On 10 November 2015 there was a book launching in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. With Paule, I attended it in the evening after the promotion of Dr. Sunarwoto.
Rijksmuseum more and more has a function between a presentation of art and a focus on Dutch history. The book was Gepeperd Verleden. 'A peppered/seasoned past: Indonesia and the Netherlands since 1595, written by Harm Stevens in a series of the museum that will illustrate the foreign history of the Netherlands. Ayu Utami translated the title also as Lada Pahit with a link to Majapahit after the name of the last Hindu Kingdom in Java, 15th century.
The launching started with summaries of the book. It was followed by an impressive Javanese/Dutch dancer who took the personality of the wife of Dutch deserter, pro-Indonesian fighter Poncke Princen. When the Dutch army attacked the village where he lived, she tried to defend him, and died.
The major talk was given by Ayu Utami who wanted to give a spiritual vision of a museum ('although spiritualism can be boring and often making love is more fun').
She began with the day: 10 November is hari pahlawan or heroes' day because of those who died in the British attack on Surabaya, 10 November 1945, the first battle in the war or independence. At one moment she glorified this history, but she also criticized the very simple image given about this period by nationalist propaganda. That is a too much lineair, one-sided view of history.