Call Like An Egyptian

Apr 30th, 2012, in Featured, News, World, by

Are Egyptian mosques' call to prayer a role model for Indonesia's?

Vice President of Indonesia, BoedionoGiving a speech at a conference of the Indonesian Mosque Council, Indonesia's Vice President, Dr Boediono, made this comment about the call to prayer (a.k.a. adzan) at Indonesian mosques:

I feel, and perhaps other people feel the same thing, that adzan with lower volumes and heard from long distances will touch our hearts more than the hard, loud ones.

The Vice President has a reputation for avoiding controversy, but didn't stop there. Despite the potentially hostile audience, he also suggested that calls to prayer were "too loud", and their volume needed to be limited/regulated.Jakarta Post

In discussion of Boediono's speech, Indonesian mosques' calls to prayer were compared to those in Egypt. It is said that Egyptian mosques' calls to prayer have been "centralised", meaning that mosques can no longer broadcast their own call to prayer, only transmit a call to prayer broadcast by a government radio station.BBC This new policy was instituted after a 2004 letter to the Egypt's Ministry of Religious Endowments, complaining that the excessive volume of mosques' calls to prayer ruined its true spiritual significance.BBC

Should Indonesian mosques walk call like an Egyptian mosque?

I asked a friend who has lived in both countries (and currently resides in Cairo) about his experiences in this area:

1. How successfully have Egypt's new regulations on calls to prayer been enforced? Have you noticed any real difference?

They have never centralised the call to prayer.

They planned to, ran some trials, but general lack of enthusiasm and the revolution stopped any actual progress.

There has been no enforcement, no change at all. Everything is as loud as it once was.

The places that do it are Istanbul (Turkey) and Damascus (Syria), but I'm not 100% sure.

2. Where are the mosques louder - Indonesia (Jakarta) or Egypt (Cairo)?

Mosques are very loud in Cairo, but pretty loud in Jakarta, too.

From memory, Jakarta has fewer mosques than Cairo, where they are in every 3rd building or so it seems.

3. In both countries, is there any difference in mosque volume between larger cities and smaller cities, or more/less prosperous parts of Jakarta/Cairo?

Volume of the call to prayer essentially depends on how much money they have for amplifiers and speakers. More mosques in Cairo means louder volume.

Mosques are funded by the government, so they fund them in both poorer and richer areas.

Egyptian Call to Prayer

So, in reality Indonesian mosques already/still call like an Egyptian.


77 Comments on “Call Like An Egyptian”

  1. avatar Yaser Antone says:

    Its true that Bahasa Malaysia was heavily influenced by English, but not in case of bahasa Melayu. Bahasa Melayu and bahasa Malaysia are not identical. In Indonesia Bahasa melayu is spoken widely throughout coastal areas. Bahasa Melayu was influenced heavily by Sanskrit and Arabic not English.
    In case of Bahasa Indonesia, it self is nearly a sinthetic language. It borrowed heavily from Sankskrit, Arabic,Dutch,Javanese,Sundanese, Melayu, English, and Persian.
    Its so strange that Bahasa Indonesia can adopt vocabulary from the freakest language on earth namely Dutch.
    I used to learn Dutch when studied law (recht) in university, I got severe cough, the doctor advised me to quit speaking Dutch. My granpa told me, even Dutch themselves rarely used Dutch in daily life, they speak a kind of bahasa Indonesia (Melayu ) to pribumi and among themselves. Dutch were realistic enough not to teach the pribumi this “throat tormenting ” language.

  2. avatar Arie Brand says:

    What does the big (1352 pp.) Malay “Kamus Dewan” (Kuala Lumpur, 1970) say of this. Of the list I gave it marks only two words (gelas, tradisionil) as being of English origin. And even this is dubious because the Dutch equivalents (glas, traditioneel) are very similar.

    For the rest it does not list ateret, bengkel, buncis, hotperdom, kortsletin, kurs, panci, panekuk, peci, ritsletin, sakelar, sekrin, skorsing, selokan, setrika, sokbreker, spanduk, spooring, sprei, wastafel, zadel. I believe all these words to be of Dutch origin.

    The dictionary marks the following words as specifically Indonesian: dinas, arsip, ember, kakus, kantor, karchis, pelopor, persneling, sepor, setir and sekrup – the Dutch origin of these words is clear.

    The dictionary indicates the following words as of “European” origin: arloji, komplit, kulkas and pedal – these words too seem to me to have arrived in Indonesian via Dutch.

    The dictionary does not indicate any specific origin for berita, buku, dongkrak, duit, gaji, kopi, lachi, losmen, paraf, pereman, persekot, pikir, prahoto, praktek, salem, sekolah, senar,tapelak – my story is becoming monotonous, dear reader. These words too seem to me of Dutch origin except for the word pikir (fikir) that has, in fact, come to Dutch from Indonesian. And it is unclear whether salem comes from English (salmon) or Dutch (zalm).

    One word of the series is marked in this dictionary “sj” – an abbreviation that has remained dark to me though it is in the “kependekan” indicated as sa-jenis.: lampu.

    The rest of the words (quite a few) are clearly marked as “IB” (Indonesia-Belanda).

  3. avatar Arie Brand says:

    P.S. When I say “I believe these words to be of Dutch origin” I merely confirm, of course, what those who have a thorough knowledge of both languages have long since established.

  4. avatar timdog says:

    Yup, I think you’d find that Arie’s right on the words being almost all Dutch rather than English loanwords. Hell, even our little sock-ironer said something almost sensible on the matter…

    Malay was already the lingua franca of maritime Southeast Asia when the first Europeans arrived, and the Dutch were well entrenched in certain parts of Indonesia before the British had much of a presense in Malaya.
    Malay was the lingua franca that these Dutch generally used to speak to “the natives”, and before very long many of them were speaking it amongst themselves. It’s well attested that until the early 19th century many “Dutch” women in Java, the wives of Dutch men, could not speak Dutch, and that Malay was their first language (most of the women were actually Indo-European, of course)…

    So anyway, the point would be that the English-influenced Malay spoken in what is now Malaysia wouldn’t really have had any influence on the Dutch-influenced Malay that formed the basis for modern Indonesian…
    Indonesian Malay was already being influenced by Dutch probably earlier than Malaysian Malay was being heavily influenced by English.

    Nobody’s mentioned the contributions of Portuguese – mentega, jendela, bendera, meja, minggu, gereja…

    Loanwords are fascinating for what they can tell you about history. The origin of a particular loanword gives you a good clue as to who it was that first introduced a particular thing to a place – most people would have realised that it was the Portuguese who built the first churches in the archipelago, but not necessarily that they also brought the first butter…

    And bread-related words – gandum, roti – those ones come from India…

  5. avatar berlian biru says:

    Portuguese who built the first churches in the archipelago, but not necessarily that they also brought the first butter…

    Or indeed were the first to wear shoes or have festivals.

    Point taken on the influence of English originally on old Malay, of course the amount of English in present day BI is a different matter.

  6. avatar Arie Brand says:

    I tried to track down some Malay loan words in Portugues (“palavra malaio incorporada a Portugues”) but only found listed: pire, bule, catri.

    I was more successful with English: amok,compound(kampung), cockatoo, cassowary, durian, dugong,gecko,gingham (ginggang), ketchup,launch (lancar),mandarin (mantri), orangutan, paddy, sarong, tea.

    Indonesian loan words can come in handy. In the late fifties I tried to get butter in a small village in central Spain. I tried English, French and German only to meet with blank incomprehension. In despair (I like butter) I finally tried the Indonesian word “mantega” and, to my surprise, a great light spread over the face of the shop keeper.”Ah, mantequilla” she said. Until then I hadn’t realised that this was a Portuguese loan word.

    The compilers of dictionaries must often be faced by the question whether to include a loan word or not. I once tried to buy binoculars in Indonesia and checked up on the word in Echols & Shadily which gives “teropong”. But with that word I evoked a similar reaction as, so many years ago, with the first bit of my butter query in Spain. However, when I described what I wanted the shop keeper suddenly said “Oh keker”. If I had used the Dutch word “kijker” from the start I could have saved myself that trouble.

    Why do Echols & Shadily not list it as at least a second translation? They do give the word in the Indonesian-English dictionary they compiled, which seems a bit inconsistent.

  7. avatar Riki Purnomoz says:

    Bludak = Bloedig

  8. avatar berlian biru says:

    Perhaps what is most odd is not that there are so many Dutch words in Indonesian but that, give or take a thousand or so household, transport and administrative terms, there are so few.

    One of the most notable things about the three centuries or more of Dutch dominance of the archipelago is just how completely it all vanished. Beyond a network of murky canals in Kota there is no way of knowing that the Dutch were ever here.

    The British and French had huge impacts on their colonies which resonate to this day. The Spanish also, even in the Philippines where the language failed to survive. Tiny Portugal’s influence is still felt in their imperial spots around the globe to the extent that Timor Leste even chose Portuguese as their language.

    But if you didn’t know, there is absolutely nothing to show that Indonesia was once a Dutch colony, indeed the only way you would know would be in reverse by looking at the population of the Netherlands today. Indonesia has had more influence on modern Holland than vice versa.

    The Dutch simply vanished without trace in the Indies, I wonder why that was.

  9. avatar Arie Brand says:

    The Dutch simply vanished without trace in the Indies, I wonder why that was.

    Keep wondering. One day it might lead to you making an effort to inform yourself before you speak.

  10. avatar berlian biru says:

    Arie, old chum, much though you’d like to convince yourself otherwise, there is simply no indication in modern day Indonesia that the Dutch were ever here, much less ruled the place for almost three centuries.

    None.

  11. avatar Arie Brand says:

    I used to learn Dutch when studied law (recht) in university, I got severe cough, the doctor advised me to quit speaking Dutch. My granpa told me, even Dutch themselves rarely used Dutch in daily life, they speak a kind of bahasa Indonesia (Melayu ) to pribumi and among themselves. Dutch were realistic enough not to teach the pribumi this “throat tormenting ” language.

    Yaser Antone – sorry to disagree with your Granpa – the “totoks” spoke “ordinary” Dutch among themselves. In Eurasian society “Indisch” Dutch was spoken that, depending on the education of the speakers, was to a greater or lesser extent influenced by Malay.

    It is true that Dutch was not taught in ordinary primary schools. It was, however, in “elite” primary schools such as the H.I.S. and, certainly, in all forms of high school education. In those high schools providing access to university studies students had the same Dutch program (and English, French and German as well) as students in similar schools in Holland. This was because of the so-called “concordance” principle which insisted on complete equality between similar forms of “colonial” education and those in Holland. The nationalist leaders of the first hour (Soekarno, Hatta, Sjahrir) spoke excellent Dutch. Sjahrir even wrote a book in that language: Indonesische Overpeinzingen (Indonesian reflections).

    Hatta complains in his Memoir about that insistence on Dutch even in the Japanese period::

    …mengenai nasib murid-murid sekolah guru menengah H.I.K., yang di zaman Belanda telah duduk di kelas tertinggi, tetapi tidak diangkatn menjadi guru, karena angkanya untuk Bahasa-Belanda cuma 5. Untuk vak-vak lain murid-murid itu mencukupi pengetahuanya. Yang mengherankan ialah Departemen Pengajaran masih saja mengambil ukuran yang lama, tidak mau mengangkat murid-murid itu menjadi guru karena kurang cakap berbahasa Belanda. Apakah masih saja Bahasa Belanda yang menjadi ukuran kecakapan? Tetapi sekiranya di antara Pegawai Departemen masih ada yang berpikir begitu, sebaik-baiknya diadakan koreksi dari atas.

    (1979 : 424)

    .

  12. avatar Oigal says:

    Tiny Portugal’s influence is still felt in their imperial spots around the globe to the extent that Timor Leste even chose Portuguese as their language.

    Portugese as the official TL language had more to be with what was left of the Tim Tim leadership after the invasion doing a runner to Mozambique and such places not the least being Mari Bim Amude Alkatiri. Despite less than 20% of the population being in anyway fluent in the language Timor was keen to drawn a line through the language of the Invaders and at the same time was very keen to not be seen to be drawn in a Australian puppet as silly as that notion was.

    At the time of the second Independence nutty Indonesian Nationalists were declaring that TL had become an Australian state proven by the fact Australian telephone numbers were being used (Glossing over the fact the military barbarians and their militias had trashed the exchange and every mobile tower aling with every other piece of infrastructure in a fit of sulks on the way out). Tetum was not an option as besides the fact that regional dialects are just about impossible to cater for, technically the language was not suitable in the short term for educational/trade purposes.

    Having said that the reality is that a mixture of English, Tetum and BI is the dominant means of communication and Portuguese will eventually die a unnatural death on the island.

    As an aside, on of the funnier incidents after the introduction of Portuguese occurred at Customs when all the new forms came out in the language.

    “Sorry I cannot understand this”

    Customs Officer “Sorry neither can I, maybe my dad could”

    So we had the situation of myself filling out forms I could not understand with a Customs Officer taking those forms having no idea what was written on them or what should be written on them.

  13. avatar berlian biru says:

    Despite less than 20% of the population being in anyway fluent in the language

    So after three decades of extremely forceful attempts to eradicate its former colonial identity and despite the fact that prior to the Indonesian invasion the Portuguese had to all intents and purposes forgotten about their colony, one in five Timorese still spoke Portuguese fluently.

    My point that “tiny Portugal’s influence is still felt in their imperial spots around the globe” stands.

    What proportion of Indonesians spoke fluent Dutch in 1975?

  14. avatar Arie Brand says:

    there is simply no indication in modern day Indonesia that the Dutch were ever here, much less ruled the place for almost three centuries.

    The very fact that there is ONE Indonesia, the administrative structure, the basic framework of law, the railway-network (very little has been added since colonial times), what remains of the roads in upcountry Java and elsewhere (to begin with the Jalan Daendels or Jalan Pos) etc..

    Much has changed, that’s true. How much can be gauged from a statement by that seasoned British traveller Colonel Ronald Bodley (see Wikipedia) whom I have quoted before:

    Not only is Java far in advance of anything in Algeria, and Batavia as up-to-date as the best of the cities in French North Africa, but 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-theartres, swimming baths, shops, markets, factories, sportsgrounds, 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.

    Bodley, R.V.C., Indiscreet Travels East (Java, China, and Japan), Jarrolds, London,1934, p.35

    BB, I would rather say that to somebody else – somebody who is not convinced that he knows “how this place was run” together with much else.

  15. avatar Oigal says:

    The Dutch left Indonesia in 1975? Well that’s going to ruin a few national day brochures.
    It’s also disingenuous to use the stats like that, in fact under the age of 50 then fluent speakers of Portuguese would be more in the order of 1 in 50 with less and less as the age dynamics lowered. Although I thought that be one of those self evident truths that get bandied about here.

    As for forgotten about their colony, far from it (and I am no supporter of the ports) in fact up until 1975 Portugese children were still taught the tallest Portugese mountain was … (sorry forget the name starts with T) about 50km out of Dili. There were also of course vast viable plantations also under Portugese control which ended up firstly in the hands of the chosen ones from Indonesia and later reverted to the new Goverment of TL.

  16. avatar Riki Purnomoz says:

    Why did the Dutch influence vanish in Indonesia ?
    1. The Dutch are the most racist horde on earth ( they practiced the pure form apartheid).
    2. Post independence blunder. ( The dutch tried to conquered independent indonesia with Marshall Plan money, in fact they did nothing when Indonesia was invaded by japan, even they culdn’t resist german more than six weeks to defend their own teritory),
    3. The true blood Dutch never felt at home in tropical Indonesia because of their special designated skin properties.
    4. 99,79 % Indonesian hate them.
    5. The Dutch are arogant.
    6. The Dutch suffered from inferior complex because of their country size.

  17. avatar Arie Brand says:

    The Dutch are the most racist horde on earth ( they practiced the pure form apartheid).

    Another quote from Bodley is in order:

    … one of the Governors of the Dutch East Indies, in the presence of whom all Europeans must stand while he is standing, to whom ladies curtsy as to Royalty, who has the power of clemency or amnesty, had a Malay grandmother. I know a man bearing one of the most illustrious Dutxch names who is decidedly half -, at any rate, quarter bred, and though he would probably not talk about it to an Englishman, who has different views on the subject, he is not ashamed of his taint.
    It is a curious spectacle at a club dance to see men and women who have”thrown back” to an almost native cast of face sitting uncomfortably in their white dinner-jackets, waited on by bare-footed boys to whom they are possibly related. The young girls are usually beautiful and graceful dancers.

    I tried to discuss the matter with Dutchmen, but usually found some difficulty owing to their very decided attitude on the subject, and their severe criticism of English settllers who live with native women but do not recognize any children that may be born. A Dutchman would invariably legalize the child’s position and probably marry the “baboe”.

    I don’t think they “invariably” legalized such children but they generally did.

    There was no doubt racism in the Indies dear Riki – but there is little ground for saying that the Dutch there “were the most racist horde on earth.”

    If one compares post-colonial attitudes towards the erstwhile colonizer in Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, there is no doubt that they are most negative in the ‘girdle of emerald”. I think this has little to do with the comparative merits of the respective colonial regimes. There are several other reasons for this state of affairs but the most important one seems to me that the National Revolution in Indonesia spawned a new elite that had not been part of the colonial apparatus. This elite hasn’t governed the place too well so there was some public relations value in depicting the “zaman Belanda” in the blackest dye – the implicit message being : you are far better off today.

    In the Philippines and Malaysia, by contrast, the place kept being governed by the established elite that had been involved in the colonial regime. There was little reason for it to blacken it.

    I suspect, Riki, that you know NOTHING of the “zaman Belanda” except what you have been told in shoddy history lessons or even shoddier newspaper articles.

  18. avatar berlian biru says:

    The Dutch left Indonesia in 1975? Well that’s going to ruin a few national day brochures.

    Oh dear, Oigal, difficulties comprehending written English again I see.

    Let me help you out, thirty years after the end of Portuguese rule there was still 20% of the population speaking Portuguese, ok so far?

    So, I asked, what was the proportion of Indonesians speaking Dutch, wait for it, thirty years after Indonesia declared independence.

    Got it?

    Good, do try to keep up.

  19. avatar berlian biru says:

    I’m not asking Arie, as in the movie Life of Brian, ‘what did the Dutch ever do for us?’

    The trains, the canals, the roads etc are irrelevant to my point.

    I will state it again in case like Oigal you have difficulties with simple English concepts; there is no evidence in modern Indonesia that the country was ever governed by the Dutch, all trace of the former rulers has completely disappeared, vanished without a trace.

    I pass the railway every day, it’s just a railway, it has trains, second-hand Japanese mostly, there is nothing that marks it out as being uniquely “Dutch”, as opposed to any other railway anywhere else in the world.

    Face it Arie if it wasn’t for the history books no one would ever know the Dutch had been here. Quoting reports from the 1930’s to challenge my claim about present day Indonesia rather vindicates my point.

  20. avatar Arie Brand says:

    Well yes it depends on your vantage point.

    Poor Yaser Antone found to his chagrin that not “all trace of the former rulers has completely disappeared, vanished without a trace:” He had to learn Dutch to study law.

    Those who know the history of the Indies would recognize things, institutional things as well as artefacts, that remain of the colonial era. They don’t have the label “Dutch” on them.

    But if it pleases you not to be reminded of this particular colonizer don’t look any further than your nose is long- “where ignorance is bliss …” etc.

  21. avatar madrotter says:

    How about all the architecture that’s left from the Dutch period? Bandung is the number one city in the world when it comes to art deco, (the second city is Miami) many area’s are full with what is still being called “Dutch houses”, in fact most cities in Java have loads of these (often beautiful) buildings still…. Unfortunately they’re not taking good care of a lot of these buildings, a real shame, or they’re taking them down, only to put ugly offices and the like in place. A whole different topic but what’s been happening in the Punclut area in Bandung, illegal building, illegal permits, on ground legally owned by locals, and the Punclut area not only being a holy area for the Sundanese, but also one of the most important water catchment areas, what’s been happening there is pretty horrible really…

  22. avatar Oigal says:

    there is no evidence in modern Indonesia that the country was ever governed by the Dutch, all trace of the former rulers has completely disappeared, vanished without a trace.

    Ok that’s just plain …funny

  23. avatar timdog says:

    there is no evidence in modern Indonesia that the country was ever governed by the Dutch, all trace of the former rulers has completely disappeared, vanished without a trace.

    Oh come on BB! Ixnay on the hyperbole a little would ya…
    I think part of the reason for this take is that you and I, as non Hollanders, just aren’t as tuned in to the relics as the likes of Arie and Madrotter – likewise if they went to India or Kenya they would likely be disappointed if they had expected fish-and-chip shops, rows of mock tudor cottages and everyone speaking 1930s English…

    But if you and I go to India and Kenya, we will spot little things, and they will do so in Indonesia.

    I have certainly been guilty of saying similar things (though not quite as hyperbolic). I was always blithely stating that “no one speaks Dutch in Indonesia at all… that aspect of the colonial legacy has been totally lost blah blah blah, compare that to Pakistan and India blah blah blah lagi….”

    But not all that long ago I met this young couple from the Netherlands who’d been in Indonesia for a few months, first for her to complete some research for her PHd on colonial literature, and then travelling. They went well off the usual backpacker trail.
    “Did you meet many people speaking Dutch?” I asked, half expecting to be able to triumphally riff on the how that particular point…
    “Oh lots,” they said; “lots and lots, including young people; more than we expected actually…”
    Pretty obvious really when you think about it: you and me don’t speak Dutch ourselves, so why would we know how widely it’s spoken?
    I imagine the whole intangible colonial legacy thing is very much like that…

  24. avatar Arie Brand says:

    Timdog, point taken.

    There is another reason why the erstwhile Dutch presence in the country is not blatantly obvious. One especially becomes aware of that in the Philippines. There often place- and street names going back to the colonial era have been left in place. In Indonesia they have been devotedly wiped off the map altogether, even historical names that have nothing to do with any Dutch person.

    In the Philippines one encounters such names over and over. In Cebu, for instance, one of the main thoroughfares is called Jones boulevard, after an American administrator (though the name now competes with Osmena boulevard, after the first Cebuano president of the Philippines). There is local pride there about the chief Lapu-Lapu who killed the explorer Magellan in hand to hand combat, but there is a spot where you find his statue in the brotherly company of that of Magellan and his chronicler.

    In Manila one of the main thoroughfares is called Taft-Avenue, after an American governor (who later became president of the US).

    A whole city, Legazpi, the biggest in the Bicol-region, still bears the name of a Spanish conquistador and the first Spanish Governor-General of the Philippines, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.

    All such things are unthinkable in Indonesia.

  25. avatar Riki Purnomoz says:

    “Did you meet many people speaking Dutch?” I asked, half expecting to be able to triumphally riff on the how that particular point…
    “Oh lots,” they said; “lots and lots, including young people; more than we expected actually…”

    Then I heard a dog barking ” gug gug gug guk guk guk “.

  26. avatar Arie Brand says:

    Riki Purnomoz (who is either Purba Negoro or his brother) is of the opinion that the Dutch suffer from an inferiority complex because of the small size of their country. Funny that. I really wonder whether the boot is not on the other foot. Whether Indonesians who are half aware who their colonizer was (probably quite a few are not) suffer from more or less hidden embarrassment about the fact that they allowed themselves to be ruled for so long by that tiny country.

    That too could be behind the almost fanatical urge to rid the country of any visible reminder of the Dutch presence.

  27. avatar madrotter says:

    Too bad this series is all in Dutch:

    http://www.uitzendinggemist.nl/afleveringen/1246353

    Dutch writer Adriaan Van Dis, who’s family came from Indonesia, looking for the Dutch legacy (and finding quiet a lot) in Indonesia….

    http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/lifeandtimes/indonesias-own-frank-lloyd-wright/451682

  28. avatar madrotter says:

    I’ve mentioned this earlier I think:

    http://jabar.tribunnews.com/2012/04/25/jika-braga-rusak-lagi-jangan-paksa-pakai-andesit

    Typical Bandung….

    What the article doesn’t mention is that this project was paid for by the Dutch government a few years back to the tune of one million Euro’s, only for paving the road. There’s no way in hell that they spend a million Euro’s on that road….

  29. avatar Riki Purnomoz says:

    Dear Meneer Brand,

    I am not Purba Negoro, Thanks.

  30. avatar berlian biru says:

    No it’s more than little things Tim, in India the first thing you’ll notice is the massive number of people who can speak fluent English, entire off shore industries have been built up in India based on the number of Anglophones there. There is a reason people in the UK phoning a call centre get connected to Ranjeet in Mumbai, do callers in Rotterdam get through to Siti in Bandung?

    Added to this is Indian literature, Dutch literature connected to their empire is written by nostalgic Dutchmen with their rose tinted spectacles (Arie take a bow). No writer in Indonesia gives a flying fuck about the colonial era contrast that with the many Indian authors who write about the Raj.

    Apart from the language and literature, look at the things around one in India, those funny Ambassador cars, remind you of cars that used to be made in a particular European country mid-20th Century? Every time there is trouble in India you see policemen and troops, do their uniforms look remarkably similar to those of a particular imperial power? The riot policemen all look like 1950’s British national servicemen, even down to their Lee Enfield rifles.

    Place names, even with the resurgence of Indian nationalism, there are still plenty that anyone could instantly recognise as British. The courts, the local adminstration all reek of their British antecedents.

    Don’t get me started on Singapore and Hong Kong, have you ever visited Penang? I went there once and wasn’t sure whether someone had just plonked a copy of Nassau Bahamas in the Indian Ocean.

    Face it, I know that because I state something the timdog/Arie/Oigal triumvirate have a Pavlovian reaction to deny it but I state again without equivocation, to all intents and purposes nothing remains of any significance of the Dutch Indies empire.

    Gone, kaput.

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