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By Khoon Choy Lee

In may possibly 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, monetary 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 state might collapse, similar to Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. during this publication, the writer portrays the Indonesian humans, their heritage and their cultural traditions. He offers insightful analyses and views of the political cave in of Suharto and describes the chance dealing with the rustic. Describing the variety within the heritage, traditions, customs and cultures of some of the ethnic teams, he presents an knowing of Indonesia. the writer goals to deliver outsider's readability of notion and the journalist-diplomat's event of culture and background to the issues and to talk with authority and sensitivity concerning the demanding situations dealing with an unlimited, heterogeneous nation that contains 336 ethnic teams conversing 250 dialects.

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After the fall of Suharto, even the Pancasila philosophy is facing a serious challenge by some fundamentalist Muslims who are clamouring for an Islamic state for Indonesia. The success of the Islamic revolutions, particularly in Iran and elsewhere, have encouraged them to revive the Islamic dream of enforcing Islamic law in Indonesia. p65 5 08/11/2000, 10:24 AM 6 A F R A G I L E N A T I O N that political parties be freed from the state ideology of Pancasila, and also demanding the establishment of an Islamic state in Indonesia.

The Minangkabau 256 The Shrewd Gypsies of Indonesia 11. The Bataks Ferocity and Cannibalism 267 12. The Acehnese 281 The Eastern Gateway to Mecca 13. The Orang Melayu (The Malays) Phoenicians of the East 297 14. The Bugis and Makassarese Cape of the Infamous Ones 310 15. The Torajans Land of the Kings 329 16. The Ambonese The Black Dutch 348 17. The Bandanese Victims of Nutmeg Massacre 365 18. The Irianese — Dhanis and Biaks 19. p65 8 08/11/2000, 10:24 AM 1 XXX INTRODUCTION XXXXXXXXX Since 1955 when I first visited Bandung to attend the Afro-Asian Conference as a journalist, I have been fascinated by the multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural society of Indonesia.

There were uprisings in Sumatra engineered by Colonel Simbolon, a famous Sumatran military leader, who, backed by his battalion of Sinta Pohan, went against the Jakarta Government led by Sukarno because they considered him a “wicked and godless man” who got too close with the communists. In Sumatra, I covered the cultures and traditions of the Minangkabaus and their matriarchal system; the Bataks, dynamic people who once practised cannibalism; the Acehnese who are Islamic fundamentalists still trying to establish an Islamic State of Aceh; and the Orang Melayu (Malays) who happen to be the founders of a Buddhist Srivijaya Empire and who now live in the Riau Islands and Palembang.

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