About
In late 2011, epidemiologist, writer and adventurer Elizabeth Pisani granted herself a sabbatical from the day job and set off to rediscover Indonesia, a country she has wandered, loved and been baffled by for decades. She was on the road and the high seas for a year, covering dozens of islands in 27 provinces. This site records photos and musings from that journey and beyond. See more about the project


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Farewell to PortraitIndonesia.com; greetings to IndonesiaEtc.com



We have moved to IndonesiaEtc.com
Please join us there…


Old lady carries wood in Central Java - Indonesia

It’s over two years since Portrait Indonesia went on the road. For several months now I’ve been rather quiet, hunched down over a computer, trying to pin Indonesia’s riotous diversity to the page. The book that will emerge in June 2014 will be called Indonesia Etc: Exploring the Improbable Nation. It will be published in the UK by Granta, in the US by WW Norton and in Indonesia by Godown, an imprint of always-inspiring Lontar.

The title Indonesia Etc is taken from Indonesia’s declaration of independence, which reads, in full:

We the People of Indonesia declare the independence of the Republic of Indonesia. The details of the transfer of power etc. will be worked out as soon as possible.

As Indonesia gears up for the 2014 elections, it is still working on its political “etc”. “Democracy by trial and error” was how one retired company head described it to me with a mirthless laugh. How far will decentralisation go? Will independent candidates and local parties be allowed? Much is still up for discussion or re-discussion. And yet the improbable nation muddles along remarkably well for such a young country. Re-reading Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address today, I was reminded that the United States, at a similar stage after its own declaration of independence, still had a bloody civil war ahead of it.

Though it looked touch-and-go for a few years at the start of this century, few people now expect Indonesia to face that kind of chaos in any of its vast territory (except, perhaps, Tanah Papua). In honour of Indonesia’s ongoing Etcs, and of my forthcoming books, this site is migrating to http://indonesiaetc.com.

  • If you’re signed up to Portrait Indonesia by e-mail, you should now get notifications of new posts on Indonesia Etc.
  • If you’re signed up by RSS feed, you’ll need to add http://indonesiaetc.com/feed/ to your reader of choice.

Thanks for sticking with the journey so far, and selamat jalan to the next incarnations.

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2 comments to Farewell to PortraitIndonesia.com; greetings to IndonesiaEtc.com

  • Anonymous

    Just preordered the book from Granta. Can’t wait for it to be delivered to me in June.

  • Sinead Mathias

    Hi Elizabeth

    We’re really looking forward to reading the new book. I’ll order a couple for me and Jimmy and others to read in my department. My hairdresser is currently reading Wisdom of Whores! I do like to make sure your book is passed around to other interested parties!

    Make sure you come and see us soon at the Trust next time you are passing.

    With love

    Sinead

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