Saturday, March 27, 2010


On 20 March 2010, in a letter to the Financial Times, Robert Dick-Read pointed out that Indonesia has had a role in African history.

According to Dick-Read, not too long after the birth of Christ, Indonesians were visiting Africa.

The first inhabitants of Madagascar were Indonesians who arrived via the African mainland.

It is probable that the Zanj people of Zanzibar and Tanzania were Afro-Indonesians.

Indonesians may have rounded the Cape, and settled along parts of the west coast of Africa.

The evidence comes from things found in Africa which have Asian origins:

(1) plantains, yams, maize and other non-African plants.

(2) elephantiasis which had Asian origins.

(3) musical instruments such as the xylophone.

(4) crafts connected with glass-making.

(5) certain religious belief systems such as divination

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Go to Jakarta's nightclubs and you may see lots of Chinese.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Jakarta in April 2010. (China growing influence ‘good for RI’)

In mid March 2010, President Obama, again postponed his visit to Indonesia. (Obama ditches Indonesia, Australia trip over health care )

Obama lived in Indonesia, the world's 4th biggest country in terms of population, from 1967 to 1971.

But in Jakarta there was strong opposition to the statue of a 10-year-old Obama erected in a park in the middle of the city.

The statue had to be moved to a school. (Outcry forces Obama statue removal)

Indonesian model Tiara Lestari

According to Dino Patti Djalal, Indonesian President Yudhoyono's special advisor on international affairs: "America's image in Indonesia has taken a beating in the last 10 years."

According to Dino, this is related to the belief that US investors helped cause the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis that more or less bankrupted Indonesia. (US, Indonesia in a tentative embrace)

In 2008, the then health minister Siti Fadillah Supari shut down the US Naval Medical Research Unit, known as NAMRU-2.

It was suspected that this US unit had been involved in espionage. (US, Indonesia in a tentative embrace)

China has increased its trade and defence ties with Indonesia.

Indonesia's powerful Army Special Force, Kopassus, has cooperated with China. (RI vows to remain neutral amid global power shift )

Indonesia and China signed a strategic partnership during the visit of President Hu Jintao to Jakarta in 2005.

When Obama eventually comes to Jakarta, the US and Indonesia are expected to sign "a comprehensive agreement that some analysts believe could signal a strategic shift in US policy towards the region." (US, Indonesia in a tentative embrace)

Obama wants to counter China's rising influence in the region.

The US wants to control the Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

According to Evan Laksmana, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, "The US needs to ensure that our waterways don't fall into China's hands ... US operations in the Middle East still depend on control of these waterways." (US, Indonesia in a tentative embrace)

Around 80% of China's imports, including oil, pass through the Malacca Strait.

There is a suspicion that the USA is using terrorism to influence Indonesia.

Bombs hit Bali in 2002.

The USA then "gradually strengthened ties with segments of Indonesia's military and law enforcement agencies." (US, Indonesia in a tentative embrace)

In early March 2010, Hillary Clinton told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting that the US hopes to expand its military partnership with Indonesia.

China takes an interest in Indonesia's natural resources, including oil and coal.

Meanwhile, Obama has been stuck arguments over US healthcare.

Indonesia needs investment in infrastructure.

But it has "a rotten parliament and legal system". (Waiting for the man)

Will China help build better roads, hospitals, houses and schools?

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