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By Khoon Choy Lee

In might 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, monetary and social strife. Racial and non secular clashes, culminating in riots, burning and chaos, became the order of the day. Fissures within the social cloth are widening and there's genuine probability that this multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation may well collapse, 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 chance dealing with the rustic. Describing the variety 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 convey outsider's readability of belief and the journalist-diplomat's adventure of culture and background to the issues and to talk with authority and sensitivity in regards to the demanding situations dealing with an unlimited, heterogeneous kingdom that contains 336 ethnic teams conversing 250 dialects.

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Additional resources for A Fragile Nation: The Indonesian Crisis

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I have written seven sections under the title of Javanese mysticism, describing the wayang, the kris, the kratons (Javanese palace), Semar, the Joyoboyo predictions and Lara Kidul. Since the Javanese comprise 45 percent of the population, it is necessary to give more prominence to Javanese mysticism. The book then deals with the history of the happy-go-lucky Sundanese, who dislike to be called Javanese because historically they hold a grudge against Gajah Mada, the famous Javanese prime minister.

P65 32 08/11/2000, 10:23 AM The Makassar mayor also presented the traditional dress to the author. A Bugis dress is being worn by the author. p65 33 08/11/2000, 10:23 AM A good chat with the Makassar Mayor. A typical Bugis house in the village of Makassar. p65 34 08/11/2000, 10:23 AM T O R A J A Visiting Toraja, the land of the kings (author and wife). The traditional Torajan houses with sweeping roofs. p65 35 08/11/2000, 10:23 AM Author and a Torajan headman in front of his house with hanging bull horns.

For instance, the Javanese normally speaks softly whereas the Arabs often shout when they speak. There could be misunderstanding when the two races speak to each other. When a Javanese nods his head, it does not mean that he agrees with you but merely that he has heard you. This too could cause misunderstanding if one does not understand Javanese culture. There are many different characteristics and idiosyncracies in the various cultures of the Indonesian peoples and an understanding of them will be useful in dealing with them.

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