Indonesian “independence” was initially realised with the help of Japan

For years now the Indonesians have been bragging that they gained independence through the “blood and sweat” of Revolution from the Dutch, and that Malaysian independence was literally handed over “on a silver platter” by the British. The true story behind Indonesian “independence”, however, is that it was initially realised with the help of Japan during World War II.

“In March 1945, Japan organized an Indonesian committee (BPUPKI) on independence. At its first meeting in May, Soepomo spoke of national integration and against personal individualism; while Muhammad Yamin suggested that the new nation should claim British Borneo, British Malaya, Portuguese Timor, and all the pre-war territories of the Dutch East Indies. The committee drafted the 1945 Constitution, which remains in force, though now much amended. On 9 August 1945 Sukarno, Hatta, and Radjiman Wediodiningrat were flown to meet Marshal Hisaichi Terauchi in Vietnam. They were told that Japan intended to announce Indonesian independence on 24 August. After the Japanese surrender however, Sukarno unilaterally proclaimed Indonesian independence on 17 August. A later UN report stated that four million people died in Indonesia as a result of the Japanese occupation.”

Bolded emphasis are my own. The citation above is pretty much self-explanatory.

It is true, however, that the Indonesians were engaged in a protracted war with the Dutch when they returned to the Indonesian islands after 1945. However, by this time Indonesia was already de jure an independent state (with the help of Japan) which was not recognised by the Dutch. Hence the Dutch invaded the islands and the rest is, as they say, history. That is the “Revolution” which ultra-nationalistic Indonesians speak of in no uncertain terms.

It is amusing, however, that when Indonesians accuse Malaysia of having gained independence “with the help of the British”, they suffer a short-term memory loss by failing to realise that one could also say the same for them, that they had gained independence “with the help of Japan”!

Indon means Indonesia

There have been claims by some Indonesians that the abbreviation “Indon” which Malaysians commonly use to refer to Indonesians (and Indonesia in general) is some sort of discriminating slur. Some have even gone as far as to say that “Indon” means “slave” or “whore” in Arabic (a totally fictional claim). When I first came across this argument, I laughed it off as some sort of sick joke. But apparently the Indonesian media have whipped up such disinformation to such an extent that it became “common knowledge” to the Indonesian layman, without truly understanding the meaning of the term. Continue reading →