The Spectre Haunting the New Order

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November 1996

This article was made possible by a unexpected confluence of circumstances – a supplementary credit card from my father Chittarajan Kuttan, no day job so I could travel on whim, Joan Bungar (a Singaporean fellow masters student who was working at the ASEAN Secretariat who let me stay at her house and occasional gave me money), earlier encounters with Indonesian and Australian activists on the East Timor question for which I had written an earlier article) – that allowed me to roam about Jakarta and meet extraordinary people who spoke to a young, inexperienced journalist. A pall hung over Jakarta following the deadly attack on the PDI Headquarters and that was the story I felt I had to tell. Without much money or a handphone, but with a few introductions, I was able to learn so much from the people like the late Aristides Katoppo (who features as a character in the movie “Gie”) who invited me to his home, or Daniel Dhakidae who I met at his office in Kompas.

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