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Who is Max Lane?

Max Lane is a writer and researcher and translator, editor and consultant with 36 years of experience in and with Indonesia, as well as with Singapore and the Philippines and with the East Timorese community in Australia.

He is an Honorary Associate in Indonesian Studies, School of Languages and Cultures, University of Sydney.

From July 1, 2008, he will be Visiting Fellow, Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore.

His most recent publications include:

UNFINISHED NATION: Indonesia before and after Suharto, VERSO Books, 2008

Bangsa Yang Belum Selesai: Indonesia sebelum dan sesudah Suharto, Reform Institute, Jakarta, 2007 to be published in Englis by VBERSO Books (May, 2007) as Unfinished nation: Indonesia before and after Suharto

Arok of Java, by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, translated and with an Introduction by Max Lane, Horizon Books, Singapore, 2007

Social Sciences and Power in Indonesia, edited by Vedi Hadiz and Danial Dhakidae, published by Equinox Books, Jakarta, Indonesia, published in 2006

A small selection of this experience includes:

Fordham University.jpg
Max Lane lecturing at Fordham University, New York

• Numerous visits to collect data for articles, attendance at seminars and conferences and networking, 1969-2006
• Backpacking throughout Indonesia as a university student in the 1960s and 70s
• Consultant to an Australian investment company based in Jakarta, 1973
• Social science tutor, Bengkel Teater drama school, Jogjakarta, 1974
• Networking and writing visits throughout 1975-80
• Development Officer staff, Australian Embassy, 1980-81 oversioghting projects in Aceh, Kalimantan, Jakarta, Sulawesi and Java.
• Founding editor and editor for several years of Inside Indonesia magazine, the longest existing popular specialist journal on Indonesian affairs.
• Collaborator with author Pramoedya Ananta Toer and publishers Hasta Mitra, 1980-2006.
• Consultant and interviewer with Australian film maker Gil Scrine for film on Indonesian cultural history
• Consultant researcher for John Pilger on his film New Rulers of the World set in Indonesia
• Commentator on Indonesian TV and in The Jakarta Post 2002-3.
• Regular contributor to Green Left Weekly newspaper
• Active in Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific (ASAP – see www.asia-pacific-action.org)


The Struggle of the Naga Tribe

Max has been translating literary and non-literary materials from Indonesian to English and vice versa since 1978. His first acclaimed published translation was that of W.S. Rendra’s 1975 drama, Kisah Perjuangan Suku Naga (The Struggle of the Naga Tribe). This translation was published jointly by St Martins Press, New York and the University of Queensland in Australia. The translation was used for English language theatrical performances in Sydney and Adelaide in Australia as well as in Malaysia and the United States. It was also used for a radio play adaptation produced and broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps and House of Glass

Max also translated the four great novels of Pramoedya Ananta Toer known as the “Buru quartet” or the “Buru tetralogy”. These have been the most successful ever publications of Indonesian literature in English translation with This is Earth of Mankind already having 13 reprints. These books have been published by William Morrow and Hyperion in the U.S. as hard covers as well as by Penguin Australia and Penguin USA as paperbacks.

Arok of Java

This year (2007) Max’s translation of Pramoedya’s Arok Dedes has been published in Singapore by a leading local publishers, Horizon Books.


Max has translated hundreds of articles and documents in the fields of politics, culture, society and economics. These have been used by various individuals, groups and publishers. Just a few of the organizations that have published or ordered translations from Max include:

• Equinox Publications, Jakarta – Indonesia
• Ford Foundation – Indonesia
• INSIDE INDONESIA magazine – Australia
• Select Publishers – Singapore
• Horizon Publications – Singapore
• Penguin Books – USA, Australia
• Hyperion Books – USA
• William Morrow – USA

The most recent major non-fiction book length translations by Max include:

Social Sciences and Power in Indonesia, edited by Vedi Hadiz and Danial Dhakidae, published by Equinox Books, Jakarta, Indonesia, published in 2006

The Chinese in Indonesia, by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, forthcoming, 2007, published by Select Publishing, Singapore.

Current book-length projects under way include:

Intellectuals and Power in the New Order State, by Hira Jamani et al, forthcoming 2006, to be published by published by Equinox Books, Jakarta, Indonesia.


Max also has long experience in research in the area of cultural and political affairs, including:

• Development projects and policies in Indonesia
• Social impact of development issues in Indonesia
• Governance and political change issues in Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor
• Foreign relations in the Asia Australia region
• Indonesian political and cultural history

This experience has been accumulated in the following capacities:

• Four years with the Australian Development Assistance Bureau (now known as AIDAB) researching as well as monitoring the management of development projects. This included 18 months as Second Secretary in the Australian Embassy with oversight of projects jointly implemented by Indonesian institutions such as the Department of Public Works, the Social Sciences Foundation of Indonesia, and the Department of Education and Culture based in areas such as Aceh, Kalimantan, West Timor as well as Java. (1978-1981)
• Senior and Principal Research Officer in the Australian Senate, in particular Principal Research Officer of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. (1984-1991)
• Australian ASEAN Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAS), Singapore (1987) and Research Associate for several follow-up periods.
• Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies (CAPSTRANS), University of Wollongong (2000-2003)
• Research Fellow, Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University (2004)
• Member, Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies (CAPSTRANS), University of Wollongong (2006)
• Department of Asian Studies, University of Sydney (2005-6)
• Working in close collaboration with community and progressive political groups in Indonesia, East Timor and the Philippines.

Other kinds of experience include:
• Consultancy on film projects based in Indonesia - e.g. John Pilger’s, New Rulers of the World, produced for British television; Gil Scrine’s Written on the Wind script development project; Jill Hickon’s Only one word: Resist, community advocacy film
• Executive Convenor, East Timor: Its Future in the Asia Pacific, International conference organized by the University of Oporto, Portugal; Institute of International Studies, University of Technology Sydney and Department of Southeast Asian Studies, University of Sydney, Sydney, 1996.
• Convenor of the 1998 Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference; member of the convening team 2002 Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference; and convenor of the 2005 Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference.

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This blog is aimed to foster serious discussion on international and asian affairs.