By Khoon Choy Lee
In could 1998, President Suharto stepped down as President of Indonesia. together with his fall, the 3rd greatest nation in Asia has plunged into anarchy and political, financial and social strife. Racial and spiritual clashes, culminating in riots, burning and chaos, became the order of the day. Fissures within the social textile are widening and there's genuine hazard that this multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural kingdom may possibly fall apart, similar to Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. during this booklet, the writer portrays the Indonesian humans, their background and their cultural traditions. He presents insightful analyses and views of the political cave in of Suharto and describes the risk dealing with the rustic. Describing the range within the historical past, traditions, customs and cultures of a number of the ethnic teams, he presents an figuring out of Indonesia. the writer goals to deliver outsider's readability of notion and the journalist-diplomat's adventure of culture and heritage to the issues and to talk with authority and sensitivity in regards to the demanding situations dealing with an enormous, heterogeneous nation that contains 336 ethnic teams conversing 250 dialects.
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Extra info for A Fragile Nation: The Indonesian Crisis
The more civilised Irianese in Biak. p65 46 08/11/2000, 10:24 AM Irianese men wearing kotekas. Irianese women at the marketplace. p65 47 08/11/2000, 10:24 AM Author receiving Bintang Bakti Utama (Distinguished Service Star) from former Foreign Minister Adam Malik for his contributions to cement relations between Singapore and Indonesia. p65 1 08/11/2000, 10:24 AM v XXX ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS XXXXXXXXX In the course of writing this book, many Indonesians, some wellknown and in positions of authority in the past whilst others just ordinary folks, have helped me along the way.
I took the opportunity as an ambassador to travel widely in Indonesia and tried to befriend the governors and military leaders of the 26 provinces. When I left the country, Indonesia had not yet annexed East Timor. p65 1 08/11/2000, 10:24 AM 2 A F R A G I L E N A T I O N Indonesia is an ethnological goldmine. Over the centuries, there has been an influx of people from China, Arabia, Polynesia, IndoChina and, later, Europe into Indonesia. The variety of its human geography is without parallel on earth.
As we know, Melayus are the majority race in Malaysia, but in Indonesia, they are a minority race. From Sumatra, I turn to Sulawesi, and describe the Bugis (the seafarers) and the Makassarese — both tribes had aspired to set up an “Islamic Republic of South Sulawesi” — and the Torajans, mostly Christians who have their own peculiar customs and traditions and bury their dead in the rock mountains. I have a special chapter on the Ambonese who were not ashamed to be called “black Dutch” and had been used by the Dutch as professional soldiers just as the Gurkhas were used by the British.