Jan 21, 2020 Last Updated 7:13 AM, Jan 16, 2020

A veneer of tradition

How strong is local tradition in the face of the modern state?ARIANNE VAN DER MEER attends a ceremony in Sumatra's Minangkabau area, famous for its matrilineal culture. She finds that the cultural symbols do survive. But they are now also tools in the hands of the central government.

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Schooling in Aceh

Education should open doors to a brighter future. But when school costs the earth yet yields only failure, is the price too high? BARBARA LEIGH talks with Raziah, a poor mother in Aceh.

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Battle for the pews

GERRY VAN KLINKEN explores the dramatic conflict within the Batak Protestant Church (HKBP). Environmental protest, military-backed thugs, and guerilla tactics to attend Sunday worship - these are the ingredients of a bizarre story.

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Two Sumatran films

The National Library of Australia now has the most comprehensive collection of Indonesian films available outside of Indonesia. Two films in this collection come from Sumatra.

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Colonial legacy

It may be true that Java rules Indonesia. But Javanese labourers in Sumatra, writes BUDI AGUSTONO, have been at the bottom of the heap for generations.

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Latest Articles

Small island life

Jan 16, 2020 - MOHAMAD RACHMADIAN NAROTAMA

Javanese-born transmigration farmers cross from Ranai Island to Sedanau Island to sell vegetables on a daily basis / Narotma, 2017

Remote island communities are fighting for greater autonomy and more suitable, fair development

Lost Lasem

Jan 07, 2020 - VANIA DJUNAIDI

Tiongkok Kecil Heritage Lasem – Jl. Karangturi / Author

Photo essay

Pious bikies

Dec 19, 2019 - WASISTO RAHARJO JATI

Members circulate invitations through social media such as WhatsApp and Telegram/ Bikers Subuhan Jogja Facebook Group

Yogyakarta’s Dawn Prayer Bikers are converting an outlaw tradition into a prayer ritual

Fiction: Pasung

Nov 22, 2019 - MAYESTICA DE JONG

/ Andrea Star Reese for Human Rights Watch

  His gaze is fixated on an indeterminate spot behind me, his arms hang loosely by his sides. Wearing nothing but a pair of faded black shorts, his ribs and collar...

Contraception at a crossroads

Nov 11, 2019 - LOUISA-ANNE BUWALDA

Adam Cohn @Flickr

Indonesia’s 50-year-old family planning program has been a great success but is struggling to adapt with women’s needs

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A selection of stories from the Indonesian classics and modern writers, periodically published free for Inside Indonesia readers, courtesy of Lontar