Indonesia Etc

Indonesia Etc

Exploring the Improbable Nation

Book - 2014 | First edition
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An entertaining and thought-provoking portrait of Indonesia: a rich, dynamic, and often maddening nation awash with contradictions. Jakarta tweets more than any other city on earth, but 80 million Indonesians live without electricity and many of its communities still share in ritual sacrifices. Declaring independence in 1945, Indonesia said it would 'work out the details of the transfer of power etc. as soon as possible.' With over 300 ethnic groups spread across 13,500 islands, the world's fourth most populous nation has been working on that 'etc.' ever since. Bewitched by Indonesia for twenty-five years, Elizabeth Pisani recently traveled 26,000 miles around the archipelago in search of the links that bind this impossibly disparate nation. Fearless and funny, Pisani shares her deck space with pigs and cows, bunks down in a sulfurous volcano, and takes tea with a corpse. Along the way, she observes Big Men with child brides, debates corruption and cannibalism, and ponders 'sticky' traditions that cannot be erased.
Publisher: New York, NY :, W.W. Norton & Company,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393088588
Branch Call Number: 915.98 PIS NVD
Characteristics: 404 pages : maps ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Indonesia et cetera


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IndyPL_SteveB Nov 12, 2018

Completely fascinating examination of the cultures and politics of Indonesia by an Englishwoman who has worked in Indonesia on and off for 25 years and who is fluent in Indonesian.

Most visitors only go to the island of Java or to a high-tourism island like Bali. That is like only visiting Las Vegas and Hawaii and thinking you understand the culture of the Unites States. Pisani is one of those adventurers who will go to big cities and small villages. She eagerly jumps off her itinerary when someone says, “Come visit my village; you can stay in my house.” She cheerfully jumps in to help with cooking, celebrations, fish cleaning, craft projects, even a puppet show.

Indonesia really shouldn’t exist as a nation. There are thousands of islands included in this cobbled-together country, each with its own cultural background, language, and religious tradition. Pisani has many fascinating insights as she jumps back and forth from very modern cities like Jakarta to Muslim villages where women are completely covered to villages where the government and religion are barely noticed. The variety of culture in Indonesia is amazing. The book is smart, wise, and entertaining. It’s good to be reminded that the rest of the world doesn’t live like we do – and doesn’t WANT to.

Aug 22, 2015

"'We the people of Indonesia, hereby declare the independence of Indonesia. Matters relating to the transfer of power etc. will be executed carefully and as soon as possible.'
Indonesia has been working on that 'etc.' ever since."
Indonesia is a huge, populous, diverse country consisting of thousands of islands and the world's largest Muslim population, yet other than tourist favorite Bali, little is known about it in the West. Journalist and health worker Elizabeth Pisani's book is part travelogue and part history of the "improbable nation." Good travel writing is hard to do and she doesn't really excel at that, while it's too haphazard to function as a coherent history of the country. Not bad, but disappointing. Check out the documentaries "The Act of Killing" and "The Look of Silence."

Apr 02, 2015

This book provided me with a deep understanding of Indonesia. Having been to Indonesia, the country makes more sense to me now.

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