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Indonesia - SOCIETY

Indonesia - Population


There was widespread agreement within the Indonesian government and among foreign advisers that one of the most pressing problems facing the nation in the early 1990s was overpopulation. While Indonesia still had high fertility rates, there were significant reductions in these levels in the 1980s. The overall population annual growth rate was reduced to an estimated 2.0 percent by 1990, down from 2.2 in the 1975-80 period. The crude birth rate declined from 48.8 births per 1,000 in 1968 to 29 per 1,000 in 1990. Although the widely publicized goal of 22 per 1,000 by 1991 was not achieved, the results were impressive for a country the size of Indonesia. The effect of the programs of the National Family Planning Coordinating Agency (BKKBN; for this and other acronyms, see table A) was particularly dramatic in Java, Bali, and in urban areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan, despite cutbacks in funding. The success of the program in these areas seemed to be directly linked to the improved education of women, their increasing tendency to postpone marriage, and, most important, to a growing awareness and effective use of modern contraceptives.

The reason behind Indonesia's overall decline in fertility rates was a matter of debate in 1992, because it was not clear that economic conditions had improved for most Indonesians during the 1970s and 1980s (the middle class did experience some improvement). Indeed, although the number of poor decreased in the 1970s and 1980s, landlessness, malnutrition, and social and economic inequality may have increased for many of the rural poor. However, some observers argued that, despite the lack of social and economic improvements among Indonesia's poor, easy availability of birth control procedures, mass education, and more mobile family structures may be sufficient to explain this impressive change.

Even though Indonesia's growth rate had decreased over the decades since independence, the population continued to grow and population density increased significantly, particularly on the main islands. In July 1992, Indonesia's population had reached 195,683,531, with an annual growth rate of 1.7 percent, according to United States estimates. The Indonesians themselves claimed 179,322,000 in their 1990 census and various foreign estimates for 1992 ranged between 183 million and 184 million, with a 1.7 percent growth rate. Population growth placed enormous pressures on land, the education system, and other social resources, and was closely linked to the dramatic rise in population mobility and urbanization. At such rates of growth, the population was expected to double by 2025. Even if birth control programs in place in the early 1990s succeeded beyond expectations and each Indonesian woman had only two children, Indonesia's population was still so young that huge numbers of women would reach their child-bearing years in the first decades of the twentyfirst century. This tremendous ballooning of the younger population groups virtually ensured that overpopulation would continue to be a major source of concern well into the next century. By the year 2000, Indonesia's population was projected to reach at least 210 million, with the country maintaining its position as the fourth most populous nation on earth.

Although Indonesia's demographic situation was cause for great concern, it had much in common with other Third World nations. Indeed, in some respects Indonesia was slightly better off than other developing countries in the early 1990s because it had initiated some of the world's most ambitious programs to control its population problem. The key features of these initiatives were the national birth control program and the massive Transmigration Program, in which some 730,000 families were relocated to underpopulated areas of the country.

The population problem was most dramatic among the rice-growing peasants of Java and Bali and in cities--particularly Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, and Medan. In 1980 the islands of Java, Madura, and Bali, which comprised 6.9 percent of the nation's land area, were home to 63.6 percent of Indonesia's population. These major islands had a population density of more than 500 persons per square kilometer, five times that of the most densely populated Outer Islands.

The inability of these islands to support ever larger populations on ever smaller plots of land was apparent in 1992, particularly to the farmers themselves. Although the intensification of padi agriculture had for decades permitted the absorption of this rising labor force, the rural poor from Java, Bali, and Madura were leaving their native areas to seek more land and opportunity elsewhere. Attempts at significant land reform, which might have improved the peasants' lot, were stalled--if not abandoned--in many areas of Java because of riots and massacres following the alleged communist coup attempt of 1965. Reformers were cautious about raising the issue of land redistribution for fear of being branded communists.


Updated population figures for Indonesia.


Indonesia - Urbanization


One of the most significant trends in Indonesian society in the 1970s and 1980s was urbanization. Although cities in Indonesia were not a new phenomenon, from 1971 to 1990 the percentage of the population living in urban areas rose from 17 percent to nearly 31 percent nationally. Surveys showed that the movement toward urban areas, particularly to West Java, and to southeastern Sulawesi, Kalimantan, and other islands, stemmed not from the innate lure of the cities but from the lack of employment in the countryside. Migrants seemed to view the pollution, crime, anonymity, and grinding poverty of the city as short-term discomforts that would eventually give way to a better life. For high-school and college graduates with no prospects for employment in the rural areas, this may in fact have been a correct assumption. But for those migrants without capital or qualifications, the main hope for employment was in the so-called "informal sector": street vending, scavenging, and short-term day labor. Many migrants also cultivated tiny but nutritionally important gardens.

Most urban growth was in cities of more than 1 million in size. Jakarta's population--11.5 million in 1990--was projected to rise to 16.9 million by 2000, which would make it the eleventh largest city in the world. Although the capital enjoyed a disproportionate amount of the nation's resources--with 30 percent of all telephones in the country, 25 percent of all cars, and 30 percent of all physicians--anthropologist P.D. Milone observed in the mid-1960s that "Jakarta has never been a true 'primate' city in terms of being the only center for economic, political, administrative, higher education, and technical functions" in the way that, for example, Bangkok has been for Thailand. Surabaya has always been a major import-export center and a major naval station, and Bandung has been a center for transportation, higher education, and industry. Nonetheless, in terms of population growth and as a symbol of the centralization of power in the nation, Jakarta has steadily grown in importance.



Indonesia - Migration


Although Indonesians--particularly Javanese--are sometimes stereotyped as highly immobile, rarely venturing out beyond the confines of their village environment, this image may be due to a lack of clear data and an extraordinarily complex pattern of movement in the population. By the early 1990s, outmigration had become as common a response to overcrowded conditions caused by rising population as resigned acceptance of impoverishment. Central Javanese, in particular, were leaving their home region in record numbers. The number of all Javanese leaving the island permanently was growing: there was a 73 percent increase in outmigration from 1971 to 1980. Some 6 percent of the population of the other islands was Javanese by 1980. Whereas most Indonesians who moved from one region to another did so on their own, some migration was organized by the government-sponsored Transmigration Program. From 1969 to 1989, some 730,000 families were relocated by this program from the overpopulated islands of Java, Bali, and Madura to less populated islands. Nearly half of these migrants went to Sumatra, particularly its southern provinces. Smaller numbers went to Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, and Irian Jaya. The overall impact on population problems in Java and Bali was limited, however, and there were increasing problems in finding suitable land on the other islands. Land disputes with indigenous inhabitants, deforestation, and problems of agricultural productivity and social infrastructure presented continuing difficulties for this program.

During this period, Indonesians were also engaging in what demographers call "circular migration" and other kinds of commuting in greater numbers than ever before. This trend was linked in part to the exponential increase in the number of motor vehicles, from 3 per 1,000 in the 1960s to 26.2 per 1,000 in 1980 to 46.3 per 1,000 in 1990. With the widespread availability of public bus transportation among cities and villages, many workers commuted fifty kilometers or more daily to work. Other workers lived away from their homes for several days at a time in order to work. The World Bank estimated that 25 percent of rural households had at least one family member working for part of the year in an urban area.

Although the implications of this migration on the social and economic conditions of the nation remained unclear, without question Indonesians of different ethnic backgrounds and occupations increasingly intermingled. They also found themselves in circumstances where they could not rely on kin and village networks for social support, and so looked to government services for help. Two important areas in which government services provided support were education and health care.





The experiences of population mobility in the archipelago underscore the continuing importance of social stratification in Indonesia. In 1992 the definition and function of social classes in Indonesia, however, was a matter of considerable controversy. Scholars and policy analysts debated the degree to which social classes could be defined in ethnic, economic, religious, or political terms. Although few would dispute that Indonesia was a highly stratified society, it was nonetheless difficult to identify an "upper class." Hereditary ruling classes and traditional elites- -reinforced by their positions in the Dutch colonial bureaucracy-- no longer possessed unchallenged access to political power and wealth. Indeed, they could not even claim to be an elite culture in the late twentieth century. The powerful generals (mostly Javanese) and capitalists (mostly ethnic Chinese capitalists--cukong) of the postindependence period were newcomers to their positions, and, apart from extravagant conspicuous consumption, they demonstrated few clear institutional and cultural patterns that suggested they were a unitary group in the early 1990s.

Defining a lower class in Indonesia is equally difficult. Even before the banning of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in 1965, Indonesia's poor formed alliances that had less to do with class than with economics, religion, and community ties. In some cases, the poor peasantry identified across class lines with orthodox Muslim (santri) landowners on the basis of their common religious affiliation. This alliance was particularly evident in lowland East Java. In other cases, small landowners united against both the Islamic right wing and Chinese entrepreneurs. There also were divisions between the indigenous, or long-settled peoples (pribumi) and later Chinese and Arab immigrants. The oil boom of the 1970s effected society and income distribution in ways that benefited the landed peasantry and the urban middle class. However, no independent social groups based on lower class affiliations emerged as a major political force. Although income disparities remained a major cause of concern, the number of poor Indonesians decreased in the 1970s and 1980s.

Between the nation's poor and privileged classes lay a complex mosaic of middle class groups. Although the very existence of a bourgeoisie in any traditional sense was questioned by some, others, like economist Howard W. Dick, argued that there was a middle class united not by any political vision, economic interests, ethnic identification, or even income levels, but by patterns of consumption. This group liked to buy television sets, motorcycles, newspapers, and video cassettes. What set this middle class apart in 1992 was not how much its members consumed, but how they did it. "Among the rakyat [lower class]," reported Dick, "consumer durables are shared: it is antisocial to restrict the access of one's neighbors. Middle class households, by contrast, confine the enjoyment of such goods to members of the household. Fences are raised, doors locked and windows barred." In this view, the middle class of the early 1990s defined itself in relation to lower (not upper) classes, and did so by the way it consumed goods. The role of Islam, women, and regional ethnic identifications in this developing national culture, however, was very poorly understood.


Indonesia - RELIGION


Religion in Indonesia was a complex and volatile issue in the early 1990s, one not easily analyzed in terms of social class, region, or ethnic group. Although Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions influenced many aspects of life, the government generally discouraged religious groups from playing a political role. The state guaranteed tolerance for certain religions (agama) regarded as monotheistic by the government, including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but only as long as these creeds remained outside of politics.



Indonesia - Islam


Islam was the dominant religion by far in Indonesia, with the greatest number of religious adherents: around 143 million people or 86.9 percent of the population in 1985, which when adjusted for 1992 estimates represents between 160 million and 170 million adherents. This high percentage of Muslims made Indonesia the largest Islamic country in the world in the early 1990s. Within the nation, most provinces and islands had majority populations of Islamic adherents (ranging from just above 50 percent in Kalimantan Barat and Maluku provinces to as much as 97.8 percent in the Special Region of Aceh).

According to orthodox practice, Islam is a strictly monotheistic religion in which God (Allah or Tuhan) is a pervasive, if somewhat distant, figure. The Prophet Muhammad is not deified, but is regarded as a human who was selected by God to spread the word to others through the Quran, Islam's holiest book, the revealed word of God. Islam is a religion based on high moral principles, and an important part of being a Muslim is commitment to these principles. Islamic law (sharia; in Indonesian, syariah) is based on the Quran; the sunna, Islamic tradition, which includes the hadith (hadis in Indonesian), the actions and sayings of Muhammad; ijma, the consensus of a local group of Islamic jurisprudents and, sometimes, the whole Muslim community; and qiyas or reasoning through analogy. Islam is universalist, and, in theory, there are no national, racial, or ethnic criteria for conversion. The major branches of Islam are those adhered to by the Sunni and Shia Muslims.

To a significant degree, the striking variations in the practice and interpretation of Islam--in a much less austere form than that practiced in the Middle East--in various parts of Indonesia reflect its complex history. Introduced piecemeal by various traders and wandering mystics from India, Islam first gained a foothold between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries in coastal regions of Sumatra, northern Java, and Kalimantan. Islam probably came to these regions in the form of mystical Sufi tradition. Sufism easily gained local acceptance and became synthesized with local customs. The introduction of Islam to the islands was not always peaceful, however. As Islamized port towns undermined the waning power of the East Javanese HinduBuddhist Majapahit kingdom in the sixteenth century, Javanese elites fled to Bali, where over 2.5 million people kept their own version of Hinduism alive. Unlike coastal Sumatra, where Islam was adopted by elites and masses alike, partly as a way to counter the economic and political power of the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, in the interior of Java the elites only gradually accepted Islam, and then only as a formal legal and religious context for Javanese spiritual culture.

These historical processes gave rise to enduring tensions between orthodox Muslims and more syncretistic, locally based religion--tensions that were still visible in the early 1990s. On Java, for instance, this tension was expressed in a contrast between santri and abangan, an indigenous blend of native and Hindu-Buddhist beliefs with Islamic practices sometimes also called Javanism, kejawen, agama Jawa, or kebatinan. The terms and precise nature of this opposition were still in dispute in the early 1990s, but on Java santri not only referred to a person who was consciously and exclusively Muslim, santri also described persons who had removed themselves from the secular world to concentrate on devotional activities in Islamic schools called pesantren--literally the place of the santri.

In contrast to the Mecca-oriented philosophy of most santri, there was the current of kebatinan, which is an amalgam of animism, Hindu-Buddhist, and Islamic--especially Sufi--beliefs. This loosely organized current of thought and practice, was legitimized in the 1945 constitution and, in 1973, when it was recognized as one of the agama, President Suharto counted himself as one of its adherents. Kebatinan is generally characterized as mystical, and some varieties were concerned with spiritual self-control. Although there were many varieties circulating in 1992, kebatinan often implies pantheistic worship because it encourages sacrifices and devotions to local and ancestral spirits. These spirits are believed to inhabit natural objects, human beings, artifacts, and grave sites of important wali (Muslim saints). Illness and other misfortunes are traced to such spirits, and if sacrifices or pilgrimages fail to placate angry deities, the advice of a dukun or healer is sought. Kebatinan, while it connotes a turning away from the militant universalism of orthodox Islam, moves toward a more internalized universalism. In this way, kebatinan moves toward eliminating the distinction between the universal and the local, the communal and the individual.

Another important tension dividing Indonesian Muslims was the conflict between traditionalism and modernism. The nature of these differences was complex, confusing, and a matter of considerable debate in the early 1990s, but traditionalists generally rejected the modernists' interest in absorbing educational and organizational principles from the West. Specifically, traditionalists were suspicious of modernists' support of the urban madrasa, a reformist school that included the teaching of secular topics. The modernists' goal of taking Islam out of the pesantren and carrying it to the people was opposed by the traditionalists because it threatened to undermine the authority of the kyai (religious leaders). Traditionalists also sought, unsuccessfully, to add a clause to the first tenet of the Pancasila state ideology requiring that, in effect, all Muslims adhere to the sharia. On the other hand, modernists accused traditionalists of escapist unrealism in the face of change; some even hinted that santri harbored greater loyalty towards the ummah (congregation of believers) of Islam than to the secular Indonesian state.

Despite these differences, the traditionalist Nahdlatul Ulama (literally, Revival of the Religious Scholars, also known as the Muslim Scholars' League), the progressive Consultative Council of Indonesian Muslims (Masyumi), and two other parties were forcibly streamlined into a single Islamic political party in 1973--the Unity Development Party (PPP). Such cleavages may have weakened Islam as an organized political entity, as demonstrated by the withdrawal of the Nahdlatul Ulama from active political competition, but as a popular religious force Islam showed signs of good health and a capacity to frame national debates in the 1990s.


Indonesia - Christianity


Although Christianity--Roman Catholicism and Protestantism--was the most rapidly growing religion in Indonesia in the 1980s, its numbers were small compared to Islam (9 percent of the population compared to 86.9 percent Muslim in 1985). Christianity had a long history in the islands, with Portuguese Jesuits and Dominicans operating in the Malukus, southern Sulawesi, and Timor in the sixteenth century. When the Dutch defeated Portugal in 1605, however, Catholic missionaries were expelled and the Calvinist Dutch Reformed Church was virtually the only Christian influence in the region for 300 years. Whereas the United East Indies Company (VOC) was primarily a secular and not a religious enterprise, and because Calvinism was a strict, austere, and intellectually uncompromising variety of Christianity that demanded a thorough understanding of what, for Indonesians, were foreign scriptures, Christianity advanced little in Indonesia until the nineteenth century. Only a few small communities endured in Java, Maluku, northern Sulawesi, and Nusa Tenggara (primarily Roti and Timor). After the dissolution of the VOC in 1799, and the adoption of a more comprehensive view of their mission in the archipelago, the Dutch permitted proselytizing in the territory. This evangelical freedom was put to use by the more tolerant German Lutherans, who began work among the Batak of Sumatra in 1861, and by the Dutch Rhenish Mission in central Kalimantan and central Sulawesi. In addition, Jesuits established successful missions, schools, and hospitals throughout the islands of Flores, Timor, and Alor.

The twentieth century witnessed the influx of many new Protestant missionary groups, as well as the continued growth of Catholicism and of large regional and reformed Lutheran churches. Following the 1965 coup attempt, all nonreligious persons were labelled atheists and hence were vulnerable to accusations of harboring communist sympathies. At that time, Christian churches of all varieties experienced explosive growth in membership, particularly among those people who felt uncomfortable with the political aspirations of Islamic parties.

In the 1990s, the majority of Christians in Indonesia were Protestants of one affiliation or another, with particularly large concentrations found in Sumatra Utara, Irian Jaya, Maluku, Kalimantan Tengah, Sulawesi Tengah, and Sulawesi Utara. Catholic congregations grew less rapidly in the 1980s, in part because of the church's heavy reliance on European personnel. These Europeans experienced increasing restrictions on their missionary activities imposed by the Muslim-dominated Department of Religious Affairs. Large concentrations of Roman Catholics were located in Kalimantan Barat, Irian Jaya, Nusa Tenggara Timur, and Timor Timur provinces.


Indonesia - Hinduism


Hinduism is an amalgam of related traditions and cults that seeks to explain cosmology in primarily deistic terms. The religion has countless gods but no exclusive creed. One of Hinduism's primary ethical concerns is the concept of ritual purity. Another important distinguishing feature, which helps maintain the ritual purity, is the division of society into the traditional occupational groups, or varna (literally, color) of Hinduism: Brahmans (priests, brahmana in Indonesian), Kshatriya (ruler-warriors, satriya in Indonesian), Vaishya (merchants-farmers, waisya in Indonesian), and Shudra (commoners-servants, sudra in Indonesian).

Like Islam and Buddhism, Hinduism was greatly modified when adapted to Indonesian society. The caste system, although present in form, was never rigidly applied. The Hindu religious epics, the Mahabharata (Great Battle of the Descendants of Bharata) and the Ramayana (The Travels of Rama), became enduring traditions among Indonesian believers, expressed in shadow puppet (wayang) and dance performances.

Hinduism in Indonesia is primarily associated with Bali. Hindu believers in the early 1990s were relatively few outside of Bali, where they made up more than 93 percent of the population. Others were scattered throughout the other twenty-six provincial-level units. Among these non-Bali communities were groups labeled as Hindu by the government--for example, the adherents of the Kaharingan religion in Kalimantan Tengah, where government statistics counted Hindus as 15.8 percent of the population. Nationally, Hindus represented only around 2 percent of the populaiton in the early 1990s.

It is difficult to describe the Balinese version of Hinduism in the same doctrinal terms as Islam and Christianity, since this unique form of religious expression is deeply interwoven with art and ritual, and is less closely preoccupied with scripture, law, and belief. Balinese Hinduism lacks the traditional Hindu emphasis on cycles of rebirth and reincarnation, but instead is concerned with a myriad of local and ancestral spirits. As with kebatinan, these deities are thought to be capable of harm. Balinese place great emphasis on dramatic and aesthetically satisfying acts of ritual propitiation of these spirits at temple sites scattered throughout villages and in the countryside. Each of these temples has a more or less fixed membership; every Balinese belongs to a temple by virtue of descent, residence, or some mystical revelation of affiliation. Some temples are associated with the family house compound, others are associated with rice fields, and still others with key geographic sites. Ritualized states of self-control (or lack thereof) are a notable feature of religious expression among the people, famous for their graceful and decorous behavior. One key ceremony at a village temple, for instance, features a special performance of a dance-drama (a battle between the mythical characters Rangda the witch and Barong the dragon), in which performers fall into a trance and attempt to stab themselves with sharp knives.

Rituals of the life cycle are also important occasions for religious expression and artistic display. Ceremonies at puberty, marriage, and, most notably, cremation at death provide opportunities for Balinese to communicate their ideas about community, status, and the afterlife. (The tourist industry has not only supported spectacular cremation ceremonies among Balinese of modest means, but also has created a greater demand for them.)

Balinese religion is hierarchically organized, with one small segment of the aristocracy--the Brahman, or priestly, class--being the most prestigious. A Brahman priest is not affiliated with any temple but acts as a spiritual leader and adviser to individual families in various villages scattered over the island. These priests are consulted when ceremonies requiring holy water are conducted. On other occasions, folk healers or curers may be hired.


Indonesia - Buddhism


Indonesian Buddhism in the early 1990s was the unstable product of complex accommodations among religious ideology, Chinese ethnic identification, and political policy. Traditionally, Chinese Daoism (or Taoism), Confucianism, (agama Konghucu in Indonesian) and Buddhism, as well as the more nativist Buddhist Perbuddhi, all had adherents in the ethnic Chinese community. Following the attempted coup of 1965, any hint of deviation from the monotheistic tenets of the Pancasila was regarded as treason, and the founder of Perbuddhi, Bhikku Ashin Jinarakkhita, proposed that there was a single supreme deity, Sang Hyang Adi Buddha. He sought confirmation for this uniquely Indonesian version of Buddhism in ancient Javanese texts, and even the shape of the Buddhist temple complex at Borobudur in Jawa Tengah Province. In the years following the 1965 abortive coup, when all citizens were required to register with a specific religious denomination or be suspected of communist sympathies, the number of Buddhists swelled; some ninety new monasteries were built. In 1987 there were seven schools of Buddhism affiliated with the Perwalian Umat Buddha Indonesia (Walubi): Theravada, Buddhayana, Mahayana, Tridharma, Kasogatan, Maitreya, and Nichiren. According to a 1987 estimate, there were roughly 2.5 million followers of Buddhism, with 1 million of these affiliated with Theravada Buddhism and roughly 0.5 million belonging to the Buddhayana sect founded by Jinarakkhita. Other estimates placed Buddhists at around only 1 percent of the population, or less than 2 million. Buddhism was gaining in numbers because of the uncertain status of Confucianism. Confucianism was officially tolerated by the government, but since it was regarded as a system of ethical relations rather than a religion per se, it was not represented in the Department of Religious Affairs.

Although various sects approach Buddhist doctrine in different ways, a central feature of the religion is acknowledgment of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths involve the recognition that all existence is full of suffering; the origin of suffering is the craving for worldly objects; suffering ceases when craving ceases; and the Eightfold Path leads to enlightenment. The Eightfold Path invokes perfect views, resolve, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.

Buddhism originally was an intellectual creed, and only marginally concerned with the supernatural. However, political necessity, and the personal emotional desire to be shielded from the terrors of the world by a powerful deity, have led to modifications. In many ways, Buddhism is highly individualistic, with each man and woman held responsible for his or her own self. Anyone can meditate alone; no temple is required, and no clergy is needed to act as intermediary. The community provides pagodas and temples to inspire the proper frame of mind to assist the worshippers in their devotion and self-awareness.




Living Environments

The government of Indonesia saw itself in the early 1990s as having a responsibility to advance a national culture, a project that was linked to requirements of national development and political integration. Government mandates aside, however, as more and more of the Indonesian population sought employment in large, poorly integrated cities consisting of diverse ethnic groups, the concept of a national culture had great appeal as a way of regulating these changing urban environments. Although the central government attempted to guide the formation of this culture through education curricula, national holiday celebrations, and careful control of the national media (popular art, television, and print media), this emerging culture came about only partly through central planning. Evidence of an Indonesian national culture also appeared in the far less controlled layout and social organization of cities; routines of social interaction using the official national language, Bahasa Indonesia; patterns of eating and preparing food; the viewing of team sports, such as soccer, badminton, and volleyball; motion pictures; and material displays of wealth.

In most cities, the heart of the urban culture was a commercial sector surrounding a central square. Although the Dutch left a legacy of a basic civil architecture and street plans for many cities in Java and a few in Sumatra and Bali, most cities failed to experience a level of improved urban design and services commensurate with their tremendous population growth. As a result, many cities had a rural character, with very simple sanitation, housing, and transportation facilities. Jakarta, Surabaya, and Medan were among the few cities that had modern-looking business districts; in smaller cities, the typical commercial building was still the small, tin-roofed Chinese store with removable wooden doors opening out onto the street.

Indonesian cities in the late twentieth century were internally segmented in complex, overlapping ways that differentiated ethnic groups, income levels, and professional specializations. There were some neighborhoods that tended to house well-to-do business owners, foreign diplomats, and high-level government officials, whereas other areas tended to be home to migrant communities from the rural areas. However, the boundaries between one area and another were often far from clear. For example, although many well-to-do and mid-level civil servants and white collar workers were often presented in motion pictures and television as more closely identified with the national culture than with any ethnic group, affiliations actually cut across class lines in complex and shifting ways. Indeed, many recent migrants retained strong ties to their ethnic homelands, viewing their stay in the cities as temporary.


Indonesia - Language


The major languages of Indonesia are Austronesian. Austronesian is a family of agglutinative languages spoken in the area bounded by Madagascar in the western Indian Ocean and Easter Island in the eastern Pacific Ocean. There is a considerable diversity in the languages used in Indonesia. No less than 669 languages--the vast majority are Austronesian, the rest are Papuan and found in parts of Timor, Irian Jaya, and Halmahera--have been accounted for.

Based on very rough estimates that cannot be adequately validated, the primary languages spoken by 1 million or more people included Javanese (70 million), Sundanese (25 million), Malay (10 million), Madurese (9 million), Minangkabau (7.5 million), Bahasa Indonesia (or Indonesian, 6.7 million; see Glossary), Balinese (3 million), Buginese (2.5 million), Acehnese (2.2 million), Toba Batak (2 million), Banjarese (1.8 million), Makassarese (1.5 million), Sasak (1.5 million), Lampung (1.5 million), Dairi Batak (1.2 million), and Rejang (1 million). Additionally, some 2 million inhabitants also spoke one of several dialects of Chinese.

Perhaps the central feature of the Indonesian national culture in the late twentieth century was the Indonesian language. Malay was used for centuries as a lingua franca in many parts of the archipelago. The term Bahasa Indonesia, which refers to a modified form of Malay, was coined by Indonesian nationalists in 1928 and became a symbol of national unity during the struggle for independence. Bahasa Indonesia was spoken in more than 90 percent of households in Jakarta, but outside the capital only 10 to 15 percent of the population spoke the language at home. In Javanese areas, only 1 to 5 percent of the people spoke Bahasa Indonesia in the home. Nationwide, however, some 6.7 million Indonesians used Bahasa Indonesia as a primary language while more than 100 million others used it as a secondary language. In the early 1990s, it was primarily the language of government bureaucracy, schools, national print and electronic media, and interethnic communication. In many provinces, it was the language of communication between Chinese shopkeepers and their non-Chinese patrons.

Although Bahasa Indonesia is infused with highly distinctive accents in some regions (particularly in Maluku, parts of Nusa Tenggara, and in Jakarta), there are many similarities in patterns of use across the archipelago. One widespread feature concerns the variations in speech use depending on the rank or status of the speaking partner. This feature is not as complex as that found in the elaborately hierarchical Javanese language, but it is nonetheless important. Respected elders are typically addressed in kinship terms--bapak (father or elder) or ibu (mother). The use of second person pronouns in direct address is generally avoided in favor of more indirect references unless speaker and listeners are on intimate terms. There is also a subtle grading of terms employed when offering things to someone and when issuing directives. Different ways of saying "please [do something]" for instance, vary in formality. When speaking Indonesian, it is sometimes awkward to make direct negations of factual states, such as "I have no children" (saya tidak punya anak); it is preferable to treat certain events as being in process and therefore to say "not yet." In casual contexts, however, such as when speaking to cab drivers, street peddlers, and close friends, formal textbook Indonesian often gives way to the more ironic, sly, and earthy urban dialects.


Indonesia - Food, Clothing, and Popular Culture


Many foods could be found in nearly every corner of the archipelago in the 1990s. Rice is a national staple, even in areas such as eastern Indonesia, where the main source of most starch was likely to be corn (known as maize in Indonesia), cassava, taro, or sago. On ceremonial occasions--modern weddings, funerals, or state functions--foods such as sate (small pieces of meat roasted on a skewer), krupuk (fried shrimp- or fish-flavored chips made with rice flour), and highly spiced curries of chicken and goat were commonly served. In public events, these foods were often placed on a table, served at room temperature, and guests served themselves buffet style. Rice was placed in the center of the plate, with meats or other condiments around the edges. Food was eaten--usually quite rapidly and without speaking--with the fingertips or with a spoon and fork. Water was generally drunk only after the meal, when men (rarely women) smoked their distinctive clove-scented kretek cigarettes.

On many formal national occasions, men in the early 1990s wore batik shirts with no tie and outside the trousers. A hat was usually a black felt cap or peci, once associated with Muslims or Malays but having acquired a more secular, national meaning in the postindependence period. Indonesian men generally wore sarongs only in the home or on informal occasions. Women, on the other hand, wore sarongs on formal occasions, along with the kebaya, a tight, low-cut, long-sleeved blouse. On these occasions, women often tied their hair into a bun, or attached a false hairpiece. In addition, they might have carried a selendang, a long stretch of cloth draped over the shoulder, which on less formal occasions was used to carry babies or objects.

Urban Indonesian night life in the early 1990s centered around night markets, shopping in Chinese toko (stores), food stalls called warung, and the Indonesian cinema. American anthropologist Karl Heider described Indonesian motion pictures as violent, rarely sexy, and often Indian and Western in inspiration. Although they were an important part of Indonesian national culture in the early 1990s, films did not necessarily mirror accurately the facts of Indonesian life. According to Heider, most (85.1 percent) Indonesian-made films were set in cities--even though the population was largely rural--and most films employed Bahasa Indonesia even though most viewers were Javanese. There was rarely mention of religion or ethnicity, even though most of the population had a religious affiliation. The social class depicted was almost always (92 percent) middle class, despite the fact that Indonesia's middle class was relatively small. Heider observed that Westerners were unambiguously presented as modern, as having no tradition whatsoever, and Western women were presented as having no constraints on their sexuality. The audiences for films consisted almost entirely of teenagers and young adults, and were more male than female.

Adults seemed to prefer television over cinema, and the number of television sets in Indonesian households rose dramatically in the 1980s. Nearly every corner of the archipelago had television relay stations permitting reception of one or more channels of tightly controlled government programs. These programs generally featured education, entertainment, and some unsubtitled foreign serials such as "Kojak" and "Dynasty". In addition, some advertisements of consumer items appeared on television. National and international news was highly popular, even in remote areas, and contained many descriptions of government development programs. Nearly all of the programming in the early 1990s was in Bahasa Indonesia, although some local arts programs were conducted in regional languages. The most popular televised programs were sports events, such as soccer, boxing, and volleyball.


Indonesia - Tradition and Multiethnicity


In the early 1990s, Indonesia's society was divided into numerous ethnic groups and minorities. The largest group were the Javanese at 45 percent of the total population. Sundanese made up 14 percent, followed by Madurese, 7.5 percent, and coastal Malays, 7.5 percent. As a sign of its diverse population, fully 26 percent of the population in 1992 consisted of numerous small ethnic groups or minorities. The extent of this diversity is unknown, however, since Indonesian censuses do not collect data on ethnicity.

As this increasingly mobile, multiethnic nation moved into its fifth decade of independence, Indonesians were made aware--through education, television, cinema, print media, and national parks--of the diversity of their own society. When Indonesians talk about their cultural differences with one another, one of the first words they use is adat (custom or tradition). This term adat is roughly translated as "custom" or "tradition," but its meaning has undergone a number of transformations in Indonesia. In some circumstances, for instance, adat has a kind of legal status--certain adat laws (hukum adat) are recognized by the government as legitimate. These ancestral customs may pertain to a wide range of activities: agricultural production, religious practices, marriage arrangements, legal practices, political succession, or artistic expressions.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of Indonesians are Muslim, they maintain very different social identifications. For example, when Javanese try to explain the behavior of a Sundanese or a Balinese counterpart, they might say "because it is his adat." Differences in the ways ethnic groups practice Islam are often ascribed to adat. Each group may have slightly different patterns of observing religious holidays, attending the mosque, expressing respect, or burying the dead.

Although adat in the sense of "custom" is often viewed as one of the deepest--even sacred--sources of consensus within an ethnic group, the word itself is actually of foreign derivation-- originally from the Arabic. Through centuries of contact with outsiders, Indonesians have a long history of contrasting themselves and their traditions with those of others, and their notions of who they are as a people have been shaped in integral ways by these encounters. On the more isolated islands in eastern Indonesia, for instance, one finds ethnic groups that have no word for adat because they have had very little contact with outsiders.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the notion of adat came to take on a national significance in touristic settings such as Balinese artistic performances and in museum displays. Taman Mini, a kind of ethnographic theme park located on the outskirts of Jakarta, seeks to display and interpret the cultural variation of Indonesia. From its groundbreaking in 1971 and continuing after its completion in 1975, the park was surrounded in controversy, not least because its construction displaced hundreds of villagers whose land was seized in order to finish the job. Nonetheless, a 100-hectare park was landscaped to look like the archipelago of Indonesia in miniature when viewed from an overhead tramway. There was a house for each province to represent the vernacular architecture of the region. Distinctive local hand weapons, textiles, and books explaining the customs of the region were sold. The powerful message of the park was that adat is contained in objective, material culture, that it is aesthetically pleasing and indeed marketable, but that it is more or less distinct from everyday social life. Furthermore, the exhibits conveyed the impression that ethnicity is a relatively simple aesthetic matter of regional and spatial variations rather than a matter of deep emotional or political attachments. However, the park provided visitors with a vivid and attractive (if not always convincing) model for how the Indonesian national motto-- Unity in Diversity (Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, a Javanese motto dating to the fifteenth century Kingdom of Majapahit)--might be understood.

When Indonesians talk about their society in inclusive terms, they are more likely to use a word like budaya (culture) than adat. One speaks of kebudayaan Indonesia, the "culture of Indonesia," as something grand, and refers to traditions of refinement and high civilization. The Hinduized dances, music, and literature of Java and Bali and the great monuments associated with their religion are often described as examples of "culture" or "civilization" but not "custom." However, as the following descriptions show, the wide variety of sources of local identification underscore the diversity rather than the unity of the Indonesian population.

<>Peoples of Sumatra
<>Ethnic Minorities


Indonesia - Javanese


There were approximately 70 million Javanese in the early 1990s, the majority of whom lived in East Java and Central Java and the rest of whom lived on Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and other islands. Altogether, some 100 million people lived on Java. Although many Javanese expressed pride at the grand achievements of the illustrious courts of Surakarta and Yogyakarta and admired the traditional arts, most Javanese tended to identify not with that elite tradition, or even with a lineage or a clan, but with their own villages. These villages, or kampung, were typically situated on the edge of rice fields, surrounding a mosque, or strung out along a road.

Most Javanese villages in the early 1990s were differentiated into smaller units known as either rukun kampung (village mutual assistance association) or rukun tetangga (neighborhood association). Rukun is an important Javanese word describing both "state of being and a mode of action.... a state in which all parties are at least overtly at social peace with one another," according to anthropologist Robert Jay "a process of sharing through collective action." Anthropologist Patrick Guinness, in 1989, wrote that the neighborhood was the "largest social grouping whose members participate in household rituals, gather for rituals, organize working bees, whose youth band together for sports teams and organizations, who conduct arisan (rotating credit associations) and who hold certain property such as funeral equipment." In rural areas, these groups also sometimes collaborated on harvesting their rice. The rukun associations were rooted in the ideal associations of the family. Many of these local communities had organized security arrangements, called ronda malam (night watch), in ways that reflected the special concerns of their community. Neighbors watched closely for any suspicious activity and participated vigorously in the apprehension of thieves, even exacting immediate justice on their own. The heads of these organizations were considered elected or appointed officials of the government.

The differences in social class in the early 1990s were less elaborate and pronounced in Javanese rural villages than in urban areas, in part because rural people shared the basic patterns of making a living by growing rice. In villages where land was more evenly divided, some form of mutual labor exchange was common; in villages where there were large numbers of landless peasants, however, there also were clear patron-like relationships with landowners, who themselves rarely owned more than two hectares. In urban centers and the sultans' courts, the distinctions among a refined, traditional elite, an intermediate-level bourgeoisie sharing patterns of consumption, and a more collectivist peasantry were more apparent.

In both the village and the urban neighborhood, leaders were usually male. Although some leaders were political appointees-- appointed by the military or other powerful groups--these leaders were theoretically elected by popular consensus. This consensus system proceeded--ideally--through a discussion of different points of view, after which a senior-level participant made a final decision.

Within the Javanese family, kinship ties are traditionally reckoned through both the mother and father equally. Upon marriage, the nuclear family of mother, father, and children is more or less independent. Formal obligations between kin groups are not much greater than in the West, but the high divorce rate (over 50 percent in some areas) in the early 1990s made the shifting of responsibility for children--particularly among the mother's kin-- quite likely. There are no clans, or lineages, or other kin-based social groupings that on some other islands form the basis of corporate entities like a family business. Sons tend to treat their fathers with great formality and deference. Although the mother is the focus of the family in many respects--she handles the finances- -she is often depicted as suffering the most when the family experiences any loss. She is usually the one who disciplines the children, while the father is mostly occupied outside the home.

From the Javanese standpoint, childhood is viewed as a series of shocks. Although the youngest children are much indulged, major transitions can be sharp and radical. The process of weaning, for instance, is a rapid one in which the mother simply leaves the child with a relative and then returns to it a few days later. Overall, however, a baby's general contentment, its resistance to disease and misfortune, are viewed as dependent on being protected from any form of emotional upset. Babies are constantly held, and nursed on demand; babies must not be disappointed. Once they are weaned, they are released into the care of an older sibling who indulges and protects the child.

As the child gets older, he becomes more and more capable of withstanding the shocks and stresses of life, in part because he or she has become more aware of the rules defining interaction. The rules of etiquette help a child learn self-control. For example, children must learn to address their fathers respectfully, using refined speech. Failure to comply properly with the rules will result in a sharp reprimand. Learning the proper degree of shame for Javanese, according to anthropologist Ward Keeler, is a matter of becoming aware of one's vulnerability in interaction. Children learn that dealing with others in a face-to-face encounter always poses a threat to one's sense of self.

Many of the rules of etiquette center on the proper use of language, which is more problematic in Javanese than in most other languages. When addressing someone, Javanese speakers must choose from several different levels of politeness. These "speech levels" comprise words that have the same meaning, but are stylistically different. For instance, among the Javanese variations of the word "now," saiki is the least refined, while saniki is a little fancier, and samenika is the most elegant. Javanese has many such triads--so many that people cannot speak for long in Javanese without having to make a choice, at which point they must decide whether the situation is formal or informal and what the relations among the participants are.

In general, a person uses the highest level to speak to high- status people in formal situations and the lowest levels to speak to people of lower rank or with whom one is most intimate. Although children learn to speak the lowest level first, they gradually are socialized to speak to some of their more distant kin and respected strangers in higher-level forms of Javanese. This formality is particularly common in cities where there are marked distinctions in status. Sometimes, children who go away to college or who live overseas refuse to write letters home to their elders in Javanese because of their fear of making a glaring error. Often they use Bahasa Indonesia because they are no longer sure of the social situation at home. Although Bahasa Indonesian is a neutral medium, it is regarded as a foreign idiom among Javanese.

Although one might expect that women would use the highest levels more than men, this is only true within the domestic environment--and primarily as a way of humbling themselves among their relatives. Men use more polite features in public than do women. Moreover, in the public sphere, the use of Javanese politeness levels is not so much associated with humility as it is with efforts to raise oneself above another. Men are more likely to see the use of these politeness levels as a strategy for negotiating status.

There is diversity within Javanese religious practices. Although most Javanese are Muslims, the wide variations in Islamic beliefs and practices are associated with complex factors such as regional history and social class. In Jawa Tengah Province, for instance, the ultrarefined Javanese aristocracy has a strong aesthetic, even mystical element, to its spirituality. Religiosity is expressed through plays employing wayang kulit (flat leather shadow puppets), gamelan (Javanese orchestra) performances, dances, and other arts of the courtly tradition. Santri--many of them merchant-farmers in East Java--hold more tightly to the moralistic tone of Islam and express the fundamental universalism of its teachings. They may make a pilgrimage (hajj; haj in Indonesian) to Mecca, teach their children the Quran, and work for the social, spiritual, and even political advancement of the ummah.

Most Javanese peasants, however, particularly those in Central Java, resist the universalism of Islam and its political connotations. They favor a more moderate blend of Islamic practice with an indigenous Javanism, expressed in household feasts, pilgrimages to local temples and shrines, and belief in local spirits. For many Javanese peasants, the spiritual world is richly populated with deities who inhabit people, things, and places, and who are ever ready to cause misfortune. Believers seek to protect themselves against these harmful spirits by making offerings, enlisting the aid of a dukun (healer), or through spiritual acts of self-control and right thinking.


Indonesia - Sundanese


Although there are many social, economic, and political similarities between the Javanese and Sundanese, differences abound. The Sundanese live principally in West Java, but their language is not intelligible to the Javanese. The more than 21 million Sundanese in 1992 had stronger ties to Islam than the Javanese, in terms of pesantren enrollment and religious affiliation. Although the Sundanese language, like Javanese, possesses elaborate speech levels, these forms of respect are infused with Islamic values, such as the traditional notion of hormat (respect--knowing and fulfilling one's proper position in society). Children are taught that the task of behaving with proper hormat is also a religious struggle--the triumph of akal (reason) over nafsu (desire). These dilemmas are spelled out in the pesantren, where children learn to memorize the Quran in Arabic. Through copious memorization and practice in correct pronunciation, children learn that reasonable behavior means verbal conformity with authority and subjective interpretation is a sign of inappropriate individualism.

Although Sundanese religious practices share some of the HinduBuddhist beliefs of their Javanese neighbors--for example, the animistic beliefs in spirits and the emphasis on right thinking and self-control as a way of controlling those spirits--Sundanese courtly traditions differ from those of the Javanese. The Sundanese language possesses an elaborate and sophisticated literature preserved in Indic scripts and in puppet dramas. These dramas use distinctive wooden dolls (wayang golek, as contrasted with the wayang kulit of the Javanese and Balinese), but Sundanese courts have aligned themselves more closely to universalistic tenets of Islam than have the elite classes of Central Java.

As anthropologist Jessica Glicken observed, Islam is a particularly visible and audible presence in the life of the Sundanese. She reported that "[t]he calls to the five daily prayers, broadcast over loudspeakers from each of the many mosques in the city [Bandung], punctuate each day. On Friday at noon, sarong-clad men and boys fill the streets on their way to the mosques to join the midday prayer known as the Juma'atan which provides the visible definition of the religious community (ummah) in the Sundanese community." She also emphasized the militant pride with which Islam is viewed in Sundanese areas. "As I traveled around the province in 1981, people would point with pride to areas of particular heavy military activity during the Darul Islam period."

It is not surprising that the Sunda region was an important site for the Muslim separatist Darul Islam rebellion that began in the 1948 and continued until 1962. The underlying causes of this rebellion have been a source of controversy, however. Political scientist Karl D. Jackson, trying to determine why men did or did not participate in the rebellion, argued that religious convictions were less of a factor than individual life histories. Men participated in the rebellion if they had personal allegiance to a religious or village leader who persuaded them to do so.

Although Sundanese and Javanese possess similar family structures, economic patterns, and political systems, they feel some rivalry toward one another. As interregional migration increased in the 1980s and 1990s, the tendency to stereotype one another's adat in highly contrastive terms intensified, even as actual economic and social behavior were becoming increasingly interdependent.


Indonesia - Balinese


There is probably no group in Indonesia more aware of its own ethnic identity than the nearly 2.5 million Balinese. Inhabitants of the islands of Bali and Lombok and the western half of Sumbawa, Balinese are often portrayed as a graceful, poised, and aesthetically inclined people. Although such descriptions date back six centuries or more and are at least partially based on legend, this characterization is also partly based on events in contemporary Indonesia. Virtually no part of Bali escaped the watchful gaze of tourists who came in increasing numbers each year to enjoy the island's beautiful beaches and stately temples, and to seek out an "authentic" experience of this perceived "traditional" culture. The market for traditional carvings, dance performances, and paintings boomed, and many Balinese successfully reinvested their earnings in further development of these highly profitable art forms.

Balinese have a long history of contrasting themselves profitably with outsiders. Although Hinduism had already established a foothold on Bali, the contemporary distinctive Hindu religious practices of the Balinese date back at least to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when Javanese princes from Majapahit fled the advances of Islam and sought refuge in Bali, where they were absorbed into the local culture. Since that time, Balinese, with the exception of a minority of Muslims in the north, have maintained a generally anti-Islamic political stance, preserving a great pride in their own culture. Indeed, segregation between themselves and outsiders has been an organizing factor in Balinese culture.

Like the Javanese, Balinese society is stratified. It possesses the small hereditary Brahman class, as well as small groups of Vaishya and Kshatriya classes that draw on Indian caste terminology. However, the Balinese caste system involves no occupational specializations or ideas about ritual contaminations between the ranks. It does not prohibit marriage between ranks, but does forbid women to marry beneath their class. The vast majority of Balinese, including many wealthy entrepreneurs and prominent politicians, belong to the Shudra (commoner-servant) class.

Unlike most Javanese, Balinese participate enthusiastically in several interlocking corporate groups beyond the immediate family. One of the most important of these is the dadia, or patrilineal descent group. This is a group of people who claim descent through the male line from a common ancestor. The group maintains a temple to that ancestor, a treasury to support rituals associated with it, and certain chosen leaders. The prestige of a dadia depends in part on how widespread and powerful its members are. However, most of these organized groups tend to be localized, because it is easier to maintain local support for its activities and its temple. Balinese prefer to draw spouses from within this group. These corporate kin groups can also be the basis for organizing important economic activities, such as carving cooperatives, gold and silverworking cooperatives, painting studios, and dance troupes.

In addition, Balinese are members of a banjar, or village compound, which overlaps with, but is not identical to, the dadia. The social groups share responsibility for security, economic cooperation in the tourist trade, and the formation of intervillage alliances. The banjar is a council of household heads and is responsible for marriage, divorce, and inheritance transactions. In addition, it is the unit for mobilizing resources and labor for the spectacular cremations for which Bali has become increasingly well known. Each banjar may have individual orchestra, dance, and weaving clubs.

Yet another important corporate group is the agricultural society, or subak, each of which corresponds to a section of wet-rice paddies. Each subak is not only a congregation of members who are jointly responsible for sacrificing at a temple placed in the center of this group of rice paddies, but also a unit that organizes the flow of water, planting, and harvesting. Since fifty or more societies sometimes tap into a common stream of water for the irrigation of their land, complex coordination of planting and harvesting schedules is required. This complexity arises because each subak has become independent of all the others. Although the government has attempted periodically to take control of the irrigation schedule, these efforts have produced mixed results, leading to a movement in the early 1990s to return the authority for the agricultural schedule to the traditional and highly successful interlocking subak arrangement.

The very complexity of Balinese social organization has provided it with the flexibility to adapt to the pressures of modern life and its requirements for the accumulation, distribution, and mobilization of capital and technological resources. Although the Balinese remain self-consciously "traditional," they have been neither rigid in that tradition nor resistant to change.


Indonesia - Peoples of Sumatra


The vast, heavily forested island of Sumatra forms the southern perimeter of the Strait of Malacca. The strait is one of the most important lanes of shipping and commerce in the world, and historically a crossroads of cultural influences from the Middle East, India, China, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia and East Asia. Although nearly all of the approximately twenty ethnolinguistic groups of Sumatra are devout practitioners of Islam, they nonetheless differ strikingly from one another, particularly in their family structures.


Situated in the Special Region of Aceh the northernmost provincial-level unit of Sumatra, the more than 3.4 million Acehnese are most famous throughout the archipelago for their devotion to Islam and their militant resistance to colonial and republican rule. Renowned throughout the nineteenth century for their pepper plantations, most Acehnese were rice growers in the coastal regions in the early 1990s.

Acehnese do not have large descent groups; the nuclear family consisting of mother, father, and children is the central social unit. Unlike the Javanese or Balinese family, the Acehnese family system shows marked separation of men's and women's spheres of activity. Traditionally, males are directed outwardly towards the world of trade. In the practice of merantau--going abroad or away from one's birthplace--young adult males leave their homelands for a time to seek their fortune, experience, and reputation through commerce. This may involve travel to another village, province, or island. This maturation process among males is viewed as growing out of the domestic female-dominated world of sensory indulgence and into the male world of reasoned rationality, whose practice is expressed through trade. One model of Acehnese family life is that a woman sends a man out of the house to trade and welcomes him back when he brings home money. When he has exhausted his money, she sends him out again. Meanwhile, women and their kin are responsible for working the fields and keeping the gardens and rice fields productive.

This oscillating pattern of migration encountered some difficulties in the 1980s as increasing numbers of men failed to return to the Acehnese homeland, but instead remained and married in remote locations, such as Jakarta and Kalimantan. In addition, northern Sumatra experienced important changes because of the influx of temporary workers seeking employment in the oil and timber industries.


The term Batak designates any one of several groups inhabiting the interior of Sumatera Utara Province south of Aceh: Angkola, Karo, Mandailing, Pakpak, Simelungen, Toba, and others. The Batak number around 3 million. Culturally, they lack the complex etiquette and social hierarchy of the Hinduized peoples of Indonesia. Indeed, they seem to bear closer resemblance to the highland swidden cultivators of Southeast Asia, even though some also practice padi farming. Unlike the Balinese, who have several different traditional group affiliations at once, or Javanese peasants affiliated with their village or neighborhood, the Batak orient themselves traditionally to the marga, a patrilineal descent group. This group owns land and does not permit marriage within it. Traditionally, each marga is a wife-giving and wife-taking unit. Whereas a young man takes a wife from his mother's clan, a young woman marries into a clan where her paternal aunts live.

When Sumatra was still a vast, underpopulated island with seemingly unlimited supplies of forest, this convergence of land ownership and lineage authority functioned well. New descent groups simply split off from the old groups when they wished to farm new land, claiming the virgin territory for the lineage. If the lineage prospered in its new territory, other families would be invited to settle there and form marriage alliances with the pioneer settlers, who retained ultimate jurisdiction over the territory. Genealogies going back dozens of generations were carefully maintained in oral histories recited at funerals. Stewardship over the land entailed spiritual obligations to the lineage ancestors and required that other in-migrating groups respect this.

The marga has proved to be a flexible social unit in contemporary Indonesian society. Batak who resettle in urban areas, such as Medan and Jakarta, draw on marga affiliations for financial support and political alliances. While many of the corporate aspects of the marga have undergone major changes, Batak migrants to other areas of Indonesia retain pride in their ethnic identity. Batak have shown themselves to be creative in drawing on modern media to codify and express their "traditional" adat. Anthropologist Susan Rodgers has shown how taped cassette dramas similar to soap operas circulate widely in the Batak region to dramatize the moral and cultural dilemmas of one's kinship obligations in a rapidly changing world. In addition, Batak have been prodigious producers of written handbooks designed to show young, urbanized, and secular lineage members how to navigate the complexities of their marriage and funeral customs.


The Minangkabau--who predominate along the coasts of Sumatera Utara and Sumatera Barat, interior Riau, and northern Bengkulu provinces--in the early 1990s numbered more than 3.5 million. Like the Batak, they have large corporate descent groups, but unlike the Batak, the Minangkabau traditionally reckon descent matrilineally. In this system, a child is regarded as descended from his mother, not his father. A young boy, for instance, has his primary responsibility to his mother's and sisters' clans. In practice, in most villages a young man will visit his wife in the evenings but spend the days with his sister and her children. It is usual for married sisters to remain in their parental home. According to a 1980 study by anthropologist Joel S. Kahn, there is a general pattern of residence among the Minangkabau in which sisters and unmarried lineage members try to live close to one another, or even in the same house.

Landholding is one of the crucial functions of the female lineage unit called suku. Since the Minangkabau men, like the Acehnese men, often merantau (go abroad) to seek experience, wealth, and commercial success, the women's kin group is responsible for maintaining the continuity of the family and the distribution and cultivation of the land. These groups are led by a penghulu (headman). The leaders are elected by groups of lineage leaders. As the suku declines in importance relative to the outwardly directed male sphere of commerce, however, the position of penghulu is not always filled after the death of the incumbent, particularly if lineage members are not willing to bear the expense of the ceremony required to install a new penghulu.

The traditions of sharia and indigenous female-oriented adat are often depicted as conflicting forces in Minangkabau society. The male-oriented sharia appears to offer young men something of a balance against the dominance of adat law in local villages, which forces a young man to wait passively for a marriage proposal from some young woman's family. By acquiring property and education through merantau experience, a young man can attempt to influence his own destiny in positive ways.

Increasingly, when married couples merantau, the women's roles tend to change. When married couples reside in urban areas or outside the Minangkabau region, women lose some of their social and economic rights in property, their social and economic position becomes less favorable, and their divorce rate rises.

Minangkabau were prominent among the intellectual figures in the independence movement of Indonesia. Not only were they strongly Islamic, they spoke a language closely related to Bahasa Indonesia, which was considerably freer of hierarchical connotations than Javanese. Partly because of their tradition of merantau, Minangkabau developed a cosmopolitan bourgeoisie that readily adopted and promoted the ideas of an emerging nation state.


Indonesia - Ethnic Minorities


In Indonesia the concept of ethnic minorities is often discussed not in numerical but in religious terms. Although the major ethnic groups claimed adherence to one of the major world religions (agama) recognized by the Pancasila ideology-- Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, or Buddhism--there were millions of other Indonesians in the early 1980s who engaged in forms of religious or cultural practices that fell outside these categories. These practices were sometimes labelled animist or kafir (pagan). In general, these Indonesians tended to live in the more remote, sparsely populated islands of the archipelago. Following the massacre of tens of thousands associated with the 1965 coup attempt, religious affiliation became an even more intense political issue among minority groups. The groups described below represent only a sampling of the many minorities.



Indonesia - Toraja


One minority group that has been successful in gaining national and international attention is the Toraja of central Sulawesi. This group's prominence, beginning in the 1980s, was due largely to the tourist industry, which was attracted to the region because of its picturesque villages and its spectacular mortuary rites involving the slaughter of water buffalo.

Inhabiting the wet, rugged mountains of the interior of Sulawesi, the Toraja grow rice for subsistence and coffee for cash. Traditionally, they live in fortified hilltop villages with from two to forty picturesque houses with large sweeping roofs that resemble buffalo horns. Up until the late 1980s, these villages were politically and economically self-sufficient, partly as protection against the depredations of the slave trade and partly as a result of intervillage feuding associated with headhunting.

The Toraja have strong emotional, economic, and political ties to a number of different kinds of corporate groups. The most basic tie is the rarabuku, which might be translated as family. Toraja view these groups as relations of "blood and bone," that is, relations between parents and children--the nuclear family. Since Toraja reckon kinship bilaterally, through both the mother and father, the possibilities for extending the concept of rarabuku in several different directions are many. Another important kind of group with which Toraja have close affiliations is the tongkonan (ancestral house), which contrasts with banua (ordinary house). Tongkonan as social units consist of a group of people who reckon descent from an original ancestor. The physical structures of tongkonan are periodically renewed by replacing their distinctively shaped roofs. This ritual is attended by members of the social group and accompanied by trance-like dances in which the spirits are asked to visit. A third important kind of affiliation is the saroan, or village work group. These groups were probably originally agricultural work groups based in a particular hamlet. Beginning as labor and credit exchanges, saroan have since evolved into units of cooperation in ritual activities as well. When sacrifices and funerals take place, these groups exchange meat and other foods.

The flexibility of these affiliations is partly responsible for the intensity of the mortuary performances. Because there is some ambiguity about one's affiliation (that is, one's claims to descent are not only based on blood relationships but also on social recognition of the relationship through public acts), Toraja people may attempt to prove the importance of a relationship through elaborate contributions to a funeral, which provides an opportunity to prove not only a person's devotion to a deceased parent, but also a person's claim to a share of that parent's land. The amount of land an individual inherits from the deceased might depend on the number of buffalo sacrificed at a parent's funeral. Sometimes people even pawn land to get buffalo to kill at a funeral so that they can claim the land of the deceased. Thus, feasting at funerals is highly competitive.

The Toraja have two main kinds of rituals. Those of the east-- known as rites of the rising sun and the rising smoke--are concerned with planting fertility and abundance. Following the rice harvest are rituals of the west centering on the setting sun, consisting primarily of funerals. Both involve the sacrifice of water buffalo, pigs, and chickens as offerings to the ancestors, and a complex distribution of the meat among the living. Through the distribution of meat, an elaborate network of debts and obligations is established and passed to succeeding generations.

With the oil boom in the 1960s and 1970s, there were massive outmigrations among upland Sulawesi young men looking for jobs in northeastern Kalimantan. During this period, many of these youths became Christians. But when they returned to their villages as wealthy men, they often wanted to hold large status displays in the form of funerals, causing what anthropologist Toby Alice Volkman calls "ritual inflation." These displays provoked intense debates about the authenticity of what some regarded as rituals of the nouveau riche. During this same period, however, Indonesia promoted a policy that encouraged the development of the non-oil-related sectors of the economy. Part of this policy involved the development of the tourist trade, and following coverage by the American media, waves of foreigners came to see the carnage of buffalo slaughter. These numbers swelled in the early 1990s. Because of the successful efforts of highly placed Toraja officials in the central government, their feasting practices were granted official status as a branch of Balinese Hinduism.


Indonesia - Dayak


Another group of ethnic minorities struggling for recognition in the 1980s were the peoples of southern Kalimantan. Traditionally, most of the scattered ethnolinguistic groups inhabiting the interior of the vast island have been labelled collectively by outsiders as Dayak. Among the Dayak are the Ngaju Dayak, Maanyan, and Lawangan. Although they have traditionally resided in longhouses that served as an important protection against slave raiding and intervillage raids, the people of this region are not communalistic. They have bilateral kinship, and the basic unit of ownership and social organization is the nuclear family. Religiously, they tend to be either Protestant or Kaharingan, a form of native religious practice viewed by the government as Hindu. The Dayak make a living through swidden agriculture and possess relatively elaborate death ceremonies in which the bones are disinterred for secondary reburial.

A number of the peoples in the region practice the Kaharingan religion. Through its healing performances, Kaharingan serves to mold the scattered agricultural residences into a community, and it is at times of ritual that these peoples coalesce as a group. There is no set ritual leader nor is there a fixed ritual presentation. Specific ceremonies may be held in the home of the sponsor. Shamanic curing or balian is one of the core features of these ritual practices. Because this healing practice often occurs as a result of the loss of the soul, which has resulted in some kind of illness, the focus of the religion is thus on the body. Sickness comes by offending one of the many spirits inhabiting the earth and fields, usually from a failure to sacrifice to them. The goal of the balian is to call back the wayward soul and restore the health of the community through trance, dance, and possession.

Modern recognition of the legitimacy of Kaharingan as a religious practice has been the culmination of a long history of struggles for autonomy. Since the southern coast of Kalimantan has long been dominated by the politically and numerically superior Muslim Banjarese, Christian and Kaharingan adherents of the central interior sought parliamentary recognition of a Great Dayak territory in 1953. When these efforts failed, a rebellion broke out in 1956 along religious lines, culminating in the establishment of the new province of Kalimantan Tengah in May 1957.

The abortive coup of 1965 proved that independence to be fragile. With the unity of the republic at stake, indigenous religions were viewed as threats and labelled atheistic and, by implication, communist. Caught in a no-win situation, the Dayak also were told that they did not have an agama and thus became suspect in the anticommunist fever of the late 1960s. By the early 1970s, negotiations began between Kalimantan Tengah and the national government over recognition of the indigenous religion of the peoples of the province. This process culminated in official recognition in the 1980s of Kaharingan as an agama.


Indonesia - Weyewa


The Weyewa inhabit the western highlands of Sumba, Nusa Tenggara Timur Province, where they cultivate rice, corn, and cassava using slash-and-burn farming methods as well continuous irrigation of padi fields. They supplement this income through the sale of livestock, coffee, and their distinctive brightly colored textiles.

Until the 1970s, there had been relatively few challenges to the Weyewa notions of political and religious identity. Because Sumba is a rather dry and infertile island, located away from the ports of call of the spice trade, it was comparatively insulated from the Hindu, Muslim, and later Dutch influences, each of which helped to shape the character of Indonesia's cultures. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when Sumba was periodically raided for slaves by Muslim traders, the local inhabitants responded by building and living in fortified hilltop villages. Patrilineages, which structured these groups, became powerful units of politically motivated marriage alliances in which women were the currency of exchange. Each lineage was headed by a self-appointed raja, or "big man," who, in return for loyalty, cattle, women, and children, offered protection and guarded the sanctity of tradition.

These powerful lineages, symbolized by the spirits of deceased ancestors, remained the focus of Weyewa religious practice and political identity until the 1970s, despite the Dutch military conquest of the island in 1906 and nearly a century of Protestant missionary efforts. In exchange for the fertility of crops, the orderly flow of irrigation water, freedom from misfortune, and continued prosperity, descendants promised to offer ritual sacrifices of cattle, chickens, pigs, and rice. These promises were made in a form of ritual speech.

The Weyewa system of production and exchange began to undergo major shifts in the 1970s, which resulted in a gradual weakening of the authority of lineages. One event that illustrates this process was the construction of an irrigation system and hydroelectric dam at the site of a sacred gushing spring at Waikelo in central-west Sumba in the mid-1960s. Throughout much of the 1960s, this spring watered some 300 hectares of rice fields, whose cycles of cultivation and fallowing were regulated by certain lineage elders carrying out the "words" of the ancestors. By the early 1970s, more than 1,500 hectares were available for continuous irrigation. Not only were traditional leaders unprepared to oversee and control this increase in the scale of production, but government officials took the initiative by encouraging farmers to abandon the ritual schedule of planting and harvest and to plant new high-yield, hardy, and fast-growing varieties of rice. These new varieties permitted two or more plantings per year. According to oral accounts of witnesses, the ownership of the new and ambiguous categories of land that emerged from irrigation was often assigned to individuals, not lineages. When disputes arose, government officials, such as police officers, judges, or district heads, rather than the raja, increasingly mediated the disputes and enforced the settlements. As a result, when asked to participate younger farmers were increasingly reluctant to invest in largescale and expensive ritual feasts honoring the spirits, because the government had more control over their lives than did the spirits.

Meanwhile, government officials put increasing pressure on traditional leaders to give up ritual feasting practices as "wasteful" and "backward." Furthermore, as with the Kaharingan adherents of central Kalimantan, failure to affiliate with an approved religion was regarded as potentially treasonous. Unlike Toraja and the peoples of central Kalimantan, however, the Weyewa and other Sumbanese were not politically organized for the preservation of their native religion. Most people simply converted to Christianity as a symbolic gesture of participation in the nation state. Indeed, whole villages in the late 1980s and early 1990s conducted feasts in which residents settled their debts with ancestral spirits and became Christians. The number of Weyewa professing affiliation with the Christian religion (either Roman Catholic or Calvinist Protestant) jumped from approximately 20 percent in 1978 to more than 60 percent in 1990.


Indonesia - Tanimbarese


In the southeastern part of Maluku Province lived more than 60,000 residents of the Tanimbar archipelago in the early 1990s. They resided in villages ranging in size from 150 to 2,500 inhabitants, but most villages numbered from 300 to 1,000. Nearly all residents spoke one of four related, but mutually unintelligible, languages. Because of an extended dry season, the forests were much less luxuriant than in some of the more northerly Maluku Islands, and the effects of over-intensive swidden cultivation of rice, cassava, and other root crops were visible in the interior. Many Tanimbarese also engaged in reef and deep-sea fishing and wild boar hunting.

Unlike the Weyewa, Toraja, or Dayak, the Tanimbarese do not maintain an opposition between their native culture and an officially recognized Christian culture. Following a Dutch military expedition in 1912, Catholic and Protestant missionaries converted all residents of their archipelago by the 1920s. However, the Tanimbarese tradition is preserved through intervillage and interhousehold marriage alliances. Tanimbarese orient themselves socially toward their villages and their houses. The unity of the village is represented as a stone boat. In ceremonial settings, such as indigenous dance, the rankings and statuses within the village are spoken of as a seating arrangement within this symbolic boat. Intervillage and interhouse rivalry, no longer expressed through headhunting and warfare, continue to be represented through complex ritual exchanges of valuables, marriage alliances, and competitive relations between the Catholic and Protestant churches (one or the other of which counts each Tanimbarese as a member).

Tanimbarese are affiliated with rahan (houses) that are important corporate units, responsible for making offerings to the ancestors, whose skulls were traditionally placed inside. Rahan are also responsible for the maintenance and distribution of heirloom property consisting of valuables and forest estates. Since Tanimbarese recognize a system of patrilineal descent, when a child is born they customarily ask: "Stranger or house master"? Since a male is destined to "sit" or "stay" in the house of his father, he is a "master of his house." If the baby is a girl, the child is destined to move between houses, and thus is a "stranger." The question of which house the girl moves to, and what obligations and rights will go along with the move, is one of the most important questions in Tanimbarese society. There are certain "pathways" of marriage that young women from certain houses are expected to follow, particularly if these interclan alliances have lasted more than three generations. Only if certain valuables are properly received by her natal family, however, is a young woman fully incorporated into her husband's home. Otherwise, her children are regarded as a branch of her brother's lineage.

The Tanimbarese traditionally engaged in both a local system of ceremonial exchange and, for centuries, in a broader Indonesian commerce in which they traded copra, trepang, tortoise shell, and shark fins for gold, elephant tusks, textiles, and other valuables. In the twentieth century, however, Tanimbarese began to exchange their local products for more prosaic items such as tobacco, coffee, sugar, metal cooking pots, needles, clothing, and other domestic-use items. In the 1970s and 1980s, Chinese merchants thoroughly dominated this trade and consequently gained great influence in the local village economy.


Indonesia - Asmat


The approximately 65,000 Asmat people of the south-central alluvial swamps of Irian Jaya Province are descended from a Papuan racial stock. They live in villages with populations that vary from 35 to 2,000. Until the 1950s, when greater numbers of outsiders arrived, warfare, headhunting, and cannibalism were constant features of their social life. Their houses were built along the bends of rivers so that an enemy attack could be seen in advance. Houses in coastal areas in the twentieth century were generally built on pilings two or more meters high, to protect residents from daily flooding by the surging tides of the brackish rivers. In the foothills of the Jayawijaya Mountains, Asmat lived in tree houses that were five to twenty-five meters off the ground. In some areas, they also built watchtowers in trees that rose thirty meters from the ground.

The Asmat are primarily hunters and gatherers who subsist by gathering and processing the starchy pulp of the sago palm, and by fishing and hunting the occasional wild pig, cassowary, grubs, and crocodile. Although the Asmat population steadily increased since contact by missionaries and government health workers, the forest continued to yield more than an adequate supply and variety of food in the early 1990s. According to anthropologist Tobias Schneebaum, "[s]ome Asmat have learned to grow small patches of vegetables, such as string beans, and a few raise the descendants of recently imported chickens. With the introduction of a limited cash economy through the sale of logs to timber companies and carvings to outsiders, many Asmat now consider as necessities such foods as rice and tinned fish; most have also become accustomed to wearing Western-style clothing and using metal tools."

Asmat believe that all deaths--except those of the very old and very young--come about through acts of malevolence, either by magic or actual physical force. Their ancestral spirits demand vengeance for these deaths. These ancestors to whom they feel obligated are represented in large, spectacular wood carvings of canoes, shields, and in ancestor poles consisting of human figurines. Until the late twentieth century, the preferred way a young man could fulfill his obligations to his kin, to his ancestors, and to prove his sexual prowess, was to take a head of an enemy, and offer the body for cannibalistic consumption by other members of the village.

Although the first Dutch colonial government post was not established in Asmat territory until 1938, and a Catholic mission began its work there only in 1958, the pace of change in this once remote region greatly increased after the 1960s. Many Asmat in the early 1990s were enrolled in Indonesian schools and were converting to Christianity. As large timber and oil companies expanded their operations in the region, the environmental conditions of these fragile, low-lying mangrove forests were threatened by industrial waste and soil erosion. Although Asmat appeared to be gaining some national and international recognition for their artwork, this fame had not resulted, by the early 1990s, in their having any significant political input into Indonesian government decisions affecting the use of land in the traditional Asmat territory.


Indonesia - Chinese


Identifying someone in Indonesia as a member of the Chinese (orang Tionghoa) ethnic group is not an easy matter, because physical characteristics, language, name, geographical location, and life-style of Chinese Indonesians are not always distinct from those of the rest of the population. Census figures do not record Chinese as a special group, and there are no simple racial criteria for membership in this group. There are some people who are considered Chinese by themselves and others, despite generations of intermarriage with the local population, resulting in offspring who are less than one-quarter Chinese in ancestry. On the other hand, there are some people who by ancestry could be considered halfChinese or more, but who regard themselves as fully Indonesian. Furthermore, many people who identify themselves as Chinese Indonesians cannot read or write the Chinese language.

Although the policy of the Indonesian government in the early 1990s favored the assimilation of the Chinese population into the local communities in which they lived, Chinese had a long history of enforced separation from their non-Chinese neighbors. For nearly a century prior to 1919, Chinese were forced to live in separate urban neighborhoods and could travel out of them only with government permits. Most Chinese continued to settle in urban areas of Indonesia even after this "quarter system" was discontinued in 1919. In some areas, such as Pontianak in Kalimantan Barat Province, Chinese even came to form a majority of the population. Although they had settled in rural areas of Java in the 1920s and 1930s, in the 1960s the government again prohibited the Chinese from exercising free choice of residence, requiring them to live in cities.

Nearly all Chinese who immigrated to Indonesia came from either Fujian or Guangdong provinces in southern China. The dominant languages among these immigrants were Hokkien, Hakka, and Cantonese. Although there was great occupational diversity among contemporary Indonesia's Chinese, most were either engaged in trade, mining, or skilled artisanry. In the early 1990s, Chinese continued to dominate Indonesia's private sector, despite policies designed to promote indigenous entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, Chinese were not a monolithic group. Each immigrant group had its own distinctive characteristics--some of which were accentuated overseas. One of the main contrasts among Indonesian Chinese in the 1990s was seen in the differences between the peranakan (native-born Chinese with some Indonesian ancestry) and totok (full-blooded Chinese, usually foreign born). Although the distinctiveness and social significance of this division varied considerably in different parts of the archipelago, among the peranakan community, ties to the Chinese homeland were more distant, and there was stronger evidence of Indonesian influence. Unlike the more strictly male-dominated totok Chinese, peranakan families recognized descent based on both female and male lines. Peranakan were more likely to have converted to Christianity and to have assimilated in other ways to the norms of Indonesian culture. They often spoke Bahasa Indonesia as their first language. Some even converted to Islam.

In the early 1990s, totok considered themselves as keepers of Chinese cultural ideals and maintained their traditions through household shrines, reverence for ancestors, and private language instruction in Chinese schools. Highly oriented toward success, they saw themselves as more dedicated to hard work, individual social mobility through the acquisition of wealth, and self-reliance than the peranakan. Whereas peranakan were more likely to have settled on Java, totok were better represented in the other islands.

The government program of assimilation for the Chinese was carried out in several ways. Symbols of Chinese identity had long been discouraged and even occasionally prohibited: Chinese-language newspapers, schools, and public ritual use of Chinese names were all subject to strong governmental disapproval. In the years following independence, nearly 50 percent of Chinese Indonesians failed to seek Indonesian citizenship, however, either because of continuing loyalty to the People's Republic of China or the Republic of China on Taiwan, or because of the prohibitive costs of gaining citizenship papers. To carry out its stated policy of assimilation in a period of rapprochement with China, however, the Suharto government enacted new regulations in the 1980s designed to expedite the naturalization of persons with Chinese citizenship. The assimilation policy was successful. By 1992 only about 6 percent, or 300,000 out of approximately 5 million Chinese Indonesians were acknowledged by the People's Republic of China as being Chinese citizens. Regulations announced in June 1992 by the director general of immigration allowed immigrants from China who had lived illegally in Indonesia for decades to receive entry permits and to reside legally in Indonesia once they obtained a Chinese passport.


Indonesia - EDUCATION


The character of Indonesia's educational system reflects its diverse religious heritage, its struggle for a national identity, and the challenge of resource allocation in a poor but developing archipelagic nation with a young and rapidly growing population. Although a draft constitution stated in 1950 that a key government goal was to provide every Indonesian with at least six years of primary schooling, the aim of universal education had not been reached by the late 1980s, particularly among females--although great improvements had been made. Obstacles to meeting the government's goal included a high birth rate, a decline in infant mortality, and a shortage of schools and qualified teachers. In 1973 Suharto issued an order to set aside portions of oil revenues for the construction of new primary schools. This act resulted in the construction or repair of nearly 40,000 primary school facilities by the late 1980s, a move that greatly facilitated the goal of universal education.

Primary and Secondary Education

Following kindergarten, Indonesians of between seven and twelve years of age were required to attend six years of primary school in the 1990s. They could choose between state-run, nonsectarian public schools supervised by the Department of Education and Culture or private or semiprivate religious (usually Islamic) schools supervised and financed by the Department of Religious Affairs. However, although 85 percent of the Indonesian population was registered as Muslim, according to the 1990 census, less than 15 percent attended religious schools. Enrollment figures were slightly higher for girls than boys and much higher in Java than the rest of Indonesia.

A central goal of the national education system in the early 1990s was not merely to impart secular wisdom about the world, but also to instruct children in the principles of participation in the modern nation-state, its bureaucracies, and its moral and ideological foundations. Since 1975, a key feature of the national curriculum--as in other parts of society--had been instruction in the Pancasila. Children age six and above learned its five principles--belief in one God, humanitarianism, national unity, democracy, and social justice--by rote and were instructed daily to apply the meanings of this key national symbol to their lives. The alleged communist coup attempt in 1965 provided a vivid image of transgression against the Pancasila. Partly to prove their rejection of communist ideology, all teachers--like other members of Indonesian bureaucracy--swore allegiance not only to the Pancasila, but to the government party of functional groups.

Inside the public school classroom of the early 1990s, a style of pedagogy prevailed that emphasized rote learning and deference to the authority of the teacher. Although the youngest children were sometimes allowed to use the local language, by the third year of primary school nearly all instruction was conducted in formal Indonesian. Instead of asking questions of the students, a standard teaching technique was to narrate a historical event or to describe a mathematical problem, pausing at key junctures to allow the students to fill in the blanks. By not responding to individual problems of the students and retaining an emotionally distanced demeanor, the teacher is said to be sabar (patient), which is considered admirable behavior.

Nationally, the average class size in primary schools was approximately twenty-seven, while upper-level classes included between thirty and forty students. Ninety-two percent of primary school students graduated, but only about 60 percent of those continued on to junior high school (ages thirteen through fifteen). Of those who went on to junior high school, 87 percent also went on to a senior high school (ages sixteen through eighteen). The national adult literacy rate remained at about 77 percent in 1991 (84 percent for males and 68 percent for females), keeping Indonesia tied with Brunei for the lowest literacy among the six member nations of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In the early 1990s, after completion of the six-year primary school program, students could choose among a variety of vocational and preprofessional junior and senior high schools, each level of which was three years in duration. There were academic and vocational junior high schools that could lead to senior-level diplomas. There were also "domestic science" junior high schools for girls. At the senior high-school level, there were three-year agricultural, veterinary, and forestry schools open to students who had graduated from an academic junior high school. Special schools at the junior and senior levels taught hotel management, legal clerking, plastic arts, and music.

Teacher training programs were varied, and were gradually upgraded. For example, in the 1950s anyone completing a teacher training program at the junior high level could obtain a teacher's certificate. Since the 1970s, however, the teaching profession was restricted to graduates of a senior high school for teachers in a primary school and to graduates of a university-level education course for teachers of higher grades. Remuneration for primary and secondary school teachers compared favorably with countries such as Malaysia, India, and Thailand. Student-teacher ratios also compared favorably with most Asian nations at 25.3 to 1 and 15.3 to 1, respectively, for primary and secondary schools in the mid-1980s when the averages were 33.1 to 1 and 22.6 to 1 for Asian-Pacific countries.

Islamic Schools

The emphasis on the Pancasila in public schools has been resisted by some of the Muslim majority. A distinct but vocal minority of these Muslims prefer to receive their schooling in a pesantren or residential learning center. Usually in rural areas and under the direction of a Muslim scholar, pesantren are attended by young people seeking a detailed understanding of the Quran, the Arabic language, the sharia, and Muslim traditions and history. Students could enter and leave the pesantren any time of the year, and the studies were not organized as a progression of courses leading to graduation. Although not all pesantren were equally orthodox, most were and the chief aim was to produce good Muslims.

In order for students to adapt to life in the modern, secular nation-state, the Muslim-dominated Department of Religious Affairs advocated the spread of a newer variety of Muslim school, the madrasa. In the early 1990s, these schools integrated religious subjects from the pesantren with secular subjects from the Western-style public education system. The less-than 15 percent of the school-age population who attended either type of Islamic schools did so because of the perceived higher quality instruction. However, among Islamic schools, a madrasa was ranked lower than a pesantren. Despite the widespread perception in the West of resurgent Islamic orthodoxy in Muslim countries, the 1980s saw little overall increase in the role of religion in school curricula in Indonesia.

In general, Indonesia's educational system still faced a shortage of resources in the 1990s. The shortage of staffing in Indonesia's schools was no longer as acute as in the 1950s, but serious difficulties remained, particularly in the areas of teacher salaries, teacher certification, and finding qualified personnel. Providing textbooks and other school equipment throughout the farflung archipelago continued to be a significant problem as well.

Higher Education

Indonesia's institutions of higher education have experienced dramatic growth since independence. In 1950 there were ten institutions of higher learning, with a total of 6,500 students. In 1970 there were 450 private and state institutions enrolling 237,000 students, and by 1990 there were 900 institutions with 141,000 teachers and nearly 1,486,000 students. Public institutions enjoyed a considerably better student-teacher ratio (14 to 1) than private institutions (46 to 1) in the mid-1980s. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of state university budgets were financed by government subsidies, although the universities had considerably more autonomy in curriculum and internal structure than primary and secondary schools. Whereas tuition in such state institutions was affordable, faculty salaries were low by international standards. Still, university salaries were higher than primary and secondary school salaries. In addition, lecturers often had other jobs outside the university to supplement their wages.

Private universities were operated by foundations. Unlike state universities, private institutions had budgets that were almost entirely tuition driven. Each student negotiated a one-time registration fee--which could be quite high--at the time of entry. If a university had a religious affiliation, it could finance some of its costs through donations or grants from international religious organizations. The government provided only limited support for private universities.

Higher education in the early 1990s offered a wide range of programs, many of which were in a state of flux. Nearly half of all students enrolled in higher education in 1985 were social sciences majors. Humanities and science and technology represented nearly 28 percent and 21 percent, respectively. The major degrees granted were the sarjana muda (junior scholar; roughly corresponding to a bachelor's degree) and the sarjana (scholar or master's degree). Very few doktor (doctoral) degrees were awarded. Few students studying for the sarjana muda actually finished in one to three years. One study found that only 10 to 15 percent of students finished their course of study on time, partly because of the requirement to complete the traditional skripsi (thesis). In 1988, for instance, 235,000 new students were admitted for sarjana muda-level training and 1,234,800 were enrolled at various stages of the program, but only 95,600 graduated.

Discussion about how to improve Indonesian higher education focused on issues of teacher salaries, laboratory and research facilities, and professor qualifications. According to official figures, in 1984 only 13.9 percent of permanent faculty members at state institutions of higher learning had any advanced degree; only 4.5 percent had a doctorate. Since doctoral programs were rare in Indonesia and there was little money to support education overseas, this situation improved only slowly. Despite these difficulties, most institutions of higher education received large numbers of applications in the late 1980s and early 1990s; in state institutions less than one application in four was accepted. One of the most serious problems for graduates with advanced degrees, however, was finding employment suited to their newly acquired education.

The University of Indonesia, founded in Jakarta in the 1930s, is the nation's oldest university. Other major universities include Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia's oldest postindependence university, founded in 1946) in Yogyakarta; Catholic University and Institut Teknologi Bandung, both in Bandung; and the Institut Pertanian Bogor in Bogor. In the early 1990s, there also were important regional universities in Sulawesi, Sumatera Utara, Jawa Barat, and Irian Jaya.


Indonesia - HEALTH


Services and Infrastructure

As access to education improved throughout the archipelago, use of modern forms of health care also increased. Statistics show a correlation between the rise of education levels and the increased use of hospitals, physicians, and other health resources. Indeed, in the 1970s and 1980s, health in Indonesia showed overall improvement. Life expectancy for men was 58.4 years and for women 62.0 years in 1990, up 7.3 years and 7.6 years, respectively, since 1980. By the 2000-04 period, life expectancy was projected by the World Bank to reach 66.5 for men and 69.7 for women. However, the distribution of those improvements, as well as the resources for health maintenance and improvement, were unequal. Whereas infant mortality fell from an average of 105 per 1,000 live births in the 1980 to 75.2 per 1,000 in 1990, according to the World Bank, and was expected to decrease to 55 per 1,000 by 1994, these rates varied dramatically depending on location. The poor, rural, and uneducated classes generally suffered much higher mortality rates than their more educated counterparts.

The number of health care personnel gradually increased in the 1980s. By the end of the decade there were more than 23,000 physicians; 76,000 midwives; and nearly 70,000 medical assistants, paramedics, and other health care workers. The ratio of health care personnel per capita compared poorly with the other ASEAN nations except Brunei.

Improvements in the health of Indonesians have been realized largely without the benefit of enhanced hospital services. Indonesia's ratio of hospital beds of 0.06 per 1,000 population in the late 1980s was the lowest among ASEAN nations--which ranged from a high of 5 per 1,000 for Singapore to the second lowest, 1.4 per 1,000 for Thailand. Hospital beds were unequally distributed throughout Indonesia, ranging from a low of 0.18 beds per 1,000 in Lampung Province to 1.24 per 1,000 in Jakarta. In addition, the better equipped urban hospitals tended to have more physicians and higher central government spending per bed than did hospitals in the rural areas.

Community and preventative health programs formed another component of Indonesia's health system. Community health services were organized in a three-tier system with community health centers (Puskesmas) at the top. Usually staffed by a physician, these centers provided maternal and child health care, general outpatient curative and preventative health care services, pre- and postnatal care, immunization, and communicable disease control programs. Specialized clinic services were periodically available at some of the larger clinics.

Second-level community health centers included health subcenters. These health centers consisted of small clinics and maternal and child health centers, staffed with between one and three nurses and visited weekly or monthly by a physician. In the early 1990s, the Department of Health planned to have three to four subcenters per health center, depending on the region. The third level of community health services were village-level integrated service posts. These posts were not permanently staffed facilities, but were monthly clinics on borrowed premises, in which a visiting team from the regional health center reinforced local health volunteers.

Although the community health situation was improving slightly- -the number of health centers increased from 3,735 in 1974 to 5,174 in 1986, and the number of health subcenters reached 12,568--the provision of community services remained low by the standards of developing countries. China, for instance, had sixty-three health centers per 1 million population, while Indonesia had only thirtytwo per 1 million in 1986. In particular, fiscal year (FY) 1987 saw a dramatic reduction in government spending for communicable disease control. Thus, vaccines, drugs, insecticides, and antimalarial spraying programs were dramatically cut back.

The distribution of Indonesian health care workers was also highly uneven. To alleviate the problem of physician maldistribution, the government required two to five years of public service by all medical school graduates, public and private. In order to be admitted for specialist training, physicians first had to complete this service. Only two years of public service were required for those physicians working in remote areas such as Nusa Tenggara Timur, Sulawesi Tenggara, Kalimantan Timur, Maluku, or Irian Jaya provinces, whereas three to five years of service were required for a posting in Java, Bali, or Sumatra. Despite such incentives, it was difficult to attract medical school graduates to these remote, understaffed regions, particularly without additional cash incentives.

<>Government Support
<>Traditional and Modern Health Practices


Indonesia - HEALTH - Government Support


One of the most notable features of Indonesia's health care system, in comparison with other Southeast Asian nations, was the low level of government support. The modern health care system continued the Dutch colonial pattern of low investment in health care. The Dutch did relatively little in the field of public health prior to 1910, with the exception of giving smallpox vaccinations. In the 1930s, however, the government devoted increased attention to health education and disease prevention, particularly in rural areas. An elaborate public health infrastructure had developed by 1939, including a particularly sophisticated model program in Purwokerto in Jawa Tengah Province. But this public health system collapsed after the Japanese invasion in 1942. During World War II, mortality rose dramatically and the general health situation of the country deteriorated.

In the postwar period, a network of maternal and child health centers was established, but resources were extremely limited, with one physician for every 100,000 people. The first dramatic improvements resulted from the establishment of the network of community health centers. Although there was considerable resistance by the general population toward using these facilities at first, by the 1980 census, 40 percent of people reporting illness in the prior week had sought treatment at one of the community health centers.

Unfortunately, direct central government spending on health (apart from intergovernmental transfers) fell by 45 percent in real terms between FY 1982 and FY 1987 because of the declining revenues from the oil industry. The Outer Islands continued to suffer a severe shortage of physicians and hospitals, but this deficit was partially offset by a higher percentage of community health centers, staffed by health care workers.


Indonesia - Traditional and Modern Health Practices


Although there was a 3.2 percent annual decline in infant mortality since 1960, in 1990, according to some accounts, nearly 5.5 percent of babies born to Indonesian mothers still did not survive to their first birthday, the lowest figures for all ASEAN countries. Other sources reported a higher rate--10 percent--for infant mortality. The situation varied regionally, from a low of about 6 percent mortality in Yogyakarta, where a colonial legacy of public health programs left behind an educated populace, to almost 19 percent infant mortality rates in Nusa Tenggara Timur Province.

Dukun--traditional healers--continued to play an important role in the health care of the population in the early 1990s. Often, dukun were used in conjunction with Westernstyle medicine. In some rural areas, these healers represented a treatment option of first resort, especially when there was no community health center nearby, or if the only Western health care available was expensive or the facility understaffed. The manner of healing differed greatly among the hundreds of ethnic groups, but often these healers used extensive knowledge of herbal medicines and invoked supernatural legitimacy for their practice.

The use of Western-style medical clinics was rising in the last decades of the twentieth century, however, the Department of Health estimated that dukun attended upwards of 90 percent of rural births. Following childbirth, women in many parts of the archipelago engaged in the practice of "roasting." Although different ethnic groups have different explanations for the practice, it usually involves the seclusion of the mother and her child for a period of time following childbirth--from a few weeks to months--in order to submit herself to prolonged exposure to the warmth of a hearth or other source of heat. In general, it is believed that this speeds the process of recovery, but many believe it helps replace a woman's lost blood, returns her body to a trim and fit shape, and helps "dry her out."


Indonesia - AIDS


Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) posed a major public health threat for Indonesia in the early 1990s. Although in an April 1992 report the Department of Health reported only fortyseven documented cases of individuals whose blood tested positive for human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV), according to the department there were at least 100 times that many undocumented HIV cases, making a net estimate of 4,700 cases. According to government officials, the most likely mode of HIV/AIDS transmission was through heterosexual contact with prostitutes. By the end of 1990, twelve cases of AIDS had been reported in Indonesia. While the Department of Health devoted relatively few of its resources to disease prevention in 1991, it cooperated with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the distribution of 500,000 condoms annually and with a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-sponsored family planning program, which had made condom use widely accepted throughout the country. Although the Ford Foundation and USAID funded AIDS prevention and awareness programs in Bali, there were virtually no other such public or private programs in Indonesia in the early 1990s.


CITATION: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. The Country Studies Series. Published 1988-1999.

Please note: This text comes from the Country Studies Program, formerly the Army Area Handbook Program. The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.

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