My Friend the Fanatic

Jun 13th, 2008, in Society, by

Sadanand Dhume’s My Friend the Fanatic – Travels with an Indonesian Islamist.

My Friend the Fanatic – Travels with an Indonesian Islamist tells the story of Indian journalist Sadanand Dhume’s journey across Indonesia and his meetings with political, cultural, and religious figures in 2004, and is written from the standpoint that the country is being torn between two forces, globalisation and Islamisation, with the latter being seen as the stronger.

Fanatic Islamist

The “Fanatic/Indonesian Islamist” of the title is one Herry Nurdi (who has cropped up on this site once before – for his railings against sodomising Christian evangelists on campuses), Dhume’s paid travelling companion (he helps arrange access to interesting people and places), one time editor of the Muslim fundamentalist rag Sabili, and prolific author, with his published works showing a pre-occupation with Jews, conspiracy theories and George Bush, and including:

University of Islamic Studies (IAIN)
Sabili style.

  • Belajar Islam dari Yahudi (“Learning Islam from Jews” – seems to be a critique of the Orientalist approach to Islam)
  • Mossad (Behind every conspiracy)
  • Kebangkitan Freemason dan Zionis di Indonesia (“The Rise/Resurgence of Freemasonry & Zionism in Indonesia”)
  • Jejak Freemason dan Zionis di Indonesia (“Acts of Freemasons & Zionists in Indonesia”)
  • Lobi Zionis & Rezim Bush (“The Zionist Lobby & the Bush Regime”)

Although it seems Herry’s works are rather thin volumes and there is a suggestion in the book that they involve some amount of copy-paste.

Herry is therefore firmly on the lunatic fringe, although an important question that the book brings up is whether people like Herry really are the “lunatic fringe”, or to what extent their views are shared more widely among Indonesians.

On Herry and his type, and remembering that it is 2004, before or during the election, Dhume recounts the loathing such people seemed to have for Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – Herry has secret information that the Yudhoyono presidential campaign is powered by a “Christianity motor”, an Indonesian Christian (military)/American (and no doubt Jew) plot, and he even puts about a story that SBY’s mother was once a member of Gerwani, the practically satanic (in New Order propaganda terms) communist womens’ movement, and to advance his career SBY had disowned his mother and, er, gotten a replacement mother – one nasty attempt at a below the belt blow. (Herry and co. seem to have preferred General Wiranto, because at least his wife covered herself head to toe, unlike, say, Amien Rais’ spouse, who only wore a headscarf, and a colourful one at that.)

Sadanand Dhume
Sadanand Dhume

But, and it is an important but, Dhume’s portrait of Herry is told with some empathy and there clearly developed a friendship between the two of them, the devout Muslim and Islamist, and the atheist son of polytheists. Herry does not come across, usually, as the raving lunatic that the foregoing suggests but as an ordinary person with his share of contradictions, and he often seems quite likeable and reasonable.

People & Places

Dhume hears sort-of sexy singer/dancer Inul Daratista proclaim that she and her entire family are religious fanatics; hangs out with the avant-garde author Djenar Maesa Ayu and literary man Richard Oh in posh, degenerate Jakarta clubs; goes on a road trip across western Java with flabby Din Syamsuddin and an entourage of annoying young people; meets toothy Abu Bakar Bashir in his jail cell.

In Makassar the hard men of the Preparatory Committee for the Application of Sharia Law are interviewed; still in South Sulawesi he journeys to the district of Bulukumba (if Tangerang in Banten has “sharia lite”, Bulukumba can claim the heavier version); while a chapter on Batam begins with an almost moving, snippet-like description of the lives of two types of “Batam girls”, those who work in the factories, and those who work in the bars; …and plenty else besides.

Islam

What isn’t likely to endear this book to a lot of its target audience, i.e educated westerners, is the author’s evident disdain for at least some aspects of the Islam religion-culture, and one might not be able to help but think of V.S. Naipaul (Dhume brings the subject up himself), given that both Dhume and Naipaul are Indian writers who made good abroad, and with both, when they happened upon Indonesia, taking a fairly dim view of orthodox Islam’s gradual but, so it seems, quickening obliteration of the older cultural mix in the country, with I suspect in both authors’ cases this approach arising not from any real affinity for say, Javanese culture, but instead more from, again, a dislike of orthodox/Arabist Islam.

The jilbab (headscarf) issue comes up repeatedly, and unflatteringly:

…the cheaply earned moral smugness of the jilbab.

And

…shorthand in my mind for some education and little imagination

Visits to several Islamic schools are made, they being Gontor, Ngruki, one in Bulukumba, and the impression one gets is of people spending so much of their energy building more and more mosques, then walking to the mosques, going through the prescribed motions in them, and walking back from them, many times a day. Meanwhile the peoples of comparable nations like Vietnam, China and India are said to be beavering away learning science and building factories.

Preacher-entrepreneur AA Gym is interviewed, at a time before he disgraced himself by taking Alfarini Eridani for another wife, and comes across as a charlatan, if a not unlikeable one – if only people would look after their qolbu (hearts/souls), AA says, not just their brains,

everything is getting better

At Parangtritis beach, Yogyakarta, what to Dhume might be some of the last followers of Ratu Kidul, gather before

globalisation and Islamisation drive them to extinction

Boys at Gontor school say they have never seen Reog dances because the spectacle is to be avoided, it’s

mystic

Herry is one who embodies this

shrinking from their own culture

But perhaps to people like Herry, whether they think about it in these terms or not, Islam is simply a preferable, more complete, more appealing culture to what existed previously (and Islam is culture). Fine, but another, opposed view, what you might find in this book and in other places…, is a legitimate value judgement about culture-religion as well.

PKS

The overall message of the book is that Islamist political and cultural forces are gaining the upper hand in Indonesia, most starkly seen in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Justice Party (PKS) – the PKS is mentioned again and again, Dhume I think has the same “problem” as this site sometimes has – an over pre-occupation with what is still a fairly minor party.

It is said that South Sulawesi is a “stronghold” of the PKS, however it would be far more accurate to say that the province is a stronghold of Golkar, – and then it might be useful to examine to what extent Islamism has penetrated the ostensibly non-Islamist parties, but this aspect of political developments is not explored – it’s PKS this and that.

Amien Rais is said to have only placed fourth in the 2004 election “despite being backed by the PKS” – as if the support of the town-based university crowd of the PKS was ever going to get him anywhere near winning, ever going to win him votes in the Javanese parts of Java where the numbers are, and then, party backing is of little importance anyway in high turnout elections, that are essentially about personalities, which candidate is more manly, handsome, murah senyum, has the better PR machine, more funds, etc.

But a minor complaint. And the aspects of the book detailed here represent only small parts of the whole and, partly because it generally gels with my own views, and because it is a highly well written and entertaining read, My Friend the Fanatic is more than recommended. Available for pre-order at Amazon.


143 Comments on “My Friend the Fanatic”

  1. avatar kinch says:

    To further confuse things, by preempting TD’s answer to your question, I have in fact ‘jumped in’ – but I have not taken a dip.

    😀

  2. avatar Lairedion says:

    kinch said:

    Careful Lairedion, sounds like we might agree on something. You’d best reconsider quickly.

    I’m cool with that. Loads of other topics we can disagree on.

    @ Shloka,

    Timdog would be the last one to scare me off, the poor dude. This may come as a surprise to him but I still have leftist views on many issues like gender equity, gay/lesbian rights and especially animal rights and protection of nature and environment. But PC Bules like him have sold out issues like gender equity for the sake of befriending all kinds of Muslims. And now the political left in the West has been hi-jacked by their electorate of homophobic, misogynic Muslims, who are so-called “moderate” whatever that means.

    However I wouldn’t want to see you call it quits because your comments are highly appreciated by me and I’m sure many others here.

  3. avatar Richard Oh says:

    Achmad,

    Very insightful, my friend. To a lot of writers it’s all business I suppose. Or it’s certainly one way to get published internationally. It certainly panders to their delight to see much decadence and filth to be savored. I don’t feel duped, really. Just didn’t see this one coming at me. The feeling is more like being slimed. As for your bracketed reference, I’m in fact a lousy bookseller, one who stocks too many good books for my own personal interest rather than for the market.

  4. avatar kinch says:

    Has just been reviewed at Asia Sentinel.

  5. avatar timdog says:

    @Achmad – I intended merely to take a dip, but looking around I find myself treading water in the middle of the deep-end… not a problem at all; the temperature’s lovely and there are some attractive young ladies splashing around in the shallows… I do have concerns about some of my fellow swimmers though – there’s a nasty smell of urine in the water…

    @Lairedion – not only does it seem that you have misread several of my posts; you have also confused “leftist” with “liberal”. Leftism is a purely political school of thought covering things such as wealth distribution, taxation, government attitude to trade and industry and services etc…
    It is perfectly possible to be avowedly left-wing and utterly illiberal, mysogenistic and racist. Likewise it is perfectly possible to be right-wing and a libertarian and animal lover (see the glorious monstrosity that is the British Conservative Anne “no to fox hunting, yes to Jesus” Widdecombe)…
    Your views on gays and women would come under social liberalism not leftism (and not ecconomic liberalism either – that’s something else too)…
    As for “politically correct” – that is an utterly vacuous phrase which means absolutely nothing at all…
    I’m slightly alarmed by the “especially” that prefaces your concern for animal rights… you’re not one of those fruitcakes who rates oppressed battery chickens and third-world donkeys over people are you?

  6. avatar Lairedion says:

    timdog,

    You know what I meant to say but if you want to indulge yourself in correcting every single person here like some kind of teacher, go ahead I don’t care.

  7. avatar timdog says:

    Alright, my bad. I’m sorry for being all pompous on that one Lairedion – genuinely, sorry…
    But you did misread my earlier post and jump up instantly with pre-conceived notions…
    And “PC” is one of the most absurdly meaningless terms around…
    To be honest I’d like it if we went back actually to debating rather than just sniping at each other – it’s not very interesting…
    I guess you might be still upset that I called you Osama bin Lairedion… it was a passingly funny, but totally childish line that ultimately obliterated a valid point. I apologise for it, and for any other rude names. In return I just request that you read my posts carefully to check that I really have made a “PC bule” comment before responding (and I’d prefer “left-liberal bule”, or better still “anarcho-socialist bule” – those terms actually mean something)…

  8. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    @Richard,

    Bad bookseller — good for us, bad for your bottom line. 🙂 I’ve spent many happy hours at your premises perousing titles like “The Voyage of the Beagle,” by Charles Darwin. Can’t exactly seeing it being a big hit with the Ada Apa Dengan Cinta Gel Crowd.

    I think with Indonesia, the sad reality is that it’s a lot of hard work to make Western audiences care. There’s always been a high level of ambient interest in China and India. But where does Indonesia fit in ?

    Much as I don’t like post-modernism, the idea of a “meta-narrative,” or just “big story” , I think it explains the indifference. China and India have been “Great Civilizations” in the Western imagination, whereas Indonesia and Africa have been something else — not sure what, a tropical, oriental garden full of corruption, violence, sex, and volcanoes.

    Paul Theroux once wrote an essay called “Tarzan is an Ex Pat,” talking about how ex pats in Africa in the 1960s, saw themselves as heroic Tarzan like figures, swashbuckling their way through the jungle, righting wrongs. Alot of ex pats and foriegn journalists here, I think, are also Tarzans.

    Alot of the well-selling recent books with Indonesia in them have been about something else. Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, Krakatoa, Batavia’s Graveyard. Even Cameron Forbes’s book is really about Bali – and the idea of paradise in Western civilization – not about Indonesia at all. One beautiful book about Indonesia — Joel Tesoro’s the Invisible Palace, is hardly moving off the shelves, I hear.

    Mr. Dhume’s stuck in Washington D.C. They say journalism jobs are disappearing. He probably doesn’t want to do financial news websites or Bloomberg. The option left would probably be foreign policy think tanks.

    Gotta play to the gallery.

    Give the guy some credit, though. He finished the damn thing. And there’s probably a lot of damn fine writing and reporting in it — the beauty of the scene-by-scene style is a book can be off the mark, but alot of observations valid, even if they add to something one thinks is distorted.

    This coffee’s almost empty. Must fill it up. Good luck with the bookshop – and all those beautiful new writers who seem to have launches at QB. : P Sometime, perhaps I will give a Ukuele recital there.

  9. dear achmad sudarsono,

    sounds like you know my c*nt very well. anyway, you are most welcome.

    djenar maesa ayu

  10. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Hi Djenar,

    I can’t say that I do, except what’s been written about it by you. In any case, I wasn’t referring to you per se, just to c*nts and clits in general which seem to feature heavily in writing by some Indonesian woman writers, including yourself. I wonder if there isn’t any other lurid imagery in a country like this to focus on.

    I ‘spose the main point is that the shock value of a woman saying the c-word wears off after a while, ‘specially as people like Germaine Greer did it in England about 40 years ago.

    Otherwise, I hope you don’t take the comments personally, just in the spirit of intellectual exchange. If I’d known you were going to read the blog, I’d have been softer in my choice of words, as finishing a short story, book, or novel is always a drudge, especially with a family or job on the side. Kudos to you on that.

    Achmad.

  11. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    P.S. — Just to clarify deployment of the c-word, which some people don’t like. The ’60s feminists, including Germaine reclaimed the c-word, with Germaine famously calling on people to send in pictures of their c–nts to Oz magazine.
    It’s a very different use of the word to that you’d hear in a sports bar or at a fight outside a bar in Sydney.
    I meant it in the Germaine sense of the world. Just wanted to say I appreciate if people don’t like it — including Djenar. (Sorry if that’s the case, I meant it in a literary sense), in which case, perhaps Patoeng could just snip that comment ?
    Djenar — wouldn’t normally chop and change, but different here given the multiple meanings of the c-word. Didn’t want to cause any personal hurt.
    Achmad.

  12. avatar timdog says:

    Achmad! Stop back-peddling!
    I am very much enjoying watching this outbreak of literary bickering and enjoying your contributions to it most of all. Don’t come over all soft just because the lady herself has turned up (she handled it fabulously anyway).
    Believe in yourself little man – grasp firm the ukelele, stop grovelling, stop being a c*nt…

  13. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Hi Tim,

    Not back peddling. Just defining my terms.

    Various meanings attached to c*nt. It’s reasonable if people don’t like it as a hate word. I also wasn’t referring to Djenar’s person, just the images of c*nts in her writing.

    Whilst I think Ibu Djenar over-uses lurid sexual imagery, I don’t want her to feel bad.

    If she realizes I’m using it in the Germaine Greer sense, then fine. But even the most confident writers can be sensitive to trash-talk, so just wanted to soften the tone if Djenar was reading it herself. If she doesn’t mind, then we can fire away.

  14. avatar kinch says:

    She seems not a bad sort, so I can’t imagine any major objections to her giving us all a peek 😀

    Germaine Greer, on the other hand… the horror! the horror!

  15. avatar timdog says:

    I was just deeply disappointed to find the Achmad of my imaginings replaced by a soft-talking gentleman, eager to soothe and appease “sensitive” writers… all writers are c*nts anyway…

  16. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Tim,

    OK. OK. I admit it. I’ve offered to write a libretto for an Operatic version of Mereka Bilang Saya Monyet by Djenar, accompanied by 50 ukueles, produced by Richard Oh.

    I’ve also nominated myself for this year’s Khatulistiwa award for a forthcoming, yet-to-be-written, book in Indonesian called “metode-metode keseksian,” and wanted Uncle Richard’s endorsement.

    Kinch ! C’mon — that’s the kind of thing I meant.

  17. avatar timdog says:

    Ahhhhh! That’s better! Thanks Achmad – my spiritual balance is restored; I can procede with my working day now…

  18. avatar kinch says:

    Perhaps we need to set up a kind of Pseud’s Corner or Dilettante’s Delight sub-forum where long words score triple points and ability to expound and hold a wine glass at the same time earns the respect it so deserves.

  19. avatar Lairedion says:

    timdog,

    No need to apologize. You can call me whatever you want. I do value a good exchange of name calling. Personally I’m not upset with you calling me Osama but keeping in mind the victims of various terrorist attacks I thought it wasn’t funny at all.

    In return I just request that you read my posts carefully to check that I really have made a “PC bule” comment before responding (and I’d prefer “left-liberal bule”, or better still “anarcho-socialist bule” – those terms actually mean something)…

    The need to look for an PC Bule comment before responding is irrelevant. If dewa, Shloka or me criticizes Islam you label us as part of the problem and the same kind of person as Osama. That’s a PC response and you know it.

    What’s more important to you, being an anarcho-socialist bule? Fighting discrimination or fighting ideologies advocating discrimination? If you are really sincere why don’t you show your true colors, timdog? Plain and simple without the elitist intellectual smoke curtain. I have no problem to do that. You can disagree with my views and I’m cool with that. If you admit you are PC you have my full respect and we can have healthy and to-the-point discussions afterwards.

    And I still prefer to call you a PC Bule. Your wish for not to be called PC is quintessentially PC. Also I believe a true anarcho-socialist is opposed to or at least critical to any kind of religion and not afraid to address any issue straightforward.

  20. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Kinch,

    No way. Plain, or if you can manage it, elegant English. Most people should just stick to the way they talk or self-consciously use simple words.

    Laird, Tim – can we get back on topic ?

  21. avatar Lairedion says:

    Ok Mas..

  22. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Lairedion

    And now the political left in the West has been hi-jacked by their electorate of homophobic, misogynic Muslims, who are so-called “moderate” whatever that means.

    The political left wasn’t only hijacked by their newly targeted electorate of homophobic, misogenic Muslims to replenish their dwindling number of voters since the end of the cold war. The political left, which originally came into being as a vehicle to promote participation of power for the lower classes and redistribution of wealth among the masses, has since long also been hijacked by a certain class of intellectuals who used the movement of the left as a platform for their own agenda of reform which an sich was diametrically opposed to most Islamic values. (Note: with the exception of egalitarianism, but the equality propounded by Islam is only an equality before god, an incompatible notion for most leftist intellectuals who are staunchly irreligious.) Since their classic power base of the working class had shifted to the centre and even to the right and was replaced with the new proletariat of mostly Muslim immigrants, they had to twist their views and policies into a paradox to conform to the adamant paradigm of this new constituency. Briefly, in order to subsist the intellectuals had to betray their own convictions and this resulted in the rise of the PCB (Politically Correct Bule) syndrome.
    Ross has also dedicated an opinion piece to this “Treason of the Intellectuals”.

    timdog

    @Shloka – I am slightly disturbed by the sensation that you are now doggedly pursuing me from thread to thread; honoured that I should have provoked such a reaction, but slightly alarmed nonetheless.

    Shloka is an Indian tigress, mate. Once she’s at your throat she won’t let go. You have two options: either give in or it’s ‘run, bule, run’. Begging for mercy won’t help. You are warned.

    Absolutely right, but both VS Asshole and Amien Rias are wrong about why – and it’s got nothing to do with Islam (or at least has no oppertunity to get as far as discovering if Islam is a help/hinderance in those respects)…

    I assume VS Asshole is meant as a pseudonym for VS Naipaul, the Nobel Prize winner. I never had the chance to read his books but someone called VS Asshole by timdog must certainly have some merits. 🙂
    I’ll start reading tomorrow.

    @ all

    Sorry if my posts don’t always refer directly to the latest ones. My ‘professional duties’ don’t allow for a ‘permanent connection’ so I always have to look out for another ‘hot spot’.

  23. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Richard Oh said

    Bear in mind that Mr Forbes blames the Balinese for their Bali Ajeg attitude and the Indonesian as fearlessly as he does to his own country.

    What’s wrong with the Bali Ajeg attitude?

  24. avatar kinch says:

    Pak Sono… Depletor of Djarums, Ustad of the Ukelele:

    Brevity is my middle name.

    You may have misunderstood my purpose. I was merely proposing a scheme for the alleviation of the suffering of the various Intellectual Hot House Flowers of Batavia – there should be a place where they can graze peacefully – safe from the depredations of Dastardly Dhumes.

  25. avatar kinch says:

    Not a bad mixed metaphor as mixed metaphors go.

  26. avatar timdog says:

    A f*cking glorious mixed metaphor if you ask me kinch…

    Lairedion, to be entirely honest it’s “unreconstructed (and deeply un-PC) old-school orientalism welded to socialist political principles meets pure-anarchism tempered by liberal pragmatism bule”, but call me what you want – you can even call me c*nt if you want…

    Dewa – VS Asshole, like all writers, is a c*nt…

    Mas Achmad, back on track now, I promise…

    Richard Oh – were you not, are you sure you were not, rather flattered and excited to experience the enormous ego boost of having a plucky little Indian with a notepad follow you and your chums around as if your life was of some kind of special significance? I’m sure I would have been – and I’m sure I would have deserved everything I got had that been the case…

  27. avatar mirax says:

    I am struck by the casual racism displayed by Achmand, Timdog and Richard when referring to Dhumes’s ethnicity. Let’s see :

    Can’t help thinking Mr. Dume, rumored to be a high-caste Indian, is squeezing Indonesian Islam into a slot to which it just doesn’t fit.

    and

    one can’t help but think here’s another Indian trying to sound smart with his world view

    and

    having a plucky little Indian with a notepad follow you and your chums around

    and

    I also think you should be up front about your background — Hindu ? High caste ? Family history with Islam ?

    What relevance has Dhume’s ethnicity or ‘caste’ to this discussion? You fellas have some chip on your shoulders! Very revealing mindset, especially as Achmad prudishly turns on Djenar for ‘overusing lurid sexual imagery’. Dear boy, do you know your squeamishness is echoed by, yikes, indian, men in south India who are very, very upset that some women poets – a muslim, dalit and and a garden variety hindu – have had the effrontery to write about their own breasts, c*nts, not to mention somewhat inadequate male partners?

    It is also striking how much dhume’s book is disparaged by those of you who have yet to read it – and how reflexively you assume bad faith motivations on the part of the writer. Maybe this kneejerk insecurity is the reason why ‘western imagination’ doesn’t give you what you assume to be your due place…?

    Rather than rant about Naipaul, Dhume et al you brilliant people have the option of picking up the pen and scribbling your own odes to yourselves, your country and civilisation, you know. Don’t use the victim narrative of what ‘sells’ in the neo-liberal global world order as an excuse to not take up the challenge, please. Some of us can see through that.

  28. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Mirax,

    Fair enough on the call about picking up the pen. As mentioned, probably a lot of damn fine writing and reporting in the book. Not available here yet.

    As for the rest of your post — Friend, get a grip.

    Ethnicity has a lot to do it. If you’d spent any time in the real world instead of navel gazing in libaries or chat rooms, you’d know how condescending, certain types can be. See Paul Theroux’s comments on Naipaul. See Naipaul’s comments on Indians, for that matter (all those defacating Brahmins!)

    As for what “sells” — what is this – a comedy routine ? Try a Google search on China or India vs Indonesia. Try a story count in the NYT or Washington Post.

    Before commenting on the “lurid sexual imagery,” — I’m not affronted, just a little bit bored by all the clitty talk. Stories to me about daughters fellating their Dads just doesn’t shock me that much. An intelligent comment from you probably would.

    Your friend – always – Achmad.

  29. avatar mirax says:

    Ethnicity has a lot to do it. If you’d spent any time in the real world instead of navel gazing in libaries or chat rooms, you’d know how condescending, certain types can be. See Paul Theroux’s comments on Naipaul. See Naipaul’s comments on Indians, for that matter (all those defacating Brahmins!)

    So you clearly acknowledge that over 1 billion indians should be judged not by their words and deeds but by their skin pigmentation and ‘caste’, not to forget family history? Jeez no wonder you lot of backwater indos – see how easy this is!- have no problems chasing and cutting down your chinese citizens when the bloodlust seizes you!

    Naipaul is an intensely unpleasant man – condemned by his own descriptions of how he has treated his friends and family – but that has NOTHING to do with his work , especially the bit (and it was a very small bit) that dealt with Indonesia. It is easy to dispute his views without bringing his personality or ethnicity into the discussion, if you are capable of a reasoned critique rather than cheap shots.I hate some of his views but still think it presumptuous to to dismiss the entire body of his work based on his personality.

    Also, don’t be too quick to knock libraries and learning – sshh , a secret … some part of that is absolutely crucial to creating a world-class civilization and selling yourself to others. The millenia old sinic and indic influences on Se asia werent imposed by imperialism but eagerly sought out by your ancestors.

    You yourself display a fine, almost-indian sense of condescension towards me, 😉 as you do towards the woman writer. Too late achmad dear, you have already revealed yourself as a bit of an ass. Though all that ukelele virtuosity is somewhat redeeming.

  30. avatar Shloka says:

    Achmad, you’re absolutely right about Naipaul’s comments about Indians. When asked what the dot worn Indian women’s foreheads symbolize, he said,” It means my head is empty.” When asked about his ancestral land India, his origin homeland Trinidad and his naturalized land England, he quipped,” India is unwashed, Trinidad unlearnt and Britain is morally bankrupt.” So for all the Indonesians offended with Naipaul, you’re not the only folks he picks on!

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