By Khoon Choy Lee

ISBN-10: 9810240031

ISBN-13: 9789810240035

In may perhaps 1998, President Suharto stepped down as President of Indonesia. along with his fall, the 3rd biggest kingdom in Asia has plunged into anarchy and political, fiscal 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 threat that this multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural state may well fall apart, similar to Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. during this publication, 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 some 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 event of culture and heritage to the issues and to talk with authority and sensitivity concerning the demanding situations dealing with an enormous, heterogeneous state that includes 336 ethnic teams conversing 250 dialects.

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The Suharto Government has made the first of October (the day after the disastrous Gestapu coup of 30 September 1965) the Pancasila day to remind the people of the disaster of the killing of six generals and one soldier. All seven of them were thrown into the Lubang Buaya (crocodile hole) after their assassination. Blame was put on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) for the assasination and about half a million of suspected Communist party members were slaughtered by extreme Muslims after the incident referred to as the Gestapu coup.

Whilst appreciating the varieties of dishes, dances and music of the people, I also observed the behaviour of the peoples from different provinces. In 1970, I was posted to Indonesia as Singapore’s Ambassador and I took a keener interest in studying the psyche of the people at closer quarters. I spent four-and-a-half years in Indonesia trying to settle differences between the two countries and finally succeeded in cementing the personal friendship between former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and former President Suharto.

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.

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A Fragile Nation: The Indonesian Crisis by Khoon Choy Lee

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