I'm getting really frustrated.
In case you're wondering, it's not 'Er Indoors and nor is it my erstwhile employers who, thankfully for me and other colleagues-in-distress, keep screwing up.
Nope, it's the fact that I've not yet been able to publish my bit of an obit of Suharto. Everyone else seems to have rewritten theirs and published not expecting to be damned. After all, what can the old man do now, eh?
Actually he doesn't have to do anything; given his history of miraculous cures since his abdication, maybe he's lying in his bed keeping note of all those cronies and acolytes who turn up to stare at his mottled visage. Those who were definitely less than loyal but do turn up - step forward former President and Mrs. Habibie - aren't allowed into his sick bay. (They had to gloat from the room next door before flying back to Germany.)
And those he suspects of being less than loyal who don't actually turn up had better watch out. And those who he knows hate him yet do turn up ~ well, better the devil you know, eh?
Of course, he can lie in a vegetative state and continue to haunt us all while his cronies and acolytes scurry around like headless chickens wondering what fate awaits them once he's finally carted off to his marble mausoleum.
TB of the Jakarta Urban Blog
has put together a very thorough piece with some interesting asides, including the fact that I didn't include anything about dukuns
in Culture Shock! Jakarta
. By and large, this is an impenetrable bit of culture and, non-skeptic that I am although as mystified as most westerners about such powers, I preferred to leave it alone.
TB writes: Make of this what you will but apparently it is hard for Soeharto to die
. And this is as much to do with the hold that the spirit world has over his soul. If he is/was truly evil, then according to Jamma who comments on Indonesian Matters
it may be because Soeharto can’t die so easily cause he’s got too much ilmu, some designated person will have to cross a river with Soeharto’s underpants on their head so he can die.
I like that image and would like it to be known that at my wake I'd like my family and friends to celebrate by wearing my underwear on their heads ~ washed or unwashed, it's up to you, lah
You see, Suharto is/was a great believer in the power of ilmu
, the magic power passed on by gurus. It is generally known that, connected as he was through his missus, Madame Tenpluspersent, to the ancient kraton
(palace) of Surakarta, he was in touch with Javanese mystics. Whether he himself has/had magic powers is immaterial. Much of the population were kept in a feudalistic state during his regime, partly through cultural performances such as wayang golek
(shadow puppet plays) which were only allowed - by the military whose dwifungsi
(dual function) gave them power over the population - if they extolled the virtues and programmes of Suharto. The peasants had limited schooling, little access to the world beyond their community so they had no reason not to believe in the spirit world.
The Javanese are/were the bedrock of Suharto's support. However, 'Er Indoors informs me that Suharto also visited dukuns
in Aceh and in North Sumatra he familiarised himself with the Batak Karo who, unlike other Batak 'clans', don't claim to be Christian or Muslim, but accept the most powerful influences. We may presume from this that Suharto wanted to absorb such 'powers' that could provide a shield against forces that opposed him, including the Acehnese who long waged guerrilla warfare seeking independence. Mind over matter?
So, until death do finally part us from the Godfather of Devilment, and I can summon up enough access to the internet for me to upload my red hot vitriolic obit, I recommend the following "This Is Not An Obit" posts so you can see that others have maybe said what I want to say:Metro MadGreen StumpBambang Aroengbinang