Published: Jul 30, 2007

A post-Indonesian generation?

Gerry van Kilinken - Editor

The late novelist YB Mangunwijaya coined the phrase 'post-Indonesian generation'. A young generation was freeing itself from the demands of greying New Order soldiers that they should 'uphold the ideals of the 1945 Revolution', he wrote. No longer in the grip of tradition, they looked to the world at large. I suspect quite a few of the young artists and activists who appear in this edition of Inside Indonesia belong to the post-Indonesian generation.

Like the democracy activists of Eastern Europe once the Berlin Wall had fallen, some of them are unsure where to go next. Theatre, according to Lauren Bain, faces a post-authoritarian identity crisis. The daring new nudity in painting, according to M Dwi Marianto, wants to reject all of today's cynicism as much as shed its restrictive New Order clothes.

Others fight with renewed energy, and there is surely much to fight for. Land reform and the war in Aceh are just two issues canvassed in this edition. These activists too sit loose of the past. If Indonesia is to remain viable, Chusnul Mar'iyah tells Peter King, it must be there for all Indonesians. Dialogue and peace must be over-riding commitments. Suraiya Kamaruzzaman turns a similar sentiment into almost an alternative feminist agenda.

All of this could be new to many Australians, who increasingly think of Indonesia as a place of exotic violence rather than as a neighbour.

This edition introduces a new feature that incorporates the Indonesian language insert. 'Learning about Indonesia' is a new supplement that intends to support a new and young audience interested in learning more about Indonesia. It consists of two parts. 'What do you know about...?' is in English. 'Bahasa' is in Indonesian. The focus of this supplement is also the arts.

A theme edition on the arts breaks some exciting new ground for us. As always, many people helped make it a reality. To all - especially to unnamed friends like the fabulous kids who do the mail-out - we owe sincere thanks.

Inside Indonesia 64: Oct - Dec 2000