A Fragile Nation: The Indonesian Crisis by Khoon Choy Lee

By Khoon Choy Lee

In may perhaps 1998, President Suharto stepped down as President of Indonesia. along with his fall, the 3rd biggest nation in Asia has plunged into anarchy and political, monetary and social strife. Racial and spiritual clashes, culminating in riots, burning and chaos, became the order of the day. Fissures within the social cloth are widening and there's actual probability that this multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural state may possibly collapse, similar to Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. during this booklet, the writer portrays the Indonesian humans, their historical past 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 heritage, traditions, customs and cultures of many of the ethnic teams, he offers an knowing of Indonesia. the writer goals to convey outsider's readability of conception and the journalist-diplomat's event of culture and historical past to the issues and to talk with authority and sensitivity in regards to the demanding situations dealing with an enormous, heterogeneous nation that includes 336 ethnic teams talking 250 dialects.

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But, like the volcano, the hidden and suppressed emotions may sometimes burst out and suddenly you find acts of violence such as the Gestapu coup of 1965 and the recent May 13 riots in Jakarta. The Balinese are very charming people, always placid and calm, but there were several occurrences of puputan or mass suicide in their modern history. The various races of ethnic peoples in Indonesia have vastly different temperaments and lifestyles. This book makes an attempt to describe them all. p65 10 08/11/2000, 10:24 AM I N T R O D U C T I O N 11 I have always believed that in international relations and human relations, the understanding and appreciation of each other’s culture plays a very important role in bringing about peace and harmony in the world today.

From a religious symbol, Bhinneka Tunggul Ika became a political one when former President Sukarno tried to syncretise nationalism, religion and communism into a state ideology under the name of Nasakom. Although it might appear to observers that the basic tenets of the three politico-religious concepts contain fundamental contradictions which are irreconcilable, President Sukarno was tempted to give it a trial run. Nasakom ended on the rocks because one of the three components had tried to impose its will on the others by the use of force.

Lunching with Des Alwi at his hotel in the open air. On author’s left is Mrs Lee. p65 42 08/11/2000, 10:23 AM Dr Mohammed Hatta, who was under house arrest in Banda Island. p65 43 08/11/2000, 10:23 AM K A L I M A N T A N Indigenous Dayak men parade through the village of Tebas in Kalimantan, atop a pickup truck displaying the severed heads of Madurese men decapitated earlier in the day on 20 March, 1999. Kalimantan has seen a renewal of long-standing violence between the Dayak tribe and migrants from the island of Madura which has left over 70 people dead during the recent clash.

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