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Jakarta Post

Democratic Indonesia exemplifies truly Asia

  • Niruban Balachandran

Jakarta   /   Tue, June 4 2019   /  12:52 am

On a warm day in 1951, my grandfather and his family landed at the old Jakarta Kemayoran Airport to begin his diplomatic service for five years at the Ceylon (as it then was, now Sri Lanka) Embassy in Indonesia. “It was one of the most joyful times of my life,” he used to tell me when I was a child. “The Indonesian people were so friendly.” With the diplomatic rank of chancellor, during the Sukarno era my grandfather studied the Indonesian language and forged strong relationships between Sri Lankan and Indonesian officials. He enrolled my mother and uncles in the new Jakarta Intercultural School, opening with a dozen students.After my grandfather retired from the Sri Lanka Overseas Service, he still embodied the qualities of excellence, public service, dignity and honor that still inspire me today. As an American of Sri Lankan descent growing up in California, I would sometimes s...