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Surabaya skyline

Among the biggest frustrations with this blog is the number of great topics to explore and so little time in which to write about them.

I will as a result quickly flag the possibility that Indonesia is, in a historical sense, in the midst of another national identity crisis. There are two ways a nation state works its way through such doubt, seen in efforts to define both what the country is and what the country is not. In practice, this manifests itself as painting certain social groups as being welcome and unwelcome.

Efforts to make others unwelcome are always more newsworthy, particularly for outsiders seeing Indonesia through the prism of international media.

You can define non-Muslims as being unwelcome neighbours, seen here, but they also need to be the right kind of Muslims or they too are unwelcome, as seen here. Of course there are the unwelcome others that persistently rejected, rightly or wrongly, for their perceived threat to the very fabric of Indonesian society. Chief among these recurring targets of moral panic are drug dealers here and gays as seen here and here.

And who is welcome? Sadly anyone with enough money. Even a strange and seedy tinpot President like the one mentioned here. Sad.