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A Fragile Nation: The Indonesian Crisis [Paperback]

By Khoon Choy Lee (Author) & Lee Khoon Choy (Author)
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Item description for A Fragile Nation: The Indonesian Crisis by Khoon Choy Lee & Lee Khoon Choy...

In May 1998, President Suharto stepped down as President of Indonesia. With his fall, the third largest country in Asia has plunged into anarchy and political, economic and social strife. Racial and religious clashes, culminating in riots, burning and chaos, have become the order of the day. Fissures in the social fabric are widening and there is real danger that this multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country may disintegrate, just like Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. In this book, the author portrays the Indonesian people, their history and their cultural traditions. He provides insightful analyses and perspectives of the political collapse of Suharto and describes the danger facing the country. Describing the diversity in the history, traditions, customs and cultures of the various ethnic groups, he provides an understanding of Indonesia. The author aims to bring outsider's clarity of perception and the journalist-diplomat's experience of tradition and history to the problems and to speak with authority and sensitivity about the challenges facing a vast, heterogeneous country that comprises 336 ethnic groups speaking 250 dialects.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: World Scientific Publishing Company
Pages   436
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.6" Width: 6" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   World Scientific Publishing Company
ISBN  9810240031  
ISBN13  9789810240035  

Availability  0 units.

More About Khoon Choy Lee & Lee Khoon Choy

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Asia > Indonesia
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > International > Relations
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > Race Relations > General
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Special Groups > Ethnic Studies

Reviews - What do customers think about A Fragile Nation: The Indonesian Crisis?

Good Overview, Subjective, Some Factual Errors  Oct 8, 2004
Lee Khoon Choy was an ambassador to Indonesia during the early seventies, as noted in the introduction. He visited Indonesia before and after his tenure. Due to his special position, he enjoyed special experience travelling throughout Indonesia to compile materials for his book.

This book explains Indonesian sociopolitics condition in 1998, right after Suharto's fall. It's pretty accurate. It starts by explaining why Suharto fell. The reasons are rather subjective and he occasionally mentioned about "previleged secret information from anonymous trusted individuals". Next, it describes the nature of each tribe / culture in Indonesia. Certainly, the description here is very much generalized. For example: He mentioned how Minang people are apt to trading and good at money, or Madurese for being hot-headed people, and so forth. In each of the chapter he also mentioned about the problems of each tribe / culture and how he thinks those contributed to the Indonesian Crises.

The interesting part to me is its description about the Chinese minority, which is in Chapter 9. He eloquently argues why Chinese minority in Indonesia are, at the time of its writing, not being acknowledged, where he puts forth compelling arguments why they should be; like: Ming / Ching emperors considered overseas Chinese as traitor and massacre against them was considered as "fruit of bad karma", Chinese was among the first foreign visitors of Indonesia, Chinese was the one who introduce Indonesia to Islam (not Gujarat people, as previously thought), and so forth.

My major complaint of this book is that many of the compelling arguments do not have proper citation of their sources or are waved out as "personal talk from trusted individuals". In some, he does mention the source. However, literature / article citation is almost completely missing. Given the controversial nature of this book, I think that he should disclose from which book / article he got the arguments and put that in the footnotes, especially for historical citations. Although I don't question much about many of them, many people would easily diss this book as being provocative and baseless. The only "source" listed is in the bibliography, most of which, in my humble opinion, don't help much in tracking down the source.

Another issue is that there are few factual errors, such as the mention of "Gresik is in West Java" as opposed to the fact of "Gresik is in East Java". Things like these could throw much of the book's arguments: If the author can't cite simple facts correctly, how can we trust a much more provocative arguments he sets forth?

The next issue is typo. Around 5 per chapter. It can be quite annoying.

Too bad that flaws like above marred this otherwise very compelling book for Indonesian sociopolitics.

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