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Jakarta Post

Bonnie Triyana: ‘Selling’ history

  • Dicky Christanto

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, September 4 2012   /  05:00 am

A scene from a famous TV action drama shows a group of robbers having dinner with cassava in the middle of a jungle on their way out of a burned village located near Mt. Merapi, Central Java, around 12 AD.

It’s a natural scene, except for one thing.

“Cassava was first brought here from the Caribbean in 19 AD. There wouldn’t have been any cassava around before that time,” said Bonnie Triyana, chief editor of Historia magazine, who had watched the TV show a long time ago.

Cassava was brought here as part of the Dutch colonial government’s plan to tackle the country’s famine. Besides being offered as alternative staple food, cassava had also been produced as cheap liquor and then sent to Europe.

Bonny acknowledged that the cassava scene but then he realized that historical facts — on any scale — were prone to manipulation.

“Therefore we...