Jakarta 1


Jakarta 2
Adding wax

The next morning Pat and Billy went on a tour of Jakarta and bought some batik cloth – a particularly Indonesian cloth made with the wax resist method.  Real batik is made by melting wax over a fabric and subsequently dying it. The process is repeated for other colors until all dying is completed. At the end of the dye process the wax is removed. They also saw lots of very expensive Ikat weavings.  In making ikat, the threads are arranged in bundles and dyed before weaving.  Designated spots in the individual bundles are made to resist the dyes by wrapping with various dye-resistant materials. These bundles may be dyed several times, with more wraps added at each stage, similar to the batik process. The bundles are then opened and handwoven into the intended pattern. Note in the picture that none of the edges are sharp, making it a particularly beautiful pattern.  This happens when the threads are dyed separately before the weaving. The results are a warp or weft that produces a veiled pattern.  Billy gave Pat a particularly beautiful one as a gift. 

Jakarta 3

That morning began a packed schedule for my visiting the important people at the Embassy.  I did not get to meet the ambassador – only his assistant.  That day I also talked to the heads of the National Library, National Archives, the Scientific Documentation Center.  I can speak a little Malay, which I learned in Peace Corps/Malaya.  It is the same language as spoken in Indonesia; however, it is spelled differently.  I was used to the British spelling while Indonesian was written with the Dutch spelling, for example, j’s vs. dj’s and u’s instead of oe’s.  Jakarta vs. Djakarta and Surabaya vs. Soerabaya.  Peoples names were very different.  In Malaysia Malay names were generally of Arabic origin and in Indonesia, names were usually from the Javanese or other Indonesian languages.  The name of the Librarian of the Indonesian National Scientific Documentation Center was Luwarsih Pringgoadisoerjo and the name of the National Librarian was Mastini Hardjo Prakoso – tongue twisters for me. 

At the National Library a particular problem raised its ugly head that I was asked to solve.  By treaty through the Department of State, the Library of Congress had an agreement with many foreign friendly countries.  These agreements were for the purpose of exchanging with national libraries all official publications.  In this case, LC received the few official publications from Indonesia and added them to its collection while the Indonesian National Library received the enormous output of official publications from the United States.  These U. S. publications had been received in Jakarta and had been piling up for several years in a warehouse at Jakarta’s harbor.  Thank goodness I didn’t have time to see this enormous mess, but only heard about it. This bottleneck was because of Indonesian censorship laws that were holdovers from the old Sukarno government when any written material entering the country was suspect.  I was asked by Mastini Hardjo Prakoso for help.  While it was an Indonesian problem, I promised that I would see what I could do when I got home. When I got back to the U.S., I did so and believe I was able to get the publications released from hostage; however, I never followed through with Hardjo Prakoso as to what problems that she had when they were released.  I didn’t want to know, for there was no way that she and her small staff could process and provide space for them.  What a mess!

Pat and I remember with pleasure the two dinner parties that were given in our honor but we were in such a daze that we don’t remember much about the details.  However, I do remember that at one meeting, we met Mr. Hassan Shadily who was the co-author with John M. Echols of An English-Indonesian Dictionary, An Indonesian-English Dictionary.  This was the dictionary that I had used daily between 1963 and 1965.