14 October, 2011

Redefining Indonesia: we should never forget

The books exploring the facts behind G 30 S PKI. Saya Suzuki Shiraishi's Pahlawan-Pahlawan Belia (Young Heroes) is generally about how the New Order government spread their [facism] ideology through paternal representation of a 'happy family' (i.e; Si Budi & Si Wati happy family story in the elementary school introduction books during the 80's, the Family Planning [Keluarga Berencana] program, etc). Two of these books I bought few years back, the 'Memecah Pembisuan' (Breaking the Silence) I just got last week.

*PAHLAWAN-PAHLAWAN BELIA: Keluarga Indonesia Dalam Politik by Saya Suzuki Shiraishi

A very good and insightful book on Soeharto's patriarchal governance. It is so admirable that the writer is not an Indonesian but a Japanese woman. Before I laid finger on this book never cross my mind that our New Order government was able to retain their power by elementary school textbooks and image representation of the Yellow party.

The book is so good on contesting the masculinity of Soeharto's regime, perhaps because of the falling dictator military background, I've become paranoid with our current government which is lead by another military general. Reading the latest news on politics, it seems that the Blue parties are ready to do anything to hold into power. The already played very clever communication strategies on the latest presidential election. They would do the same for the second time. Having been clearly thinking ahead to set up Indonesia's next royal wedding. 2011 is all about Royal Wedding.

We haven't even truly healed and recovered. Today's school children still have the same version of G 30 S PKI written on their history textbook. The government still would not let the newest discovering facts behind G 30 S PKI being written. And I only able to say facts because truth still never revealed, and perhaps would never been, with so many versions of it have been taken to grave.

When it comes to our history we should always remember, because than we would have the chance to repeat the same mistake again. Allow me to say REPEAT, because most of us still had our eyes blinded by the truth, and by reading the news lately, the repetition might come nowhere sooner than we thought it would be...

We should never forget that once we had a 'father' who intimidated his own children. Forced them to do anything that he wanted them to do, erased their healthy diverse identity, and encouraged his household members to rape and kill one another in order for him to stay in power.

*MEMECAH PEMBISUAN (Breaking the Silence), editor: Putu Oka Sukananta

Thanks to Henrike, I'm one of a very few Indonesians that able to read this book. It's a doubtful that a book like this would ever enter bookstores like Gramedia. Like its title, Memecah Pembisuan or Breaking the Silence is a story compilation from the ex members of PKI's sub parties: Gerwani and Lekra. Unlike the history textbook during my school times told, the Gerwani and Lekra members were a God believers [read: Muslims] yet had very progressive minds for their time. September 30th, 1965 was a turning point of their life. They were arrested and put into jail only because they were members of a party which was loyal to Soekarno.
They were forced to leave their children and family (one was ended having a restrained relationship with her children because of this) for over two decades. Being forced living in jail and Buru island, trying to survive from hunger (many died from starvation) and limited resources for primary needs. And I not yet begin with mental sufferings they must through; in jails, in Buru island; from the military, from people around, from the government. For the rest of their lives.

Anger was what I got from reading Breaking the Silence. In the same time I couldn't help to think how great it would be if the book is also readable in public school libraries. Another perspective, that's what we need in learning history. Specially our own. Because then we would train to re-consider things from different point of view. Well, dream on...

*Pramoedya Ananta Toer: SAYA TERBAKAR AMARAH SENDIRIAN by Andre Vltchek & Rossie Indira

The late Pramoedya Ananta Toer was not only one of Indonesia's prominent writer; a good writer he was, he was also a great thinker, a sociologist, whose sharp and critical mind cost him jail not to mention amount of works of him being banned and burned.

The book is a written document from his interview with Andre Vltchek, an American raised in central Europe and Rossie Indra, an Indonesian journalist. The interview is divided into several categories: what's behind Sept, 30 1965, America's involvement in the downfall of Soekarno, Pramoedya's time in jail, culture and Javanism, Soeharto's regime, and the future of our nation.

Several sensitive areas --like Javanese facism that roots in Indonesia mentality and was used as a tool for the New Order regime to spread their ideoloy-- were discussed openly. The truth may not simple, and has many faces. Yet the book is brutally honest, blatantly beautiful, and [for some people[maybe]] hurtful.

07 October, 2011


There are two kinds of Indonesians living abroad: the ones who try their best to mingle with the whites, or the one who avoids to befriend the whites because: a)they don't live their life the way we do; b) they drink until they drunk and have sex, so they are wildly immoral (*sic, okay saint!) c)this is probably because they don't have God, or... because well, they must look down at us as this dirty brown skin people who do not know how to use the toilet. I call this inferiority feeling as post-colonial syndrome.
But there are also Indonesians who having succeeded abroad, when they get back they enjoy making comparison and talking small on what Indonesia is not. And this is the kind of Indonesians I don't want to be. As bad as I don't want to be prejudice and unfair to every human race in this earth, including the Arabs.
Now I am starting my life here, I want to really step with my two foots without leaving one of them behind. Hopefully I will succeed not to bring up my life there on conversations, and hopefully I will not compare the minus of Indonesia to the better version in Nederland.
For a closure, these are the photos I have managed to take in Amsterdam. The city I lived in my last months in Europe. Amsterdam is rich and alive. The city that opens itself to everything. And I mean is REALLY EVERYTHING. The address of my blog, soulless-mannequin, would really have a meaning on Amsterdam's Red Light District. Sometimes I wonder whether those silicon breast girls really know what they're making themselves were in those windows. And one of the very very good thing about Amsterdam? Supermarkets open on Sunday :).