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The Forum > Article Comments > Trade and treaty partners; or friends and neighbours? > Comments

Trade and treaty partners; or friends and neighbours? : Comments

By Duncan Graham, published 7/3/2013

Indonesians are generally small, brown, restrained, religious, superstitious, exploited and poorly paid. They live in a nascent democracy dominated by moneymen and the military.

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#...Indonesians are generally small, brown, restrained, religious, superstitious, exploited and poorly paid. They live in a nascent democracy dominated by moneymen and the military...#

...Hey..that statement sounds like a reference to many Australians; trailer-trash ruled by poverty and overzealous police, taking advantage of the powerless!
Posted by diver dan, Thursday, 7 March 2013 12:23:23 PM
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I think the answer is "both" (trade and treaty partners and friends and neighbours) - and in fact it's essential that this is the case. Duncan Graham's depiction of the dichotomy between Indonesia's politico-social culture and Australia's is spot on. It's more difficult to manage than many imagine.

From Bali, the picture is slightly different. There's more exposure to foreign devils here than in Surabaya - at least western foreign devils - and much more than is generally the case throughout Indonesia. Excusing Jakarta, which of course one must do on a daily basis.

Most Indonesians in Bali still - by an inevitably reducing margin - Balinese and thus Hindu rather than Muslim, and this produces some difference of perspective. More Australians are familiar with Bali than with the bulk of Indonesia. Australans are a constant presence here because of tourism, and the resident Australian community is quite large.

None the less, Balinese society is as conservative in its own way as is that of Indonesia in general. Beyond the tourism PR, one often senses that foreigners are a tolerated (as opposed to necessarily welcomed) presence. They are certainly seen as a source of income, and quite fairly so.
Posted by Scribe, Friday, 8 March 2013 5:52:15 PM
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