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January 2008

It's always good to find substantiation of one's theories. A few years ago I produced an attempt to historicise the New Order, my 'keeping up appearances' article (in the book Indonesia Today: The Challenge of History). There I argued that the Suharto regime was not concerned with running Indonesia properly, merely giving the appearance of doing so (by maintaining the appearance of law, the appearance of economic growth, and the appearance of order, rather than actually doing anything substantial).

Now we have the situation where Suharto is all but dead, his vital organs seem to have packed up, but his doctors have announced triumphantly that the life-support machines have maintained the appearance of life. I don't particularly like Suharto, but I feel sorry for him and think that he should be allowed to die with dignity, without the horrible press crushes around his comatose body.

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