Introduction: A Changing Indonesia Maribeth Erb Kathleen M. Adams Department of Sociology Department of Sociology & Anthropology National University of Singapore Soka University of America Dramas of Uncertainty It was a late afternoon in December 1998, on Kuta Beach, Bali, roughly six months after the abrupt end of an era in Indonesian history, the reign of President Suharto. An Indonesian man clad in black set down his black case, pulled out a loudspeaker and started beckoning passers-by to gather and witness his soon-to-begin display. His amplified voice boomed incessantly as he touted his credentials and expertise. As he spoke, he carefully marked off a six by six metre "stage" in such a way that viewers would not be able to see closely what was to transpire in the centre. He was an army man, he told us, and with his postings all over Indonesia he knew the dangers, particularly in this time of uncertainty. He had discovered in his travels a foolproof way of protecting himself. He then directed the spectators' attention to his assistant, a long-haired, emaciated individual, whom he introduced as a Dayak, well versed in the ancient Dayak arts of protection and defence. He boasted
Asian Journal of Social Science – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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