Today, 17 August 2017, Indonesia celebrates its 72nd Independence Day. It is a national public holiday and therefore all financial markets are closed. Indonesia Investments released a newsletter that is devoted to this historic day. This newsletter contains stories including Soekarno's struggle for Independence, the origin of Indonesia's national anthem, an overview of the colonial period, stories of national heroes, and more.
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Today's Headlines History
Lin Che Wei, CEO of the Jakarta Old Town Revitalization Corporation, said that renovation of the Kota Tua area is expected to be finished before the start of the 2018 Asian Games. Kota Tua (Old Batavia) is the oldest part of Jakarta, located in the northern part of Indonesia’s capital city, spanning 1.3 square kilometres, and used to function as the centre of Dutch colonial rule in the 17th and 18th century. Currently, however, many buildings in the Kota Tua area are in a state of near collapse although the area has great tourism potential.
At the end of last week, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (better known as Jokowi) inaugurated the Kota Tua revitalization program in North Jakarta. Kota Tua (Old Batavia) is the oldest part of Jakarta, spanning 1.3 square kilometres, and used to be the center of Dutch colonial rule in the 17th and 18th century (in the 19th century the Dutch moved its administrative center to the south). Today, Kota Tua still breathes a colonial atmosphere through the old architecture and museums, attracting tourists on a daily basis.
Latest Columns History
Those who have ever traveled across Indonesian cities have possibly come across Jalan MH Thamrin (Thamrin Street), a street that is usually located in the center of Indonesian cities. Most famously is the Thamrin Street in Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta. In Jakarta, the street runs from the capital’s iconic Monumen Nasional or Monas (National Monument) to the evenly iconic Bundaran Hotel Indonesia (Hotel Indonesia Roundabout).
Ki Hajar Dewantara (also known as Raden Mas Soewardi Soerjaningrat), 1889-1959, was a writer, columnist, politician and advocator of Indonesian independence from the Dutch colonial power. However, he may be most remembered for his pioneering role in the development of education in the Indonesian colony. A native of Yogyakarta (Java), Dewantara founded the Taman Siswa school in 1922 in Yogyakarta. This school provided education for native Indonesians, whereas previously education was limited to the Dutch colonials and Javanese aristocracy.
Abdul Muis (in old Indonesian spelling Abdoel Moeis), 1886-1959, was an Indonesian novelist, journalist and advocator of Indonesian independence from the Netherlands. As a novelist, Muis is most remembered for being the author of Salah Asuhan (Wrong Upbringing), a novel that is regarded as one of the great pieces of early modern Indonesian literature. As a journalist and freedom fighter, he is remembered for his blunt criticism toward the colonization of Indonesia. As a result he was arrested and spent several years in exile.
Next month it will be the 60th anniversary of the first Asian African Conference, held in the Gedung Merdeka in Bandung (West Java) between 18 and 24 April 1955. This conference, which is also known as the Bandung Conference, is regarded as a milestone as it was the first time an encounter took place among 29 Asian and African countries - many of which had just gained independence from western colonizers - with the aim to promote Afro-Asian economic and cultural cooperation as well as to oppose (neo)colonialism.
Today, exactly 49 years ago, Indonesian President Sukarno reluctantly signed a decree that gave full authority to army commander General Suharto to restore order, protect Sukarno and safeguard the Indonesian revolution. This decree, which would become the start of a brand new chapter in Indonesian history (the New Order) as it marked the transfer of executive power from Sukarno to Suharto, became known as Supersemar (Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret, or, the Decree of 11 March).
By the mid-1960s, politics and the economy of Indonesia had turned into disaster. After Independence in 1945 (and the cessation of hostilities with the Dutch in 1949), the young nation was plagued by hostile internal politics in which several political forces - consisting of the army, nationalists, Muslims, and communists - opposed each other. For over a decade, Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president, had reasonable success in keeping these forces in check by the force of his own personality. However, by the mid-1960s his failure became evident.
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