The Second Version


Indipendece Day 66

66 years of indipendnece for the Republic of Indonesia

This is a video of the Proclamation of Indipendence, 17 August 1945.

Today, the TV is all a flourish of historical and nationalistic programs, and red-and-white (merah putih) flags are all over the place.

Indonesia is a nationalistic country, and that may come as a shock to Europeans especially, where nationalism is regarded at least as unfashionable, if not stupid and evil.

Yet, there is little xenophobia and in fact among the middle class at least foreign fashion and food and culture in general are widely appreciated.

Anyway, my experience as a foreigner in Indonesia tells me that a foreigner will usually be well accepted if he is willing to do some effort to learn the local language and uses, and liking Indonesian food is definitely a plus.

So I roll my eyes when I read things like that Obama is loved by Indonesians because he was - or secretly still is - a Muslim.

Obama has stated time and again - and in good Indonesian, even - that he liked Indonesia, and the food there, very much as a kid: that will surely earn him some approval. Also, my wife says that "star appropriation" is at play: Indonesians want Obama to appear as Indonesian as it can be so that some of his fame and popularity will reflect on Indonesia itself.

I hope this last part is clear.

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