Fri, 25 Apr 2003

Opening a window into little-known Indonesia

Ed Masters, Washington DC

I join the many other friends and admirers of The Jakarta Post in extending my very best wishes and congratulations on the happy occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Post. I have been an avid reader of the Post since it began publishing 20 years ago, and the newspaper is unquestionably the best way for those of us far removed from Jakarta to keep up with fast-moving developments in Indonesia.

When I founded the United States-Indonesia Society nearly 10 years ago, one of my early acts was to subscribe to the Post. All of us in the office read it daily from beginning to end to get insights on fast-moving, complex developments in the world's fourth most populous nation.

We then put the paper in our small but growing library where it was available to other friends of Indonesia in the Washington area. We are now able on an even more timely basis to keep up with the news on the Post's excellent website.

In the short span of 20 years The Jakarta Post has become one of the best and most respected English-language journals in Southeast Asia. Your reporting is insightful, thorough and balanced. I know if I read something in the Post that I am getting an accurate picture of what is going on.

Among other things, I congratulate the Post on its outstanding year-end summaries of developments. These are among the best anywhere, and they become a permanent part of my personal library. I also have been honored on several occasions by having my speeches or op-ed articles printed in the Post.

You are making a significant contribution to better understanding at home and abroad of a nation which is far too little understood in my own country. I wish the Post and its staff continued success in the years ahead as you continue to report on the new, democratic Indonesia. Through the Post, we will be able to follow Indonesia's progress.

(The writer, a former U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, is co- chairman of the United States-Indonesia Society.)