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Indonesia 2017



In West Sumatra, a bride with her maids awaits the groom for their wedding procession through town. Dancers from the bride’s family, balancing white bowls on their heads, will lead the couple in. These bowls are filled with food for a great feast in the longhouse of the groom’s family. Minangkabau custom blends Islamic law with earlier traditions or adat. After the wedding, the husband will live in his wife’s house, and their property will pass to their daughters. Because of this, some men today marry outside of the community.
– Charles Eilers ©2013 | PCV Nigeria and Ethiopia 1966–1969 | Teaching Training

Republik Indonesia
Southeastern Asia

Area 1.9M km²

Population 256M (135/km²)

Gov’t Republic

Capital Jakarta (10.3M)

GCP/capita $11,300

Unemployment 6%

In poverty 11%

Life expectancy 73 yrs

Infant Mortality 24/K live births


Literacy 94%

Languages Bahasa Indonesian, English, Dutch, local Javanese dialects

Religions Muslim 87%, Christian 7%, Catholic 3%, Hindu 2%, other 1%

Labor Force Agriculture 39%, industry 13%, services 48%

PCVs 1963–1965, 2010–present CURRENT: 119, Education; TTD: 310

Adult Books

This Earth of Mankind, Buru Quartet Book 1
Pramoedya Ananta Toer, tr Max Lane, 1980

Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (May 1, 1996)
Series: Buru Quartet (Book 1)
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0140256350
ISBN-13: 978-0140256352

The Buru Quartet is a literary tetralogy written by Indonesian Pramoedya Ananta Toer and composed of the novels This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps, and House of Glass, and published between 1980 and 1988.

Pramoedya a writer of staggering depth and power and is also one of his country's most suppressed dissidents. All his work is banned in his native Indonesia; students have been sentenced to eight years in prison on charges stemming from an arrest for selling his books.

This Earth of Mankind, the first book in the quartet was composed orally on Buru Island during the first half of the author's fourteen-year imprisonment without trial. Writing or reading anything but religious texts was strictly forbidden. Pramoedya would tell each installment to the people with whom he shared his imprisonment.

Summary: This Earth of Mankind is set at the end of the Dutch colonial rule and was written while Pramoedya was imprisoned on the political island prison of Buru in eastern Indonesia. The story was first narrated verbally to Pramoedya's fellow prisoners in 1973 because he did not get permission to write. The story spread through all the inmates until 1975 when Pramoedya was finally granted permission to write the detailed story.

Kids' Books

Gecko’s Complaint: a Balinese folktale
Ann Martin Bowler, illus. Gusti Made Sukanada, 2003, AGES 5–8

Publisher: Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd (2009 ed.)
Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
ISBN-10: 0794604846
ISBN-13: 978-0794604844

Summary: The endless flashing of fireflies disturbs a well-fed gecko's sleep. Gecko complains to the lion Raden, who is the king of the jungle, sending him on a tour of his domain. But each new animal's complaint leads Raden to yet another irritable animal, and it is only when he speaks to the Rain that Raden finally finds an answer for himself and all his subjects.

GoogleBooks: Filled with delightful characters and vivid illustrations, 'Gecko’s Complaint' is a story about those who are all too ready to see the faults of others while turning a blind eye to their own shortcomings. The story begins when a well-fed gecko complains to the royal lion Raden about being kept awake by fireflies. The king of the jungle sets out on a tour of his domain. Every animal he encounters seems to have a complaint about one of his neighbors. Only after speaking to the Rain does Raden find a solution to the problems. Children’s book writer Ann Martin Bowler’s retelling of a classic Balinese folktale is accompanied by the work of veteran illustrator, I Gusti Made Sukanada.

AMAZON: Featured as a "Top Pick" on, Gecko's Complaint tells the story of a Gecko who once lived on the island we now call Bali, in a jungle dense with flowers and vines.

After hundreds of fireflies disturb Gecko's sleep, he complains to kindly Raden, the jungle's lion leader. In his efforts to get to the bottom of Gecko's troubles, Raden discovers all too much complaining and far too many irritable animals. Can Raden help the animals with their troubles? Can peace and happiness return to the jungles of Bali?

A simple yet absolutely delightful Balinese folktale for kids, this bilingual edition, which features both English and Indonesian text, is a perfect introduction to the true spirit of Bali. The Indonesian island of Bali has a strong art and storytelling tradition—folktales that have been passed down from generation to generation. As a nation with over 18,000 islands, Indonesia has hundreds of traditional languages and cultures, each with myths and legends to tell. With its backdrop of volcanoes, earthquakes, dense jungles, diverse wildlife and people, it is not surprising that Indonesia is rich with fabulous, imaginative tales.

"Bowler retells this folktale in simple, yet skillful prose. Sukanada's acrylic paint, pen, and ink illustrations show leafy landscapes saturated with color, and have depth and beauty." —School Library Journal

"An enjoyable read enhanced by soft, full-color artwork…" —Midwest Book Review

"Gecko's Complaint is a sparkling retelling of a classic Balinese folktale." —Bali Advisor

"Lovingly illustrated by Gusti Made Sukanada, this book shows a side of Bali that is not often seen." —Singapore Straits Times


Film: Denias, Singing on the Cloud (Denias, Senandung Di Atas Awan)
Director: John de Rantau , 2006
Languages: Indonesian, Papuan Malay
Summary: A movie based on a true story about a boy in a remote village in the island of Papua, whose learning spirit is so strong he's willing to take a long, rough journey to go to a school. Denias is from Aroanop, a small village at Jayawijaya Mountain in western Papua Island. A poor villager in Papua, Denias's dream is to get a better education by going to school. He travels for days crossing fields, mountains and rivers to get to a school in the nearest city, but when he gets there, he faces discrimination due to his lowly status as a peasant. Regardless of the hardships he faces, Denias never gives up, and with the help of two friends, he finds the strength to persevere.

“… a fantastic film with some wonderful acting and absolutely breathtaking views of West Papua in Indonesia. … tremendous insight given in to the inhabitants of this remote region. We see the education system in this neck of the woods and the opportunities or lack of opportunities. It really puts Indonesia on the map; generally news coming out of such an amazing country tends to be rather negative. Great actors and some brilliant scenes full of emotion.”

Received the 2007 Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Children's Feature Film.

Selected as the official Indonesian entry to the 2008 80th Academy Awards, in the Best Foreign Language Film category.


Tembang sunda

Tembang sunda, also called seni mamaos cianjuran, is a style of classical vocal music that originated in the Sunda Kingdom of highland west Java. Unlike Sudanese gamelan music, tembang sunda was developed in the court of the regent Kabupaten Cianjur during the Dutch colonial period (mid-nineteenth century).

The traditional vocal portion is sung free verse poetry, the instrumental accompaniment being performed on kacapi (zither), suling (bamboo flute) and sometimes, rebab (violin). A more modern, and metrical, form of lyrics exists that is called panambih.

Kacapi suling is played to ornament the vocals, and also at interludes between songs at a typical Tembang Sunda performance. The higher pitched kacapi rincik, the lower pitched kacapi indung and the suling flute are the instruments used for kacapi suling. Kacapi suling has instrumental pieces performed in two different scales; the first four in laras pelog convey a light mood, the last four in laras sorog are more slow and grave. The change to laras sorog usually takes place at midnight and lasts till sunrise.

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