All posts filed under: Southeast

Banjarmasin: A Flood of Memories

How does it feel to go back to a city you left three decades ago? Will you remember anything? Will you recognize some places? To begin this story let me take you back in time, 32 years ago to be precise. Due to his work […]

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Blitar under the Radar

In an age of mass tourism like today, places with stately, magnificent landmarks that are hundreds or even thousands years old draw people from all over the world to come and visit, marvel at the impressive monuments, and feel that they’ve become part of the […]

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Radya Pustaka: A Forlorn Museum

Try to gather 100 people and ask them the following questions: “Who wants to go to the beach?” Most of them would probably raise their hands. Then ask, “Who wants to go to the malls?” Maybe only 50 to 60 people are keen on the […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Mangkunegaran

What happens when a claimant of a region is excluded from a treaty that officially divides it into smaller parts? As history suggests, this person will keep fighting for what they believe is rightfully theirs. The success of that usually depends on how much power […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Yogyakarta

On August 15, 1945, people across Japan, at that time an empire encompassing large swathes of Asia, heard something they considered unthinkable. The once formidable power officially surrendered to the Allies in an announcement made by Emperor Hirohito himself. Very early the next day in […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Surakarta

Considering the total population of Java today, one might be startled to realize just how many people live on this Indonesian island. Java’s land area is slightly smaller than Florida, and just a little bit bigger than the whole of Greece. However, while the Sunshine […]

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Singhasari: Rise and Fall

In the second half of the 13th century, a vast empire ruled by nomadic people from the steppes of what is now Mongolia stretched from the western shores of the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Victory after victory […]

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Candi Badut: A Remnant of Kanjuruhan

In the eighth century, several centuries after Hinduism arrived in Java, the fertile island where towering volcanoes took lives but replenished the soil saw the beginning of temple construction in earnest. The central part of Java in particular witnessed the proliferation of Hindu and Buddhist […]

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The Custodian of Champa’s Treasures

For centuries, the mountainous region of modern-day central Vietnam was a natural border separating the land of the Cham people in the south from that of Dai Viet to the north. With towering peaks that soar from the country’s interior all the way to the […]

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Da Nang and the Friendly Dragon

A Vietnamese restaurant located in a once-lively mall in a gentrified neighborhood of Jakarta has for years become my choice whenever I crave food from the Southeast Asian country. It was where my parents tried their first pho several years ago (which my father, unsurprisingly, […]

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Architectural Gems of Old Cirebon

Six giant golden shrimps shine brightly under the sun, perched above the half-moon portico of the fine white building. The Indonesian flag flies proudly over a well-manicured garden filled with all sorts of tropical plants. On top of the structure, an emblem also depicting a […]

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