Monthly Archives: July 2013

It’s beginning to look a lot like Lebaran

Much like Christmas in the U.S., Lebaran in Indonesia has been co-opted somewhat by commercial interests. Just as Christians do, Muslims get swept up in the shopping and the pressure to spend money for their biggest holiday of the year. Continue reading

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Fed up with thuggery in the name of Islam, Indonesians push back

This year, during Ramadan — for perhaps the first time — Indonesians are standing up to a group known to terrorize the country during the holy month. Continue reading

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Hitler in Indonesia

Bruno and I saw a shocking sight while walking through a street market in Yogyakarta a few weeks ago. For sale at one stand, amid posters of Bob Marley, Asian boy bands, Spanish soccer teams and former Indonesian leaders, there … Continue reading

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In Central Java, taking our time in a becak

This short story will tell you much about Indonesia. Bruno and I were in a part of Yogyakarta (a city in Central Java, about an hour’s flight from Jakarta) with heavy foot traffic, and it was time to head back … Continue reading

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Fast Times in Jakarta

Now that I’ve written on what Ramadan is about, here’s how Ramadan plays out on a daily basis here. A number of things change in Jakarta this month. First, Muslims (i.e., most of the city’s population) get up before dawn. … Continue reading

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Tidak vs. Belum: It’s about outlook

Let’s assume you have never visited China, and have no plans to do so. If I asked you in English, ‘Have you visited China?’, what would you say? Probably just “no,” which in Indonesian is tidak. In Indonesia, however, you would not say tidak in this … Continue reading

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Ramadan in Jakarta

It’s Ramadan, the Muslim holiday during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. I was afraid that, in a country with around 200 million Muslims, I was about to be surrounded by groggy, cranky people. This judgment was based on … Continue reading

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The Natural Alarm Clock

Our week of language classes in Yogyakarta yielded quite a few interesting lessons. During our long days in class, we got to discuss differences with people who were quite open to explaining their culture. One very telling difference was the symbol … Continue reading

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The Two Temples

Borobudur and Prambanan temples in Central Java sit less than 26 miles apart. Built during the same century, one is Buddhist and the other Hindu. These two temples offer a powerful example of the confluence of religious cultures in Indonesia … Continue reading

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