Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
Indonesia’s investment chief expressed optimism about the future of China’s massive One Belt One Road (OBOR) infrastructure initiative in his country, despite lingering domestic criticism about Beijing’s growing economic influence.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has made improving Indonesia’s dilapidated infrastructure a priority, and during his first term embraced Chinese investment and attended the initiative’s 2017 unveiling in Beijing. Multibillion-dollar projects under the OBOR banner in Indonesia feature the construction of a high-speed rail link and dams.
Thomas Lembong, chairman of the National Investment Coordinating Board, said this week he believed that “the Chinese leadership will do whatever it takes to make Belt and Road a success.”
“Well, I’m very happy, because it’s going in the right direction, as far as I’m concerned,” he told foreign correspondents in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Lembong also praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for what he described as “a stunningly humble posture” in responding to criticism about OBOR.
Soon after Indonesia’s presidential and legislative elections in April, Lembong accompanied Vice President Jusuf Kalla to the second international OBOR forum in Beijing. Kalla witnessed the signing there of 23 agreements between Indonesia and China, which Jakarta has described as business-to-business deals.
The president who just won reelection – according to unofficial “quick-count” projections by independent pollsters – highlighted his infrastructure push during a major post-electoral speech on Thursday. In it, he announced plans to unveil tougher reforms aimed at boosting the economy, as well as lifting Indonesia to developed nation status by 2045.
“First and foremost is infrastructure. Equal development must be achieved. Without it, don’t ever dream of Indonesia progressing to be a country with the world’s fourth or fifth economy,” Jokowi told the National Development Planning Conference in Jakarta, according to Indonesian news outlet Tempo.
Because he was heading into his second and last term in office due to term limits, he said he was no longer burdened by elections.
“So I will do whatever it takes for the country’s sake,” Bloomberg quoted him as saying.
Opposition politicians and conservative Muslim groups have accused Jokowi of being too soft on China by opening doors to Chinese investment in Southeast Asia’s largest economy and, with it, Chinese workers.
A modern-day Silk Road
OBOR, Chinese leader Xi’s signature policy, is an estimated U.S. $1 trillion-plus initiative that stretches across 70 countries. It aims to become a 21st century Silk Road by weaving a network of railways, ports and bridges, linking China with Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia.
Beijing’s globe-spanning project has drawn criticism domestically and abroad, amid accusations that China is engaging in a “debt-trap diplomacy” by extending excessive credit with the alleged intention of extracting economic or political concessions from the debtor country.
Economists contend that the initiative forces emerging economies to take on unsustainable levels of debt to fund Beijing-backed projects. They highlight concerns by pointing out that a Chinese state-owned company took over a majority stake in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port after Colombo struggled to repay its loans from China.
In Indonesia, the perceived influx of Chinese workers has spawned criticism and was a key issue during campaigning for the April 17 presidential election. The opposition camp tapped into historic sentiment against the country’s ethnic Chinese minority and whipped up fears about eroding sovereignty.
“It can’t be denied that the Chinese have built a lot of bridges, dams, factories and other infrastructure in recent years,” said Achmad Sukarsono, an analyst at Control Risks, a Singapore-based consultancy.
“These things may not be of high quality, but the Chinese get the jobs done, in places where Japanese and Western investors won’t take a second look,” he told BenarNews, , an RFA-affiliated online news service.
“The Jokowi government favors the arrangements with the Chinese because they aren’t too legalistic, with less attention paid to things like human rights, as long as they deliver and both sides’ interests align,” he said.
There were occasional tensions in projects where Chinese nationals are employed as menial workers, foremen and managers, Achmad said.
Economist: Benefit to local economy ‘minimal’
Indonesia’s infrastructure needs cannot be financed by the state budget alone and OBOR is an attractive financing mechanism, said Bhima Yudhistira, an economist at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance.
“But Chinese investment often comes with workers, raw materials, machinery and technology, with the pretext that they aren’t readily available here. So the benefit to the local economy is often minimal,” Bhima told BenarNews.
Despite its embrace of OBOR, the government has insisted that any infrastructure project under the scheme should be profitable and conducted on a business-to-business basis.
Lembong, the Indonesian investment chief, acknowledged that the Jokowi government had “burned untold amounts of political capital” with its decision to welcome Chinese investment.
“Supporting Chinese investment in Indonesia exposes us to this hoax and attacks that we’re somehow an offshoot of the Communist Party, or secretly Chinese, or openly Chinese, and or secretly pro-China or what have you,” he told reporters.
But Indonesia would miss out tremendously if it abstained from Chinese investment, Lembong said.
“What happens then is that Chinese investment will just go next door, to Malaysia, to Thailand, to Cambodia and eventually Myanmar, maybe even the Philippines at some point, and all of them will see enhanced competitiveness, and we will not,” he said.
Sino-Indonesian trade grew almost tenfold from 2003 to 2010 alone, when the volume reached 524 trillion rupiah (U.S. $36.1 billion), according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Canada-based independent think-tank.
China was Indonesia’s third largest investor after Singapore and Japan in 2018, with investment worth $2.4 billion.
“The government has said all along that we won’t meddle except for facilitating and issuing necessary regulations,” said Wijayanto Samirin, an economic adviser to Kalla, the vice president.
“We have learned from the experience of other countries and conveyed to President Xi Jinping that China must respect our independence,” he told CNBC Indonesia last April.
OBOR’s flagship project in Indonesia, a U.S. $6-billion high-speed railway linking the city of Bandung in West Java and the capital Jakarta, went through initial setbacks after it was launched by Jokowi in 2016 to much fanfare.
Construction resumed last year after a delay for more than two years.
Lembong blamed the delay on “good old-fashioned mismanagement and incompetence” and said the problems were being fixed and the consortium building the railway was now being led by “a younger and more energetic” chief executive.
“The project has been in difficulty,” he said, “but I’m confident it’s now being fixed.”
A China-backed hydropower project in Indonesia already is under the spotlight amid concerns that it could threaten the world’s rarest orangutan species.
The U.S. $1.6 billion hydropower plant in the Batang Toru rainforest on Sumatra Island will divide the habitat of about 800 Tapanuli orangutan and increase the risk of their extinction, environmental groups and scientists have said.
Other OBOR projects include a hydroelectric project in North Kalimantan – in the Indonesian section of Borneo – estimated to cost 363 trillion rupiah (U.S. $25 billion) and a series of coal-fired power plants estimated to cost 174 trillion rupiah (U.S. $12 billion).
Achmad, of Control Risks, said problems in securing land also contributed to the delay in the high-speed train project.
But he said smaller Chinese-backed projects in remote places in the archipelago were mostly completed on time.
Jokowi is expected to continue courting Chinese investments in his second term, Achmad said. An official preliminary count after the April 17 election showed Jokowi poised for a second term with a 10-percentage-point lead.
“The Chinese are here to stay and their role is unlikely to be reduced,” he said, “because they have contributed so much to Jokowi’s programs.” (RFA)
OṀ SAMPŨRṆABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
OṀ (AUM) - POOR-ṆA-MA-DA-HA-BHOO-MYAI—NA-MA-HA
ॐ संपूर्णभूम्यै नमः
(Sampūrṇam: Infinite, full, endless)
In Īśa or Īśhavāsyopanishad which belongs to Yajurveda saṃhita, the glory of the divine cosmic soul and the knowledge of the Supreme Self are deliberated. This is also referred to as the Jnāna Kānda. The book starts with an invocation, recited as Mangaḷacharan (the auspicious inception) to sing the glory of the Supreme God 'Oṁ pūrṇamadaha pūrṇamidam, pūrnāt pūrnamudaschyate; pūrṇasya pūrnamādāya pūrṇamevāvashishyate', -meaning that 'Parabrahman' (Supreme divine cosmic soul) is embellished with all qualities tangible and intangible. It is through this Parabrahman that this universe evolved. Because this universe has evolved from the One, the universe is devoid of beginning and is infinite.
This total or complete One, is so significant that even if one literally decides to deduct or remove the cosmos and universe from that complete or total energy, it shall remain constant, i.e., total. Even if this universe does not remain, the divine cosmic energy is devoid of beginning and is infinite. The knowledgeable person that sees God in all creatures and sees all creatures in God becomes happy and experiences incessantly the beauty of God. If we realize God, we get liberated from all the miseries and attachments that continually plague us.
The Vedas are the holy commandments of the gods for mankind. The entire universe or cosmos is pervaded by He who is all pervasive, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and unchanging. Even the gods and sages have not realized Him in reality. The energy the gods possess is just one fragment of the divine cosmic energy. They cannot do anything without divine inspiration and intervention. He is the source of all the contradictory features and natures. Even if He is devoid of birth, He takes birth, even being formless, assumes form; even being devoid of characteristics, assume the nature. He is very far from us, yet, very close to us. The entire world is embellished with this cosmic energy inside out. The person that performs all his duties according to the scriptures and their directives indirectly in reality worships God. Those who work selflessly are not caught in the bondage of actions or karma. There is no way that one can escape the chains of karma.
He, who is always absorbed in the divine cosmic energy, attains the blissful state. He gradually loses the self and merges into the divine cosmic energy.
The land and its Vedic scriptures which taught us about the total cosmic energy is 'Sampūrṇa Bhūmi'.
Keywords: Vedas, Endless, Infinite, Complete
When you become a mother, you tend to forget about your own needs because you are so focused on your child. With the baby keeping you busy all day and night, your skincare takes a backseat. It's not always changes in skin texture and looks post-pregnancy are a bad thing, but not taking care of your skin may lead to acne, melasma, stretch marks, puffy eyes, and even dark circles. Syed Nazim, Dermatologist, Aesthetic and Hair Transplant Surgeon, Royal Lush Skin Clinic Saket, New Delhi, shares simple and easy tips for you to follow, to get a glowing post-pregnancy.
* Cleansing: As you sleep, your skin goes through a renewal cycle, by dispensing toxins and debris. So you only need a light-textured cleanser to wash your face with a face wash that is suitable for your skin type.
* Steam: Take steam for 2-3 days a week, it will help you to open up your clogged pores.
* Scrub & face pack: Use a face scrub, to remove the dead skin cells, scrub your face for like 5 minutes and wash it with normal tap water. It will help you to make your skin softer and radiant, leave the mask until it dries off.
* Toner & moisturizer: Apply toner to your face, look for clarifying toners that rebalance your pH to maintain the pH value of your skin. In the end, you only have to moisturize your face, to give hydration.
* Steal baby products: Baby products are always mild in nature so that the baby's sensitive skin doesn't have to compromise. They are created to lock moisture in babies skin. So, you can also use them. Whether it's a body oil, lotion or cream, apply some on your skin every time you're applying them on your baby. If you do this, you can flaunt your skin, this way, you don't have to dedicate a specific time every day for your skincare.
When you become a mother, you tend to forget about your own needs because you are so focused on your child. | Photo by Jenna Norman on Unsplash
* Keep all skincare needs in one place: Organize all your skincare products in one place, this organization will help you way much better than anything. Make use of your "me time" and devote it properly to pamper yourself.
* Streaming your routine: Make a proper timetable, for your week how many days you are going to deep cleanse your skin in a week.
If we talk about the baby skincare routine this is important too. As the baby's skin is too sensitive and they are interacting with such a harsh environment -- pollution, high temperature etc. Don't worry there are some simple and easy enough tips. Here, what you should know, with regards to bath, diapering, selecting items and that's just the beginning.
* Bath time: Babies need two to three baths a week in warm, not hot water to stay clean. The initial step to an extraordinary child shower is to track down the ideal temperature. Tip: Fill the bath without any more than 2 to 3 creeps of water. To keep your child from getting cold while you wash them, routinely pour cupfuls of water over their shoulders.
* Diaper Basics: There are a lot of things you'll have to do for your little one when they're an infant, like changing your baby's diaper regularly, cleaning tenderly however completely each time with child wipes. Make the surface saturated yet dry simultaneously as well. There are countless myths around diaper rashes that it is caused because of the usage of diapers. But no, it is due to a lack of attention and knowledge about the correct time to change the diaper. Else it will get worse for your child.
* Awareness of Products: Always read the product label before purchasing products for your infant. It's ideal to avoid chemical and alcohol-based products. Use products that are made explicitly for infants.
The baby's skin is too sensitive and they are interacting with such a harsh environment -- pollution, high temperature etc. | Photo by Jill Sauve on Unsplash
Newborn babies are so delicate, requiring a lot of care and attention. A single mistake or slip of mind can make things worse. Keep your infant's skin saturated, as well, so consistently have a stockpile of moisturizers around. But excessive oil can cause cradle caps, and dryness can create painful scenarios. If your child is facing such issues you need to consult a certified dermatologist.
(Article originally published on IANS life) (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: temperature,sensitive,babies, skincare,child,products
A couple of years ago, finding a strand of grey hair meant visiting the parlor to cover it up. Women and men refused to admit their age, and refused to let it show. Be it moustache, eyebrows, or hair on the head, it was dyed a luscious black, or reddish-brown for those who wanted to go natural. Today, the trend of coloring hair has nothing to do with age. Young boys and girls sport bright colors and hairstyles, which is now a marker of how modern one can be.
This notion of modernity associated with neon streaks and an almost gothic look originates from the ancient Egyptian civilization, where it was considered fashionable to look different from the natural features one was born with. Kohl, lipstick, perfume, and makeup were the inventions of those who hoped to live even after death. Likewise, they were the first people to discover hair dye. Initially, they dyed their hair black, to cover the grey. They used compounds that were extracted from plants, but some of them were lethal. So, they took to extracting the color from fermented leeches.
This was when a chemical was discovered to gently lighten hair color instead of completely bleaching it, and since then, there have been varying degrees of blonde and brown hair. Image credit: Photo by Jessie Dee Dabrowski on Unsplash
When bleach was discovered, women used it to achieve a yellow color, which became known as the sign of prostitutes. The focus shifted to naturally red hair when Queen Elizabeth took the throne, as she suffered from a genetic mutation which caused this. Red heads became more common in Scotland and Ireland, and everywhere else, black hair was still the norm.
When William Perkins discovered mauve during an experiment that went wrong, the concept of mixing two or more chemicals together to create a dye became well-known. So colorless chemicals were developed and mixed in varying ratios to dye hair. When the movie Platinum Blonde was released, the trend of having pale hair increased greatly. People began to go blonde everywhere. This was when a chemical was discovered to gently lighten hair color instead of completely bleaching it, and since then, there have been varying degrees of blonde and brown hair.
Youngsters prefer to sport bright, flashy colors, like teal, blue, purple, and even pink. Image credit: Photo by Tom van Kessel on Unsplash
With the arrival of pop-culture and its influence on the world, these mundane colors are reserved for the elderly. Youngsters prefer to sport bright, flashy colors, like teal, blue, purple, and even pink. Every time a new star sports a different color, the trend sparks interest in others, and sweeps across the globe like a wildfire. Hair dye has come a long way since the time of the Egyptians in the first century. Two thousand years hence, it has the potential to grow into so much more.
Keywords: Hair Color, Hair Dye, Egyptians, Perkins, Pop Culture