Monarchy-Sultanate Form of Government

Oct 14th, 2008, in Opinion, by

Ross defends the monarchical principle and the Sultan of Yogyakarta’s authority.

Sultans Rule!

The Jakarta Post on Friday 10th October published an articulate but virulent attack thejakartapost on the monarchical principle, centred on the position of the Sultan of Jogjakarta, HamengkuBuwono X. I took particular notice of this for two reasons, viz., I am a dyed-in-the-wool monarchist, and, when I was still quite new here, I submitted an article to the JP suggesting that the suppression of the native monarchies here was one reason for political instability.

Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X
Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X

In those naive days, I was left to assume that its failure to appear was simply due to lack of space, though in due course I came to realise that, as one of my regular IM detractors accurately put it, the JP is

liberal, in the American sense

i.e., it is hostile to traditional values.

What has prompted this latest outburst is the fact that, for sound historical reasons, the Sultan is ipso facto the Governor of his Sultanate.

There seems to be no significant opposition to this in Jogja, a place I have been to quite often and enjoy greatly. Residents appear to like their Sultan, and while no doubt some radical students and other “intellectuals”, endowed with (in some cases) brains but (in most cases) very little sense, dislike the fact that His Highness is not compelled to submit to what passes for the electoral process in Indonesia; his dynasty has served its subjects well, and “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

The Malayan kingdoms exist quite harmoniously within Malaysia’s democratic system, and that country is presided over by an elective monarchy, sultans from each area taking their turns as head of state. Thus Malaysians can see a focus of national loyalty personified, not in the person of the embattled Prime Minister or the defamed opposition leader but in a figure who symbolises a state above parties, not in any feudal or authoritarian way, but as a representative of the peninsula’s heritage.

Might not Indonesia have fared better with some distinctive version of that, rather than suffering the demagoguery of Sukarno and the dictatorship of Suharto? Certainly, those individuals may still have risen to prominence, but might their excesses not have been restrained had constitutional royalty been about? We don’t know, but it’s interesting to

The atrocities of the Red Pemuda in Forties Sumatra indicate that the worst elements in post-independence Indonesia also recognised that the rajahs would be an impediment to the sort of ghastly society they wished to establish. To smear these martyred royals as collaborators makes little sense. They had to work with the Dutch, just as the Sultans of Jogja did – and did not Sukarno collaborate quite consciencelessly with the Japanese to further his own agenda?

But at least those little kingdoms preserved the idea of a genuine
indigenous system.

I read from time to time – yes, in the Jakarta Post! – of regular get-togethers of the dispossessed regal families, where their commitment to the country is expressed honourably; not through any greed for personal advantage, such as the apparatchiks of the political parties exhibit in their perpetual sickening self-aggrandisement (free laptops, free cars, free trips abroad – with their wives going along at public expense to enjoy the shopping) but simply because the royals have an inherent noblesse.

It would be sad if a few left-lib whingers like the Jakarta Post in-crowd succeeded in eradicating the vestigial majesty of Java’s -and the other islands’ – ancien regime.

Having said all that, of course it’s up to each people to decide the way they are governed, so could there not be a little referendum in the Sultanate. It is noticeable that republicans are all for “the people” until it comes time to choose between republic or monarchy. Then, as happened in newly liberated Bulgaria, any call for a popular vote on the issue is put down as “divisive”.

48 Comments on “Monarchy-Sultanate Form of Government”

  1. Andy says:

    Good point Ross, any form of Government would be better than the clowns who have represented this sham of a country since 1945.

    However, I now wish in hindsight that my country and the rest of the western world sat back and let the communists take over in 1965. See the nationalists on these pages with their adulation of Suharto fail to see if not for us and the Cold War, he wouldn’t have been in power in the first place. The Chinese and Sukarno were shoulder to shoulder as allies. To see the likes of Purba and AAB with Chairman Mao’s red book in hand would be a sight for sore eyes. And to see them also speaking Mandarin would cause me to chuckle once again. As it is I have to settle for their racist buffoonery and cowardice.

  2. Lairedion says:


    The JP, as a news feeder for expats, diplomats and Indo’s trying to enhance their English, is fairly insignificant in the massive Indonesian media landscape. The writer of that piece totally misses the point because he/she failed to understand the meaning and place of kesultanan/keraton Yogya in Javanese culture and society. Triggered by the alleged left-wing views of JP you play the old left-libs vs. neo-cons trick card again and that makes your article equally insignificant.

    Frankly, I have had enough about hearing you warning about the dangerous Red enemies of yesterday.

    Try for once to read some Indonesian newspapers and to view things from a different angle. If you did you would have found out that today Suara Merdeka had a far more interesting and comprehensive article and it subsequently answers the question why Yogya residents will never oppose the Yogya sultanate and are not interested in democratically voting a governor. Removing Keraton Yogya and its leader is destroying “Javaneseness”. It has nothing to do with left vs. right politics.

    Keraton (Yogya) sebagai Pancer Urip

  3. timdog says:


    now wish in hindsight that my country and the rest of the western world sat back and let the communists take over in 1965

    That is not going to go down well with Mr Ross… Hell no… Look out!

    Personally I think much of Indonesia’s political enervation is due entirely to the effective castration of any kind of genuinely socialist thread in the political mainstream courtesy of 65-66, leaving a lopsided, ideology-lite political spectrum. Ross and I have discussed this before.

    Ross – Bristish and Dutch colonial administrations were rather different vis-à-vis their incorporation of local feudal royals/despots into the political system. Unlike, say, India or Malaysia, at Independence there were not many authetically intact, politically consequential royal houses still in situ (and do bear in mind that the excesses of royal houses throughout European colonial possessions in Asia were often monumentally attrocious).
    Are you honestly advocating the artificial retrospective recreation of of royal kingdoms? Surely not…

    From reading various of your posts it does seem to me that you spend far, far too much time thinking about the Jakarta Post, dwelling over its real or imagined editorial policy (and I’m inclined to suggest that its real editorial line and political stance is nowhere even close to as developed or consistent as you seem to imagine it to be), and seeing the forces of liberalism at work in its every line – to an extent that occassionaly borders on paranoia (or is it just bitterness for those snubbed submissions?).
    Of course, for all those of us involved with Indonesia for whom English is a first language the Jakarta Post has a ridiculously inflated stature that far outweighs its real significance, but you really ought to learn to read less into it. Accept it and enjoy it for what it is: a slightly rickety but generally remarkably proffesional (under the circumstances – though the subs may on occasion deserve a sound thrashing 😉 ) paper that ought to be viewed with affection, but without too much seriousness.
    Try looking at those Indonesian-language publications whose circulations are infinitely larger for some “real” stuff that might actually merit an opinion piece…
    The ghosts that you imagine you glimpse between the lines of JP’s coverage are not a worthwhile basis for reactionary pontifications on the State of the Nation…

  4. timdog says:

    Hah! Again… while I was typing Brother Lairedion slipped in ahead and said pretty much the same thing… 😉

  5. Patrick says:

    @ Lairedion – good valid point about the tradition of the Sultan of Jogjakarta and it’s significance to the Javanese people. However, I rather prefer the way the monarchy and House of Lords fits into the English system of government as mainly ceremonial but nonetheless significant to the traditions and history of the British people.

  6. Purba Negoro says:

    Andy- you get stupider every comment.
    Had the Communists won- they would have done exactly as they had done in Russia and CHina and of course the Australian supported Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot.

    Communists would have exterminated more people than Hitler’s Holocaust against the Jews, as it seems to be their well-proven modus operandi.
    Millions would have been slaughtered for being religious, being not religious, being intellectuals, sneezing the wrong way, etc.

    Communism, failed in the guise of Sukarno NasAKom as the Rakyat decided atheism and hate for traditional authority was not for them- and neither was cosying up t the hereditary enemy and residual colonial parasite- the Chinese- it had nothing to do with the West. The Rakyat decided and went amok due to Sukarno’s egoistic grandstanding which left the Rakyat poor, hungry and diseased.

    The fact that the huge bulk of all Chinese peasantry are slaving away for less than 1 USD per day under their nouveau Qin provincial Lords eludes the likes of Andy- as all he sees and comprehends is the facile superficiality of airbrushed gloss of clever shots of Beijing, Shanghai and Dalian.
    The sub standard intellect of goldfish minds like Andy forget the 30-60 million people estimated to have been killed under Mao’s madness- the Chinese being the very worst murderers of Chinese

    Andy- I can also speak some Mandarin- I know it is rather dreadful- but it is enough to be appreciated by Mainland Chinese.
    Andy is far too stupid to realise the Chinese are divided into Han, Wu, Manchu. Nashi, Hokkien, Hakka, Teochew and Fujian (among many others).

    Andy is too stupid to comprehend it is the Hokkien nightsoil hoarders, pimps, spivs, speculators, hoarders, usurers, money lenders, ponces, panhandlers and other Fagins who are the domestic resident parasite of the Straits Chinese and these Chinese are hated and distrusted by the Mainlanders as they funded the hated puppet of the West- the Kuo Min Tang of Chiang Kai Chiek- who funded by Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean Chinese millionaires, killed more Chinese civilians during their civil war than the communists.

    But all this eludes Andy and he will discard it as he would anything vaguely too complex for his 5 braincells- as he is a total, utter, proven moron.

    Big word and hard thought too hard for Andy. You like simple speak Andy?

  7. Ross says:

    Timdog, you must distinguish between neocons and palaeo-cons. I am more like the latter, though not American, so neither, really.
    I lash the JP because it is the only English-language newspaper at the mo, and I wish we had a real alternative, or that it was less biased.
    I think Andy is wrong about the PKI. Communism would have been a nightmare. But he’s right to say almost anything would be better than the pack of hyenas that stole Indonesia’s freedom.
    The old rajahs and other monarchies are still about and pop up in the news often, rarely in any negative way. Yes, Timdog, I’d like to see them resurrected, and I don’t think it would be such a terribly artificial process.

  8. Andy says:

    PN-Andy is far too stupid to realise the Chinese are divided into Han, Wu, Manchu. Nashi, Hokkien, Hakka, Teochew and Fujian (among many others).

    Oh really?? then prove it!! Don’t misquote people you haven’t had the guts to meet in person when given the chance.

  9. Lairedion says:


    I agree with you but what we prefer is not of any importance as we are citizens in Holland and the US.

    I am merely pointing out that kesultanan Yogya and its Keraton are an integral part of Javanese culture and society. As the Suara Merdeka article states Keraton Yogya is the center of being Javanese and can not be seen apart from kejawen. It has an important place in Javanese philosophy and cosmology.

    Therefore I find it impossible to compare Javanese royalty with British or any other European for that matter. Ross’ link to left vs right politics is even more bizarre. The sultan of Yogya is only being abused by Ross to rant against the fairly irrelevant alleged left-wing (who cares) JP, again.

    timdog, what is going on here? Are we unknowingly guided by a larger force? I will check with my Yogya relatives to see if they visited Gunung Merapi lately. 🙂

  10. Marisa says:

    Been reading his writings for the past year, and yes, as the article said, he is far from being a bad leader to his people. For everything else, better leave the judgment of his ruling to the citizens of Yogyakarta themselves. Perhaps what the article’s trying to point out is, despite his birth right, the Sultan still honors the “responsible democratic citizenry”. If I’m not mistaken, he didn’t step up to the plate when being offered the chance to run for presidency next year. Knowing this, I reckon the Sultan himself is fully aware of how absolutism could risk the democratic process, the question is on whether his people realize it as much as he does.

    Red Pemuda of Forties Sumatra? Can someone provide more information on this, please?
    As a Sumatran, I’m surprised to know that there’ve been a revolt regarding the Sumatran monarchy. Not sure about the Malays, but the Batak monarch system itself still exists and well preserved. It is practiced in close familial kinship, has been kept from breaching to political grounds and open societal system, and the rajah birth right of each clan is passed down equally, that’s why Bataks have numerous rajahs and not just one absolute sultanate.

    Indonesians generally have lacked interest in Sumatran monarchies. The very least we could do, as fellow Indonesians, is to help preserve what still stands tall among the rest, the Javanese Sultanate.

  11. djoko says:

    Timdog, you must distinguish between neocons and palaeo-cons.

    In other words distinguishing between those that matter, and those that do not. No maliciousness intended, but seriously, you’re short on material when the JP is the subject of every second article you put up here.

    If I’m not mistaken, he didn’t step up to the plate when being offered the chance to run for presidency next year. Knowing this, I reckon the Sultan himself is fully aware of how absolutism could risk the democratic process, the question is on whether his people realize it as much as he does.

    In fact he’s very much in the game for a go at the presidency. I was under the impression thats precisely why he wanted to get the hell out of his position as governor of Central Java (not necessarily dropping the Sultan title though, mind you), so he could have a crack at RI-1.

    As a result I’m all a bit confused about what the fuss is either on the part of Ross or the JP regarding this. The sultan himself doesn’t seem to be too interested in defending his position as a monarch in the sense which Ross is defending (“I’ve done a great job, why should I submit to some ‘intellectuals’ telling me that my position should be open for all comers?”), while by the same token neither is he interested in continuing to be an unelected representative in a position which should be up for election. It seems both sides are missing a much more obvious factor at play: pure and simple pragmatic politics.

  12. timdog says:

    Ross – I don’t in anyway understand what “neo-con” and “paleo-con” has got to do with anything here.
    As others here have already mentioned, by thinking of Indonesian royalty in a European sense you entirely miss the point of what a Royal – specifically a Javanese royal – actually is in terms of its position in the eyes of “the People”.
    If you simply consider monarchy in Indonesia as a system of political rule (one with a history of – and an innate potential for – outrageous excesses) then you (and, perhaps the JP writer – though it doesn’t really seem so, reading the piece) miss the point altogether… It’s clearly not about that at all: the point, as alluded to by Lairedion above, is something else altogether…

    As for your proposed reinstating of other royals as political rulers, well, this just furthers the missing of the point. I’m inclined to think that you don’t really believe this anyway – there’s nothing like a good bit of feudalism to send the People careering to the Left, and democracy’s fundamental flaw (but one which we must, sadly, accept) is that it has a tendency to see Them skulking off in search of tax-cuts, privatisation, and the right-to-buy their council houses… which I’m sure you’d aprove of…

    And you do need to stop obsessing about the Jakarta Post and its politics; it is simply not relevant in any way to the “bigger picture”. As I said before, its editorial line is nowhere even close to as developed or fixed as you assume, and the editorial line has a fairly limited – or entirely non-existant – impact on what actually goes in the paper day to day…
    As for wishing for a “real alternative”, well, you ought to have the Jakarta Globe to pore over some time soon – and it will be genuinely interesting to see how Riady behaves as proprieter. Unlike dear old JP, creaking along as it does, there may well be some real ghosts between the lines of the Globe…

    Lairedion, yes, the forces do appear to be moving in mysterious ways… 🙂

  13. Patrick says:

    @ Timdog and/ or Lairedion – Can one of you in simple laymens terms terms explain, to the rest of us who have no clue, just exactly what is the difference between a Javanese Royal compared to say a British royal, or even a Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Thai or wherever else they have some kind of monarch. Simply said what is the big mystery and awe about with a Javanese royal?

  14. syed putra says:

    Peninsular malaysia, about the size and a population 1/5 that Java island has 9 monarchs and 11 states. The two monarchless states have govenors.
    Comparing Peninsular Malaysia to today’s england, the colonial master, it is about similar size, but england have only one monarch and no states, and one parliament.
    Each and every state in Peninsular Malaysia has a state assembly and there is a federal govenrment and national parliament.
    Peninsular Malaysia bereaucracy looks messy, but they managed to build up better infrastructure than java island. So maybe there is some good in having monarchs.

  15. jaka says:

    Why did I feel, when I read the presidents decree for sultan’s extension period, I lived back before 1945? It is like the governor-general of Netherlands India giving his “agreement” for his rule?

    I myself prefer, that the sultanate raise again the position of “Patih” (prime minister), which is chosen by people’s assembly, and agreed by the sultan (similar to Thai’s). The Sultanate and people seem reject this idea.

  16. Ross says:

    Sorry, Timdog, it was indeed Lairedion, not you, who introduced ‘neo-con’ as a term in this thread, presumably to muddy the waters. Why he thinks I might be a neo-con interests me.
    I know he’s tired of hearing opinions contrary to his own, but that’s the price you pay for having a debate.
    I’ll dig out the info on murdered royals asap, Marisa, and I’ll get back to the JP’s biases some other time. I have spotted a very occasional non-left/lib item, e.g. a defence of Taiwan and a challenge to the climate change theocracy, but I do maintain that their essence is left.
    I have a fine recent example of their lack of objective journalism at home, bya bule reporter judging by the name, which I will quote in my next post. They are entitled to be lefties, sure, but the way their ‘factual’ reports appear is a disgrace.
    That rabid anti-monarchy editorial is just another example- I don’t deny their right to hold and express such views, but it does stamp them with the mark of ‘left.’ or do you disagree?

  17. Rob says:

    Wasn’t the Sultan also the Governor once? Wouldn’t this be the best of both worlds for you Ross?

    On the JP. It will be interesting to see if the JP responds and how it responds to any newcomers in the English language news market.

  18. timdog says:

    Patrick – at risk of dishing out the kind of dreadful – and ultimately patronising – plattitudes about the “orient” of the kind dribbled by people in floaty white linen and beads, who think Ubud is “the real Bali”, and that any Indonesian who owns a television is abandoning an age-old, nuanced and deeply spiritual way for the wicked influence of the West… now, Jemimah, shall we go for a cappucino? And after that I want to go and buy another of Wayan’s pieces, he really does capture the spirit of Bali you know…

    ahem… excuse me…

    It probably makes more sense to compare a Javanese royal, particularly the Yogya sultans, to a functionary such as the Aga Khan or the Pope, although even that is a pretty unsatisfactory conparisson. Suffice to say, without resorting to talking sh*t along the lines of “they’re not like us…”, Javanese concepts of power and royalty have to do with all kinds of strange an impenitrable ideas about mysticism and spirituality and investment of power (but not as we know it).
    Plucking out of obscurity long whithered semi-Royals and dumping them on an univested thrown a la the Europe of history and much of colonial era South Asia and the Middle East, rather than being attrocious and evil, would more likely be irrellevant and silly…

    Anyway, I don’t really think Ross believes in his idea about reinstating the multiple monarchs of “an expanding cloud of localised, fragile, loosely interrelated petty principlaities”. He says a lot of things just for effect in attempts to sacre the (“left-liberal”) horses…

    Ross, one more time, there isn’t much at all in Indonesia that could genuinely be described as politically “left”. The Jakarta Post is not some highly organised organ where an enshrined editorial line governs all aspects of coverage. Generally, like so many of the world’s newspapers these days, it just gets banged together, day in, day out…
    If there’s an identifiable line to it at all it’s a pro-democracy, vaguely “liberal” one, but unlike, for example, many British and Australian newspapers, this “line” doesn’t make much impact on its straight news coverage (for practical reasons rather than ideological ones, one imgaines) with the exception of a few little style-book affectations (“former dictator Suharto” for example).
    A fair chunk of even their domestic coverage comes straight from the wires for chrissake…
    The article that sparked all this off in you is hardly “virulent”, or “rabid”.

    “Objective journalism”? I wonder how much you know about such matters. There is, for example, significant current debate in the world of journalism about the issues of “truth” and “objectivity” with a growing sense that the two are by no means the same thing, and an awareness that “objectivity” may well in some occassions be actually at odds with truth. Here’s an example:

    Blog Poster Describes Indonesian newspaper as “Left-wing whingers”.

    IM 15/10/08

    Mr Ross, a foreigner resident in Jakarta, said today on the Indonesia Matters online forum that the Jakarta Post newspaper has a left-wing bias and lacks objectivity in its reporting.
    “The way their ‘factual’ reports appear is a disgrace,” he said, adding that while he accepted the paper’s right to left-wing credentials, it ought to be labelled as such.
    However, some other posters disagreed. Mr Timdog, a British citizen who describes himself as liberal, said that the Jakarta Post was laregly irrelevant in the Indonesian media, and that its politics was not a significant issue.
    “The editorial line has a fairly limited – or entirely non-existant – impact on what actually goes in the paper day to day,” he said.
    The Jakarta Post is currently Indonesia’s only national English-language daily, though a competitor, the Jakarta Globe, is soon to launch. It has a circulation reported to be between 15,000 and 45,000 copies.

    That, Mr Ross is a piece of bone fide, 100% proof, “objective” reporting, which sticks very firmly to the principles of “objectivity” that for a long time have been regarded as the central tennet of journalism. But, beyond the meaningless “he said she saids” it offers us virtually no truth at all. We still don’t know if the Jakarta Post is run according to strict crypto-communist editorial lines or not; hell we don’t even know its true circulation.
    Perfect objectivity; scant truth.
    And unfortunately, that is precisely how most traditional reporting, including that in the Jakarta Post, is done these days – and that’s why it’s so bloody boring…

    Ross, here’s a suggestion for you – stop reading the Jakarta Post for a couple of weeks; make an effort to chug through some Indonesian langugae papers, or even don’t bother with any news coverage at all.
    You are peering at the country in which you live through the tiniest of keyholes (did you notice those rumoured circulation figures above? Just for context, Kompas prints about half a million copies; Jawa Pos claims three million)…

  19. Purba Negoro says:

    All of the bule commentators seem to not quite comprehend royalty and aristocracy in Indonesia.
    It is not like the monarchies of Europe. More like pre and post Charlemagne Germany.

    If I may explain.
    (Sri I Gusti) Sultan Hamengkubuwana IX (Hadingnirat etc – but I am cutting it for brevity) was appointed perpetual governor of his Realm the DIY- Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta- for his heroic pro Nationalist Revolutionary efforts- far too long to list here.
    Keraton Yogya is THE direct descendant too of Mataram, Ageng etc (too long to go into here- I think I may start and explanatory blog soon)

    The Keratons of Pakualaman (PA) and Pakubuwana (PB) are basically the same as Duchies. They are artifical- in that they were created by the Dutch to spearate and diminsh the powers of the two contestants Mangkunegaran (MN) and Hamengkubuwana (HB) via the treaty of Giyanti, which split the already much clipped Yogya Sultanate into two, then two again- leaving the current residual four palace system.
    The Grand Princedom of Manguknegara (for want of better terms) was founded by succession war between HB and Raden Mas Said that just snowballed into a major Dutch-Javanese-Chinese-domicile war.

    The three other duchies, princedoms, fiefdoms- whatever- the English equivalents (if they exist) are were Dutch collaborators (especially ironic since the MN court was founded by the famous ati Dutch hero- Dipo Negoro)- nad if not abetting the Dutch- outright aided them.
    Being lucky not to have their possessions razed tot he ground- they were not granted any legitimacy after the Revolution and minimal government funding.

    Recently the DIY had lections for governor- but the Sultan won. Central Javanese love their Sultan.
    There are numerous theories why Bpk Suharto never allowed Sri HB IX- a vocal critic- to outshine him- but these are for another day.
    Sri Sultan made massive improvements for his people- and since gaining even better funding- the Sultanate improves year on year returning to its’ original glory as being THE cultural capital of Java bar none.

    The latest MN has lost himself much respect from his Rakyat especially the hard-line Muslims (Solo is very underdeveloped and poverty ridden- life there is very tough) for worming up to the hated oppressive exploitative Chinese ethnics.

    Since the other 3 are all descendents and intermarried between one another and into the HB court- they have do have royal connections- but little legitimacy to a single Javanese throne.

    Aristocracy, legitimacy, succession and ascendancy:
    I will be very brief as this is complex.
    Legitimacy- royal lineage is not the sole attribute for claiming the throne (or its’ 3 other guises). Being spiritually or divinely appointed and having enough followers to belive yuo also counts

    Royals married many times and had innumerous concubines. But with few exceptions, the offspring of the first to third wives only are considered legitimate heirs.
    Ritual wives, diplomatic wives, envoy wives, the whole gamut, concubines, mistresses, quickies all do not count. In many cases of ritual and diplomatic marriage- the marriage was never consumated by the Raja/Sultan- so any offspring are invalid bastards.
    Offspring resulting of consummated marriage are at best marginally aristocratic, if not outright illegitimate and in most cases simply treated as privileged commoners.
    This is why every second Acehnese (Ncut Nyah Dien) and third Javanese (usually MN or Diponegoro) claims to have royal blood- they effectively do not by official reckoning of the Keratons- they may have a tiny sprinkle- but that’s it.

    Aristocracy- cannot be bought or sold like a baronettage or peerage- it is solely blood pedigree lineage and cannot be outside the Javanese aristocray. Now this is very complex- but any descendant with some Javanes aristocratic blood can be wed

    Succession- very different to European system. Must be male but not prima progenitur /primo genitus as per European- as in first born son.
    A council of nobles, elders and officials will democratically elect the best suited for the perpetuation of the Court- this is why so many Dutch-pliant very weak princes etc occurred- the Dutch were able to force a successor suitable for them.
    This topic alone is suitable for a thesis- delving into issues of myth-creation, created origin myth etc, to explain Dutch supremacy and legitimacy all very complex.

    Theoretically it’s a fantastic idea. But some of Ross’ assumptions are very far from reality- I think he needs to read some Rickleff’s.
    Not to worry Ross- I can make Herr Hitler look like a typical wet-nurse craving pinko.

    The Dutch successfully excised the Crown (for want of better term) from the People during the Dutch Java Wars culminating in the final destruction of a weakened Central Javanese Sultanate via the Giyanti Treaty.

    Having a singular Javanese royal as Crown would mean all the other ethnics would wail and gnash their teeth once again about Javanese Colonialism blah blah blah, man, moan, moan, lies, lies, lies.

    Bataks are not so problematic- their rather thick skinned so don’t complain- unless it’s to their economic advantage. Bataks are famous for being very sharp at dagangan- trade. Traditionally gem and gold traders not Chinese were Batak.

    Just look at Bpk Taufik Kiemas (himself from a very prominent, wealthy and heroic Sumateran aristocracy- hough I am unsure of his correct title) do you hear him wailing his wife is Javanese?
    Nope- laughing all the way to his banks, happily practicing ngoko Javanese to his good chums, the Generals and indulging in wheeling and dealing during live Ketoprak Humor shows.

    But all the other “noble savages”, “quaint natives” and other “oppressed souls” whitey loves to try and rescue- part of his delusional self-construct to be the Great Saviour to his concept of the underdog get valuable whitey soundbites and air time for his moral dilemma delectation.

    And those in pink shining armour weilding their Merlot Marxist’s Secace have yet another soul to save on their Chardonnay coloured eco-friendly, fair-trade sourced non GM charger.

    PS Andy- I found an Ostrayan slang dictionary.
    Perhaps you may understand this:
    Pig’s arse Andy.
    Andy mate stop being a dropkick FIGJAM/dill/dag/drongo to get to the duck’s guts.
    Fair suck of the sav mate.
    You’ve come the raw prawn and your Furphy comments have come a gutser so quit your earbashing and knocking of Java, cracking a fat over a few quibbles.
    She’ll be on the right.


    Koala would make an interesting sate. The eucalyptus would help clear the nose.

  20. Ross says:

    I am totally serious abou royal restorations – not waving blue flags to provoke red bulls. But local referenda should be the way to go.
    It is a fact that republics are notoriously vindictive, persecuting ousted royals by exiling them. Nor do republicans seem to favour genuine democratic practice but prefer ‘one man one vote one time.’ No re-runs of referenda permitted, not even after several deades. Bulgaria is a good example. No free vote on King Simeon’s restoration because a vote would be ‘divisive.’
    Marisa, I have found a reference to the Sumatra atrocities of 1946 in Ricklefs’ History of Modern Indonesia, page 271. It refers to the ‘arrest’ of the rajas which subsequently developed into slaughter of hundreds. I have another book with more detail, but I unfortunately lend my little library to anybody who asks, so it isn’t to hand at present.

    As to the Jakarta Post’s biased reporting, I was so appalled by this item 5/9 from last month that I scribbled it down and kept it for just such doubters as Lairedion. It’s a NEWS item, believe it or not, by somebody called Tony Holland, a bule sort of name – ‘…the US and Britain are staunch supporters of the war in Muslim countries Afghanistan and Iraq, which currently remain in chaos, under the pretext of cntring extremists and an authoritarian regime…’
    Straight reporting? More like an Al Qaeda pamphlet.
    Bring on the Globe -it can’t be any worse than those JP hacks’ junk.

  21. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Get a grip.

    The Rajas, Sultans, and Orang Kaya (Bandas), sold out this place from Sabang to Merauke.

    Read some history. And pay attention this time.

    England ain’t Indonesia (to state the obvious).

    What do you think the Royal family would think of you personally ?

  22. Ross says:

    Yes, Timdog, quite so. Mr. Hotland can’t hack it. I also recall some gal who appeared to simply re-write EU press releases, Eurogrovel par exellence, presented as news. Where does the JP get such shoddy writers?

    Achmad, am delighted to see you have returned from your pilgrimage to the family vault in the Blue Mountains. Your insult capacity has not been recharged yet, I note.
    Actually, I don’t think the rajas were such sell-outs. The guy on the five thou rupiah note was as much responsible for Dutch colonialism as any. Imam Bonjol damaged the monarchy up there terribly and they had to accept the ‘protection’ of the VOC. Or have I read that bit of history wrongly. ,

  23. timdog says:

    Excuse me… hit post by mistake before I was finished. Mr Patung, you can delete the above…

    OOOO! Reds under the bed and bules in the newspaper!

    Tony Hotland is Indonesian; all JP staff reporters are Indonesian (that’s the law).

    As for the article that so appalled you, it’s a lazy little piece put together from press releases and the wire. The writer has dropped in a little context line about Britain and the US and the “War on Terror” (standard “objectivity” context – as demonstrated in the final two sentences of my spoof article above).
    He has editorialised, and it should have been picked up by the subs and changed to:
    “Both the U.S. and Britain have been subject to increased hostility in many Muslim countries since leading the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq after the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001.”
    The “remain in chaos” bit was irrellevant, and should have been cut altogether, although to keep the sentiment it could have been changed to “While the security situation in Iraq has improved significantly in the last 12 months, analysts report a dramatic deterioration in Afghanistan, with increasing fighting between coalition forces and Taliban in many parts of the country”.

    Actually, to meet the full criteria of “objectivity”, Our Man in Jakarta should have headed out and found a wild-eyed beardie to give him a quote condeming the “meaningless, patronising insult to the Muslim world by these neocolonialist crusaders who have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslims worldwide”. But he didn’t have the time, inclination or energy. That will be what prompted him to thow in that little bit of editorialising. He would have felt, quite rightly, that without it he would just be delivering US-UK PR/propaganda…
    Still, the line that so upset you wasn’t very good, and should have been caught by the subs, but hey, it’s not worth being “appalled about”.

    This actually highlights even more how ridiculously binkered you are by obsessing about the miniscule Jakarta Post (again, I draw your attention to the circulation figures i mentioned above). Honestly Ross, try to read some Indonesian papers – if that little glitch got you huffing and puffing, you’ll find stuff in the non-English Indonesian media that will make your hair curl…
    The piece that Ross referenced, that upset him so much, is here for anyone who actually cares (and I would bother, to be honest)

  24. timdog says:

    Where does the JP get such shoddy writers?
    Nothing to do with JP – it’s journalism in general which has been taken over, especially in the severe cost-cutting “west”, by the phenomenom of “churnalism” – the simple re-writing of PR and wire reports by severely overstretched reporters with no time to do any real journalism… The biggest and “best” Western newspapers suffer from this as much as anyone.
    It doesn’t help in TINY opperations like JP where law requires that reporters must be locals – whose reporting skills may be fine, but whose English may not.
    At least however, the JP has a well established sub-editing system, so it all comes out looking like proper English.
    Did you see the state of the frickin’ Point?

  25. timdog says:

    And this was the link to the article that so upset Ross… britain-us-thank-muslims-during-ramadan

  26. David says:

    Here’s the young lad, Tony Hotland:

  27. timdog says:

    It’s a mask Mr Patung! He wears it to get around Indonesian employment laws. Underneath it he has a big bule nose, a beard, and a tattoo of Lenin on his left cheek…

  28. Rob says:


    left cheek of his face?

  29. timdog says:

    Yep; he’s got Marx, Engels and Chairman Mao on the other left cheek I reckon…

  30. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Giving the insults a rest for now. But am ready to take up the insult-a-thon any time you like. Just remember: nothing personal. It’s all business.

    Yes you read the history wrong.

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