Category Archives: The Island of Java

The Year of Living Dangerously

Mel Gibson and film “The Year of Living Dangerously”, scenes of post-colonial decay and regret at Puncak.

This post is the third of four in a series.
The first is: “Puncak in Ruins, Part 1: Arrival Scene”
The second is: “Puncak in Ruins, Part 2: Lost Detour”

The Year of Living Dangerously (movie poster)

Movie Poster

In the middle of Peter Weir’s 1982 film The Year of Living Dangerously, a war romance set in 1965 Indonesia, there is a five minute scene set in Puncak, the mountain resort area just a few hours outside of Jakarta. A young pre-asshole Mel Gibson portrays a naive but ambitious Australian journalist named Guy Hamilton. After he has ruffled feathers in the diplomatic community, pissed off his girlfriend and his photographer, and put himself into danger all for the sake of an espionage scoop, Guy’s only reliable ally left in Indonesia is his driver-assistant Kumar (Filipino actor Bembol Roco). While driving through Puncak Pass, Kumar insists they stop for a late afternoon rest at an old Dutch villa. (Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch the scene in its entirety on youtube)

Tiger Lily stands in the door of the old Dutch villa (screenshot from The Year of Living Dangerously)

Screen Shot: Tiger Lily is a Friend

Screen Shot:  Old Java Now

Screen Shot: Old Java Now

Screen Shot:  Verboden

Screen Shot: Verboden

Screen Shot: Tiger Lily Dives In

Screen Shot: Tiger Lily Dives In

Set against magnificent mountain scenery, the villa itself is dusty and dilapidated, surrounded by dry overgrown weeds. The paint has peeled from the shutters and doors, and the walls are faded and blotchy with cracked plaster patches. Kumar keeps his eyes on Guy who, suddenly suspicious, takes a cautious sip of the cold drink that has just been served. Kumar then leaves him on the terrace: “I’ll see you after siesta… You’re in Old Java now, boss.” Guy looks over to the derelict swimming pool, and Tiger Lily, Kumar’s gorgeous colleague (played by Filipina pop diva Kuh Ledesma), is wearing a bathing suit and standing at the pool’s edge, using an old Dutch sign with the word “Verboden” (forbidden, prohibition, taboo) written on it to gently skim dead leaves off the water. The camera pans out, revealing the entire pool and a backdrop of mountains… Tiger Lily has cleared just enough space from the pool’s littered surface to dive in to what otherwise appears to be filthy water. The contrast between natural and feminine beauty on the one hand, faded and filthy disrepair on the other, is unsettling. When Tiger Lily dives into the pool, we have entered Mary Douglas territory, mixing symbols of purity and danger, pollution and taboo. Guy’s ordinarily helpful assistants in Jakarta, Kumar and Tiger Lily, are suddenly suspect and mysterious, maybe not so trustworthy, in the lonely isolation (for Guy) of “Old Java Now.”

Guy takes his siesta in a guest room so dark and stuffy we can almost smell the rank musty air trapped in the room with him while his body perspires completely. In a potentially erotic dream that turns into a terrifying nightmare, Tiger Lily drowns Guy in the dirty water of the old swimming pool. He wakes up seized with horror, and understands that Kumar and Tiger Lily are actually undercover members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), perhaps collecting intelligence on Guy for the party, which may (or may not) be plotting a coup against the Indonesian army in order to take over Soekarno’s government. When Guy confronts him, Kumar does not deny it, but it turns out that he brought Guy up to Puncak in order to safely warn him to stop investigating rumors about an incoming arms shipment, because Guy’s name is already on the PKI’s hit list.

What a terrific idea it was for the screenwriters to stage this revelation amidst colonial ruins, where traces of “Old Java now” create an uncanny atmosphere of creepy horror for the likes of Guy Hamilton. Removed from his familiar clique of expatriate journalists and diplomats in Jakarta, where they socialize in the safe spaces of five-star hotel bars, embassy formals, and social clubs, Guy is suddenly vulnerable up in Puncak, in an old Dutch villa that ironically now serves as a safe space for PKI operatives. The broken remains of Dutch empire, at least 25 years old in 1965 Indonesia, ought to remind Guy and his expatriate friends in Jakarta of what’s at stake if war breaks out. If PKI were to stage a successful coup, their lavish modern lifestyles in Jakarta would surely meet the same fate as this formerly grand old villa at the top of a mountain. [To clarify, the depiction of 1965 Indonesia historical events in The Year of Living Dangerously is generously revised at best, but I’m writing here within parameters set by the story.]

The original novel and the subsequent film were written, directed and produced by Australians. Their story focuses on expatriate journalists and diplomats (mostly Australian and British) in Jakarta; Kumar and Tiger Lily are minor characters. As such, our view of Indonesia in this story is from the privileged expatriate perspective, and that includes our view of the spooky old Dutch villa up in the enchanted Puncak highlands. We’re spooked because the villa in disrepair reminds postcolonial expatriates about what they have lost. From their perspective, postcolonial Indonesians have mismanaged their inheritance, letting a magnificent house fall into such ugly (and, by way of Guy’s nightmare, potentially deadly) disrepair.

Apart from some stylized wayang metaphors, an artifice used only to elevate the expatriate heroes and their epic dilemmas, we don’t get much Indonesian perspective in The Year of Living Dangerously. The best we get is from Kumar, still at the villa, when he explains his involvement in the PKI to Guy:  “My country suffers under a great weight of poverty and corruption. Is it wrong to want to change that?” We also learn from Tiger Lily that Kumar’s family business suffers under extortion pressure from the military. And yet there are thousands of “Indonesians” (it was filmed in the Philippines) portrayed throughout the film:  in markets, riots, slums, airports, bars, red light districts, and even at the old Dutch villa where there appears to be a complete household staff. But just as historical events are merely a backdrop, so too are these Indonesian extras in the film. They’re just part of the chaotic postcolonial scenery.

Screen Shot:  Part of the Scenery

Screen Shot: Part of the Scenery

The sublime and ominous qualities of the old Dutch villa depend on keeping the Indonesian people that live and work there silent and in the background. If we learn any details about how Tiger Lily, Kumar and Tiger Lily’s “friend” (the owner) use the villa and support the household staff who maintain it, much less about the staff themselves and the neighbors who pass their days there, then the enchanting spell that surrounds the villa ends because it is no longer a ruin of the past. Instead it becomes a living testament to the present, almost certainly with another kind of history that Guy and his gang would prefer not to acknowledge. Guy’s eerie discomfort rests upon this lack of acknowledgement, the suppression of history, sedimented as remnant traces in the crumbling architecture.

The Puncak scene from The Year of Living Dangerously in its entirety begins at 1:13:

.

To be continued:

“Puncak in Ruins, Part 4: Return to Villa Kota Gardenia” (coming soon)

The Year of Living Dangerously is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta and near Jakarta airport, and more.

Indonesia Tourism Awards

Tourists polled, their favourite hotels, restaurants, malls, and holiday destinations in Indonesia.

The Indonesia Tourism Awards (ITA) 2010 were announced in early December, the awards organised by the Department of Tourism and SWA business magazine, and not to be confused with intense rivals Indonesia Travel Tourism Awards.

Method

Between 16th August-14th October 2010 1,619 tourists were polled, 1,470 Indonesians and 149 foreigners in 25 towns and regencies, with the results gathered through focus group discussions and questionnaires.

Menbudpar Tourism Awards

The winners:

Areas & Destinations

Area/Regency with best tourist facilities

  1. Bukittinggi, Sumatra
  2. Denpasar, Bali
  3. Toraja, South Sulawesi

Favourite Area/Regency

  1. Denpasar, Bali
  2. Cianjur, West Java
  3. West Lombok

Favourite Destination

  1. Bedugul (Tabanan), Bali
  2. Sanur beach (Badung), Bali
  3. Londa (Toraja), South Sulawesi

Hotels

Favourite Hotel – 5 star

  1. Shangrila Hotel, Jakarta
  2. Sheraton Hotel, Jakarta
  3. J.W Marriott Hotel, Jakarta

Favourite Hotel – 4 star

  1. Hard Rock Hotel, Bali
  2. Swiss Belhotel Hotel, Jakarta
  3. AryaDuta Hotel, Jakarta

Favourite Hotel – 3 star

  1. Ibis Hotel, Jakarta

Favourite Hotel – Cheap

  1. Legian Village, Bali

No other hotels reached quota for these last two categories.

Restaurants

Favourite Restaurant – Seafood

  1. Bandar Jakarta

Favourite Restaurant – Javanese

  1. Ayam Goreng Mbok Berek

Favourite Restaurant – Sundanese

  1. Kampung Daun

Favourite Restaurant – Padang

  1. Simpang Raya

Malls

Favourite Mall – Jakarta

  1. Plaza Senayan

Favourite Mall – Java

  1. Ambarukmo Plasa, Yogyakarta

Favourite Mall – off Java

  1. Panakukang Mall, Makassar

Airlines

Favourite Airline – Full service

  1. Garuda Indonesia

Favourite Airline – Budget

  1. Lion Air
  2. Air Asia
  3. Batavia Air

Travel Services

Favourite Travel Agency

  1. Panorama

Favourite Taxi Company

  1. Blue Bird

Related Industries

Favourite Spa

  1. Martha Tilaar Salon Day Spa

Favourite Golf Course

  1. Damai Indah Golf

Indonesia Tourism Awards is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

Indonesia’s Claim to Papua

Indonesia’s claim to Papua is self-contradictory. One cannot claim (as Indonesians often claim) that the Dutch presence in Indonesia was illegitimate and that the borders of the Netherlands Indies were mainly fixed by violence (as they were) and appeal to this same presence and these same borders as a basis for a legitimate Indonesian claim. The only open avowal of this inconsistency from an Indonesian that I have come across is the lecture that Dr. George Aditjondro gave some fifteen years ago for the Monash Asia Institute in Melbourne (see http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/54b/034.html).

Of course very much the same situation holds for other parts of Indonesia but for many of those one can, more or less convincingly, claim that they were somehow, though often only marginally, involved in the struggle for independence and that the Sukarno-Hatta declaration of the 17th of August 1945 was therefore at least implicitly accepted as being valid in and for these regions as well.

No such claim can be made for Papua. Papuans only knew Indonesians then as the Ambonnese and Keiese who served as teachers or in the lower ranks of the administration. They were by and large not popular. There was already then a definite “anti-Amberi” sentiment. Also, Papua was only partly occupied by the Japanese and these could not promote in the occupied part a nascent nationalist anti-western movement because that simply did not exist (the Koreri movement in the Biak-Numfor area was quite a different kettle of fish). Furthermore, the Americans, with some Dutch involvement, liberated Papua about one year before the Japanese surrendered in Java. Thus the Dutch administration had either been continued throughout the war or been properly restored in other parts well before the Sukarno-Hatta declaration was made.

I quote from the English language summary of the thus far most thorough study of the preliminaries of the so-called “Act of Free Choice”, that which Professor Pieter Drooglever was commissioned to write by the then Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Aartsen (“Een Daad van Vrije Keuze” 2005):

“The development of Indonesian nationalism entirely passed the Papuans by … (also) New Guinea had, in most respects, a different occupation history than the rest of Indonesia. It was only partially occupied. The Dutch influence continued to prevail in the south and in the interior. The occupation was also shorter and the island was liberated by the American army in the middle of 1944 already. The Dutch were also involved in this, and quickly took the administration back into their own hands. As a result, the restoration of power took place well before the independent Indonesian Republic was proclaimed on Java on 17 August 1945.”

I wish to say more about this.

(http://www.safecom.org.au/drooglever.htm)

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Jakarta OverPopulation?

Census figures unreliable, are Jakarta and Java are much less populated than is thought?


An Unreliable Census?

I’m a few years now in this interesting land, so I hope some credibility can be given to my possibily seditious ramblings to follow. Mainly, I don’t believe there are over 140 million people residing on beautiful Java.

Evidence…….well let’s start in Jakarta which I lived in for about a year. Traffic in the ‘Big Durian’ is undeniably horrendous during the rush hour. But this city is in my opinion a disaster in terms of urban planning and surfeit of anywhere approaching an adequate transport infrastructure.

Jakarta TrafficNorth-south this city requires to at least treble the current main arterial routes it currently has, at present all traffic is filtered into Jalan Sudirman/Gatot Subroto. Which is equivalent to a one horse town in my opinion.

The “jalan tikus” rat-runs only allow a temporary escape from this trapped pipe of road rage/numbing boredom. Manhattan has 11-13 equivalent routes bi-secting its narrow frame. What’s more it’s so difficult to get off these choked arterials, also added to the mix is a lack of overhead routes for those wishing to get from east-west across it, which means that an east-west journey of one mile “as the crow flies” can end up being 6 miles with an enforced detour via Semanggi roundabout.

There’s no train network to offer relief, then there’s bus-ways clogging up much of the limited viable road space, with the effect that Indonesia’s capital feels much more crowded then it actually is.

Jakarta HousesMore evidence, is the fact that nearly all of Jakarta is a low rise city of bungalows with decent size gardens to the fore and back. These are residents of the middle classes not the wealthy, who have pitched half acre plots in Menteng/Pluit/Kelapa Gading and much of South Jakarta.

Yet more evidence comes from Menteng which I once got lost in at 9.00 at night and had to drive around for 15 mins to find a pedestrian to point me in the right direction. So where in Jakarta do the huge swarming mass that keep the corrupt awake reside?

Muara Angke is possibly Jakarta’s most famous slum, and its tiny, no way there’s more than 30,000 people there. The railway lines and the adjacent humble abodes are shockingly thronged with humanity, but apart from one area near Senen, there is no great mass of people here. The back streets of Kota can be heavily populated, but look at the larger houses adjacent to the narrow laneways. Sorry but parts of London/NY feel as populated to me.

I could go on and on….but what I’m saying is that the population of Jakarta and maybe much of western Java which I am also familiar with is wrong.

My clinching evidence that the census is an unreliable reading is that my friend was counted three times. Once in Depok, where she formerly lived – confirmed by her brother still living there, then in Palu, Central Sulawesi, where she had returned to assist her dying mother as confirmed by her father, and now in Manado where she has been resident for three months.

I can go on and on mentioning more examples of people who told me they were double counted, and analysing small towns in Java that supposedly have populations of two million in their hinterlands, but I’ll leave my last example to Banten and its 9-10 million residents.

TangerangBanten supposedly has about 9 million residents north of the railway line to Rangkasbitung – there are not a million people resident south of this railway line, with much of the area given over to the dwindling Javan Badak and threatened Badui people. Thus that area to the north, roughly the size of greater London, but mainly made up of farms and coastal paddies, has the same population as one of the western world’s most congested cities. Sorry can’t believe there are that many people in Tangerang and Serpong.

Sorry I don’t buy the population of western Java; and feel its deliberately distorted. If I’m right why would a legitimate government allow this practice, deliberate misleading?

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Raymond Westerling

Captain Westerling, hero against Javanese imperialism or villain of its Dutch counterpart.


Hero or Villain – New Turk Westerling Movie

Having long had an interest in history, and having taken the time and trouble to read as much as I can of Indonesia’s history since I came here (largely because, like most Brits/ Canadians/Americans, though not all Australians, I knew almost nothing of the country) I was fascinated to read the following article in the Jakarta Post Weekender.

Westerling’s War

For many Indonesians, Captain Raymond Pierre Paul Westerling (31st August 1919 – 26th November 1987), nicknamed “the Turk”, remains the most notorious Dutch military figure from the young republic’s war of independence. With a Dutch director now planning to make a film about Westerling’s rampage in South Sulawesi, a closer look reveals a multifaceted man who continues to symbolize a thorny episode in Indonesian–Dutch history. Lina Sidarto reports.

The name Westerling still evokes images of evil and inhumanity for most Indonesians raised on history textbooks that describe the violence committed by the Dutch officer against people in various parts of the archipelago.

In his memoirs, he described an act of terror designed to subdue groups that had been attacking European soldiers in North Sumatra.

We planted a stake in the middle of the village and on it we impaled the head of a Terakan [half-Japanese, half-Chinese inhabitant]. Beneath it we nailed a polite warning to the members of his band that if they persisted in their evildoing, their heads would join his.

Dutch director Martin Koolhoven believes Westerling is, of course, a very interesting person for a movie.

“There are still people now who adore him [in the Netherlands], while others see him as the personification of evil.”

While many Dutch films have been made about World War II, Koolhoven is currently working on a script for the first movie highlighting the years just after 1945.

“It’s not a period in our history that we can be most proud of. It won’t be a biopic about Raymond Westerling, but a film about the men who served under him in Indonesia.”

There’s no need for me to publish the whole JP item which you can find for yourselves, but what it moves onto is possibly the most intriguing part of the Westerling story – just how much support did he really have among local people?

I wrote a novel which included a brief review of his role (“Westerling’s Legacy”, morfinybooks@yahoo.ca) several years ago, and my own researches then led me to conclude that his support was far from negligible. Not talking about Java but about the outer islands, where the present regime is still so terrified of calls for self-determination that they not long ago gave a guy a life sentence for waving an RMS flag. If it is purely a cause of elderly exiles, why the draconian panicky reaction?

Back to the article.

Westerling had a disdain for the authority of the Republic of Indonesia under Sukarno.

The formation of a republic in Java … simply means replacing Dutch rule with Javanese rule. Out of these two, many prefer the Dutch.

He also had little respect for the various youth groups striving for independence, regarding them as “terrorist gangs” who plundered, raped and murdered innocent civilians.

In a matter of months, he had built up a reputation for successfully routing those who were branded rogue elements by the Dutch authorities, sometimes using unorthodox methods such as his purge of the Terakan. In the book “Westerling’s War”, Dutch historian Jaap de Moor noted that by February 1946, British newspapers already carried stories about Westerling’s deeds.

“His fame as a fearless commando, a lone fighter for justice, was established.”

Westerling saw himself as a savior of the weak.

I couldn’t stand that one of the kindest and most pleasant people in the world were defenseless against the violence of the Javanese guerrillas and former collaborators, the militias who were trained by the Japanese in carrying out savagery.

So Westerling had no hostility towards those who would become Indonesians. And if we examine the facts of that time, we can’t really challenge many of his assertions.

The reality of Javanese domination, which he predicted, has manifested itself, not solely because Java has many more people, but because they are used as colonialist vanguards in Sumatra, Papua, Aceh and elswhere, via the dictatorship’s transmigration programme, which reformasi has not discontinued, much less reversed.

Lots of the Republic’s men were sometime collaborators, and I’ve heard it said that Sukarno himself did little or nothing to resist the Japanese slave-labour system.

Like many Third World ‘liberation’ heroes, Sukarno was a little Mussolini who trampled democracy down when it obstructed his megalomaniac ambitions. The Red Youth were indeed a blood-thirsty crew who butchered many harmless Sumatran royals and I guess similar episodes can be found in other parts of the archipelago.

The end of empire here, and in the British realms, was not notably marked by free choice. Kenyans and Ghanaians protested at the departure of the British and their ethnic identities were ignored, as were those of the Barotse people in Zambia.

As for his methods, he was fighting terrorism, not a conventional war, and in the light of the craven character of Western countries today, there are many who might prefer a tough stand (I refer in particular to this week’s report from UK, where a court blocked deportation for two known Al Qaeda scumbags, because, poor wee souls, their own police, in Pakistan, might ‘torture’ them. Might do them the world of good!

My last film review was spiked here, but I hope one day I’ll get a chance to review this movie about a man who was no cardboard cut-out but a real hero – or villain, depending on your point of view!

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A Shadow Falls

A Shadow FallsMystics and Islamists battle it out in a Javanese village, Andrew Beatty’s “A Shadow Falls”.

A Shadow Falls: In the Heart of Java by Andrew Beatty tells the story of Beatty, an anthropologist, who spends 3 years in Bayu village near Banyuwangi in the 1990s (1992 and again in 1998). He’s a fluent Indonesian speaker, who becomes a fluent Javanese speaker in the process and shifts his family over too, a Mexican wife and two kids.

Andrew BeattyBeatty is entranced by Java village life, its emphasis on preserving harmony and tradition. In Bayu village, Javanese mystic and cultural traditions still very much form part of day to day life but gradually the forces of pious Islam disturb the status quo, and there conflict develops between the Javanists and the ‘modernisers’ (who press for a much stricter interpretation of Islam).

Beatty identifies strongly with the Javanists, and is ultimately initiated into the mystic Sangkan Paran sect. He has little time for the with-us-or-against-us Islamic puritans – and is present when (for the first time in the village’s history) a girl starts wearing the veil.

A Shadow FallsBeatty reveals much about Javanese culture, its model of tolerance and success as a civilization. Taboo subjects are addressed and discussed: sexual relations, 1965 massacres of Communists.

I found A Shadow Falls most useful, I was able to get a sense of the cultural conflict which has happened over the last centuries in Java, as a stricter form of Islam has swept across the island. In Bayu village, in the extreme eastern end of Java, Hindu-Javanese (Budu) ceremonies are still practised by nominal Muslims, though its devotees are aging fast and you feel in a couple of generations ancient traditions will be virtually extinct.

The book certainly pulls no punches. Beatty makes it very clear how where his loyalties lie. At times I did feel that he could have made a little more effort to get closer to the Islamists in order to explain their viewpoint.

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Funeral Rites & Etiquette

The protests and furore over allowing the burial of killed extremists in and around Solo.

FUNERARY RITES AND WRONGS

The furore over the burial or not of terrorists like Urwah in Javanese soil has not so far got the IM attention it deserves, so perhaps I can distract myself from the grimness of being back at work with some observations, viz.

First, all hail the villagers who have stood up to protest plans to taint their tiny kampungs by planting a mass-murderer’s corpse therein. It’s about time we heard from the normal decent people of this country, a large plurality, surely, and hopefully a majority.

But more curious by far is the role of the police, one of whom was quoted as saying that the vermin ‘have to be buried,’ (true, but Bantar Gebang rubbish tip in Bekasi would be a more appropriate destination) and then, with that aplomb and thrust we have come to expect from certain security personnel, ‘we’ll see what happens!’

I’m sure we will. If the opponents of the burials are swept aside, we shall see sleazy fanatics of the Baasyir sort showing up to laud the terrorists, with maybe a soft aside about how their methods were a bit off whilst their hearts were in the right place.

Without having spoken to the villagers, I can’t be sure but it is highly probable that their objections are not so much to the insertion of a rancid cadaver in the grave-yard but to the attendant celebrations by friends of murder, and ‘coincidental’ visits on burying day by Dorce the Drag-Queen and similar undesirables, grubbing about for Islamonazi fans.

Instead of ‘waiting and seeing,’ the Police could grasp the nettle and win praise from all but the goatbeards, by simply getting the family members of the unlamented together, over-seeing a night-time rels-only service, and declaring that any ‘cleric’ who showed up speechifying would be given a fast ride out of town and charged with incitement.

There are good cops in Indonesia. We saw some of them in action when that filthy brute Sheikh Puji was arrested in a neat swoop. Unfortunately, others are not so sharp – a high-ranking Jakarta officer almost immediately condemned his smart Javanese colleagues for upsetting the numbskulls who dwell there and ignore pedophilia for the sake of Puji’s largesse.

Let’s hope the sensible brass prevail this time, and ensure these creeps go to their graves without pomp or circumstance.

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Tags: Abu Bakar Baasyir, Javanese, Police Force, Surakarta (Solo), Terrorism & Terrorists, The Island of Java

Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) Schools

Problematic religious schools on Java, which ones and police monitoring of them.

Some Islamic boarding schools which are often mentioned as being centres of hardline Muslim teaching, or of being explicitly connected with Jemaah Islamiyah (JI):

  • Al-Muttaqien, (Beber, Cirebon, West Java)
  • Nurul Hadid, (Indramayu, West Java)
  • Al-Muaddib, (Cilacap, Central Java)
  • Darusy-Syahada, (Simo, Boyolali, Central Java)
  • Ngruki, (Sukoharjo, Solo, Central Java)
  • Mahad Aly or Universitas an-Nur (Solo, Central Java)
  • Darul Fitrah, (Sukoharjo, Solo, Central Java)
  • Al-Muttaqien, (Jepara, Central Java)
  • Nurul Huda, (Purbalingga, Central Java)
  • Darul Manar, (Kepung, Kediri, East Java)

Most schools listed employ the “Islamic Education Method” (Manhaj Tarbiyah Islam, MTI), for older students, which places an emphasis on jihad, but an International Crisis Group (ICG) report states [1]

the problem is not so much the curriculum as it is the small after-class religious study sessions where individual teachers can assess the potential of students and draw them into more extremist activity.

The most well known of these institutions is Ngruki, run by Abu Bakar Baasyir, however Ngruki is considered as being far from the most radical. The Nurul Huda school in Purbalingga, for example, was established by former teachers at Ngruki, who left due to disappointment at its overly moderate stance.

Another school, Al-Hussain in Indramayu, West Java was once an important hardline centre, however it was taken back by its founders, Muhammadiyah. The expelled teachers then founded Nurul Hadid nearby.

Meanwhile it is said that police are stepping up their surveillance of schools thought to be problematical, although sometimes choosing the “wrong” targets.

Another school named “Al-Muttaqien”, this time in Blitar, East Java, owned by Muhammadiyah and not considered to be a hotbed of radicalism, was recently visited by police intelligence officers who demanded to see the identity papers and registration details of the 40 odd students.

Principal Abu Hilal Hamdani however refused to provide the information:

I didn’t give them anything, my students are not terrorists. I assured them that we don’t teach terroristic ideas here.

Of the case in Blitar the leader of Muhammadiyah Din Syamsudin complained generally of increased police surveillance of Islamic schools but assured people that if extremists did manage to infiltrate Muhammadiyah they would be expelled in short time. [2]

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Tags: Abu Bakar Baasyir, Blitar, Boyolali, Central Java, Cilacap, Cirebon, Din Syamsuddin, East Java, Education, Indramayu, International Crisis Group (ICG), Islam, Islamic, Islamic Schools, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Jepara, Jihad, Kediri, Manhaj Tarbiyah Islam (MTI), Muhammadiyah, Muslim, Pesantren, Police Force, Purbalingga, Religion, Religious Beliefs & Issues, Schools, Sukoharjo, Surakarta (Solo), Terrorism & Terrorists, The Island of Java, West Java