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Jakarta Post

Arief Budiman: Defying the Chinese stereotype

  • Dewi Anggraeni


Melbourne, Australia   /   Wed, February 6 2008   /  02:16 pm

A pertinent stereotypical image of the ethnic Chinese throughout Southeast Asia is that they are bent on making money and interested in little else. In reality, there have been many whose interests lie in anything but making money, apart from that necessary for living, naturally. One example is Arief Budiman; the intellectual, academic, social and political analyst and once political activist, who in 1997 was appointed Chair Professor of the Indonesian Program at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Though currently living in Melbourne with his wife Leila, the Harvard graduate is still very Indonesian at heart. Whenever he is in Indonesia, he feels well and truly "fleshed out". "I enjoy life here. I follow Australian politics and find it interesting, in a cerebral sense. Political crises in Australia for instance, somehow do not touch me too deeply. On the other hand, I l...