Out of Bali: Cybercaliphate Rising

The rise of religious fundamentalism in Southeast Asia contradicts longstanding appraisals of Southeast Asian Islam and Western theories of modernization.

Issue: Spring 2003

On sub-tropical Sunday mornings in August, in the square outside the Fatahillah Museum in north Jakarta, cultural tableaux testifying to Indonesia's diversity take place. In one of them, a troupe of Balinese school girls performs the elegant Legong dance that interprets, in its distinctive way, aspects of the island's ancient Hindu traditions. In its 2002 Jakarta version, however, instead of the sinuous traditional dress, the girls cover their heads with white headscarves. White gloves and white socks obscure their elegant hand and foot movements, while what appears to be a green satin sack hides the rest of their prepubescent anatomy.

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