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May 2008

Hari Kebangkitan Nasional yesterday also marked the historic passing of one of the last leaders of the Indonesian independence movement, SK Trimurti. Trimurti had been a member of the nationalist movement since 1933, and during the Revolution had been Minister of Labour (how many countries had female ministers of labour in the 1940s?!). She had been a leading figure in the labour movement and in journalism. Australian audiences may remember her for the brief interview in Curtis Levy's documentary Riding the Tiger. Amazing woman. She was 96.

By a strange coincidence yesterday also saw the death of Ali Sadikin (b.1926), Jakarta's most popular governor ever from the 1970s, and the man who pioneered the wearing of batik shirts as official uniform (I used to have one of the black and gold Ali Sadikin batik shirts, but it has long since gone to Vinnies). Probably the President who never was.


Recent talk by Laksmi Pamuntjak in Melbourne:

See images
<> of
Laksmi Pamuntjak's public lecture 'The Impossibility of History' (1 May
2008), download her notes
for the talk, or listen to the audio recording
of the event.

There's a lot on this coming week, with 100 years of Hari Kebangkitan Nasional. I'm off to Jakarta for part of the celebrations, I'll post my newspaper article on the subject letter


Answer 'probably not'. I was watching the ABC quiz show 'Einstein Factor' this afternoon. On this show they have a 'brains trust' of three regular experts, plus three contestants. One of the questions both groups were asked was 'Which country is Borobudur in?' Choices were A Cambodia, B Indonesia, C Malaysia. Not one of the six got the correct answer.

On another aspect of ignorance, the Australian Government has just advertised its latest round of scholarships for languages teachers to undertake immersion programs. Chinese teachers go to China, Arabic teachers go to Jordon, but if anyone applies for the study of Indonesian, they get to go to Darwin. Many of you may not have thought that daily conversations on the streets of Darwin are in Indonesian, but apparently the Australian Education Foundation, on behalf of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations considers this to be the case. Yes, it's our old friend the Government travel warning, which rates Indonesia as more dangerous than Israel or South Africa (I heard that Johannesburg has the highest crime rate in the world, can anyone tell me if that's true?).