Category: History/Culture

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Alfred Raquez’s Trip to Batavia

“Alfred Raquez” is the pseudonym of Joseph Gervais, a bankrupt French lawyer who fled to the Far East in the late 1890s. He wrote prolifically about China and...

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British Bengkulu: A Forgotten Imperial Outpost

Bengkulu, October 1685: The fort stood atop a small hillock on the banks of a coffee-coloured creek. To the west the Indian Ocean stretched blank and white and empty. To...

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Tana Olen, the Forbidden Forest

“We call this place Tana Olen,” Philius, the Dayak elder explained. “In Kenyah Dayak language this means forbidden forest – forbidden to destroy.” The locals...

Gravestones of executived servicemen in Ancol. Photo Photo by P.H. van der Grinten

Menteng Pulo: Field of Honour

The most astonishing experience when entering the Netherlands Field of Honour Menteng Pulo (Menteng Pulo Ereveld) is the silence. Just beyond the gate is the noisy...

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles

Life Back Then

Author of Olivia & Sophie, Rosie Milne, explores what expat life was like 200 years ago. My novel Olivia & Sophia explores the lives of two predecessors of...

Gauthier in a Javanese headdress

The Influence of Javanese Music on Early Jazz

“Jazz has borrowed from other genres of music and also has lent itself to other genres of music.” – Herbie Hancock Previously I wrote about the arrival...

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Rebuilding Ruins: PT Pembangunan Kota Tua

Most of Jakarta is made of new developments and expanding suburbs, however look to the North and you’ll find Kota Tua, or ‘Old Town’, which was where the original...

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Tugu Kunstkring Paleis: A Culturally Rich Dining Experience in the Heart of Menteng

On a quiet, leafy-tree street corner set amongst stately white mansions and European luxury cars parked roadside is a structural gem designed by the Dutch architect and...

Gerard Van Keulen’s magnificent 1728 map of Java

The Mapping of Java

The islands of Java and Bali located 8 degrees south of the Equator in the Indian Ocean are two of the 17,000 islands that make up the Republic of Indonesia, the...

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Settlers, Saints, Kings and Conversions: The Dawn of Indonesian Islam

Author of A Brief History of Indonesia, Tim Hannigan, travels back in time to explore the history of Islam in Indonesia. The hamlet of Leran lies amidst the low fields...

_The Turning of Mount Mandara_ .Mangku Mura 1973, natural pigments on cloth, Photo -David Irons

Kamasan: An Ancient Living Tradition

Imagine you are a master Balinese painter, and your King has recently commissioned you to do a piece of work. As you sit down in front of a large cloth stretched upon a...

CD reissue of 1st Jazz record

The Kids Went Wild in Batavia

“The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.” – Louis Armstrong Joey Alexander’s nomination for two Grammy Awards has created a...

BASAbali Software | Photo by BASAbali

Preserving the Balinese Language for Generations to Come

Language represents culture. In culturally-rich Indonesia this is especially true; being an archipelago of over 17,000 islands with around 300 distinct native ethnic...

Exiles Warsito, Sarkawi, Nardan, Tom Iljas at a cemetery in Stockholm.

Saudara Dalam Sejarah: Exposing the Story of Indonesia’s Forgotten Exiles

In the 1960s, Sukarno sent thousands of students to study abroad, including in China. After the 1965 anti-communist massacre, in which over 500,000 Indonesians were...