Moreover, before a national framework was laid upon them, the various regions experienced separate political and economic histories which still show in the current regional dynamics. Indonesia's national motto Bhinekka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) refers to the variety in the country's internal composition but also indicates that - despite all differences in its multicultural society - there is a true sense of unity (Indonesianness) among the people of Indonesia.
This Culture section of Indonesia Investments has as principal objective to provide the reader with essential background information on Indonesia with regard to various disciplines. This will significantly enhance people's understanding of the country. Comprehension of cultural aspects and country-specific dynamics are essential for sustainable and successful investments or when moving to a foreign country either for business or private reasons. This is especially applicable to Indonesia with its enormous cultural diversity and complexity.
How to Act Indonesian?
Indonesian cultures are very different from Western cultures as there exists a difference in experience, belief-systems, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, spatial relations, and much more. Moreover within Indonesian itself there exists a multitude of different cultures. This makes Indonesia a complex country, and therefore an interesting country. In this section we teach you some do's and don'ts for successful and efficient participation (socializing) in Indonesian society.
Read more about how to act Indonesian
In this series of columns we try to unfold something related to Indonesia's cultures, histories, politics and economy, moving a bit away from the mainstream topics and columns in our other sections. These columns are useful to those who take an interest in a wide variety of disciplines with regard to Indonesia. Each column can be regarded a starting point for readers to explore a specific topic.
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The Politics section contains a detailed overview of Indonesia's political history stretching from the pre-colonial period when Indonesia can be labelled a fragmented patchwork of indigenous states, to the long colonial period when the archipelago gradually transformed into a political unity, the independent Soekarno government in which politics dominated while economic policy took a backseat, the prolonged rule of Suharto's New Order which was characterized by a strong central government but weak civil society, and lastly the current era of Reformation.
Read more about politics in Indonesia
The emergence of Indonesia's integrated national economy was not a quick, natural process but rather a long and artificial one, shaped largely by pressures from foreign oppressors and then culminated in the centralized state of Suharto's New Order regime. This section covers the present state and structure of Indonesia's economy and discusses a number of important chapters in its economic history (such as the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s).
Read more about the economy of Indonesia
Religion plays an important role within Indonesian society and in the daily lives of the people. Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world but it also contains millions of people that adhere to other main world religions as well as more traditional animist belief systems. This section gives a description of the main religions in Indonesia, to wit Islam, Christianity (incl. Catholicism), Hinduism and Buddhism. It gives a historic framework and describes the current role of religion in the country.
Read more about Religions in Indonesia
The demographic composition and economic performance of any given country usually have a causal relationship as a young population would generally imply a potentially large workforce while a large mid-aged population (in their 40s and early 50s) would generally imply a potentially large consumer force. In this section attention is drawn to Indonesia's demographic composition, together with an analysis of its impact on the country's economic performance as well as its future prospects.
Read more about the population of Indonesia
In her essay, Afi reminded readers that a country filled with people who share the same faith does not guarantee harmony.
"Some time in the future, we will tell our children and grandchildren how this country was on the verge of division not because of bombs, weapons, bullets or missiles, but because its people fussed about their legacies on social media," Afi wrote.
The writer ended her essay by saying that "we don’t have to think alike, but let’s all think together."
Unlike people in the West who are free from pressure to freely choose their religion or even their name, most Indonesians are pressured to follow their "given identity."
Afi's essay came a time where recent tension surrounding religion and the rampant use of the word kafir (infidel) have caused division among Indonesian communities.
The essay also touched on the 1945 Constitution and Indonesia's official national motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), as the foundation of Indonesian ideology.
"From the perspective of Pancasila, every one is free to choose and practice their respective religion, but they do not have the right to impose their religion's perspectives and teachings as a benchmark [to evaluate] others who may believe differently," Afi wrote.
Drawing from her own experience, Afi said that she was taught that Islam is the one and only true religion. But as she grew up, she learned that other people believe that about their respective religions.
To further illustrate her point, the young writer quoted renowned Muslim poet Rumi: "The truth was a mirror in the hands of God. It fell, and broke into pieces. Everybody took a piece of it, and they looked at it and thought they had the truth."
Afi's essay has garnered praise for her maturity and wisdom, giving her audience a voice of hope and an alternative perspective on how to react to the seemingly divided environment, as opposed to reacting in anger and with blame.
Facebook users were quick to respond, many of whom expressed their appreciation and complimented Afi’s eloquent writing.
"Another intelligent essay…Which can only be understood clearly by them with an open mind and heart. Respect," Facebook user Ni Luh Junial wrote.
"Afi, reading your essay warms the hearts of every reader, I pray that you will be the next generation that the world can be proud of," Endang S wrote.
Afi shares her essays on Facebook regularly, touching on many different topics and aspects of life. She has more than 260,000 Facebook followers.