May 09, 2021 Last Updated 10:53 AM, May 6, 2021

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