woensdag 31 juli 2013

Halal food for the MUI!

Recently I have read two books ons contemporary Islam in Indonesia. The first was already for more than two years on my shelves: Andrée Feillard and Rémy Madinier, La fin de l'innocence? L'Islam indonésien face à la tentation radicale de 1967 à nos jours, Paris, Irasec 2006. It has been published too in an English translation. Its theme is the turn towards conservative Islam. The influence of salafi=Saudi=Kuwaiti money and Arab books, the weak government tha is not able/is afraid of taming all these warrior or maffia Muslims.
I liked the question, perhaps even more than the answer. What is the problem of modern Muslims in Indonesia. Why does Islam not work? Why are we a second class society? On page 159 I made a note: they feel like described by Wertheim: a majority with an inferiority complex. Abu Bakar Ba 'asyir declared even that the Muslim had become dhimmi in their own country: they do not have the power, do not have the superiority. L'impérialisme des infidèles (176) This is that terrible distinction between we and they, between 'us' and '; the other'. So much a power play, not about individuals, but a group power play.
This is a good and necessary book, but it made me very sad. It is precise about individuals, with nice portraits of 31 individuals. Detailed, also in its analysis of groups and movements. But one wishes that religion could be abolished for some time, let us say, thirty years: the world would perhaps be better!

Martien van Bruinessen edited a book on a similar theme: the conservative turn. It is much about liberals versus conservatives or radicals. The first are 'moderate' the second group even puritanical in tghe best way, but perhaps also quite violent.
Doctrine is somewhat more important here, but power is also in the centre. That is clear in the wonderful contgribution of Mujiburrahman on Makassar and a group that wants to implement shari'a: finally they feel that the idea is not 'marketable' and they insist on fight against corruption, which is an easy idea for those who are not (yet) in power and may blame those who are in power.

Quite revealing is the section on Din Syamsuddin and the halal certificate: 73: "halal certification has been one of the chief sources of income for the MUI, along with the certification of Shariah banking". it is not only a matter of the good according to God, but also for one's own pocket!
Also this book is more about the organizations than about individuals, more about power than true convictions and ideals. So be it: may God forgive us!

zondag 28 juli 2013

Private and public stories of The Killings in Indonesia, 1965-6

In March 1970 a started my first research in Indonesia. During a full year I travelled through Java, Sumatra, stayed for days and weeks, finally three moth in the pesantren of Gontor. I wondered why I had no problems with colonial suspicion, why I was easily accepted as a foreign, Dutch, Ph.D. student by people who had experienced the colonial oppression. I never thought about the killings of 1965-6, even not in Gontor, East Java, a region where the Anshor, the youth movement of Nahdlatul Ulama had been instrumental in many of the killings.
There was little electricity in Gontor. Only in the evening between 6-10 pm there were lamps, but no possibility to put my electric razor in a contact. After initial efforts to use a razor blade (too much blood!) I started with a beard.

In mya second period in Indonesia, 1981-8 I was a lecturer at theIAIN, State Aacademyc of Islamic Studies (now UIN) in Jakarta and, since 1984, Yogyakarta. In the first period there were some problems regarding my liberal views about Qor'an interpretation (too close to John Wansbrough..) and some fellow lecturers considered my appointment as one aspect of the liberal policy of rector Harun Nasution. So, I had to accommodate somewhat and be cautious. Once I was called to visit Timur Djaelani, at time Secretary General of the Ministry of Religion. He had long stories of this USA trip. He liked the Mormons: stanch religious, no alcohol! And he warned me that there were group of lecturers and outsiders opposing the liberal policy of IAIN and considered my position as a good target for criticism. So, I gave an interview to Panji Masyarakat, praising religious fervor in Indonesia and blaming Western Europe for its secular culture.

Above an examination at the Jakarta IAIN (at the exam of Herman Hidayat), below in Yogyakarta (with probably Pak Simuh, sitting left of me).

Only in 2006 I asked my closest colleague in Yogyakarta, Usuluddin Lecturer Abdurrahman (who wrote a doctoral dissertation about JIB, Jong Islamieten Bond and was sometimes called Abuddarrahman Wijyakusuma), about his experiences. He told me that in late he was a member of Pemuda Muhammadiyah and HMI. With a group of students he was summoned by an army company to join them to a village. They had to make lists of PKI members or leftists/Communist people. These were later killed: Abdurrahman could evade this fate, but a fellow student who joined the killings later had nightmares and could not find peace.

In the 1960s and 1970s the first debate was about the initiators and the character of the 'coup'. Was it masterminded by Soekarno or the generals themselves? By Suharto?
Only after 1998 a more public debate has started about the reality behind this tragic period. Last week I read the book by Douglas Kammen and Katherina McGregor, The contours of Mass Violence in Indonesia, 1965-1968 (Singapore/Copenhagen, NUS and NIAS Press, but in an Australian series: ASAA, 2012).  The book talks consistently about the Movement, not about a coup, or it should be the coup by Soeharto. Apparently there was much religion involved in the process, most from the side of Muslims, Muhammadiyah and the youth section of Nu, Anshor. Also the Catholics were not without cooperation. P. 92 writes about cooperation , page 116 about the role of Catholics in the general atmosphere in cooperation with ZE Subchan. There is no talk about father Jopie Beek, some about Yusuf Wanandi. In the new book on Catholics in Independent Indonesia, 1945-2010, will give some more details about Flores (based on work by John Prior) and Centra; Timor. This is not a review of the book, just a short personal impression of a work that fills a real gap in my knowledge.

dinsdag 23 juli 2013

Jan Sihar Aritonang, 1953-2012

On 8 June 2013 Jan Aritonang sent me his autobiography, Dari 60 ke 60. Kenang-kenangan hidup Jan Sihar Aritonang (Ompungtahami - Ompung ni si Aurelia), published as a private book, (untuk kalangan sendiri), 196 pages. I know Jan Aritonang since quite some time: I organized the English translation of his doctoral dissertation with Brill, published in 1994. I was able to hand the book to him in person that year. Between 2000-2008 we were the editors the "Thick Book" the 1004-pages book A History of Christianity in Indonesia, where we both wrote about 250 pages.
Jan has published several interesting books, on all kind of sects and movements in Christianity; a very precise and detailed story of Christian Muslim Relations in Indonesia, after his doctoral dissertation on education as a basic element in the Batak Churches. And several more!
This is a very personal book: more or less diaries, edited to become a book. It is less about personal reflections than about major events in his life. He was born in the outskirts of Medan, where his father was a small businessman. For one year he was moved to the house of his grandparents in Sibolga who put him in a Catholic primary school. He was eager to learn and therefore his birth date was 'corrected' into 1952, to give him quick access to a primary school. After secondary school he doubted about his vocation in life:engineering in Medan, a career as government official or minister in the church? It was this last option that became reality: in 1971 he started his study at the Theological School of Jakarta, became a minister in Batakland for one of the smaller churches, GKPI, result of a conflict within the big HKBP and in December 1976 he returned to Batakland to serve a congregation.
I made two pictures of the cover. This seems the best one. There is a rich choice of photographs in the book
In 1977 he resumed his studies in theology/church history with a Masters' degree. In 1987 he defended his doctoral dissertation at the SEAGST, the Southeast Asian Graduate School of Theology, a body that had an office in Singapore, but staff from various institutions. This was the reason why his degree was not accepted by the Indonesian bureaucracy. In 2000 the same dissertation was once again examined in Utrecht and Aritonang received a second doctoral degree: a theatre play that cost much time and about € 5,000, but it brought him to an official professorship (the third for Protestant theology in Indonesia, after John Titaley in  Salatiga and Gerrit Singgih in Yogyakarta). This formal recognition is necessary for these faculties in order to arrange their MA and Ph.D. Programs: also theological institutions must seek formal status.
Aritonang acknowledges that he is a modest smoker, a resilient drinker of beer (but he prefers a good glass of wine or sherry), an ardent reader, hard worker, good family man, warm and loyal friend.
He is also an honest observer of the true condition of Indonesia. He was so nice not to blame me for the final redaction of our "thick book" where I put the authors only at the end of chapters, sometimes not precisely indicating which section was written by whom: Jan, sorry for this omission!
He abhors bureaucracy and corruption and also is honest about the Protestants within his own school and within the Ministry of Religion of Indonesia. A crazy example of Indonesian bureaucracy was the inventory of the formal diplomas of 14,000 Protestant teachers of religiom. One committee from Jakarta was planned to check all these teachers in the period 2007-2015. Think about travelling, hotels, so many reports, administration and so much money needed for this. About 2/3 did not have the necessary qualifications. The examining committee itself did not follow the required procedures, was not free from corruption and Aritonang withdraw angrily from this miscarriage of bureaucracy (96-7). There are more stories of corruption: within the PGI, Council of Indonesian Churches, YAKOMA (118-9). More than US$ 600,000 disappeared from the account of ATESEA, Association of Theologians of Southeast Asia under directorship of Sientje Merentak (her husband was ill, needed operations, but there were many other elements of mismanagement, 87). It is an honest book, showing how Batak people deal with conflicts.
His straight and honest attitude also brought him several times into conflict with the board of the theological school. The Board wanted to sell the present campus and build a new one: you smell the money disappearing! In October 2011 he left his position as rector of the STT, but had also to leave his comfortable house on the campus and return (at great costs) to a former house, far away from the STT Jalan Proklamasi, in Jakarta where travelling during daytime becomes more and more impossible (102-3). This was the punishment of the board towards a man who worked for the institute more than 30 years! Quite sarcastically he thanks for the flowers: like the Pope also did to the Dutch at Easter, but in a more honest way.

Quite a few pages are dedicated to the difficult project to find money for the theological study abroad (through Ekumindo) and finally to lead the Indonesian Church to a change from receiving to giving, to put money into the own theological schools, basically into education of people.
The personal health problems are exposed in a way that is quite unusual in my own tradition. Even his preference for a simple burial, or rather cremation is exposed in some detail: no big ceremonies, no adat traditions, just a simple memorial session and good prayers.
The three children are mentioned with good details of their study, marriage. The middle one, Tio, received more attention, because of an engagement with a Muslim that was broken (and at that time she came with Aritonang to Holland and we received her several times in our house). Later she married another Muslim and Jan Aritonang feels this as a personal failure and quotes the suggestion by Christiaan de Jonge that maybe in the future she may lead her husband and child to Christianity rather than continuing leading a life of a Muslim. Tio had already some problems with the doctrine of Trinity, but Jan does not give very strong and plausible arguments in favour of this old doctrine (in my opinion the doctrine of the Trinity was a good answer for faith questions of 300-325 within the cultural context of that time, but it is no longer relevant in a time of new views on the start of our world). Thanks to its openness and many details about daily life of a great church leader, this is a fascinating ego-document by this hard worker and pleasant colleague.
I am prepared to join any committee who will prepare a true Festschrift for this scholar, but I am happy already with this document. Thank Jan, Terima Kasih dari Utrecht. Ibu Paule appreciates that she is mentioned also!

dinsdag 16 juli 2013

The 're-conversion' of Ayu Utami

There is a story about a librarian at McGill University's Institute of Islamic Studies who remarked about the late Hasbi ash-Shiddieqy and his numerous writings: 'he can faster write than common people may read!' It took Ayu Utami four years to write the major work Bilangan Fu, but since then it flows quicker and quicker. Last year (2012) there was the second book in the planned 12-volume series, elaboration of Bilangan Fu (Lalita, also a rich and elaborated book with many surprising characters), the second autobiographical (Cerita Cinta Enrico, after Si Parasit Lajang) and the book on Bishop Soegija.

Now there is in 2013 already a third autobiographical book, Pengakua Eks Parasit Lajang or the Confessions of a former single parasite (in the sense of an unmarried organism that lives from a host, whose blood it sucks and so continues living, not truly a Dracula, but close to it; I first translated it a 'a bachelor bloodsucke' but Utami did not agree with this description).

The book is divided in three different parts that are muchmore connected than in her earlier books (or, perhaps, I am now more used to her style of writing and the major figures of her books). In the 306 pages there are 17 + 14 + 17 short chapters, between some 5-8 pages. The first part is about Ayu in the age 20-22, a student in Bandung with her first boy friends. She looses her virginity and becomes quite fond of sex, but keeps control of her body by the 'natural method of birth control, strictly looking after periods and  the short period when pregnancy might start. Part 2 is about her birth until adolescence: much about the sisters in the school, the parish, the two aunts who live in the pavilion in the compound of their house, about her parents. The major theme is that she looses her faith. Part 3 (the longest from 167-306) has the title Seorang wanita di Jalan Pulang. It tells about the various steps (like levens in a computer game) through which she found her way back to Catholic faith. From lust (birahi) she must come to true love (quotes from 1 Corinthians 13), she must destroy the fortress of marriage, patriarchy in society and church, she must free herself from kemelekatan or addiction to many things of daily life, accept the monster in her self and find a balance. On 17 August 2011 she marries Erik. On 21 November she finished the book: on the 1000th day after her father died,, on her 44th birthday and on the Catholic day of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Her marriage is without a choir, without exchange of rings, in a simple style. She was dressed in a nationalist style: white kebaya and red kain. She writes on p. 307 that "A. is afraid that she did not in fact marry Rik, but the persone whose body she eats when she receives the Eucharist." Before this Catatan Akhir she already indicated that she considered marriage as a second Baptism, a second ritual to indicate the religious community where she belongs. Is this a total surrender to one of the six monotheisms of Indonesia? Not really: she remains critical, although less cynical that in earlier books. Marriage was a tanda solidaritas, an expression of solidarity with the Catholic community where she no longer finds ontological mistakes (tidak lagi menemukan kesalahan dalam komunitas kecilnya, 292). It is not 100%, still a spiritualisme kritis (290), but in a positive way.
She does not like the priests, according to earlier statements. They are the bones not the flesh of the community. She likes the biblical stories and the most interesting chapters for me were those about Abraham/Sarah, David and Bathseba. The story of Sarah and Abraham in Egypt is not so well known: Pharao sees that Abraham has a pretty good looking spouse and therefore Abraham declares that she is here sisters. Pharao gives rich presents to Abraham, but he falls ill, because he has taken a married Sarah in his bed. 202: "Probably good old Abraham had a coffee with Pharao and Sarah, with the sad (or bad?) conscience that Pharao had an intimate knowledge of his wife and that his wife knew both men very well.."
It is full with this clear religious meditations, like also some of her short statements: 286 Yesus bukan lolos tetapi lulus (Jesus was not saved but reached his goal). Although she is much closer to common Christian doctrine, she does not repeat traditional theology. She has even nice words for the role of Joseph who had to refrain himself ans stay aside when the Word became Flesh (not bones! not hiearchy) and praises his abstention (282).
In the Catholic Church there is no formal "man as head of the woman" (at least not in the formula of the Canan Law, (she leaves Ephesians 5:23 aside! the pious and peaceful Ayu) and therefore she could marry in this community.
Well,  mister Rik Utami is therefore also included below. But he remains in black and white, because the book is not really detailed about him and his feelings remain somewhat behind. (But in the main book of Bilangan Fu he is rather the central figure than the ladies, so he should not be angry!) He once warned his Yayang that she should behave properly for the future and should not be nakal again. We will see in the next future.

Wonderful: I could order this book easily as an e-book from Gramediana.com. It is a wonderful invention for a reader in Holland so to receive your Indonesian book. Thank you, monster of technology!

Just one last word about Muslim feminism: at the Lissabon conference Susanne Schröter commented about Muslim feminists of Indonesia: Sie sind so brav!  They are so neat, so decent, stay within the proper boundaries of the gentle debates. Ayu Utami has put quite some pepper spray, some eager and nasty spirit in the religious debate of modern Indonesia and it gives it a good flavour!
She has nice words for her first (and quite longtime) lover, the Muslim Rik. He does not use a condom, because in that case you prepare extramarital love and that is not good! During some days when they are in quite excited sexual mood, he takes frequently a full bath in order to cleanse before performing the ritual prayers. He wants to marry A., but she must in that case become a Muslim and she finds it against her feminist feeling: why should the woman adapt to the man and not the inverse. - These are just some of the many interesting and concrete cases of modern Indonesian society that are pictured here with a good sense of humour, in vivid descriptions in a book that I read in a few days, notwithstanding the problem of reading a first e-book from my labtop.

The book is dedicated to Saint Augustine who was the first to right a Pengakuan, 1600 years ago. Pengakuan has the double meaning of Confession as Praise of God/confession of one'faith, but also confession of sin. I have read it also as a process of becoming aku a way to become oneself.

zaterdag 13 juli 2013

7th Euroseas: Panel 81

From 2-6 July 2013 the 7th meeting of the European Association of Southeast Asian Studies was held in Lissabon. I had a paper for panel 81. Its theme was formulated as Religious Dynamics in Indonesia between Orthodoxy and Individual Experience. One could it also reformulate as: How the six big religions domesticate/dominate Indonesian religious life. We started with a good survey by Julia Day Howell (Sydney) who blamed PenPres 1965 no 1 of good old Sukarno that formulated the ruling that all Indonesian must be member of one of the (then five) great religions and that it is blasphemy not to follow the directions of these religions. In November 2009 AKKBB, Alliansi Kebangsaan untuk Kebebasan Beragama dan Berkeyakinan (National Alliance for Freemdom of Religion and Conviction) challenged this decision of 1965 with the Mahkamah Konstitusi or Supreme Constitutional Court that rejected in April 2010 this appeal. Since 1965 there is limited pluralism in Indonesia with the ban on mixing and matching religions, and limited free interpretation.
Lia Aminuddin of Kaum Eden has been banned while movements like MQ, Management Qalbu of A. Gymnastiar, ESQ remained close to Islam. Bhakti Nusantara & Bioenergi of Syaful M. Magshri must be seen as a hybrid (and commercialized) construct of sufi traditiona and martial arts had problems to remain formally within Muslim tradition (the later is the subject of the doctoral dissertation of Ahmad Muttaqien in Sydney, he could not be present).
Left: Julia Day Howell, sitting outside (inside it was too dark for photographs)

Second paper was by Kari Tall  from Bergen, Norway who gave a case of penodaan agama or blasphemy by a Sasak preacher Amaq Bakri who claimed a special revelation through the Angal Gabriel and was sentenced one year in prison. Only in 2009-11 there were nationa wide 120 counrt cases of blasphemy where personal religious freedom is very limited, although those 'committing'  blasphemy are not a danger for national safety. Amaq Bakri claimed also that he has short trips to heaven (mi'raj) in 1970, 1976 and 1997 and at the latter occasion received a certificate from Gabriel that he was a good teacher. It did not help! His movement is called Istijenar Rahsa Gunung Rinjani (The Secret Doctrines of Mount Rinjani).
Third paper was by Annette Hornbacher from Heidelberg about Balinese Hindus who go on pilgrimage to India, but often are disappointed because they consider India in general and also the temple compounds as very dirty. They have to pay to enter the major temples and do not feel the religious experience they have in their own temples. This is quite similar to the excperience of Syafaatun alMirzanah who recently was in Utrecht with us and also found Mecca quite commercial, too modern, especially the running between Safa and Marwa resembled more walking in a shopping, airconditioned in concrete buildings, that imitating the spiritual and existantial quest of Lady Hagar.

Left Prof. Annette Hornbacher, centre Susanne Rodemeier, both of Heidelberg, who organised and convened this pale. Right Isabell Herrman from Helsinki.

Fourth was Thomas Reuter who showed a nice movie about small religious movements, still popular and active although they preach harmony and even unity of religions. Fifth Isabell Herrmans on the struggle of Kaharingan Dayak/Hindu Religion, only recognized in Central Kalimantan (where the first Governor was the great promotor), but not in East Kalimantan where the Muslims from the former Sultanate of Kutai are powerful, nor in South Kalimantan with it strong Muslim orthodoxy.

Sixth paper was by Judith Schlehe (Freiburg) in commercial new rituals for promoting tourism, in case the cleansing of the grave of Senopati in Kotae Gede (as a Kirab Budaya, much similar to a small sekaten) and bersih desa in Krebet, a touristic village in Bantul: the government officials are not really successful in attracking tourists, but the local population is in part enthusiast notwithstanding the official ban of Muhammadiyah: not powerful enough, even not in Kota Gede. There was even a nice group of female prajurit in the ritual but quasi military parade.
Seventh paper was by Roger Tol on Muslim magazines, about 100 in the country, that are seldom used for research. Al-Falah is the largest (it is free), supporting Muslim philanthropy. Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia HTI is 5th with Tabloid Media Umat. Surprising no 6 is Majalah Gontor: Media Perekat Umat published by the Gontor community of Indonesia. Sabili is no longer so popular: it went down to ranking 11.
Andrée Feillard had a nice paper on the veneration of Sunan Kalijaga in Ngadilangu, close to Demak, but quite different from the old mosque. She did not hear about relations between Ngadilangu and Sunan Bayat in Klaten.
Middle is Andrée Feillard from Paris

Susanne Rodemeier  from Heidelberg had a revealing paper on Christians in Surakarta and especially the Chinese-Javanese Church Keluarga Allah, part of the Bethel Church. Solo is quite an exception: 35-40% of its population is Christian, but there have not been many problem between Christians and Muslims. She started showing the Masjid al-Hikmah standing with a church as neighbour. The formar mayor (Joko Widodo, now Governor of Jakarta) had ruled that all churches or house-congregations which had caused no problem during the last ten years could receive an official status as church and this lead to 138 churches in 2010. The GBI Keluarga Allah is fast growing: from a Chinese Pentecostal Church to a mixed Chinese Javanese Chinese Church where the slogan is: save the lost at any cost. Chinese members give good discount to all church members in their business. They have a cell system with weekly meeting of the 12 members (after the group around Jesus) where members eat together and discuss the paper of a pastor with the most important question: "How Christian am I?" If possible, every member of a cell of twelve should start a new group and the church has giant targets for its near future.
Music is very important in the GBI Keluarga Allah, it may result in trance, kesurupan, not much different from the reog of Ponorogo, that is also used to chase aay evil spirits. This is called 'holotropic breathwork', some kind of hyperventilation, also analyzed by psychiatrist Stanislas Grov.
The  tenth paper was by Edith Franke (Marburg), on Jews in Sulawesi.There were always some, but never many Jews in Indonesia. The last known Jewish lady lived a simple old house, used as a synagogue in Surabaya. She died some time ago and the house or synagogue (nothing special) was demolished by a building company. In Manado since a few years a Jewish community under leadership of one Rabbi Yaakov Baruch is active. Under leadership of the present Protestant governor ("we are all rooted in Judaism") a giant menorah is built, some 20 m. high in Manado (or Tondano?). This family from Zwitserland, called the Fontein family, were Catholic, but learned Judaism from the Internet and there are debates about the true Jewish roots and character of this newly found(ed) group of Jews in Manado.
The last paper was by myself on Ayu Utami, but many other pages in this weblog have been written about that topic.

vrijdag 12 juli 2013

7th Euroseas: First impressions

Between 2-6 July 2013 I was in Lissabon for the bi-annual meeting of the European Association of Southeast Asian Studies. Its venu was the new campus of the Technical University of Lissabon. A huge compound at the north-western border of the town, exactly the end of the town and in the hot, sunny atmosphere making a rather desolate impression.
We came with some 650 people who earn their money with traveling, writing and teaching on things related to Southeast Asia, all of us with a paper. There were in total 96 panels, some cancelled, some with only 2-4 presentation. I was in panel 81with 11 papers! Besides a few general sessions, it was a supermarket where it was sometimes difficult to find the proper rooms, the exhibitions of new books and the places to talk a little more quietly with many old colleagues.

On the building of the faculty of social and political sciences (Sospol is the Indonesian abbreviation) there was a great sign: we value people. Does this mean that here science cares for people, of that this science judges and evaluates people? The new bureaucrats are educated here, politicians, people who are to talk and write, probably.

The opening session was a disaster: the most important speaker would be José Ramos Horta. together with Bishop Belo the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. [I discussed with Freek Colombijn this strange combination: an absolutely secular, Marxist oriented activist, and the conservative, rather shy priest, ordained bisop of Dili. The Vatican diplomacy must have been active in promoting this peace prize and must have seen also its own profit by doing this. While the Catholic Church can be very stubborn, dogmatic and rigid, it also is able to be realistic and even opportunistic. But the aftermath of Belo is a shame. Removed to Portugal, later to Mozambique for reasons that were never disclosed openly. Colombij once had an interview with Ramos Horta and with struch by the elegant diplomacy of this warm personality.] Anyway Ramos Horta did not turn up and the second speaker, Jorge Sampaio, former president of Portugal and once the UN High Representative for the 'Alliance of Civilizations' spoke to the audience in the right way: scholars of Southeast Asia are no longer (like the generations of Hans Teeuw, Jan van Baal, Coolhaas) close to the civil administration and to the great business companies, but they are close to the NGOs. Sampaio hopes that mediation will be the new policy: not the army but the social scientists and their NGOs must choose the way of mediation and so found ways for peace and properity.
Above (below) Mieke Schouten and Gerrit Knaap, just some of the more the 25 Dutch scholars I met here in Lissabon. Just one quote: 'soft power has to play a role!'

My own panel 81 was on Friday 6th July, and for the first two days I made a selection of various other groups. I was first in Pale 11 on the colonial prejudices against other races. Then in Panel 67 on community driven development with the question about foreign workers in NGO: are they a good alternative for the local population? Can they also earn money? In Panel 89 James Fox gave a masterly presentation of  his long-term research project of ritual language in Roti: To speak in Pairs. There were some talks about Hizbut Tahrir: not concentrated on a specific person, but more as a nearly anonymous organization with some power and threat to society in Indonesia, where it preaches the international caliphate but also has some local interests. Above we we a photograph of Choong Pui Yee (working in Singapore at Nanyang University). She talked about the difficult situation of Christians in Malaysia who have to give in to the dominent Muslim Malaysian community, are not allowed to receive conversion and even must prevent the use of Allah for God.

7th Euroseas: Arrival

From 2-6 July 23013 I attended the 7th gathering of some 650 scholars who are engaged in Southeast Asian Studies, called the EUROSEAS: European Association of Southeast Asian Studies. I attended several meetings of its predecessor (1989 Bern, 7th European Colloquium on Indonesian and Malay Studies, paper on Raniri), its following conference in Göteburg, with some 100 participants (1990? paper mon Van Lith).
This conference was huge. I arrived early in Lissabon and in the morning I took the opportunity to see the Palácio Nacional do Ajuda.
It is a 19th century palace, built for a queen who was a daughter of Vittore Emmanuele of Italy and like to do shopping in Paris and other capitals. The royal system was abolished somewhere in the early 20th century and the place remained more or less as it was, not really plundered, not well kept. There were the luxurious elements of these places like, below, the cruel humiliation of Achilles killed in the battle at Troje (or was it Hector killed?)
Amidst this old stuff there was a modern exhibition of great objects by Joana Vasconcelos, all made of modern utensils. So, amidst this vanished 19th glory we saw some tables made of smoothing irons.
In the great reception hall the old thrones for king and queen were empty. Are they more or less a symbol for the Portuguese nation that experienced a sad Republican period under Salazar and has not yet found its new spirit as a modern and democratic nation? If you look closely you will notice that the giant pumps, placed in front of the empty thrones are made of kitchen utensils, all sizes of pots and pans, just simple cookeware.
There is in the same great hall and oversized, really gigantic chandelier. Only when watching closely one can see that it is all made from small white tampons. The material is here handled with great care and precision. The past modernized but its modernity is still very close to the presentation of the past and fits, without too brutal or chocking confrontation, although at closer look we can see that it hurts and that this modernity is absolutely different from the style of the palace that could no longer be modernised.