May 1998 Jakarta Riots

May 16th, 2008, in IM Posts, Opinion, by

Spew looks back on the May 1998 riots and the issues of mass rapes, anti-Chinese sentiment, and how the rioters came to be judged.

It has been a decade since Reformasi (reform) movement took place in Indonesia that succeeded in forcing Suharto to step down. Every year after the movement, media and political and social analysts reflect on what has happened and has been happening since Suharto was ousted. Since reform is the grand theme, these reflections therefore highlight the progress of reform in Indonesia. Although many topics can be written regarding reformasi in Indonesia only democracy and political reforms are arguably having much more attention than other issues.

Having said this, I would like to shift the focus away from political reforms and democracy and reflect on the riots that took place in Indonesia. The riots shocked the international community and may have changed their views on the Indonesian people. To some extent, the riots may have confirmed the wide representation of Indonesian people as having an amok culture. The friendly, hospitable, and inclusive attitude can suddenly turn into vicious, violent, and barbaric acts. When one of the Bali Bombing perpetrators Amrozi had his picture taken in foreign media, people bewildered with his smile: how can he smile after killing innocent people? There seems no other alternative to explain this perplexing phenomenon but put it into a cultural category box called amok.

Not long after the riots which took place in Solo, Medan, Jakarta, and Surabaya, Indonesians were shocked to know that many people were burnt to death in malls and shopping centres. The government, however, labelled them looters. Quoting the government, media outlets played an important role in perpetuating the representation of people who were burnt to death in malls. In their headlines, looters emerged as a product of discourse on representation of poor people in Indonesia. Labelling them looters instead of victims will impact on how big was the state's responsibility for the dead people. Looters can be equated with criminals and with their deaths, the state should not be responsible for dealing with criminals.

Labelling them looters also denies the history of well-being of the poor in Indonesia. These "looters" are victims of structural violence stemming from unfair economic development. According to a report released by Jakarta based non-governmental organisation, Volunteer Team for Humanity, the total death toll was about 1200 people Tim Gabungan Pencari Fakta Kerusuhan 13-15 Mei 1998 (TGPF), Laporan Akhir Kerusuhan 13-15 Mei 1998, Jakarta, 23 Oktober 1998. available from:,
[Accessed at 8 May 2008]
. The majority of the dead were those who were trapped in the burning shopping centres.

What made the riot gaining more attention, however, was the rape of the Indonesian Chinese. The stories of rapes appeared publicly not long after the news of more than a thousand deaths in malls emerged. It was Jakarta based NGO, Volunteer Team for Humanity (Tim Relawan untuk Kemanusiaan-TRuK) that brought up the issue about the rapes. According to their report, hundreds of Chinese women were gangraped. Human Rights Watch, Indonesia: The Damaging Debate on Rapes of Ethnic Chinese Women, 1 September 1999, available from:, [Accessed at 10
May 2008].
Yet, this appalling news did not immediately receive sympathetic gestures. In fact, doubts were voiced publicly as to whether the rapes indeed had taken place.

In response to the rapes issue, the Indonesian Minister of Women’s Affair Tutty Alawiyah, for instance, contested the data provided by TRuK and asked for concrete proof regarding the mass rape. Karen Strassler, “Gendered Visibilities and the Dream of Transparency: The Chinese-Indonesian Rape Debate in Post-Suharto Indonesia”, Gender & History, Vol.16 No.3 November 2004, pp. 689–725. Similarly, Roesmanhadi the Chief of the Indonesian Police contended that the failure of providing "concrete data" meant that NGOs could be charged with disseminating lies. Ibid.

Responding to the furore over mass rapes as well as international pressure to deal with these rapes the Indonesian government formed a joint fact finding commission (Tim Gabungan Pencari Fakta Kerusuhan Mei 13-15) in which government and NGO were expected to work together to solve this puzzle. Although working within a strict time constraint, this commission finally completed its report and suggested that the riot was a result of political tension at elite level and worsening economic condition. The report, however, did not draw a conclusion that mass rapes were systematic violence but only confirmed that such acts happened simultaneously with the riot and that among those rapes were some that were carried out with particular purposes. TGPF, ‘Laporan Akhir’. For more discussion on TGPF, Jemma Purdey provides an excellent account on the dynamic within the fact finding commission. See, Jemma Purdey, ‘Problematizing the Place of Victims in Reformasi Indonesia: A Contested Truth about The May 1998 Violence’, Asian Survey, Vol. 42, No. 4, The Legacy of Violence in Indonesia, (Jul-Aug, 2002), pp. 605-622.

The raging debate over the mass rapes seemed to impact on the representation of the riots. Once the stories of rapes unfolded, discourse on rapes submerged the other gloomy stories such as those who were burnt to death in the shopping centres. During that time, "anti-Chinese" became a lexicon that is often used to understand the riots.

Indeed, anti-Chinese sentiment was played up at that time. But one should bear in mind that political marginalisation towards Chinese people throughout Indonesian history may have contributed to Indonesian peoples’ understanding of their identities. Anti-Chinese sentiments, in this respect were constructed in order to lay foundation of what constituted Indonesia or pribumi. When the riots took place, the anti-Chinese sentiments were played up in order to represent the violence as something natural which stemmed from the tension between pribumi and non-pribumi.

In other words, these urban poor were dead when they would like to loot things from Chinese stores. And the rapes were merely manifestation of frustration derived from imbalance economic status between Chinese and non-Chinese.

As one crucial element to understand violence are the victims, the existence of victims who died in shopping malls and Chinese victims could help us to deconstruct the representations of May 1998 violence. Yet, in doing so we should not be differentiating them based on racial lines as this will only perpetuate the New Order logic. What we should look at regarding the May violence is that race can be a powerful discourse in producing the knowledge of that violence. Only radical understanding of victims of May Riots which weighs much on the interrogation of dominant discourse may lead to a better comprehension on what happened in those three days of atrocities.

137 Comments on “May 1998 Jakarta Riots”

  1. avatar spew-it-all says:


    Do you mean we should accept amok as explanation?

    Have you read the fact finding report on May Riot?

    Let’s us not digressing the topic as it often happens in IM.

  2. avatar Berlian Biru says:


    “It’s one of very few Malay words to have entered common English usage, the other notable one being – ahem – orangutan…”

    Don’t forget “topi” as in solar topi, headgear much favoured by the pink faced gentlemen upon whose efforts great empires were built. Or for that matter “Mata Hari”, a word synonymous with beautiful if extremely wily ladies from the Malay archipelago who used their feminine charms to get what they wanted from sex starved European men. No, no racial stereotypes there then.

    @Kinch, I do believe you are my long lost twin brother (even down to the love of kretek smoke on arrival at S-H), except that you were the one blessed with the ability to write snappily and with verve and humour whilst I had to grind my teeth in frustrated sibling envy. I hate you but my therapist assures me another couple of years of two hundred dollar an hour sessions should enable me to adjust to the post structural violence I wish to inflict on you.

  3. avatar kinch says:

    Just to clear up a few points:

    ‘po-mo’ = post-modern. It’s a fairly well-accepted abbreviation, albeit one with slightly dismissive overtones.

    BB – according to the OED ‘topi’ came into the English language via Hindi… which would figure.

    The full name is in fact ‘sola topi’ – and for sola, I quote:

    ‘an Indian swamp plant of the pea family, with stems that yield the pith that is used to make sola topis. Aeschynomene indica, family Leguminosae.’

    Now that’s news to me too! I’d always thought it was in fact ‘solar topi’ too.

    Spew, this is your cue to write 10,000 words of random reflections on the semiotics of the sun, the head, the legume, malapropisms, Sanskrit Philology and Susan Sontag. But please don’t post it here :).

    (Would I have learned that it was ‘sola’ not ‘solar’ if I had not taken the metaphorical verbal baseball bat to Spew? No. Ergo smacking Spew led to the further edification and education of all. This, Dear Friends is true dialectical discovery. ‘Argument’ stimulates us to discover or learn new things.

    And by historical standards, it’s still quite a civilized form of debate: Spew is still alive, has not been relocated to Nusa Buru or the next life, does not have the FPI outside his/her front gate, and it is unlikely that he/she is suffering severe mental trauma from the experience.)

    You’re never going to write electrifying prose if you spend your money on therapy. The best plan is to actively stew in your juices and work on cultivating those psychoses. Unfortunately I won’t win any literary prizes from my padded cell in the asylum because the judging committees are populated by Spewalikes.

    Someone, as is often the case, waltzed in late in this discussion and gave the usual sermon on how we should all just get along and debate our differences in a less-confrontational style. I’m generally against ad hominem attacks myself – unless the person involved is objectively bad… NOT the case here with Spew. But it IS perfectly valid to hold certain beliefs / ideas / pracices / and yes, even cultural practices in *contempt*.

    It should be noted too, that the issue I began with and the one I felt most strongly about was something *Western* – Spew’s adoption of a mentally bankrupt Western mode of pseudo-intellectual discourse (i.e. po-mo blathering which says nothing). Bad things happened in 1998, and 65/66. Bad things happened because there is something quite rotten in Indonesian society. There’s something a bit wrong with the mob in general, and there is something very wrong with the people (left AND right who float/kill/bribe/cajole their way to the top of the cess pit of Indonesian politics and rule over it all). There is something festeringly wrong with a small part of the background culture. This needs looking into.

    Of course there are many good things about Indonesia and its people too. I am often very happy when in Indonesia. But there is some not inconsiderable heart of darkness and it needs to be looked at with clear eyes and not fogged over with left/right idealogical arguments or almost totally obscured by pseudo-intellectual obfuscations of the Spew kind.

    *This* is why I take objection to Spews original article. It says almost nothing about something which needs truly deep and profound thought and preferably a lot of self-reflection from Indonesians if they want to have a better country and more social progress.

    Unfortunately the kind of clear thought/dialectic I am talking about has never existed in non-Western societies, and for reasons of cultural decay and degeneracy is fast disappearing in the West too.

  4. avatar spew-it-all says:

    Bad things happened in 1998, and 65/66. Bad things happened because there is something quite rotten in Indonesian society

    What a statement! Can you elaborate more with more substantiated evidence? Saying something quite rotten in Indonesian society sounds like treating society as biological organism. You seem to hide behind humour or spew any random words rather than come out and talk candidly about the violence.

    Discussion has been going on for than two days, only few refer to data on the riots itself. The rest is just distracted by posmodern approach and did not consider the significant facts to understand the violence.

    How well do you understand the May Riot, how well do you know about Indonesia? I bet you are not Indonesian but that does not mean you can’t understand it.

  5. avatar kinch says:

    What is there to understand about the May Riots???

    Various bits of the Indonesian State apparatus, whether it was BIN, Kopassus, Suharto’s personal Dukun or whateverrrrr… for whatever reasons… whether to distract the mob from Suharto’s precarious position or to hasten his downfall or again whateverrrr… it simple DOES NOT REALLY MATTER BECAUSE AT THAT LEVEL THEY’RE ALL BAD… decided to stir up trouble against the Chinese. All it would have taken would have been a few provocateurs and the news then rapidly spreading about town that police and army were NOT taking strong action against rioters/looters for it to spread like wildfire. Why spread like wildfire as soon as everybody knew it was ‘open season on the Chinese’??? For the simple reason that a substantial percentage of pribumi in Indonesia do not like the Chinese and a substantial percentage of pribumi are also prone to acts of mob violence and then prone to conveniently forgetting about it afterwards. Some of the smarter ones, whilst not personally inclined toward violence have a tendency to be able to talk forever without actually talking about the crux of the matter – which is that a great evil was done… by ordinary people AS MUCH AS by the state. It has nothing much to do with issues of right / left…. it’s all about the fact that sometimes you guys just DO run amok.

    We all wish you would stop doing so. It’s not nice. Please don’t in future. But ultimately it’s up to you. And NGOs and academic studies and government commissions aren’t really the issue here. It’s a cultural malaise which can only be fixed by the Indonesian people… but your method of talking about it is obfuscatory in the extreme and seems to go out of its way to ignore the ‘elephant in the room’ – which is that there is something deeply nasty and racist (not to mention the unmentionable religion issue) at the core of the recurring anti-Chinese problem in your country.

    Which parts of this do you not understand?

  6. avatar timdog says:

    Unfortunately, some threads are doomed right from the start – I fear this is one such, which is why I can no longer be bothered with it. But spew should at least be proud of the amount of traffic it’s generated…

    I just had to slip back in to pass comment on one little grain of your last post kinch…

    The “unmentionable religion issue”? Hell, it’s far from unmentionable on this site; in fact, its endless mentionability is one of the more wearisome aspects of Indonesia Matters…
    I personally believe that in very many instances of conflict and tension worldwide, “religion” is a big, stinking red herring – even if it is declared to be a key issue by the participants…
    And I think that’s especially the case in Indonesia. Still, many contributors to this forum have latched onto its red, fishy smell and gone gallumphing off after it, hooting and honking like a pack of deranged sealions…

    But anyway, my point is that I realy, really don’t believe religion to be a contributing issue at all in anti-Chinese sentiment, not least because I have heard plenty of anti-Chinese sentiment from “pribumis” of all sorts of religious affiliation…
    In fact, it was with this idea in mind that I mentioned the reported attacks on Arabs in May 98 all the way back at the begining of this thread…

    p.s. – I always thought it was “solar” too – thanks for that – I’m going to look it up in Hobson-Jobson now…

  7. avatar kinch says:

    TD – I’m not particularly big on the religion issue myself as far as the present ‘Chinese Problem’ topic is concerned…. although being a religious as well as racial minority has probably not done the Chinese any favours.

    I wouldn’t go too far in discounting religion as a reason for why people do what they do. There’s a Western tendency to do this because WE are are post-religious and a good deal of us actually have various neuroses and prejudices about religion which we call ‘being enlightened’… sometimes we strive to find non-religious reasons for religions people doing things because we are trying not to see the elephant in the room. We whiteys can do that just as well as (say) Spew can if we’re not careful. But this is an aside… my thesis is that the ‘Chinese Problem’ in Indonesia is more a case of ugly racism + tendency toward mob violence amongst the general population.

    Having said that, it IS very interesting to note that the one country in South-East Asia where the Chinese minority HAS very successfully assimilated and is NOT the subject of widespread dislike and envy (despite being on the whole richer than the ‘natives’) is a Buddhist one.

  8. avatar kinch says:

    PS – I forgot…. there are two. The other country in SE Asia where Chinese generally don’t have problems is a predominantly Catholic one. So easy to forget the poor old Philippines… in some ways more of a socio-economic basket case than Indonesia… but one forgets them perhaps because they tend not to behave anywhere near so outrageously on the macro scale :).

  9. avatar timdog says:

    Kinch – at risk of honking and galuuphing in pursuit of another red herring I might sling into the ring the point that that particular SE Asian country – the one that even managed to elect an ethnic-Chinese prime minister – also happens to be the only one that was never effectively colonised by European powers and thus never subjected to the particular social traumas that that involves… honk honk! Hoot hoot! Gallumph gallumph! 😉

  10. avatar timdog says:

    Yeah, but who cares about the Phillipines? 😉

  11. avatar kinch says:

    TD – Certainly true that Thailand was never colonised per se… but it was a close run thing and for the 40 years before (say) 1920 was a de facto British Protectorate… notwithstanding the fact that I’d be thrown in the Bangkok Hilton or worse for saying as much in the middle of Sukhumvit Road.

    The British Embassy in Bangkok Used to be a magnificent thing with this huge anachronistic naval yard arm type flag pole. Doubtless this was erected back in the day to impress upon the natives that if they did not behave, HM’s gunboats would be coming up the river to teach them what for. Sad to say, it was dismantled only last year when they sold a large chunk of their embassy grounds (good way to lose national prestige/face, that) to a Chinese property developer.

    Plenty of Thai prime ministers before Thaksin (not to mention royalty) have had a touch of the Chinese equivalent of the tar brush going back centuries. There’s bits of Arab/Persian in some of the important old families too. I think you might be interested to do some research on the surname Bunnag. At one time the Bunnags were the most powerful family in the Kingdom – descended from some Persian adventurer.

    I’m not going to rise to the occasion regarding the colonialism red flag, but will just state my opinion for the record:

    I’m willing to accept that colonialism did all kinds of nasty things to the native psyche in various countries… however it’s all too often an excuse for all kinds of purely native failings. I mean in the case of Indonesia, it’s been what 60 years now and precisely what has been achieved apart from a few pogroms and deforestations? I used to know Chinese in HK whose parents crawled out of China and lived penniless in hillside shanties who got educated and got into the the mainstream swing of things and just got on with life and got their PhDs. I’m a bit wary of people who tend to live in the past and like to let old wounds fester. This happens too much in what I am still content to call the Third World.

    If things calm down a bit too much, I’ll start quoting Kipling (much misunderstood and maligned fellow, I might add).

  12. avatar timdog says:

    Ah, my dear sir, it seems we share so much, not least Kipling… I believe we may concur about him too. My personal motto is: “All things considered, there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who stay at home and those who do not. The second are most interesting.”
    And somewhere else on here, about Kipling, I said:

    I think that Kipling is not only a great writer, but also, rather than a mere jingoistic champion of empire, actually a remarkable sort of proto-hippie and a direct antecedent of the likes of Hesse in his literary approach to the “East”…
    I think it is interesting to compare him to E.M. Forster – as has often been done before, but in a new way… for I believe that Forster, the liberal, the anti-colonialist, actually despised India and Indians, and this comes across very much in his book on the subject. He approached “Asiatics” in a way that our dear Purba Negoro is familiar with – a remarkably modern way: tortured liberal condescension. Forster believed that Indians were his equal… and yet he could not accept it, he could not truly accept their equality to him, as he was at that very pinnacle of valour and enlightenment – Western secular liberalism. Thus as he condemned the very existence of colonialism his tortured contempt for the colonial subjects shines through…
    Kipling on the other hand approached India free from such tormented, angst-ridden hypocrisy – with deep and uncomplicated affection, and crucially, a sense of individual equality…

    I also like the way we are dancing around in thoroughly civilised fashion – “I say, old chap, I don’t want to argue, and by george! I’m not going to argue, but I must say…”

    And I don’t want to argue, what! but…

    Perhaps less significant in terms of Indonesia’s problems than the fact that it was colonised while Thailand was not, theoretically, is this: Thailand exists; it did exist, it does exist, it will exist.
    Indonesia DID NOT EXIST, quite frankly, it DOES NOT EXIST, and if it ever will exist remains doubtful… That, I believe, has a lot to do with problems it suffers, not least the apparent social malaise. I don’t refer only to simple issues of territorial absurdity; I also mean the sort of cultural schizophrenia that comes of being a member of a nation and a subscriber to a national identity that under close scrutiny simply dissolves like the mirage that it is… and colonialism is responsible for that… old chap… honk honk…

  13. avatar kinch says:

    I’ve nothing kind to say about EM Forster and what I could say would get me in big trouble down at the Blue Oyster.

    Re your thesis that the Indonesian Unitary State Does Not Exist. Bingo. Yes, we can pin most of the blame for this on Evil Whitey… although it strikes me that it’s always the native who over-extends our silly ideas and mistakes such as nationalism and post-modernism to the ridiculous nth degree. Not mentioning any names, of course.

    With hindsight, best to have left them in their various states of nature.

    Funnily enough, there is one magical form of societal spackle known to be good at filling vacuums created by splintered ethnic identities and erasing past historical artifacts and producing large masses of people who all point in the same compass direction at certain times of day. Expect to see more of it as the inherent contradictions of the nation which does not in fact exist manifest themselves.

    I also believe that the misbegotten nature of Indonesia’s birth also has a lot to do with the way it’s panned out these last 60 years. First getting an accidental leg up from the Japanese, then winning a half-assed war of liberation because various bigger Western dogs put the kibosh on Dutchy when he was actually winning the tactical fight on the ground… it was all a bit too easy. Had it been long, drawn out, and shall we say ‘character forming’, things might have turned out better.

  14. Someone up there was talking about the involvement of some sectors of Indonesian military in promoting the riots. There is something about that in this (PDF on-line) thesis:

    Ian WILSON – The Politics of Inner Power: The Practice of Pencak Silat in West Java

    Its main theme is pencak silat, including analysis of relations between Golkar, people like Pabrowo, and silat organizations like Satria Muda Indonesia, p.ex…

  15. avatar Berlian Biru says:

    It is odd how many times you hear Indonesians bemoaning the fact that they were colonised by the Dutch rather than the British and whilst patting oneself on one’s back for one’s obvious superior form of imperialism while at the same time being slightly embarrassed by such cultural cringe you can see the point.

    In a huge arc extending all the way from Iraq to New Zealand there was British rule, when it came time to wind up the business all that needed to be done was to carve up the various sections into nice new nations, with as little bloodshed as possible (does anyone else remember the episode of Yes Prime Minister where Sir Humphrey explains why there was such problems with a newly independent nation? “We should have partioned it, like India, Ireland, Palestine and Cyprus”, PM: “Why?”, “Well when we partioned them they had a civil war and while they were fighting among themselves we were able to slip away”, PM: “Was there always a civil war?”, “Well there was in India, Ireland, Palestine and Cyprus”).

    This was not the case with “Indonesia” (silly name too when you think about it, why define yourself as the “Indian Islands”?), its basic founding premise was “all the bits that the Cloggies own”. The sensible chaps at the Foreign and Colonial Office in Whitehall would of course have lumped Borneo, Sumatra and Java along with Malaya, come to some sort of deal with the Philippines over Sulawesi, unified Papua (now there’s a frightening thought), hived off the outer islands to have their own little parliaments a la the West Indies and everybody would be happy. Or not.

    Anyway, gents you do realise that we are treading in territory that could have us thrown in the clink for twenty years? To question the integrity of the Republik Indonesia is a very serious matter indeed. Remember, there was only one alternative on offer in 1945; a unitary republic, no other option could possibly have been achieved, run up the Red and White, sing out loud “Dari Sabang sampai Maraoke” and ignore the facts of history, it’s better that way.

    Indonesia Raya!

  16. avatar Deng Xiao Phing says:

    Indonesia Raya!

    berlian biru, do u know what ‘Indonesia Raya’ means ?
    I interpret it as independent (bebas dari penjajahan).
    How can you say that ?
    – look at the Porong mud volcano victims, they only left with pictures during SBY visits without clear solution, compensation & action from Lapindo / Bakrie / Gov’t.
    – look at the May 1998 riots, there is no prosecution to the culprit who orchestrated it
    – 10 years ago Rama – the vocal student activist from Univ Indo was very ‘garang’ on the street demanding for reformasi, today his tummy getting bigger, comfortably sitting in the sofa of MPR building, meetings here & there everyday – forgetful if the reformasi is going no where … economy at dip sh*t, politically amburadul too

    who can say we are merdeka ? so long the Sidoarjo citizen are being colonialized by Bakrie group and gov’t can not do about it, then we are entering to the new type of colonializm ….

  17. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    timdog said

    I personally believe that in very many instances of conflict and tension worldwide, “religion” is a big, stinking red herring – even if it is declared to be a key issue by the participants…

    What for some may seem a red herring is for others a red shark, even an elephant in the room. This doesn’t mean it is extant in every conflict or tension worldwide, but denying it in Indonesia’s case is willfully burying your head in the sand.
    But I agree with kinch that religion isn’t a contributing issue at all in anti-Chinese sentiment here in Indonesia. Fact is that in the place where I live anti-Chinese sentiment simply isn’t an issue at all, maybe also because I live in an environment where the presence of non-indigenous people has become a self-evident source of income and as such is no longer considered a threat.
    I don’t think it is possible to pinpoint one single factor that is determining for anti-Chinese violence. There are probably a multitude of reasons and each one of them certainly doesn’t carry the same weight. Some have already been mentioned by kinch: racism and a propensity for mob action, euphemistically labeled as demo-demo. I would like to add two more. First of all the ease by which Indonesians are manipulated by leading figures who are vested with authoritative powers, be it religious, political, adat, even charlatanic. The basic culture of Malays has never been one where insubordination or rebellion is given much positive evaluation, hence the free reign these figures have over the masses. A second and very ugly one is spite and jealousy, especially when it comes to economic circumstances. This is apparent – albeit mostly buried – on an individual level between members of the same neighbourhood and even more strikingly between different communities like desa and dusun. When on top of this a certain group differentiates itself by another keturunan, lifestyle, work-ethics and a sometimes distant and condescending attitude towards pribumis, nothing will stop the periodical outbreak of rage caused by frustration over the feeling of powerlessness and not being able to compete.

  18. avatar Hitam Tapi Cina says:

    I doubt the next election will significantly change Indonesia landscape at all.

    The future of the nation depends on whether you choose wisely or poorly.
    I know it’s like choosing among bad apples.
    Well, if you have better ideas, then you all should stand up and say it out loud so people can elect you as their representatives.

    Bad things happened in 1998, and 65/66. Bad things happened because there is something quite rotten in Indonesian society

    That something rotten are poverty, poor education and corruption.
    No secrets, even a 9 year old can tell.

    …..that Indonesia gov’t is ignoring the chinese minority citizen existance.
    Then why are you still living in Muslim Indonesia ?

    Thank God, not anymore.
    Thank’s to May 98 riot, it’s really an eye opener.
    I should have done it a decade ago. I would be a professor by now.

    If you are chinese (even though you looks ‘hitam’ skin) with chinese attitude & way of life……..

    You have been successfully brainwashed by Suharto and his cencorship on Indonesian history.
    It is the stereotype that Suharto wanted the public to see. Even I was fooled until recently I read the uncencored version of Indonesian history. Suharto knew that by segregating the chinese, it will be easier to control the whole nation just like the Dutch did very successfully for centuries.

    To open your eyes,
    Pribumi ancestors were in fact chinese who came from Southern China.
    The chinese have lived in and built most cities in Indonesia. Do you know that Batavia was built by chinese? They transferred their technology to pribumis and teach them to trade. Chinese also spread Islam in Indonesia, built many islamic kingdoms in Java and fought against the Dutch.
    I bet you never knew this.
    If you are an Indonesian moslem , most likely it is because the Great General Cheng Ho converted your ancestor centuries ago.

    THE BIG QUESTION now, do you still live in the past?
    Big disasters are looming in the near future.
    The world economy is crumbling down, no thanks to America.

    High oil price ]
    Loss of natural resources ]
    High food price ] cause economic crises and
    High rate of poverty ] cause riots and
    High rate of unemployment ] the cycle repeats again and
    Low rate of education ] again
    High rate of corruption ]

    360 years of Dutch colonization and 63 years of independence did nothing to break
    the cycle of poverty, corruption and crises.
    Still everyone is pointing fingers to chinese?
    What a shame.

  19. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Berlian Biru said

    Remember, there was only one alternative on offer in 1945; a unitary republic, no other option could possibly have been achieved, run up the Red and White, sing out loud “Dari Sabang sampai Maraoke” and ignore the facts of history, it’s better that way.

    Well, there was Piagam Jakarta and NII. Fortunately this didn’t realize (up till now).

    But we still have the option of the Reconquista of the great empire of Majapahit.

    Hiduplah Nusantara. Majapahit will rule again. Merde! Merde! Merdeka!

  20. avatar Lairedion says:

    Dewa said:

    But we still have the option of the Reconquista of the great empire of Majapahit.

    Hiduplah Nusantara. Majapahit will rule again. Merde! Merde! Merdeka!

    There are many Indonesians longing for the re-establishment of Majapahit.

    Dewa, if this means:

    – living up to the prophecy of Sabdapalon
    – abandon Islam
    – revert back to Buddhism, Shaivism, and Vaishnavism
    – a high degree of sophistication in both commercial and artistic activities

    then you have me.

  21. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:


    And on top of all that, every warung will sell babi guling.

  22. avatar Lairedion says:

    And on top of all that, every warung will sell babi guling.


  23. avatar Deng Xiao Phing says:

    and another one below which I cut & paste it from email circulation outbreak received yesterday … , do not let your family reiterate the trauma of May 1998 riot , just incase it will repeat the history again … coming soon will feature to the theatre next door your neighborhood … the Indonesian Riots Idol ….

    Dear Teman-teman,

    Kami dari sebuah komunitas kepemudaan di Jakarta, ingin memberitahukan kepada teman-teman sekalian, tolong disebar luaskan kepada sanak saudara, teman dan rekan sekalian bahwa kemungkinan tanggal 23 Mei 2008 akan terjadi demo besar2an yang ditunggangi oleh kepentingan politik dan lain2. Ketakutan kami adalah ter ulangnya kembali peristiwa mei 1998, karena menurut teman2 kami se komunitas beberapa sopir taksi sudah memberikan sinyalment adanya kerusuhan kembali tanggal 23 mei tersebut seiring dengan rencana pepemrintah menaikkan BBM. Kami himbau agar kita semua bersiap dan berdoa agar kerusuhan Mei 1998 tidak ter ulang kembali…

  24. avatar Deng Xiao Phing says:

    And on top of all that, every warung will sell babi guling.

    Hm … very sincere & honest statement from Dewa, it certainly motivates Deng to return back to try the Indonesian babi guling for sure … ‘pasti enak’

  25. avatar sputjam says:

    Dewa said –

    There are many Indonesians longing for the re-establishment of Majapahit

    I think you are wrong here. Only javanese longed for a majapahit empire/shere of influence. The malays would like to see sumatra/Malay peninsular and kalimantan under one rule.

  26. avatar Lairedion says:


    I said that and I said many Indonesians, not all. And for sure there won’t be many Malays supporting Majapahit.

  27. avatar Deng Xiao Phing says:

    hm … today fuels price increased 28.7% … why there is no riot in Jkt ? maybe the same culprits will sponsor it again as 10th year anniversary ? anyway … there will be no prosecution against rioters in Indonesia … isn’t nice ?

  28. avatar Enigmatic says:

    Deng Xiao Phing Says:

    May 24th, 2008 at 11:44 am
    hm … today fuels price increased 28.7% … why there is no riot in Jkt ? maybe the same culprits will sponsor it again as 10th year anniversary ? anyway … there will be no prosecution against rioters in Indonesia … isn’t nice ?

    Because the Government can’t afford to have another riot. All the Chinese living in Indonesia will say f*ck off to Indonesia. They will probably liquidate all their assets and leave the country for Singapore, PRC, USA, Australia, even Zimbabwe if need be… wherever our imagination can take us to but Indonesia. Myself included. I’ve promised myself to throw my Indonesian passport if the riots occur again. Maybe apply for Singapore citizenship since I’m studying here. Really.

    As for the prosecution of those responsible… Don’t count on it. Unless you run the government and decide to do something about it. The only thing we can do is not vote for those who were responsible at all into the Presidential seat next year. Any names? IM please respond thanks.

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing

    Edmund Burke

    dewaratugedeanom Says:

    May 21st, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    And on top of all that, every warung will sell babi guling.

    I don’t quite understand this one… Care to elaborate?

  29. avatar David says:

    IM please respond thanks.

    It’s not something I feel particularly qualified or capable of.

  30. avatar sputjam says:

    Riots against class line will always occur, even in china if the gap between the have and have not is too wide.
    In europe, these gap is somewhat minimised by taxation on those earning good income. The tax collected are used to provide free medical/education/social services to every citizen in need.
    In Indonesia, almost every top earning businessmen evade taxes. These includes foreign investors in coal mining and timber. So those who have nothing, got nothing from being a citizen. In fact, revenues from timber and coal mining never got back into indoneisa, but were paid directly into overseas accounts in financial centres.
    During the time of chairman mao’s great leap forward, tens of millions starved to death in china, a result of catastrophic central government planning. and later, during the cultural revolution, children turn their parents in to the for being anti-communist. The cultural revolution ended when the cadres started killing each other similar to those muslim fanatics killing other muslims for being unislamic.
    This was the time of one leader – chairman mao, and china have countless other leaders who committted similar attrocities.
    One of the reason why China is not on the list of countries indonesian chinese would like to migrate to.

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