Our Beautiful World


Located off Southeastern Asia, between Malaysia and Australia, Indonesia consists of more than
13,600 islands, stretching across some 5,150 km in the South China Sea, the Celebes Sea, the Pacific
Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. Numerous active volcanoes have left the soil rich in nutrients,
making it ideal for growing crops, particularly rice.

Indonesia is a very old civilization, and remains of some of the earliest forms of human life (Java Man)
have been found in its river valleys. It is also a mixture of many diverse civilizations, from Indian and
Chinese to the Dutch, who came in the 17th century when the Dutch East India Company took an interest
in its abundance of spices such as cloves and nutmeg. When the company collapsed in 1798, the Dutch
government assumed control of its East Indian possessions, including Indonesia. The country finally
proclaimed its independence from the Netherlands in 1945.

Throughout the centuries, music and dance have maintained an important role in the culture of Indonesians.
Despite its many regional differences, certain common musical traditions are found throughout Indonesia.
Everywhere, some form of ensemble exists that is made up of small tuned gongs and two or three drums.
In fact, the country has more varieties of ensembles of gongs and drums than any other country in the world.
To keep these traditions alive, the government has established a number of schools for the study of music.

Indonesia is an interesting blend of cultures and traditions, offering a beautiful landscape,
and warm and friendly people.

Orangutans in the Wild
National Geographic Magazine Aug.1998, Foto© Tim Laman

The wildlife of Indonesia shows a tremendous diversity. The bigger ones are the
orangutans, rhinoceros, tigers, tapir and elephants. As in Australia, you can also find
several marsupials, then snakes in the jungles and, of course, birds of all kinds.

Indonesia's Plague of Fire
National Geographic Magazine Aug.1998, Foto© Michael Yamashita

60% of the people are engaged in agriculture. As about two thirds (67%) of the land
area is covered by forests, it is obvious that the farmers need more of the land for their seed.
So, every year, Indonesia is on fire. That is the easiest way to get rid of the forest.
The problem is that they don't always know how to stop a fire.....
However, they also still do have a large export of wood.

rhinoseros hornbill eating Strangler Figs
'Borneo's Stranger Fig Trees', National Geographic Magazine April.1997, Foto© Tim Laman

They don't actually squeeze the trees on which they piggyback. Rather, their roots form rigid rings
around the host's trunkrestricting further growth. Over the time the supporting tree begin to die.
That do not always be the best way to preserve the rainforest....

Iran Jaya's People of the Trees
Foto George Steinmetz
more to come....


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