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It is also society at present. This is a series of interviews with experts on Asian affairs designed to strengthen our understanding of Asian people and ideas. Your most on this transcribed series is the noted author on the ward winning broadcaster Lee Graham. Here now is Mrs. Graham. If you like islands I think that Indonesia would be the place for you to go. It has at least three thousand islands which are inhabited and many more which are not. It's. It contains one of the world's most beautiful islands. Bali it's a country which if you transposed it to the United States would stretch in length from California I think all the way to the eastern seaboard. It's a 10000 miles to New York with planes no there's no difficulty in getting there. But to tell you much more about this country we have just the right guest I think on this program and he is you say who is the information officer at the Consulate General of Indonesia in New York City. Mr. ave
you were saying that unfortunately these days you cannot spend much time in Indonesia. What do you miss about your country. Why are you here. Well most of all of course is to food. It is very hard for us in our nations when we come far away from home. To get our own food. But I must say that in the year that I spent now in the United States especially in the city the city of New York. But after some exploration in the city that I found a lot of similarities in our food which we can obtain in Chinatown. But aside from that I can tell you very much very well that I feel very very much at home in this beautiful city. But I think you know I don't know you know well I think you would be welcome and at home in any city. You seem to have an adaptability. Well of course that's one of the requirements in my job as I told you in the previous conversation which we have prior to this interview
I have arrived here a year and a half ago and it is my first assignment working for what you would call the State Department in the show we call it the Department of Foreign Affairs. And naturally I consider and most of us then especially the June edition diplomats in the country of Indonesia consider New York served a certain a very high prized assignment and getting New York is my first assignment. I cherish very much. I have been to your country a few times before on my trips and I must say I'm not a stranger in town. Yes in your country of Indonesia there is a diversity of people so I understand is the majority of the people Malaysian in origin. And then there are Chinese Indian and other groups. Yes the city of New York in particular will
have a lot of similarities with Indonesian sites and the fact of course that the city of New York is composed of immigrants. Indonesia as a whole consists of many peoples. Basically the MLA. We have many other ethnic groups. We have 3 million Chinese on the whole. Indonesia has the fifth largest population in the world right of the United States with the hundred and fifteen million people and aside from the Malay people which we have in Sumatra and in Java. We have also the need to be on it all the Melanesians in the eastern part of Indonesia. One of the second largest island in this entire world I think is the island of New Guinea of which half of it which we call western New Guinea in Indonesia it's called bought out in this part of Indonesia. We have people's which you
could compare with the Africans. And in spite of all these different kinds of people different ethnic groups was entirely different cultures with entirely different tones. I must say that we have been able in the very short span of time that we have become the Republic of Indonesia. We have been able to mold them into a unity. You don't have sectional differences and minority complaints. One person feeling that it's not getting the same rights as the other. I think in any country in the world you will have to yes. And certainly when a country is divided in islands you're bound to have that. This of course is also a thing of the past and most of all the colonial past as you know we have been three hundred and fifty years colonized by the Dutch and that was about 100 you know three hundred and fifty years. Yes
going back 16 0 2 I think in Indonesia they were not the first Europeans to arrive. The Portuguese with after the Spaniards the Dutch and the short spell We also had the British but most of all we have been colonized by the Dutch by the Dutch and you can of course ask yourself that such a tiny spot on the map like hollandaise. Were they ever able to rule Indonesia which is almost the size of the United States in distances. It is they have done so by divide and rule and it is for that reason that we have legacies of the past that we have cause differences of opinion where one I meant or one people will feel neglected or not enough given the share which they feel that they should. But I think that that is the same in any we would call it even in a family. If for example I would come
from a family of seven children I am positive that in a growing up. But I will if I for example am number five that I will feel at some time. But number three is getting more attention than I do. And we like to see it in this pattern and in this spirit that the differences of opinion and the differences which do exist between different kinds of people of different islands. But this is just the differences of opinion between brothers and sisters. As long as it doesn't destroy the family and in the same light doesn't destroy the country that's fine but sometimes these differences really rent a country apart. You know we had of course we had one. Experience and this is some 10 years ago. Nine hundred fifty seven fifty eight where we indeed had a summary balance but that luckily is a thing of the past. And if you look on the map of souses Asia you will see
that in the Nisha I see matter of fact is one of it geographically speaking and also strategically speaking one of the most important and he has in the world in that part of the world because we are considered as the giant stepping stones to conquer continents we are one step we are on the Asian continent and on the other. One step down south and we are in Australia. Also we are sit situated between the two giant oceans the Pacific Ocean as well as the Indian Ocean. So it is for that reason that you know nature forms because of its size because of its population because of this strategic position forms absolutely the anchor off stability in that part of the world. And I do not wish at all to talk about the Vietnam question in my interview but. We like to say this and that of
Vietnam and we quite understand your preoccupation with it is still even if you have made peace in Paris. If these peace talks will prove successful in Paris who did it it will not necessarily settle the stability of Southeast Asia. It will do so for perhaps that part of the world which is if you look on the map. Vietnam is still a very very small country and we have been able as you know prior to 65 and our relations between United States of America and Indonesia detail data tremendously because of count of the Communist force in Indonesia. We were prior to 65 we had the largest Communist Party in the world in the entire world after the Soviet Union and China. 965 to state for the second time in the history of Indonesia a coup which luckily failed and I I can tell you one thing that Indonesia's
President Gul government has been able to completely lick the communist's for some time at least you know says Pato seems to have handled that very well. And let's hope those of us who oppose Communism and I think and many others. Let's hope he continues. What would you say the success of general based upon since other countries have not been able to do this is excessively his success is this this madness had no missions at all ever to become president. The man was absolutely placed by history. He was a general not an obscure general but he was certainly not one of the generals who would be you know rated as the man who could come after Sukarno. But you must not forget that 1945 until 1965 20 solid years. A country like Indonesia which has been
called very often one of the most richest countries in the world potentially you know natural resources in our name may I interrupt you a moment to say what some of those resources are. You can practically call I mean mention anything. We have oil we have copper we have sink we have box seats we have tin. We have all the plantation. What what plantations offer like opera. We have coffee tea sugar rubber. And mace of course you quite I'm sure you're very familiar with the history of your own country. And you know that Columbus as a matter of fact sailed out to look for a new route to despise islands. Yes and that is us. Yeah. And well these resources are brought out developed you think well above the Dutch Is there much that remains to be done when they were extremely well I think.
Yeah yeah you can if you tried and you didn't benefit particularly from that I just certainly not. I think that the entire If you go to Amsterdam or The Hague or any other Dutch city you can see that all the palaces and everything which was built there was to a great extent. With money earned from Indonesian exports. I mean I do not want to. What is that to say bad things about the Dutch No no you're absolutely good friends no no I know you don't want to be bitter about it but it's a matter of history it's not about history it's true. I absolutely agree with you but once again our fault that during those 20 years that when we took over that we were not in a position yet to take over the plantations and to take over the mines and to take over the administration complete in a smooth manner. Well the very simple reason that we wouldn't train for that. Yes again that is not your fault. You wanted to do it but it does
take time it takes the know how. It was General Sukarno who is the predecessor General Suharto. Did he neglect this in some way or was he not able to cope with it to cope with it I think I would like to put it that way but I think you absolutely need back to it. This man of course came out. As one of the champions of the national struggle against colonialism in 1945 right after SEC second world war. But to know how to govern a country to administer it you should put the emphasis on the well-being of the people. And one can't possibly. It filled the stomachs of any people in his world was just mere talk. Slogans and I think that much more has been given attention to politics and especially in foreign affairs because he wanted so much to be a world leader which to a certain extent he was proud to 665 it was
considered quite the champion among the Asian African group. But I think that that success perhaps has gone a little bit too far. And together with other conditions he has absolutely meet collected the economic part. And I think that it is this with which Dino nation people were fed up because promises promises promises. That was all this general Soeharto the new president which we had which we have now. It's a sensible realistic and pragmatic man. He does first things come first and not second things come first. What would you say that there's things are better every day life for people. Absolutely yes. Better education to feel a point want to feed people and to close the people. After all we have one hundred and fifteen million people to feed into cloth. We are going into five year
plan. On the 1st of April 1969 which is called The First Five Year Plan of Indonesia of this present government and the main emphasis has been laid on agriculture. The second on communications. Because for example if you now would talk about the United States if you would like to benefit from a close relationship let's say among the people of New York and among the people of Texas. If you can take a plane and you take a train. If you can't afford to train or a train you take a car and if not you can even walk. You know an initial It's impossible in nature you have to swim and to drown. So the first big obstacle in an Asia which we have to overcome is internal communications. And it is imperative that this is the first thing General Soeharto and this present government is putting emphasis and attention.
I noticed midst of a Speaking of communication is that one of your previous assignments was with Radio Republic Indonesia. In what shape is the radio in your country as it advanced quite a lot in the past say five or 10 years. It has advanced. If you look of course what has been 10 years ago what I don't know I mean by going to our stand by like Paris you have that you have we have and as I told you there I have been with the radio 940 54 from 1954 until 1960 with the spell of the year 57 58 I was a brute. The radio Republic Indonesia I think is certainly not on a standard like the American radio is. However we are trying to do our best we have local stations in practically all major islands and in the larger islands we have even many local local stations in the
cities. We are trying now experimenting with commercial radio. We do not have for example what you have here commercials in between or when big companies are buying time. You know fortunately you won it. Yes we do need the money. If you think its a good thought of a new Yes I guess absolutely a good source of revenue and we have started that with our TV. We have a few years ago started with TV. Unfortunately that is only available in Java is radio in the hands ever of private enterprise or government run. This is a very good question this is something which is very recent which has come up very recent We only when I was in radio we only had one which is government owned which is called I do a republic Indonesia. However after 1965 when Soeharto took over in 66. When we restore democracy when the freedom of the press was re-installed
when radio at that time was still in government hands. Private radio stations sprang up and I was told that after I had. Have gone from Indonesia within the past year quite a number of local stations have sprung up in the city of Jakarta. You have a large or small number of newspapers. We have too many. Why. It was a good sign. As you say eight years but however I would like to see this diminish because you see it is bad if you have had 16 or 20 or 30 30 newspapers voicing the voice of different groups of course all the political parties have it. The Army has it the Navy has it the Air Force have it the functional groups have it and so on and so on. But the newspapers in Indonesia have a tremendous shortage of. Paper and for that reason you will be surprised that if you go to Indonesia to do to find a newspaper which is
just two pages. And it did this in this form that every single newspaper in an E show is at this present moment. Point one because of the shortage in paper and we have so many to variety because we have the different groups still at work. I would like to see this simplified and streamline it for example all these groups would come together let's say to political parties or funk or functional groups if they would come together and build up a real big newspaper. Let me dot do any of these newspapers. Are they straight. Newspapers are giving the news that will of course some editorial comment why are they mostly in the organs of the groups that they represent. There is not a propaganda pieces. Well to a certain extent of cause. Like any newspaper in the world in the free world any newspaper I think voices to a certain extent the voice of the part of the people that it actually tries to keep it
out of its reporting of the news. Yes absolutely. The news is done. Straight news editorial of course voices. Yeah you know the voice of the party which owns it's or the publisher or whoever owns it that actually one of the interesting of the many interesting things you've said so far Mr. Ave was your reference to the Dutch. And you said that the Indonesian people are now on good terms with the Dutch which I think shows good sportsmanship on their part. They come back into your favor in some way. I tell you one thing colonialism of cause has been bad in the past. After 1949 when the sovereignty of Indonesia was recognized by the entire world and when all the countries in the world were recognizing and were dis in a nation the government of Indonesia and establishing diplomatic relations with us. After we talked about Westy and we shook hands with the Dutch and said let's get over it.
Let's be friends. And I can tell you one thing that for example at this present moment that after we shook hands with the Dutch. But at this present moment I do not think that there is any country in this world which is a better friend of in and out of Indonesia than Holland. And it's very gratifying to hear yes side from their colonial past which I'm afraid all countries of the Western world engage in in some extent. I think the Dutch are essentially a very decent and honorable people. He says my superficial impression of them in visiting them but I may be all wrong and so I think will change. Anyway is there much doubt you investment still in Indonesia. Do you get financial help and that yes very much so. After we open the doors for capital investment in an issue for foreign investment in Asia I can tell you that the Dutch percentage wise are one of the biggest investors in Indonesia and most of all as you know the talent which doesn't
have so much money exports though a lot of. People of experts to Indonesia can the Dutch own any business or property now in Indonesia almost that all come under the aegis of the Indonesian government. The Dutch are treated like any other foreign country in this world. They do not have special special rights but we have of course because we speak the language we speak Dutch. They are perhaps treated sentimental a perhaps a little bit better but I can tell you that under the law the Dutch can expect the same treatment as we give to the Americans or to any other country in this world who comes to Indonesia and to invest. Well final question Mr. Armey I know that you would enjoy having people from all parts of the visit Indonesia. What would you say is perhaps one of the two or three main attractions what with the good the visit to look forward to.
Naturally I speak as a very prejudiced person. And most of all I think the people I think the people of Indonesia are very warm and a very friendly people to recall the smiling nation in the world. If they're like you they must be. I didn't mean that I would say that one of the major of course international tourist attractions in this world is Bali. And if I may invite Mrs. and Mrs. Grey him. But you convey to your wonderful listeners over this country. I would like to invite them all to come to Bali and visit Indonesia and they can see for themselves. I think it's ambition of many people who have not been to that part of the world including one of my wishes. So we will all see you there some day. I sincerely hope so and it's been a great pleasure to have you here and I'm glad you enjoy your assignment in this country and I think you represent your country very well. Now our guest on this program has been yelp. And Mr. works at the in in the information section of the Consulate General of Indonesia in New York
City. This is Lee Graham saying goodbye and always with a reminder that although East is East and West is West we do think the time has come for the twain to meet. That concludes tonight's edition of the Asia Society presents with Lee Graham. This series comes to you through the cooperation of the Asia Society. If you would like to comment on tonight's program or would like further information about the society and how you can participate in its many interesting activities please write to Mrs. Graham at WNYC New York City 100 0 7 and make a note to join us again next week at this time for another edition of the Asia Society presents. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
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Asia Society presents
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
Asia Society presents is a series of programs from WNYC and The Asia Society. Through interviews with experts on Asian affairs, the series attempts to strengthen listeners understanding of Asian people and ideas. Episodes focus on specific countries and political, cultural, and historical topics.
Talk Show
Global Affairs
Race and Ethnicity
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Host: Graham, Leigh
Producing Organization: WNYC
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-6-17 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:25:17
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Chicago: “Asia Society presents; 17,” 1969-04-03, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
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