“Know Indonesia, know thyself”

In a thoughtful and eloquent article titled “Know Indonesia, know thyself” in The Interpreter (Lowy Institute), Ariel Heryanto argues that study of Indonesia and the Indonesian language is an affordable path to self-discovery for near-neighbour Australians. Command of a language, he says, is “not just about collecting more or new knowledge about other people, or greater control over relations with them.” It also means “participating in social relations in an extremely complex world of unequals.” It can be a path to self-discovery. “You cannot say you have mastered a new language if you have not discovered a brand new world, and your new self in it, through the experience of learning it.”

Ariel Heryanto is an Associate Professor in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. Read the full text of his article at:


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