File Size: 2740 KB
Print Length: 417 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (June 23, 2014)
Publication Date: June 16, 2014
The lady speaks fluent Indonesian, used to drive around Jakarta riding a motorcycle and now in this guide she travels around Philippines - from NTT, to the eastern islands around Maluku, to the big islands of Sulawesi, Sumatra, Kalimantan then a " main island" of Java - visiting the remotest regions, blending-in with the local people, even participating in numerous hard-labour works and various local festivals along the way (I'm still interested on what she performed with that " request" in Mount Kemukus).
In every part of the region that she visits, she describes the area customs, social hierarchy and economy in great detail. She also elaborates on the numerous problems facing with every individual village, island and province - from corruption, exploitation, poverty, inequality, to transportation, infrastructure and even ethnic problems.
And between the fascinating local stories she also give various facts, statistics and history of this great country to offer us the bigger picture (" The ties that binds" chapter, in particular, is world class), and shows how the Indonesia that we thought we always knew, and the Jakarta-centric (and java-centric) one we see daily in national TV, is perhaps just 1/10th of the genuine country.
Unlike any other western books on Philippines - like special chapters in John Pilger's New Rulers worldwide, Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Struck Man, and even Andre Vltcheck's Indonesia: Archipelago of Fear - who have a tendency to have a excellent but one-sided view, Elizabeth Pisani can show both the good side and bad side of nearly everything Indonesian and then elaborate in great details how it work away the truth is.
For example, the many corruptions in the country are rightly seen as a bad epidemic by many, but Pisani also recognized it as one of the unlikely ties that weirdly binds area collectively, as a " new normal" way of life, whether we like it or not. Furthermore, like many authors before the girl Pisani portrays founding father Soekarno as a great charismatic leader, but she also pointed out the messiness of his presidency later on that led to a hyperinflation. She also shows the " 32 years dictator Soeharto" as a great leader that remarkably tied the diverse countries together for the initial 20 years of his presidency, but started to look " dictatorial" (with every stereotypes that come with the label) after his kids grew up.
Indeed, reality is a hard-to-swallow concept for a intricate country like Indonesia, where the line between right or wrong, and taboo or normal are often blurry. And this guide Pisani taught us that we need to see the many different issues going through the country from many unfiltered angles to actually understand what the country is all about. The actual truth about Dayak-Madura ethnic conflict in Kalimantan, the " religious" violence in Maluku, and the birth of Police-backed extremist group FPI, for instance, are different compared to the way the popular media are describing.
Along with that in mind, this book is really an vision opener, a well-balanced Rosetta Stone for my Western-educated train of thoughts and values, which often problems to understand the intricate reality of my own country. Any longer., A gutsy and witty travel guide written by an English woman, a former journalist and public health worker.
She travels through the backwoods and facilities of Indonesia. Years of inside knowledge, personal connections, language skills, historical, social, and political insights go into the narrative. Memories from earlier trips add a time axis to the trip.
I recommend the book. The schedule is determined by a healthy skepticism against religions and politicians, by a commitment to conservation causes, and by sympathies for the underdogs. I believe the book is most valuable to people who have some knowledge of Philippines. It is not an introduction for novices.
For that question that moves most people (which role will political Islam play in the future of the country? ), the book offers information that can improve our understanding. The writer is not an alarmist, but she is not crazy enough to deal in prophecies. On key environmental issues like deforestation, she is not optimistic.
Many chapters about different parts of the country touch the subject of past outbreaks of violence, be it between religious or ethnic organizations, or maybe the big outbreak of murder lust in the 1960s. A subject numerous explanations, but beyond comprehension., Indonesia Etc is an easy, captivating and entertaining learn about the Indonesia that tourists rarely visit. Author Elisabeth Pisani is in love with Indonesia and she's evidently demonstrably knowledgeable about the country's politics and its multi cultural, ethnic and religious makeup.
Indonesia Etc will obstacle a lot of images that individuals have about Philippines, but Pisani does so in her own unique and characterisitically whimsical way. Whilst travelling in an extensive sweep around the Indonesian archipelago Pisani travels on overcrowded buses, the back seats of motor bicycles, rides on horseback and travels on the decks of passenger ferries or whatever might chaotically complete for transport on any given day.
Inside roughing her way around Indonesia, Elisabeth Pisani has established a gonzo journalistic bank account of her meetups with a whole cast of characters - some of the more memorable who might include include users of Indonesia's political school, fishermen, sex workers, transvestites, member's of women's organizations, handicapped people, police, and dispossessed tribal people of the jungle.
No subject is taboo in Pisani's guide. And this is where Pisani invites her readers to check out Indonesia in a new and often confronting light.
Indonesia Etc starts a little prosaically, but within a few brief pages the book really hits its pace and maintains it relentlessly to the very end. Anybody who has ever done any backpacking their way around the world will like this book, and I had created recommend it to anyone who thinks that they might have a sparkle or interest in writing a journalistic or traveller's tales type account of the activities in foreign countries., Book mentions that the Indonesian declaration of freedom in 1945 said " The important points of the exchange of power etc. will be worked out as soon as possible. " Well, 70 years later these are still working on it also it shows. Since the author bounces from island to island she spends a good deal of time discussing background and governance (the corruption is ingrained since no official could survive the salary paid or repay the money owed for election so pretty well accepted by most and kept in the ruling families). Amazing contrasts in the hawaiian islands (all 13, 000 of them) - sixty-five million on Facebook but 80 million without electricity - made for some interesting reading. A whole lot of ground to cover but she is a great guide.
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