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Indonesia in Focus

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Indonesians in Focus: Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana

March 2nd, 2008 | Username By Barrie | Comments No Comments »

The late Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, who was born in Natal, North Sumatra on Feb. 11, 1908, is recognized not only as one of Indonesia’s great writers but also as a philosopher whose ideas still exert a considerable influence in Indonesia’s contemporary literary studies and the development of modern Indonesian Language.

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Indonesians in Focus: Rasinah

March 1st, 2008 | Username By Barrie | Comments No Comments »

If only Jinggan Anom and Kelana Gandrung could talk — the two wooden masks might tell the sad story of how close they almost came to being separated from their longtime owner, Rasinah, the only surviving Indramayu mask dancer maestro. After many years accompanying their master in preserving the traditional dance of West Java’s north coastal region, the two masks were recently almost sold to the highest bidder to raise money to pay for their sick master’s hospital bills.

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Indonesians in Focus: Diding Khaerudin

January 6th, 2008 | Username By Barrie | Comments No Comments »

mini-diding.jpgFarmers in Tajurhalang, Bogor, West Java, never seemed to be able to get ahead until they switched to growing decorative plants at the advice of Diding Khaerudin. “I was concerned by how hard farmers worked just to produce a few hundred thousand rupiah. Therefore, I encouraged them to grow decorative plants instead of taro, pineapples and bananas,” Diding said. Born in Bogor on Dec. 22, 1964, Diding has transformed the valley of Mount Salak into a decorative plant center. Diding, who graduated from Muslim junior high school Tsanawiyah, used to work at the PTP XI state plantation at Mount Salak, but resigned in 1996. He found work as a gardener at a golf course in Tangerang, but was more interested in farming and eventually returned to his home village.

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Indonesians in Focus: Jusuf Kalla

January 4th, 2008 | Username By Barrie | Comments 1 Comment »

Jusuf Kalla is known for being quick with a comeback and unafraid to mince words - qualities that have at times landed him in hot water. He began serving as Vice President under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in September 2004 and several months later was elected as leader of the Golkar Party - the largest party in the legislature putting him firmly in the media glare.

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Indonesians in Focus: Johan Budi Sava

January 1st, 2008 | Username By Barrie | Comments No Comments »

Where was Bung Karno born?” a bookshop attendant asked, referring to the country’s founding father, Sukarno. “Blitar, East Java,” his customer confidently replied, recalling what he had read in textbooks.He was born in Surabaya. He mentioned it in his speech at the University of Pajajaran, Bandung, in the 1960s,” said the attendant of Toga Mas bookshop in Malang, East Java.

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Indonesians in Focus: Soetadi Prawiro

December 26th, 2007 | Username By Barrie | Comments No Comments »

Described plainly in terms of his wrinkles and gray hair, Soetadi Prawiro, 75, does not sound like an activist. Yet he has always stood firm in the face of opposition to his campaign to protect the forest and beaches of Wediombo in Gunungkidul regency.

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Indonesians in Focus: Mudji Sutrisno

December 23rd, 2007 | Username By Barrie | Comments 1 Comment »

mudji-sutrisno.jpgMudji Sutrisno often speaks of the three life-changing moments in his life. Twenty five years ago, on Dec. 30, 1982, to be exact, Mudji, who was at that time a cultural activist, was ordained as a Catholic priest in Yogyakarta. The first of the three events was in 2003. Mudji had been asked to marry a couple in Wonogiri, Central Java. The couple, who were quite poor, asked whether they needed to rent special clothes for the church ceremony. “We have nothing, Father. We only have our love,” they said.

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Indonesians in Focus: M. Quraish Shihab

December 14th, 2007 | Username By Barrie | Comments 5 Comments »

Former religious affairs minister and Islamic scholar Muhammad Quraish Shihab’s decision to repeat a year of high school proved to be a defining moment in his life. Quraish graduated from Tsanawiyah senior high school in Cairo without the necessary grades to get into the School of Ushuluddin (Religious Principles) at Al-Azhar University. But, after days and nights of soul-searching, he decided to return and improve his score.

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Indonesians in Focus: Lan Fang

December 5th, 2007 | Username By Barrie | Comments No Comments »

Kalimantan novelist Lan Fang writes about love, the powerlessness of women and the ethnic friction in the country. Her short stories have been appearing in teen magazines since she herself was a teenager, but critics did not turn their attention to her work until several years ago.

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Indonesians in Focus: Untung Wiyono

December 2nd, 2007 | Username By Barrie | Comments No Comments »

“There are always risks with agricultural chemicals. They can poison you and cause poor soil fertility,” Sragen Regent Untung Wiyono has been known to say in convincing others to adopt organic farming practices. The regent, who has been promoting organic agriculture since he was elected in 2001, said fertility was restored to the land around Sragen after farmers committed to working in harmony with the environment.

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