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Indonesia, country of outsiders

Winternachten 1 -
Paul van der Gaag, Andreas Harsono en Tash Aw  - foto Serge Ligtenberg
Paul van der Gaag, Andreas Harsono en Tash Aw  - foto Serge Ligtenberg

The Malaysian writer Tash Aw and the Indonesian journalist Andreas Harsono talk about Indonesia as a country of purely outsiders. The characters in Aw's latest novel, Map of the Invisible World, all belong in Indonesia, while being outsiders at the same time. Aw's first novel, The Harmony Silk Factory also was on outsider, but then it dealt with the position of the Chinese in Southeast Asia. Non-fiction writer Andreas Harsono works as a journalist in Indonesia, and in addition writes for a Malaysian paper. He is busy writing a book with the meaningful title A Nation in Name: Debunking the Myth of Indonesian Nationalism. In the discussion we take the year 1964 in Aw's novel as a starting-point, the year in which Indonesia balanced on the verge of civil war. From there the writers, travelling through time, look at the country with the eyes of outsiders. Who was an outsider, and when? How did they view Indonesia? What does it look like now: who are the outsiders today, and who is 'within'? Host: VPRO radio journalist Paul van der Gaag. In English