NGEPAS VILLAGE BOOKS AND ART SPACE LIBRARY OPENING SOON

Hi everybody,

Hi to all our 97 donors. First, I would like to announce that building the Library, receiving the books and shelving them is completed. We still need to arrange the books better on the shelves and create a catalogue. However, we will be ready to organise a soft opening for the Library and start registering members by the end of April. There are now about 4,000 books shelved.

Second, we must thank all of you who have donated through this website. Others have donated directly. Donations have covered approximately half the cost of building the Library, shipping the books to Indonesia and setting things up. We would not have been able to build this Library without your assistance.

We are committed to ensuring that the books are used to the maximum benefit. We will soon start a program of digitising the whole collection, which will then eventually be held by an Indonesian university.
The space in the Library can also be used as a meeting room for classes and discussions for up to 50 people.
There is accommodation (bedroom and bathroom) attached to the Library for short-term stay-overs (2-3 days).

If you wish to be informed of activities at the Library please let us know and we will put you on our email list. Once again thanks again everybody!

Stay in contact and follow what the Library gets up to.

Max Lane&Faiza Mardzoeki
Ngepas Village Books and Arts Space

A New Ideological Contestation Emerging in Indonesia? (Article by Max Lane)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
 A long period of ideological vacuum in mainstream politics came to an end in the
lead-up to the 2014 presidential elections and was further confirmed in the 2017
Jakarta gubernatorial elections.
 This was initially reflected in the different stances of 2014 presidential candidates
Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto on issues such as the direct election of the
president and regional heads, and was a reflection of support or opposition to the
political liberalisation that has occurred since reformasi.
 Since the 2014 presidential elections, opposition to political liberalisation has shifted
towards the adoption of religious ideology.
 The weak defence of political liberalisation by President Widodo is manifested in
his policy of making concessions to both sides within the framework of the state
ideology, Pancasila.
  The outcomes at the grassroots level of Widodo’s economic policies will heavily
influence the evolution of this new ideological contestation.

For full article read here.  

The Politics of Wages and Indonesia’s Trade Unions (Article by Max Lane.)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.
 In 2015, all unions opposed a new regulation on wages that restricted the use of the
dignified standard of living condition.
 In the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial elections, a coalition of unions signed a Political
Contract with one set of candidates who promised wage increases above those
mandated by recent government regulations.
 The new Governor of Jakarta has not adhered to the Political Contract he signed,
causing tensions with some unions.
 Indonesia’s two largest union confederations have now become aligned to
competing political blocs.
 It is likely that there will be no serious union challenge to the new regulations.
However, de-escalated campaigning and strong alignments with existing political
blocs may open up space for some of the many other unions to grow.

For full article click HERE

The Further Erosion of an Indonesian Political Taboo (Article) by Max Lane

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
 On 16-17 September 2017, groups opposed to alternative perspectives on the events
of 30 September 1965 (G-30S/PKI) and its aftermath, mobilised to disrupt a seminar
held in Jakarta.
 These were the same groups that mobilised against ethnic Chinese Christian former
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in late 2016 to early 2017.
 The mobilisation reflects the political polarization that currently exists between
conservative hard-line groups, and politically progressive groups.
 Although the seminar was stopped, it did nevertheless further the erosion of old
political taboos standing in the way of alternative views reaching wider national
audiences.
 Resistance to the erosion of the G-30S/PKI taboo will continue, even if President
Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government’s stance on the opening up of public
discussion about 1965 remains ambiguous.

For full article click HERE

ARTICLE (re-post): WHY YOU SHOULD READ INDONESIA’S “THIS EARTH OF MANKIND” by Max Lane

“In January 2014 Joshua Oppenheimer’s film on Indonesia, The Act of Killing, was nominated for an academy award, reflecting its penetration into mainstream film watching. Many people will be introduced to Indonesia by this vivid study of the country’s ruling lumpen elite. Another, very different, introduction to Indonesia might be reading Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s historical novel Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind).

The English language edition of This Earth of Mankind was published by Penguin in 1983. The sequels to this novel, Child of All Nations, Footsteps and House of Glass, were published over the following several years by Penguin in Australia and the United Kingdom. They were launched into the United States by William Morrow, Hyperion and Penguin in the 1990s. As their translator, I am very pleased to see that they are still in print 30 years later, having had many reprints. The four novels are likely to appear soon as eBooks, Penguin USA having bought the eBook rights. They appear already to be advertised as eBooks for Kindle on Amazon.com.

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Pramoedya’s work has, on the whole, met with critical acclaim in the West, in particular the United States. The publication of other translations followed, such as Silent Songs of a Mute,Fugitive, Girl from the Coast and collections of short stories. In 1992 the New York Times reviewer wrote:

Now comes a book of far greater scope and depth from independent Indonesia’s greatest but still most controversial fiction writer, whose career spans more than 40 years. “This Earth of Mankind,” the first in a cycle of four novels, is the tale of a bittersweet coming of age in Java, Indonesia’s dominant island, almost a century ago. Through it, we are taken back to the days of nascent Indonesian nationalism. But the author is a humanist, not a propagandist, and so his novel is also a wonderful example of the best storytelling tradition of his country.[1]

In 1996, after House of Glass appeared, the Washington Post reviewer wrote:

The Buru Tetralogy is one of the 20th century’s great artistic creations, a work of the richest variety, color, size and import, founded on a profound belief in mankind’s potential for greatness and shaped by a huge compassion for mankind’s weakness.[2]

Jamie James in his article “The Indonesiad” in The New Yorker wrote:

Pramoedya’s masterwork is the Buru Quartet, a cycle of novels set in the final, decadent years of Dutch colonialism in Java. The series follows the life of a revolutionary journalist named Minke. The first native Javanese boy to attend the elite Dutch colonial high school, Minke is full of idealistic notions about European progress. The process of his disillusionment and forging of his Indonesian identity – a new element in the periodic table of history – [forms] the novels’ core. The Buru Quartet is saturated with the gothic gloom and steamy atmosphere of the rain forest. With the publication this month, by William Morrow, of the quartet’s final volume, “House of Glass,” and the paperback reissue, by Penguin, of its predecessors, “This Earth of Mankind,” “Child of All Nations,” and “Footsteps,” American readers can now follow Pramoedya’s saga of Minke – one of the most ambitious undertakings in postwar world literature – from beginning to end.[3]

Continue reading “ARTICLE (re-post): WHY YOU SHOULD READ INDONESIA’S “THIS EARTH OF MANKIND” by Max Lane”