All posts filed under: Indonesia

The Chinese Connection

Chapter 5, Part 2 Known as the “Middle Kingdom” in Mandarin, China has always projected its image as the center of the world even long before the modern People’s Republic of China was formed. Prior to the creation of the Communist state as well as […]

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Bounty from the Earth and Sea

Chapter 5, Part 1 Long before the modern state of Indonesia was conceived, before the arrival of Europeans to Asia, even long before the magnificent Borobudur and Prambanan temples were constructed, merchants in this sprawling archipelago had already established a thriving spice trade among neighboring islands, as […]

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Toraja: Where Life Revolves around Death

Chapter 4, Part 27 In the highlands of Sulawesi, far from the coastal communities of the Bugis and Makassarese peoples, live an agricultural society who still hold onto their ancient traditions. Called “To Riaja”, People of the Mountain, by their seafaring counterparts, the Torajan people […]

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Batak: From Cannibalism to Christianity

Chapter 4, Part 26 By the 19th century, the coastal regions of northern Sumatra were strongholds of Muslim sultanates, from Aceh – where the first Islamic kingdom in the Indonesian archipelago was established – to Deli which is now part of the city of Medan. […]

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Medan: From Deli to Tjong A Fie

Chapter 4, Part 13 In politics there are no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. This has been repeatedly proven in the history of relations among nations where two unlikely partners often formed alliances to defeat their common rival. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) […]

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The Faces of Banda

Chapter 4, Part 10 Blessed with fertile soils and pristine waters, which at one point in history turned out to be a curse, the Banda Islands today is a place where avid divers go for its world-class reefs (the islands lie at the heart of […]

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The Banda Islands: Land and Sea

Chapter 4, Part 9 We were in the middle of the Banda Sea, the deepest body of water in Indonesia with some parts going as deep as 7,000 m. The violent waves reared up the small boat, filled with Fiona from the Netherlands, Torben from Germany, […]

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Run for Manhattan

Chapter 4, Part 8 Among the remote islands of the Bandas, Run (Rhun) is situated at the westernmost corner of the chain, some two hours away by a small boat from Banda Neira – the most populated of the Banda Islands. Like its sisters to […]

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Islands that Changed the World: the Bandas

Chapter 4, Part 7 In the 16th century, upon the discovery of direct sea routes from Europe to the Spice Islands, Portugal and Spain asserted their dominance in the world’s spice trade which for centuries were traditionally controlled by the Javanese, Indian, Arab, Persian and […]

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Ambon: Colonialism, Peace and Music

Chapter 4, Part 6 In 1512 the Portuguese successfully reached the fabled Spice Islands after decades of sea explorations and conquests in the Indian Ocean. Ambon (Amboina), Ternate, as well as the Banda Islands were the main ports of call for the Portuguese in the […]

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Ternate: Science and Superstition

Chapter 4, Part 5 The turboprop plane which brought us from the city of Manado in North Sulawesi almost an hour earlier started its descent. Strings of verdant small islands now appeared larger from the window, and soon enough the venerable Mount Gamalama rose straight from […]

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