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Photo by Emily Shahrzad Rahravan, Indonesia Semester.

Scavenger Hunt, Dr. Swazey, and Gamelan!

Sunday, June 17 – Our beautiful Scavenger Hunt and our first meeting with Dr. Kelli Swazey. Dr. Kelly works at the Center for Religious and Cross Cultural Studies in Jogjakarta as a Public Policy Advisor.

Leaning Indonesian – the language is highly contextual.

Notes from Kelli Swazey’s talk on 6/17

The Sultan is a reincarnation of Vishnu. He’s also a Muslim. There is an integrated cosmology of belief. Indonesia is currently experiencing an upswing of religious violence and more segregation that is not consistent with its history. There is a general anxiety which leads to populist religion. There are laws for the provinces shaped by religion. Neo-liberals are Western leaning. After the Surabaya bombings, the president referred to them as “places that were bombed” not houses of worship. There was an attempt to disassociate religion from the act of bombing. Only 300 non Indonesians are currently teaching in Indonesia. The National Foreign Language Resource Center in Hawaii is a good resource to  check.

June 17-18 – two days of language instruction – about 6 hours in total.

Monday, June 18:

We arrived at our village, Kedung Miri in the early afternoon. We gathered for lunch and a group meeting where we were assigned different roles. The weather is hot, but not unbearable. We are drinking. Each of us was assigned to a host family after an introduction by the Village Chief, Pak Duha. I was assigned to the family of Marino and Mariam, with two children, Arti and Annie and one grandchild (tutu), Cherish (sp?). After an hour of exchanging gifts and going over the morning language lesson, I remembered the word, “Sepeda” and said, “Arti, Sepeda!” so we went for a bike ride! Down the most beautiful river valley, we rode surrounded by stunning cliffs and rice paddies terracing to the sky. On we went, until Arti pulled over and pointed to the river, so we walked down and went for a swim. After a while, Marino and Annie rode up on motor bikes to check up on us, and we rode back by late afternoon, with the sun low in the sky. “Saya sudah mandi.” (I went for a swim.)

When I gave my host family my gift of maple syrup, I drew a picture of a tree to show where it came from, but they thought I was telling them to use the syrup to water and fertilize a tree! In the end, we decided that maple syrup would be a good sweetener for tea, but now in retrospect I wish I had said, “pisang goreng” (fried banana). I know they make fine “pisang goring” and maple syrup would taste most delicious on that.

So why this village? In 2014, Matt was organizing a bike trip to Borobudur, and this village was a stop along the way, but they liked it so much that they decided to stay for longer extended homestays during subsequent years and were welcomed by Pak Duha.

We gathered at 5 p.m. to check in about our first couple of hours. It seemed like those who stayed with children had a more successful transition.

Monday, June 18 – Kelli Swazey’s lecture in Kedung Miri:

Dr. Kelli Swazey gave her talk about Indonesia which is 89% Muslim. There are 6 different religious categories that everyone has to fit into. She listed different early kingdoms:

  • 4th-7th century: Vishnu
  • 8th century: Sailendra
  • 10th century: Prambanan
  • 12th-17th century: Sriwijaya
  • 13th-16th century: Majapahit

These were all Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu – Hindu Kingdoms, but some were Buddhist as well.

Islam arrived in Indonesia from the 14th-16th centuries and there was a change from Mataram Hindu to Mataram Islam in 1577. People convert because of societal advantages, some of which are economic. The island Rhun is where nutmeg comes from.

Indonesian was created from Malaysian in the 1930s by the Dutch East India Company. It is a new language with old roots. East Timor is Catholic. The Philippines is Spanish. The Philippines was always distinct from Indonesia. The Dutch had many plans to administer Indonesia using religion and to integrate the chiefs for control. Indonesia is influenced by Dutch as well as Chinese and Arab culture. Islam tends to segregate people. Agama = religion, Adat = culture.

From 1942-1945 (WWII), the Japanese occupied Indonesia. This was seen as being freed from the colonizers. The Dutch started education programs and some people wanted to be part of the Netherlands, but the more people aligned with the Dutch, the crueler the Japanese were toward them.

In 1945, Indonesia was declared an independent nation. The Constitution (Pancasila) has five principles:

  1. There is one and only one God (and Sharia can be applied)
  2. Indonesia is a just and civilized society
  3. We experience unity as a country
  4. We are a democracy with elected leaders
  5. There is Social Justice for all

So should Indonesia be a Muslim Country? This is an ongoing question. Indonesia has a written canon and a central text with a wider definition of society than that applied by Islam. It must be recognized.

Sukarno was a communist. Suharto exercised a coup in 1965. If you were a communist, it was very bad for you. See 40 Years of Silence, the Act of Killing, and The Look of Silence.

There are six recognized religions:

  • Islam 207M (87%),
  • Christian (Protestant) 17M (7%),
  • Catholic 7M (3%),
  • Hindu 4M (2%),
  • Buddhist 2M (1%),
  • Confucian 100K (.05%)
  • Total = 237M

Hinduism became a recognized State Religion in 1962

Confucianism was banned in 1979, then reinstated in 2000.

Bali is considered to be an Adat area for Hindus. Islamic fundamentalists are told to “stay out” of Bali, but they don’t.

In 1998 Suharto fell from power.

In 1912, Muhammadiyah was founded. This modernist reformist educated form of Islam has about 29 million adherents.

In 1926, Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) was founded as a traditionalist Sunni movement in reaction to Wahabism. It has about 40 million adherents.

Indonesia practices a unique form of Islam. There is currently anti-Muhammadiyah violence. There have been 163 attacks on Christian churches. To build a church, you need a congregation of at least 90 people and at least 60 people in the neighborhood to agree that it is OK to build one. It’s a very tough application process.

The Jogjakarta Principles embrace progressive human rights.

The Muslim Ulema Council can make fatwas. They reject deviance. What about the Shia? Or gay people? Vigilantes will attack and punish people because the government fails to do so. There was a Chinese Christian governor of Jakarta with a 65% popularity rating who was jailed for daring to quote the Koran in public, and sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy. Education seems to play an important role in overcoming intolerance.

Then we switched to gamelan practice!