The roads in Java must surely be some of the most delightful highways in the world; at all events, I know of none in any country to compare with them. There are (Heaven be praised!) none of those bare, characterless racing tracks with which we have defaced the fair countryside of England; but the surface of Java’s main roads is as perfect as that of any ” arterial” horror, and even that of the by-roads is so excellent that if it could be reproduced on the main highways of Australia it would transcend the Commonwealth motorists’ wildest dreams.
From H.W.Ponder, Java Pageant, London n.d. p.285
.. I think that I can say without exaggeration that in matters of efficient organization the Dutch in their East Indian possessions have few equals in the colonial world. Roads, railways, airways, sanitation, hotels, clubs, picture-theatres, swimming baths, shops, markets, factories, sports-grounds, racecourses, telephones, are all first class – and when I say first class I do not mean a first-class imitation of the same thing in Europe, but a good model for others to copy.
This post harks back to a discussion I had with Ondinius who relegated Dutch colonialism to the bottom of the barrel because he judged it by what he saw around him today. Excellent infrastructure is, of course, not the only criterion for judging a state – I know. But nevertheless it was there – once.