Monday, August 18, 2014


The Jakarta welcome (selamat datang) statue.

Obvious inequalities.

I spent most of Thursday at the church office building at Jalan Senopati. I had a long list of follow up questions for Subandriyo for parts of my book already written. We then spent quite a bit of time talking about how the Mormon Church has gradually become better accepted in Indonesia. I will use some of his ideas in my conference presentation in Bandung. This information will also be used in my book. One think that Subandriyo has championed is having the Church reach out to other communities to build friendship and bridges. He gave me a t-shirt to illustrate his point. These shirts were worn in Central Java where the youth wing of NU (the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia) and Mormons joined forces in post-Merapi eruption rebuilding of latrines and water systems.

Friday I visited the national museum. Never been there before. A few highlights:

Portuguese territorial marker

Portuguese cannons called Mariam after Santa Maria who Portuguese sailors prayed to for protection in battle.

Many Buddhist and Hindu carvings.

The coming of many different religions plus pottery from Vietnam, China, Thailand and Burma are indicative of Indonesia as a crossroads.

Models of the varied houses of the archipelago.

My favorite Hindu deity.

One of many ancestor statues. Offerings for protection and blessings are still made to such images in many areas of Indonesia.

Statue of the last king of the Island of Lombok who was imprisoned by the Dutch for resisting in battle their rule.

Javanese gamelan.

The ceremonial bedroom of Dewi Swi, the goddess of rice. Rice was stored over night in bedrooms like this prior to it being used as an offering to Dewi Sri as a sign of thanks and a hope for continued blessings.

Large map of Indonesia's many ethnic groups.

Before I had time to see the exhibits in the modern wing, the museum closed early for Friday prayers. Good thing it did. I was then able to happen upon a passing protest parade challenging the recent results of the presidential elections in which rising star Jakarta Governor Jokowi won narrowly over old guard Prabowo, former general and ex-son-in-law of president Suharto.

Groups of soldiers, unions and others were bussed in to protest in front of the Constitution Court.

There were police and soldiers on guard just in case something happened, but it turned out to be a peaceful affair. After, and even during the rally, groups would split off to go and eat boxed lunches. One groups had an extra lunch (curried ramen noodles and boiled egg) so they invited me to sit down on the sidewalk and join them. We had a good visit about politics and then about religion with a few others.

One of my lunch buddies.

 Post protest happiness.

I then visited (also another first for me)  the top of the national monument (Monas). Built by non-aligned President Sukarno to be taller than the Washington Monument.

The view south.

The US Embassy sits just south of Taman Merdeka (Independence Square) which surrounds Monas.

The view to the west. The large pool is for the now defunct nightly showing of a sound, water and light show. We used to visit the dancing water show as missionaries in hopes of meeting families willing to have us come and visit them.

The view north to the port the old dutch part of town.

To the Northwest is the Istiqlal mosque (the largest mosque in SE Asia and the neighboring Dutch built Catholic cathedral.

Eastward view.

These tourists from Sumatra ask to have their photo taken with me. I took their photo in return.

Waiting in line to go down the elevator.

There is a museum in the base of Monas with several dozen diorams about Indonesia history. This one is of Kartini teaching school. She was the daughter of a nobelman and advocated education for girls back in the late 1800s.

Building Borobudur

The "act of free choice" whereby less that 1,000 elite of Papua (under great pressure from the Indonesian military who had forced the Dutch out) voted to join Indonesia.

Two of the dioramas showed how local Protestants and Catholics supported the nationalist movement.

Later that day I met up again with Subandriyo at the office of former foreign minister and good friend of the LDS Church Alwi Shihab. One of his assistants is Iksan whose wife Rumtini came to BYU for her PhD in education. At that time their son Ilham was just a young boy. It was good to see them again.

With two men, one Muslim, one Mormon who both have a vision of an Indonesia where religion is not a divisive issue. Alwi Shihab once gave a wonderful devotional at BYU. He preaches Muslim-Christian friendship and cooperation. I hope Jokowi, who he has advised, asks him to be the minster of religion.

After the meeting I rode on the back of Subandriyo's motor cycle in and out of the car crowded streets of Jakarta to their house for nice dinner of Indonesian favorites.

Saturday morning I rode the busway (commuter bus with a designated lane) to visit the Istiqlal mosque and national cathedral. Many of the buses are elongated and there is a non required separation of the sexes. Women always sit and stand up front. Lots of hand phones in use.

This do not sign suggests why it is the women stay away from men. Do not smoke, do not eat or drink, do not touch women.

Bought some more manggis (left) and salak (right)

The mosque was being used by 1,000 visiting lurah (district heads) who were being taught by the Imam of the mosque.

Allah = God (for both Muslims and Christians)

Breaking the chains of occupation in celebration of West Papua joining Indonesia.

The Ministry of Religion that has caused a lot of grief for Mormon missionaries trying to get visas. 

Diponogoro, independence leader against the Dutch.

Lots of guards with nothing to do.

Went into the fancy Indonesia Plaza mall to exchange money and happened upon this store. Too bad Joel and Will weren't with me and too bad they didn't bring lots of money.

Saturday evening I guest taught the institute class using slides from our church history road trip (they are studying Church History this year). I also introduced them, via stories and photos, to some of the early pioneers of the LDS Church in Indonesia. It was a fun evening. Before that I went to dinner with Juswan and Aischa Tandiman and two of their daughters.

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