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Jakarta Post

Papuans in remote areas prefer `noken' to ballot box

  • Nethy Dharma Somba

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, February 5 2009   /  06:12 pm

The voting process in a number of remote villages in easternmost province of Papua will be somewhat different from that in other areas of Indonesia. The difference is that ballots will not be placed in ballot boxes, but instead in a noken. A noken is a bag made of woven tree bark or orchid plant stems generally used by the women in outlying areas of Papua to carry things such as groceries, or garden harvests of vegetables and bananas, and even piglets. Villages in Puncak Jaya, Paniai and Yahukimo regencies still use noken as a substitute for ballot boxes. "Not all polling stations in those regencies use noken, only a few hamlets," Hasjim Sangadji from the Electoral Division of the Papua General Elections Commission (KPUD) told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. A rather unique point is that the number of noken at a polling booth is equivalent to the number of ballots...