Reasons why Britain bombed Surabaya


Darul Aqsha


“10 November ’45, Mengapa Inggris Membom Surabaya?” (“10 November ’45, Why Did Britain Bomb Surabaya?”)
By Batara R. Hutagalung; Millenium Publisher, Jakarta; (Oct. 2001), first edition, xiv + 472 pp; Rp 59,900,-

THIS book analyzes the simultaneous sea, land and air campaign by British forces against the defenders of the East Java capital of Surabaya in November 1945.

To this day, it remains a bitter memory for older Indonesians.

In the author’s opinion, there are two main reasons why Britain, which did not hold colonial authority over Indonesia, launched the invasion.
First, there were psychological and emotional reasons at play, since Britain was victorious in World War II. Second, the British were bound by a treaty with the Dutch stemming from the conference at Yalta on Feb. 11, 1945, and the Postdam Declaration, which took place on July 26, 1945.

The objectives of the treaty were “to reestablish civilian rule, and return the colony to Dutch administration,” as well as “to maintain the status quo which existed before the Japanese invasion”.

They can be found in a letter dated Sept. 2, 1945 by the Allied Forces’ Supreme Commander South East Asia Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten. British assistance was also in line with the Civil Affairs Agreement between the Dutch and Britain in Chequers, Britain, on Aug. 24, 1945.

The author also outlines the violations committed by British troops. They include infringements upon the sovereignty of the fledgling nation of Indonesia, human rights abuses — including crimes against humanity and forced displacement — and war crimes.

Apart from its thorough dissection of this bloody chapter of Indonesian history, this book carries something else of equally important historical significance: an official apology from the British government. It was expressed by British Ambassador to Indonesia Richard Gozney in the name of the British government during a seminar on the Battle of Surabaya in Jakarta in October 2000.

It was a sympathetic act — one which has yet to be offered by the Dutch who, as a colonial power, ruled Indonesia for centuries.–

The Jakarta Post
Sunday, December 30, 2001




Surabaya Mayor wins award from EAROPH

sbaya city tunAntara

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID – Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini received the Mayor Recognition’s Awards (MRA) from the Eastern Regional Organization for Planning and Human Settlements (EAROPH) at the Borobudur Hotel in Jakarta on Monday (11/8/2014).

Rismaharini pointed to the use of the Government Resources Management System (GRMS) in assuring her success as mayor.

“Surabaya started using GRMS in 2003 to replace its manual system. As a result, the government can perform its duties more effectively. The new system has enabled us to reduce spending and perform jobs more easily,” she said.

Tri Rismaharini

Tri Rismaharini

Since 2013, the Surabaya city administration has consistently developed information technology-based government management systems, she added.

The system also enabled the local government to manage performance in a transparent way, she said.

Rismaharini, who was also former chief of the Surabaya city development planning board (Bappeko), further spoke of her city’s online licensing system, called “Surabaya Single Window” (SSW).

In using the SSW, she expressed hope the public could be served well, particularly with regard to licensing.

“By doing so, the public will feel more it is more convenient to live in Surabaya, because the system is not complicated and, consequently, investors will find it easier to invest in the city,” she said.

Mon, 11 August 2014

Surabaya Bans Alcoholic Beverage Sales at Supermarkets

alcoholDianata P Sumedi

TEMPO.CO – Surabaya Legislative Council (DPRD) has finally endorsed a bylaw that imposes a ban toward the sales of beverages containing over 0.5 percent alcohol at supermarkets and minimarts.

The endorsement of the bylaw was done during a plenary meeting at Surabaya DPRD Office, Frida.

“God willing, we can withdraw all alcoholic beverages from the supermarkets and minimarts. We have Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) in all sub-districts. They will start working on implementing the bylaw,” said Surabaya Mayor, Tri Rismaharini, who also attended the plenary meeting.

According to Risma, the bylaw is important to curb the circulation of illegal alcoholic beverages and their negative impacts. She also hoped there would be no more victims of the consumption of such beverages and believed that the bylaw would not disrupt the real sectors.

“If our intention is good, it will not be a problem. We do not ban the sales of liquors that have permits,” said Risma.

In the meantime, Deputy Speaker of Surabaya DPRD, Ahmad Suyanto, said the bylaw was made for the benefits of the people. He said Surabaya is home to many illegal liquor sales; and as a result, taxes from the sales do not go the state revenues and also trigger social problems.

“With the implementation of this bylaw, all shops, supermarkets, minimarts are forbidden to sell liquor of any types without licenses,” Suyanto said.

Sun, 25 May 2014

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Risma declares Surabaya literate city


REPUBLIKA.CO.ID — Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini declared Surabaya to be a literate city in East Java, in conjunction with National Education Day and Regional Autonomy Day on Friday.

She said the declaration of Surabaya as a literate city was in keeping with the theme of National Education Day, calling for “Education for Superior Civilization in Indonesia.”

“Declaring Surabaya as a literate city is part of my commitment to focusing on the human development index, in addition to infrastructure development in Surabaya,” Tri Rismaharini said.

 Tri Rismaharini

Tri Rismaharini

The mayor noted that the city administration has, in the last few years, increased the number of libraries to encourage children to read more.

She asserted that through reading, children in Surabaya will be prepared to welcome a better future and superior civilization.

“We continue to arouse the curiosity of children to read a lot in order to be more creative,” she said, adding that the presence of libraries also had a positive impact on developing human resources.

According to Tri, the Surabaya city administration has made a commitment to encourage reading in society, as 972 libraries have been established throughout the city.

Several points of the declaration, read out by a representative of the students, stated that students were ready to make Surabaya a literate city, to read and write every day at school, and to study diligently for the sake of the nation’s development.

Republika OL
Fri, 2 May 2014

Surabaya named as ‘city of the future in the world’

All_Panorama_of_SurabayaRr Laeny Sulistyawati/Mutia Ramadhani

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID – Surabaya in East Java was named as city of the future in the world in Socrates Award 2014 by Europe Business Assembly (EBA). EBA is an independent organization based in the United Kingdom, which pays attention to economic, social and cultural development.

“The award will be handed over on Wednesday next week in London,” Mayor of Surabaya, Tri Rismaharini, said on Sunday, 13/4/14.

Tri Rismaharini

Tri Rismaharini

As non-governmental organization, EBA promotes economic transformation, education, culture and science. The tittle is the most prestigious award for a city.

Risma, her popular name, explained that EBA considered Surabaya had addressed various issues comprehensively. EBA notes some indicators including effort in containing flood, better air quality, and social education.

Risma will present her ideas before the EBA forum. Among others, the assessments also include aspect of rural construction. She hopes, her ideas will motivate people to compete at global level.

Republika OL
Sun, 13 April 2014

“Mayor of the Month for February 2014”: Tri Rismaharini Mayor of Surabaya, Indonesia

Tann vom Hove with contributions from Peter McCawley* and Harri Baskoro A.**

5 FEBRUARY 2014: While Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo ponders whether he should cede to popular demand and run in this summer’s presidential election, another Indonesian city leader has attracted national and international attention for energetically promoting social, economic and environmental policies in the country’s second-largest city. When Tri Rismaharini was first elected Mayor in 2010, Surabaya, although rich in history, was a city neglected by successive governments.

The once mighty port, much fought over by the Dutch, Japanese and British, had lost out to Asian competitors. One of Mayor Risma’s first priorities in office was to persuade the Indonesian government to go ahead with a port development project that had been kept on hold for two decades. Since then Surabaya’s port has experienced a 200-per cent increase in traffic.

Tri Rismaharini, born in 1961, was elected Mayor of Surabaya in 2010. Like Joko Widodo, she belongs to Indonesia’s main opposition Democratic Party – Struggle (PDI-P), whose leader Megawati Sukarnoputri was the country’s president from 2001 to 2004. Prior to becoming Surabaya’s first citizen, Ms Risma, who has a degree in architecture, led the city’s parks department. In that role, she was active in rejuvenating the city’s parks and turning many derelict plots into green spaces. Once described by a Dutch writer as a ‘dirty city full of pretensions and greed’, Surabaya is now known as a ‘million-park’ city.

Taman Prestasi, Surabaya.

Taman Prestasi, Surabaya.

Mayor Risma’s policy has been to make the most of empty land and open spaces. There are now eleven major parks in Surabaya, all with different themes. There are parks like Friendship Park (Taman Persahabatan), Expression Park (Taman Ekspresi), Skating and BMX Park (Taman Skate & BMX) and Flora Park (Taman Flora). Many parks also provide Wi-Fi access and include libraries, fitness and other sports facilities. Surabaya has also enlarged other open spaces such as cemeteries so that they serve as water absorption space – unlike Jakarta, the city had not had any serious flooding for three years – has added green lanes along main roads and created city forests.

Surabaya green agenda has the support of all the city’s stakeholders, including the private sector, schools and universities as well as first and foremost the public. The ‘one soul, one tree’ campaign resulted in the sponsoring of 5,000 trees by individual citizens and in an effort to preserve the mangrove forests along the beaches, Ms Risma’s administration has encouraged and taught communities to produce mangrove-based products, such as mangrove batik, syrup and other mangrove food products. The authorities have also started an urban farming programme by providing advice, seed stock and farming tools.

Tri Rismaharini often talks of the need to govern not only for the people but also with the people. “A city must be first and foremost be a home for its citizens.” She learnt from the experience of other fast-growing cities in Asia and Europe that massive new developments can alienate people. The Mayor is therefore keen to match built development with social programmes.

Early in her time in office, brothels in some areas of the city were converted into kindergartens and abandoned petrol stations into children playgrounds. But while there is no doubt about Mayor Risma’s heart-felt concern about the spread of brothels, commentators point out that the fuss about prostitution has been going on for decades. “It regularly becomes an issue and mayors regularly say that they are going to ‘clean up’ the brothels. But in fact, not much ever happens! The market is too strong! Surabaya is a port city and lots of sailors are keen to hire girls!”

Surabaya at night.

Surabaya at night.

As part of her package of social reforms, the Mayor has introduced free education and health care for the poorer sections of her community. Some 35 per cent of the city’s budget is spent on education. “Being a mayor,” she said “is not just about solving a flood problem or things like that. It’s about helping the people to develop and be successful.”

The mayor warns that in countries like Indonesia fast growth and development provides rich pickings for corrupt officials. She recently said that previously in Surabaya civil servants were only interested in implementing projects because they provided them with opportunities to enrich themselves. She said that she has never thought like that herself. “I think my role is to make the people of my city more prosperous.”

While some private developers miss the ‘laissez faire’ of previous administrations – “local government is very strict under Mayor Risma” – foreign investors have come to value the honesty and professionalism of her administration. Benefiting from the rising costs of doing business in Jakarta, Surabaya, Indonesia’s second city with more than three million people, has attracted a number of well-known foreign companies, including Yakult (Japan), Unicharm (Japan), Swing (South Korea), Cargill (USA) and Unilever (Netherlands / UK).

Nevertheless, it will not be easy to implement some of the programmes that Mayor Risma has announced. One of her main challenges is that the city budget for Surabaya is quite limited. In 2012, the budget of around $500 million allowed for annual spending of around $160 per person, which means that the city government must often look for support from the private sector for urban programmes.

An issue that is threatening to take some off the shine of Mayor Risma’s international reputation is the management of Surabaya Zoo. The zoo, which holds the widest collection of protected and endangered species in Southeast Asia, has in recent years been criticised for the cramped conditions in which some animals, in particular large mammals, are held. After a spate of deaths last year – an 18-months old lion was found hanged after he got his head stuck between steel cables – newspapers in Europe and the USA labelled the zoo as the cruellest in the world. Fearing for Surabaya’s reputation – the zoo is one of its main tourist attractions – the city administration unilaterally took over the management of the zoo last July. The mayor said at the time, the takeover was necessary to independently investigate the unexplained death of many animals and to prevent the closure of the zoo.

Ms Risma claimed that private investors were lining up to demolish the attraction and build a hotel on the city-owned land. The official hand-over of the zoo to the City of Surabaya was finalised in February 2014. The mayor said that a new management team would be installed after claims that officials had sold animals on the black market. She alleged that according to a study by Airlangga University, zoo officials had received cars as part of deals to sell animals. “A Komodo dragon could fetch up to US$80,000 and two are missing,” the mayor was quoted in a newspaper.

Tri Rismaharini gained a BA in Architecture and an MA in Urban Development Management from Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology in Surabaya. She also completed a course in Urban Development Management at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies in Rotterdam. She has travelled to the Netherlands to learn about port management, to South Korea to study the country’s successful teaching methods and to Germany to look at street infrastructure.

Dawn in Surabaya.

Dawn in Surabaya.

Since Ms Risma became mayor, Surabaya has won a number of awards including the ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City Award 2012 and the Adipura Kencana, the highest environmental awards in Indonesia. The Mayor herself was named as one of the ten most inspiring women 2013 by Forbes Indonesia. Forbes praised her for defeating a government plan to build a toll road through the city and instead introduce plans for a monorail and tram system.

*Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow, Indonesian Project, ANU
** Harri Baskoro is City Mayors’ Indonesia Correspondent

Mas Mansur, nationalist and religious hero

A. Junaidi*

K.H. Mas Mansur (1896-1946): Perjuangan dan Pemikiran (K.H. Mas Mansur (1896-1946): His Struggles and Thoughts), Darul Aqsha, Penerbit Erlangga, 2006. Bahasa Indonesia

A model on how religiosity and nationalism blend harmoniously can be seen in the personality of the country’s hero Mas Mansur as written by Darul Aqsha in his book K.H. Mas Mansur (1896-1946): Perjuangan dan Pemikiran.

The biographical book, which is partly based on the writer’s thesis at the University of Indonesia’s School of Cultural Sciences, tells about Mas Mansur, who once led the country’s second largest Muslim organization Muhammadiyah, from 1937 until 1943.

Mas Mansur’s religious and nationalist views can be seen through his poem in Arabic about patriotism, which was taught to his students at the Nahdlatul Wathan (The Awakening of the Mother Land) school (page (81).

According to Mansur, a faithful person should love her or his country. “”Hubbul Wathan Minal Iman (To love the motherland is part of the faith”” states one verse of Mansur’s poem).

Even after resigning from the school, Mansur established Hisbul Wathon (Nationalist Group) school in the 1940s.

Born on June 25, 1896, Mansur moved from his hometown of Surabaya to Muhammadiyah headquarters in Yogyakarta after he was appointed as chairman of the organization in 1937, replacing founder and first chairman Ahmad Dahlan.

Highly respected for being “”a modernist cleric””, Mansur was honored for his significant contribution to the country’s independence.

At that time, in a rather simplified way, Muslim modernist groups were represented by Muhammadiyah, while traditionalists were linked to Nahdlatul Ulama.

Studying Islam in Mecca and Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Mansur built a close relationship with noted figures of different backgrounds, including nationalist youth leaders such as Sutomo, Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, as well as Muslim leaders.

After resigning from his post as Muhammadiyah chairman, Mansur moved to Jakarta and, along with Sukarno, Hatta and Ki Hadjar Dewantara, established Putera (Pusat Tenaga Rakyat, or The Center of People’s Force) during the Japanese occupation in 1943.

Mansur was then appointed as a member of the 68-member BPUPKI (Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia or The Assessment Agency for Preparation Efforts of Indonesian Independence) which was established on Aug. 9, 1943.

Mansur passed away on April 25, 1946 and was buried in Surabaya.

Darul’s book does not only tell about superficial history of Mas Mansur, which was undeniable, but also his thoughts that could be discussed further.

The writer, who is also a researcher at The Jakarta Post, also describes Mansur’s thoughts on several topics, including religion, God, logic, mankind, women and time.

On the women issue, according to the book, as a cleric in the early part of the 20th century, Mansur had a relatively progressive view in that he supported the equal position between women and men (page 105).

However, in the contemporary era, Mansur’s views, which defend polygamy to prevent Muslim men from committing adultery, could be questioned.

With regard to polygamy, the book did not mention the name of Mansur’s second wife. Mansur reportedly continued with a speech in Medan, North Sumatra when he was informed about the death of his second wife.

Despite strong data and wide bibliographical sources, the absence of footnote numbers in chapters one and two could disturb readers.

For preliminary readers, however, the book is very helpful to understand the early Islamic movement in Indonesia, particularly to learn about Muhammadiyah and one of its key leaders over the years.

If it is not the only one, the book is among few books that delved on Mas Mansur, his struggle and thoughts.

The Jakarta Post
Sunday, May 2, 2006

*Journalist of The Jakarta Post