Antony Sutton

Antony is a freelance writer based in Jakarta. Please send comments and suggestions to antony@the-spiceislands.com

Bengkulu Blues

At first sight Bengkulu seems an odd place for a trading post. It’s situated on the west coast of Sumatra, maybe three quarters of the way down the mammoth island....

Benny & Mice

My Indonesian language skills have never been that good. I struggle to put three or four words together and when I can manage that there is no guarantee I can repeat the...

Of Spice and Profit

Nearly half a millennium before the world, slowly getting connected by grainy black and white TV images, was entranced by antics of Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong and...

Bangkok skytrain sunset

Going Nowhere Fast – Can Jakarta Learn from Bangkok?

Bangkok’s new international airport may look like the result of a kindergarten class having too much free time with the meccano but getting there and away is a breeze....

Love In The East

An old photograph of ‘Indo’ girls (mixed European and Indonesian) in Batavia The early days of the expatriate in South East Asia, back in the 16th and 17th centuries...

Zheng He, The Chinese Muslim Eunuch

Zheng He is renowned today as a great explorer, honoured by both Chinese and Muslims throughout South East Asia. But while his name may be familiar, details of his...

De Boroboedoer

Treading in Jogjakarta’s Ancient History

Jogjakarta and its Hill of Stones Anyone with but the flimsiest knowledge of Indonesia will know the pivotal role Jogjakarta has played. In culture, in rebellion, in...

Did You Know…?

In 1602 eight early British expats were dropped off in what is now known as Banten Lama by the first voyage of the East India Company. They were told to make money and...

It’s a Swamp Out There!

There isn’t a lot of green space left in Jakarta. Perhaps more than people realise, but still very little. What remains is worth preserving, not just because it looks...

Geraja Sion

Back in the middle of the 17th century, Jl. Pangeran Jayakarta was one of Batavia’s hottest addresses. It was a wide, spacious boulevard so beloved of colonials who...

Batavia – A Chinese Town Under Dutch Rule

No-one knows when the Chinese first hit what was to become Jakarta. Certainly, when the Dutch first arrived, in 1596, they found Chinese merchants manufacturing arak...