Indonesia, Window of Heaven
Indonesia is rich in art and culture which are intertwined with religion and age-old traditions from the time of early migrants with Western thoughts brought by Portuguese traders and Dutch colonists. The basic principles which guide life include the concepts of mutual assistance or “gotong royong” and consultations or “musyawarah” to arrive at a consensus or “mufakat”. Derived from rural life, this system is still very much in use in community life throughout the country.
Though the legal system is based on the old Dutch penal code, social life as well as the rites of passage are founded on customary or “adat” law which differs from area to area. “Adat” law has a binding impact on Indonesian life and it may be concluded that this law has been instrumental in maintaining equal rights for women in the community. Religious influences on the community are variously evident from island to island. You know, there are more than 17.000 island in Indonesia.
The name Indonesia has its roots in two Greek words: “Indos” meaning Indian and “Nesos” which means islands. It is an appropriate description of the archipelago as there are estimated to be a total of 17,508 islands, of which only about 6,000 are inhabited, stretching for 5,150 km between the Australian and Asian continental mainlands and dividing the Pacific and Indian Oceans at the Equator.