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A m e n r i a
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Postby A m e n r i a » Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:20 am

Rian Arvian | 2 hours ago
Wow, I'm glad the Indonesias of other universes still keep their culture alive. Can't wait to visit! :D

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The Empire of Amenria (亚洲帝国)


Sinocentric Asian theocratic absolute monarchy. Set 28 years in the future, Amenria reflects the prosperity that would be brought about by a real, modernist, Islamic government.


Save yourselves from yourselves.

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Hindia Belanda
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Postby Hindia Belanda » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:01 am

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Briefings for Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Speaking from a lectern at Fort Prins Frederik this morning, Alissa Moerdiana Hakim, the Commissioner of the Capital Territory Police, announced that a new face recognition technology will be tested in and around Weltevreden District, Jakarta, for three days. The announcement was met with concerns around privacy and a firm criticism by the Hindia Belandan advocacy group Privasi Untuk Semua. Antje Moeljani, the Prime Minister, and her cabinet took off from Koninstad early this morning after the biannual Royal Union conference of ministers to travel home. In the Dewan Deputi, the lower house of Parliament, Undersecretaries of State deputise their senior Ministers of the Crown who are flying home from Koninstad today. Laura Soedarmo, the Deputy Prime Minister and Undersecretary of State for General Affairs, said outside Nusantara Palace this morning that the Commonwealth Government would publish a white paper detailing its plans to develop border towns along the Maqtajeri-Hindia Belandan border. Ms Soedarmo said she would table the white paper in the Dewan Deputi tomorrow for a general debate. Anti-government protesters demanding a second independence referendum for Southeastern Malaya dispersed after an announcement was made by the Commonwealth Government that it was considering giving the autonomous territory more devolution. Thomas Dijkstra left the Orange Banner League after serving as its leader for three years, becoming an independent until the next General Elections.

Despite projections of slowing restaurant sales, Hindia Belandans are eating out more frequently than they did a year ago, a new study revealed. Almost half of the Commonwealth said that dining out is still preferable to preparing meals at home because of practical reasons. New ‘healthy restaurants’ are springing up in major cities of Hindia Belanda as clean eating fad takes hold across the Commonwealth. Hindia Belandan chef Yorgos Dremawan, writing in the Epicuria, warned of the 'cultish tones' to this clean eating fad. Halvestör Group was put under investigation following the arrest of Antara Soeparta, its former CEO and former adviser to the previous Hindia Belandan government, on charges of financial fraud. Hamida Sjahbaana, the Minister for Social Welfare, Public Health and Sports, said that she would mandate communes to collect household food waste separately in an attempt to reduce methane discharge. Shoppers began to storm the high-streets across the Commonwealth in time for Christmas, suggesting a surge in consumer confidence. Trading is set to open later this morning with a 0.2% rise of Hindia Belandan shares.


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Tanjung Keindahan Provincial Police are taking over the investigation of last Thursday’s incident at Covert, the hip beach club in Tanau, from Tanau Police. The beach club was closed Thursday evening after clubgoers reported being sick, with three of them taken to the nearby St Ignatius Hospital. Gde Agung, the Queen’s Commissioner for Bali, said he would not seek reelection in the upcoming Provincial Elections when his tenure ends in February, joining five other Queen’s Commissioners who are retiring from provincial politics in the coming year. Two terrorist plots had been foiled in the Province of Papoea in the last ten months, Poernomo Sugih, the Director-General of the Nationale Veiligheidsdienst, told Undersecretaries of State in Cabinet last night. Governor-General Maryam Rahmadisoerja and her family left Buitenzorg Palace this morning for Pulau Alba Island off the coast of Jakarta, where they will spend the next four days at Istana Menara Setan, one of six official residences at her disposal. Making her way to a helicopter on the grounds of Buitenzorg Palace this morning, the Governor-General told journalists she would give audience to members of the public at Buitenzorg Palace on Christmas Day, before hosting a dinner for dignitaries in the evening. She confirmed that she would not attend any church service and would give instead private audience to faith leaders at the Palace.

Story from across the sea
The City Corporation of Lendert said it would restore parts of Halton Street, which passes the Hindia Belandan Embassy to the Court of St Michael'sgate, that are in disrepair next Spring, the Regal Post reported.
Last edited by Hindia Belanda on Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Notre vie est un voyage, dans l'hiver et dans la nuit.
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Great Nortend
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Postby Great Nortend » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:52 pm

W. A. Allice | 15 hours ago
Sir:—Fancy reading about my home city from thousands of miles away; I do commend the Tribune for bringing the news of the world to us here in Hindia Belanda. I wonder if and do earnestly hope that the Corporation has repaved Devengate Street since I was last living there. It was always full of awful potholes. I must also say that this facial recognition technology seems rather audacious to me. I may find myself having to return to Nortend if Hindia Belanda begins to assault our freedoms!

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News from Great Nortend: https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=417866
Tourism and Q&A thread: https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=458726
Diplomacy, Embassies &c.: https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=417865
If you have any questions about Great Nortend, please ask in the diplomacy thread above.

This nation generally represents my personal views in most areas, though slightly exaggerated perhaps.

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Hiram Land
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Hiram Land » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:39 am

Alexander Monte [OHL] | 1 day ago
What happened to the Hindia Belandan Mweo Islands bought from HL? As the HL President, I request to know!

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United Nations of Earthlings Prime Minister!

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Hindia Belanda
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Postby Hindia Belanda » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:05 pm

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24 December 2018

The Yang Mulia Seri Paduka Yang Dipertuan Besar, Maryam Rahmadisoerja, has delivered her televised Christmas Message to the Commonwealth from Buitenzorg Palace. Read the full transcript below:

Almost ninety years ago, many Hindia Belandans celebrated their first Christmas as a free and independent nation. It was a year of immense joy, not only because of the great gift of freedom our forefathers were bestowed with on that August day, after having struggled resolutely for it, but also because it was the year our nation came together as one family, united at last in purpose and destiny.

That spirit of unity still rings true to this very day. From the easternmost to the westernmost reaches of the Commonwealth, Hindia Belandans of all faiths and ethnicities walk together on the streets tonight, as they do each year, to take part in the Christmas Eve Candlelit March, a very Hindia Belandan tradition which presses home the fact that we are but one people. But it was never an easy task to get where we are today and the path forward is still very long and challenging. For Hindia Belandans and Christians the world over, this is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and his effulgent light of hope which shone into a world of gloom over two millennia ago. Today, that light continues to radiate within us all and beckon this nation towards a better future.

Throughout this grand journey, we have shaped ourselves as a nation proud of its heritage, culture and national identity, as a nation that looks to the future with hope and optimism, remembering always the many valuable lessons that our past has taught us.

We find in the figure of Christ an exemplar of perseverance and forgiveness. It is important that we reflect on these qualities as we move forward together and greet the challenges which lie ahead with open arms, with the safe knowledge that this nation will forever remain as one. I hope that, in the coming year, we will also have time to reflect on what it means to be Hindia Belandans who call these beautiful islands our home. We have a duty to look after this land so that future generations can also enjoy it, so I call on us all to honour that sacred duty.

I feel grateful to be surrounded by family and friends at this time of year, but I know that service to this Commonwealth comes first for some of you. I pay especial tribute to all Hindia Belandans who, in their duty, cannot be at home with loved ones this Christmas. I wish them safety, warmth and company wherever they are.

From Buitenzorg, my family, my husband and I wish you all a very happy Christmas, wherever you are. Peace on earth and to all across the world.

Selamat Hari Natal! Vrolijk Natal!
Nederlands-Indië - Hindia Belanda
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Notre vie est un voyage, dans l'hiver et dans la nuit.
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Postby Hindia Belanda » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:55 am

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Samuel Rex | Editor-in-Chief
7 January 2019 | Koninstad, Noordenstaat


What happens the day after a terrorist attack? I pondered the question as I left my friend’s red-brick townhouse on Balistraat for Paleisplein, the site upon which two Hindia Belandan terrorists visited slaughter the night before. The motivation was made clear, that theirs was a battle against the ‘crusader states of Hindia Belanda and Noordenstaat’. “This is for the Caliphate”, the men shouted seconds before they detonated themselves on New Year’s Eve, offering a strange paean for a state that does not exist.

The eminent Hindia Belandan author Angga du Perron, writer of The Long And Faithful Nights and scion of the du Perron family, offered me an explanation that Islamic terrorism of the past two decades is rooted in a nihilistic worldview, not solely in the precepts of a strain of Islam, namely Wahhabism, as we sat over coffee on Boxing Day last year. “That nowadays Islamic terrorism almost always employs suicide attacks rather than a carefully-planned escape, a formerly feature of Islamic terrorism in the 1980s, suggests that something had shifted in the past twenty years,” du Perron explained to me. The 1984 bombing of the Borobudur Sacred Complex in Java resulted in no casualties, with the perpetrators arrested alive the next day. But the same could not be said eighteen years later, and indeed ever since, when a terrorist detonated a suicide bomb killing two hundred innocent pubgoers on the island of Bali. “A new form of terrorism is surfacing,” he warned me, “and terror for them is not a means, but rather an end in itself”.

Five days after my discussion with du Perron, two Hindia Belandan men affiliated with the proscribed terror group Ansar Al-Salafi arrived on Paleisplein at 11:10 before midnight. At the press of a button, they let loose unspeakable carnage at the Queen’s front door, killing eighteen on the spot, four of whom police officers. “I ran as fast as I could towards the square and then a narrow street nearby. There was blood on my face. I didn’t know whose was it,” Vincent, twenty-five, recounted to me at a bar near Balistraat. “I followed other people in front of me and just kept running. I noticed that almost nobody said anything. We were running, but there was an uncanny silence.” His friend Ellen, twenty-four, remembered that one of the attacker “was grinning as the other held the detonator”. Vincent and Ellen had just began walking with a group of friends near Prince Willem Bridge towards the concert of the rock band Kozmos when the bombs exploded. “The two men stood for a moment that felt like minutes—it was mere seconds in reality—and, still smiling, shouted ‘this is for the Caliphate’. The bomb exploded right after. I jumped onto the ground, crawled for a moment, then stood up and started running with everyone else,” Ellen recounted shakily.

When I reached Paleisplein in front of the Queen’s residence the morning after the attacks, makeshift shrines with flowers and tributes had manifested themselves on the cobblestones, surrounded by sudden pilgrims in quiet remembrance. Not far from there, the Prince Willem Bridge, still cordoned off with a police line that said ‘niet betreden’, looked terribly bereft of life. A couple wept at one corner of the square, with bouquets in their hands. Aside from these anomalies, the citizenry appeared hopeful and stoic, and there was relative calm in Koninstad.

That morning, a few blocks north of Paleisplein, Halima Koesoemaningraat, the Hindia Belandan High Commissioner in Koninstad, tweeted with total abandon from her office. “Monitor mosques and arrest radical Wahhabi preachers,” she wrote on twitter, urging Noordenstaat to follow in the footsteps of Hindia Belanda. “Islamic radicalism must be obliterated,” she went on, before making an appearance at an impromptu memorial on Paleisplein later that day. It was chiefly Hindia Belandans, not Noordenstaaters, who were irate the morning after the attacks in a seeming consensus that the only logical consequence of any terrorist attack are surveillance and mass arrests, such that we have witnessed for the past few years across the Commonwealth. But what does it say about us Hindia Belandans?

We have faced many a terrorist attacks of varying ideologies and, as a horrible consequence, our lawmakers are now more than willing to respond to such evil at the expense of our civil liberties than their Noordenstaater counterparts. It is only understandable that Noordenstaaters are reluctant to act in the same manner that we have during such crises which so often threaten a populace’s way of life and their ability to stay true to it; it is only rational.

In the last few years, battle against terrorism has become less sanguinary in Hindia Belanda and more of a seemingly perennial dilemma, between infringing on people’s privacy in the name of national security and letting the evil that visited on Koninstaders a week ago reemerge on these islands of ours. In the aftermath of the 2016 attacks in Jakarta, the Liberal Democratic government unleashed a wave of retaliations, arresting hundreds of individuals alleged to have shown sympathy for proscribed organisations and deploying a series of surveillance programmes on our streets. From 2015 until early 2018, Hindia Belandan society was so consumed with a climate of vengeance and rage towards the Islamists that, for a reason that can only be attributed to irrationality, we obliged without question to surrender our civil liberties. Marcus Overstraten, now Leader of the Opposition, paid the price for his reactionary leadership in June of last year, ousted en masse by Antje Moeljani and the National Indies Party in a humiliating motion of no-confidence.

On the night of the attacks, Prime Minister Moeljani was at Koningsplein, immediately in front of Nusantara Palace, the headquarters of the Commonwealth Government in Jakarta. Standing on an isthmus between the crowd, a teary Mme Moeljani delivered her condolences to Noordenstaat shortly after the clock struck twelve, during what should have been her first televised New Year’s greetings as Prime Minister amidst revellers who gathered for a celebration that never was. Still, fireworks were launched into the clear Jakarta sky and kisses exchanged, but accompanied by a chilling premonition of what is possibly to come in this new year.

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In December, 2008, an Islamist preacher by the name of Umar Bashir travelled to Kingsgate, ViZion from Bras Kering in Malaya Province—his home of seven years—to be initiated into the militant Islamist network Al-Irhab fi Al-Alam, a splinter cell of the widely known Terror of the World. On his arrival in ViZion, Bashir completely disappeared from Hindia Belandan surveillance. It was only in 2015 that authorities learnt that an offshoot organisation named Ansar Al-Salafi had been called into existence during his bout of disappearance in 2009, that Bashir had been recruiting, mostly young men, to join his abhorrent cause with help from his terrorist friends in ViZion.

In November, 2009, the ardent preacher suddenly reemerged from a flight out of Fyngaria at Srikunti Airport in Malaya Province, where an immigration officer took a glance at his passport and returned it to him with little fuss. As he entered Hindia Belandan territory, Bashir was picked up by Provincial Police for a questioning that lasted two days but, for lack of evidence that linked him to a terror organisation, a requirement for a successful prosecution, was released without charges. A terror mastermind in the making was now free to propagate the Islamist ideology.

Indeed, by early 2012, Ansar Al-Salafi, the offshoot organisation, had taken roots in the peripheries of Malaya Province which borders Maqtajer. A considerable following had gathered around Bashir who, according to local townspeople, regularly preached on the squares of Bras Kering, Malaya, his base in the back of beyond of Hindia Belanda. He went the extra mile to ensure that his sermons, despicable as they were, did not violate the meagre anti-terrorism laws that were in force at the time. This was a period when Hindia Belandan police could not even stop and search people in public without first obtaining warrant.

Whereas his mentors from Terror of the World have a clear end goal, that of retaliations for foreign aggressions and hostilities towards their allies, Bashir’s Ansar Al-Salafi has none. Analysts from the Nationale Veiligheidsdienst, the Hindia Belandan national intelligence agency, concluded in a little known 2016 report to the Interior Affairs Select Committee of the Hindia Belandan Parliament that Ansar Al-Salafi “is a departure from the average Islamist terror groups, in that they terrorise for terror’s sake”.

Come last September, the two Ansar Al-Salafi suicide bombers indoctrinated in the militant Islamist cause travelled to Fyngaria, where they stayed completely under the radar of authorities for nearly three months. Kíjmafőrsz Police later ascertained that the two men had rented a car, a Renault Kangoo, in the Fyngarian capital in preparation for the attacks on New Year’s Eve under the name of their Fyngarian associates. The day after Boxing Day, the two Hindia Belandan bombers and their Fyngarian friends drove to Koninstad. In the Noordenstaater capital, they hunkered down at a residence of their affiliates—all Noordenstaat citizens—who briefed the two bombers of the situation surrounding the area which enabled them to unleash indescribable terror unto merrymakers as they bid farewell to another year and, ultimately and most tragically, their fellow Koninstaders.

The attacks in Koninstad are a reminder that the Islamist threat is truly a universal problem, requiring a coordinated and level-headed response from countries affected by this evil. Antje Moeljani and her government are similarly faced with the difficult task of formulating a correct course of action, perhaps one aimed at reversing the self-destructive path we Hindia Belandans have somehow chosen to take following the wave of terrorism in 2015 under the premiership of Mr Overstraten. She must also, as Prime Minister who inherited a country so obsessed with turning on itself in the fight against the Islamist menace, remind her Noordenstaater counterpart that celebrating life in the face of terrorists who love only death, in staying strong without caving in to paranoid solitude, is always the better option than living our fears, for the latter shows that terrorism has really succeeded its goal to terrorise.

After the attacks in 2015, it took a painfully long time for cities across Hindia Belanda to reclaim their lively spirit, for people to once again populate the street cafés and bars under parasols and the tropical sun, for the citizenry to walk down the streets without a care or the music to resonate again on sun-kissed beaches. Koninstad does not have to go through the same, overly-lengthy recovery process, marked with distrust and fear that we experienced firsthand on these islands.

On New Year’s Day evening, I joined Koninstaders in a street vigil for the twenty-eight victims of the attacks the night before. There I saw a beautiful sight, of a populace united on the streets under flame-coloured sky, the orange of the Kingdom’s flag, in an outpouring of affection for one another and solidarity with the bereaved. A bar down the street began to fill with people, buzzing with activity. A group of cyclists sped by, in defiance of terror. By going back to their lives as soon as possible, Koninstaders are choosing not to let this evil win.

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Postby Gutulia » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:29 am

President Rahman Esa | minutes ago
we are very sorry for the victims of attack. We are not tolerate all terorism activities.

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Postby Hindia Belanda » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:09 am

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Briefings for Friday, 22 February 2019

Mailroom clerks at the Foreign Ministry in Weltevreden received suspicious parcels addressed to Brega Wardana, the Foreign Minister, prompting an immediate evacuation of the ministry and nearby government buildings this morning. Capital Territory Police placed the area on lockdown before declaring the incident a false alarm twenty minutes later. This morning, at a busy coffeeshop in Noordwijk, Jakarta, a barista served two cups of iced lavender caffè lattes to Thomas Dijkstra, former leader of the right-wing Orange Banner League, and Louis Wouters, the Finance Minister and Lord of the Coffer. The two sat together at a table by the window and shook hands, fuelling rumours that Mr Dijkstra may join the ruling National Indies Party and assume a seat on the Government frontbench as a junior Minister of the Crown. Antje Moeljani, the Prime Minister, travelled to Bandar Kunti for talks on Hindia Belandan startup economy with small business owners at the resort town. Hindia Belandans living in the south woke up to an uncharacteristically cold morning, as temperatures drop to as low as eight degree celsius in some parts of Java and Bali islands.

A Statistics Hindia Belanda report showed that the number of working Hindia Belandans continue to jump by five percent, with unemployment at three point five percent, a record low since the country’s independence in 1929. From April this year, 5G network will become a reality in the Commonwealth. OranjeHB announced that it would deploy this new generation of mobile network in 200 cities and towns across Hindia Belanda on 3 April. Louis Wouters, the Finance Minister and Lord of the Coffer, presented a white paper to the Dewan Deputi, the lower house of Parliament, detailing the Government’s plan to introduce chewing gum tax. Hindia Belandan fashion house Torna & Lavan reported a slight dip in profit as sales went down to two point six percent in the first quarter of this year.

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Alissa Moerdiana Hakim, the Commissioner of the Capital Territory Police, said this morning that the Police would no longer employ face recognition technology in and around Weltevreden district after the High Court of Jakarta granted a request for injunction against the practice. The decision was seen as a victory for the privacy advocacy group Privasi Untuk Semua, whose high-profile campaigns garnered the support of top Hindia Belandan lawmakers and celebrities alike. Geert Parmelin resigned as the Shadow Foreign Minister after The Weltevreden Review accused him of misleading MPs about his knowledge of financial ties between former CEO of Halvestör Group Antara Soeparta, who was arrested for financial fraud last December, and Baroness Hartita, who led the government frontbench in the Dewan Bangsawan, the upper house of Parliament, during the premiership of Marcus Overstraten. The Commonwealth terrorism threat level was reduced from severe to moderate, meaning that the public should still exercise vigilance although an attack is less likely to happen. Governor-General Maryam Rahmadisoerja, her husband and representatives of the Hindia Belandan princely families left the Commonwealth yesterday for the wedding of Hifaxian Princess Letizia and Nidwaldester businessman Maximilian Leiningen.

Stories from across the sea
At a crowded political rally in Alexandria, Caprican President Oliver Kenway was shot by an unknown assailant as he greeted guests following his speech, United Press Network reported. Kenway was taken to the Alexandria Medical Centre where he underwent surgery and remains in critical conditions. His incapacitation led to the assumption of the presidency by Caprican Vice President James P. Chase, who was sworn into the office not long after the horrific incident. Mediums, psychics and clairvoyants grew restive in Nikolia as new legislation prohibiting their professions came into force. Heads of state, royals and celebrities from around the world descend into Hifax for the marriage of Hifaxian Princess Letizia and Nidwaldester businessman Maximilian Leiningen at Saint Paul's Cathedral today.


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A Song For The End of Time opens tonight at the Malaccan Theatre in Noordwijk, Jakarta. In this surrealistic play directed by Yusuf Erskine, a woman by the name of Lisa receives a commandment from God to compose a theme song for the apocalypse which God plans to have the heavenly host sing as soon as it is finished, triggering the end of the world. Not wanting the world to end just yet, Lisa teams up with her flatmate Matthew to sabotage the project.
Last edited by Hindia Belanda on Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Notre vie est un voyage, dans l'hiver et dans la nuit.
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Ioannis Papakonstantinou, Senator (independent)

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Postby Hindia Belanda » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:31 pm

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Jan Cornelis | Art Correspondent
18 March 2019 | Jakarta, Hindia Belanda


On a recent evening, at a hotel bar in Noordwijk, Jakarta, I sat down with Her Excellency Dewi Kartasoekarti, the glamorous octogenarian who was Governor-General of Hindia Belanda from 1998 until 2009. Still beautiful at eighty, Dewi sauntered into the room, carrying herself with the poise and elegance of the youthful aesthete-slash-socialite that she was a half-century ago. She was wearing a blue Paula del Pozo pencil dress, her signature pillbox hat belonging to a bygone age resting on her head. Her look did not seem out of place inside the art deco bar that had witnessed generations upon generations of Jakarta’s elite mingling within its lofty expanse and, for a moment, it seemed as though the entire scene was a chronological anomaly, a spectre of another time and place.

Born on 12 February 1939 to well-to-do parents, Dewi sailed through her Fine Arts course at the Royal University of Jakarta before reading law at the University of Cologne in Nidwalden. At a gala in Koninstad, she met her future husband Soemarna, the would-be fifth Prime Minister of Hindia Belanda who became associated with ideas of national unity in the wake of Hindia Belanda’s often ugly decolonisation business. Throughout her former husband’s premiership from the late fifties until the early seventies, a period known for rising distrust in the Commonwealth’s aristocracy, she campaigned for greater funding for the arts and did not hesitate to beseech nobles from the Vorstenlanden to chip in. Dewi exerted whatever influence her status brought as wife of the Prime Minister to bring the Hindia Belandan art scene into the limelight and for that, she has earned, in the eyes of so many emerging and seasoned Hindia Belandan artists, an exalted place in their pantheon of heroes.

She recalled, in a speech to students of the Royal University of Jakarta’s Faculteit der Kunsten, her alma mater, how a group of Hindia Belandan artists whose names immediately manifest in our minds at the thought of the word ‘conceptual’ thanked her for setting aside state funds to purchase a number of ateliers in both Jakarta and Koninstad, from where these artists eventually grew to become the household names that they are now.

Besides the arts, Dewi is famous for her proclivity for fashion. This fact did not go unnoticed when, merely two years into the premiership of her husband, she became embroiled in a dispute with Baroness Dihardja over who should receive the first delivery of a certain limited-edition luxury handbag with an astronomical price tag that they both had ordered at the same time. This incident, which to you and me sounds very puerile and stereotypical of the Hindia Belandan beau monde, was ironically the start of a life-long friendship between Dewi and the Baroness. It also served as a stepping stone for Dewi’s venture into the fashion world, where she now enjoys precedence over many other invitees at fashion shows in virtually all compass directions.

In 1998, at the recommendation of Prime Minister Muhammad Sjarifoedin and with the consent of the all-party Parliamentary committee responsible for the laborious task of sifting through viceregal candidates, the Queen appointed her Governor-General of Hindia Belanda, a position she held for a decade and one year. It was during her Viceroyalty that Dewi helped throttle the island country’s art world which had suffered from stagnancy, attributed to our nation’s lack of understanding and appreciation of the arts in general. This she also blamed on the inaccessibility of artworks for the common people. As Governor-General, she was known for hosting many a fundraiser for the Commonwealth Collection Trust, of which she is now Chief Curator responsible for overseeing nearly a million art items belonging to the Hindia Belandan people. Her days as Vicereine conjured images of glamorous dinners and chic vernissage where Dewi, always the fashion-conscious who wore haute couture whenever possible, enticed executives, heirs and heiresses of fortune into surrendering their chequebooks to the promotion of the arts. What is more impressive is that she achieved all of that without a penny of taxpayers’ money, a feat as yet unequalled by anyone meritorious enough to accede to the Viceregal throne.

On leaving Buitenzorg Palace in 2009, she was immediately appointed to the position of Chief Curator of the Commonwealth Collection Trust. Last week, Dewi was two years into her third consecutive term at The Collection when she announced her intention to step down, citing old age and a desire to live close by her family on Pulau Alba, the island of her birth.

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JAN CORNELIS: When your tenure as Governor-General ended in 2009, you were offered the position of Chief Curator of the Commonwealth Collection Trust. What made you take it?

DEWI KARTASOEKARTI: When Mr Pieter Bosma (the Minister for Culture at the time) offered me the position, I thought it’d be insane to pass up the chance of seeing our country’s largest collection of artworks, so I accepted the offer on the spot. I said to him, “Mr Bosma, when do I start?”. Because, you know, so many of the artworks in The Collection have never seen the light of day, just hidden inside vaults underneath Jakarta and other cities throughout Hindia Belanda.

CORNELIS: These stupendous vaults house nearly a million objects. How did The Collection manage to amass such a tremendous amount of artworks?

DEWI: The Collection had a very humble beginning in the 1870s as a private collection of a noble Javanese man, who bequeathed his collection to the colonial government’s Instituut der Kunsten on his death bed. Then, shortly after our independence in 1929, The Collection began to receive all these bequests and gifts from private individuals, some of them foreigners. These gifts kept coming and coming and they started to skyrocket in the 1950s. The Collection was flooded with so much stuff that it had to sell some of them away eventually because, at the time, the warehouses that The Collection used to store these artworks lacked proper climate control. We live in a tropical country after all and humidity is something The Collection wage war against on a daily basis.

I think The Collection sold around five thousand items when it ran out of room. Mr Djadjasoekmadi, who was Chief Curator in the fifties, had this ambitious plan to construct underground, climate-controlled vaults where The Collection now keeps most of its artworks. He also repurposed a number of air raid shelters built during the Second Great Astyrian War into art vaults. He rang me one morning in 1959, saying “Dewi, I’ve got to get rid of some of this stuff. It’s piling up and we’ve nowhere to keep them”. I was legitimately scared because our collection included some of the rarest items out there and it was clear that foreign collectors already had their eyes on them when the rumour first spread. So I travelled to the Vorstenlanden to ask our princely houses for their donation, persuaded wealthy individuals to sign some cheques for The Collection. And I also asked my husband, who was Prime Minister, to pull some strings here and there. I was grateful that he was open to the idea because there was no way we could’ve gathered such tremendous amount of money for all these vaults without the help of the political establishment and the aristocracy.

CORNELIS: All this stuff in The Collection’s basement will probably never be shown to the public, for reasons ranging from fragility to lack of space. A recent report by the Charity Commission found that it’s extremely pricey to keep them preserved underground. What, then, is your strategy to reduce The Collection's growing expenses?

DEWI: We spent 58.3 million Roepiahs on expenses and only made 58.7 million Roepiahs in income last financial year. The Collection relies on ticket sales to all six Viceregal official residences and also museums that we run to fund our operations, but the reality is that visitor numbers fluctuate every year due to a number of factors. Flight price, perceived global threat of terrorism, the state of the global economy, people’s ever-changing interest. It didn’t help that there were terrorist attacks in Koninstad and elsewhere. So we find ourselves always having to innovate each year to keep the numbers high. We recently struck up a deal with private museums where they could loan our artworks, have them on view for an extended period and in turn pay for their upkeep. This will reduce some of our financial pressure, enough to gradually accumulate ‘cash cushion’, if you will, to ride out future bouts of financial instability. If we did the maths correctly, we’d chop at least ten million off of our expenditures.

CORNELIS: So the rumours that The Collection are selling the artworks aren’t true.

DEWI: It’s partly true. We’ve got about thirty thousand lower grade artworks that we think would find better use under the care of other museums because we’ve never put them on view due to space constraints, so the decision was made to deaccession them. We’re holding on to the rest of our collection, though.

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CORNELIS: Is it safe to say that The Collection has stopped collecting altogether?

DEWI: In the meantime, yes. We’re now focused on exploring new ways to present what we already have to the public. We’re also in the process of digitising the entire collection, so that we can finally unveil artworks that would otherwise be out of the public’s view. It’s an arduous task, but a task worth doing nonetheless.

CORNELIS: Talk to me about Art On The Meadow, the colossal outdoor festival celebrating Hindia Belandan culture you helped make happen in 1967.

DEWI: The idea for Art On The Meadow came to me when I was accompanying my former husband on a visit to Pasembah Plains on the island of Senjani in 1965. It must’ve been a visit to one of those archaeological sites. When we arrived there, I took a careful look at the plains and could already imagine the entire festival unfolding on that expansive swath of green at the foot of Mount Senjani. So, upon returning to Jakarta, I pitched the idea to a group of museum directors who had connections with all these wealthy donors. The preparations took two years because we had to set up all these facilities for the artists and performers who wanted to show their art, and also for the attendees, most of whom camped on the plains. We had all these fantastic works of art brought there from all corners of the archipelago: towering sculptures, avant-garde performance art, poetry—you name it. The turnout was impressive too, 150,000 over a period of one week. Each night the entire plains would turn into a light installation and there were all sorts of musicians performing there. It was other-worldly but, at the same time, also very Hindia Belandan. It was one of the profoundest moments in our history, because we had all these people from different backgrounds coming together to celebrate who we are as a nation. I’m very proud of what we did there and hope that we could come up with something of that calibre again in the future.

CORNELIS: You took part in Maia Soerjodarmo’s performance art at that festival, where you both took turns dancing in circles whilst all these hooded singers chanted Ancient Senjanian canticles. Nobody saw that coming, given that you were still married to the Prime Minister.

DEWI: I was very invested in the performance art scene at the time and Maia was the leading figure in that field. She was very controversial. I’d met Maia a few years before that performance at a vernissage in Seminyak and soon after we’d run into each other at all these exhibitions. I was very impressed with her body of work that she exhibited at Noordwijk Festival Grounds in 1964, which included a performance where she sat on what seemed like a very puffy cloud, lamenting her own death. And there was that performance where she let other people throw charcoal biscuits at her. So when Maia told me she was looking for a dancer for that performance at Art On The Meadow I signed myself up immediately. Let’s just say that Nusantara Palace wasn’t very approving of my decision. [laughs]

CORNELIS: But your former husband was okay with it.

DEWI: He was very supportive of me. Taking part in that performance was very cathartic for me.

CORNELIS: Maia purposely injured herself in many of her performances and the Hindia Belandan art world wasn’t having any of it.

DEWI: I think it’s important to keep in mind that Maia’s performances were very critical of everything that was wrong in our society at the time. I didn’t always agree with how Maia performed as an artist, but it was her unique way of getting her point across that turned her into this icon of Hindia Belandan performance art.

CORNELIS: You devote most of your life to the art world. What was the most memorable art moment that intensely affected you?

DEWI: One morning in 1969, as I was visiting this small gallery by the sea in Bandar Kunti, I saw a sculpture of an oak tree the size of an end table and the colour of ivory whose leaves were shaped as skulls. I was completely entranced by it. I thought to myself that if I didn’t buy it right there and then I’d regret it for the rest of my life. So I bought that for practically nothing, I think it cost me about three hundred Roepiahs. It must’ve been thirty years later—I was Governor-General then—when I found myself talking with a group of artists who’d received that year’s Viceregal Prize for the Arts at Buitenzorg Palace that this same question you’ve just asked me came up. As I was describing the sculpture to those artists and how it had affected me in such a profound way since the day I bought it, I remember one of them began to sob. “I made that sculpture,” the one and only Carla Koesoemaningroem told me that evening. She was crying and so overcome with emotion. And I was so taken aback that I became deeply emotional as well. I remember the palace footmen were looking at me with so much worry from afar—God, I must’ve been in such a state—that they summoned the guards to check on me!

CORNELIS: I remember reading that incredible story in an issue of ARTchipelago magazine—I think it was an op-ed written by Carla herself—and thinking how you must’ve felt upon learning that it was her art all along. She had a huge replica of that same sculpture displayed at last year’s Hindia Belandan art retrospective in Princetown. What’s the story behind that?

DEWI: I was amazed to personally see that replica on view in Princetown last year. You know, Carla actually tried to seek my permission before making that replica.

CORNELIS: And you gave her your permission.

DEWI: But of course! I didn’t feel that she needed to seek my permission, to begin with. She was making a replica of her own art. I felt really bad about the whole thing that I even contemplated returning the sculpture to her because I'd bought it for nothing. I called her one morning to ask for an address I can send the sculpture to. Naturally, she refused and instead suggested that I have it loaned to museums. It’s now on permanent display at the Noordwijk Museum of Modern Art. Sometimes it travels to other museums around the world. I was very happy when I saw the replica at the Museum of Astyrian Art in Princetown last year, knowing other people can now experience the sculpture which still means a great deal to me.

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CORNELIS: Let’s talk about The Beauty And The Mystery Is That We Exist, the retrospective that you helped set up in Princetown last year. A lot of contemporary artists from the fifties onwards displayed their works alongside all these legendary artists from the late 1800s.

DEWI: Our retrospective in Princetown was a great success and I’m very pleased that Hindia Belandan art are getting the exposure that they so deserve. I have my good friend Carlos Fortabat to thank for that, too, because he’s very well known in the Hifaxian art circles and has close connections with the cultural establishment there. Our creative industry had so much potential in the 1950s, it just didn’t have access to funding to really make it big at home and abroad. So, when my former husband became Prime Minister in ’58, one of the first things I did was assemble a group of art-minded, wealthy Hindia Belandans and try to convince them that their money was better off spent on local rather than foreign art. Since we already had an admirable collection of foreign art that we inherited from the colonial state on our independence in 1929, I encouraged them to start buying from local artists. I was buying too. You know, Hindia Belandan collectors at that time were much more interested in the works of the old masters, all those legends from Lorecia, and also great Hindia Belandan painters from the colonial era, such as Raden Saleh. They almost resented contemporary art, which actually formed a bulk of what our art industry was producing at the time. And it was such a great period for contemporary art. We had all these promising young artists experimenting with new media and challenging the definition of art itself. They took all sorts of unconventional approaches and look at where they are now. Our retrospective in Princetown was, in a way, a homage to these artists who’ve now made a name for themselves and I hope that it can inspire future generations of artists to be bold and true to their visions, regardless of what other people say.

CORNELIS: You mentioned your friend Carlos Fortabat, the Hifaxian collector. Didn’t he help you build the Commonwealth Collection Trust’s modern art assemblage which, amongst others, includes Notopandojo’s ’About The Sun That Never Rose And Other Oddities’?

DEWI: Yes, he did. In fact, Carlos was the one who alerted me that ‘About The Sun’ was on sale in the art market. It was 1973. I’d been eyeing that painting since I first read about it in an issue of ARTchipelago in the fifties and I was thinking that the painting should be returned to the Hindia Belandan people, because it epitomises so poignantly the degree of disappointment Hindia Belandans felt when the Noordenstaater Parliament rejected the Soetardjo Petition in 1919. The owner of the painting—who may have been Valkean, I’m not sure—wanted to put it to auction, so Carlos had one of his connections convince the owner to instead sell it through one of the big galleries in Princetown, because he knew just how much we wanted the painting and that’d mean we wouldn’t have to compete against all these moneyed collectors. I’d been staying in Casuarinas at the time when Carlos rang me, saying “Dewi, you need to get to the city quick. About The Sun will be on sale here”.

CORNELIS: So you bought it right there and then?

DEWI: My friends Martijn Blaauw, Baroness Dihardja and I clubbed together for the painting. It was our collective purchase. The owner wanted to sell it for fifteen million but I didn’t have that kind of money lying around, so that very morning I got in touch with Mme Khadija, the Chief Curator of The Collection at the time. I said “Khadija, this might be our last chance to get our hands on ‘About The Sun’, but the owner wouldn’t budge below twelve million.” To tell you the truth, I was ready to cover half the price, but then Khadija said “Dewi, buy me some time, will you? I’ll get nine million by 10 p.m your time.” And then—I remember it was almost midnight— one of the people from the Hindia Belandan embassy came round telling me that the money was ready. So we drove to Princetown and closed the deal at eleven million around midnight. We had the painting sent to the embassy and flown to Jakarta the next morning. It was stressful, to say the least. [laughs]

CORNELIS: That painting is in the Commonwealth Collection Trust, but who really owns it?

DEWI: It’s on permanent loan to The Collection. Martijn Blaauw, Baroness Dihardja and I still own it together. We agreed that it should stay with The Collection permanently and that it should be put on view throughout the year. We also agreed, on paper, that the painting will never be put on sale for whatever reason.

CORNELIS: Let’s talk a bit about politics. Our head of state and head of government are all women.

DEWI: Yes. We’re now living in very interesting times where both our head of State and head of Government are women. And I’m not talking about the Queen—she was always going to play that role from the moment she was born—I’m talking about Governor-General Maryam and Antje Moeljani, the Prime Minister. They achieved those positions not because of their gender but in spite of. Their merits took them to where they are now.

CORNELIS: How would you describe your relationship with Governor-General Maryam Rahmadisoerja?

DEWI: Friendly. Cordial. We’re very good friends. We’ve known each other even from before we became Governors-General.

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CORNELIS: There were rumours of you being a republican who wanted to topple the monarchy when Governor-General Maryam Rahmadisoerja, an actual republican, acceded to her viceregal throne in 2017.

DEWI: It’s absurd, really, all this talk of republicanism. It bothers me. For one, the Queen wields no power at all in our country. She’s, quite literally, a mere figurehead, so tell me exactly why would we want to abolish something that’s practically not there, to begin with?

CORNELIS: But you were friends with the Governor-General when she was an outspoken republican.

DEWI: I was friends with everyone in the art scene and love for art was something Maryam and I had in common. I didn’t care about what others think of the monarchy, in my mind we were all together in our endeavour to support and promote Hindia Belandan art. Nothing else mattered to me, really.

CORNELIS: So do you think it still has a place in this modern age?

DEWI: The monarchy?

CORNELIS: Yes.

DEWI: I certainly see some merits in keeping the monarchy. You know, in a colourful country such as ours where we’ve got different ethnic groups, religions, languages and indeed cultures, the monarchy can be a unifying force. It’s above party politics, which means it can remain impartial. But, I suppose, the same could be said about parliamentary republics where the head of state is appointed in the same way we appoint our Governors-General. But why fix something that isn’t broken?

CORNELIS: But other Hindia Belandans wouldn’t agree with you. The idea of having a head of state who’s not a citizen of Hindia Belanda really puts some people off.

DEWI: But neither is the Queen a citizen of Noordenstaat, for that matter. She’s the fount of citizenship and the embodiment of both states. And funnily enough, she rarely ever comes up in our own national life. When I think of the monarchy, it’s not Anne Charlotte that comes to mind. It’s whoever is Governor-General. Because the office of Governor-General has such majestic grandeur and regality to it that, in all aspects except perhaps legal, our Governor-General may as well be our monarch. We bow and curtsy to Maryam and all her predecessors as a Noordenstaater would to Anne Charlotte.

CORNELIS: I did bow to you when you came in [laughs].

DEWI: [laughs] You did. But I prefer you didn’t do that, to be frank.

CORNELIS: So, would you call yourself a royalist?

DEWI: No. I dislike all these labels because what they’re doing is harmful to our unity. It puts people in boxes. It divides our nation into two camps that supposedly resent one another when the reality is anything but that. The truth is, people don’t really care about whether or not we abolish the monarchy. And all these politicians in Weltevreden throwing themselves behind the republican cause are just trying to score some political points. I even doubt Soediwarto’s intentions—and he is the most hardliner of all republicans out there.

CORNELIS: Antje Moeljani, the Prime Minister, has made it her government’s agenda to enable parliament to change the law of succession to the Hindia Belandan monarchy and to make future referendum on the monarchy lawful. A legislation is being drawn up for those purposes.

DEWI: It's a subtle way of saying that the people are ultimately the sovereign of this country. If they wanted to, which I doubt, they could dismiss the monarchy. But I think it's mostly a political statement.

CORNELIS: Hindia Belandan media weren’t very kind to you when you were Governor-General.

DEWI: No, they weren’t. [laughs] They didn’t like it that I was throwing all these glitzy fundraisers for the art world. But it was precisely because of those funders that we’re now seeing a boom in our art industry. They also helped fund underprivileged artists who’ve now become some of the talked-about names in the art world.

CORNELIS: How much has the Hindia Belandan art world changed since you first started collecting more than fifty years ago?

DEWI: Back then, the Hindia Belandan art world was a different place. If in the first four years of your career as an artist you hadn’t yet caught the attention of certain critics and curators, your career was over. The exclusivism repulsed me. Some of the artists who were having much success at the time came from a place of privilege, so it was easy for them to climb up to relevance; sadly, for many others who were equally good, not so much. My friends and I, some of whom are no longer with us, worked very hard to dismantle that elitist art establishment. We started promoting all these small artists who were very good at what they were doing with the help of Mr Djadjasoekmadi, then the Chief Curator of The Collection. I’m really proud of how much the Hindia Belandan art scene has changed for the better over the decades.

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CORNELIS: You’ve always been considered at the helm of the Commonwealth Collection Trust, even before you became Chief Curator in 2009, because you were always so involved with it one way or another.

DEWI: I did as much as I could. So few people cared about our art back then and it was painful for me because our art industry had great potential and it would’ve been such a waste if nobody stepped in. I’m grateful that I have good friends who I was fighting alongside with for the sake of our art. Mr Djadjasoekmadi, the Chief Curator then, was the one with all the brilliant ideas that made The Collection the great institution that it is today.

CORNELIS: You’re retiring next month.

DEWI: I’m getting old. I’d like to live close by my family on Pulau Alba, where I was born. Being Chief Curator means you’ve got to be at so many places at once. You’re never in one place and it’s taking a toll on me.

CORNELIS: Some famous Hindia Belandan artists such as Ahmad Jonkheer and Sama Marinta have recently spoken in support of regulation of the art market. Does the art world need regulation?

DEWI: Yes, it does. Some degree of regulation is badly needed. As it happens, when I was still very active in the art scene some sixty years ago, I became aware of the reality that fraud and conflicts of interest were rife in the fledgeling Hindia Belandan art market. There were these experts who bought artworks that they themselves authenticated and appraised. And then there was that whole forgery scandal going on with big auction houses. Even The Collection was duped into buying some of those forgeries. They all looked so identical to the real thing.

CORNELIS: How many forgeries ended up in The Collection?

DEWI: Around fifty. The police caught three of the forgers; I believe they were part of a larger ring of forgers that specialised in faking paintings from the Mooi Indië era.

CORNELIS: What was the fate of these forgeries?

DEWI: We destroyed some of them and kept the other for research purposes.

CORNELIS: The way we consume art is changing. What is its place in our nation?

DEWI: It is. With the internet, art is now becoming even more accessible. You can now, quite literally, consume arts in your pajamas from the comfort of your bed. Of course, I’d rather people come physically to museums. The museum plays an important social role in Hindia Belandan society and other societies in general. It’s a locus of encounter between people and, I daresay, it promotes the development of empathy, which is an important quality in a nation. Because being in the museum, you’re surrounded with tangible works of art made by other people and thus confronted with their very reality. Moreover, these works of art have been seen by other people and have affected them in various ways. And you know that all these people have their own ways of seeing the world. Like you, they have hopes and dreams and fear and everything else that makes us human. If you contemplate it a little, it’s not difficult to realise that they’re just like you. This understanding, which may sound like a simple truth, is not something we were born with. It must be learnt and art is one of the many vehicles to achieve that understanding.

CORNELIS: Some final words on art.

DEWI: Art should be for everybody, not just the few. It’s either for everybody or nobody.

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A Forecast for the New Decade
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Briefings from the Commonwealth - 5 February 2020
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Briefings from the Commonwealth - 20 July 2020
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Ioannis Papakonstantinou, Senator (independent)

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Hindia Belanda
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Posts: 1708
Founded: Sep 09, 2015
New York Times Democracy

Postby Hindia Belanda » Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:46 pm

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Briefings from the Commonwealth - Sunday 26 July 2020
Nederlands-Indië - Hindia Belanda
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Notre vie est un voyage, dans l'hiver et dans la nuit.
Nous cherchons notre passage, dans le ciel où rien ne luit.
Ioannis Papakonstantinou, Senator (independent)

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