In spite of the hopelessness, coupled with the impossibility of the situation where a physically defective president is in charge, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel: this nation may even become a World Supowerpower by the year 2015 give and take a couple of years, what with its assets in the thousands of billions (or trillions) U.S. dollars kept abroad by the several hundreds-year old former Javanese kingdoms in the vaults of 93 national central banks and 113 prime banks and acknowledged by no less than the IMF.
These multi-trillion dollar assets are not owned or sourced from the corrupt Soeharto government. In fact, the corruption by Soeharto’s administration in the region of some say US$150 billion is minuscule, it is “change” – a fraction of the trillions of dollars in assets that Indonesia’s people own.
The Soeharto government derived its riches from corrupting funding derived from international institutions like the World Bank, the IMF, the IGGI, CGI which chose to ignore rampant corruption. These institutions in turn derived these funds from Indonesian royals’ collateral. The Soeharto government and their “elements”, referred locally as oknum, also got their riches by providing monopolistic licenses to Soeharto’s siblings, cronies, relatives, and Soeharto’s Chinese cousins, effectively keeping out the other 215 million members of society. [See also side bar report the World Bank tolerated corruption].
Where did these international financing institutions get their collaterals and resulting funding from?
From hard, “bankable” collateral, deposited at many banks (in the U.S., England, France, Germany, among others) hundreds of years ago by former sultanate kingdoms in existence over 1,500 years ago, e.g. the Sriwidjaya Empire (7th. to 13th. centuries based in Palembang, Sumatra, and the 11th. century Majapahit Empire based in west Java which extended throughout all of south east Asia). Many of these kingdoms of over 1,000 years ago traded their spices with European and Asian (northern and southern Chinese kingdoms), Japanese, South American and some African kingdoms.
Spices during their times were as valuable as and even more valuable than gold. It was these south east Asian kingdoms, especially the 125 sultanates in what is now Indonesia, that introduced coffee, tobacco, chocolate, cocoa, and other spices over the last 2,000 years (hence the phrase a cup of Java [coffee], for example), and introduced rice in the 1600s to what is now the U.S.A. through Madagascar*. The Swiss, famous for its chocolate, do not produce this commodity incountry, likewise the Germans with their well-known German coffee and German cigarettes.
The last major economic entity was in cooperation with what was known as The Netherlands East Indies, a Dutch based economic empire after the years 1550 occupying what is now Indonesian territory which existed prior to the establishment of the Indonesian Republic in 1945.
Later during modern times these assets were held by various foreign finance institutions and central banks, and re-distributed and used by world multilateral finance institutions for the benefit of the people of which the collateral owners owners are part of.
Ownership of these assets have not changed; they still belong to citizens of what is now called Indonesia handed down through the generations; but the institutions that now hold them have changed in name and became more sohphisticated in their function.
The Jewish international financial community, known for its dominance of U.S. and European finance circles assisted in providing the contacts for these finances – hence, president Abdurrahman Wahid’s desire to establish diplomatic relations with the Jewish nation, Israel, against the wishes of the majority of its Islam dominated people.
Indonesia’s trillions is not in the public domain and is privately owned, much like one’s US$ 10,000 deposit at some bank. It is not open to anyone asking for information about it. Ask information from any local bank about a neighbour’s deposits. Not only will one not get it (how much money he has in his bank account), but the banker may not even admit that your neighbour has an account. And that’s only $10,000.
What does Indonesia have ... now
Indonesia has its vast sprawling territory. While some ignorant U.S. and Australian media writing say it is not legitimate because it was a former Dutch economic entity (Netherlands East Indies), Indonesia is “as illegitimate” as Australia was when the colony of murderers and petty thieves was given legitimacy as a nation when the British handed them the keys to their jail cells. Indonesians can say it got its legitimacy as a nation by fighting and dying for it, just as Americans did against their British masters – in a dignified way. But one can’t say that for Australians who were, figuratively speaking, simply let out of their jail cells.
Whatever Indonesia’s historical background, it is nevertheless an existing country – and a big one at that. Its very rich natural resources, and its 75% youthful population exposed to international and domestic satellite television and the good things in life enjoyed in other parts of the world, will motivate them to make this nation a better place to live and enjoy life in.
Indonesia is B I G ... 10-11 Hours to cross by a Jumbo jetliner
Visualize Indonesia as a territory spanning London in England, across western and eastern Europe, all the way to Iran in the Middle East. It is therefore a big country by any standards.
People looking at the Indonesian map do not realize how big the country is because national borders are represented on land areas and not delineated on oceans. In many world maps it is represented by less than half a dozen little specks like an after thought. While the latest satellite maps show its territory covers an area over 5,600 kilometers wide, and has some 17,508 islands as claimed by the new Ministry for Marine Exploitation & Fishery. Not 6,000, not 10,000 and not 13,000 islands as quoted by the international news media.
It takes some 7 hours from Jakarta by commercial jet to fly to its most eastward border in West Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya) on top of Australia. It takes some 2 hours to fly westward from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, halfway the island of Sumatra. Or nearly 4 hours to the west from Jakarta to the town of Sabang, the western most part of Sumatra and western end of Indonesian territory, totaling a continuous flight of 10 hours, or 11 hours with a stopover in Jakarta. Tens of thousands of national and international travelers will confirm this, including Boeing 747 pilots who overfly nonstop the Indonesian territory.
10-11 hours? There are not too many countries that need so many hours to cross with a Boeing or Airbus, and this includes the U.S. continental territory which needs only 5½ hours to cross!
Diversity of its nation - some 75% under the age of 30
The nation’s 215 million people are made up of some 582 different ethnic groups and as many languages. For example, the west Javanese (Sundanese) in the western part of the island of Java speak a completely different language than the central Javanese, as different as Welsh and English, and completely incomprehensible to the typical central Javanese. Yet, they are next-door neighbours with homes next to each other separated by no space between each other.
The cenral Javanese in Solo and Yogjakarta in turn have 7 different levels of the Javanese language, that is, the lowest level spoken by intimate friends, by teenagers and in the markets, to the highest levels the language of the kings. These Javanese languages in turn are so completely different, that when a person is not schooled in the Kings Javanese, the lower Javanese speaker will not understand the King’s language. Its people’s hues range from light-skinned to black African-type ethnic groups, and from Middle-Eastern to Chinese characteristics.
75% of this 215 million, or some 161 million people, are under the age of 30 years (published 1997 statistics, Bureau of Statistics). This makes the country a young nation, open to the good things in life, and open to new ideas. Its youthful attitude is reflected in the nation’s media publications mostly filled and written by young people for young people. The leading international magazines for fashion, health, etc. have their local versions. The over 2,000 licensed entertainment spots, excluding restaurants, in Jakarta alone, and the youth-oriented programming of the present 7 nationwide TV stations re-transmitted by the domestic satellite systems (there are 4 systems) are filled by youths. 5 more nationwide stations will appear by the year 2001. [See the article on Indonesia’s “Yummies” on the left side bar below]
Its capital city, the Greater Jakarta area is some 1,000 square kilometers (386 sq. miles) divided into central, north, east, west and south Jakarta. This excludes its satellite towns like Bogor, for example, where its urban areas are uniting with the town of Bogor some 50 kilometers away.
It is as modern as any of the world’s metropolitans with its internal circling toll roads on concrete stilts which need some 60 minutes to travel at 100/120 km/hr. (62-75 mph) from one point to return to the same point, and the half built outer ring road which will touch its satellite towns. It has malls as many as and as large as any of the world’s capitals, and probably larger as some of them provide several kilometers in shopping space. Its abandoned real estate construction (left during the 1998-2000 economic crises) is restarting, and new real estate areas with their shopping malls are being added in some new satellite towns, built from scratch that were previously rice fields and banana groves – economic crisis or not. It is reportedly (by the United Nations) one of the 5 largest cities of the world after Mexico city’s population of 35 million people.
Jakarta grows from 11-12 million at night to 18-20 million during the day (1997-98 published Jakarta City Government statistics), the size of many countries. Its commuters come in from up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) away from the 4 directions of the compass clogging Jakarta’s internal toll roads and toll roads leading outwards from Jakarta. Jakarta sometimes has traffic jams until 10 p.m. at night, some due to bad road planning, but also due to many more people who used to own motorcycles now own cars.
The heartbreaking events that are taking place in east Timor, west Papua, Aceh and Maluku to the typical Jakartan is something like a Londoner hearing news about conflicts in Yugoslavia – it is far away.
Riots that may take place in those areas are akin to riots taking place in Los Angeles for those folks who live in Washington D.C. Except that to the Jakartan and the Washingtonian they are in the same country.
Putting it in another way: international tourists intending to visit the U.S.A. and Washington D.C. will not cancel their visit because there are riots in L.A. a few thousand miles away. This is no different for visitors in Jakarta or Den Pasar in Bali referring to riots in Banda Aceh in Aceh which is at least 4 hours flight away by Airbus commercial jetliner.
Tourists arriving in Indonesia when asked about “riots and upheavals in Indonesia” commented on TV, “What riots? We haven't seen any. If there were, we’d just stay out of it.” ... the typical reaction of most people when there are riots or demonstrations in their own country ... the typical reaction of a New Yorker when he hears of riots in Los Angeles.
How about the alleged anti-American sentiments demonstrated in Solo (central Java) by a group of people? Which happened only once, not repeated over and over in other areas. Bob Harrison, a 35 year old American tourist from Manhattan, N.Y. commented, “I don’t believe Indonesians dislike Americans. I see our culture all over the place, MacDs (Macdonald), Kentuckies (fried chicken), American pop in radio and TV, name it, it’s all over the place even in little towns. Besides“, he added, “it's like saying blacks in America are attacked because Americans are against blacks, something I do not believe in, like I do not believe Indonesians dislike Americans.”
Indonesia is big. Big in everything it does because the population is big and its national boundaries are vast. Indonesia is not Holland, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, or Singapore. When there is trouble in those areas, it will affect everybody.
This does not mean to say Indonesia is better. It is simply not comparable like comparing a cherry and a water melon. Just as Singapore, for example, is like a 4 storey hotel cannot be compared to a 215 storey hotel (Indonesia) which is far more difficult to run, wipe off corruption, dirt and injustices in that massive 215 storey entity. Singaporeans who say, “Why can’t Indonesians straighten out their country?” are using a typical city-nation mindset, and obviously are not aware what they are talking about. Singaporeans never say “Why can’t China be like Singapore?” because they know China is big and massive. They think Indonesia is the same as Singapore, not realizing that they are talking about a massive entity. Jakarta’s 12 to 18 million population is 300% to 500% bigger than Singapore’s 4 million, never mind the rest of the country.
In short, Indonesia as it is today, what it has today in spite of the corruption, upheavals, and all the things that has disturbed many people in Indonesia and internationally, is not poor, is not a basket case, and it certainly cannot be boycotted like Iraq, Libya and other countries boycotted internationally because it is too big. And because the industrialized countries are using Indonesian privately-owned assets to support their industrial and monetary credibility. Web pages on this site will explain why.
U.S. Ambassador Robert Gelbard, the first foreign envoy to meet new president Abdurrahman Wahid, nicknamed Gus Dur, on Fri. Oct. 22nd. said "Indonesia has become the third largest democratic country in the world, (after India & the U.S.) with President Abdurrahman Wahid as the symbol of democracy." He said the U.S. wished to help the country's economic recovery.
International nations do not monopolize decency
International nations do not monopolize decency and readers should bear in mind that Indonesian youths and hundreds of people died and tens are still missing all over the country, and all for the cause of this decency.
It is unlike that as portrayed in international TV coverage claiming “Indonesia kills ...” (implying that all 215 million people are killers) as versus “Indonesia’s military elements kill...” (meaning specific elements of the nation are killers) which is more accurate and which the whole nation is against.
Indonesians – and that means the Sundanese, the Javanese, the Bataks, the Balinese, the Menadonese, the Papuans, the [west] Timorese, the Bugis and hundreds of other ethnic groups – because there is no such thing as “an Indonesian”, the word Indonesian being a geo-political creation – never killed that many people; not in the hundreds of thousands, and certainly not in the millions.
This generalization is as utterly ridiculous as saying “Americans kill ... ” simply because hundreds of thousands of American soldiers killed 2.3 millions Vietnamese. American soldiers did the killing and, as extensively covered in their news reports, the common American citizens – who like Indonesians are also made up of different ethnic groups – were dead set against all these killings in Vietnam.
The situation in Indonesia is no different. Indonesians – and they were a small minority in charge – had their reasons, be they “right” or “wrong”; and the Americans – the small minority who were in charge – had theirs, be they “right” or “wrong”.
The nation only became aware the U.S. Special Forces trained Indonesian Special Forces to become efficient killers
Indonesia’s security forces wanted to maintain the status quo which they enjoyed for the past 32 years under former army general Soeharto, injured 34 others in Palembang, Sumatra. Prior to this another student death occurred on Sept. 24th., 1999, while the security forces injured many hundreds more.
Many youths and ordinary people died in different parts of the country before and after Soeharto stepped down, all for the cause of decency.
In 1998, four students in the Trisakti University campus in Jakarta died when military snipers from an overhead toll bridge 500 meters (1640 feet) away killed them with specially made military sniper rifles using metal piercing bullets, both provided by the U.S. Special Forces (only the U.S. special forces use this type of bullets, according to a forensic news report aired on TV, radio and the printed media). This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back that overthrew then incumbent president Soeharto in May 1998.
It was also the first time the nation was aware that the U.S. Special Forces trained the Indonesian armed services from military court testimonies given by court martialed soldiers, statements by army commanders aired on TV, radio and the printed media, and eventually several U.S. government military sources, interviews on international satellite TV by U.S. defence journalists, including Defence Secretary William Cohen, who could not deny U.S. role in the training of Indonesia’s Special Forces and “consultancy” in the east Timor conflict. In other words U.S. Special Forces, even though in civillian clothes, were in east Timor advising Indonesian forces on how to become efficient villager killers, gleaned from the Vietnam experience.
Nations which criticize Indonesia are themselves guilty of atrocities they accuse Indonesia of ... and on a much larger scale
These violations of common human decency invoked protests throughout the country, and blaming en masse the whole Indonesian nation of 215 million by some circles in the international community is ridiculous and biased, considering most of these criticisms came from international communities known for killing millions of people. [See left sidebar, Australian Foreign Minister “deaths in the hundreds”, not thousands].
These realities are not, however, covered in 90% of international news and TV broadcasts. Nor do these broadcaster even try to imply that the Indonesian commoner of which there are 215 million people in reality object to these atrocities.
It is like harping time and time again, over international TV and printed media, the Americans killed over 2 million civillians in Vietnam, the Germans killed 6 million, but completely leaving out another facet – and important part – of the story that the American nation was against it, and years later the German nation apologized for these atrocities. After awhile these stories becomes very tiresome, just as it becomes very tiresome and irritating for Indonesians. It is also irritating when some Indonesians on local TV admit when in some foreign countries they deny they are Indonesians, but instead hide as either Vietnamese, Japanese or some other nationality because of the negative publicity of its people on international media.
Why then do some international news media exaggerate, click here.
The lesser known and less reputable media prefer instead to tug at the heartstrings of their viewers by showing the pain of 3,000 refugees in Darwin, Australia. But completely ignoring until the 21st. of September, 1999, that more than 230,000 refugees in Indonesia’s west Timor are also devastated – more than 77 times the number in Darwin who are plagued by weapons toting militias which the refugees in Darwin do not face.
In other words, Americans who have killed so many people (some 2.3 million people, according to a July 1999 televised documentaries in New York); the Germans who killed 6 million jews which the whole world already knows about; and the English who killed tens of thousands in China that ended up with the English “renting” the Hong Kong and Macao territories, are in no position to lecture Indonesians about atrocities. It is not pleasant or nice to hear these facts, be those Indonesians with atrocities in Aceh, Maluku and Papua; or the Americans with their black history in Vietnam, and the Germans with their barbaric history towards the Jews. But they are, nevertheless, facts whatever mindset and actions that caused these unpleasant facts.
An Old Nation
The Indonesian nation is an “old nation”, that is, the majority of its people, or some 150 million out of 215 million people, are comprised of the Javanese. The Javanese race came from the Java Man one of the world’s oldest mankind, older than the modern home Sapiens. Modern day Javanese are mixed with southern Chinese.
The Javanese culture is made up of its own Kejaven, and later on mixed with Hindu and the Islam influence. Its Kejaven culture is old, pre-dating before the time of Christ and is older than European cultures and its influence shows through.
Modern day Indonesia is the world’s largest Moslem country when the 9 Islam scholars, known as Wali Songo brought the Islam religion to what is now Indonesia in the 1100th. century. It is a secular state and not an Islamic state or a state which applies the Islamic Law like in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Libya and Brunei Darussalam.
Javanese and other cultural groups seeded what is now Suriname in south America, Madagascar in east Africa, Hawaii, and other islands in the Pacific. The Javanese kingdoms also dominated what was previously the 125 kingdoms in the territory of what is now modern Indonesia: Balinese, Sulawesi, Acehnese, Borneo, and other kingdoms which is now no longer Indonesia, which include what is now Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
While present day nations may find some objections to this claim, for example the different languages of Thailand is different than the Javanese and therefore there is no relationship is a criteria that cannot be used, to the unitiated the old central Javanese writing is similar to present day Thai writing.
Also, the fact remains that many royal families of what is now different countries, particularly in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, still pay their respects to their ancestors in Java, especially in central Java. What is now “different countries” was a development influenced by western political and economic actions in the last several hundred years.
Gentle and Accommodating People
Indonesians, particularly the Javanese, are accommodating, and fear offending another person. This trait is alike in all south east Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia and other south east Asian nations.
Because of this, many Javanese will never say “no” in their daily affairs when s/he is pressed for an answer. But will instead smile, or say belum (not yet). Again, because it goes against their nature and grain to offend.
The notion of murdering other Indonesians? While a very small percentage may do so as demonstrated in troubled spots, but in general it does not click somehow with the people’s inherent nature.
What percentage? The army and police have been accused of committing atrocities. Figures-wise, the total armed service personnel is about 450,00. Out of this only 300,000 are actual weapons carrying soldiers, from the non commissioned to the 4-star generals. Out of this 300,000 persons, it is estimated that some 5% are involved in atrocities against its own people, some because of direct command, and some very likely because of frustrations faced in the field. 15,000 wellarmed soldiers out of a population of some 215 million is a minuscule 0.007%, less than 1 percent carrying modern weapons, many of them trained by the U.S. Special Forces how to kill innocent people in east Timor and other areas, can create chaos. This is what the poor gentle of Indonesia have to face today that their “nation of 215 million kill people”.
The low profile Javanese
Dominant in the Javanese culture is the low profile of its people. Australia which is 1/11th. and nearly the same size as Jakarta, and Singapore 1/70th. the size, are better known because Indonesians do not trumpet their achievements and are very bad in self promotion and selfcapability – a Javanese low profile trait.
Prior to the 1997 economic Asian crisis Indonesia was (or still is) the world's largest producer of liquid natural gas (it’s not in the Middle East), the largest urea fertilizer producer, the largest plywood producer, and owns the world’s largest gold mine (it’s not in South Africa) and world’s largest in 3 other industrial products. And second world’s largest producer in other commodities. P.T. Freeport, a subsidiary of an American company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) is the world's lowest-cost copper producer and the world's largest producers of copper and gold, ships 30,000 metric tons of gold and copper ore every day for the past 28 years. One can imagine the hundreds of billions of dollars it has made over the years. FCX's operations are conducted through its subsidiaries, P.T. Freeport Indonesia (PT-FI), P.T. IRJA Eastern Minerals Corporation (Eastern Mining) and through Atlantic Copper, S.A. (Atlantic).
98% of all its vehicles until 1999 used on roads throughout the country, including in east Timor, are locally produced and assembled. They are buses, trucks, motor cycles small and large, including Harley Davidsons and BMWs 1200 cc motorbikes – and passenger cars from the small 2-door CLK supercharged sports, A series, C passenger & station wagons, 2-door & 4-door E, to large luxurious Mercedes Benz S-320 series; BMWs 3 through 7-series; station wagon & passenger Volvos, Willys, Chevrolet Blazers and all the Japanese trademarks, including the 1999 introduction of 2 new previously unknown local trademarks right in the middle of the Indonesian economic crises.
Indonesia does not import built-up vehicles, until March 2000, because of the 350-400% duties unlike Singapore and Hong Kong. There are more automotive and transportation assemblers in Indonesia than the other south east Asian countries.
Indonesia built the east Timor infrastructure
Whenever Indonesia is in the news, it is negative news – riots, demonstrations, human rights violations, people being killed, TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia) armed forces shooting innocent people, the things that make news. In east Timor there were news about the destruction of the infrastructure.
Many foreign based writers used figures of speech to convey a negative impression, e.g. “shame on Indonesia”, and the “Indonesian killers” a very negative implication as if a whole nation of 215 million people are killers, versus the “Indonesian nation”, a neutral impression.
After reading these news, one has the impression that Indonesians wantonly destroyed east Timor, and that it “owes the international community” for this destruction.
It was not the whole nation; nor the typical politically-unaware villagers in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan or Bali – who probably do not know where east Timor is in the first place – who destroyed east Timor’s infrastructure; nor the Indonesian government which invested personnel, money and effort, although many of the TNI troops in Dili provided arms to the militias.
If Dilli and other towns were dark and foreboding as a battlefield, it was not always a battlefield, but shops, restaurants and other things that makes a town a town.
Such writers neglect to mention a very important fact: that the existing US$ 2.9 billion infrastructure that was destroyed, was built by Indonesians in the first place as a part of Indonesia. They were not built by the U.N., or the Australians, or Portuguese, or those countries who complain but have not spent a single cent. [See also left sidebar on refugees resentment and blame towards the U.N. for Timorese bloodshed].
Indonesians built the government offices, the government and private TV and radio stations, the government PLN (state electrical) power facilities, the Departemen Pekerjaan Umum (DPU) public works department which invested and provided road building equipment and materials, the half a dozen state-owned and dozens of private banks and hundreds of businesses, shopping areas, and terrestrial, satellite and GSM telecommunication systems that were destroyed.
The U.N., the Australians who led the peace keeping mission – and sadly in spite of their self rightous posturing – no other country can, or is willing to take over, or spend the money, or replace what Indonesia had already done in east Timor. And this is the unfortunate fact.
Fortunately, there were international communities and international media which were aware and even foresaw that blame for this wanton destruction was attributable to the Nobel Peace award, as the Washington Post predicted.
Those who destroyed the infrastructure were many, very unhappy people who were mostly east timorese militias, youths under the age of 30 who grew up with color television and handphones who took these things for granted – which Indonesia provided, and the over 30 who can compare what Indonesia did for their society. They can see for themselves that Indonesia did a lot more than their former Portuguese colonizers.