Indonesian journeys

Indonesian journeys


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Young boys playing in Jakarta

More from this series

In just over ten years, Indonesia has transformed from a centralised authoritarian regime under Suharto to a decentralised multi-party democracy.

With parliamentary elections approaching in April and a presidential poll later in the year, what are the issues, challenges and expectations of the world's largest Muslim population?

Anita Barraud of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) travels to four very different parts of Indonesia where 240 million people are preparing for their general election.

Part one - Democracy and diversity - Jakarta

The Old Centre of Jakarta on the island of Java is still the seat of national government, with a population of ten million, it is a vast crowded traffic choked city.

It is also the heart of a nation gearing up for its third parliamentary elections since the end of a 32 year dictatorship.

Indonesia is a young country, with an average age of 27.

Even though this new generation have come of age since the demise of Suharto, many remain sceptical about the real nature of democracy.

Corruption is still a huge issue but crucially it is talked about openly, and there have been high profile prosecutions.

In the first part of this series, Anita Barraud travels across the city from the port district of North Jakarta to the South Jakarta malls.

She speaks to hip hop musician Nova Ruth, who explains what it is like for young people in Indonesia coming to terms with their often traumatic modern history.

She also visits the high end Muslim fashion magazine ‘Noor', where they talk about the different meanings of the Jilbab (the Indonesian version of the Hejab) and the ways it is worn by young women here.

Anita also travels to the slums where the dispossessed tell her that democracy is a purely cosmetic covering which is shielding the elite and allowing corrupt practices to continue.

Indonesian Journeys is co-production by ABC's Anita Barraud and the BBC's Neil Trevithick.

This documentary was first broadcast on ABC Radio National and aired on BBC World Service on Wednesday 25th February 2009.

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