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Jakarta Post

Let’s be honest about Indonesia's 'nationalism'

  • Henry Wijaya
    Henry Wijaya

    Indonesian lecturer at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou

Guangdong   /   Tue, March 6, 2018   /  09:01 am
Let’s be honest about Indonesia's 'nationalism' National interest: The country’s national emblem, the Garuda Pancasila, carries the Sanskrit motto “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (Unity in Diversity). (JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan)

The song “Tian Mi Mi” was playing in the background as a friend and I tried to decide on our lunch menu. My mainland-Chinese friend said according to her father, this famous song used to be banned in China because it was about romance, instead of the nationalism that the new government was trying to instill in the population at the time. 

Curious, I sought more information. Indeed, its original singer, Teresa Teng — who was also popular in Indonesia from the 1960s to the 1990s — and other singers from Taiwan and Hong Kong were banned for several years in mainland China, since their songs were considered too “bourgeois”. Nevertheless, Teng’s songs remained popular and have become memorable pop classics.

I told my friend that Teng would be laughing in her grave to know that the propaganda that banned her and her s...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.