27 January 2009

In the news...

Sorry I haven't had a chance to continue the Alpha Course postings. The thing is, those require actual work to put together (not the least of which is deciphering my own crappy handwriting from the hurried notes I made in the course book during the sermons and discussions). And I have no time at all right now.

"What? King Aardvark is actually doing real work?!"

Shocking, I know.

Anyway, I'm going to post two quick links today of news articles that interest me. The first is about the rising atheist movement in Indonesia, of all places. In a country as fiercely Muslim as Indonesia, the few atheists are turning to the tools of the internet to find each other and communicate. Interesting stuff from my mom's home country (FYI: I believe my mom's parents followed traditional Chinese ancestor worship of some sort; they certainly aren't Muslims.) One thing the story notes is how "belief in "one God" is the first tenet of the official national ideology of Pancasila." The Indonesian political ideology of Pancasila is an interesting little history lesson. When Indonesia was first gaining independence from the Dutch, president Sukarno, the country's first leader, tried to come up with an ideological framework to base the new country on. It was four relatively straightforward items - just and civilized humanity, unity of the country, democracy based on the deliberations of representatives (though this one didn't work out so well for many decades), and social justice - plus a fifth, belief in "one God," I suppose as a homage to Indonesia's Muslim religious background. Sukarno did not originally considered it as quite as important as the other four. But Sukarno was a crafty little bugger when it came to politics; he knew that a strong and growing communist party was looking to gain a commanding political presence in Indonesian politics, so he needed the also strong Muslim party on his side. Hence throwing the bone of "One [surprisingly unspecified] God" as the most important of his 5 principals.

The second story is about a car thief in Nigeria who tried to escape capture by a group of vigilantes by using black magic to turn himself into a goat. Police, though disregarding the mystical as a source of evidence, do have the goat in custody.

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At January 27, 2009 2:20 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also possibly interesting to you:


New Red Dwarf!

At January 28, 2009 3:56 a.m., Blogger C. L. Hanson said...

I didn't know your mom was from Indonesia. Have you ever gone there?

At February 07, 2009 4:39 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Red Dwarf? Sweet!

Yep, from Indonesia but actually of Chinese descent. In typical Chinese fashion, her dad (and his family before him) was actually a trader/merchant/wholesaler who moved to Indonesia for business.

I've been twice. Once when I was 2 and once when I was 16. It is hot and dirty there (at least in Jakarta) and rains entirely too much. I have little interest in going back, though some of the food is really good (some of the food is really bad, too). If you get out to the countryside or to Bali, it's not bad.

Last time we were there, there were trucks full of soldiers with smgs patroling the streets. Not a great political climate there.


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