Sat, 08 Oct 1994

Response to de Jong

Referring to Mr. de Jong's letter in The Jakarta Post, Oct. 5, 1994.

Sir, you were wrong to assume that I wrote about the lack of money being the reason why I was barred from joining an all-white school. You said that there are always differences between the rich and the poor. I agree completely. This has happened (and still happens) throughout the history of mankind all over the world.

What I was referring to as being the main reason why I was barred was the color of my skin, not just my financial status. I am surprised that a "knowledgeable" man who knows Indonesia better than 99 percent of the indigenous Indonesians can misinterpret this very important difference in categories. If it was done intentionally it again reflects the C.P.K-a (you guessed it: condescending, patronizing, know-all) attitude .

Concerning Multatuli's Max Havelaar. I suggest you reread it because, in my view, Multatuli criticized the Dutch colonial government for putting inappropriate people in leading positions in the first place. While the movie, in fact, disguised that. I love the book, I can even recite parts of it by heart but I resent the movie. The movie expressed your opinion of the book. There is a clear political mission in the movie to discredit the Indonesians again. It highlighted the misbehavior of certain persons towards their own bangsa (people) only. Not the why and the how!

And according to me this trivializes and doesn't do justice to the greatness of Multatuli's work.