How much does the average Australian know about Indonesia? Not the tourist version, with its resorts and beaches and lacklustre nasi goreng – but the wider culture, history, and people. At best, Indonesia is a tantalising enigma to most Australians. At worst, it is ignored – a vast nation about which we neither know nor care, despite its importance as one of our closest neighbours.
Christine Piper is a freelance writer and editor. Her articles, reviews, and short stories have been published in various newspapers, magazines, journals, and anthologies. She was the 2013 Alice Hayes writing fellow at Ragdale in the United States. She wrote a longer version of this essay for her Doctor of Creative Arts degree at the University of Technology, Sydney, in addition to a novel, After Darkness, about Japanese civilian internment in Australia. Born in South Korea to a Japanese mother and Australian father, she moved to Australia when she was one. She has previously taught English and studied Japanese in Japan, and currently lives in New York with her husband. See: www.christinepiper.com
From the New Issue
West Island: Five twentieth-century New Zealanders in Australia by Stephanie JohnsonReviewed by Brian Matthews
Changing Fortunes: A history of the Australian treasury by Paul TilleyReviewed by Geoffrey Blainey