A short and entertaining Saturday morning read on visiting the famous Borobudur temple complex in Java is available here.
Dipa Nusantara (DN) Aidit in 1955
Not quite sure it is quite the “news” that Reuters says it is, but some grim footage from the 1960’s genocide in Indonesia is available here.*
I recognise that this hasn’t been a happy week in the content of the blogposts here.
I am reluctant to seek out “good” news just because what is important is depressing and confronting, but I will look to diversify the topics covered in forthcoming posts.
* I am still learning with Twitter. Apologies if there is a better link or way to do this.
Organised labour in Indonesia has a long, painful and generally unknown history.
This post won’t go into the details, suffice to say that the country’s long history of authoritarian government with military backing hasn’t created a union friendly industrial landscape.
Illustrating this struggle is the industrial conflict with Coca Cola described here.
The reader can make their own choice on who they support in this case, but it is interesting to note the struggle has moved from the street to the online sphere.
Whether this move is permanent remains to be seen.
Mt Semeru, East Java, the highest mountain in Java
The feature picture of this post is spectactular in itself, but it still only takes the bronze medal in my eyes. In respecting copyright I will not post the pictures here, but if you are interested the gold and silver medal winners you can view them here and here.
The first picture, to paraphrase the caption, captures the Tengger volcanic complex, part of a national park in east Java that lies within a 45,000 year old large caldera. The volcanic cones making up the Tengger complex are at the centre, with smoke coming from Mount Bromo and distant Mount Semeru also apparent. Picture credit for the image goes to EC Tong/Imagelibrary India Pvt.
The second picture, with credit to Firdia Lisnawati from AP, features Mount Agung (also in Java) and captures the emotion and dynamism of life in Indonesia beautifully. How I wish I had those photographic skills.
Earlier today I mentioned to a friend that I would like to talk about Indonesia’s volcanoes again (see the previous post here). Sometimes I start those conversations to prompt my thinking about the theme of a forthcoming post.
Anyway, by coincidence I see that I was beaten to publication by one of my teachers, the irreplacably brilliant Anthony Reid. For those who know of his academic reputation there is no shame attached to trailing in his wake, as most of us do when it comes to understanding and explaining Southeast Asia.
The link, available here, takes you to what I would argue is one of the best posts ever on New Mandala website.
Sigh. Time for me to think of a new angle on one of the greatest stories of the natural world.
Brunei, Buddhism, Cambodia, deep South of Thailand, demographics, environment, geography, history, Indonesia, Indonesian language, Islam, Java, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sumatra, Thailand, Vietnam
If I had to limit the content of this blog to just one topic, I would be hard pressed to choose between Indonesia’s volcanoes and historical maps of Southeast Asia. I have written previously about Indonesia’s volcanoes here (and elsewhere from memory), so I thought I would take a moment to share my interest in just one set of the fascinating maps that are out there.
I have always believed that when I had made it professionally and was casually wealthy (the day is still quite a way ahead of me!) I would buy the book I have wanted since I first encountered it in my University Library.
Needless to say most Universities have more money than me, and given there are plenty of functioning motor cars available at a cheaper price than I have seen the book quoted online, I will simply continue to dream of buying it.
The book is the Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch United East India Company. Volume VII: East Asia, Burma to Japan & Supplement. Volume VII is the last of the series, with the others being;
Volume 1 – Atlas Isaak de Graaf (Atlas Amsterdam)
Volume 2 – Java en Madoera (Java and Madura)
Volume 3 – Indische Archipel en Oceanië (Malay Archipelago and Oceania)
Volume 4 – Ceylon
Volume 5 – Afrika (Africa)
Volume 6 – Voor-Indië, Perzië, Arabisch Schiereiland (India, Persia, Arabian Penninsula)
(Volume 7 – Oost-Azië, Birma tot Japan (East Asia, Burma to Japan & supplement))
For reference purposes see the link here.
Of course I would love Volume II & III and ideally the whole set, but the complete set is getting into the price range that would rival the cost of some houses I have lived in. Such is life.
For those interested in the superlative atlas of Indonesian History I point you to the link here, while for those readers simply wanting to browse the maps by appearance there are commercial options such as the one here and free (to view) maps such as the set here.
Some really interesting background reading on the story of these maps is available here.
I hope you find some of the links as compelling as I do.
Disclaimer – I have no connection with or potential benefit from any of the commercial sites to which I link to here, nor do I make any recommendations on purchasing. Links are provided solely for informative reasons.
The post heading is the title of a recently released publication available here.
This is a high quality publication with input from some of the giants in the field of Southeast Asian studies. I highly recommend the work, but (gentle hint) it is written for serious scholars.
Putting together a quick post, I decided to return to one of my original interests in Southeast Asia and look again at the region’s Muslim populations.
I am conscious of and seek to respect the ethics around copyright protections, so in this post I will simply insert hyperlinks.
A couple of years later Tom Pepinsky contributed his work to the topic here. I am always fascinated by information presented diferently, and the cartogram in that link prompted me to search for what else might be available.
That led me to the great infographic from The Observer that is reproduced here. One problem I have with presenting that to you dear readers is that it again reinforces the nexus in the public consciousness between Islam and terror. To my mind that says more about the focal points of the Western media and their perception of what is of interest to their readers. That is fair enough from a commercial perspective, but it sells short (no pun intended) the vast number of other intriguing stories on what is happening with Islam in the region.
There is, for example, my recent post here on the dynamics on who is now becoming more and less welcome in Indonesia. There is fascinating work on Islamic education in Myanmar available here, revelations about Asia Islamic Fashion Week here and here, stories on Malaysia’s efforts to become a global hub of Islamic finance here and further cementing of ties between the region and the Middle East with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz sending an invitation to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, inviting him to attend the Arab-Islamic-US summit, set to take place in Riyadh later in May available here.
Again, there is a lot happening, but little that bubbles to the surface of Western media.
The most recent graphic I could find on Southeast Asia’s Muslim population, again from the Pew Research Centre, is available here. The numbers in the graphic look neat are precise, but the true picture is messier, more complicated and much, much more intriguing.