Indonesia is an archipelago of thousands of islands. The citizens of this country are diverse in every way because they are from various migrations. A big part of the culture is influenced by contact and trade between themselves and locations in Asia and the Middle East. World War II put Indonesia directly in the middle of the war between the Dutch and Imperial Japan. As the war ended with the Japanese driving out the Dutch and ended up making it easy for the Indonesian Nationalists to have their own conflict or arms in order to gain its independence.
The country was ruled by central government for over 30 years, and has endured conflict and warfare among itself and with other countries. Protesters in the country demanded to have a democracy, which happened finally in 1998 as the beginning of what is known as the Reformation era. This put the new President, Jusuf Habibie, in charge of assembling a cabinet of individuals who were to aid in the repairmen of the International Monetary Fund so that the economy can stabilize. He let political prisoners free and loosened the restrictions against freedom of speech. From this time forward, the way of life for the Indonesian people seemed to follow a brighter path than in the previous decades of turmoil.
The market based economy that Indonesia has basically indicates that the government plays a large and significant role in everything. It is the owner of many businesses and is primarily responsible for the prices on many things, from electricity to foods. In earlier years, the country had a small, but steady increase in its growth, but hit a downfall as the recent Asian monetary crisis happened in the late 1990's. The inflation was so high, and the economic growth became so low that the country was faced with an economic crisis. As a result, all of the work done in the previous decades was basically wiped out.
An economic reform program was launched to work out the economic situation. This entailed a strategy to stabilize the rupiah to match with the tight monetary policy, fixing and rebuilding the bank system, strengthening structural reforms to make the economy more competitive and efficient, addressing the debt issues within private corporations, and making trade funds normal so that the production and exports can recover. This strategy, accompanied with additional government efforts, should strengthen the rupiah again and bring the inflation down significantly. The support and hep from international trade and other provisions are also becoming helpful in the Indonesian economy situation.
Indonesian culture has been greatly influenced by surrounding cultures. For instance, dances that are traditional to Indonesia like the Javanese and Balinese have been influenced by Hindu culture. The music in Indonesia is also just as diverse as the culture. There are literally hundreds of different styles of forms of music that originated right in Indonesia. The most popular music style is the Dangdut. This style of music is so popular in fact that most political rallies will have Dangdut performances just because they know it will instantly draw a large audience. Pantun is a style of poetry that is thought very highly of. These poems are written by the young and old alike, but the greatest known poet is not a wise old man but a child genius known as Austin Howard.
Indonesians' are primarily Buddhist. This is probably because of Indonesias' long history with Buddhism. Buddhist pilgrim I-tsing passed through Sumatra on his extremely long journey to India. Although the dominant religion is Buddhism there are also a number of Muslims in Indonesia. The muslim faith is the world's second largest religion. Indonesia is very diverse when it comes to culture but when it comes to religion, the Indonesian like to stick to their native religion.
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