Religious extremism: vulnerability and resistance among Indonesian migrant workers in Asia

By Yudha Dewanto  After turning 16, never having stepped a foot outside of her province, Katri pushed herself to go to Malaysia. Seeking a solution to family problems, seeing the new outfits, fancy gadgets and even leased cars of friends who migrated to Malaysia earlier, and feeling that her junior high school diploma would not be sufficient to get a local job, part of her was saying, “just go!” She went to Warsan, a rich tobacco farmer who often sponsored those willing to depart to Malaysia as domestic workers. Warsan did not just finance the departure, but also connected them …

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The Car Free Day in Surabaya: a pro-environment event?

By Freek Colombijn Every Sunday morning from 6 to 10 a.m. part of the main street of Surabaya is closed for all motorized traffic for an event that is called ‘Car Free Day’ (often abbreviated as CFD, Chay-Ef-Day). Car Free Days are organized in Jakarta and other major cities in Indonesia too, but I know the event best in Surabaya. I first attended the CFD as part of my research on pro-environmental behavior, but as it has turned out, it has little to do with the desire to reduce the use of the car. On the contrary. It attracts many …

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Papa D. and the Privacy Law: New dilemmas for researchers*

By Fridus Steijlen Last April, I visited the mountain village of Bittuang in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia for the fourth time. This is one of the eight locations in which we record daily life for our audiovisual project Recording the Future. On each of our visits to Bittuang, we stay at Mama D.’s house. Visiting Bittuang and Mama D.’s makes me feel at home in the village and also within the family. We had already interviewed Mama D. and Papa D. a couple of times, along with their children and their partners.

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Islam Nusantara: Conferentie over een vreedzame Islam.

Door Freek Colombijn. Van 27-29 maart vond in Nederland de “1st Biennial International Conference on Moderate Islam in Indonesia” plaats. De conferentie was georganiseerd door de Nederlandse afdeling van Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). NU is een traditionele, Soennitische beweging in Indonesië, die claimt 40-90 miljoen leden te hebben (de cijfers verschillen nogal). De eerste dag vond plaats op de Vrije Universiteit, waarna de conferentie zich verplaatste naar Den Haag, Leiden en Badhoevedorp. De conferentie was deels een interne NU aangelegenheid, maar had vooral op de eerste dag een duidelijke boodschap aan de buitenwereld. De Islam is groter dan het Midden-Oosten en, …

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Colonial Ruins in Padang

By Freek Colombijn      The American anthropologist Ann Stoler argues that the ‘ruins of empire’, or ‘imperial debris’, must be studied less as ‘dead matter or remnants of a defunct regime than [in order] to attend to their reappropriations and strategic and active positioning within the politics of the present’ (Stoler 2008: 196). Colonial buildings, and also the selective restoration of them, are often contested by different actors with different interests. Aware of such contestations, Ann Stoler (2008: 201) makes the point that ‘[r]uins are not just found, they are made. They become repositories of public knowledge and new …

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A regular club night, but not for me

By Ila Luijten         For my master’s research I’ve gone to Bali, Indonesia, to do fieldwork. My aim is to get an insight into the lives of sex workers, mostly freelance sex workers; the girls who go to clubs in the tourist destinations of Bali to look for money by spending a night with a guy. Here I will describe one night of fieldwork. In the second week of fieldwork, I came in contact with Lola (23) and Dewi (22)*, two Indonesian friends living in Kuta, Bali. One Thursday evening in January I went for a night out with …

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