With credit for some of the subjects from my generalist Bachelor of Arts from the University of Newcastle, I completed a BA with honours in Indonesian and Malayan Studies from the University of Sydney in the late 1960s, graduating in 1970. The honours course at Sydney University in those days included a thorough grounding in the history, sociology, literature and languages of the Indonesian archipelago and the Malayan peninsula. We learned about their pre-colonial history, colonial history, modern history, ethnic makeup, cultures, religions, literatures, Bahasa Indonesia (literally the Indonesian language) and Bahasa Melayu (Malay). Although we were taught spoken Indonesian and Malay, few of us became fluent. The emphasis was more on the ability to translate from written documents. We also acquired a reading knowledge of Dutch (some of the books about Indonesia had not been translated into Indonesian or English) and some of the source languages, Old Javanese, modern Javanese, Arabic and Sanskrit (the latter two with their beautiful and difficult scripts). An acquaintance with the Arabic script was essential, because much of what was written in Malay was not then transcribed into Romanised script.
Recommended CitationHodge, E., Friendship and objectivity: Pros and cons of foreign correspondents' adoption of the insiders' perspective, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 7, 1999, 115-123.