Multi and Mono Cultures

Sep 30th, 2006, in Society, by

Multi-culturalism, or what Indonesians might call pluralism, is often spoken of as key to Indonesia’s make-up and stability but this is likely wrong-headed.

Historically multi-cultures, or pluralistic societies, are an aberration, they do not survive for long. The natural tendency is towards mono-culturalism. Sooner or later large polyglot nations, with a rich diversity of religions, languages, and cultures, will either:

  • divide themselves up into new, mono-cultural enclaves, i.e. split up or segregate, or
  • the dominant cultural strain in existence, the one that is most forceful and aggressive, will take over, and the minority elements are subsumed within it.

In Indonesia the most forceful and aggressive cultural strain is that of the Arabising Islamic one. It is perhaps only rivalled by the westernising one, which is also extremely powerful. As for other types of Islam within Indonesia, such as the Javanese village syncretism of the NU, they are likely to have a bleak future.


6 Comments on “Multi and Mono Cultures”

  1. Mohammed Khafi says:

    Successful multicultural societies need positive policies of inclusion. These can only come from community leaders and local, regional, and national governments who care about their people and about their country.

    Our present crop of ignorant, amoral, egotistical, greedy autocrats, who seem only to care for themselves, will never lead our nation to successful pluralism.

  2. Marsel says:

    Imagine when someday Indonesia is famous for it’s unity despite the pluralism. (we cannot be proud for being the top 1 in corruption)
    This article seems so skeptical n pesimistic.
    As said by Khafi, many of our leaders are bad, so the future of our countries depend on the new generation.
    As we’ll become the next leader of our country, pls bear in mind that pluralism is one of the biggest issue in our country. Many problems come from that.
    It’s our jobs to stand out and make changes for Indonesia.

  3. Hassan says:

    I cannot agree more with marsel’s statement “many of our leaders are bad, so the future of our countries depend on the new generation”. hence, education for our next generations is the most important thing these days.

    for those of us who have children, let’s not neglect in getting the best education possible for them, both in the scientific aspect and moral aspect. for those of us who have money in abundance, why not put your efforts in creating more and more educational institution with a high standard of quality. we certainly can’t rely on the government to do that for us.

  4. Marsel says:

    Hassan, In fact, that’s one of my dreams (curhat sedikit).
    If I’m able to make one, I will replace the Kewarganegaraan with: nationalism, pluralism, and how to be a -not easily get provocated student-

  5. O. Bule says:

    Pluralism, as in the old U.S. motto “e pluribus, unum” (of of many, one) is a good thing. But, as in the U.S.A., a pluralistic society can not be a cultural anarchy, there must be strong binding forces that unite across ethinic, racial, and religious lines. In the U.S.A., such binding forces continue to exist, despite the efforts of some to destroy them. In Indonesia, a much younger nation, such binding forces must continue to be developed, or all is lost.

    O. Bule

  6. Dear all,

    The idea of multiculturalism, nowadays, should be implemented in our life…..

    Best regards,

    Choirul Mahfud, SUrabaya

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