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Jakarta Post

The Indonesia expert who was banned from entering Indonesia

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, December 13, 2015   /  04:25 pm
The Indonesia expert who was banned from entering Indonesia Great loss: Indonesianist Benedict Anderson produced significant works on modern Indonesian history. He passed away at the age of 79 in Malang, East Java, on Saturday, during a nostalgic visit to the country of his academic passion. (Courtesy of Youtube)

Great loss: Indonesianist Benedict Anderson produced significant works on modern Indonesian history. He passed away at the age of 79 in Malang, East Java, on Saturday, during a nostalgic visit to the country of his academic passion. (Courtesy of Youtube)

Studying Indonesia was not always easy for the late Benedict Richard O'€™Gorman Anderson, or Ben Anderson, who was banned from entering the country by the New Order regime due to his criticism of Soeharto'€™s dictatorship.

The US expert on Indonesian politics, or Indonesianist, was only allowed to visit the country of his academic interest again in 1999, following the fall of Soeharto'€™s regime.

Anderson passed away at the age of 79 in Batu, Malang, East Java, at around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, kompas.com reported. Information of his death appeared on Twitter and Facebook accounts of publisher Marjin Kiri, which will launch Anderson'€™s book entitled '€œDi Bawah Tiga Bendera'€ (Under Three Flags). Anderson had come to Indonesia to attend the launch of his book.

Two days before his passing, Anderson gave a lecture entitled '€œAnarchism and Socialism'€ at the University of Indonesia. On its Facebook account, publisher Marjin Kiri said that Anderson died in a hotel in Batu when he was taking a break after walking around the city.

Born in Kunming, China, on Aug. 26, 1936, Anderson was known as an Indonesianist with a special interest on the country'€™s modern history. Together with Ruth Macvey, Anderson published an academic paper called '€œA Preliminary Analysis of the October 1, 1965 Coup in Indonesia'€, also known as the '€œCornell Paper'€, in which they presented a thorough analysis on the causes of an aborted coup d'€™Ã©tat attempt, known today as the September 30 Movement. The paper depicted the events quite differently from what had been conveyed by the New Order regime.

Anderson'€™s adoptive son, Wahyu Yudistira, said the political expert did not suffer any illness. '€œHe was old. He might have been really tired. He was probably exhausted,'€ said Wahyu as quoted by kompas.com.

Wahyu said Anderson had been in East Java for a nostalgic visit to several places he had visited before, such as Mpu Tantular Museum in Sidoarjo and Belahan Temple in Mojokerto.

On Sunday morning, Anderson'€™s body was taken to Surabaya from Malang to be laid in rest at his relative'€™s house. His body will be cremated and the ashes scattered at the Java Sea, as he had requested.

'€œHis family has been informed [over Anderson'€™s death]. They will come to Indonesia as soon as possible. I and our family are preparing the cremation,'€ said Wahyu.

During his life, Anderson was known as the most outstanding Southeast Asian expert in the world. His book "Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism" won acclaim as a classic work on social and political science. Anderson'€™s other outstanding works include "Java in a Time of Revolution", "Debating World Literature", and "Language and Power: Exploring Political Cultures in Indonesia". (ebf)

 

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