Customs and Values
Shouts and rounds
The fear of inferiority
Odd facts of Australia
Important social rules
A time to be sombre and to not
Siding with the loser
Mogrels, wogs, andlarrikins
Dealing with extremists
A system to beat the bookies
Ugg and more
Landscape and Identity
Creativity in the kitchen
The art of science
Once were popular
Pushing the boundaries
Indonesia and Australia
||240,271,522 (July 2009 est.)
|| 20,600,856 (July 2008 est.)
|GDP per capita ($US)
||$3,900 (2008 est.)
|| $36,300 (2007 est.)
|GDP - composition by sector:
services: 70.6% (2007 est.)
||28.6% of GDP (2008 est.)
|| 15.4% of GDP
||Javanese 40.6%, Sundanese 15%, Madurese 3.3%, Minangkabau 2.7%, Betawi 2.4%, Bugis 2.4%, Banten 2%, Banjar 1.7%, other or unspecified 29.9% (2000 census)
|| White 92%, Asian 7%, Aboriginal and other 1%
||Japan 20.2%, US 9.5%, Singapore 9.4%, China 8.5%, South Korea 6.7%, India 5.2%, Malaysia 4.7% (2008)
|| Japan 19.6%, China 12.3%, South Korea 7.5%, US 6.2%, India 5.5%, NZ 5.5%, UK 5% (2006)
Evidence of hominid occupation in Indonesia dates back 850,000 years. The first group were Homo erectus. Some theories propose some remnant populations evolved into the Hobbit on the Island of Flores where they prevailed until 10,000 years ago. Some theories propose Homo erectus evolved into Homo sapiens. Other theories propose that Homo sapiens emerged from Africa 200,000 years ago and then wiped out the Indonesian Homo erectus.
Around 2,000 years ago, Austronesian people started migrating to Indonesia from Taiwan. 700 years later, Hinduism and Buddhism were introduced as a result of some kind of cultural interaction with mainland Asia. In the 13th century, Islam started taking hold and progressively became the dominant religion.
In the 17th century, Holland began colonising Indonesia. In World War 2, the Dutch were forced out by Japanese invaders. After the Japanese were defeated, Indonesia argued for independence. Ironically, the boundaries it argued for were those that had the Dutch as a common oppressor. As a consequence, Portuguese East Timor, which was linguistically and racially quite similar to the largest Javanese racial group, did not become part of Indonesia, while West Paupua who were more racially and linguistically different, did.
In 1975, Indonesia decided that East Timor should be part of Indonesia and duly invaded.
Evidence of hominid occupation of Australia dates back around 60,000 years. The diverse range of skeletons unearthed in Australia indicates that there was extensive migration over the next tens of thousands of years. There does not; however, appear to be evidence of migration from Austroesian people to Australia. Perhaps this was because the harsh soils and poor climate of Australia were not conducive to the farming lifestyles that the Austroesians favoured.
There is evidence that Chinese reached Australia in the 15th century, Portuguese in the 16th and Dutch in the 17th. The poor soils were perhaps the disincentive to stay. Additionally, most European powers wanted to trade or take something from a country and Australia offered nothing that Europeans wanted.
In the 18th century, the English decided that Australia would make a good place to dump criminals. Despite wanting a dump, English colonial mentality was very different from the Dutch, French, Spanish and Portuguese in that the English liked to build. Consequently, rather than just dump Convicts and then sail away, the English used them to build roads, schools and bridges and other infrastructure. Once the urban infrastructure had been created, free migrants followed.
Colonialism and national identity
Different attitudes to the place of Papua and Irian Jaya (West Papua) in their respective countries indicate some of the different attitudes to colonialism and nationalism between Indonesia and Australia. Irian Jaya became part of Indonesia because the Javanese and the tribes of Irian Jaya shared the Dutch as a common master. Papua New Guinea became part of Australia because the Australians and Papua New Guineas shared the British as a common master.
When a few leaders in Papua New Guinea asked Australia for independence in the 1970s, the Australian government quickly said yes. When a few leaders in West Papua asked Indonesia for independence, the Indonesian government refused. Today, Indonesia is dealing with a succession movement.
The average Indonesian wants Irian Jaya to stay part of Indonesia for nationalistic reasons. Like much of Asia, they are attracted to the idea of strength and power. They want their country to be as large as possible. The same compulsion does not drive Australia. So much so, if a state wished to leave Australia, citizens of the other states would probably be let go without much of a fuss. This almost happened in 1933 when 68 per cent of West Australians voted in favour of seceding from the Commonwealth of Australia. It was only a delay by Britain in giving official approval that prevented the new country from being formed. In the delay, West Australians decided they didn't really care that much either way. Reflecting the indifference the potential loss of WA caused, very few Australians in the eastern states even know the referendum occurred.
Admittedly, there were also some economic differences that made the Australian government more receptive to an independent PNG than the Indonesian government to an independent West Papua. Specifically, if PNG had remained part of Australia, the Australian government would have had to provide welfare, policing, health services, education and other infrastructure. Meanwhile, other countries would be criticising it for its destruction of PNG culture, and holding it responsible for PNG social problems. In contrast, Indonesia can just exploit Irian Jaya’s resources without providing much in return. Because it is a third world country, it is not expected to provide economic and social infrastructure.
Although both Indonesia and Australia are multicultural countries, multiculturalism means different things in each. In Indonesia, multiculturalism refers to a mosaic of different cultures living together. In Australia, multiculturalism basically means lots of people with different coloured faces living together.
In policy, the Australian government strongly supports policies of migrants maintaining their identities, but in practice, these identities are usually left behind far more rapidly than is seen in Indonesia.
The different cultural identities of descendants of Chinese migrants in each country provide some ideas in regards to how policies of multiculturalism have affected individuals. In Indonesia, 4th and 5th generation descendants of Chinese migrants have managed to preserve their motherland's culture and their identity as Chinese. Marriage between Indonesian and Chinese is quite rare. In Australia, by the second and third generation, the Chinese identity has usually been eroded. Furthermore, marriage between the Chinese descendant and a different group is common. In a nutshell, in Indonesia, Chinese migrants and their descendants have had a tendency to cocoon themselves (or have been cocooned.) In Australia, they have integrated (or been integrated.)
Indonesia is predominantly a Muslim country, which can cause some friction when Indonesians encounter liberals from Australia. As a Muslim country, Indonesia frowns upon the consumption of alcohol, homosexuality and the display of flesh by women. In contrast, Australians drink a lot of alcohol, have gay politicians, have a homosexual street party that receives government and media support, and Australian women are accustomed to wearing very little clothing.
The morality clash indirectly led to the 2003 Bali Bombings. Because Bali is predominately Hindu and quite open to sexuality, for years it has attracted Australian tourists wanting to enjoy the beach, cultural diversity, with the added chance of some sexual encounters. The Bali Muslims; however, were not been endeared to such Australians and to make a statement, they exploded two bombs in Bali nightclubs.
Complaints about cultural comparisons
Emotion & innovation
Group vs individual
Tradition & change
Cults of multiculturalism
Warden & Convicts
Thinkers and Drinkers
Immigration and emmigration
Samurai & Convicts
Convicts vs Do gooders
Papua New Guinea
Chiefs and Elites
Kaffirs and Convicts