“The Indonesian government legislates some blatantly racist policies. Officials make racist sounding statements. But they fall short of effectiveness in actual practice. Life for most ordinary Indonesians is generally less racialized and more hybridized than that in Malaysia and Singapore. Compared to their neighbors, Indonesians are generally more independent of governmental patronage and intervention. In Malaysia and Singapore it takes a strong government’s top-down measures to create for the sake of long-term national resilience. In Indonesia it takes a top-down measure to provoke widespread racial violence for the short-term political agenda of rival groups in the elite vying to fill the state power vacuum in times of crisis such as now.”
Heryanto, Ariel (1999) “Indonesia’s Different Language of Race”, The Straits Times, 25 February 1999: 32.
Also appeared as “Race Means Different Things in RI and S’pore”, The Jakarta Post, 16 February 1999.
keywords: ethnic harmony, Jakarta Post, political culture, racial discrimination, Straits Times