Bahasa Indonesia championed by Chinese

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With a population in the hundreds of millions scattered across thousands of islands, why did the whole of Indonesia decide to adopt a language mainly used by Chinese traders as its national language? Altaf Deviyati explains.

“People can be very intelligent but if they do not write then they will disappear from society and history. Writing is the making of one’s immortality” – an apt quote from Ananta Toer from the book This Earth of Mankind, the first of his famous quartet. The written text itself is not what immortalises a person or a society but the narrative.

Literature is the window into the collective psyche of a society. It is the medium that conveys a society’s identity and aspiration at different points in time and is a snapshot of a particular era.


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