‘Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation’ Review
Hi, my name is Mashuri Rachmad from Jakarta Indonesia. I am an engineer in one of Satellite telecommunications operators in Jakarta. My job requires me to travel around Indonesia and experience the unique and beauty of Indonesia. During my spare time, I create a travel blog to share and tell the world about the beauty of Indonesia.
This time I will review a book about Indonesia by Elizabeth Pisani entitled ‘Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation’.
Elizabeth Pisani is a writer from England who has dozens years of experience in Indonesia. She is not an “expert about Indonesia” from Cornell or the Australian National University but she is a journalist (ex Reuter) and also the health sciences expert with a PhD from the UK.
In her book, Pisani wrote about the history of Indonesia, and also her journey to various parts of Indonesia, which she did after about 25 years as a journalist and epidemiologist. In the hands of Elizabeth Pisani, her journey exploring Sumba, Sawu, Tual, Central Halmahera, Sangihe, Bau-bau in East Indonesia, Aceh, Jambi and Pontianak in western Indonesia, has become a compelling story.
At first I was wondering what she is looking for by travelling alone for years to various regions in Indonesia. I suspect she wills only get the writings about the exotic natural beauty of Indonesia as well as the feet are aching and burning skin.
This book provides a wonderful way to understand a country, which were represented by one of the seventeen thousand islands that exist, such as the islands of Java and Bali. A fantastic book peppered with funny parts and a wonderful meeting with various types of people.
This is a book that successfully summarizes the various things that need to be known by people who want to know about Indonesia including Indonesian people who want to know about their own country. This insight on many levels; personal, cultural, social, political and economic. If you harbored the desire to explore Indonesia but never had the time, Elizabeth has been doing that for you.
When I was busy arguing in social media or online forums about BPJS and Indonesia Healthy Card, Elizabeth was talking to an old lady who had to sail for 3 days to reach districts in Maluku who could treat her disease. The old mother did not go to Kupang, which is closer and has complete medical equipment, just because she is registered as a resident of the province of Maluku.
When I discussed about “marine highway” in Eastern Indonesia, Elizabeth was talking to a fisherman on Sangihe, which sell tuna to buyers in General Santos, Philippines who are willing to pay more expensive just because the buyers have direct access to export the tuna directly to Japan.
When I am proud that the festival culture emerging in various places, Elizabeth is carefully observed that festivals is more often become a showcase of the power of the regents, and not a serious effort to preserve local culture.
The interesting part of this book is the author’s adventure story. However the most interesting part is her criticism to the Indonesian economic observers and analysts, who observes Indonesia from Jakarta or Hong Kong.
Elizabeth Pisani is not an expert of Indonesia, even after the book is published. But I think she is an expert because she might be the first person doing the exploration throughout the territory of Indonesia, preceded Jokowi (Indonesian President) who had do it in Solo and Jakarta.
This book is very useful for those of you who want to know Indonesia and inspiring for those of you who have an adventurous spirit.
Where to Buy
This book can be purchased from various online stores, but Amazon makes it available for only $20.31 or 25% less than the list price ($26.95), meaning you can save a valuable $6.64 (Click here for more details) . Moreover, Amazon also offers some interesting buying options such as free shipping, warehouse deals, six-month financing, super saver shipping, and more.