Indonesia and the West: An Ambivalent, Misunderstood Engagement *
Elson, R. E., The Australian Journal of Politics and History
Indonesia troubles the West. It is big, strategically important, and potentially highly influential in world affairs. Its success as a nation is crucial to the stability of Southeast Asia. Its behaviour, then, is important to the West. When Indonesia ignores or rejects Western advice on how to behave, the West is puzzled that its efforts at helpful intervention and assistance are rebuffed or apparently misunderstood. The West's perplexity, I will argue, is a result of its failure to comprehend the long and complex history of Indonesia's continuing self-creation, and especially the central role in that chequered process played by Indonesia's engagement with the West.
A recent example of such dissonance came in the wake of the Bali bombings of late 2002. While Western attention, especially in Australia, was focussed on the miserable fate of young white tourists killed or injured whilst enjoying cheap beer and romance in the "paradise" of Bali, some Indonesians used the occasion to highlight the undesirable effects of unrestrained (and almost exclusively Westernised) international tourism in Bali. Some noted that the kind of behaviour characteristically indulged in by young Western tourists in Bali (drinking, promiscuity, gambling, drugs, topless sunbathing and so on) was an affront to Indonesia's dignity and sense of morals. Others pointed to the baleful effects of places like Kuta on the integrity of Balinese culture, and pointed to the need to reshape tourism policies to preserve that "culture". (1) More generally on the Indonesian side, there was stubborn resistance to the Western accusation that Indonesia had been less than energetic in pursuing the terrorists who had perpetrated the enormity of Bali and in closing down the network which had sponsored them. (2) And, as always, Indonesia remained as sensitive as ever to Western demands that it improve its human rights record. (3)
Yet it would be wrong to think that resistance to and resentment of Western desires are the dominant motifs of Indonesia's attitude towards the West. There is amongst many Indonesians a deep attraction to the globalising content of Westernism. Many love the allure and liberation of the ideas of the West, as well as its command of the skills of technology and, of course, the material benefits which access to the West can bring. Many deeply admire the political, economic and cultural success of the countries of the West and long for something similar for their own country. I want in this article to explore and explain this tension in Indonesia between the repugnance and the allure of the West. It has been a key feature of at least the last century of Indonesia's modern history, and promises to remain so for the foreseeable future.
The Search for the Modern
At the heart of Indonesia's felt attraction for things Western has been the sense that the West provides the avenue, the direction, to "becoming modern". This shrieking for the modern first became evident in what was to become Indonesia in the first decade of the twentieth century. Both its stridency, and the consequent tense ambivalence about the West, resulted from two related aspects of Indonesia's experience of colonialism. The first was the extreme lateness of Indonesia's introduction to modernity. The Dutch were determined to keep the Netherlands Indies "traditional" as a means of keeping it stable and under their control, which meant that very few Indonesians received any kind of Western (Dutch-language) education until the twentieth century, much less the chance to pursue their studies in Western countries. (4) There were no vernacular newspapers in the Netherlands Indies until the publication of Bromartani in 1855, and the appearance of indigenous-owned and edited newspapers had to await the first decade of the twentieth century. (5) The result of this policy of educational containment was a sharply divided society (by race and hierarchy) in which the potentially liberating forces of Western capitalism were deliberately prevented from working their emancipatory magic on Indonesians themselves. Thus there emerged Furnivall's "plural society", as well as Boeke's concept of economic dualism (or, as Roger Knight has put it so nicely when referring to the technological dualism characteristic of the colonial sugar industry in Java, the notion of placing "a First World factory in a Third World field"). (6)
So late to modernity, Indonesians suddenly introduced to this new world were humiliated by the cascading consciousness of their backwardness (a feeling routinely reinforced by the Dutch)] Yet their humiliation simply reinforced their fascination with Western (Dutch) modernity (including the apparently masterly ease with which the Dutch conquered and controlled them), and their determination to make up the difference as soon as possible. Thus the concept, first popularised by Abdul Rivai and R.M. Tirtoadhisuryo, that Indonesia had been asleep, and desperately needed to awaken to the new world of the modern. Modernity, however, had a specific meaning for Indonesians (just as it had for the Dutch) at this pregnant time: essentially, it was defined in technological and economic, rather than political terms.
The second (and later) aspect added the politics. Once the liberal capitalism practised by the Dutch had moved into high gear in the late nineteenth century, its ultimate effect was to create a roughly united, relatively economically integrated, and efficiently managed Netherlands East Indies (with, a Dutch scholar-official boasted, "a completely equipped and modern apparatus of state") (8) where there had previously just been an archipelago of vaguely-defined polities. Thereafter, the dominant strand of Indonesian thinking about modernity moved very rapidly to a comprehension that the only appropriate vehicle to achieve the modernity they so prized was an independent Indonesian nation-state embracing the whole of the Dutch-ruled archipelago. Indeed, one of the most astonishing things about the way in which nationalism expressed itself in Indonesia in the early twentieth century was the speed with which the idea of a politically-unified and indigenously-ruled Indonesia took root, with almost no contestation. Both the form ("nation-state") and the substance ("Indonesia") were unabashed borrowings from "modernity". (9)
Emerging Contradictions I: Limiting "the Modern"
These developments raised important questions and tensions. One was the issue of the extent and depth of the modernity to be pursued. There were those who argued that "Indonesians" could progress [maju] only by becoming more like the Dutch; to make progress, to be progressive, to be modern, meant unambiguous emulation of the West. Such Westernised thinking was not especially common, however, and tended to be espoused by alienated and highly Westernised intellectuals like Syahrir, who penned these lines in 1935:
Here there has been no spiritual or cultural life, and no intellectual progress for centuries [...]. What can a puppet or other simple and mystical symbols offer us in a broad and intellectual sense? [...] Our inclination is no longer towards the mystical, but towards reality, clarity and objectivity. In substance, we can never accept the essential difference between the East and the West, because for our spiritual needs we are in general dependent on the West, not only scientifically but culturally. (10)
Most Indonesian thinkers and leaders, however, were troubled that too hasty or complete a transformation in the direction of modernity would have highly damaging consequences for their own sense of self. At bottom, at least at this stage of nationalist construction, the problem was that there was no clear, concise and enduring sense of the identity of the entity that they sought to modernise. This continuing tension was reflected in the history of the nationalist movement in various ways. For example, the earliest examples of modern/Western thinking were usually couched in defensive modalities or in ways that sought to keep intact an existing, essentialised and narrow cultural sense of self. (11) Budi Utomo (1908) was an organisation that wanted to modernise the Javanese aristocracy so that it could be more truly Javanese. Sarekat Islam (1911) was in some sense a reaction to developing Chinese nationalism in the Indies and in part originally sought to defend Muslim trading interests. Muhammadiyah (1912), an early modernist Islamic organisation, attempted to purify Indonesian Islam from the accretions of tradition and integrate Western technological thinking into Muslim belief, but also to defend Islam from the threat of Christian proselytisation. Early manifestations of Communism were characterised by the ease with which Communist orthodoxy was subjugated to local cultural and social imperatives. Even with the emergence of secular nationalist thinking in the mid 1920s, there was always a concern that what was truly "Indonesian" (notwithstanding deep uncertainty about what "Indonesia" represented) could not be foregone, and frenzied efforts to combine the best of both indigenous and Western worlds, best exemplified by Sukarno's attempts to synthesise nationalism, Islam and Marxism, and his reengineering of Marxist social categories into "Marhaenism", an ideology which sought vague social improvement for the Indonesian peasantry. Perhaps most telling of all was the attraction many Indonesians felt in the 1930s to Japanese fascism. Japan, after all, had demonstrated that it could emulate the West in technological and managerial skill without loss of its "Japaneseness" and without succumbing to what many thought to be the failed and fading ideals of Western democracy. (12)
In matters political and social, Indonesians tended to be conservative and reluctant to depart from (often invented) "traditional" modalities of thinking. Indonesian political leaders were particularly averse to "Western" models which they thought might damage the fabric of the society they sought to build and which (closer to the bone) might also undercut their own hierarchically-derived social and political authority. Thus, the Javanese nationalist and aristocrat R.M.S. Suriokusumo remarked in 1920:
Democracy has invented a system in which equal rights are granted to everyone: the wise man and the idiot, the man who does intellectual work and the laborer, the man of high moral status and the debauched. It wants to give effect to equal rights and to throw them as a sheet over all places of unequal height [...]. Anyone who distributes equal rights to people of unequal development, who believes that the word of the unenlightened villager is of the same value as that of the Wise man, is neither sensible nor just [...]. Statecraft should be based on this principle. Wise men should be at the head of the State and should be chosen by the Wise and not by the people. (13)
In the same conservative vein, the modernist Muslim Fachruddin al-Kahiri argued in 1933 that:
So long as the Muslims of Indonesia consider Indonesian freedom as more important than the freedom of all Muslims, consider politics as more important than worship [...] exchange obedience to the kijai [religious teacher] for obedience to the leader [...] consider emotions more important than examination of substance, [...] and consider the enemies endangering Indonesian freedom more important than the enemies who endanger Islam [...] so long will Indonesian freedom remain only a phrase on the lips. (14)
Indeed, notwithstanding the assertion of Indonesian students in Holland in 1923 that "the future of the people of Indonesia is exclusively and only situated in the establishment of a form of government which is responsible in the true sense of the word to the People itself', (15) the only significant attention paid to democratic ideas by Indonesian nationalist leaders emerged right at the end of the colonial period. Then, cooperating nationalists tried unsuccessfully to pressure the Dutch into developing a representative parliament in the colony as a means of purchasing their support; the ploy was primarily a means of seeking power, not a manifestation of devotion to democratic ideals as such. (16)
These kinds of ambivalent sentiment towards the West and its intellectual legacies were only reinforced by Indonesians' experience of the brutal and politically divisive Japanese occupation (1942-45), which strengthened the existing culture of blame and recrimination against the West. "Dutch imperialism, united with British and American imperialism", wrote the nationalist and writer Sanusi Pane, "has messed up our culture. Allied imperialism was like a buffalo breaking into a garden, destroying pots, flowers, plants, property, dirtying the ponds, looking for food and drink and stripping the place of everything." (17) Such an outlook was consolidated by the subsequent struggle to assert their national freedom in the face of persistent Dutch efforts (with American support) (18) to retain sovereignty over their erstwhile colony, and involved a broader loss of faith in the capacity and will of the international community to come to the aid of the country, something which magnified the sense that self-reliance was indispensable. Nor were Indonesians helped by the sudden and unprepared nature of their coming to independence ("We weren't ready for independence. We didn't have the slightest clue what to do"), (19) again a function of Dutch colonial failure. When independence was finally proclaimed in 1945, it was conveniently configured as the precondition for building Indonesia, the architecture of which remained uncertain; "only then shall we be free to build a society of Indonesia Merdeka [Free Indonesia] which is self-reliant, strong and healthy, enduring and age-long". (20)
Sukarno, combining with characteristic dexterity variants of Western thinking and more home-grown social concerns, embellished the theme of suspicion of Western political solutions. He remarked in 1945 that:
We have seen that in European states there are representative bodies, there is parliamentary democracy; but is it not precisely in Europe that the people are at the mercy of the capitalists? In America there is a representative body of the people, but are not people in America at the mercy of the capitalists? Are not people at the mercy of the capitalists throughout the whole Western world? (21)
At the same time, he remarked that:
If we are looking for democracy, it must not be Western democracy, but permusyawaratan [the process of consultation seeking unanimous agreement] which brings life, that is politico-economic democracy which is capable of bringing social prosperity. (22)
Hatta, his longtime Vice-President, although himself a convinced social democrat, could equally argue in 1956 that:
Sovereignty of the people in Indonesia had to be rooted in its own society, which is collectivist in character. Whatever its other sources, Indonesian democracy should also evolve from indigenous Indonesian democracy. Moreover, the national spirit which had developed as a natural reaction to Western imperialism and capitalism intensified the desire to look in our own society for foundations on which to build a national state. (23)
When the chaos of Sukarno's declining years, noteworthy for their aggressive condemnation of Western political action and thought, was replaced by the authoritarian regimentation of Suharto's New Order, suspicion about Western political thinking remained strong, notwithstanding Suharto's political alignment with the West. Western-style liberal democracy, Suharto claimed, had failed because of its foreignness, because of its insensitivity to the "soul" of Indonesia. Equally, Western concepts of class struggle were foreign; "the Indonesian people do not know about class, and the struggle of the Indonesian working group is not a class struggle". (24) What Indonesia needed was a democracy rooted in Indonesia's own experience. Thus, remarked Suharto in 1966:
Indonesia is not contented with Western democracy and other foreign democracies, with a liberal or totalitarian economy. [Those things based on liberalism or materialism] don't bring satisfaction to the spirit of the Indonesian nation. (25)
What he proposed was an integralist or organicist approach to governance that emphasised the capacity of the leader to divine the true instincts and real interests of "the people". More important, it put common interests above individualism ("the New Order is an order of Pancasila Democracy which puts the people's interest first and not group or private interests"). (26) Opposition in itself was seen to be disruptive and unhelpful. Thus, noted Suharto:
In Pancasila democracy there is no place for a Western style opposition. In the realm of Pancasila democracy we recognise musyawarah [deliberation] to reach the mufakat [consensus] of the people [...]. We do not recognise opposition as in the West. Here we do not recognise opposition based on conflict, opposition which is just trying to be different. (27)
But if Western forms of democracy did not appeal, Western technological supremacy was often and easily invoked in the name of development ("development will not fail, and will not be allowed to fail"). (28) Thus, Suharto allowed his technocrats to install a neo-liberal economic regime, and he spent vast resources on his country's Green Revolution.
Even with Suharto's fall, demands for reformasi total along Western-style democratic lines were soon subdued by the clamour of nationalist excitation, expressed in such things as outrage over the "loss" of East Timor and the groundswell of opposition to the inflexible dictates of the IMF, both seen as impugning the integrity and sovereignty of the nation. At the same time, gathering Islamic sentiment (effectively marginalised from politics for much of the twentieth century as being disruptive and uncompromising) began to express itself more fulsomely in politics, whether in moderate and sometimes liberal forms of intellectual discourse or in the more dramatic excesses of militant Islamism. Neither nationalist nor Islamic discourses found much to be praised in Western modes of politics.
Emerging Contradictions II: Having One's State and Doubting It
I have argued that, in the earlier stages of the national project, ambivalence about engaging the West flowed essentially from uncertainties about "national" identity and the extent to which an uncompromised engagement with an untrustworthy West might undercut, even vitiate, that identity. The second source of contradictions for Indonesians was the size and form of the state that nationalists first imagined and then decided to create, and its consequent lack of legitimacy. As I noted above, partly because of a slowly emerging sense of the commonality of the peoples of the archipelago, (29) (something strengthened by the shared experiences of the multitudes of Indonesians travelling to Mekka) (30) and perhaps, too, because of the realisation that their social and ethnic division had contributed mightily to their conquest by the Dutch in the first place, there was never much consideration given by nationalists to any territorial format apart from one encompassing the whole of the territory of the Netherlands East Indies. The provocative question put by the Javanese nationalist Suriokusumo--"why have the Philippines or the inhabitants of the Melaka peninsula not been invited to attach themselves to the Indies or Native people" (31)--made no sense to, nor aroused serious enthusiasm among, most Indonesians interested in politics.
But given the great geographical expanse of the Republic of Indonesia, its extraordinary ethnic and linguistic variety, the vastly different levels of education and political experience of the people inhabiting it, and the diversity of political ideas and ideologies coursing through it, the leaders of the new "Indonesian" state faced deep, continuing difficulties in securing its legitimation as the single vehicle for nationalist sentiment in the archipelago. The idea remained as thin as it had in 1918 when Cipto Mangunkusumo had remarked that "what we mean by the Indies nation has still to be formed, that is to say, it does not yet exist. The first spade has just been put into the ground, the seed has still to be sown". (32) The poor traction the idea enjoyed in the 1920s was seized upon by opponents: one Dutch correspondent, speaking of Indonesian students in Holland, wrote sarcastically of his sincere hope "that their letters [sent home to the Indies], glittering with the ever imperishable name Indonesia, always arrive in good time at the correct address". (33)
While there had developed a vague consensus that "Whoever is a citizen of the Indonesian state is also an Indonesian", (34) the imagined nation-state's sole basis of legitimation lay not in any shared conviction about what in particular the Indonesian state might represent, nor what its uniquely identifying features might be, but rather in a rough consensus on a number of vaguely specified political assertions: that Islamic ideas (suspected by nationalist thinkers to have been a factor in Indonesia's pre-modern downfall) should not be decisive in the form of the state, that ethnicity as a category was to be ignored (broad racial similarity was superficially attractive as a unifying force, but ultimately fragmenting of the given of Indies political unity), and that ideas of social progress were not to be pressed.
Such thinking was, then, an avoidance mechanism, with little by way of positive moral or purposive content. Sukarno later remarked that "when we felt the necessity to federate our islands in one comprehensive manner, we fastened on this name [Indonesia] and loaded it with political connotations until it, too, became a spearhead of national identity". (35) The problem was, of course, that different loadings meant different things to different people, with the result that the Indonesian state came to be defined in terms of what it was not, rather than what it was. While it came to occupy the territory of the old Netherlands East Indies, it was not the Netherlands East Indies. While it was predominantly Muslim, it was not an Islamic state. While it encompassed many ethnic groups and cultures, it did not (at least in theory) seek to identify with or privilege any one of them. While it embraced the hope of freedom, no one could satisfactorily define freedom's meaning, nor its implications. Sukarno remarked that "following our declaration that everybody was free we had difficulty making the Marhaens pay passage in the tram cars. 'Why?', they'd cry with a hurt and bewildered look. 'We're free, aren't we?'". (36) Indonesia's very name was a strange invention, a combination of two Greek words, first thought up in combination by an Englishman in Singapore in 1850, who immediately abandoned the name as "too general". (37)
"Indonesia's" heartland was always Java and parts of Sumatra, particularly West Sumatra. (38) Indeed, the whole was not created ex nihilo; rather, from the outset it was a Java-centred state to which things were added from the inside out. (39) The "deep, horizontal comradeship" (40) of "Indonesia" that early Indonesian nationalists had imagined was not necessarily imagined in similar terms by other inhabitants of the Netherlands East Indies. (41) One scholar of a key area of eastern Indonesia remarked of the 1930s that "if there was a dominant political ideology amongst the Ambonese it remained a devotion to the House of Orange". (42) At the time independence was proclaimed, few people in Sumatra thought themselves emotionally or politically more strongly attached to their putative fellow-countrymen in Java or Sulawesi, much less New Guinea, than they did to their linguistically, culturally and historically proximate fellows on the Malay peninsula, just across the Melaka Straits. Thereafter, there were serious conflicts about just what ideological content that state should have, with both Communist and Islamist claims to exclusivist supremacy finding violent expression in the late 1940s. During the revolution, centrifugal tendencies, frequently encouraged by the Dutch, were in evidence. Despite the fact that a general sympathy for the Republic had emerged across the greater part of the archipelago, a lack of uniformity of understanding about what the Republic represented, as well as an unevenness of attachment to the idea of Indonesia itself, was evident, partly a result of Dutch policies which had segmented large parts of the archipelago--including nationalist-minded inhabitants--from direct contact with the leadership of the Indonesian Republic centred in Java and Sumatra. Thus, remarked a "Federal" newspaper in 1948, "we have protested for the thousandth time that the Republic has no fight to speak in the name of the whole of Indonesia". (43) It was a flaky conception of the state, with little intellectual depth and sophistication. Accordingly, it tended to make demands and hold out hopes which could never be satisfied, and its simple and undifferentiated nature gave it little subtlety and resilience, and little capacity to afford meaningful compromise.
The new state, indeed, was formally granted its independence by the Dutch in December 1949 as the Republic of the United States of Indonesia, of which the Republic of Indonesia, the Indonesia dreamed by earlier nationalists, was just one of sixteen states in a federation. Within the first year of its existence in this form, the new state was threatened by a secessionist movement in eastern Indonesia which did not recognise the hegemony of the Republic over the archipelago. Legitimacy did not improve; by the early 1950s, the military leader Abdul Haris Nasution claimed that "a general disappointment prevails in all groups and on all levels. The belief and respect in the country decreases more and more. The country, especially the leaders of the country, are in a moral crisis". (44) Indonesia's political history since that time has been punctuated by efforts either to recast the basis of the authority of the state, or to reconfigure the state in fundamentally new ways. What this problem means, of course, if that the nation-state of Indonesian in its current configuration has never enjoyed unalloyed legitimacy, has never had a sense that it is comfortable and unchallenged in its own identity. Geertz puts it nicely:
[through the 1950s] the peristiwas [affairs] kept coming, and so did the evasions, the jugglery, and the postponed resolutions. It was as though the country was caught between grandiloquence and equivocation, stranded between speech styles without a predictable system of civic discourse. (45)
As time went on, the mood endured: "In Bung Karno's time", remarked the celebrated essayist Goenawan Mohamad, "Indonesia was still felt as an aim, a reason to fight, a cause. Now we don't seem to be like that--and we feel that we have lost something". (46)
Under such circumstances of uncertain identity and vigorously asserted but shallowly grounded legitimacy, Indonesia's outlook towards the West has been, some exceptions to one side, suspicious and threatened, and characterised by an easily outraged sense of national sovereignty. The dominant sense is that Western "interventions" are somehow part of an agenda that seeks to unravel or somehow damage Indonesia's sovereignty and sense of national identity. Thus, Western lecturing on the need to advance human rights in Indonesia is dismissed as "a big scam that seems destined to last as long as nations compete for economic advantage through political subterfuge on behalf of noble ideals". (47) When the chairman of Muhammadiyah, Ahmad Syafi'i Ma'arif, reportedly refused to believe that Abu Bakar Ba'asyir might be involved in the Bali bombings and other terrorist activity, he remarked that Ba'asyir's arrest "indicated that the nation no longer respected its own sovereignty". (48)
What might we conclude about the ambivalent engagement of Indonesia with the West? On the one hand, it is fair to say that Indonesia is and has been, at least from the late colonial period, unusually open to the introduction, if not the acceptance, of intellectual ideas from the West, and especially welcoming of technological improvements which have their origins in the West. At the same time, however, there has been a characteristic suspicion that the "essence" of what it is to be Indonesian, and the "essence" of the Indonesian nation-state, will be lost unless there is constant, suspicious vigilance against the excesses of the West and the globalising forces it champions. Fundamentally, this tension was grounded first in an enduring uncertainty by "Indonesians" about the nature of the national self and, second, in the pervading fear of their leaders that the nation's weakly founded legitimacy would easily be undone unless the West and its impact could be kept on a tight rein.
Every nation state defends its sovereignty vigorously and assertively. Mahathir's Malaysia, for example, made its regular (obligatory?) caning of Westernising impulses a proud, distinguishing mark of its national badging. Equally, Howard's Australia has invoked the talisman of "border protection" to defend itself from unwanted intruders from difficult places. But such responses differ greatly in style from that which has characterised Indonesian engagements with the West over the last century. The Indonesian response to the West has been suspicious and easily provoked; it stems, in the last resort, not from the kind of windy triumphalism of a Mahathir or the calibrated political rationality of a Howard, but from Indonesia's deep and unresolved uncertainties about its own identity and legitimacy, and bears a nervous and irrational stridency that does itself no service. The development of a more relaxed, rational self-confidence and sense of national legitimacy is a difficult task. At bottom it rests upon the painful and protracted process of building strong, transparent and responsive institutions which have earned, and consequently enjoy, the support of the nation's people. In Indonesia, there is still a long way to travel on the road from ambivalence to equanimity, although recently that journey has, again, begun. Western governments would to well to develop their appreciation of that fact, and the reasons why, again, it is so.
* I am grateful to John Butcher, Renee Worringer, Clive Moore, and C.K. Lai for their comments on an earlier version of this article.
(1) See, for example, the comments of Professor Luh Ketut Suryani quoted in Eric Ellis, "It's an end to foreign evils: Bali academic", The Australian, 22 October 2002.
(2) Marty Natalegawa, interviewed in Ross Coulthart, "The bombing of Bali",
(3) Tiarma Siboro, "Indonesia tells U.S. senators to mind own business", Jakarta Post, 5 July 2004,
(4) Raden Ajeng Kartini put it best: "knowledge of Dutch language is the key which can unlock the treasure houses of Western civilization and knowledge" (Kartini, "Give the Javanese education!", in Joost Cote, trans, Letters from Kartini: an Indonesian feminist 1900-1914 (Clayton, 1992), pp. 53435). See also Ahmat B. Adam, The Vernacular Press and the Emergence of Modern Indonesian Consciousness (1855-1913) (Ithaca, 1995), p. 87.
(5) Adam, The Vernacular Press, pp. 16-17, 102-11; Takashi Shiraishi, An Age in Motion. Popular Radicalism in Java, 1912-1926 (Ithaca, 1990), p. 33. The paper lasted only until 1856.
(6) Furnivall's concept of plural society referred to the racially segmented nature of colonial societies like the Netherlands Indies and Burma, where "races" existed side by side but lived separate existences. Boeke's notion of economic dualism referred to the existence of allegedly separate and self-contained "Eastern" and "Western" economies in the Netherlands Indies.
(7) "The native is a poor and cruel coachman, a slovenly worker, a stubborn, backward farmer, a lazy supervisor, an indifferent subordinate, a hard master. He is superstitious, unreliable, unfair, stupid, careless, childish, despotic, slavish" (K. Wybrands, in Nieuws van den Dag van Nederlandsch-Indie, 29 November 1912, quoted in A. Muhlenfeld, "De Inlandsche pers", Hindia Poetra 1 (1916), p. 10n).
(8) A.D.A. de Kat Angelino, Colonial Policy, trans G.J. Renier (Chicago, 1931), Vol. 2, pp. 56-57.
(9) See, in this context, Benedict Anderson's discussion of the "modular" character of nation-ness (Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London, 1983), pp. 13-14).
(10) Quoted in Harry J. Benda and John A. Larkin, eds, The World of Southeast Asia (New York, 1967), p. 195.
(11) A notable exception to this generalisation is provided by the thinking of the Eurasian E.F.E. Douwes Dekker, and two lively, activist Western-educated Javanese aristocrats, Dr Cipto Mangunkusumo and Suwardi Suryaningrat. See especially R.M. Soewardi Soerjaningrat, "Als ik eens Nederlander was [...]", in E.F.E. Douwes Dekker, Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo, and R.M. Soewardi Soerjaningrat, Onze verbanning: publicatie der officieele bescheiden, toegelicht met verslagen en commentaren, betrekking hebbende op de gouvernements-besluiten van den 18en Augustus 1913, nos. la en 2a, regelende de toepassing van artikel 47 R.R. (Schiedam, 1913), p. 68.
(12) Susan Abeyasekere, One Hand Clapping. Indonesian Nationalists and the Dutch, 1939-1942 (Clayton: Monash Papers on Southeast Asia No. 5, 1976), pp. 19-20. On Sutomo's 1936 visit, see Imam Soepardi, "Ketika almarhoem Dr. Soetomo di Nippon", Asia Raya 1 Tahoen Nomor Peringatan , n.p.
(13) Quoted in Herbert Feith and Lance Castles, eds, Indonesian Political Thinking 1945-1965 (Ithaca, 1970), pp. 184, 187.
(14) Quoted in Howard M. Federspiel, Persatuan Islam: Islamic Reform in Twentieth Century Indonesia (Ithaca, 1970), p. 87.
(15) Statement of principles of the Indonesische Vereeniging, Hindia Poetra 1 (1923), p. 17.
(16) Abeyasekere, One Hand Clapping, pp. 27, 55; Susan Abeyasekere, "Partai Indonesia Raya, 1936 42: a study in cooperative nationalism", Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 3, 2 (1972), p. 273n.
(17) Sanoesi Pane, "Mengembalikan keboedajaan Timoer", Djawa Baroe, No. 12, 15 June 2603 , p. 9.
(18) George McT. Kahin, Southeast Asia: a Testament (London, 2003), pp. 31-32, 40, 53.
(19) Soedarpo Sastrosatomo, quoted in John McBeth, "Why did we fail?", Far Eastern Economic Review, 1 August 2002, p. 46.
(20) Sukarno, "Lahirnja Pantja Sila", in Anon., Pantjasila: the basis of the state of the Republic of Indonesia (Jakarta: National Committee for Commemoration of The Birth of Pantja Sila 1 June 1945-1 June 1964, 1964?), p. 19.
(21) Quoted in Feith and Castles, eds, Indonesian political thinking 1945-1965, p. 46.
(22) Quoted in ibid., p. 47.
(23) Quoted in ibid., pp. 35-36.
(24) Quoted in Kompas, 2 May 1966.
(25) Quoted in Kompas, 5 April 1966.
(26) Speech on 3 April 1967; see G. Dwipayana and Nazaruddin Sjamsuddin, eds, Jejak langkah Pak Harto 1 Oktober 1965-27 Maret 1968 (Jakarta, 1991), p. 171.
(27) Soeharto, Pikiran, ucapan dan tindakan saya: otobiografi seperti dipaparkan kepada G. Dwipayana dan Ramadhan K.H. (Jakarta, 1989), p. 346.
(28) Quoted in Kompas, 5 March 1969.
(29) Adam, The vernacular press, p. 102n; Harry A. Poeze, "Inleiding", in Harry A. Poeze, ed., Politiek-politioneele Overzichten van Nederlandsche-Indie, vol. I, The Hague, 1982), p. xxvi. Even the American traveller Eliza Scidmore could speak of "all Indonesians as they are, under the rule of the one governor-general of Netherlands India, representing the little queen at The Hague" (Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, Java, the garden of the East (New York, 1907), p. 76). Growing self-reflectiveness was manifested in and multiplied by the popularity amongst the turn-of-the-century Indonesian elite of new journals such as Bintang Hindia which showed its readers both the world outside the Indies and the commonalities within the various parts--now conceived as component parts--of the Indies itself, and which created and popularised the startlingly novel concept of an Indies people (bangsa Hindia, anak Hindia).
(30) C. Snouck Hurgronje wrote that: "On the sea-voyage, and still more in Mekka Jawah pilgrims come together from the most remote parts of the Archipelago: their exchange of ideas acquires a deeper significance because their country-folk, settled in Mekka, give them a certain definite lead. In a very mixed Jawah society, one Javanese settled in Mekka will enquire of the Achehnese present, as to the progress of events in their home [...]" (C. Snouck Hurgronje, Mekka in the latter part of the 19th century: daily life, customs and learning of the Moslems of the East-Indian-archipelago, trans. J.H. Monahan (Leiden, 1931), p. 244). For a more elaborate discussion of this often unrecognised phenomenon, see Michael Francis Laffan, Islamic nationhood and colonial Indonesia: the umma below the winds (London, 2003).
(31) R.M.S. Soeriokoesoemo, "Javaansch nationalisme", in R.M.S. Soeriokoesoemo, A. Muhlenfeld, Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo, and J.B. Wens, Javaansche of Indisch nationalisme? Pro en contra (Semarang, 1918), p. 4.
(32) Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo, "Een slotwoord", in Soeriokoesoemo, Muhlenfeld, Yjipto Mangoenkoesoemo, and Wens, Javaansche of Indisch nationalisme, p. 60.
(33) Letter of H.Z. Zegers de Beijl, Hindia Poetra 2 (1920), p. 180.
(34) Surya Ningrat, "Van de Indonesiche redactietafel", Hindia Poetra, Congresnummer, 29 August 1918, pp. 2-3.
(35) Sukarno, An Autobiography (Indianapolis, 1965), p. 63.
(36) Ibid., p. 243.
(37) George Samuel Windsor Earl coined the term "Indu-nesians", in his effort to find an ethnographic name to describe "that branch of the Polynesian race inhabiting the Indian Archipelago" or "the brown races of the Indian Archipelago" ("On the leading characteristics of the Papuan, Australian, and Malayu-Polynesian nations", Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia, Vol. 4 (1850), p. 71n).
(38) An early indication of the pattern was the fact that whilst one-third of the local Sarekat Islam branches represented at the 1916 congress in Bandung came from outside Java, most of those were from Sumatra (A.P.E. Korver, Sarekat Islam 1912-1916: opkomst, bloei en structuur van Indonesie's eerste massabeweging (Amsterdam, 1982), p. 184).
(39) See Howard Dick, "State, Nation-State and National Economy", in Howard Dick, Vincent J.H. Houben, J. Thomas Lindblad and Thee Kian Wie, The Emergence of a National Economy: an Economic History of Indonesia, 1800-2000 (Sydney, 2002), p. 18.
(40) Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 16.
(41) See, for example, G.J. Resink, Indonesia's History between the Myths: Essays in Legal History and Historical Theory (The Hague, 1968), p. 21.
(42) Richard Chauvel, Nationalists, Soldiers' and Separatists: the Ambonese Islands from Colonialism to Revolt, 1880-1950 (Leiden, 1990), p. 169.
(43) Mestika, 3 August 1948, as reported in Rapportage Indonesie 1945-1950, no. 71, Nationaal Archief, The Hague.
(44) Abdul Haris Nasution, Fundamentals of guerrilla warfare (2nd ed., Jakarta, 1970 ), pp. 71 72.
(45) Clifford Geertz, "Soekarno daze", Latitudes, 8 (2001), p. 15.
(46) Goenawan Mohamad, Sidelines: Writings from Tempo, trans. Jennifer Lindsay (South Melbourne, 1994). p. 195.
(47) Juwono Sudarsono, "The diplomatic scare called human rights", in David Bourchier and Vedi R. Hafiz, eds, Indonesian Politics and Society: a Reader (London, 2003), p. 248.
(48) "Muhammadiyah chairman disbelieves Ba'asyir mastermind of bombings", The Jakarta Post, 29 October 2002,
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Publication information: Article title: Indonesia and the West: An Ambivalent, Misunderstood Engagement *. Contributors: Elson, R. E. - Author. Journal title: The Australian Journal of Politics and History. Volume: 52. Issue: 2 Publication date: June 2006. Page number: 261+. © 1999 University of Queensland Press. COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group.
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