radicalism

Shark finning – slicing the fins off live sharks, then dropping them back into the ocean to die – earns fishing crews millions of rupiah, with most fins exported to markets including Hong Kong and Singapore for use in shark’s fin soup

If the parliament vote in favour of amendments to the criminal code, same-sex relations and sex outside wedlock will be criminalised. Critics fear it will also limit free speech and sex education

Wearing a full-face veil in a country where most Muslim women choose either a hijab or no headscarf at all is as much a cultural as a religious choice, and one being promoted and defended by groups such as the Niqab Squad

Kissing scenes in Shaun the Sheep, swimwear in Doraemon, even a female athlete on CNN – Indonesian TV censors are ramping things up, and internet streaming could be next. Some parents, though, welcome the oversight

While some foreign domestic helpers do commit crimes, others who are unaware of their rights in the countries where they work can be tricked into incriminating themselves, say NGOs helping workers charged with offences