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Question: How does History, culture and customs effect planning

The history of Java is long and has many influences from Asian, Middle Eastern
and Western culture. Throughout time, customs and culture have been an
integral part of Javanese existence. Western culture has impacted on the
collective Indonesian culture and is resulting in fewer and fewer practised
customs. This essay will cover the history, culture and customs of Indonesia by
discussing significant events and planning implications. Additionally,
comparisons to Australia will be used to illustrate differences and similarities
between the two nations.
Indonesia has been populated for several thousands of years, has varied
religious populations and languages. Historically from more local Asian influence
Buddhism and Hinduism were prevalent. As a result of the Buddhist population
was the creation of the 9th century Borobudur temple in central Java. It is one of
the most significant temple complexes in the world due to its size, detail and age
(UNESCO, 2015). Now Indonesia is primarily Muslim with 88% of the population
following Islam. Uniquely, there are 742 local languages of which Bahasa
Indonesian, Dutch, English and local languages are the most common. On Java
Island there are two main groups, which is unlike rest of Indonesia: Javanese and
Sundanese. Australia had over 250 distinct languages at colonisation, but now
due to multi-culturalism the most common languages are English, Italian, Greek
and Cantonese (ABS, 1999).
In Australia, the history is also extensive. Humans have been in Australia for 40
000-60 000 years and have one of the oldest culture and genealogy in the world
(AG Staff, AAP, 2011). Australian Aboriginal culture has a profound understanding
of natural systems and thus connection to land is integral to customs and society
(National Film and Sound Archive of Australia [NFSAA], 2015). Similarly to
Indonesia, Australian culture has changed significantly since colonisation and
currently the most common religious belief is Christianity at 68% of Australians
(Bureau of Statistics, 2007). Colonisation and subsequent destruction of culture
has had many planning impacts which still need to be rectified today. Indonesia
is in a different position, as the Dutch were present in Indonesia primarily for
trade purposes unlike the English whom needed to eliminate the Aboriginals for
land control. Indonesia is now having a cultural swing as the Westernisation and
media is causing significant change to culture.
With the majority of Indonesians being Muslim and growing Westernisation, both
have impacts on their culture and planning implications. Folk culture has become
less popular since the turn of the century. A key component of traditional folk
expression is the Ondel Ondel (Bond, 2015). The Ondel Ondel is large bamboo
puppets made to fit a human inside and come in couples of male and female to
protect populations from evil spirit (Bond, 2015). The use of the Ondel Ondel still
remains current unlike most folk customs. Nowadays, culture for the Indonesians
is through sport such as football badminton, and Silat (Davis, 2011). The benefit
for planning is that these existing interests in ondel ondel, badminton, silat and
football, is that the fields/ gyms can be located within a dense city on rooftop or
between buildings, making them easily accommodated in a dense city space.

Unlike Indonesia, our favourite sports dont include martial arts, or basketball,
but soccer is a common across the two nations. All types of football are favoured
by Australians: AFL, Rugby and Soccer (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010). In
addition, cricket and motor sports rate highly behind horse racing (Australian
Bureau of Statistics, 2010). The planning implication is also different, as
Australian sports do require large fields, and motor and horse sports need
individual tracks which consume much land.
Historically, fighting of Silat between Indonesian tribes (In fighting) made it
easier for Dutch to spread their presence. The Dutch have had presence in
Indonesia since first discovery around 1603 until 1942. From 1600 onwards, the
Dutch were present in the trade-important area of Indonesia. Dutch colonists in
South Asian collected the many islands that would make up Indonesia to create
the single government control called Dutch East Indies (BBC News, 2015).
Indonesia was an important part of the trade route allowing transport of spices,
vegetation and soap. Soap was an important export from the Pacific, with
coconut oil and important ingredient and was used by the Dutch in cleaning and
a marker of being civilised (Van Dijk & Gelman Taylor, 2011). Soap was marketed
to the Indonesian slaves that cleaned the modest Dutch European clothes in
1918 to make labour easier, it also had social implications; it allowed Javanese to
be white in the metaphorical sense (Van Dijk & Gelman Taylor, 2011, p. 26).
Javanese who also dressed in Western Fashion allowed them to European public
sphere, be treated kindly and allowed them to travel in European class on
railway and not buy a cheaper ticket meant for Easterners (Van Dijk & Gelman
Taylor, 2011). This social shift would have encouraged Javanese to become more
like the Europeans and in some ways, even just clothing, supress their cultural
During this Dutch occupation, significant historical events occurred which shook
the Indonesian way of life. Two significant volcanic explosions occurred: Mt
Tambura explosions in April 1815 and Krakatoa in 1883 which had Climatic and
Human impact worldwide (D'Arcy Wood, 2008). Both explosions saw 10,000 died
immediately, and 100,000s from famine in aftermath, some sold as slaves, and
became refugees (D'Arcy Wood, 2008). Indonesia has the most volcanoes in the
world, and the Dutch set up monitoring in 1920s after these serious events.
Planning implications noticed in the governance through procedures for
evacuation call, and awareness.
The natural disasters devastated Indonesia. After Mt Tamburas eruption, it
opened the opportunity for British influence (D'Arcy Wood, 2008). Like the Dutch
who, for 2 centuries, monopolised and forced cultivation, the British wanted to
develop Indonesia further and create another trading post in the East like
Singapore (D'Arcy Wood, 2008). The British occupation, according to DAry
Wood wasnt all just to use and abuse Indonesia, he believes the interest of
British in Java as to build it economically to prove its viability as a British interest
(D'Arcy Wood, 2008). Indonesia was an important place for the exchange of
goods and the presence of the Dutch East India Company had been dominant

since late 17th C (D'Arcy Wood, 2008). It was around the 1800s that Briton
Raffles, become governor of Java.
Stamford Raffles, lieutenant-governor of Java (1811-16) became governor after
helping take Java island from the Dutch and French colonialists during Neapolitan
wars. He believed that Dutch, Chinese and Arab influences caused underdevelopment, slave culture and despotism (D'Arcy Wood, 2008). In further
reflections in 1817, he commented on link between fertile land and culture.
Raffles says the arts of a civilized life, seem to be directly as the fertility of the
soil but then went onto say he saw Java as island nation without history, an
Eden of agricultural possibility, ripe for a European narrative of Development
(p.36, p.41, DArcy Wood, 2008). This second statement is nave to the many
peoples that existed in Indonesia prior to the trade route, the religiously
significant establishments mentioned earlier (such as Borobudur) and the unique
nature of Indonesia. The rich Volcanic soil is used as a selling point, but
importantly points out the links to agriculture, population, civilisation, culture
and the arts. Raffles notes, although important in understanding the history of
Java, and Indonesia only record his point of view which is contradictory and
eliminate the Indonesian voice.
Unfortunately for the Indonesians and their expression, external national forces
would continue to be present in their country until after their independence, until
1949. It was then in 1942 Japanese invaded Indonesia with the Second World
War. Only after the Japanese surrendered was independence for Indonesia. But it
wasnt until 1949 that the Dutch presence in Indonesia recognised their declared
independence after four years of guerrilla warfare (BBC News, 2015). The
consequence of nearly 400 years of colonisation and occupation for the
Indonesians is under-development, supressed folk, customs and multicultural
practises. Colonisation brought unification, alienation of land, slavery, migration
and destruction of local social structure and culture (Van Dijk & Gelman Taylor,
Since Independence mid-last century, Indonesia has had to overcome natural
disasters such as large earthquakes (2004,2004,2006), tsunamis (2004, 2006),
political and terrorist issues (1962,2002, 2015) and now has territory expanding
from Malaysia, Borneo, Papua, Timor and near Singapore and relative stability
has been achieved (BBC News, 2015). However, in 1998 there was the
Indonesian economic crisis. The crisis began in 1997 until 1998 and was Multidimensional crisis across Asia. This crisis brought governmental pressure to fix
problems which were stemming from weak public sector governance. This
caused problems such as corruption, collusion, nepotism, and monopolistic
practices (Jurnali & Siti-Nabiha, 2015). There were public calls for reform in
local government- issues with to ensure good governance through accountability,
political transition, using performance measurements, and analytical data
(Jurnali, 2015).
The issues highlighted were lack of punishment or reward in system, lack of
compliance, integration between planning and budgeting and inaccurate
indicators and data reporting (Jurnali & Siti-Nabiha, 2015).

This has implications in planning as local government management is key in city

development. The weak public sector affecting rule of law, transparencies,
responsiveness, equity, accountability and participation. The implications on
planning is the budgeting affecting full implementation of goals, stalled
development, local government governance and the future direction of
In conclusion, the history of Indonesia has been varied and the physical
structure has been uniquely tied to its history. Australia also has a unique history,
and similar natural environment issues such as low lying land and climate
change that needs to be mitigated. Nevertheless, Australia is the only continent
on earth that does not have active volcanoes. History, culture and customs effect
planning implications through providing frameworks of cultural norms which can
be predictive, coping methods and an indicator for the direction Indonesia and
Australia is heading toward.

AG Staff, AAP. (2011, September 11). DNA confirms Aboriginal culture one of
Earth's oldest . Retrieved december 16, 2015, from Australian Geographic:
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2010, December 20). Spectator Attendance at
Sporting Events, 2009-10. Retrieved from Australian Bureau of Statistics:
BBC News. (2015, May 25). Indonesia Profile Timeline. Retrieved from News:
Bond, B. (2015, August 4). The Traditional Performance of Ondel-Ondel.
Retrieved from Indonesia Travel Guide:
Bureau of Statistics. (2007, January 24). Religious Affiliation 2006. Retrieved from
Australian Bureau of Statistics:
D'Arcy Wood, G. (2008). The Volcano Lover: Climate, Colonialism, and the Slave
Trade in Raffle's History of Java (1817). Journal of Early Modern Cultural
Studies, 8(2), 33-52.
Davis, S. (2011, January 19). Australia-Indonesia Joint Sports Initiatives Boost
South East Asian Games Preparations. Retrieved from Australian Embassy:

Jurnali, T. S.-N. (2015). Perfomance Management System for Local Government:

The Indonesian Experience. Global Business Review, 16(3), 351-363.
National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. (2015, December 21). 1770
Decade events. Retrieved from Australian History Timeline:
UNESCO. (2015, November 29). Borobudur Temple Compounds. Retrieved from
World Heritage Convention:
Van Dijk, K., & Gelman Taylor, J. (2011). Cleanliness and Culture: Indonesian
Histories. Lieden: KITLV Press.

Alana Plummer S2802098