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Jakarta Post

Melani Budianta: Indonesia comes into existence in everyday life

  • Ida Indawati Khouw

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, August 24 2008   /  10:52 am

Melani Budianta: JP/Ida Indawati Khouw The words "Milik Pribumi" (belonging to "indigenous Indonesians") scrawled on private properties were a common sight in cities affected by the May 1998 riots -- a sort of talisman against rioters targeting ethnic Chinese-owned properties, labeled non-pribumi (not indigenous). For Professor Melani Budianta, from the University of Indonesia, the properties owners' attitude in shielding themselves from the political upheaval that marked the birth of the present Reformasi era has put the meaning of being Indonesian into question. "A (Chinese) friend of mine questioned the attitude of her neighbors," she recalls. "So during a community meeting, she raised the issue: 'We say we are one family, living together in a common house. If you mark your properties Pribumi, it means you're letting the riote...