Batak Religion (1)
Long before the Christianity and Islam came to Batak Land, the Batak believed to god that creates the universe. The Batak conception about God is actually different with Trimurti, the triad of divinities in Hinduism and Buddhism yet the old Megalithic and Hindu influences have some contributions to the formation of ancient Batak culture. For the Batak, the trinity god has its own distinct function. The highest supreme God for the Batak is called Debata Mula Jadi Na Bolon who rules and has power over all of the cosmic wolds. Traditional Batak cosmological concept divides the existence into three levels or worlds; the upper-world, called Banua Ginjang, the middle-world, called Banua Tonga, and the lower-world, called Banua Toru. The upper-world is the kingdom of the highest god, Mula Jadi Na Bolon and souls of the ancestors. The middle-world is lived by men and the lower-world is the home of the Naga Padoha or the dragon.
The Batak admit all cosmic wolds as the totality of those three worlds; the upper-world, the middle-world, and the lower-world, where every level has its own peculiar role in the harmony of life. Batak mythologi describe a tree of life stands from the lower-world to the upper-world to symbolize the highest god unifies and links the three worlds and represents the whole cosmic rules as the Lord of the Universe.
We can see here how difficult it is in understanding the original Batak religion. Eventhough we’ve found what the orginal religion of Batak is, we can’t ignore every external influences. However, the Batak religion has been mixed or influenced each other with the external elements. Furthermore, looking at the trinity concept, it’s so much similiar with Trimurti in Hindu-Buddha, among Brahmana, Vishnu, and Shiva. Debata Mula Jadi Na Bolon as the God of the universe, in his incarnation power, have three funcitions; it’s then called Debata Si Tolu Sada (The Three Devatas in One). Mula Jadi Na Bolon is called Tuan Bubi Na Bolon as the ruler of the upper-world; Silaon Na Bolon as the ruler of the middle-world; and Pane Na Bolon as the ruler of the lower-world; and Debata Mula Jadi Na Bolon is the cosmos itself regarding him as the ruler of cosmic world. We could see the smilarities between those gods with the gods in Trimurti yet actually they are different in power and position.
The explanation about trinity concept in Batak religion is clearly unable to determine the original religion of Batak ancestor. The mix of different elements makes it more difficult to determine Batak original religion. But we could see the result of that religion in the way of life, the perceptions, and the rituals of Parmalim religion and Parbaringan religion which are still exist among the people of Toba Batak nowadays.
Posted by Guntur Situmorang on Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 01:24 PM in Batak | Permalink
Sitor Situmorang, Toba na Sae; Sejarah lembaga sosial politik abad XIII-XX. Jakarta: Komunitas Bambu, 2004, xix + 516 pp. ISBN 979.962018.X.
This is a book on the history and culture of the Toba, one of the ethnic Batak peoples of North Sumatra, Indonesia. This work is difficult to classify. Partly it is to be regarded as a serious scholarly study – even if it does not meet all the requirements of academic writing, such as being precise about sources. But it is also something broader than an academic treatise. Sitor Situmorang, or just Sitor, as he is cordially named, is a well-known Indonesian poet of Toba origin. Having begun to write about the Batak past in the 1970s, around 1980 he received a grant from the Ford Foundation which he used to carry out research on the subject both among informants in Indonesia and in international
archives. He acquired a name among international Batak researchers,
especially PhD students, with whom he corresponded extensively. For several students he became an informant as well as an informal supervisor. Among these was the author of the present review, who was inspired by Sitor to take Batak history as his subject.
The book consists of three parts. The first and second parts, Toba na Sae and Guru Somalaing, were previously published as two separate books in 1993. The text of these books has been left mainly unchanged (with the exception
of corrections and some explanatory footnotes), but there have been several new appendices added. The relatively small third part of the present book is newly written. Several illustrations from the previous publications have been omitted, and others added. An explanatory preface by the author, a new (unfortunately incomplete) bibliography, and an index enhance the accessibility of this compilation of Sitor’s work on the Toba past.
The first part consists of 32 chapters and several appendices. Each of the chapters takes the form of a short essay which can be read on its own, but also contributes to the overall picture of the history and the traditional culture
of the Toba people which the author wants to paint. Some explanation of Sitor’s aims is necessary here. For good reasons, he regards the existing literature
(Western and Indonesian) on Batak history and culture as incomplete and fragmentary (p. xviii). Nevertheless, he uses that literature extensively, including some sources which are not well known in Indonesia, but he does so with a view to correcting distortions, filling in gaps, and supplying missBook
ing links in order to arrive at a more holistic view of the Toba Batak past.
Toba society was independent of outside powers until the second half of the nineteenth century. This independence was lost when the Toba area was annexed by the Dutch and integrated into their colonial empire. After independence the Toba people, the majority of whom had converted to Christianity, became part of the Indonesian national state. Sitor’s central question is that of how Toba society was organized, in political, social, and religious terms, before it was incorporated into a state.
It is above all the political organization of the precolonial Toba that has never fully been understood by outside researchers. Before the Dutch conquest,
so far as is known, the Toba had never had a central government and usually they are classified as a stateless society, politically organized only along kinship lines. Sitor, however, opposes this view. While recognizing the importance of kinship, he argues that in precolonial Toba society territorial organization was even more important than kinship organization (pp. 57, 258). As the ‘missing link’ to understanding the numerous (approximately 150) autonomous territorial organizations called bius, which Sitor refers to both as ‘associations’ (Indonesian: paguyuban) and as ‘mini states’, he identifies the parbaringin organizations, which in existing literature are mainly viewed as priestly institutions. Before Sitor demonstrated their importance in fields other than the religious, these ancient institutions had never been subjected to comprehensive investigation. He points out that the parbaringin organizations, which were permanent, hereditary, hierarchically organized institutions, were also part of the dualistic system of political leadership which existed within the territorial organizations. The ‘secular’ counterpart of the ‘religiously’ coloured leadership of the parbaringin was a council, usually elected, consisting
of outstanding members of the society who had established themselves as primus inter pares. The secular council and the parbaringin organization played joint roles in the territorial organizations called bius. Sitor characterizes the traditional political system governing the bius as a ‘simple’ or ‘traditional’ democracy which guaranteed the sovereignty of its people (pp. 48-9). People in a system like this (provided it functioned well) enjoyed social and economic democracy as well as equal status under traditional law.
As noted, Sitor contests the widespread opinion that kinship was the main organizing principle in the traditional Toba village. The territorial principle,
he argues, was more important still (p. 57). He states explicitly that the Toba clan (marga) could never have been a landowning institution, as a marga is not an organization at all (p. 40). Land rights were traditionally collective in nature and connected to the territorial associations or bius, each of which consisted of members of several marga. The reasons why the inhabitants of particular valleys put aside their differences and formed cooperative organizations
with collective constitutions, in Sitor’s opinion, had to do with irrigaBook
tion. By working together to build and maintain relatively complex irrigation systems, farmers were able to grow much more rice on a permanent basis than was otherwise possible.
Sitor has a strong point here, even considering the fact that in several areas where there are bius organizations there is no irrigation or even wet-rice farming. Where there is an irrigation system, usually the bius area is defined by it, and where bius organizations currently lack irrigated land, a tradition of wet-rice farming is nevertheless referred to in ritual. According to oral tradition,
those bius organizations occupying unirrigable land were originally founded by migrants from irrigated areas (and not vice versa).
Among historians there has been plenty of discussion about how much the need for cooperation to achieve successful water management has contributed to the emergence of powerful governments or even despotism. The case of the Toba, as Sitor argues, shows instead that the kind of cooperation which irrigation
requires is fully compatible with the maintainance of traditional democracy,
considerable individual freedom, and even a certain amount of equality.
Even more central to Toba na Sae than the question of why the Toba never developed a strong central government is that of why they never approached a condition of national unity. A large part of the book is concerned with this second question. Here Sitor deals with cooperation among the individual bius, and with integrative institutions like interregional markets and the traditional law associated with these. But most extensively he deals with the history of the Singamangaraja institution, which he sees as the most important
symbol of Toba unity and sometimes as an embryonic state.
The position of the Singamangaraja is usually described as that of a ‘priest-king’, who had authority in ritual matters and was also the object of ritual veneration. He was worshipped by many parts of Batak society, but in particular
by the parbaringin of various bius, which regularly brought offerings to his residence in bius Bakkara on the west coast of Lake Toba. During the period of the colonial conquest, the last Singamangaraja resisted the Dutch for about 25 years and was finally killed in 1907. It is known that the Singamangaraja was revered even beyond the boundaries of the Toba region, but it is also known that there were two other, competing priest-king institutions in the Toba world. The three kings corresponded with the tripartite division of the Toba marga system. Whereas the Singamangaraja belonged to Sumba, the largest division, the smaller but genealogically senior Borbor and Lontung divisions had Jonggi Manaor and Ompu Palti Raja respectively as their priest-kings. Both of the smaller institutions have oral histories which relate stories of war with the larger one and narrate how their own less powerful but more astute priest-kings managed to defeat the attacking army of the Singamangaraja.
Given these divisions among the Toba, it is a difficult task to explain how the Singamangaraja could for some purposes have been a symbol of
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Toba unity. Sitor attempts to do so by arguing that the Singamangaraja was originally regarded as an incarnation of the Hindu god Batara Guru, whose sacred and immortal soul (tondi-sahala) could reside in any legitimate holder of the position. In recent times many people have expected (and some still do expect) the return of the Singamangaraja as a ‘Just King’ (Indonesian: Ratu Adil) who brings salvation to his followers. Having boldly situated the beginnings of bius development in the thirteenth century, Sitor places the emergence of the Singamangaraja as an institution, and of the associated belief regarding the reincarnation of Batara Guru, in the sixteenth century.
There is no question that the last Singamangaraja did manage to rally enormous
Batak resistance against the colonial occupation, and that he became a symbol of the anticolonial struggle after his death. This was recognized even at a national level, where in 1961 he was proclaimed a national hero of the independence struggle by President Soekarno. Sitor uses these facts, alongside
an old hypothesis by Heine-Geldern which puts the Singamangaraja dynasty in the context of a much older tradition of Southeast Asian sacred kingship, to argue that the Singamangaraja were real kings rather than mere cult figures as portrayed in most of the literature. He describes the emergence of the Singamangaraja institution as the starting point of a development away from small-scale associations towards state formation and a more ‘rational’ organization of Toba society which accorded better with the demands of modern times, especially in the sphere of contact with the outside world. Sitor characterizes this development as part of the struggle of an isolated mountain people to embrace ‘globalization’ (p. 76) – a term which is missing in the first edition of Toba na Sae, and seems to be a tribute to the Zeitgeist.
Sitor is telling a complicated story here. The parbaringin, the pillars of the bius system which guarantees autonomy and freedom to its members, are at the same time the most important supporters and providers of infrastructure for the institution which is working towards state formation. If we associate state formation with the abolition of autonomy and freedom, this sounds surprising. But in the Toba context, as Sitor argues, the Singamangaraja kingdom
or state forms a kind of overarching super-bius within which the various individual bius associations keep their autonomy (p. 117).
It should be mentioned that Sitor also gives his views on the spiritual legitimation of social political relationships, and provides extensive discussion
of the religious and ideological matters connected to Singamangaraja and the parbaringin. The main idea can be summarized in short as follows. The bius and also the marga institutions are related to the myth of the female creator of the earth, Boru Deak Parujar, and to Si Raja Batak, her descendant and founder of the first bius and of the whole marga system. In this context the parbaringin can be seen as the successors, legitimated by descent and primogeniture, to Si Raja Batak and the respective bius founders. In turn
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Singamangaraja, although originating from a clan which had no claim to preceding the others, could encompass their collective ancestry by claiming to be an incarnation of Batara Guru, the heavenly father of Boru Deak Parujar. This gave him the divine right to change existing tradition.
But this still leaves unexplained the internal divisions of the Toba, and the existence of the two other priest-king institutions which effectively stood in the way of Toba unification. Here Sitor puts forward two hypotheses which at first glance seem to contradict each other. The first is that the Singamangaraja institution was the original one, and the other two were founded to counteract
the Singamangaraja’s claim to represent all the Toba (p. 87). The second hypothesis is that three priest-king institutions emerged at an early date out of a desire on the part of the parbaringin for more unity and a Toba kingdom, and that one of these was replaced by the Singamangaraja whose rise made the priest-king who had previously represented the Sumba division, called Sorimangaraja, obsolete.
In this second hypothesis, which represents a further development in Sitor’s thinking, the parbaringin play an important role in developing Toba unity by founding and maintaining priest-king institutions. They also figure strongly in the struggle for the autonomy and independence of the Batak people, as Sitor shows using examples from the anticolonial resistance. The analysis of these religious-political institutions is a major theme which is developed in progressively
greater depth throughout the book. It would take too much space here to mention all the hypotheses Sitor produces to explain the different facets of these institutions and develop the holistic view for which he strives.
The huge amount of annotated historical documentation this book contains must always be seen in relation to the main theme. Part of Sitor’s material is drawn from his own family history: his father played an important role in the resistance struggle together with the last Singamangaraja. The second part of Toba na Sae can be seen mainly as a documentary resource, as it contains (pp. 57-143) an Indonesian translation (by an Italian translator) of an 1892 book by the Italian explorer Elio Modigliani, who visited parts of the Toba country while it was still independent. This text contains material useful for understanding
the roots of the parmalim, a religious and (in its early stages) anticolonial
movement with millenarian tendencies. Parmalim, at present consisting of several religious organizations, is built on traditional beliefs (of parbaringin origin), in the return of Singamangaraja as redeemer, and on foreign religious ideas as well. In his comments on Modigliani’s account, Sitor further analyses
Toba political institutions and political history in the context of colonial expansion and anticolonial resistance.
In the newly added part of the book Sitor presents some findings on M.H. Manullang, an early Toba pioneer in the struggle for independence of church
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and nation, and also some material on the final days of the resistance struggle led by the last Singamangaraja.
It is not easy to evaluate this book correctly. From an academic point of view it can be said that Toba na Sae is in some respects an eye-opener for scholars
of Batak history. Most of the hypotheses Sitor presents are highly suitable to being converted into questions for further research into Toba Batak history. And he may be right about several major issues. But as a scholarly work the book also has some serious shortcomings. It is regrettable that Sitor seldom reveals his sources. The origins of some of his ideas can be traced quite easily, but for others this is not the case. Take, for example, his theory regarding the Sorimangaraja priest-king institution as a predecessor of Singamangaraja. Does he have real information on this topic, or is his suggestion purely hypothetical? For the purposes of any further investigation it would be interesting to know the answer, as there seems to be no trace of the idea in previous literature.
On the one hand, Sitor’s critical stance towards existing literature is one of the strongest aspects of the book. On the other hand, Sitor is also open to the criticism that he clings too much to what has already been written. This becomes particularly apparent when he presents historical detail, as for instance regarding his own bius of origin, Harianboho. We would expect the information he presents, including the Batak terminology, to stem from the area in question. But Sitor uses terminology already common in the scholarly literature. For example, he calls the bius subdivisions of Harianboho horja, literally ‘work’, ‘ritual’ (p. 44), a term never used in Harianboho. In most of the Samosir area a bius subdivision is called turpuk, literally ‘share’, probably even more apt for designating the nature of a bius sub-division. Likewise, he states that the head of any local parbaringin organization is called pande bolon (p. 142), whereas in fact this is only the case in one particular area already described in the literature. My guess is that this unexpected use of academic rather than local terminology is more than simply drawing on existing literature.
It might also reflect Sitor’s desire to present Toba institutions as those of a single, united people rather than a set of diverse local groups.
Another point of criticism is that some of his hypotheses, due to poor data quality, are not solidly founded. For examples we need go no further than the title of the book. Sitor introduces the term Toba na Sae as the original name of the old Toba country. Meaning ‘the treeless [literally, naked] Toba’, this name is not known in present-day Toba society. It is first mentioned in an old travel account by John Anderson, who visited North Sumatra in the early nineteenth century. Careful reading of that account, moreover, shows that Toba na Sae designates only a particular part of the Toba country – most probably the area now known as Humbang, which is indeed treeless. Equally doubtful are Sitor’s chronological calculations, which likewise form part of the title of his book. These are based entirely on generation counting and the
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number of successive Singamangaraja (said to have been twelve). But there are no indications that generations were really counted in Toba society before the Dutch colonialists provided the incentive to do so by selecting local heads according to genealogies, in accordance with their own assumption that kinship
must be the main principle of Toba political organization. As for the Singamangaraja, there is no historical evidence that these were counted for as long as they resided in Bakkara. The significance of the sacred number twelve seems to be greater than the result of empirical counting. To give even approximately correct chronological data on early Toba history, in fact, does not seem possible at the present stage of research.
This book, on the other hand, is more than just a work of scholarship. It is also a fine narrative, written in precise, clear, and masterfully formulated Indonesian. Every foreign expression is translated or explained. In a sense, Sitor picks up afresh the tradition of the art of the old Batak storyteller who relates a huge amount of knowledge about the origin of the group to the next generation. But the text is equally strongly rooted in a modern context, and perfectly suited to promote among his Toba readers a feeling of reconciliation
with the past and pride in their identity. To non-Toba Indonesian readers,
Sitor offers in Toba na Sae a gripping book about the democratic roots on which an important part of Indonesian culture is founded.
1826 Mission to the east coast of Sumatra in 1823; Under the direction of the government
of Prince of Wales Island. Edinburgh: Blackwood.
1959 ‘Le pays de P’i-K’ien, le roi au grand cou et le Singa Mangaradja’, Bulletin de l’École Française d’Extrême-Orient 49:361-405.
1892 Fra i Batacchi indipendenti; Viaggio di Elio Modigliani. Roma: Società Geografica Italiana.
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Raul Pertierra, Science, technology, and everyday culture in the Philippines. Quezon City: Institute of Philippine Culture, Ateneo de Manila University, 2003. viii + 133 pp. ISBN 971.86104.4.8 (paperback).
This is a book that should engender much interest not only for scholars of the Philippines, but for those whose research lies in other developing nations and cultures as well. Raul Pertierra sets out to examine the reasons why so little public value is attached to science and technology in that society. Unsatisfied by answers that simply attribute this lack of interest to financial limitations, he turns instead to an exploration of the relationship between everyday culture
and scientific orientation. Not that he claims there is a causal relationship
between the two, but that as both are aspects of an expressed reality, they invariably influence one another. Pertierra has the vantage point from which to make such comparisons. A prolific observer and critic of Filipino culture, he was born and raised in the Philippines but worked and lived abroad for many years and only returned to live permanently in Manila less than a decade ago. He is, then, both an insider and an outsider at the same time, and so can be said to have the necessary insight as well as the required distance to discern why in the Philippines science and technology are ‘rarely heard and hardly listened to’ (p. 8).
At the core of this study are a series of extensive interviews held with scientists,
science teachers and science students to identify the cultural assumptions,
expectations and values that affect their professional attitudes and everyday practices. Along with a review of secondary literature, the results are presented in the form of three related essays that are linked together by an introduction and conclusion. This is not so much a ‘definitive’ statement on the subject, then, but as the author freely admits, more of an ‘exploratory’ reconnaissance into unknown territory (p. 11). The first essay focuses on the uses of culture and its application in terms of how it transforms nature into artefact, influences attitudes towards risk, and determines the relationship
between public and private understandings of science and technology. The next essay develops further some of these points, but in the context of how these cultural orientations constrain the ability of new technologies to transform society (with the important exception of mobile phones) and how scientific understandings, as in the now (in)famous Tasaday affair, are always subject to politicization and popularization. In the final essay, the results of the interviews are presented and the cultural assumptions of different groups towards nature discussed with special emphasis on whether the attitudes of the young are changing. Only by looking to culture, the author claims, can
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the lack of government support for science, the devaluation of hard work, attitudes that favour instant gratification, and the inability to plan for the future based on past experience be adequately explained in the Philippines.
Not enough attention, let alone scholarship, has been devoted to how science is seen in and how technology affects non-Western developing societies,
so on this score alone Pertierra must be commended for this pioneering study. While the book is critical of many aspects of Filipino society, it is rarely negative regarding the culture as a whole and never out of sympathy with the Filipino people. This is important, as the book is primarily intended to be read by a domestic audience, and it is often a difficult task to keep on the right side of nationalist sensibilities in such instances – I am thinking here of the acrimony generated by Glenn May’s reappraisal of the life and scholarship
of Andres Bonifacio, The making of a hero (Quezon City, 1997). Pertierra side-steps these pitfalls with consummate skill, even if many of his reflections reveal equally unpalatable ‘truths’ about the shortcomings of contemporary Filipino society and how it operates. This empathic approach is also nicely balanced by the scope of the study, which does not confine itself to merely raising questions about the use (or abuse) of science and technology but seeks to relate such questions to how nature is conceptualized, risk calculated, and aspects of daily life politicized in the Philippines. The contextualization of these questions is further enhanced by a consideration (albeit brief) of the historical dimensions of how scientific knowledge was received and applied in the past, and how it came to be seen as an agent of foreign domination. Such insights give the study a depth that lends credence to its arguments.
At the same time, inevitably, the book has its shortfalls. Any study of such an ambitious nature is invariably susceptible to criticism from many different quarters, and this is especially so of one that is so concise – barely 130 large-font pages. I am mindful, too, of Pertierra’s claim that this work is very much one in progress and that it flows on logically from his recent well-received study on mobile phones and culture, Txt-ing selves; Cellphones and Philippine modernity (De La Salle University Press, 2002). Nor am I going to take issue with his criticisms of my own work (Cultures of disaster; Society and natural hazard in the Philippines, RoutledgeCurzon, 2003) as evidently I must have failed in my intentions if he persists in referring to disasters as ‘natural’ and to Filipino society as ‘fatalistic’. Aside from all this, however, there are a number of issues that perhaps require further reflection in an expanded version or in a continuation of this study. While he assiduously qualifies his definition of ‘culture’, he appears to assume that ‘science’ is a given that necessitates no such comparable discussion. In fact, his rather positivist understanding of science as the disinterested pursuit of pure knowledge and its reduction of nature to ‘brute facticity’ is not only a surprisingly Western cultural construction, but is actually also rather unfair to the diversity of
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thought even within that tradition (p. 42). Moreover, he claims that Filipinos have only at best an ‘amateurish’ sense of science and technology, a fusion of exogenous and endogenous knowledge that results in a ‘culture of bricolage’. He blames this state of affairs on Spanish colonialism and its failure to train any of its indigenous subjects in scientific matters (p. 43). While local science, like religion (a comparison Pertierra frequently makes) was a fusion, it was often a synergetic one, and the considerable native expertise acquired in the fields of architecture, medicine, veterinary science, forestry and meteorology (to name but a few) during the nineteenth century must therefore require some alternative explanation. In the end, Pertierra’s arguments invariably lead him to both excuse and criticize the modern state for its failure to promote
science and technology. As undeniable as this may be, one is still left wondering whether such a charge is any less true for the arts and humanities – or at least those that do not immediately serve some concrete political purpose
(p. 25). Moreover, gender is also an issue on which the study is largely silent, a seemingly strange omission given that the research was partly based on extensive interviews from which relevant information should have been easily forthcoming. The reader is left to aimlessly ponder whether men and women exhibit similar or different attitudes towards science.
I do not mean all this to be a criticism of the existing study so much as an exhortation to the author to continue with his important research. This is an innovative book that raises many questions about how science and technology
change a society and how society, in turn, influences how science and technology adapt to local conditions. It is often all too easy to decry what authors have forgotten to say rather than praise them for what they have said. I expect this study will prompt others to conduct research of a comparable nature in other Southeast Asian societies. No better praise can be had.
Françoise Gérard and François Ruf (eds), Agriculture in crisis; People, commodities and natural resources in Indonesia, 1996-2000. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 2001, xxi + 406 pp. ISBN 0.7007.1465.0. Price: GBP 70.00 (hardback).
What happens to the agricultural sector of a country that is suddenly hit by an economic crisis? This question could be answered in detail when such a crisis struck Indonesia in 1997. It started as a financial crisis in Thailand, but soon engulfed Southeast Asia in its entirety. In Indonesia the resulting depression was first called krismon (monetary crisis), but when the crisis
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deepened – partly because it coincided with an El Niño event – into a full-fledged economic and political crisis, the term kristal (total crisis) was used.
A group of (mainly) French researchers came to Indonesia in order to study responses to the recession among groups of cultivators specialized in various crops in a number of regions. The crops concerned were mainly rubber, cocoa, coffee, pepper, oil palms, and rice, plus, to a somewhat lesser degree, cassava, maize, and soybeans. The timber sector was studied as well, as reflected by Chapter 4. The locations studied are to be found in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Java, with some emphasis on the first island. Moreover the authors distinguish, where possible, between various social classes, on the assumption that the well-to-do are differently affected and will react differently from the poor, and owner-operators in different ways from sharecroppers.
One of the main findings of this research project is that some groups of cultivators
did very well out of the crisis, at least in 1998, which might come as a surprise to those who would have expected that the combined force of the El Niño drought and the financial crisis must have had a strongly negative impact. It is also clear that an individual farmer’s fate during the crisis depended very much on the crop being cultivated. Pepper, coffee, and cocoa farmers did very well, as did betel nut producers, while rubber and oil palm smallholders were less fortunate, and food crop farmers as a rule fell on hard times.
The main explanation for the success of the pepper, coffee, and cocoa farmers is that while the prices of these export products (in dollars) on international
markets remained stable, the value of the rupiah fell rapidly relative to the dollar in 1997 and 1998, so that the producers received windfall profits in terms of rupiahs. That farmers producing other crops did less well was either because their products were only sold on the domestic market, where demand for almost everything was falling rapidly, or, as regards a number of commodities that were traded internationally, because world market prices for these products were falling. In the case of oil palm smallholders there was a third explanation, related to the fact that they were tightly controlled by the estates that bought their produce.
When in 1999 the rupiah appreciated in relation to the dollar, the window of opportunity that had opened in 1998 was closed again, with prices in rupiahs reverting to former levels. Many other factors unrelated to the crisis, notably the timing of the harvest in relation to the price peak, influenced whether or not windfall profits would be available.
Besides presenting very detailed and valuable insights into the various
ways in which the economic recession of the late 1990s influenced Indonesia’s agricultural sector, this collection of essays also offers a much broader perspective on the development of local agricultural activities on the four islands it deals with. The only downside of the book which I can think
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of is that this very abundance of perspectives sometimes stands in the way of a quick orientation on what is supposed to be the main topic of the book, the influence of the crisis on the various types of agriculture.
Kennet Sillander, Acting authoritatively; How authority is expressed through social action among the Bentian of Indonesian Borneo. Helsinki: University of Helsinki Press, 2004, x + 388 pp. [SSKH Skrifter 17.] ISBN 952.100366.9, price USD 30.00 (paperback).
Acting authoritatively is a finely grained ethnographic study of the Bentian, a small group of swidden cultivators dwelling in the interior of the East Kalimantan province of Indonesian Borneo. Among the several aspects that render it an interesting piece of Indonesian ethnography, the most remarkable
is probably the author’s original choice of focusing on authority, which, as he notes, in anthropology has ‘not been very much studied as a topic in its own right’ (p. 3). Not only is this book innovative in its aim to provide an empirical analysis of authority, it also differs in character from existing ethnographic analyses of this subject. Whereas previous literature has been mostly concerned with the institutional exercise of authority, and has focused restrictively on political and official forms of authority, Acting authoritatively deals with authority in a broader perspective, that is, as the ‘capacity to influence
or authorize people’s actions or views’ (p. 7). Sillander’s main goal is to trace what influences individuals in their actions and to provide a micro-analysis of how authority is constructed, reproduced and challenged within informal social processes and within situated everyday interactions. The analytical
focus is on what he calls ‘authorization’, that is, ‘the process whereby someone draws on a source of authority […] so as to influence […] his own [or someone else’s] actions’ (p. 11).
The book begins with a wonderfully clear and succinct account of the shaping of its ethnographic aims and a stimulating presentation of the theoretical
background it draws upon. As the author effectively explains in his introduction, he was inspired to integrate the analysis of his three major investigative
topics (kinship, religion and politics) within a single study, under the all-encompassing theme of authority, after listening to a wedding speech during his fieldwork. As the speech suggested, kinship, religion, and politics can be seen as the three ‘major sources of authority in Bentian society’ (p. 5). Chapter 2 outlines the ethnographic context and the historical development of Bentian ethnic identity. The following three chapters are devoted to analysBook
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ing the threefold process of authorization. Chapter 3 focuses on kinship and examines ‘the authority that people exercise by invoking relatedness’ (p. 109). Drawing on the most recent trends in kinship scholarship, Sillander’s analysis is grounded in Bentian emic notions of relatedness (encompassing not only cognatic and affinal relations, but also relations based on residential proximity)
and so provides a particularly interesting account of how kinship idiom informs Bentian social action. Chapter 4 analyses religion and the process of formalization at play in rituals. Chapter 5 pertains to the political sphere and explores ‘authority exercised or deriving from encompassing institutions concerned
with the organization of supra-family concerns’ (p. 21).
A short review does not permit thorough treatment of Sillander’s findings, but it is worth noting that a crucial concept in the book is that of authorization.
This concept gives an account of the fact that the exertion of authority is embedded in a dialectic of intersubjectivity and requires social recognition. It is also a powerful analytical tool for bridging the gap between the micro-level of everyday practices and events and the macro-level of public discourse and ideology.
The book’s central theme is the tension between authority and autonomy, defined as ‘the capacity of persons to act uninfluenced by others’ (p. 7). The emerging picture of Bentian social life shows it divided between centripetal and centrifugal tendencies, between collective values and people’s individual
aspirations, between an ethos that emphasizes interdependence and personal efforts to avoid interdependence. If I have reservations about Acting authoritatively, they rest on the fact that the ethnographic analysis of this tension
is not integrated with a thorough account of local concepts of self and local theories of action and intentionality. I mention this not as a shortcoming of Sillander’s work, but as a possible line of research developing from his innovative and sensitive study.
Acting authoritatively is not only to be welcomed by area specialists for its valuable contribution to enriching ethnographic literature on the Bentian, who so far have been only poorly described. With its thorough account of multiple, situational, and at times conflicting processes of authorization, it also provides an engaging analysis of the reproduction of authority in social action.
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Kathleen M. Nadeau, Liberation theology in the Philippines; Faith in a revolution. Westport CT. Praeger Press, 2002, xviii + 130 pp. ISBN 0.275.97198.8. Price: USD 89.95 (hardback).
Kathleen Nadeau’s ethnographic study of Base Ecclesial Communities (BECs) in the Philippines adds to a growing body of literature that examines community-
based alternatives to top-down development schemes. Drawing heavily on Marx, Althusser and Gramsci, Nadeau argues that most development initiatives in the Philippines, rather than helping to ameliorate the suffering of impoverished citizens, exploit land and resources and exacerbate the gap between rich and poor. Similar to other neo-Marxist critics of development, she argues that this trend can only be reversed through structural change and rejection of a capitalist/post-colonialist model of economic and social relationships,
and she is candid about the difficulties of doing so. The strength of the book is Nadeau’s ability to clearly relate her analysis of the history and present of social and economic change in the Philippines to her own ethnographic
study of two BECs on the rapidly developing island of Cebu.
Nadeau’s early chapters examine the history of colonization in the Philippines and the church’s role in both facilitating and resisting the economic
and political oppression of Filipinos. In the middle chapters, Nadeau provides us with case studies of two BECs, the first in a rural, upland community
of farmer-tenants and the second among migrant squatters living on top of a garbage heap near Cebu City. Nadeau concludes that the rural BEC, because it was further removed from dependency on a capitalist economy and culture, had more success than the migrant BEC in leading its community
to develop viable alternatives to the capitalist/top-down development model. She concludes her book by exploring how her work contributes to a neo-Marxist understanding of religion as positive and liberating, rather than exploitative, when it reflects the struggles and interests of the people.
Lucidly written and cogently organized, this book is likely to be of interest to students of the political economy and society of the Philippines; the place of religion in social and cultural change; the anthropology of development; and questions of human rights in the developing world. Perhaps its only significant fault is a lack of attention to the role of theology and lived religious practice in shaping the direction and organizational abilities of the BECs: simply put, what is it about the character of BECs as ecclesiastical organizations that makes them different from non-religious community-based NGOs? While Nadeau writes at length on theory, she leaves us with very few concrete descriptions from her fieldwork on the relationship between liberation theology and community transformation. Nonetheless, this book remains an important contribution on
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a significant topic. It deserves to be read carefully by scholars, policy-makers, and other agents of change in the developing world.
Roy Ellen, On the edge of the Banda Zone; Past and present in the social organization of a Moluccan trading network. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2003, xii + 330 pp. ISBN 0.8248.2676.0. Price: USD 55.00 (hardback).
Roy Ellen is among the most senior and accomplished of British Southeast Asianists and anthropologists of Asia and, just as certainly, among the most wide-ranging in his sphere of empirical, theoretical, and methodological interests. Over a period of some thirty years, Ellen has produced an impressive
corpus of papers, books, and edited collections concerning a variety of major topics including ethnobiology, ecological and economic anthropology, material culture, symbolism and religion, and ethnographic methods. For the most part, these have been firmly grounded in ethnographic fieldwork conducted
in Indonesia, and mainly in the Moluccas. The present work not only confirms but augments Ellen’s already substantial reputation.
Towards the end of the book, Ellen notes how ethnographers of the Moluccas – or the Spice Islands, as they are perhaps better known to non-regionalists – have so far paid relatively little attention to trade, in spite of the preponderant role played by commerce in the region’s history (p. 267). By this point, most readers will realize that Ellen has gone a considerable way to making good this deficiency. His specific geographical focus is ‘Archipelagic Southeast Seram’ (also designated the ‘Geser Gorom zone’), a string of islands just to the east of the better-known Banda group, the name of which is already famous from the history of the East Indian spice trade; hence the book’s title. Until recently, historians of this trade have generally taken a Eurocentric view, dealing with places like Banda solely as peripheral suppliers
of a product. By contrast, Ellen advances a ‘production-end’ account of the spice trade, a ‘Moluccocentric view’ (p. 3) that situates this global trade within the context of pre-existing – and largely enduring – local trade networks.
As Ellen has shown in previous publications, and as he further demonstrates
in the present work, such contextually peripheral places form part of regional economies with their own histories and patterns of culture; hence the possibility of supplying products (nutmeg, for example) in one sphere is dependent on the importation of other products (for example, sago and other foodstuffs) in other spheres.
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Drawing on an impressive variety of historical, anthropological, and other sources, and thus attesting to extensive literary and archival research, Ellen’s analysis is nevertheless grounded in his own ethnographic field research which, particularly in regard to issues of eastern Indonesian trade, he conducted in the 1980s. For the quite various Moluccan communities that compose, and interact within, the author’s ethnographic field, this allows Ellen to treat, within a systematic frame and with a considerable breadth and depth, a diversity of topics, including many one might expect to see in a more conventional ‘single society’ anthropological monograph. Thus the book incorporates detailed discussions of boat technology and use, kinship (even kinship terminology), ethnicity, the political organization of trade, types of traders, and language (especially the historical spread of the language Ellen calls ‘Southeast Seram Littoral’). Yet while the empirical point of departure is ‘a description of trade relations in the east Seram zone between 1970 and 1990’ (front flap), Ellen’s analysis engages far more inclusive historical and geographical contexts. Historically, it locates this part of eastern Indonesia within a history of trade that extends back 500 years, to the beginning of direct European involvement in the region, and indeed longer. In so doing, Ellen demonstrates both significant changes and quite remarkable instances of continuity. Geographically, Ellen’s treatment explicates evolving links, over the same period, between southeast Seram and other parts of insular Southeast Asia, and with East and South Asia and Europe. Particularly noteworthy
is his exploration of regular and sustained social and economic connections
between this part of the Moluccan islands and western New Guinea (or Papua) – thus areas that have usually been treated as ethnologically and historically quite separate regions.
As it appears in the book’s title, ‘beyond’ points to a general value of Ellen’s monograph, not only in connecting ethnologically distinct culture areas, but in transcending the bounds of intellectual disciplines. The major pair is of course anthropology and history. Employing the study of trade as a prime instance of its feasibility, Ellen advocates an approach provisionally dubbed ‘historical ethnography’ which avoids subordinating either history to anthropology or anthropology to history. Recognizing the inevitable temporal
dimension of all social and cultural forms, and the social and cultural nature of any historical process, the approach entails a complementary combination
and synthesis of the two disciplines. Ethnography is not only used to elaborate and inform historical facts, but in addition provides ‘entirely new kinds of historical evidence’, just as historical evidence is deployed to reveal the perpetuation or transformation of social practices over time. ‘Historical ethnography’ is therefore ‘the matching of two different kinds of data to elucidate the other’ (p. 282).
To the extent that Ellen has been successful in this regard – and I would
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judge his success to be considerable – the book is therefore not simply an instance of an anthropologist writing on the history of regions on which he has otherwise published from a synchronic perspective, or one selectively
employing historical materials as evidence of cultural and social forms identified in the present. At the same time, the book is aimed mostly at the specialist reader, and partly in view of its ethnographic and historical detail, those without a special interest in eastern Indonesia or the topical issues Ellen addresses will probably find it hard going. That, perhaps, is as it should be with a scholarly work. Nevertheless, as should already be clear, the book touches on a variety of general concerns in anthropology and Southeast Asian studies, including issues of ethnicity, regional interdependence,
and, of course, the integration of anthropological and historical materials
and approaches. The burden, particularly for the regional non-specialist, is moreover lightened by the fact that it is extremely well-written, being free of unnecessary jargon – although here and there one does encounter an overuse of Indonesian (or Malay) or local language terms where English would arguably have sufficed. The text is also amply illustrated with maps, photographs, figures and tables.
In providing a model for the application of a combined anthropological
and historical methodology, Ellen’s work implicitly raises the question of how far this might be fruitfully applied to the study of topics other than trade. Although in principle there is no reason why this should not be done, material exchange may be considered a somewhat privileged sphere in conjoining diverse cultural and political formations. It is also what brought Europeans to the region in the first place, and which thereby produced the written materials, extending over a period of several hundred years, that made the historical component of this study possible.
Cheah Boon Kheng. Red star over Malaya; Resistance and social conflict during and after the Japanese occupation, 1941-1946. Singapore. Singapore University Press, 2003, xx + 366 pp. ISBN 9971.69.274.0. Price: SGD 28.00 (paperback).
From the hardships of the slump of 1932 to the restoration of civil government
in Malaya in 1946, the Malay, Chinese and Indian communities became increasingly restive under foreign control, which had failed in its economic and then military performance. But internal divisions, as much as inter-communal
rivalry, precluded effective demands for independence. At different
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periods relations with Indonesia, China and India were distractions. A recent study (Bayly and Harper 2004) has demonstrated how much Britain underestimated
its problems in the region.
The Japanese, more aware of Asian aspirations, tried to harness Malay radicalism to their chariot but soon disappointed and alienated both this element
of Malay leadership and the traditional ruling class. Events in China made them generally hostile to the Chinese, and in the Malayan Communist Party they encountered the only effective resistance to their rule, though the duplicity of the MCP leader, Lai Tek, often led his party astray. Japanese use of Malay police and auxiliaries against Chinese fighters greatly exacerbated communal hostility. Oppression did not bring together the communist guerrillas,
the KMT forces and the general body of Chinese, which remained at odds. The Indian National Army was another project that failed.
When Japan surrendered to the allies in August 1945, its forces in Malaya simply withdrew to the larger towns. Logistical problems and American policy (p. 162) delayed the arrival of the British main force until September. British liaison officers (Force 136) on the ground had only limited influence over Chinese guerrillas with old scores to settle with Malays. This interregnum saw savage reprisals, both Malay and Chinese, and almost civil war in western Johor. Thereafter the British Military Administration struggled to control an explosive situation, and the announcement of the Malayan Union constitution for restored civil government alienated all classes of the Malay community.
This book is in a sense a prelude to the author’s more recent study (Cheah 2002) of how this chaotic situation brought home to leaders of all communities
that they must come to a compromise – ‘the historic bargain’ (p. 300). Thus the Japanese occupation was ‘a crucial turning point in Malaya’s nation-building history’ (p. xiii). It is, as he claims, a remarkably objective work, and includes many sensitive perceptions, for instance of the religious element in Malay aggression (Chapter 8).
This is a reprint, with a new preface, of the 1983 edition. The ‘Selected List of Books and Articles’ includes nothing published after 1980. Yet the reader should know that Chin Peng, a key player in the game, has published his memoirs (2003), and that access to the relevant official British records, the basis of Chapter 10, is no longer restricted (p. 292, but see Lau 1991, p. 5) – in fact many of them have been published (Stockwell 1995). Academic work too has passed from thesis to published book (p. 336, note 22; Siaw 1983). It would have been helpful if the new preface had touched on these matters, but this comment does not detract from the welcome due to the republication of an excellent and authoritative work.
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Bayly, Christopher and Tim Harper
2004 Forgotten armies; The fall of British Asia, 1941-1945. London: Penguin (Allen Lane).
Cheah Boon Kheng
2002 Malaysia: the making of a nation. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. [History of Nation-Building Series.]
2003 My side of history. Singapore: Media Masters.
1991 The Malayan Union controversy, 1942-1948. Singapore: Oxford University Press. [South-East Asian Historical Monographs.]
Siaw, Laurence K.L.
1983 Chinese society in rural Malaysia; A local history of the Chinese in Titi, Jelebu. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.
Stockwell, A.J. (ed.)
1995 British documents on the end of empire, Series B, Vol. 3, Malaya, Part 1 [of 3]. London: Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London.
I.H.N. Evans, Bornean diaries, 1938-1942. Edited by A.V.M. Horton; with a foreword by Victor T. King. Phillips ME: Borneo Research Council Press, 2002, xxiv + 535 pp. [BRC Monograph 6.] ISBN 1.929900.03.1. Price: USD 55.00 (hardback).
Evans first went to British North Borneo (what is now Sabah, Malaysia) as a cadet for the North Borneo Chartered Company in 1910. Then followed 20 years of service in the Museums Department in Malaya until he received a government pension at the age of 48. After only six years in England, he returned to Sabah where he became a permanent resident, continuing his passion for ethnographic work among the Dusun. Although his diaries survived
the Japanese occupation, his field notes did not, and therefore Horton gathered together the diaries as a complement to Evans’ published material on Dusun religion.
The introduction by Victor King provides the context for the extensive ethnographic
detail in the book. This helps readers to position themselves within a wide-ranging text that seeks to explore ‘Dusun village life’ in various locations
in Sabah. As King notes, this is more a work of folklore and ethnography than of anthropology, since it lacks the application of anthropological theory. Nevertheless, it does provide something of an insight into a particular time
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and a particular ethnographer that makes for fascinating reading.
There is a wealth of ethnographic detail contained within these pages that will delight those with an interest in the Dusun. This detail, however, represents both the strength and weakness of the work. The reader may find this collection of reminiscences somewhat daunting in both the fullness of the accounts and the relative lack of contextualization. As a source of detail regarding life with the Dusun in pre-war Sabah, this is a fascinating collection. However, there is little or no analytical commentary that might have served as an aid to carry the reader through the text. Moreover, the diarist appears to swing between the open and reflexive style of the diary writer, which he uses when recounting personal trials and adventures, and a more ‘objective’ reportage which he uses when referring to details of ethnographic interest.
The diaries also contain some interesting appendices, such as one on the ‘Characters of some Dusuns’ and also a ‘Biographical Appendix’ of persons
of note who are referred to in the text. The ‘Characters’ section makes for some entertaining reading, as Evans writes frank and sometimes witty assessments of various Dusun of his acquaintance. At times these provide almost as much insight into the author’s character: a middle class, older man with the stamp of Victorian England upon him. His description of Gidok reads as follows: ‘Tempasuk village. Middle-aged woman, a priestess, and an informant of mine. Rather more intelligent than most Dusun women, and quite pleasant. (Died during the Japanese occupation)’ (p. 440).
Horton provides extensive editorial footnotes, offering a welcome commentary
that situates the text within wider social, political and historical contexts. These amount to a substantial addition to what is already a lengthy volume. For instance, the diary entries in the section headed ‘Fourth Quarter 1938’ take up a little over 50 pages, while the endnotes amount to 15 pages. Clearly this volume represents two things: an intensely personal view of life with the Dusun before the Japanese occupation, and Horton’s labour of love in piecing it all together with an extensive commentary.
S. Margana, Kraton Surakarta dan Yogyakarta 1769-1874. Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 2004, xxvi + 865 pp. ISBN 979.347772.5.
MASON C. HOADLEY
The title of the work under review does not entirely agree with its contents. On the one hand, the subject matter is far from the kraton (royal palaces) of Central Java, being a transcription and translation into Indonesian of the Javanese texts comprising G.P. Rouffaer Collection Or 265 bequeathed to the
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KITLV in 1928, at that time a private institute in The Hague. It is likely that the contents of this collection were drawn upon by Rouffaer in his seminal 1921 article on the Vorstenlanden (Princely States) of Java in the Encyclopaedie van Nederlandsch-Indië.
On the other hand, the work’s contents are to a very high degree relevant
to the history of the kraton of the Susuhanan and Mangkunagaran at Surakarta and of the Sultan of Yogyakarta. But they are relevant in a counterfactual
manner. As the author points out, the documents in question are not babad – a term meaning ‘historical narrative’ according to Pigeaud, but more usually translated as ‘chronicle’. The distinction is crucial for research into Central Java’s history and, in fact, provided motivation for Margana to produce the present work. His companion study of the babad tradition is contained in Pujangga Jawa dan Bayang-Bayang Kolonial (Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 2004). Margana rightly observes that the babad tradition has for too long been the mainstay of historical studies. Modern scholarship has begun to consider the babad excessively kraton-centric, hence his desire to study non-babad Javanese sources held in Dutch collections. This was made possible by the Toyota Foundation, and the result is the work under review here.
Kraton Surakarta dan Yogyakarta 1769-1874 consists of two major parts. Possibly most useful to scholars is the first part, comprising translations of some 178 Javanese documents ranging in date from 1769 to 1874, each introduced by an explanatory paragraph giving the document’s number in the Rouffaer collection and a brief sketch of its contents. By way of imposing
some order on the various subjects covered, the documents have been divided into four sections by subject matter, with a short introduction on the significance of each placed in the introduction. Section 1, Arsip-arsip sebelum Perjanji Giyanti (1755), focuses upon the documents in the collection predating
the Treaty of Giyanti which divided the Mataram realm into the rump states of Surakarta and Yogyakarta. Section 2, Arsip-Arsip dari Kasultanan Yogyakarta (pp. 23-110), focuses upon those from the Sultanate of Yogyakarta, subdivided in turn into 1) Royal bureaucracy and village government; 2) Agrarian and village matters; and 3) Custom and ceremonies of the kraton. Section 3, Arsip-Arsip dari Kasunanan Surakarta, presents the comparable but more numerous documents from Solo, similarily subdivided into sections on bureaucracy and government (pp. 113-30), law and justice (pp. 130-219), agrarian and village matters (pp. 220-54), taxes and finance (pp. 253-87), and customs and ceremonies (pp. 288-376). Section 4, Arsip-Arsip dari Kadipaten Mangkunegaran (pp. 379-422) takes up bureaucracy, plantations, and village matters; and Section 5 (pp. 423-54) presents some 22 piyagem (charters).
The second part of the work, comprising Section 6 (pp. 455-840), reproduces
the original Javanese documents in transcription following the order in
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which they are found in the Rouffaer collection. An appendix of some dozen photos concludes the work.
Without doubt Margana has done scholarship a great service by translating
into Indonesian the hundreds of documents. While this does not free one from the need to consult the originals (which, as noted, he also provides), it does make the task considerably easier. Needless to add, an index (or even better, several indices) would have greatly enhanced the work’s usefulness – although in saying so this reviewer is under no delusions as to the difficulties entailed. A comparable source publication edited by Peter Carey and myself, The Archive of Yogyakarta, Vol. II (2000), almost foundered over the question of indexes, and even when it did appear it was published without the dozen or so pages of the place-name index. Weighing up the relative pros and cons of a substantially delayed publication with indices or an earlier publication without them, it is easy to sympathize with Margana for not providing them (or a bibliography, for that matter). Fortunately, with modern techniques of scanning and suchlike, the committed researcher can now produce her/his own index without undue effort.
This reviewer’s interest is drawn to the rich material contained in Kraton Surakarta dan Yogyakarta concerning taxation. Clarification of Javanese tax systems should enable useful light to be shed on economic conditions more generally during the periods covered. Combined and compared with data contained in The Archive of Yogyakarta, Vol. II, infomation on tax would help to provide a solid outline of the development of local economic institutions based upon original, indigenous sources, as envisaged by Professor Sartono Kartodirdjo.
Standing outside the author’s control is the more problematic issue of the potential contribution of the document collection as a whole to the student of Java’s past. The Rouffaer Collection consists largely of ‘copies of copies’: not only is it a seemingly random agglomeration of documents, but those documents have also been filtered through the hands of several persons. While this does not automatically undermine their authenticity, it does raise crucial questions of historical source criticism and require users to make considered
judgements as to how much they can rely on the contents. Whatever their judgements may be, a large step forward has been taken thanks to the efforts of Margana. Despite the critical points mentioned above, the present reviewer is the first to acknowledge scholarship’s debt to the author for making the material contained and translated here more readily accessible to students of Java’s past.
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Henry Frei, Guns of February; Ordinary Japanese soldiers’ views of the Malayan campaign and the fall of Singapore 1941-42. Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2004, xxxiv + 194 pp. ISBN 9971.69.273.2, price SGD 37.50 (paperback); ISBN 9971.69.296.1, SGD 60.00 (hardback).
Sixty years after the end of the Asia-Pacific War, historians still strive to make sense of what remains for many a complex and rather confusing story. Guns of February is a very welcome and positive contribution to the understanding of one small aspect of the war, complementing and correcting the usual Western approaches to this episode of Southeast Asian history. The author, Professor Henry Frei (1947-2002), was a Swiss scholar with a thorough grounding in both Japanese and English, and in Japanese culture. After his death in 2003, the work was completed and seen through the press by his friend Dr Paul H. Kratoska of the National University of Singapore.
In this book Frei presents a Japanese version of the dramatic events in Southeast Asia in 1941 and 1942, mainly through the written and spoken memoirs of six Japanese who participated in the Malayan campaign leading to the conquest of Singapore. As Paul Kratoska writes in the preface, Frei ‘wanted the world to understand the Japanese army as he did, as human beings rather than automatons blindly serving the emperor, or as inhuman fighters lacking emotion and compassion for their enemies’. And as Dr Brian Farrell observes in the foreword: ‘This is the story of the men who did the fighting or were caught up in it, and how they remember their experiences’.
We follow the stories as told by the selected soldiers as the Japanese forces implement the decision of the Japanese High Command in July 1941 to ‘advance south’ and occupy the Netherlands East Indies. In November 1941, General Yamashita Tomoyuki was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the 25th Army with the task of taking Singapore. His Officer-in-Charge of Operations was to be Colonel Tsuji Masanobu. Our account, following the parallel stories told by soldiers in different units, of its nature is not strictly chronological. The necessary historical framework is supplied with informative
notes by Farrell.
There is much in the accounts of these Japanese soldiers that will surely resonate in those with memories of soldiering anywhere. The hardship, the loyalty to comrades, the terror, the pleasurable prospect of simple blessings like food, or mail from home. But there is much that is incredibly strange to the Westerner. Unquestioning loyalty to the Emperor, faith in the manifest destiny of Japan to conquer, and not least the process of absorption of the recruit into the imperial design. ‘Let us regain Asia Pacific. Let us reclaim
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what Japan ceded to the colonialists in the seventeenth century. Let glory be now restored!’ (p. 12). The recruit to the Japanese army was absorbed into the military corpus absolutely. The father of a prospective recruit would receive from the military authorities a standard letter with such sentiments as ‘When your son enters the barracks, the officers of the company will take your place in looking after his welfare. We will be to him as a stern father and a loving mother […]’ (p. 11). In spite of this, the reality of a recruit’s life was harsh. Whatever the intentions of the officers, it was the non-commissioned officers who dealt directly with the recruits under training, and they, and even the senior privates, inflicted corporal punishment at will. One soldier recollected that after the corporal had lined them up for punishment, ‘his fists would come flying down on them, one after the other in utter abandon. Sometimes he would use a leather slipper […]’ (p. 15). Another recruit ‘counted more than 3,000 slaps from the flat of his corporal’s hand’ during training (p. 19). We are also given the strongly contrasting account of a disillusioned recruit to an infantry regiment, Private Miyake. ‘Inside the barracks, Miyake became even more disgusted with the system that subordinated everyone to the Emperor, and in which orders were absolute. Japan had turned into a gigantic
militaristic pyramid […] at the top of which sat the Emperor’ (p. 18). But there was no escape for him.
Another remarkable feature of Japanese soldiering in this account is the prominence given to the bayonet. In pictures and in descriptions of operations,
as in the accounts later of prisoners of war, for the Japanese soldier the bayonet plays a prominent, often gruesome role. Finding himself in charge of twelve soldiers undergoing convalescence behind the lines in Alor Star, the Imperial Guards corporal Tsuchikane had them do bayonet practice. During a pause in the battle for Singapore, two soldiers seized the opportunity to sharpen their bayonets on the edge of a stone. Another soldier reflects as he fondles his bayonet: ‘Taking good care of it was rule number one; polish it at odd moments, like now, because a sparkling knife cuts better’ (pp. 62, 66-7, 119). One soldier recollected that he had been obliged to participate in the bayonetting of 400 Chinese prisoners near Kuala Lumpur (p. xxx). The bayonet had an even more grisly role. After one battle we are told that the Japanese infantrymen ‘chopped off the hands of their dead at the wrist and put them in mess tins. These were easy to carry, body parts would be tagged and placed in urns, and eventually receive a proper burial’ (p. 67). Later on, we have a description of the soldiers actually frying the severed hands in the pan ‘from which they had just eaten their hot meal’ to burn the flesh away from the bones (p. 136).
The presentation of the material in the book is straightforward. There are instances of unidiomatic English which catch the reader’s eye. Some of these baffled me completely: machine guns covered in mud ‘from muzBook
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zle to ammunition’ (p. 90); ‘battalion commander Sako, stitched across the chest’ (p. 111). The meaning of others is apparent: ‘Mount the bayonets!’ (Fix bayonets!) (p. 28); ‘machine-gunner platoon’ (machine-gun platoon) (p. 86); ‘unclipped his safety trigger’ (released his safety catch) (p. 93); ‘at the tail of the ship’ (in the stern) (p. 86); ‘rubber forest’ (rubber estate) (p. 93); ‘half-trousers’ worn by British soldiers (shorts) (p. 93). Day X seems to be what in English would be D-Day (the date fixed for the launch of an operation). A note to this effect would have been sufficient to clear up doubt (pp. 1, 36). Lt. Col. Tsuji Masanobu is referred to as Army Chief-of-Staff (p. 151). Elsewhere he is given less apt titles such as ‘Campaign Manager’ (redolent of political rather than military campaigns), and there is reference to his ‘campaign management’
(pp. 83, 99, 146). Translating technical military terms from Japanese does demand very special skills, including military experience as well as a knowledge of both languages. The fact that one can usually surmise what is meant shows that these sometimes quaint formulations do not obscure the meaning. Indeed they add a bit of colour to the narrative.
There is another feature which does interrupt the smooth reading of the narrative. There are many notes signalled in the text, gathered chapter by chapter at the end of the book. The majority of these are to source page references, in many cases to accounts in Japanese. A few are much fuller editorial notes to the historical background by Brian Farrell. Wherever a note is signalled by a superscript number the attentive reader will feel the need to search it out in the back of the book in case it has helpful information, in many cases to be disappointed at finding a simple source reference, and then return to the text to find the point to resume reading, causing an irritating interruption to reading of the narrative. With end notes it would be most welcome if notes giving simple source references were distinguished from those giving substantial information. This problem of course is faced by all editors. Footnotes are kinder to the reader, but may be less easy to manage. Some notes in the book appear to be out of place. For example note 23 on p. 179 refers to p. 44, and note 43 on p. 180 refers to an incident on p. 54.
To this reader, the most bizarre, indeed scarcely credible episode in the whole book is about a British prisoner of war called James. He appeared out of the blue when the Japanese army was in South Johor preparing for the assault on Singapore. When Second Lieutenant Ochi decided to climb a hill to reconnoitre ‘he took with him James, an artillery lieutenant, with whom he had struck up an acquaintance […] James was tall and an odd bird, who had protested being sent back into custody of the rear troops’. James had been with them for five days, and was on greeting terms with everyone in Ochi’s platoon. He engaged in long conversations with Ochi about military matters, amongst other things comparing the role of the Japanese Emperor with that of the British King. Astonishingly, James persuades Ochi to allow
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him to accompany the Japanese unit in an assault craft for its night attack on Singapore. On the moonless night of the assault, we are told ‘James was excited, but acted with composure. Skilfully he negotiated the side and lay on the bottom of the boat, where thanks to Sgt.Yamaguchi’s broad shoulders, he remained concealed.’ Whether James survived this weird experience of the assault on Singapore we are not told; he disappears from the story. One can only wonder (pp. 77-80, 85-6).
The story takes us, as the title indicates, to the fall of Singapore. An additional
chapter, entitled ‘The Victory Dissipated’, tells of the ‘sook ching’ massacre
of Chinese which took place a few days later. The actual perpetrator is not clearly identified. The General Officer Commanding, who clearly bore overall responsibility, was Yamashita, subsequently executed for atrocities committed by troops nominally under his command in Manila. The book points an accusing finger at ‘the notorious Lt. Col. Tsuji Masanobu’, and adduces some evidence at least of his complicity, although in 1950 he was cleared of war crimes charges. The Australian Lieutenant General Gordon Bennett, who was well qualified to judge, and is quoted at the opening of Chapter 9, wrote of Tsuji: ‘His brilliant strategy and tactics in China and Manchuria, and later in Malaya, entitle him to a place among the best of the army leaders in the Second World War’. It is tragic that Tsuji’s brilliant planning of the whole operation was marred by the atrocity which followed. The book indeed extends the shame to the whole Japanese Army: ‘The Army erased its glory as soon as it had gotten it’ (p. 163).
There are useful explanatory maps. The book has no index, which is a pity, as it contains much useful historical data. The theme and aim of this book are well evoked by the closing words of the introduction. In Japan, peace forums are organized by various groups: ‘At such peace rallies these rare old soldiers talk freely about their wartime experiences – not to sensationalize their past, but to show the young why Japan should never again show an inhuman face.’
Gerrit Knaap and Heather Sutherland, Monsoon traders; Ships, skippers and commodities in eighteenth-century Makassar. Leiden: KITLV Press, 2004, ix + 269 pp. [Verhandelingen 224.] ISBN 90.6718.232.X. Price: EUR 30.00 (paperback).
J. THOMAS LINDBLAD
This book represents the fulfilment of a dream scenario for the economic historian with a taste for statistics: stumbling on a rich quantitative source,
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building and processing a comprehensive data base that enables us to address important questions in historiographical debate. The centrepiece consists of the registers of the harbourmasters of Makassar compiled in the eighteenth century and preserved in the archive of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) in The Hague. An exhaustive survey of registers from sixteen years scattered throughout the eighteenth century offers a solid base for finding out what happened to the shipping and trade of this key port in the eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago and, to go one step further, what we may learn about economic development at large at this time, during a period generally depicted as the solemn aftermath of Anthony Reid’s glorious ‘Age of Commerce’.
The statistical source, with its limitations frankly acknowledged, is described in detail in a brief introductory chapter. The processing embraced several generations of software innovation eventually resulting in 8,136 shipping
movements with detailed information contained in four types of interconnected
record. The second chapter leaves the source aside to offer a general historical context based largely on secondary literature. In the third chapter, the source is back with a careful analysis of ships, skippers and shipping routes. Then the emphasis shifts away from shipping as such to trade, with a detailed analysis of changes in commodities, quantities and values. The fifth chapter is less cohesive than the two preceding ones but at least as rich in information. The first ‘case study’ (not really the right term here) links up with the evaluation of cargo in the previous chapter and focuses on the development
of total traded value over time. Other ‘case studies’ concern trading routes, ethnicity, the increasing importance of the port of Amoy (Xiamen) in Makassar’s trade, and even a couple of accounts of the fates of individual skippers. An appendix with more than sixty pages of statistics provides the necessary foundation for the highly accessible discussion in the text, where only graphs and small, easy-to-read tables are inserted. The authors must be complimented, not only for the enormous effort of processing this data base with all its intricacies, but also with finding a format of presentation that can serve as a model for any historian working with quantitative data.
Shipping and trade in Makassar underwent important changes in the eighteenth century. More locally built vessels were used, more Chinese skippers appeared in the harbour, trading routes shifted from Batavia or the Moluccas to Amoy, and cargoes became dominated by transit goods, for instance marine products such as trepang, rather than by local produce. Shipping volumes first fell, then rose from 1770 onwards. Traded values increased continuously, albeit with a marked acceleration after 1770. These are all signs of dynamic change that convincingly refute any talk about a ‘dark aftermath’ of the ‘Age of Commerce’. Makassar may have suffered a dip in the first half of the eighteenth century but it was not a very deep dip and did not last long. Especially interesting is the virtual absence of both
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Europeans and local Sulawesians in the resumed commercial expansion after 1770. This testifies to the importance of non-European or non-VOC actors in the economic development of the Indonesian archipelago in the eighteenth century. Van Leur has again been proven right, although with very different materials and methods from those which have vindicated him in the past.
There is little to be critical about in this excellent study. As so often in such cases, the reader is inspired to ask for more, even if to do so is a bit unfair to the authors after all they have already offered us. A few examples may suffice.
Only ‘the general number of skippers’ is given since no standardization of names allowing an identification by person was undertaken (p. 56). The same holds true for numbers of individual ships, a statistic which is obviously
different from ‘shipping movements’. Total cargo value is estimated by applying a flat 25 per cent increment to products for which values were calculated, which sounds like a good idea, but the resulting total is not used for a further analysis of the commodity composition of the cargo (p. 126).
One would sooner expect a book like this one, with its painstaking quantitative
analysis, from a Ph.D. candidate than from two senior scholars with innumerable other obligations. In fact, a German Ph.D. dissertation using this very source was defended not so long ago. In the preface the authors regret that they could not incorporate its findings. That is a task left to the interested reader.
David W. Fraser and Barbara G. Fraser, Mantles of merit; Chin textiles
from Myanmar, India and Bangladesh. Bangkok: River Books, 2005, 288 pp. ISBN 974.986301.1 (hardback).
SANDRA A. NIESSEN
Mantles of merit is an ambitious review of the indigenous, hand-woven textiles
of the Chin peoples of Southeast Asia. The Chin population comprises some fifty distinct ethnic groups and numbers between two and three million.
The Chin inhabit regions of Myanmar, Bangladesh and northeast India, relatively inaccessible for political as well as geographical reasons. Linguistic diversity further limits access to those who are able to penetrate the area.
Co-author David Fraser, specialist in the field of textile structure, notes that the textiles in this region of the world are spectacular for their diversity and sophistication. Moreover, the authors claim, textile structure is the primary distinguishing facet of Chin textile traditions. Not surprisingly, therefore, in documenting the various textile types, the authors emphasize their woven structures. The foundation for their detailed and technical descriptions is
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laid in Chapter 3, Textile Construction, in the form of a review of the range of weave structures and the structural emphases found in the region.
The volume divides the area into the Northern Chin (Chapter 4), Southern Chin (Chapter 5), Khumi, Khami and Mro (Chapter 6), and the Ashö (Chapter 7). To construct their compendium, the authors have relied on published and unpublished information, extant collections, and fieldwork. Unfortunately they provide little information about their research methods aside from a brief reference to ‘a series of visits to Chin villages, interviews with weavers, discussions with Chin elders, examination of textile collections of private individuals as well as museum and other institutions […]’ (p. 7). They provide
the indigenous name for each textile type that they document, and list loom terminology for 22 language groups in the appendix. But it is not clear, for example, how the Frasers coped with the linguistic diversity in the area while conducting their interviews and visits.
While the preface describes one of the two goals of the book as that of explaining the cultural role of Chin textiles in the process of achieving merit, cultural analysis is not the strength of the volume, and no study of local systems
of meaning has been included. The culture of the region as a whole is introduced in summary fashion and with broad brush strokes in Chapter 2, ‘History and Chin Culture’. The cultural dimension of the textile objects is by and large restricted to brief empirical descriptions of their function: blanket, woman’s tunic, woman’s skirt worn at wedding rituals, and the like.
In the way the authors have met their other stated goal, to convey the technical virtuosity of the textiles, this volume is a rich resource for museums, collectors, aficionados, and textile scholars. It is too bad that the authors have not built on this strength by including an index or other organizational system to facilitate looking up technical information. In addition, the technical terminology
used is not always clear or consistent, and the text would have benefited
from another edit. Readers will miss explanations for the terminological choices made by the authors. Their assumptions about the technical knowledge
of the reader are not consistent with the number of technical lexicons and methods of approach to textiles which are available. By emphasizing textile structure above weaving techniques, the authors are following a precedent set by Irene Emery and leaving complementary technical analysis to future researchers. In the final statement of the volume, for example, the Frasers refer to the usefulness of textile structure analysis for deciphering cultural history, a research focus in which technical analysis is of at least equal importance to textile structure. In Chapter 8, ‘Wellsprings and flow of textile ideas’, there is some speculation on the history of development of the weave structures in the region, but theoretical issues are not taken into account.
The volume is amply illustrated in full colour. While the quality of the photographs is not consistent, they provide an important complement and
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access to the structural and design information provided in the text. The opulence of the volume will be compelling to many readers, but scholars will be frustrated by the fact that the illustrations are not always in sequence, and because the direction of warp and weft is not always consistent with the way the photograph is oriented on the page.
For all its shortcomings, this detailed, extensive compendium serves to put the relatively neglected Chin textile tradition on the textile map. As such, it is indispensable in the textile scholar’s library.
Kees Snoek, E. du Perron; Het leven van een smalle mens. Amsterdam: Nijgh en Van Ditmar, 2005, 1246 pp. ISBN 90.388.6954.1. Prijs: EUR 39,90 (gebonden).
Anders dan bij Multatuli stond al jarenlang vast wie de grote biografie van de Nederlands-Indische schrijver Charles Edgar (Eddy) du Perron zou schrijven.
Na de publicatie in 1990 van zijn dissertatie De Indische jaren van E. du Perron is Kees Snoek namelijk nijver voortgegaan met het verzamelen van informatie over zijn onderwerp. Hij voerde vele gesprekken met vrienden, bekenden en familieleden van de schrijver, ontdekte een groot aantal tot nog toe obscure documenten en vond vier collecties ongepubliceerde brieven, gevoegd bij de ruim 4.300 epistels van Du Perron die al bekend waren.
Een gedeelte van die informatie verwerkte hij in artikelen voor diverse tijdschriften en in 2003 publiceerde hij een boekje over het voorgeslacht van Du Perron, Manhafte heren en rijke erfdochters. Onlangs verscheen dan de lang verwachte biografie E. du Perron. Het leven van een smalle mens. Het is een monumentaal boek geworden dat nagenoeg alles lijkt te bevatten wat er over Du Perron te weten valt.
Eddy du Perron werd op 2 november 1899 geboren in Meester Cornelis als enig kind van de temperamentvolle en met weinig verbeeldingskracht gezegende Charles Emile en de heerszuchtige Marie Mina Madeline Bédier de Prairie. Du Perrons moeder had op dat moment al een twaalfjarige zoon (Oscar van Polanen Petel) uit haar eerste huwelijk. Snoek geeft een gedetailleerd beeld van de beschermde jeugd van de jongen in de koloniale Indische samenleving. Hij vestigt er de aandacht op dat Eddy zich al op zevenjarige leeftijd buitengewoon
jaloers toont op de verloofde van zijn zestien jaar oudere nichtje, de bloedmooie Jeanne Marie Freule van der Wijck. De relatie met volwassen mannen
in zijn omgeving was toch al precair. Nadat Eddy de inhoud van een po over de handen van een kindermeisje had uitgegoten, gaf zijn vader hem een
Book reviews 547
zodanig pak slaag dat de zoon sindsdien weinig meer van hem wilde weten.
Bij zijn weergave van de jeugdjaren volgt de biograaf Het land van herkomst, de autobiografische roman van Du Perron, en de annotaties die de schrijver maakte in het zogenaamde Greshoff-exemplaar. Hij vult deze informatie aan met schetsen van de politieke en maatschappelijke situatie in de eerste decennia van de vorige eeuw en fraaie portretten van opvallende figuren uit de koloniale samenleving. Onder hen vinden we de prostituee Fientje de Feniks (de moord op haar maakte grote indruk op Eddy), Karel Wybrands, de strijdbare hoofdredacteur van Het Nieuws van den Dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië bij wie de schrijver na zijn gefnuikte schoolopleiding in 1919 in dienst trad, en Marietje van Oordt, de beruchte oplichtster die ook Du Perron senior om haar vinger wist te winden.
De Indische jeugd van de schrijver eindigt in 1921 met het vertrek van het gezin naar Europa. De verwende zoon stelde als voorwaarde voor zijn vertrek uit de kolonie dat hij in zijn nieuwe omgeving ‘absolute vrijheid’ zou genieten. Zijn biograaf tekent daarbij terecht aan dat die vrijheid wél voor rekening van zijn ouders kwam.
Tijdens zijn verblijf in Europa, van 1921 tot 1932, deed Du Perron vergeefse
pogingen om een duurzame relatie met een Europese vrouw op te bouwen. Anderhalf jaar lang probeerde hij de kunstzinnige Belgische Clairette Petrucci te veroveren, omdat hij in haar de ideale ‘strijdkameraad’ ziet. Tussendoor verblijft hij in Montmartre om inspiratie op te doen voor zijn schrijverschap. In die tijd maakt hij kennis met (het werk van) schrijvers die voor hem van groot belang zullen zijn, zoals Valery Larbaud en André Gide. Aan de hand van die ervaringen ontwikkelt hij zijn kunstopvatting die inhoudt dat hij de persoonlijkheid van de kunstenaar als literair criterium belangrijker acht dan diens stijl of de vorm van het werk.
Zo erkende Du Perron vrijwel direct na hun ontmoeting het belang van de Franse auteur André Malraux. Snoek noemt een aantal overeenkomsten tussen
de schrijvers: enig kind met dominante vaders (die beiden de hand aan zichzelf zouden slaan), een strijdbare natuur en een onstuitbare conversatie. Hij had ook nog kunnen vermelden dat de verjaardagen van Du Perron en Malraux precies na elkaar vielen (2 en 3 november). De waardering bleek wederzijds: Malraux droeg zijn belangrijkste roman La condition humaine op aan zijn vriend, die het boek vervolgens in het Nederlands vertaalde. Ook bij zijn Nederlandse vrienden – Menno ter Braak, Henny Marsman, Jan Greshoff – waardeerde hij vooral hun persoonlijkheid. De bijbehorende literatuuropvatting
leidde ertoe dat hij een afkeer had van vooraf bepaalde procédés, zoals de surrealisten die hanteerden, en om die reden geen waardering kon opbrengen voor Paul Eluard, de belangrijkste dichter uit die beweging.
Zijn verhouding met vrouwen bleef problematisch. Voortdurend was hij op zoek naar de Ene, zijn ideale geliefde, maar door zijn vaak recalcitrante
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opstelling mislukte een relatie met een zelfstandig denkende vrouw telkens. Hij was in november 1928 getrouwd met Simone Sechez, een voormalig dienstmeisje van mevrouw Du Perron senior en moeder van zijn zoon Gille, maar tussen beide echtelieden bestond amper enig begrip. In deze situatie zou pas verandering komen na de ontmoeting in februari 1931 met Elisabeth (Bep) de Roos, onder meer recensente van Franse en Engelse literatuur: ‘een lange vrouw met een ietwat langoureuze blik’.
Ook de relatie tussen Du Perron en Bep de Roos verliep verre van eenvoudig.
Het kostte de schrijver een halfjaar, voordat zij werkelijk voor hem viel. Uiteindelijk trouwden zij in mei 1932 met elkaar. Daarmee waren de problemen
voor Du Perron nog niet opgelost, want hij eiste haar absolute liefde op. Het was voor hem niet voldoende dat Bep verklaarde dat hij ‘alle rechten’ had. Du Perron toonde zich met terugwerkende kracht jaloers op een van de vroegere
geliefden van zijn vrouw, de acteur-regisseur Johan de Meester. Telkens kwam de haat tegen zijn ‘rivaal’ weer boven. Begin 1936 reisde hij zelfs vanuit Parijs naar Amsterdam om met de acteur af te rekenen. Du Perron had in een schrift nauwkeurig vastgelegd welke straffen er stonden op het toebrengen van (zwaar) lichamelijk letsel. Het loskomen van het verschijnsel De Meester zou voor Eddy en Bep du Perron een van de belangrijkste redenen zijn om naar Indië te vertrekken. Een ander probleem vormde Du Perrons slechte financiële situatie. Door het ondeskundige beheer van zijn moeder was er bij haar dood (in 1933) van het familievermogen vrijwel niets meer over.
Als schrijver had Du Perron zich inmiddels gemanifesteerd als een voorvechter
van een hiërarchie van de geest, die niet paste in een collectieve ideologie als het fascisme of het communisme. Die opvatting bracht hij met name naar voren in De smalle mens (1934). Het jaar daarop verscheen zijn grote roman Het land van herkomst. De meeste contemporaine critici herkenden
de spiegeleffecten in de roman, gesymboliseerd in het oorspronkelijke omslag van Du Perrons Russische kennis Alexeïeff met Indische vulkaan en een in het water gereflecteerde Eiffeltoren, niet. Marsman vond de Indische hoofdstukken onleesbaar; Willem Walraven kon de Europese gedeelten ‘niet verduwen’. De enige die de experimentele aanpak van het boek inzag, was Simon Vestdijk, maar hij gaf de voorkeur aan een traditionele roman. Het harde werken aan zijn omvangrijkste boek, dat hij tussen oktober 1932 en maart 1935 schreef, leverde Du Perron ook nog fysieke problemen op: hij kreeg last van hartklachten.
In oktober 1936 vertrokken Eddy en Bep du Perron met hun zoontje Alain naar Indië. De schrijver hoopte er, ver van de onrust in Europa, te kunnen werken aan ‘De Onzekeren’: een reeks van oorspronkelijk zeventien historische
novellen met als onderwerp het conflict tussen de persoonlijkheid en de omstandigheden. Gezien het autobiografische karakter van Du Perrons werk zouden hijzelf en zijn omgeving zeker een rol spelen in deze verhalen.
Book reviews 549
Eenvoudig kreeg Du Perron het beslist niet bij zijn weerzien met Indië. Het politieke klimaat in de kolonie bleek verhard en hij vond er betrekkelijk
weinig geestverwanten. Wel deed hij er onderzoek naar Multatuli die hij vanwege zijn temperament steeds meer als een vriend (‘zoo levend als eenige levende vriend’) ging beschouwen en over wie hij De man van Lebak schreef. Snoek toont aan dat het contact tussen Du Perron en de Indonesische intelligentsia betrekkelijk laat tot stand kwam. In juni 1937 ontmoette hij voor het eerst drie inheemse schrijvers. Zijn kennismaking met Soejitno Mangoenkoesoemo en Pringgodigdo vond het jaar daarop plaats, maar ondanks de korte duur van hun contact had hij een sterke, stimulerende invloed op hen.
Ook in Indië bleef Du Perron strijdlustig en productief. Hij verzorgde de literaire kroniek voor het Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad, voerde een pittige polemiek in het tijdschrift Kritiek en Opbouw met de hoofdredacteur van de conservatieve
Java-Bode, de ‘revolver-journalist’ H.C. Zentgraaff, stelde een bloemlezing uit de VOC-literatuur samen (De muze van Jan Companjie) en voltooide zijn eerste boek in de reeks De Onzekeren, de roman Schandaal in Holland (1939). Maar het opzetten van het culturele tijdschrift Noesantara, dat zich onder zijn leiding zou richten op Oost en West, mislukte. Hij slaagde er niet in een geregeld
inkomen te verwerven en tobde hevig met zijn gezondheid. In oktober 1938 kreeg hij zijn eerste aanval van angina pectoris.
Hij verliet Indië in augustus 1939 om voor het eerst in Nederland te gaan wonen, waar hij zich weer vol energie inzette voor het behoud van de vrijheid
en tegen de door hem verafschuwde ‘totalitairen’. Nog geen jaar later, op 14 mei 1940, overleed hij in zijn woonplaats Bergen aan een aanval van angina pectoris na een zwaar bombardement op het militaire vliegveld dat vlak bij zijn huis lag.
Snoek heeft op zorgvuldige wijze de enorme hoeveelheid informatie over zijn onderwerp samengebracht in een boek dat zowel chronologisch als thematisch
is geordend. Soms leidt dat tot onduidelijkheden. Op pagina 595 vermeldt
hij dat Elisabeth de Roos bij haar ontmoeting met Du Perron nog niets van hem heeft gelezen. Maar bijna twintig pagina’s eerder, op bladzijde 577, verklaart de biograaf dat zij niet veel moest ‘hebben van Du Perrons driftige gepolemiseer’.
In het boek zijn bijna 250 foto’s opgenomen – vele worden hier voor de eerste
maal gepubliceerd – die een mooie aanvulling vormen op het biografisch verhaal. Helaas is het redigeren van de tekst minder zorgvuldig uitgevoerd. Snoek hanteert een klassiek-zakelijke stijl die nogal eens onderbroken wordt door populaire uitdrukkingen, zoals ‘in de oren getoeterd’, ‘de strot doorgesneden’,
‘het infantiele touwtrekken’ en ‘stond te hengsten’.
Dat neemt echter niet weg dat hij een biografie heeft geschreven die een groot letterkundige als E. du Perron volkomen recht doet.
550 Book reviews
Arthur J. Dommen, The Indochinese experience of the French and the Americans; Nationalism and communism in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001, xiii + 1172 pp. ISBN 0.253.33854.9. Price: USD 49.95 (hardback).
A work on the Indochina wars that is not solely focused on Vietnam and the United States should be noted. In this book Arthur J. Dommen examines the fate of the former French colonies, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, from the colonial period until the year 2000. His perspective on the history of these countries is a specific one. Over eight chapters and 900 pages, Dommen describes the struggles and maneouvres of the four main protagonists in the Indochina wars: the non-communist and communist leaders, and the French and American governments. Dommen’s main attention, however, is directed towards the party that is often dismissed: the non-communist nationalist leaders.
With hindsight he tells what is ultimately a tragic story. The structure of his narrative, conventional and precise, follows these leaders’ political lives, their rise (Chapters 2 and 3), struggles (Chapters 4 to 8) and demise (Chapter 9).
Dommen is most incisive when he studies these actors and their dealings with the communists, the French and, more particularly, the Americans. As a former journalist who covered the conflicts (he was the Saigon bureau chief for United Press International from 1959 to 1961 and for the Los Angeles Times from 1969 to 1971), Dommen has had access to an impressive array of American sources. This enables him to produce an extremely (if not excessively)
detailed picture of the tortuous relationship between the leaders of the governments of Cambodia, Laos and South Vietnam, and French and American officials over a 30-year period (from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s). His sympathies undoubtedly lie with the non-communist nationalists,
who from his viewpoint were the true defenders of national sovereignty (as opposed to the ‘non-nationalist’ communists).
Two figures, in particular, emerge endowed with this unofficial title: Ngô Ðình Diêm, the head of the Republic of Vietnam from 1955 to 1963, and Souvanna Phouma, three times Prime Minister of the Royal Lao Government (in contrast, King Sihanouk receives a less favourable treatment). In different
ways, both of these leaders tried to distance themselves from American sponsorship – with very little success, however, due to America’s extraordinary
financial leverage. In this regard, Dommen’s analysis shares with recent scholarship a more nuanced and constructive perspective on the Diêm regime1, although his praise of Diêm is at times rather uncritical (‘Diêm was
1 See: Philip E. Catton, Diêm’s final failure; Prelude to America’s war in Vietnam, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002; Edward Miller, ‘Vision, power and agency: the ascent of Ngô Ðình Diêm, 1945-1954’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 35, 2004, pp. 433-58.
Book reviews 551
as pure a Vietnamese leader as could be imagined’ – p. 262).
Dommen’s sympathy does not extend to the French government. It is difficult indeed to argue in defence of the latter’s neo-colonial adventure in Indochina in the aftermath of the Second World War. Nonetheless, one wonders if it is not too speculative of Dommen to suggest, for instance, that the French may have instigated the coup by Kong Le that overthrew the government of Laos in 1960. Dommen reserves his harshest criticisms, however, for the Americans, who as early as 1957 ‘were prepared to support any government in Saigon, civilian or military, no matter how it was constituted, and regardless of whether it was legal or illegal, so long as it could fight the war’ (p. 425). His indictment of American officials over the assassination of Diêm and his brother in 1963 is unequivocal. Dommen’s disappointment and bitterness at American diplomacy in Indochina are perceptible. The Americans exploited the trust of the Indochinese nationalists, whose interests they ultimately ‘sacrificed’ to the priority of extricating the United States from Indochina (p. 939).
Strangely enough, the parties in the Indochina wars that receive the least attention in the book are the communists. This is less surprising when one knows Dommen’s views in this regard: his analysis of the Vietnamese communists
is far less subtle than other parts of the book and verges on caricature,
portraying an essentially authoritarian and violent party to which he denies any measure of legitimacy (the August Revolution of 1945 is reinterpreted
as a coup de force) or popular support, the appearance of which was ‘an image projected by the Communist propaganda’ (p. 502). It is clear that Dommen believes that the Vietnamese communists were not ‘true’ patriots, but people primarily animated by the quest for legitimacy and power. The absence of Vietnamese sources here may help explain Dommen’s biased position.
His entrenched opinion is hard to share, bearing in mind works that have examined the North Vietnamese side of the story and have displayed a more dispassionate tone and fair-minded approach.
While it would be going too far to present this book as the definitive political
history of the Indochina wars, it is certainly an important contribution to the study of modern Lao, Cambodian and Vietnamese history. If its excessive detail makes it unpalatable as a textbook, it is on the other hand valuable for specialists on the Indochina wars who seek a better understanding of the non-communist side of the story.
552 Book reviews
J.H.M.C. Boelaars and A.C. Blom, Mono Koame; ‘Wij denken ook’. [With an introduction in English by A. Borsboom, L. Buskens and J. Kommers.] Nijmegen: Centre for Pacific and Asian Studies, Radboud University, 2001, 319 pp. ISBN 90.6915.016.6. Price: EUR 25.00.
The late missionary/linguist/anthropologist father Boelaars MSC worked from 1950 until his official retirement in New Guinea and Indonesia. He published
several books and papers about his work, and continued writing after he retired (p. 26). For most of the fifties he lived among the Yahray, the people about whom he co-authored the book under review. In earlier publications he had referred to them as Jaqai. His co-author Blom is an ‘ethno-psychiatrist’ who worked in New Guinea from 1958 to 1962. The Yahray live north of the lower reaches of the Digul, close to the coast. They were hunters and collectors
who may have conquered their habitat from the agricultural Awyu, currently
their neighbours, whom they hunted for their heads and their flesh.
Drawing on Van Maanen’s Tales of the field; On writing ethnography, Borsboom, Buskens and Kommers write in their introduction that Mono koame contains many elements of an ‘experimental’ ethnography (p. 17). They point to the voice that identifiable Yahray are given and to the authenticity of what they tell. Also, Boelaars’ interpretations aim at mutual understanding. While Boelaars published part of the data in the much earlier monograph Headhunters about themselves (1981), in the present book he and Blom aim at characterizing the Yahray way of being human. That is the key to the title of the book: Mono Koame; We too think – Yahray men’s reply to Boelaars when he endeavoured to advise them.
Boelaars and Blom attempt to achieve their aim by dividing their book into three parts. The first and second parts deal with the precolonial and the colonial eras, the third with the theme ‘Them and Us’. Here the authors refer to the contrast they draw between the distinct modes of being that they perceive
in ‘our’ and in the Yahray way of life.
The first part of the book is by far the longest. Apart from the main text, in 19 chapters, it includes five brief intermezzos to which Blom is a major contributor (p. 5). The contrast between chapters and intermezzos is gradual
rather than absolute. The former are more ethnographic in orientation, containing long accounts of myths and stories as told by Yahray people to Boelaars, but also summaries of elements of the Yahray way of life, such as family and village life and headhunting raids.
The second part of the book contains the history of Yahray incorporation into the colonial and postcolonial world. The range of data here is the same
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as in Part One: oral accounts interwoven with summaries. The third part, entitled ‘What changed and what remained’, adds new data, including a paper written by Felix Kabagaimu, a Yahray and a student at the theological college near Jayapura. In this part the authors first attempt to characterize the Yahray way of being and then contrast it with its Western, or supposedly Western, counterpart. As long as they include Yahray cultural specifics, the discussion remains valuable. But it is, in my view, regrettable that the bulk of the sources used date back to the 1970s or earlier. Moreover, Yahray ways are not compared with those of neighbouring ethnic groups such as the Marindanim and Mandobo. Regarding the closest neighbours of the Yahray, the Aywu, ethnographic information seems to be minimal (as Van Baal noted in his introduction to Boelaars’ Headhunters about themselves).
Borsboom, Buskens and Kommers argue in their introduction that the book under review is an ‘experimental’ one. This is not my impression. Mono Koame does present what appear to be verbatim accounts by Yahray people themselves, but this is also the case in many ‘conventional’ ethnographies. And it was one of Malinowski’s recommendations that fieldworkers assemble
a corpus inscriptionum. Borsboom and his co-authors also observe that Mono Koame results from intercultural communication aiming at mutual understanding (p. 17). It seems plausible that this was indeed Boelaars’ and Blom’s wish, but given that they have written a text in Dutch, it remains quite unclear to what extent they have succeeded. It is similarly unclear whether this book will influence the ongoing discussions that constitute much of anthropological practice. Borsboom, Buskens and Kommers state that ‘those who want to study the ethnography of Papua in depth […] should master at least a passive knowledge of the Dutch language’ (p. 13). I am afraid this is a pipe dream. However, in view of Boelaars’ valuable and voluminous ethnography of the Yahray, it will be a waste if his writings, published and unpublished, are not assembled, reinterpreted and made available in English in a concise format.
James J. Fox and Dionisio Babo Soares (eds), Out of the ashes; Destruction and reconstruction of East Timor. Canberra: ANU Press, 2003, xxiii + 276 pp. ISBN 0.975122.91.6. Price: AUD 24.95 (paperback).
JOHANNA VAN REENEN
On 30 August 1999 a referendum was held in East Timor. The East Timorese were given the choice either to remain part of the Republic of Indonesia – albeit
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with increased autonomy – or to establish a state of their own. An overwhelming
majority – 78.5 per cent of the population – voted for independence. Soon after the referendum East Timorese militia, with the backing of sections of the Indonesian army, started to rampage and loot the area, burning buildings and killing hundreds of residents. By mid-September, East Timor was in chaos and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. The refugees fled into the mountains or were transported to West Timor.
Out of the ashes is a compilation of eighteen articles that deal with themes and events surrounding the destruction and reconstruction of East Timor. They reflect a wide range of perspectives and disciplines: history, economics, politics,
demography, education, and to a lesser degree culture. The book includes a foreword by Xanana Gusmao, the former leader of the East Timorese resistance
movement and the first president of the newly formed state Timor Leste. Many of the contributing authors are high-profile, well-known individuals. The majority hold a degree from, or work in, various departments of the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. Others owe their reputation to their particular professional or political involvement with East Timor. Among the latter are big names such as Ian Martin, who was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the East Timor Popular Consultation and Head of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET); and Sarah Cliffe, who initially served as the Deputy Mission Leader to the Joint Assessment Mission (JAM) which was organized by the UN and the World Bank in October 1999, and who later became the Chief of the World Bank Mission on East Timor. Several of the authors contribute personal reports of the terror preceding and following the referendum. Among these are Fernando de Araujo, who was the founder and Secretary-General of RENETIL, a movement of students from East Timor, who resisted the Indonesian occupation of this territory; and Catharina Williams, whose article is based on her observations as a UN district electoral officer in the region of Suai in 1999.
Out of the ashes is a highly recommendable book, a historical document of which the only shortcoming is the lack of an index. The articles are of good to excellent quality. With respect to the reconstruction phase, the authors raise challenging questions and issues. Most, if not all, of the articles appear to have been written in the course of 1999 or early 2000 – that is, in the very early days of reconstruction, when the United Nations Transitional Administration of East Timor (UNTAET) had only just been installed. Obviously, since those days much has happened, including Timor Leste obtaining full independence
in May 2002. I am sure that if ANU treats us to a follow-up book including
an analysis of the most recent developments in East Timor, the book will be widely welcomed.
Book reviews 555
Anke Niehof and Firman Lubis (eds), Two is enough; Family planning
in Indonesia under the New Order 1968-1998. Leiden: KITLV Press, 2003, 281 pp. ISBN 90.6718.197.8. Price: EUR 30.00.
Two is enough is a history of family planning in Indonesia, from its hesitant beginnings in the 1950s to the time of President Soeharto’s resignation in 1998. The book leaves little doubt about the overall success of the Indonesian programme, not only in gaining support from all segments of society for the idea and practice of family limitation, but also for its ability to adapt to the realities and priorities of Indonesian citizens. The book’s merits lie in the careful contextualization of its subject matter, in particular its interpretation of reproductive change as closely bound up with wider social, political and economic forces. The collection brings together academics and family planning
and public health professionals. Occasionally this hybridity frustrates, as when supportive data and sources or a more analytical tone are felt to be lacking. But on balance the addition of personal, practical and scholarly perspectives
produces a richer account.
The book opens with a strong introduction which sets out the editors’ twin aims of documenting the Indonesian family planning programme and explaining the fertility transition. Lubis and Niehof argue for a strong independent
programme effect, claiming that the family planning programme, with its attendant ideological apparatus, provided not only the means of fertility
limitation, but also some of the motivations for it. Further motivational impetus is ascribed to the impressive levels of economic and social development,
which improved living standards, reduced infant mortality, and made children more costly via educational expansion.
The chapter by Sarwono is an account of early family planning initiatives under the broadly pronatalist Soekarno regime. The careful manoeuvring by individual activists in the face of government and religious opposition is insightfully described, although the demographic impact of these early schemes is grossly overstated. The author reminds us in passing of an often overlooked fact, namely that for many Indonesian women infertility, rather than excess fertility, was the main concern. By providing infertility treatment, pioneer initiatives may have helped to win women’s trust and confidence in reproductive services more generally. The contribution by Lubis then documents the evolution of the family planning programme under the New Order regime. In particular he highlights its shift from a centralized clinic-based approach to more flexible community-based outreach tactics, and from a narrow focus on family limitation to the more holistic concept of ‘family welfare’. Lubis stresses the official position of entirely voluntary participation.
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This sits uneasily with description of targets, ‘motivational activities’ and incentives, and with the public reporting of women’s family planning status. Greater critical commentary would have been welcome in this chapter, but this is made up for in the next. Hull evaluates some of the problematic issues of Indonesia’s approach to family policy and places them within an explicitly
political context. His excellent knowledge of Indonesian demographic, social and political history allows him to uncover the links between political developments under the New Order regime – including the depoliticization
of society, pervasive bureaucratization, and the harnessing of religious opposition – and the specific nature that family planning took in Indonesia. Hull’s preference for taking a ‘long view’ of demographic change provides a welcome alternative to the common dichotomous framework of distinct pre- and post-transition demographic regimes. He draws attention, for instance, to early, colonial interest in fertility and to indigenous approaches to family limitation, and reinterprets President Soekarno’s stance towards population policy as much more complex and ambivalent than it commonly is.
The chapter by Piet seeks to assess the role of foreign assistance in explaining
the success of Indonesia’s family planning programme, but the complexity of individual, state and international interrelationships, the paucity of data, and the author’s almost unqualified admiration for the national and international
agencies involved combine to frustrate this ambitious goal. Ultimately Piet wants to have it both ways: on the one hand, social and economic development
are said to have created the demand for family planning; on the other hand the National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN), ‘leading the partnership of local organizations and donors’, is credited with being ‘primarily
responsible for much of Indonesia’s fertility decline’ (p. 102). The BKKBN comes under much more critical scrutiny in the contribution by Widyantoro, which assesses the role of NGOs in family planning and reproductive health. Rather than BKKBN coordinating services, it is accused of monopolizing their implementation and prioritizing service uptake over programme quality. This has left the field wide open for important contributions by NGOs. The services
which NGOs provide are either not considered a priority by mainstream organizations – as in the cases of counselling services and infertility treatment – or regarded as morally unacceptable, as in the cases of menstrual regulation, sex education, and services for unmarried women. It is a shame that the section
on NGOs dealing with women’s rights and violence against women is so brief. The interrelationship between social, political and economic forces is a dominant theme in this book, which makes it clear that attention to such issues is important for understanding reproductive change.
After the surveys of wider political and organizational structures, Niehof and Lubis return to the grassroots and examine how family planning was adopted and incorporated into the social and cultural fabric of communities.
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They reveal, for example, the importance of gaining the support of local traditional
midwives in promoting acceptance of contraception, and of relying on local family planning fieldworkers in recruitment of users. Attention is drawn to cultural specificity, for instance when family planning successes in Bali are explained in terms of women’s long-standing participation in economic
and ritual spheres.
In stressing the convergence on the small family norm across regions and cultural groups, the authors perhaps overemphasize success and uniformity
at the expense of heterogeneity in the meanings, processes and extent of reproductive change in Indonesia. This heterogeneity is partly addressed by Jones in his assessment of the demographic impact of Indonesia’s population programme. He draws attention to the persistent differences between regions and economic strata in demographic rates, and raises a cautious voice amid the generally optimistic tenor of the book. Jones points out that fertility rate declines have stalled in the 1990s, despite programme efforts. Modest rises in contraceptive uptake notwithstanding, there appears to be little unmet demand for family planning services, which suggests that further fertility declines may prove elusive. (Indeed, anecdotal evidence collected in rural East Java by the present reviewer suggests that after Soeharto, with the expansion of civil and religious liberties, significant minorities which reject family planning outright on religious grounds are re-emerging. When it comes to pronouncing on the independent role of family planning programmes in bringing about fertility decline in Indonesia, Jones is cautious. Given the rapid economic and educational expansion after 1970, it is likely that demand for fertility limitation would have been great even in the absence of its active promotion.
The roles and statuses of women are central to an understanding of reproductive
change. Niehof, accordingly, provides an exhaustive literature survey
on women’s roles in Indonesia which highlights important continuities and changes. Niehof reminds us that Indonesian women have always been heavily involved in economic and extra-household activities; the discontinuity
lies not in the expansion of women’s involvement in paid work, but in the New Order’s middle-class idealization of ‘housewives’. Although the gender perspective taken entails a predominant focus on women, the author clearly portrays women’s roles as shaped by men’s roles, and by men’s absences: with divorce, adult mortality and labour migration common throughout Indonesia, many women have had no choice but to buy the food for their families as well as cooking it.
The next chapter, by Hardee, Eggleston, Amal and Hull, continues the focus on women’s lives. This produces a certain amount of repetition and saturation, not least because these chapters mainly bring together existing evidence rather than providing new material. Hardee and others report on findings from the Women’s Studies Project undertaken in the mid-1990s, which set out to examBook
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ine the impact of family planning use on various aspects of women’s lives, including their autonomy, work, family welfare and satisfaction. The Project collected qualitative and quantitative data from diverse regions of Indonesia, but their interpretation here is disappointing. The quotes and figures point to a bewildering range of views and practices concerning decision-making and household roles, with no clear pattern emerging with regard to their relationship to contraceptive use. The reader is left to make up her own mind whether: a) ‘family planning enables women to work’ (p. 202); or b) ‘neither family planning nor number of children has a significant effect on whether a woman [works] for income’ (p. 203); or c) ‘it depends’. Short and decontextualized
quotes are liberally interpreted, conclusions are drawn from inconclusive material and converted into lengthy recommendations.
Piet-Pelon, Budiningsih and Prihartono pick up where Lubis concluded his history of family planning by evaluating the Indonesian programme in the light of the post-Cairo reproductive health agenda. The verdict is fairly damning: whilst contraceptive use, fertility and family planning norms have moved in the direction desired by the Indonesian state, the state has not, in turn, kept up with developing services that meet the broader reproductive needs of Indonesian women and men. Maternal mortality and delivery complications
remain shockingly common, as do sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive tract infections. The latter in particular point to the need for drawing men and young unmarried Indonesians into the mainstream of service provision. The chapter reads a little like an instruction manual, but the points it makes are salient.
Two is enough is not a dense or succinct book, and its reliance on short sections
and bullet-point lists does not make it optimally readable. Therefore the final chapter by Niehof and Lubis serves an important function in tying together some of the disparate strands of evidence and argumentation. This confirms the book’s place as the definitive guide to the social and political history
of Indonesian family planning. What remains, as the editors themselves admit, is the ‘enigma’ of fertility decline, on which the collection has shed light, but which it has been unable fully to resolve. The ingredients – including political commitment to family planning, religious and social endorsement, education, mortality decline, shifting gender relations and economic rationales – have been provided, but their combination into a comprehensive explanation of fertility transition in Indonesia is the task of another book.
Book reviews 559
Andrew MacIntyre, The power of institutions; Political architecture
and governance. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2003. xi + 189 pp. ISBN 0.8014.8799.4, price USD 17.95 (paperback); 0.8014.4051.3, USD 52.50 (hardback).
HENK SCHULTE NORDHOLT
Formal political institutions matter. That is the central message of MacIntyre’s comparative study on the impact of the monetary crisis of 1997 on four Southeast Asian countries. The political architecture of these countries is important because it determines the extent to which power is concentrated or dispersed. Formal institutions are even more important in Southeast Asia, where countervailing societal forces are weak or absent, than they are in Western political systems.
MacIntyre combines two theoretical approaches. The first argues that in order to enhance credibility and stability, power needs to be dispersed. But too much dispersion leads to fragmentation and inertia. The second approach favours the concentration of power for the sake of efficiency and emphasizes the role of the state as an agent of change. But too much concentration can lead to abuse of power and a loss of trust. MacIntyre takes both approaches as the extreme ends of the same scale, and argues that regimes at the extreme ends are more vulnerable and those in the middle more stable.
In order to determine the extent to which power is either concentrated or fragmented, the number of ‘veto players’ – or countervailing institutions – is counted. Authoritarian regimes like Indonesia and Malaysia had very few veto players, whereas the fragmented system in Thailand had many, in fact too many. MacIntyre locates the authoritarian regimes of Indonesia and Malaysia towards one extreme end, and the fragmented system of Thailand towards the other end of his analytical scale, while the Philippines is placed near the middle.
It comes as no surprise that this model predicts that Thailand would be seriously hit by the monetary crisis because its political architecture was paralysed by inertia. At the other end of the scale, Indonesia – and to a lesser extent Malaysia too – suffered because their leaders behaved in very inconsistent
ways. In the Philippines the authorities acted in a more balanced and consistent way, and the country consequently suffered less from the crisis.
The model predicts that systems located at the extreme ends are more likely to experience profound changes in times of crisis, whereas more balanced
systems are less prone to sudden changes. And indeed, the political
architecture of both Thailand and Indonesia underwent fundamental changes whereas the institutional order of Philippines remained relatively stable. Another reason why the Philippines was less seriously hit by the criBook
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sis, one which is not mentioned by MacIntyre, is that the monetary bubble there was much smaller than in the other countries.
MacIntyre uses a simplified and abstract comparative framework that at first sight looks promising, but in fact has serious analytical limitations. The exclusive focus on formal institutional architecture is deliberately and artificially
separated from the reality of complex power relationships and political processes that connect formal institutions with (informal) interest groups and international forces. MacIntyre does admit that institutions themselves do very little, and that political actors and interest groups are important. Institutional arrangements explain conditions that facilitate or constrain political action.
Another problem is that the emphasis on architecture tells us very little about processes, and predicts next to nothing about the nature of institutional change. How to explain in institutional terms the different trajectories taken by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand? What was it that allowed the highly centralized architecture in Indonesia to change into a very fragmented system,
ending up at the other extreme of MacIntyre’s scale, whereas Malaysia remained an authoritarian system? What made a fragmented system like Thailand move towards a more centralized architecture? If we do not include political actors and processes in our explanatory framework, we will not be able to understand the dynamics of change.
MacIntyre aims to demonstrate the relevance of formal institutions, but the book also illustrates the limited analytical value of an approach that is exclusively focused on abstract institutional architecture.
Carol Ireson-Doolittle and Geraldine Moreno-Black, The Lao; Gender, power, and livelihood. Boulder CO: Westview Press, 2004, xiv + 194 pp. ISBN 0.8133.4063.2. Price: USD 20.00 (paperback).
This book focuses on Lao women in Laos in the light of the historical, political
and economic changes from the 1960s to the 1990s. The intended readership
is not restricted to academic scholars: The Lao is written in an accessible style, specialist terminology being explained in a glossary. In fact, it reads like a rewrite of Carol Ireson’s Field, forest, and family (1996), with reworked paragraphs from this book popping up regularly. The transition does not always work well: the 1996 volume concerned Laotian women in general and included data on the Khmu and Hmong. The new book, with its explicit focus on the Lao, makes these inserts look somewhat out of place.
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The authors depict women’s lives in the 1960s as mostly focused on subsistence economic activities in villages, although some women gained more independence by trading and engaging in production for markets. The socialist revolution interrupted the operation of trading networks and confined most women even more completely to their villages. Yet the armed struggle before and the agricultural collectivization after 1975 also created new opportunities for a few women. Ireson and Moreno especially point out the advantages of collectives, usually regarded as outright failures in Laos, for single mothers. Yet the policy of integrating women into the building of socialism entailed burdens too, and it was sometimes said that women had been ‘liberated to work harder’ (p. 175). The reintroduction of the market economy in the late 1980s, along with international development efforts, changed women’s lives again. In the best cases, their workloads were reduced and they acquired new ways to control their own lives. The authors illustrate the current situation with portraits of three private weaving companies,
supplying international markets, and of a women-focused development project in the Luang Prabang area.
Notwithstanding the wealth of data collected by the authors, both from survey reports and from their own fieldwork, the book remains unsatisfying in several respects. In accordance with its focus on development, it depicts Lao women mostly in terms of deficits in regard to political power and economic
control. This implies a universal scale for power and participation, equality and oppression. Cultural specificity is of secondary importance here, and is often reduced to generalized statements or anecdotes. Consequently, a number of points remain unexamined. The authors convincingly argue that men and women in Lao ideology are considered basically equal. But at the same time they stress that women are disadvantaged in regard to political leadership, and this contradiction is not further analysed.
Gender relations and rituals are briefly addressed, but remain sketchy. The terms in which the Lao formulate gender differences, and the place they assign such differences in their society, are not fully examined. Women are mostly depicted less in their relations to male relatives or power-holders than in relation to national and global economics. While petty trading and shopkeeping
are dealt with, women’s role in long-distance trade, evident especially
in the north of the country, is all but disregarded. Likewise, women’s control of household budgets, not a negligible factor in family-oriented rural economies, is repeatedly mentioned but not described in detail or fully integrated
into the analysis.
This book provides a general portrait of Lao women and their changing opportunities in national economy and politics. Its straightforward style makes it useful for teaching on women and development in Asia, although it falls short of addressing gender as a culturally specific difference. Scholars interested
in the issue are also referred to Ireson’s more detailed 1996 volume.
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David L. Gosling (with a foreword by Ninian Smart), Religion and ecology in India and Southeast Asia. London: Routledge, 2001, 210 pp. ISBN 0415240301, price GBP 57.50 (hardback); 0.415.24031.X, GBP 18.99 (paperback).
BRYAN S. TURNER
In 1292 CE King Ramkhamhaeng declared that ‘this land of Sukhothai is thriving; in the water there is fish, in the fields there is rice’. This royal pronouncement
demonstrated the necessary relationship between a political order on the one hand, and water, rice and prosperity on the other in the kingdoms of Southeast Asia. David Gosling’s important study of the connections
between religious doctrines, environmental policies and ecology charts the collapse from the late twentieth century of this happy state of affairs in societies as described by King Ramkhamhaeng.
Religion and ecology is a rambling, repetitious and disconnected account of the differences between the West and Asia (essentially India and Thailand). The West defines the environmental crisis in terms of global warming brought about by the destructive mismanagement of the environment in the Third World, and by overpopulation. Asian environmentalists are more concerned
about deforestation, water pollution, and the decline of biodiversity. In the West, science and religion have been for at least a century divorced as a consequence of a process of secularization. In Asia, religion and science, especially in Hinduism and Buddhism, work hand in hand, and there has not been the specialization of science and the creation of rigid disciplinary boundaries. In the West, Christianity encouraged individualism, and the separation
of the sacred and profane. In Asia, Hinduism embraced a theological conception of the unity of all reality, and Buddhism has nurtured environmental
values because it has a theological notion of care and responsibility towards all living things, and because it has responded pragmatically to the changing needs of society. The West wants to see population control and better
governance. Asian environmentalists stress the importance of reforestation
to provide fuel, fodder and agroforestry, and appropriate environmental education for the young.
While there are important differences in culture between the West and Asia, environmental improvement requires international cooperation. The main core of Gosling’s argument is that ‘development, correctly understood, is basic to solving the problems of both poverty and environmental destruction;
the two cannot be separated’ (p. 120). The West plays a major part in causing environmental depletion, and must contribute through development to conservation. Gosling examines three contending philosophies of environmentalism,
namely Gandhism, Marxism, and liberalism. Gandhi looked
Book reviews 563
towards village republics and the control of appetite and desire as strategies for environmental protection. Marxists argue that environmental destruction
is an inevitable outcome of the capitalist quest for profit, and liberals claim that free trade, investment and economic specialization can solve the problem of feeding the earth’s population. Gosling perceives weakness in all three arguments and supports a version of Amartya Sen’s strategy combining democratic transformation, education, improvement in the status of women, and investment in local initiatives.
Does religion make any causal difference? This question remains largely implicit, but Gosling believes that the legacies of Buddhist kings like Ashoka Maurya (who reformed the Buddhist sangha) and the philosophy of Gandhi created an environmentalist ethic in Asia that is more promising than the rationalist secularism of the West. The main empirical support for this thesis is drawn from India where, Gosling argues, the vitality of NGOs working on local environmental issues confirms the positive legacy of Indian religions and offers hope for future reconstruction. The counterargument might be that the pragmatism of these different religious responses suggests that they may be too adept at adjusting to industrial modernization rather than providing
a robust critical response to ‘capitalist development’. In short, the causal relationship between religion and ecological policies remains obscure.
William C. Clarke, Remembering Papua New Guinea; An eccentric ethnography. Canberra: Pandanus Books, 2003, viii + 178 pp. ISBN 1.7407.6032.8. Price: AUD 49.50 (paperback).
In the mid-1960s, at the beginning of an illustrious career as one of the region’s leading cultural geographers, William C. Clarke spent a year studying
ecological adaptations among the Maring of Papua New Guinea. The Maring, then only recently contacted, are a collection of closely related groups occupying the steep, forested region where the Central Highlands begin their northward fall into the Sepik River basin. As a complement to Clarke’s professional writings on the Maring, this book is an illustrated memory of Clarke’s sojourn and of what it all means in the long afterthought: the people, the environment, and the social institutions and technologies that bind them all together. It is also a retrospective of Maring lives as inflected by the knowledge of what has happened to them and the ‘underdeveloped world’ – a concept coined by US President Harry S. Truman in 1949 (p. 102) – during the forty years since Clarke’s visit. Finally, the book expresses the
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author’s often poetic and nostalgic feelings about Maring traditional life and its distance from the values and practices of overconsumption that are driving
the global society to perdition.
The format consists of full-page glossy photographs facing crisp, bite-sized essays dealing with topics shown or suggested by the companion images. The coffee-table appearance is slightly deceptive. Although accessible to the lay reader, professional readers will discover things outside their ken and will learn from, and perhaps identify with, some of the author’s humanistic
reflections. Clarke’s expertise in subsistence and technology lends itself to this treatment; in succinct, readable passages we learn things we didn’t know about horticulture, hunting, and war, axe and netbag manufacture, pig husbandry, house design, the ritual uses of cordyline shrubs, the surprisingly tonic effects of stinging nettles, and other such cultural usages. Other essays deal with such things as madness, child-rearing, marriage, magic practices, death, and the advent of money – not in any structured way, but as affectionate
responses to the memories and associations evoked by the images. When Clarke feels that poetry is called for, he calls for it; if the image is that of a long-dead person from before, he does not hesitate to address her directly. So as not to interrupt or overburden the short essays, a lengthy section on notes and sources is provided at the back of the book.
These, then, are the moral meditations of an ethnographer near the end of his career; the kinds of thoughts many of us at a similar stage have, but are discouraged by publishing conventions from admitting out loud. This is to be regretted – and Clarke’s ‘eccentric ethnography’ applauded – for what is lost are the precious alloys of a lifetime’s observational experience and deep personal reflection upon matters of very broad human import. And if some younger critics wince at Clarke’s occasional sentimentalism and at ‘the Gaze’ implied by his account, it is because they were not there. For those who were, William C. Clarke’s memories will ring true, and his sensibilities will not seem eccentric at all.
Competition, collateral damage,
or ‘just accidents’?
Three explanations of ethnic violence
Jacques Bertrand, Nationalism and ethnic conflict in Indonesia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, xxiii + 278 pp. ISBN 0.521.52441.5. Price: GBP 17.99 (paperback).
Cristina Eghenter, Bernard Sellato, and G. Simon Devung (eds), Social science research and conservation management in the interior
of Borneo; Unravelling past and present interactions of people and forests. Jakarta: Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), 2003, xviii + 297 pp. ISBN 979.336102.6. Price: USD 58.00 (paperback).
Nancy Lee Peluso and Michael Watts (eds), Violent environments. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2001, ix + 453 pp. ISBN 0.8014.3871.0. Price: USD 29.95 (paperback).
Günther Schlee (ed.), Imagined differences; Hatred and the construction
of identity. Münster: Lit, 2002, ix + 280 pp. [Market, Culture and Society 5.] ISBN 3.8258.3956.7.
Between 1997 and 2002, at least 10,000 people have been killed and over a million displaced as a result of seven violent conflicts in Indonesia.1 These violent clashes have been predominantly characterized as ethnic violence
with complex and interrelated causes (Davidson and Kammen 2002; Davidson 2003; Bertrand 2004). Resource dynamics, regime change, political struggles, religion, and outside influences all seem to have played a role in these conflicts, although it remains difficult to assess the relative weight of
1 Clashes occurred in Aceh, Jakarta (anti-Chinese riots), West and Central Kalimantan (between Dayak and Madurese), Sulawesi (Christians and Muslims in Poso), Maluku (again between Christians and Muslims), East Timor, and Irian Jaya.
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such factors. In Indonesia, violence on such a scale had not been seen since the previous regime change when Soeharto came to power in 1965. As, except for East Timor, Aceh, and Irian Jaya, no large-scale violence had taken place in Indonesia for over 30 years, for many inside and outside Indonesia the outbursts of violence came as a total surprise.
How do we explain the outbreaks of violence in different regions of Indonesia at the end of Soeharto’s regime? Why did they happen at this particular
moment in time, and why at so many places almost simultaneously? And why did they occur in certain regions with ethnic and religious diversity,
and not in others? During the past five years, political scientists, historians,
anthropologists and geographers have all dealt with these questions from their own disciplinary background. So far no one has been able to come up with a full and coherent explanation, and new studies are still appearing. The complexities of the conflicts probably require a more integrated and multidisciplinary explanation. But is such a ‘total’ explanation possible, or are the various different explanations mutually exclusive?
This review takes a closer look at three sets of explanations by looking into three recently published books: Imagined difference; Hatred and the construction
of identity, a collection of papers edited by Günther Schlee; Nationalism and ethnic conflict in Indonesia by Jacques Bertrand; and Violent environments edited by Nancy Lee Peluso and Michael Watts. These books offer three different approaches to the study of violence in Indonesia: a cultural-symbolic
approach, a socio-political institutional approach, and a resource-based political economy approach. In an attempt to test the analytical merits of each approach, I will apply them to one of the most puzzling violent conflicts
in Indonesia, the violence between Dayak and Madurese in West and Central Kalimantan. (Schlee’s book, I should add, does not explicitly refer to Kalimantan, but contains two pieces on Indonesia and deals with similar conflicts in other parts of the world.)
After a brief discussion of the conflict in West and Central Kalimantan and of the explanations given for it in existing literature, I will outline the theoretical approaches and interpretations of the books under review. Some details will also be given on the role of academics in the process of identity formation and institutionalization. In this connection a fourth and at first sight unrelated title, Social science research and conservation management in the interior of Borneo, has also been included in the review. This book is a collection
of papers written mainly by Dayak authors, and edited by Cristina Eghenter, Bernard Sellato, and Simon Devung. What do it and our other three studies tell us about the causes, structure, and persistence of violence during the turbulent period from the end of the New Order to the restoration of democracy in Indonesia?
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Ethnic violence in Kalimantan
The ethnic cleansing and mass killings of Madurese migrants in 1999 in Sambas, West Kalimantan, and in 2001 in Sampit, Central Kalimantan, shocked the world.2 All of a sudden, it seemed, the original Dayak population
was revolting against newcomers and reclaiming its ancestral lands. The display of severed Madurese heads in Western media, and the stories about Dayaks eating the hearts and livers of their enemies, stunned the international
community.3 In the early days of the 1999 ‘Sambas Incident’, journalists and observers seeking quick explanations for this excessive violence turned to simplistic, exotic and orientalist observations about the Dayak, ‘the once most feared tribe of headhunters in Southeast Asia’, returning to old practices
of headhunting and cannibalism.4 Others mentioned the economic crisis as the immediate cause of the outburst.
Later, more nuanced explanations appeared. While some continued to talk in terms of raids by former ‘headhunters’ and ‘savages’ (CNN 1999b; Jakarta Post 2001; New York Times 1999), others looked to cultural controversies
(ICG 2001) and political errors of the past (Colombijn 2002). Fingers were pointed at the forced migration of hundreds of thousands from densely populated Java, Bali and Madura to Kalimantan, and the lack of integration of the migrants into local society (Ave 2003; Dove 1997; HRW 1997); at the political heritage of repression under Soeharto’s New Order (Davidson and Kammen 2002), and the political instability after his fall (Davidson 2003; Putra 1999); at a failing legal system and the likelihood of malicious political manipulation by Indonesian authorities (HRW 1997; ICG 2001; Schiller and Garang 2002); and at deeply rooted cultural and religious tensions (Schiller and Garang 2002). Van Klinken (2003:70) analysed the conflict in the context of decentralization, and blamed local ethnic elites ‘who deflect democratization
by stimulating ethnic conflict’. The arguments expressed in these studies remain rather fragmentary, and do not provide a comprehensive explanation. But taken together and in retrospect, they provide a pretty coherent explanation
of the violence in West and Central Kalimantan, at least from the Dayak point of view. By comparison the Madurese perspective, so far, has been poorly represented in media reports and in research.
2 In the 1996-1997 and 2001 clashes between Dayaks and Madurese in some districts (including
Sambas and Sampit) of West and Central Kalimantan, an estimated 3,000 Madurese were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. To date, many of the refugees have not been able to return.
3 See, for instance: Chandrasekaran 2001; CNN 1999a, 1999b; New York Times 1999.
4 See Linder 1999; CNN 1999b.
568 Book reviews
Three sets of explanations
According to Günther Schlee’s introduction to Imagined differences; Hatred and the construction of identity, violence has too often been morally condemned, treated almost as a taboo in the social sciences, and studied only indirectly. This has prevented social scientists from developing a clear picture and from studying ‘naked violence’. ‘If we want to find out how, why and under which circumstances normal people, who are husbands, fathers, sons and lovers in other contexts, commit genocide, massacres and gang rapes, there is little we can learn from hearing for the umpteenth time that all these things are very bad. If anything, this wrapping in moralism reduces our direct analytical grip on the matter.’ (p. 5.)
Conflict starts with the creation of difference, differences between people, ethnic groups, and religions, which are constantly created and in need of recreation.
These differences, according to Schlee, are largely imagined. In some cases, for instance, units that were to become the ‘ethnic group’ of colonial and postcolonial times could not be described as such at all in pre-colonial days, when in certain areas there were simply ‘no ethnic groups’ (p. 7). Crucial in ‘imagining difference’ is the notion of identity and differences in identity, as it is shaped and ‘remoulded’ by people who ‘want to make sense of their situation […] simply to fit the needs of their economic or social advancement’ (p. 8).
Identity is also shaped by political movements that define different aggregates
of people as the target of their policies, or who instrumentalize identifications
for the organization of support. ‘There is no end to the kaleidoscopic recombinations of features in this game of identity and difference’ (p. 8). In this process of imagining difference, history is important: the linguistic, cultural and historical similarities with, and differences from, other groups are carefully traced. There are no roots of violence, but roots are grown in the process of identity construction. ‘They grow their roots; roots grow from the present into the past. […] In a similar fashion it is the present societies which grow their roots by describing their links to real and faked, often quite plausible but selected past events […].’ (p. 9.)
To further illustrate the process of identity construction, Schlee uses the metaphor of a supermarket. ‘History fills the shelves with its products: culture in all its forms and shapes, and ideology selects from these shelves whatever it needs’. The word ‘imagined’ in the title of the book reflects the arbitrariness of this process; ‘the multiple and mutually contradictory forms the definitions of ethnic groups and nations can take’ (p. 9) differ in each situation. Further on in the volume, Philip Quarles van Ufford gives another example of this arbitrariness, explaining in ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ the imagined violence around the replacement and death of a church leader in Java as ‘just an accident’. Here the outbursts of violence are no longer seen
Book reviews 569
as the products of conscious and deliberate moves or schemes. Rather, what is suggested is a series of simultaneous collapses of established rules and regulations which rendered order illusory and violence uncontrollable (p. 96). Mark Hobart, who in the same volume analyses the construction and imagination of difference and peace ideology through a Balinese play, struggles
with this arbitrariness of imagination. ‘The difficulty’, he concludes, ‘is deciding in any instance how to determine when, and for whom, ethnicity, religion, class, economic or other motives is the “real” cause and when the idiom for something else’ (p. 119).
When it comes to violence, the impunity of this imagination becomes painfully
visible. Or, in the words of Schlee: ‘the products of this imagination […] are often not lofty dreams that fade after some time, but collective identities with their own historical dynamics and with expressions in real life, many of them violent. They may be dreamt up but they are difficult to dream away again’ (p. 9). It is this harsh reality of violence we need to address and consciously
value as a reminder. If we look at the example of the violence in West and Central Kalimantan, we cannot neglect the many ‘imagined differences’ between the fighting parties. Dayak identities indeed have been shaped and sharpened along ethnic, territorial and religious lines as opposed to newcomers
such as Madurese. They have been constructed historically as well. ‘Dayak’ is a Dutch construction, designating a collection of ethnic groups scattered all over the interior of Borneo. It indicates distinctiveness from the Malay people who live predominately in the coastal zones. In a similar way, Madurese identity in contemporary Kalimantan has been constructed in contradistinction,
and often antagonism, to local culture and traditions.
The arbitrariness of this process of the construction of difference lies in the fact that ‘real’ divisions between Malay and Dayak, Christians and Muslims, indigenous people and newcomers, are difficult to identify. Dayak people can be Muslim, many more Javanese than Madurese have moved to Kalimantan, and many Madurese have already lived in Kalimantan for over three generations. Nevertheless, the proliferation of opposing identities and the imagination of differences created a nightmare, which was more than an accident. An analysis of the processes of creating differences is useful in order to understand why the Madurese were targeted. Highly visible, marginalized in a similar way to the Dayak themselves, and religiously and culturally distinct,
they were an easy target. However interesting and useful the analyses of Schlee, Quarles van Ufford and Hobart are in describing the construction of difference at the local level, they do not tell us why the violence happened, and why at this particular time.
Jacques Bertrand argues in his book Nationalism and ethnic conflict in Indonesia that ethnic violence in Indonesia in the late 1990s can largely be explained by analysing Indonesia’s national model and its institutionalizaBook
570 Book reviews
tion during the New Order of President Soeharto. The late 1990s constituted a ‘critical juncture’ in Indonesia’s history, a juncture at which institutional transformation opened up possibilities for renegotiating elements of the national model: the role of Islam in political institutions, the relative importance
of central and regional governments, the access and representation of ethnic groups in state institutions, and indeed the definition and meaning of the Indonesian nation itself. According to Bertrand, the causes of ethnic violence can be traced to the institutional context that defines and shapes ethnic
identities, the official recognition of groups, their representation in state institutions, and their institutionalized access to resources. ‘Ethnic identities become politicized and the potential for mobilization is heightened when groups feel threatened by the structure and principles embedded in political institutions. Most obviously, when groups are excluded from representation
or the ability to pursue their interests within given institutions, they may become increasingly alienated from the state.’ (p. 4.) The violence thus marked a period of renegotiation of national models and state institutions.
For this period of reshuffling existing power relations and state institutions,
Bertrand uses the term ‘critical juncture’. Indonesia’s critical junctures were the periods in which Indonesia swayed between authoritarianism and democratization. In fact, nation-state development is cyclical. Periods of stable political institutions and ethnic relations are followed by periods of institutional reform accompanied by more ethnic violence. At the end of the juncture, a national model is reconfirmed or a new one adopted, and a different
structure of political institutions reflects newly achieved gains and losses for ethnic groups in terms of inclusion and exclusion. The eruption of ethnic violence is an outgrowth of path-dependent choices regarding the national model and the institutions defining ethnic relations.
This interesting and comprehensive book offers an institutionalist analysis
which explains two aspects of the eruption of violence: first, it shows how institutions have shaped ethnic identities in Indonesia’s history, and second, it shows how the development of these identities is constrained by concepts of nation and by the national models that are implicit or explicit in the institutions. According to Bertrand, ethnic conflict is shaped and mediated
by the institutional context in which it occurs. He addresses three interrelated
institutional contexts which caused or triggered the violence: those of national or Jakarta-based elites, those of local elites, and those of groups nurturing local grievances against state policies. Access to resources, social exclusion, and religious sentiments all played a role. Among the factors that recur in all cases of violence in Indonesia are the use of terror by the state’s armed forces, and the strong ideas of elites regarding the need for national unity. Secessionist movements are seen as the worst threat to the unity of the nation and the unity of the state.
Book reviews 571
Bertrand’s study of the conflict in West and Central Kalimantan explains how this national model excluded some groups from an otherwise largely inclusive concept of the Indonesian nation. According to him, the conflict resulted from the marginalization of the Dayak within the Indonesian nation because of their status as a ‘backward’ group. ‘Violent conflict is most likely to occur when groups feel threatened and have few peaceful instruments available to guarantee their survival’ (p. 19). This would also apply to the Madurese position in Kalimantan. Violence can also occur when groups are included and their recognition acknowledged, but in terms that maintain them perpetually in the status of ‘backward’ group or ‘second-class citizens’. Again this applies both to the Dayak and the Madurese position.
Bertrand’s book is convincing and readable because it highlights many different causes and mechanisms of ethnic violence in Indonesia. Ultimately, he withdraws his initial argument that all can be explained by institutional change. The problem remains that his model fails to explain why violence did not occur in all areas in Indonesia where marginalized and neglected populations
live, or why some national institutional changes form critical junctures triggering violence while others do not. Moreover, he fails to explain why other forms of violence continued to occur during the New Order, outside his ‘critical junctures’ (Hüsken and De Jonge 2002).
A third useful interpretation of the Kalimantan violence can be found in an excellent chapter by Peluso and Harwell in the book Violent environments, edited by Peluso and Watts. This chapter offers the reader a lengthy and complete
picture of the context in which the conflicts in West Kalimantan should be placed. First the authors evaluate the role of the national government in the erasure of ethnic boundaries and the struggle for control over and exploitation of territory. New Order discourses of development, citizenship and identity were directly linked to control of, and changes in, access to both natural and state resources. According to Peluso and Harwell, the failure of these new forms of national territorialization explain the underlying conditions
for violence, while the cultural politics of identity construction explain the specific direction of violence against Madurese.
If we take this political economy approach to explaining the conflict, one puzzle remains: Dayak culture and livelihoods seem more threatened by local Malays, by large companies, and by the influx of Javanese than by Madurese immigration. At the end of the chapter, the analysis therefore moves from territory and resource-related explanations to the specific nature of the acts of violence itself as well as their narration. Peluso and Harwell show that ways of ‘narration within stories about collective identities polarized
these divisions and helped bind exclusive [ethnic] communities more tightly through the perceived threat of imagined violent “others”. In clashing,
these images and identities helped ignite and maintain the […] violence
572 Book reviews
at such a high level. […] Violent identities – both Dayak and Madurese – have been produced and reproduced over time, constituted and strengthened by participation in violence’ (p. 109). And ultimately, ‘although most Dayaks likely did not view the Madurese as a primary driving force in the changing
political ecological landscape of West Kalimantan, they were viewed as being among the beneficiaries of these changes’ (p. 114). Javanese, Chinese, and some Malays also benefited from the changes that took place during the New Order. ‘Yet these latter groups were not seen as perpetrators of the disrespectful and dishonourable treatment of Dayak culture and identity associated with the Indonesian government (as an abstract entity) and the Madurese (as a local community). […] Ultimately tough, the most important explanation for “why the Madurese?” and not Chinese, Javanese, or Malays, is that Madurese were the only ones who committed purposeful violent acts against Dayaks’ (pp. 114-5).
Finally, the weakening of the New Order’s legitimacy enabled people to speak out about their frustrations and reconstruct a part of their community
through violence. The loss of local authority and the failure of national authority ‘were thus reshaped by local actors into a form unintended by the national policies that led to them: the collective self-authorization of one community
to inflict violence against another’ (p. 115). Peluso and Harwell have shown convincingly that there is more at stake here than cultural differences, ethnicity or religion. They probably would agree with Gilley (2004:1156), who recently suggested doing away with the concept of ethnic violence altogether:
‘We better not speak too hastily of ethnic or religious conflicts and might choose to abandon the concept of ethnic violence altogether’, since such qualifications might blur our view of the underlying, long lasting, complex tensions over resources, territory, power, and the state in Indonesia.
Explaining violence in Indonesia
The foregoing discussion once more makes clear that we cannot relate ethnic violence to single causes and processes. Neither can we understand conflicts by studying outside, national, and political dimensions, or solely by looking at the local dimensions of the conflict. An analysis of the institutional and political-economic dimensions such as provided by Bertrand and by Peluso and Watts, as well as inquiries into the local culture and conditions of the parties
in the conflict, is absolutely essential in order to understand the practices of creating difference as described by Schlee. The players here are not limited to local people, strongmen, and policy makers, but can also include journalists
and social scientists. The book Social science research and conservation management in the interior of Borneo, edited by Eghenter, Sellato, and Devung,
Book reviews 573
forms an interesting example of how social science itself can play a role in processes of making difference and constructing identity.
In this book Dayak livelihoods, property rights, oral history, and local ways of resource management are described and formalized in an attempt to protect Dayak culture and interests. The book is the result of a long period of cooperation between local, Dayak, and international conservationists and social scientists concerned with the study and protection of both natural environments and Dayak culture. The preface is illustrative. ‘Translation of the rich cultural heritage of forest-dwelling communities into forms accessible
to outsiders’, it proclaims, ‘would be a scientific, spiritual and aesthetic gift to the rest of the world. That gift would in turn give voice to the communities
themselves, and broaden the constituency for protecting those communities
from thoughtless disruption of the social and ecological systems that had generated such cultural riches’ (p. xii). The book belongs to, and clearly illustrates, the revival of Dayak identity as described by Peluso and Harwell. It is in itself a sign of, and a tool in, the awakening of Dayak ethnic identity. There is a need for a similar book on Madurese culture, knowledge and livelihoods in Kalimantan. So far, Madurese voices, dreams, and points of view have hardly been heard.
Those who seek to understand the causes of violence in Indonesia or elsewhere
may fail to find a new theory of violence, social identity and hostility in the volume edited by Schlee, as the explanatory value of cultural-symbolic
approaches is not very strong. They will, however, find powerful and thought-provoking descriptions of the construction of difference and hatred which may offer insights into the structure, perpetuation, and constitution of violence in different parts of the world. ‘What more can one expect’, asks Schlee, ‘in a field of knowledge where all attempts at a unified and all-embracing
theory so far have been accused of one-sidedness and simplification and ultimately abandoned?’ (p. 28). The volume convincingly shows that this one-sidedness can never be fully avoided. The volume edited by Eghenter, Sellato, and Devung is an illustration of this, and demonstrates the role which science itself can play in the construction of identities and difference.
What is needed now is a book which takes all three approaches into account. Maybe it is impossible to write such a book, given the virtual incompatibility of the cultural-symbolic approach with institutional and material views. And perhaps we may never fully grasp the impact and force of naked violence unless we have experienced it ourselves. Most interesting is the emotional aspect of violence as brought in by Schlee. His book reminds us that conflicts cannot fully be explained by their causes; one also needs to take into account their courses. Violence produces emotions and may mimic earlier violence caused by emotions: ‘The conflict itself is the ground on which hatred is cultivated’ (p. 28). Bertrand, and Peluso and Harwell too,
574 Book reviews
tell us how under conditions of marginalization, institutional change, and declining state legitimation, hatreds which are initially directed toward the state, or toward a range of foreign ethnic groups, can be redirected or concentrated
against one particular ethnicity. From the Madurese point of view in Kalimantan, this concentration is probably best understood as a piece of very bad luck: the collateral damage of a regime change combined with a fierce battle to gain access to resources.
2003 ‘West Kalimantan; Een analyse van etnische conflicten’, in: Coen Holtzappel
(ed.), Eenheid in verscheidenheid: droom of werkelijkheid? Een inleiding tot de culturele en etnische verscheidenheid van Indonesië; pp. 299-315. Amsterdam:
2001 ‘Attacks terrorize migrants on Borneo’, Washington Post Foreign Service, 24 February.
1999a ‘Violence sweeps northern Indonesia: dozens killed’, http://www.cnn.com/world/asiapcf/9903/19/indonesia.01 [19 March].
1999b ‘Borneo riots marked by grisly ritual killings: severed heads displayed on streets’, http://www.cnn.com/world/asiapcf/9903/21/indonesia.borneo [21 March].
Colombijn, Freek and J. Thomas Lindblad
2002 Roots of violence in Indonesia; Contemporary violence in historical perspective. Leiden: KITLV Press. [Verhandelingen 194].
Davidson, Jamie S.
2003 ‘The politics of violence on an Indonesian periphery’, South East Asia Research 11:59-89.
Davidson, Jamie S. and Douglas Kammen
2002 ‘Indonesia’s unknown war and the lineages of violence in West Kalimantan’,
1997 ‘Dayak anger ignored’, Inside Indonesia 51:13-4.
2004 ‘Against the concept of ethnic conflict’, Third World Quarterly 25:1155-66.
1997 Indonesia: communal violence in West Kalimantan. New York: Human Rights Watch. [HRW Report 10/C.]
Hüsken, Frans and Huub de Jonge (eds)
2002 Violence and vengeance; Discontent and conflict in New Order Indonesia. Saarbrücken:
Verlag für Entwicklungspolitik. [Nijmegen Studies in Development
and Culture Change 37.]
Book reviews 575
2001 ‘Communal violence in Indonesia: lessons from Kalimantan’, Asia Report 19(27 June):1-33. [International Crisis Group.]
2001 ‘Online special; human tragedy in Sampit’, The Jakarta Post, 14 November.
Jonge, Huub de
1995 ‘Stereotypes of the Madurese’, in: Kees van Dijk, Huub de Jonge and Elly Touwen-Bouwsma (eds), Across Madura Strait; The dynamics of an insular society, pp. 7-25. Leiden: KITLV Press. [Proceedings 2.]
Klinken, Gerry van
2002 ‘Indonesia’s new ethnic elites’, in: Henk Schulte Nordholt and Irwan Abdullah (eds), Indonesia; In search of transition, pp. 67-105. Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar.
1999 ‘Ethnic conflict in Kalimantan’. ICE [Inventory of Conflict and Environment]
Case Study 11, gurukul.ucc.american.edu/ted/ice/kaliman.htm [15 September 2003].
New York Times
1999 ‘Indonesian gangs slaughter foes’, 21 March.
Peluso, Nancy Lee and Emily Harwell
2001 ‘Territory, custom, and the cultural politics of ethnic war in West Kalimantan,
Indonesia’, in: Nancy Lee Peluso and Michael Watts (eds), Violent environments, pp. 83-116. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press.
Putra, R. Masri Sareb
1999 ‘The solution to the Sambas riots’, The Jakarta Post, 20 April.
Schiller, Anne, and Bambang Garang
2002 ‘Religion and inter-ethnic violence in Indonesia’, Journal of Contemporary Asia 32:244-54.
KONINKLIJK INSTITUUT VOOR TAAL-, LAND- EN VOLKENKUNDE
Rob Nieuwenhuys (1908-1999), de nestor van de Indische literatuur, was een geboren verteller. Of het nu ging om zijn essays, zijn fotoboeken, zijn Oost-Indische Spiegel of zijn roman Vergeelde portretten, hij schreef zoals hij sprak. Onderhoudend, boeiend, en heel persoonlijk. Het liefst vertelde hij over zijn Indische jeugd. Fragmenten daarvan zijn verspreid gepubliceerd, maar een boek is het nooit geworden. In deze bundel zijn zeven losse verhalen over ‘het Indische kind dat ik was en ben’ nu voor het eerst bijeengebracht. Hij bleef tot het laatst gefascineerd door de koloniale samenleving, die hij het liefst benaderde vanuit de menselijke tragiek die daarmee samenhing. Zo had hij graag een boek willen schrijven dat De moord op Born moest heten. Het zou gaan over raciale spanningen, conflicten, onbegrip en rancune die een uitweg zochten in een gruwelijk misdrijf. Ook dat boek is er niet gekomen. Wel schreef hij een uitvoerige brief aan zijn uitgever, Geert van Oorschot, waarin hij uitlegde wat er gebeurd was en waarom dat hem zo boeide. Dit schrijven vormt het slotstuk van Sinjo Robbie, een bundel waarin de lezer direct in contact komt met de markante persoonlijkheid van Rob Nieuwenhuys.
Deze uitgave is verzorgd door Geert Onno Prins en Peter van Zonneveld, die het boek ook van een ‘Nawoord’ hebben voorzien.
Gebonden met stofomslag
2005, 123 pp., ISBN 90 6718 261 3 € 15,00
Ledenprijs € 11,25
HAN TEN BRUMMELHUIS
KING OF THE WATERS
Homan van der Heide and the origin of modern irrigation in Siam
King of the waters describes how a brilliant Dutch engineer ultimately failed to implement his plans for modern irrigation in Siam. Homan van der Heide’s identification with the interests of the rice farmers caused ambivalent reactions from his Siamese environment. Interwoven with the detailed description of the actions of the Dutch engineer, King Chulalongkorn and some of his ministers is the ambiguous performance of the Siamese state towards agriculture in the first decade of the twentieth century. The book shows the weight of many contingencies in state affairs, especially through the problematical interactions between the engineer Homan van der Heide and the minister of Agriculture, chao phraya Thewet — they seemed to form a kind of jolie à deux. King of the waters sketches a dramatic picture of clashing cultures, comparable to many encounters in contemporary development cooperation. The study is based on archival material in the National Archives in Bangkok and documents available in the Netherlands.
Han ten Brummelhuis is an anthropologist at the University of Amsterdam. His work concentrates on Southeast Asia, especially Thailand and Burma.
2005, xvi + 409 pp., ISBN 90 6718 237 0 € 35.00
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The Batak millenarian response to the colonial order.
Hirosue, Masashi. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies09/94
One of the central problems that faced Third World peoples under European
colonial rule was how to reform distorted power relations between the
colonial and indigenous entities. Although indigenous peoples were
generally forced to recognize the superiority of European power, the newly
introduced colonial order often frustrated them. The millenarian
movement(1) is one type of endeavour to overcome this dilemma by
constructing a new socio-cultural order legitimized by a source of power
which prophetic leaders insisted ruled their world.
Scholars have dealt with millenarian movements as key examples of social
protest primarily under colonial regimes.(2) Studies of Southeast Asia have
also paid attention to this type of movement, and many scholars have tried
to explain what factors drew followers to such a movement, to the point of
sometimes driving them into rebellion. The generally accepted explanations
so far have included the propositions that societies were socially or
culturally distorted by the influence of colonialism, that people were on
the verge of a subsistence crisis,(3) or that they had no alternative but
to resort to millenarian solutions to change their situations.(4) They were
drawn to such movements by charismatic leaders or prophets who showed them
a millenarian vision.(5) This millenarian vision was generally a
restoration of the idealized traditional world with the total
transformation of the existing order and the expulsion of the Europeans.(6)
Millenarian leaders were able to articulate their belief through their
supernatural or magical powers.(7) They had contacts with deities or holy
spirits, and their preachings were sanctioned by these supernatural forces.(8)
However, such definitions have not given a full answer to the basic
question of why it was that only certain leaders were able to organize
these movements. There were many people who longed for the restoration of a
traditional order and who claimed to communicate with deities or holy
spirits. Around them there must have been many more who were dissatisfied
with the existing order. In the Batak area of Sumatra, which is the subject
of this paper, there were numerous magicians who were believed to have
superhuman abilities and to make contact with deities or ancestral
spirits.(9) However, only a certain type of religious leader was able to
organize the millenarian movement in that region.
The basic problem with conventional scholarly explanations is that they
have not sufficiently examined the prophets’ new messages and the terms the
prophets used in order to share their millenarian vision with their
followers.(10) Although the existing literature explains that such
religious leaders displayed magical or supernatural powers, it has not made
clear what these powers represented. These leaders were unlikely to be able
to draw people to millenarian movements through their magical or divine
abilities based on their indigenous magico-religious belief system, because
people often no longer relied on their traditional systems of religious
belief, which had been distorted by colonialism. In order to change the
existing order totally, millenarian leaders needed to show the people new
visions of their world in transformation.
In order better to understand millenarian leadership, it is interesting to
look at the religious movements which arose in the Batak area of north
Sumatra beginning in 1890. The movements, called “Parmalim” and
“Parhudamdam”, arose as responses to colonization and Christianization. The
leaders of these movements preached a kind of “millenarian” vision, that
promised the restoration of the kingdom of Si Singa Mangaraja, a Batak holy
king who had been driven away from his own territory by the Dutch colonial
army in 1883. These religious movements often developed into protests
against the colonial order.
The point I would like to draw from the Batak case is that the only leaders
who were able to organize movements were those whose doctrine appeared to
give access to a source of power, a central principle which appeared to
animate their changing world. The millenarian leaders saw their main task
as reconstructing the socio-cultural system distorted by unbalanced power
relations between the indigenous and the external. They had to show what
the real source of power was and also how they were able to gain access to
it. In order to explain more clearly the role of prophets in millenarian
movements, I will classify these leaders into two types,(11) depending on
The first type of leader is one with strong roots in his traditional
cultural system, who found a means to harness the new source of power in
traditional terms. For example, Guru Somalaing founded the Parmalim
movement after receiving a revelation from “Jahoba” [Jehova] through a
dream, the typical Batak way to receive divine inspiration.(12) His
doctrine consisted basically of traditional Batak ethics. The important
point is that he found a Toba-Batak way to gain access to the new power,
The second type of leader is one who at first involved himself in a new
environment such as missionary education, the Christian Church, or a job in
the modern sector of the economy, such as colonial public service or a
plantation company. Some leaders of this type later returned to traditional
religion, having found a way to understand it in new terms. One major
leader of the Parmalim movement in its later stages, and all the
Parhudamdam leaders, were of this type. After they found that the Christian
Church could not satisfactorily initiate Toba-Batak into the essential
principle of the world (the mysterious power which animated Dutch guns,
steamships and telegraphs), they started to reconsider traditional belief.
Then they established new religions by revitalizing the indigenous High God
as their source of power through Christian or Islamic terms.(13) Leaders of
this type revived beliefs in their traditional High God or deities by
giving modern meaning to them.
The difference between these two types of leader lies in the way they
articulated their doctrines to their followers. To attract people who still
had their roots in the indigenous cultural system, the first type of leader
had to articulate his millenarian vision in traditional terms, while at the
same time showing how he could gain access to the power of the colonial
dominating force. To appeal to people whose traditional religious belief
system was already somewhat distorted, leaders of the second type had to
use new terms to explain their ideas. Once the foreign powers had proved to
be unreliable allies, a revitalized traditional source of power could often
provide a unitary symbol for their anti-colonialism.
This paper deals primarily with the first of these two patterns, the
indigenous leader who gained access to the new external power, using the
earlier stage of the Parmalim movement to provide a case study.
The materials which I have used to analyse the Parmalim movement are
mainly the testimonies of leaders, in addition to colonial and missionary
reports. In order to understand the role of prophets, their own testimonies
are especially helpful. As these personal statements were made only after
arrest by the colonial authorities,(14) we must recognize the danger that
they may have modified their anti-colonial sentiments. However, because the
Parmalim leaders believed that they were obliged under God to preach their
belief to the world, which also encompassed the Dutch, their basic ideas
appear to be consistently upheld in their testimonies. Dutch colonial
officials and German missionaries also referred frequently to the movement,
although each was concerned with a specific aspect of it. However, together
they give us relatively abundant information about the movement.
Besides these three types of source material, description by explorers or
travellers and vernacular materials are also helpful. Explorers and
travellers were relatively detached and objective. In particular, E.
Modigliani, who travelled through the upper Asahan area from December 1890
till January 1891 guided by Guru Somalaing, gives us interesting
information on this leader.(15) Most of the vernacular materials about the
movement were written by Batak colonial officials and Christians.(16)
Although their perspective is often narrow, their statements help us to
understand the movement at the local level. I was able to find very little
material produced by followers of the Parmalim movement; however, I believe
the data from all the above source are sufficient to sustain the argument I
The Rise of the Parmalim Movement
Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the northern part of the
Batak area had successfully maintained its social order. The Batak people,
whose population was about three quarters of a million at the beginning of
the twentieth century,(17) are an Austronesian-speaking population living
in the northern part of Sumatra. Some of the Batak inhabited mountainous
highland, living by slash and burn cultivation, while others lived in river
valleys and the low land around Lake Toba, cultivating sawah (wet-rice
fields). The Batak are usually divided into six sub-groups: Toba, Karo,
Dairi, Simalungun, Angkola and Mandailing.(18) The Toba-Batak, the largest
sub-group, and the focus of this paper, were settled on the island of
Samosir and from the south-western and south-eastern sides of Lake Toba
clown to the west coast. Difficult access to the inner Batak area from the
coasts due to steep hillsides, the fact that the region produced little of
commercial value except a few forest products, and the reputation of the
Batak for cannibalism helped the Batak world remain relatively undisturbed
by external powers, at least from the seventeenth till the beginning of the
Traditional Toba-Batak society was organized around its own religion with
some ancient Hindu influences and a bit of Islam. The Batak originally
shared with other Indonesian peoples basic ideas about the nature of life
and death (so called “animism”), and a cosmological dualism of the
upperworld and underworld.(20) They believed that all beings in the world
had tondi (souls). Batak perceived tondi as independent entities and
believed that the tondi of a man determined his life. In order to maintain
and enlarge his tondi-power (sahala), a Batak would seek the advice of a
datu (magician). Datu had much knowledge of the Batak sacred and medical
texts, and were also able to make contact with ancestral spirits and
deities.(21) Datu were regarded highly as persons who had much knowledge
about religious affairs and could share supernatural power. The skill of
the datu (hadatuon) was also resorted to when a community was suffering
from such calamities as disease, drought and a poor harvest, or when it was
going into battle against other villagers or family groups.
The founder of the Parmalim movement, Guru Somalaing, had been a well-known
datu among the Toba-Batak. He had been a typical upholder of Toba-Batak
traditional culture. However, he later acknowledged the superior power of
the Dutch and the Christian Church. Establishing a new religion was the
outcome of his quest for the best way to share this new power.
Before he started to preach a new doctrine, Guru Somalaing had been an
advisor of Si Singa Mangaraja, a Batak holy king who had been revered as an
incarnation of Batara Guru, a son of the Batak High God. Si Singa Mangaraja
was believed to have the superhuman abilities to control rice-growing, to
summon rain, and to drive evil spirits away.(22) Although Europeans usually
defined Si Singa Mangaraja as a priest-king or a spiritual leader with no
significant secular power,(23) the Toba-Batak not only prayed to Si Singa
Mangaraja for his magical power, but also requested him to arbitrate
disputes among them. The special importance of Si Singa Mangaraja lay in
his role in maintaining stable relations between the Batak world and the
outside world. From the seventeenth till the nineteenth centuries, Barus
and Asahan were the two most important outlets for the Toba-Batak. Si Singa
Mangaraja was on good terms with the ruler of Barus Hilir (Downstream
Barus) and the Sultan of Asahan.(24) When relations between the inner and
the outer world were disturbed, Si Singa Mangaraja played a major role in
preserving the world order. Nevertheless, since Si Singa Mangaraja’s sacred
status was based on Batak religious concepts, he could not disregard the
opinions of the datu who had had a far longer history in Batak religious
affairs than he.
After intervening in the Padri movement, the Dutch established their rule
in Minangkabau and the southern part of the Batak area during the
mid-1830s. As the colonial government extended its influence to Mandailing,
Angkola and Sibolga in the 1840s and 50s, the southern part of the
Toba-Batak area became firmly linked commercially to the colonized
areas.(25) Under such circumstances, the Dutch government allowed the
German missionary society of Rheinischen Missions-Gesellschaft to start
missionary work in the Batak area in 1861. By the mid-1870s, several
missionary stations were established in the southern part of Toba with the
support of local chiefs, who tried to extend their power through firm
connections with the Dutch.(26)
However, other chieftains in the northern part of Toba were afraid that
the power balance between them and the chieftains who accepted the
missionaries would be upset. They urged Si Singa Mangaraja XII to drive the
missionaries away from Toba. With their support Si Singa Mangaraja started
a war against the Europeans in 1878.(27)
Somalaing joined the war and became advisor to Si Singa Mangaraja.
Somalaing played an important role in uniting the people around Lake Toba
to fight under the banner of Si Singa Mangaraja against the colonial and
Christian penetration. However, in 1878 and 1883, the army of Si Singa
Mangaraja was defeated twice by the colonial army, which was better armed
with guns. After the battle of 1883, which marked the defeat of Si Singa
Mangaraja, the dominance of the Dutch and the Christian Church over
Toba-Batak society was established. Si Singa Mangaraja himself was wounded
in the battle and had to flee from his home at Bakkara. In due course, it
seems that there arose some discord between Somalaing and Si Singa
Mangaraja over whether to continue fighting. Somalaing recognized the
superiority of the Dutch and the Christian Church and withdrew from the war
leaving Si Singa Mangaraja to fend for himself.(28)
Somalaing now faced a dilemma. He recognized that the Dutch colonial
goverment and the Christian Church would not be driven away easily, yet he
also saw the disruption they were causing in Batak society. Many chieftains
and datu who had at first sided with Si Singa Mangaraja later accepted
Christianity and Dutch rule, seeking a share in that mysterious power which
had brought about their defeat. Neither the Christian Church nor the
colonial goverment could operate without support from the local elites, and
most of the influential chieftains who became Christians were appointed
district, sub-district, or village heads by the colonial authorities.(29)
Some newly converted datu became parish elders or helpers of the German
missionaries.(30) However, Somalaing could not cast himself into this new
regime. In his testimony, he complained of the inflation of the power of
Batak chieftains under colonialism.(31) After gaining the sanction of the
colonial authorities, they became more oppressive than before towards their
subordinates and towards the chieftains who did not receive positions in
the Dutch scheme, although they had previously been autonomous rulers.
Concerning missionary activities, he complained of the abolition of the
Toba-Batak custom in which a married man would take the widow of his
brother as his second wife. Somalaing thought that on the whole the
traditional society was better than the new European-influenced one. In
short, he faced a contradiction between the irresistible power of the new
order and the social disruption to which it gave rise.
After reflecting on this dilemma, Somalaing received a revelation from God,
who, he later said, showed him the best way to share the power which had
brought Dutch rule and Christianity to the Batak area.
I thought over these affairs and how to bring improvement on them. Then the
Lord Jesus appeared in my retreat and while my body remained on the earth, my
soul was raised to heaven by him and brought before God. This gave me to
understand that I am the “anggini Tuhan”, the brother of the Lord. By the
Lord, I was sent in order to preach a new doctrine to the people, so that
my followers would be the permalims.(32)
Somalaing claimed that he was brought to heaven by Jesus and was ordered to
preach a new doctrine by God. The god who gave Somalaing this order was not
the Batak High God, Debata Mulajadi Na Bolon. According to Somalaing, it
was Jehova and he insisted that his God was the same as that of the
Christians.(33) However, his path of access to God was not a modern
Christian way, but rather a traditional Batak one. In Batak religion a datu
frequently received messages from deities in dreams or visions.(34)
The doctrine which Jehova ordered him to preach was, according to his own
account: pay respect to the elders; never tell a lie; do not partake of
dog’s meat or pork, or of the meat or the blood of animals which had died
of illness; and purify both soul and body. These were not especially new
ideas, and generally reflected traditional Toba-Batak morals. Somalaing’s
followers, who were to be called Parmalim, were “the people who endeavour
to be holy or to be pure”. The word Parmalim is derived from the Arabic
word “muallim”, which means a religious leader. However, among the
Toba-Batak the word “malim” seems to have changed over the centuries into
the meaning of “holy” or “pure”. For instance, in one prayer Si Singa
Mangaraja was referred to as “raja na pitu hali malim”(35) (raja who is
sevenfold holy). This holy raja Si Singa Mangaraja and his appointed
sacrifice-priests (parbaringin) did not consume either dog’s meat or
pork.(36) Islamic ideas had spread from Barus to the Toba area centuries
earlier, and avoiding pork and dog meat had long been part of Toba-Batak
religious doctrine. Somalaing applied this elite religious code to all his
followers, and also prohibited them from eating the flesh of animals which
died of illness because they were not malim. The determination of what was
holy or pure was based on Toba-Batak values. While maintaining the essence
of the indigenous religion and value system, Somalaing believed he had
found a way to the source of power that was transforming Batak society. He
received the revelation in 1890.
Guru Somalaing and Raja Rum
Somalaing’s next task was to show followers the way to cope with the
colonial power. His conviction of sharing the power of Jehova led him to
expect European newcomers to assist him in the movement. His encounter with
an Italian traveller, Elio Modigliani, just after the revelation increased
Modigliani stayed in the Toba area from October 1890 till February 1891. To
the Toba-Batak, this Italian was a type of European different from the
Dutch and German missionaries. The people who were at the same time
oppressed by the colonial regime and impressed by the superiority of Dutch
power, were hoping for the appearance of a different kind of European who
would help them to share European power without having to accept it on
Dutch or missionary terms.(37) The appearance of such a Westerner made it
possible for the Batak people to question the legitimacy of Dutch rule and
even hope to use his power to change the existing regime.
When Modigliani was travelling around the southern shore of Lake Toba, he
had a chance to talk with the local people.(38) He was asked various
questions, including who his raja was. He answered that it was “Raja Roma”.
Then there arose an unexpected stir among the people. One of them asked
Modigliani, “Why did Raja Rom never accept any of the numerous gifts of
horses and buffaloes which they regularly presented?” Modigliani was unable
to understand who Raja Rom (correctly Rum) was. The name Raja Rum derived
from the legend of Sultan Iskandar Dzulkarnain, Alexander the Great.
According to the Toba-Batak, Alexander the Great had three sons. One was
the king of Rum (also called Raja Stambul), the second was the king of
China, and the third was the king of Minangkabau.(39) As Islam spread into
the west coast of Sumatra, the name of Raja Rum came to be more well-known
among the Toba-Batak through influence from Barus.
The rumour that a delegate of Raja Rum was staying in Balige spread around
the lake-side and finally reached Somalaing. This datu visited Modigliani
many times, showing much politeness and pressing friendship upon him.
Modigliani accordingly asked Somalaing to guide him to the upper Asahan
area (on the east coast of Sumatra) where he had not been allowed to travel
by Dutch officials because it was outside Dutch authority. Modigliani
vividly described the scene after he asked Somalaing for help:
My heart beat with a double blow, while I waited for Somalaing’s answer.
And he made me wait a very long time. His black eyebrows wrinkled, he
remained silent while his face underwent queer distortions. “I will offer
you my revolver as a present and one dollar per day for every man who goes
with you. “I continued in order that I could overcome a dislike of him.
Suddenly he roared out his agreement rather than answering. He took my
hands in his, brought them to his heart, embraced me, kissed me on both
cheeks, and even planted teeth in them. “Amatta [“my father”, alluding to
Raja Rom] has sent you in order to drive away the Dutch and Guru Samalaing
will help you!”(40)
Somalaing had been seeking for a way to drive the Dutch away. Looking for a
means to master the power of the foreign newcomers, he seized upon the
Italian, a supposed son of Raja Rum, as a key to success in the fight
against the Dutch.
Modigliani left the Batak area after travelling through the upper Asahan
area, but the encounter convinced Somalaing that his claim was confirmed
through the appearance of Modigliani. He adopted the belief in Raja Rum as
part of his Parmalim doctrine. Raja Rum and Si Singa Mangaraja, he claimed,
were sons of God.(41) Some day Raja Rum would come to the Batak area with
his son, Modigliani, to expel the Dutch. Then a new Si Singa Mangaraja
would arise, and the glorious Batak order, “harajaon Si Singa Mangaraja”
(Kingdom of Si Singa Mangaraja), would be restored. After Modigliani’s
departure Somalaing and his followers prayed to Raja Rum in the same manner
as had been done in traditional religious ceremonies when people had wanted
to ask Si Singa Mangaraja or Batak deities for help.
The earlier stages of the Parmalim movement can be described as an
endeavour to maintain the Batak traditional social order under the new
source of power. The movement spread quickly into the northeastern part of
Toba,(42) which was being radically influenced by the colonial government
and economy from the Sumatran east coast, though its cultural system was
still intact. Somalaing was not able to find many followers in the southern
part of Toba where the Christian Church had already established a dominant
position, or in the places where the population was not substantially under
European influence. He found the greatest support in the places where
people had just started to feel the Dutch and the missionary influence.
Somalaing’s followers were mostly minor chieftains and their relatives. In
order to retain their status and their social system, they also sought
access to the source of European power in order to combat it. In their
Parmalim ceremonies, they prayed to Jehova, the Virgin Mary, Jesus and Raja
Rum, as well as Batak deities.(43)
Then, the Parmalims started to revere the German missionaries working in
the northeastern part of Toba as Batak kings. Like Modigliani, the German
missionaries had objectives different from the Dutch colonial officials.
The Parmalims began to expect the missionaries to assist them.
The case of a German named Pohlig, who had been in Toba since 1890,
provides an example of this process. He was an engineer and among
missionaries was known as “the capable Brother Pohlig” (der tuchtige Br.
Pohlig).(44) He occasionally repaired guns for the colonial goverment.(45)
Such technical knowledge, which was a major aspect of the superiority of
European power, was of great interest to the Parmalims. They were eager to
be initiated into its mysteries. According to Pohlig, one Parmalim local
leader wrote to him in 1891 saying he would bring presents to celebrate the
birth of Pohlig’s son. “We come to you tomorrow with our wives because a
son is born to you. God has instructed me that we must salute this”.(46)
The following day thousands of Parmalims visited the embarrassed Pohlig,
firing salutes and playing music, and presented him a mare and a foal.(47)
Pohlig, however, returned these presents to them, because he thought that
accepting them would indicate approval of their religion.
In spite of Pohlig’s cold response, the Parmalims increased their reverence
towards him. As the colonial goverment intensified its influence on the
northeastern part of Toba, introducing corvee labour from the end of
1892,(48) the Parmalims began to believe that Pohlig was a person who could
intervene with the Dutch on their behalf. According to Pohlig’s report of
1893, he came to be regarded as an incarnation of Si Singa Mangaraja.
These men [Parmalims] reveal really crazy ideas. Just now I have become the
Singamangaraja. “You are it”, they say. “You have only changed your form!”
A few days ago some were still here. I said to them. “Don’t bother me with
your absurd reasonings, I am not the Singamangaraja.” “We know very
accurately that you are it”, they said. “Debata [God] has told us”.
Moreover, they said in order to convince me that I am he, “Your father, the
former Singamangaraja, was shot by the Dutch in the arm, then went to heaven.
He has sent you, but he has given you another form, so that the Dutch could
not recognize you.” They believe such nonsense, and that is their gospel.(49)
According to the belief of the Toba-Batak, the sahala of Si Singa Mangaraja
could be shifted to another person who would then be the next Si Singa
Mangaraja.(50) After Si Singa Mangaraja XII, Ompu Pulo Batu, was wounded in
the battle of 1883, those who believed that Si Singa Mangaraja was
invulnerable began to doubt whether he still possessed the sahala of Si
Singa Mangaraja.(51) The Parmalims began to claim that Si Singa Mangaraja
XII, having lost his sahala, had gone to heaven and that the sahala was now
in Pohlig, who appeared in the form of a Westerner. Incidentally, Pohlig
had a scar on his hand similar to Si Singa Mangaraja XII. This was a sign
to the Parmalims reconfirming their belief that in Pohlig Si Singa
Mangaraja was reincarnated. When the Parmalims visited Pohlig, they offered
gifts, expecting him to support their protests against the colonial
government, and anticipating that he would in due course declare himself to
be Si Singa Mangaraja, and together with Raja Rum would drive the Dutch away.
As the colonial goverment intensified its authority in the Toba-Batak area,
the Parmalims’ expectations escalated. They claimed: before long the seven
dark days and nights would come; then the Dutch would be driven away from
the Batak country by the appearance of Raja Rum and Si Singa Mangaraja; non
Parmalims would be destroyed by earthquakes, and the Parmalims would
inherit all things.(52) Occasional collisions occurred between the
Parmalims and the colonial government. The leader Somalaing was arrested by
the colonial authorities in 1895 and was exiled to Java.(53) However, his
removal did not end the movement. The basic problem of the Parmalims —
that the colonial goverment and German missionaries should share their
assets with the Batak people — was not resolved at all. Among the
believers protest movements continued to arise.(54)
This article has argued the role of the Batak milienarian leader in the
Parmalim movement against the European colonial order. Guru Somalaing
successfully established the Parmalim movement because he was able to show
his followers an apparent way to share the new power of the Europeans in
indigenous Toba-Batak terms. His claim was confirmed through the appearance
of Modigliani and Pohlig who would assist him in the movement. Although
previous accounts have suggested that the Batak millenarian vision, the
restoration of Si Singa Mangaraja and the expulsion of the Dutch by
supernatural means, induced the Batak people to join the Parmalim movement
and anti-Dutch protests,(55) such accounts have not given sufficient
attention to the basic question of why a certain type of leader was
The role of the prophet in the earlier stages of the Parmalim movement
would suggest a tentative model to explain the role of prophets in other
millenarian movements which arose in areas newly subjected under European
power. Most of the Cargo Cults(56) in Melanesia, as well as the Taiping
rebellion(57) in China and the Cao Dai movement(58) in Vietnam, show that
the millenarian leader’s main task, like that of Somalaing, was to suggest
a way to share the new European power through their own indigenous means
regarded as “traditional”. This type of leader’s other characteristics,
such as the ability to contact supernatural forces, healing or divination
were of only secondary importance.
Somalaing’s claim began to appear questionable to followers when Modigliani
and Pohlig proved to be unreliable allies. In spite of the Parmalims’
ardent hopes, neither Modigliani nor Pohlig came to their aid, and the
Parmalims began to doubt their doctrine. Re-clarifying to them what the
real source of power was and how they could gain access to it was the task
of future millenarian
leaders. The Parmalim movement was reorganized in the late 1890s by another
millenarian leader, who revitalized the Batak traditional High God as their
source of power through new terms. Thus when a prophet successfully
suggested a new solution in familiar terms to people dissatisfied with the
existing order, such a movement again arose. Batak millenarian responses
continued. This article is a revised version of a paper originally
presented at the 12th IAHA [International Association of Historians of
Asia] Conference, University of Hong Kong, 24-28 June 1991. The issues
discussed here are explored more fully in my Ph.D. diss., “Prophets and
Followers in Batak Millenarian Responses to the Colonial Order: Parmalim,
Na Siak Bagi and Parhudamdam, 1890-1930” (The Australian National
University, 1988). I am very grateful to B. Dahm, G. Daws, J. Fox, R. de
Iongh, Y. Ishii, M. van Langenberg, D. Marr, A. Reid, L. Schreiner, A.A.
Sitompul and S. Situmorang for their comments and advice.
(1) I generally follow the definition of a “millenarian” movement as
conceived by Y. Talmon and N. Cohn, who use the term not in a specific and
limited historical sense, but in the wider sense of characterizing
religious movements that expect imminent, total, ultimate, this-worldly,
collective salvation [Y. Talmon, “Millenarism”, in International
Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, ed. D.L. Sills, vol. 10 (New York: The
Macmillan Company and The Free Press, 1968), p. 349, and N. Cohn, “Medieval
Millenarism: Its Bearing on the Comparative Study of Millenarian
Movements”, in Millennial Dreams in Action Essays in Comparative Study, ed.
S.L. Thrupp (The Hague: Mouton, 1962). Though “messianic” movements, which
arose where history was seen as a series of recurrent cycles, have little
of the linear quality of many European millenary movements, we can use the
term “millenarism” to refer to them because their prophetic leaders
endeavoured to initiate followers into the source of power appearing to
cause such a total transformation.
(2) This does not mean that millenarian movements arose only in colonial
situations or because of foreign impact. Such movements were also evident
in the pre-colonial period without foreign influence, when established
socio-cultural conditions were distorted by disasters such as plagues,
devasting fires, recurrent long droughts or by the unjustified assumption
of power [S. Kartodirdjo, “Agrarian Radicalism in Java: Its Setting and
Development”, in Culture and Politics in Indonesia, ed. C. Holt (Ithaca and
London: Cornell University Press, 1972), and Talmon, “Millenarism” p.354.
There are two main reasons why I have chosen to study millenarian movements
under colonial regimes or foreign influence. The first reason is that by
dealing with cross-cultural millenarian movements, I would like to consider
through what millenarian vision prophets were able to draw people into
movements in order to explain the role of prophets better. The other is
because there are abundant source materials about millenarian movements
during the colonial era.
(3) J. C. Scott, The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and
Subsistence in Southeast Asia (New Haven and London: Yale University Press,
(4) M. Adas, Prophets of Rebellion Millenarian Protest Movements against
the European Colonial Order (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina
(5) Ibid., pp. 92-121, and J.M. van der Kroef, “Messianic Movements in the
Celebes, Sumatra, and Borneo”, in Millennial Dreams, ed. Thrupp, pp. 117-20.
(6) This does not mean that millenarian movements were mere retreats into
the traditional world. Even when millenarian visions put great stress on
nativistic elements, these movements endeavoured to keep some aspects of
their indigenous culture alive in new situations or revitalize these
traditions by giving them new meanings. In this sense, millenarian
movements were new attempts to establish new world views by taking both the
indigenous and the externals into consideration. See for instance, Adas,
Prophets, pp. xxvi-xxvii, and Talmon, “Millenarism” p. 353.
(7) S. Kartodirdjo, “Agrarian Radicalism”, pp. 78-82 and Protest Movements
in Rural Java A Study of Agrarian Unrest in the Nineteenth and Early
Twentieth Centuries (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1973), pp. 7-8.
(8) Adas, Prophets, p. xx and 112.
(9) J. Warneck, Die Religion der Batak: Ein Paradigma fur die animistischen
Religionen des Indischen Archipels (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht,
1909), pp. 109-113.
(10) Related works include Adas, Prophets, and S.L. Popkin, The Rational
Peasant: The Political Economy of Rural Society in Vietnam (Berkeley, Los
Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1979), pp. 252-66. The
former still needs to explain why prophets were important in these
movements, and the latter uses very general terms that are applicable not
only to millenarian movements hut also to other socio-political movements.
In this paper, I will not refer to unorganized protest movements in which
no prophetic leader appeared; however, so long as existing co-ordination
systems continue to function, leaderless opposition is possible [see
Popkin, The Rational Peasant,p. 266, and J.C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak:
Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven and London: Yale University
(11) I exclude from millenarian leaders those who endeavoured to share the
indigenous source of power through traditional ways or who endeavoured to
gain access to the external source of power through external ways. When the
traditional approach [to share the indigenous source of power through
indigenous ways] collapsed in new situations, millenarian movements
generally started. The latter pattern is a pure assimilation into a new
power. Such adherence to traditional ways or to a new power, that caused no
competitive situation between an indigenous power and an external power,
inhibited people from engaging in millenarian activities. See K.O.L.
Burridge, New Heaven New Earth: A Study of Millenarian Activities (Oxford:
Basil Blackwell, 1969), pp. 33-35.
(12) Process-Verbaal of Guru Somalaing (Tarutung, 31 Jan. 1896), Indischen
brief, 22 May 1896, no. 910/2, Verbaal 25/6/1896/96.
(13) For instance, Waldemar, Testimony of Gayus Hutahaean (Pangururan, 2
Feb. 1922), V.E. Korn Collection, no. 454.
(14) Since the main leaders of the earlier stages of the Parmalim movement
were sentenced to exile by decision of the Governor-General of Netherlands
India, their testimonies, which had first been sent to the Council of
Netherlands India [in Batavia] from Tapanuli, were later sent to
Netherlands Ministry of Colonies along with the Governor-General’s
decisions. These testimonies can be found in the Archives of the Ministry
of Colonies in Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague.
(15) E. Modigliani, Fra i Batacchi indipendenti (Rome: Societa Geografica
(16) Most of them are stored in V.E. Korn Collection (no. 441 and 454) in
Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, Leiden.
(17) “Bataks”, in Encyclopaedie van Nederlandsch-Indie, vol. 1 (The Hague
and Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff and E.J. Brill, 1917).
(18) F.M. Lebar, Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia, vol. 1 (New
Haven: Human Relations Area Files Press, 1972), p. 20.
(19) L. Castles, “Statelessness and Stateforming Tendencies among the Batak
before Colonial Rule” in Pre-colonial State Systems in Southeast Asia, ed.
A. Reid and L. Castles (Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian Branch of the Royal
Asiatic Society, 1979), p. 75, and R. Heine-Geldern, “Le pays de P’i-K’ien,
le Roi au Grand Cou et le Singa Mangaradja”, Bulletin de l’Ecole Francaise
d’Extreme-Orient 49 (1959): 363.
(20) Warneck, Die Religion, p. 25-26; E.M. Loeb, Sumatra: Its History and
People (Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta: Oxford University Press, 1972); and H.
Parkin, Batak Fruit of Hindu Thought (Madras: The Christian Literature
Society, 1978), pp. 145-49.
(21) J. Winkler, Die Toba=Batak auf Sumatra in gesunden und kranken Tagen:
Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis des animistischen Heidentums (Stuttgart: Chr.
Belser A. G., 1925), pp. 72-78; and Warneck, Die Religion, pp. 109-113.
(22) Heine-Geldern, “Le pays”, pp. 374-78; and C.M. Pleyte, “Singe
Mangaradja: De heilige koning der Bataks”, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en
Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indie 55 (1903): 1-17.
(23) For example, J.H. Meerwaldt, “De laatste Singamangaradja”, De Rijnsche
Zending (1908): 2-7.
(24) Van Lith and E. Gobee, “Rapport omtrent Si Singamangaradja en zijn
naaste familieleden”, Mail-rapport 2674/1929, Verbaal 14/10/1930/20;
Resident van Oostkust van Sumatra aan Gouverneur Generaal van
Nederlandsch-Indie (Bengkalis, 28 Aug. 1885), Malirapport 648/1885; and J.
Drakard, A Malay Frontier: Unity and Duality in a Sumatran Kingdom (Ithaca:
Cornell Southeast Asia Program, 1990), pp. 81-82.
(25) M. Joustra, Batakspiegel (Leiden: Bataksch Instituut, 1910), and O.
von Kessel, “Reis in de nog onafhankelijke Batak-landen van Klein-Toba, op
Sumatra, in 1844”, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van
Nederlandsch-Indie 4 (1856): 73-76.
(26) S. Coolsma, De zendingseeuw voor Nederlandsch Oost-Indie (Utrecht: C.
H. E. Breijer, 1901), pp. 309-385; and J.R. Hutauruk, “Die Batakkirche vor
ihrer Unabhangigkeit (1899-1942): Probleme der kirchlichen Unabhangigkeit
angesichts der Problematik von Mission, Kolonialismus und Nationalismus”
(Ph.D. diss. Hamburg University, 1980), p. 101.
(27) Meerwaldt, “De laatste Singamangaradja”, pp. 87-88; Resident van
Tapanuli, “Extract uit het verslag betrekkelijk de verwikkelingen in de
Battaklanden en de daarop gevolgde militaire expeditie naar Toba”,
Mailrapport 801/1878; W.B. Sidjabat, Ahu Si Singamangaraja: Arti Historis,
Politis, Ekonomis dan Religius Si Singamangaraja XII (Jakarta: Sinar
Harapan, 1982), pp. 165-70.
(28) Proces-Verbaal of Guru Somalaing.
(29) “De zendingsposten der Rijnsche zending in Silindoeng en Toba”, De
Rijnsche Zending (1887), pp. 63-68; and Joustra, Batakspiegel, p. 258.
(30) G. Pilgram, Laban: Ein Lebensbild aus der Batak=Mission auf Sumatra
(Barmen: Rheinischen Missions-Gesellschaft, 1921), pp. 12-28; and “Eenige
schetsen uit de Batta-zending”, De Rijnsche Zending 1883), p. 99.
(31) Proces-Verbaal of Guru Somalaing.
(33) Ibid., and D.W.N. de Boer, “De Permalimsekten van Oeloean, Toba en
Habinsaran”, Tijdschrift voor het Binnenlandsch Bestuur 47 (1914): 382-83.
(34) Winkler, Die Toba=Batak, p. 75.
(35) Sidjabat, Ahu Si Singamangaraja, p. 442; and A.L. Tobing, Si
Singamangaradja I-XII (Medan: W. Marpaung, 1967).
(36) J. Keuning, “Einige beschouwingen betreffende de staatkundige
organisatie onder de Toba-Bataks”, Koloniaal Tijdschrift 28 (1939): 497;
and Sidjabat, Ahu Si Singamangaraja, pp. 373-77.
(37) For example, see Burridge, New Heaven, pp. 67-68; and A.F.C. Wallace,
“Handsome Lake and the Great Revival in the West”, American Quarterly
(Summer 1952): 149-65.
(38) Modigliani, Fra i Batacchi, pp. 71-77; and J.C. Vergouwen, “Een
Italiaan onder de Bataks”, Koloniaal Tijdschrift 21 (1932): 553-55.
(39) “Verslag van eene reis in het land der Bataks, in het binnenland van
Sumatra, ondernomen in het jaar 1824, door de heeren Burton en Ward,
zendelingen der Baptisten. Medegedeeld door wijlen sir Stamford Raffles”,
Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indie 5
(40) Modigliani, Fra i Batacchi, p. 85
(41) Proces-Verbaal of Guru Somalaing.
(42) Boer, “De Permalimsekten”, pp. 391-92.
(43) Ibid., pp. 382-84.
(44) M. Joustra, “Een bezoek aan de Rijnsche Zendelingen in Silindoeng en
Toba”, Mededeelingen van wege het Nederlandsche Zendelinggenootschap 43
(45) Controleur van Toba aan Assistent Resident van Toba en Silindung,
(Balige, 21 Mar. 1904), agenda no. 2294/1904 [in Arsip Nasional Republik
(46) P. Pohlig to the Inspector of the Rheinischen Missions-Gesellschaft
(Siantar, 28 Dec. 1891), B/f 34 (in Archiv der Vereinigte Evangelische
(47) “De Batta-zending”, De Rijnsche Zending (1892), p. 195.
(48) The Governor-General’s Decision of 29 December 1892, no. 3.
(49) “Aus der Battamission”, Berichte der Rheinischen Missions-Gesellschaft
(1893), pp. 325-26.
(50) M. Joustra, “De Singa Mangaradja-figuur”, in Gedenkschrift voor het
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van
Nederlandsch-Indie (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1926), p. 211.
(51) J. Warneck, Sechzig Jahre Batakmission in Sumatra (Berlin: Martin
Warneck, 1925), p. 118; and Sidjabat, Ahu Si Singamangaraja, p. 119.
(52) O. Marcks to the Inspector of the Rheinischen Missions-Gesellschaft
(Sitorang, 13 Mar. 1902), F/a 50.
(53) Extract uit het Register der Besluiten van den Gouverneur-Generaal van
Nederlandsch-Indie” (Cipanas, 22 May 1896), Indischen brief, 22 May 1896,
(54) For further details, see Hirosue, “Prophets and Followers”, pp.
160-212. (55) For example, van der Kroef, “Messianic Movements”, pp.
92-106; Mohammad Said, Tokoh Singa Mangaradja XII (Medan: Waspada, 1961),
pp. 54-73; and L. Castles, “The Political Life of a Sumatran Residency:
Tapanuli 1915-1940” (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1972), pp. 74-76.
(56) P. Lawrence, Road Belong Cargo: A Study of the Cargo Movement in the
Southern Madang District New Guinea (Manchester: Manchester University
Press, 1964); and Burridge, New Heaven, pp. 47-74.
(57) F. Michael, The Taiping Rebellion: History and Documents, vol. 1
(Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1966), pp. 21-50.
(58) Hue-Tam Ho Tai, Millenarianism and Peasant Politics in Vietnam
(Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London: Harvard University Press, 1983), pp.
84-86; and J.S. Werner, Peasant Politics and Religious Sectarianism:
Peasant and Priest in the Cao Dai in Viet Nam (New Haven: Yale University
—– End of forwarded message from John MacDougall —–