Thursday, September 30, 2004

Baroto Island

Miangas Island has a small atol or isolated island called Baroto. I posed here, unfortunately, without hiding the book inside my T-shirt on a beach in Miangas with Baroto Island's view.

I visited Miangas in September 2004 to collect data for my book. It is a small island with only 623 people. It is closer to the Philippines' Mindanao than to Indonesia's Manado. It is one of Indonesia's northernmost island, located among the Talaud islands.

The food is excellent. I had rica-rica tuna almost everyday. No telephone waves. No electricity. No television. Life is quiet on this small islet.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Despite big changes in Jakarta, doubts over Indonesian unity persists

Reporting: Indonesia

by Andreas Harsono
American Reporter Correspondent

TOMOHON, Indonesia, Sept. 28, 2004 -- Jakarta may have made enormous progress by organizing the first direct presidential elections in Indonesian history, but skepticism about its Javanese-dominated governments remains high in this Christian-dominated town in northern Sulawesi where distrust is deeply rooted.

One need not to talk to the Tomohon establishment to get that feeling. Street vendors, NGO activists and students all talk openly about issues such as widespread corruption, the imbalanced budget between Indonesia's main island of Java and the outer islands, as well as the dominance of the ethnic Javanese in many government, business, media, and military positions.

Bert Andriaan Supit, the secretary general of the Minahasa Union, an ethnic organization which advocates the interest of the Minahasans and author of a recently-published book "Melawan Arus" ("Against the Current"), said that Indonesia's democratization reform has stalled because it was hijacked by Jakarta's establishment.

"Jakarta needs to have a total cultural transformation if it wants to win the heart and mind of the people," said Supit in a speech in front of young activists Thursday evening, just four days after the September 20 election.

Minahasan is the dominant ethnic group in this area. They are mostly Christians after Dutch missionaries began to work here in the 18th Century.

Javanese compose about 40 percent of Indonesia's 220 million population. Most Indonesian leaders, including former presidents Suharto and Abdurrahman Wahid, and presidential candidate Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, are Javanese. President Megawati Sukarnoputri is of mixed heritage. Her father, Indonesian founding president Sukarno, was half Javanese and half Balinese, but he is widely considered to be a Javanese as well.

President-elect Yudhoyono, a retired army general, is to succeed Megawati next month. With over 109 million of the estimated 120 million votes cast in the election counted Friday, Yudhoyono had 61 percent to incumbent Megawati's 39 percent, according to the General Election Commission.

Minahasans doubted whether Yudhoyono might seek radical change in a place like northern Sulawesi, where Indonesia's problem is seen to be much more complicated than a president can address. Minahasans campaigned for decades to become a federal state in Indonesia - not a province in the unitarian one.

In the late 1950s, their demand culminated in an armed rebellion against Jakarta, nicknamed the Permesta movement. It began in March 1957 and involved many public figures from eastern Indonesia, which includes northern and southern Sulawesi as well as the Molluccas and the smaller islands of southern Indonesia.

When negotiation between Jakarta delegation and the rebels were botched, most of the rebellious leaders backed off - but not the Minahasans. American scholar Barbara Harvey wrote in her book, "Permesta: Half-a-Rebellion," that the Minahasans basically asked for equal treatment but their movement was squashed by Java-based soldiers in 1961.

Today many scholars believe that Indonesia is fated to disintegrate, like the former Yugoslavia, because like Yugoslavia is a new and artificial nation lacking firm historical roots.

Indonesia comprises 13,677 islands, stretching from east to west over a distance that is approximately as far as that from London to Moscow. It is the world's largest Muslim country, but has a significant Christian majority in the east. Its 220 million people speak more than 300 different languages, and their common history includes a Dutch colonial past and a lingua franca known as Bahasa Indonesia developed from the Malay language.

The nation's former strongman, General Suharto, managed to keep Indonesia together by brutal means, but as soon as he fell from power in May 1998, the institutions that he had built up also began to crumble.

"There was a systematic cultural genocide conducted by the Suharto government," said Supit, adding that young Minahasan students are taught about "national history" from a Javanese perspective. They learn to admire "national figures" like the famous Prince Diponegoro, who fought against the Dutch from 1825 to 1830, but not local heroes in Minahasa or other places.

Tomohon is the seat of the synod of the influential Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa, locally known as GMIM, as well as some Christian colleges. It hosted an important Christian national convention in 1980.

But a careful reading of Minahasa's three newspapers, which are published from Manado, about a one-hour ride south of Tomohon, yields the impression that the newspapers would like to see one or two Minahasans sit in Yudhoyono's new cabinet.

The Global News, for instance, quoted anonymous sources and headlined news reports about the possibilities of Ernst Everts Mangidaan, a former governor of Northern Sulawesi, being named to sit either in the cabinet or become deputy speaker of the Indonesian parliament. Mangindaan is now the secretary general of Yudhoyono's Democrat Party.

Another Minahasan rumored to be on the possible cabinet list is Rizald Max Rompas, a founding member of Yudhoyono's party and a professor at Manado's Sam Ratulangi University.

"It reflects what many people here want to see from the new government," said Friko Poli, the chief editor of Komentar, another daily newspaper established after the fall of Suharto.

"Minahasans were sidelined after the Permesta movement. We never see Minahasans sitting in the cabinet. Now we want to see Minahasans being in the central government like we used to be," Poli said.

But easier said than done. In Jakarta, right-wing newspapers, like the bi-weekly Sabili, frequently accused the Yudhoyono camp of accommodating "too many Christians" in his inner circle. It was a strange accusation, because Yudhoyono has also built a coalition with two Islamic parties, the Moon Star Party and the Justice Party, which campaign for ortodox Islamic law, or sharia, in Indonesia. That is a sensitive issue that many Minahasans vow to fight against if it is ever put into practice in Indonesia.

Yudhoyono's running mate, the vice-president-elect, is Jusuf Kalla, a Bugis ethnic businessman from southern Sulawesi, long a leading figure in Suharto's Golkar party. Kally was sacked from a ministerial post in 2000 by President Wahid for alleged corruption which was never convincingly spelled out.

One of Yudhoyono's main political backers is Yusril Izha Mahendra, a former Suharto speech writer and the leader of the fundamentalist-leaning Moon Star Party. Yusril's two recent stints as justice minister have done nothing to improve Indonesia's appalling judicial system. Headlines claimed this week that Yudhoyono had entrusted Yusril with putting together the new cabinet.

American Reporter Correspondent Andreas Harsono, who has reported from indonesia for us since 1996, won a Nieman International Fellowship at Harvard University for 1999-2000. He is working on a book.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Ten Tips for a Better Interview

International Center for Journalists

1. Be prepared! Always read up on the subject you are reporting about and the person you are interviewing. Your source will appreciate your effort, and you will be able to skip questions that can be answered by an assistant, book or document. When scheduling the appointment, ask your source to suggest documents or other sources of information about the topic you will discuss. The interviewee will appreciate your interest and often share valuable documents before the interview. Make sure your tape recorder has batteries that work. Bring an extra tape as well as pens and notebook.

2. Set the rules of the interview right up front! Be sure your subject understands the story you are working on (this will help keep the interview on track). Additionally, the interviewee must understand that everything they say is "on the record." It is best to establish these ground rules when making the interview appointment. Although most government officials have enough experience with the media to indicate when something is "off-the record" or "on background," other experts may not understand the differences. Remember that an upfront clarification may be required (especially when your source's job or life could be endangered by being quoted).

3. Be on time! The worst impression you can make on a source is being late for the interview.

4. Be observant! Observe details of the place and of your interviewing partner; this can add color to your story. If you are interviewing people in their home or office, be sure to get a good look around and note what you see. For example, they may have some old photos that show them in a more personal light. You may start an interview with assumptions about a person and leave with a completely different impression. However, this may be exactly what your source intended. Perception is a tricky business! Try to talk to others, colleagues or friends of your source, to get a bigger picture.

5. Be polite. Don't rush your source! It is important to establish a polite rapport and a level of comfort for the interviewee. Some interviewees, on the other hand, need a couple minutes to become comfortable talking to reporters. Even though you may only have 30 minutes for an interview, you should not rush your subject. If you sense the interviewee is in a hurry, adjust your timing accordingly. Keep in mind, everyone is different. Taking the time to get to know your sources will prove valuable, especially when you need to call with follow-up questions or use them as a source for future stories. If the interview goes well, it may even go beyond the scheduled time. Give yourself plenty of time between appointments to avoid scheduling conflicts.

6. Listen but don't be afraid to interrupt when you don't understand! Keep your audience in mind! One reason you are conducting this interview is to explain it to your readers. If your subject uses scientific jargon or explanations only his/her peers would understand, politely interrupt and ask for further explanation. Never be embarrassed about not knowing

7. Silence is golden. Sooner or later you will have to ask the tough questions that your subject may be loath to discuss. When you start asking those provocative questions, the answers most likely will be short, useless or carefully worded. You may not get an answer at all. If this occurs, look your source in the eye and don't say a word. In most cases, your opponent will begin to feel uncomfortable and begin to share information again. If this doesn't work, ask for sources who might be able to answer your question.

8. Maintain eye contact! A reporter who spends most of the interview bent over taking notes or looking into a notebook can be as disconcerting as a tape recorder in an interviewee's face. While taking notes and recording the interview, maintain as much eye contact as possible. Learn to take abbreviated notes looking down only once in a while so you can focus on your interviewee. This will make the interview more like a conversation, and enable everyone to be more relaxed.

9. Before you leave ask your source if there is anything that you might have forgotten to ask. Perhaps the interviewee is burning to tell you useful information, but you did not even think to ask that question. Don't leave without getting a contact number or e-mail address and a good time to call with follow-up questions. Always ask for other sources. Colleagues or friends of the interviewee may be more knowledgeable or willing and able to speak to you. Thank your source for spending time talking with you before you leave.

10. Review your notes right after the interview! Don't wait until the end of the day or later in the week to review your notes. Go over them right away, while everything is fresh in your mind, filling in your shorthand and elaborating on your observations. Skip that date for drinks with your office pals until after you have reviewed and organized your notes.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Indonesian Leaders Still in Denial After Embassy Blast

by Andreas Harsono
American Reporter Correspondent

MAKASSAR, Indonesia, Sept. 11, 2004 -– Indonesia's number one man on terrorism, police chief Da'i Bachtiar, was having a meeting with a parliamentary commission Thursday morning in Jakarta, briefing them about his attempt to arrest master bombers Azahari Husin and Noordin Mohammad Top, when an aide approached him and whispered something into his ear.

Bachtiar frowned and asked the commission to adjourn the hearing, saying that a bomb had just exploded some minutes earlier outside the Australian embassy, "My men will take care, but it just shows us how dangerous [it is] to have people like them on the run."

Jakarta television immediately showed pictures of the bombing, mostly dramatic, but some were gruesome: a bleeding policeman trying to get out of a watercoway, two burned motorcyclists, bodies outside the embassy, dozens of victims lying in hospitals, political comments and VIPs visiting the scene.

Azahari and Mohammad Top are two Malaysian citizens allegedly involved in producing the deadly bombs that were detonated in Bali in October 2002 and Jakarta's J.W. Marriot Hotel in August 2003. The Bali bomb killed 202 people, mostly Australian tourists, while the Marriot bomb left 12 people dead.

Da'i Bachtiar's men have arrested most of the bombers. Indonesian judges have also sentenced three of them to death. But Azahari and Top, who allegedly belong to a shadowy network called the Jemaah Islamiyah, have twice narrowly managed to escape arrest by police.

They have been on the run since the Bali bombing but still managed to shape the direction of the network to bomb J.W. Marriot Hotel and, if Bachtiar's speculation is proven, also the Australian embassy.

"We could see similarities between this bombing and the car bombs that exploded in Bali and the Marriot. It is still too early to prove that the Jemaah Islamiyah is behind this bombing although there is possibly a suicide bomber here like the others," said Bachtiar.

Bachtiar might say so, but it is not easy to convince most Indonesians, especially certain Muslim leaders, to believe that the Jemaah Islamiyah did bomb Bali, the Marriot, and that they wwere responsible for some other, smaller explosions over the last three years in Indonesia, as well as the one on Thursday.

The Australian embassy bomb again brought to the surface conspiracy theories that appeared in the previous bombings here in the world's largest Muslim country.

Ismail Yusanto, the spokesman for Hisbut Tahrir, a Muslim group which advocates the orthodox shariah, said in a television talk show Thursday evening, "There is a possibility of a foreign intervention in this bombing. The police should not only arrest and torture Muslim activists, like in the case of Abu Fida, but also seek the possibilities of foreign intelligence services."

Yusanto was referring to a Muslim cleric who last month allegedly helped Azahari and Top to hide in Surabaya, Indonesia's second city. The police denied any torture, but admitted they detained Abu Fida for several days.

Much speculation arose two years ago that the Bali bombing was organized by either the operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency or the Israeli Mossad. Some media also headlined comments from so-called "intelligence analysts" like Z.A. Maulani, A.C. Manullang or Suripto, all of whom who used to work as Indonesian secret agents.

Maulani, who used to head Indonesia's National Intelligence Agency, advocated a theory that the Bali bomb was a "micro nuclear bomb" dropped from the air and of a type owned only by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel, implying that the bombing was not organized by Indonesians but "foreign secret agents."

These people again appeared in Indonesian media after the bombing outside the Australian embassy. Suripto appeared on a station called ANTV and theorized that the Bali bombing was indeed conducted by Indonesians, but questioned whether the Indonesian police have caught the "mastermind."

"In the world of intelligence, we call them dump agents. They are used to do an operation, but do not know the big picture," said Suripto.

When al Qaeda men hijacked passenger planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, some Indonesian newspapers, including mainstream dailies such as Koran Tempo and Jawa Pos, headlined a story about 4,000 Jewish workers being absent from work on Sept. 11, 2001, saying that their alleged absence was due to a signal from the Mossad that the buildings were about to be bombed.

Abdullah Gymnastiar, Indonesia's most popular televangelist, also appeared on television here Thursday afternoon, sobbing and saying, "Allah must be upset with us" because there were so much "maksiat" activities in Indonesia.

"Maksiat" is an Arabic word which literally means "infidelity" or "adultery." Gymnastiar is a strong anti-pornography advocate on Indonesian movies. Just last month he led a campaign to ban a teenage movie with kissing scenes.

The Jemaah Islamiyah was established by two Indonesian clerics, Abdullah Sungkar and Abubakar Ba'asyir, who were in self-exile in Malaysia in the early 1980s. Sungkar died in 1999 but Ba'asyir, whom the Indonesian police claimed to be its current leader, is now under detention in Jakarta. Ba'asyir denied his involvement in any of the bombings. He also said that the Bali bombing was conducted by foreign agents to destabilize Indonesia.

Both President Megawati Sukarnoputri and her opponent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who will compete in the presidential election on Sept. 20, condemned the bombing and urged the police to arrest the terrorists. But both refrained from mentioning the phrase "Jemaah Islamiyah."

Indonesian also has not banned the Jemaah Islamiyah. Some politicians and government officials even questioned whether such a group does exist in Indonesia despite the fact that it was already blacklisted by the United Nations.

American Reporter Correspondent Andreas Harsono, currently working on a book on Indonesia, has reported on Indonesian affairs for AR since 1995. He won a Nieman International Fellowship in 1999-2000.

Copyright 2005 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Embassy Blast Bears Familiar Fingerprints

By Andreas Harsono

JAKARTA, Sep. 10, 2004 (IPS) -- Indonesian security officials are coming to terms with the possibility that the same organisation, alleged to have been involved in previous bombings in the world's largest Muslim country, might have been responsible for the detonation of a powerful car bomb outside the Australian embassy, here that killed at least nine people.

Indonesian police are already suggesting that the chief suspects are men they were already pursuing for past bombings in the tourist resort of Bali in 2002, that killed 202 mostly Australian tourists, and around the corner at Jakarta's JW Marriott hotel in August last year that killed 12 people.

On Thursday morning, just an hour before the blast, the country's police chief Da'i Bachtiar was meeting with a parliamentary commission where he was briefing them about his attempt to arrest master bombers Azahari Husin and Noor Din Mohammad Top.

Half way during his briefing, an aide approached him and whispered something into his ear.

Bachtiar frowned and asked the commission to adjourn the hearing, saying that a bomb had just exploded some minutes earlier outside the Australian embassy.

"My men will take care of that but it just shows us how dangerous it is to have people like them on the run," added the police chief.

Azahari and Top are two Malaysian citizens allegedly involved in producing the deadly bombs that were detonated in Bali and near Jakarta's J.W. Marriot hotel.

Bachtiar's men have arrested most of the bombers and Indonesian judges have also sentenced three of them to death.

But Azahari and Top, who are allegedly linked to the Jemaiah Islamiyah (JI) - a regional network that aims to create a pan- Islamic state in South-east Asia and which several governments have classified as a terrorist organisation - managed to narrowly escape twice the dragnet set up by Indonesian police.

"We could see similarities between this bombing and the car bombs that exploded in Bali and the Marriot," Bachtiar told reporters late Thursday.

"But it is still too early to prove that Jemaiah Islamiyah is behind this bombing although there is possibly of a suicide bomber here like the others," he added.

On Friday morning, Suyitno Landung, head of Indonesia's police criminal investigation department, told a local radio station that witnesses had seen a green Daihatsu Zebra car explode right in front of the gates of the Australian embassy.

"It exploded right away so we have assumed the perpetrator was still in the car," Landung told the 'El Shinta' radio station.

Suicide bombers, allegedly from Jemaiah Islamiyah, were also used in the Bali and the JW Marriott hotel blasts.

Some governments and certain intelligence agencies claim a connection between Jemaiah Islamiyah and al-Qaeda and allege the Islamic regional grouping's members had trained with al-Qaeda militants in Afghanistan.

"Islamic militants who have been arrested recently said that there were three men who were ready to become suicide bombers," Landung said.

According to latest estimates at least 173 people were injured in Thursday's bombing, though an Australian embassy spokesman said no one was killed or hurt badly inside the embassy's heavily fortified compound.

The nine dead included policemen, embassy security guards and passers-by - all Indonesians. The wounded were mainly people who worked nearby the Australian embassy and were cut by flying glass and debris.

"It was an enormous bomb. The enormity of the crater...the police truck outside has been blown to's like the wind has been pushed out of you," embassy media officer Elizabeth O'Neill told Australia's 'Nine TV Network'.

Meanwhile Prime Minister John Howard said Friday he did not know if a statement on an Arabic web site claiming that Jemaiah Islamiyah is responsible for the bombing of his country's embassy in Jakarta is genuine.

The statement describes Australia as "one of the worst enemies of God" and says the bombing is a martyr operation carried out to settle accounts. Australia has about 850 troops in and around Iraq and was the first country, apart from the United States and Britain, to contribute forces for the invasion of Iraq last year.

Howard said he could not verify the statement, adding: "I don't know whether that is a genuine message from Jemaiah Islamiyah or not." "Sometimes these web site messages turn out to be fraudulent."

Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Marty Natalagawa, expressed his shock over the embassy blast when he spoke to reporters.

"This is an attack not only against Australian society, Australian government - since the target was obviously the Australian embassy it seems - but also an attack on all of us -- on decent people and civilised governments, nations," he said.

"This is not about Australia. This is not about Indonesia. This is about all those decent people who just want to get on with their life without having to fear this type of heinous, cowardly act on the part of the terrorists," added Natalagawa.

Added the Foreign Ministry spokesman: We as a government have been extremely dedicated in trying to combat the threat of terror and yet again we have to suffer this attack earlier this morning."

"It's all about resilience I think. But we'll pick ourself up and go after these people."

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Book Proposal Indonesia: The Political Journey

By Andreas Harsono

To publish a book in English on the growing regional movements to have self-governance and to seek justice as well as the recognition of one’s identities in many troubled parts of Indonesia –a few of which demanded independence from Jakarta but mostly questioned the notion of “bangsa Indonesia” (Indonesian nation) in this world’s largest archipelagic country.

The book’s temporary title is “Indonesia: The Political Journey.” It is a political travelogue with historical, political, and anthropological backgrounds, but written with the story-telling technique. Some chapters will include a reconstruction of an event but others will use the first-person naration. It will involve literature researches, interviews, and travelling into the areas to be covered.

It is not a Lonely Planet-styled travel book nor an academic survey of Indonesia’s nationalism. It will be more of the same category of V.S. Naipaul’s Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey or Pico Iyer’s Video Night in Kathmandu. Time magazine also provides good examples through its annual “The Asian Journey” cover stories. I will learn their structures and the “engines” of the stories to make my book engaging readers, from chapter one to the last chapter. I will try to write a book that can help its readers peek underneath the surface of things, finding the deeper meanings in every strange word, glance and sight, I will encounter.

There will be nine chapters. Each chapter will focus in one particular area on the question of nationalism in Indonesia: (1) Aceh in northern Sumatra where a separatist movement had grown since the 1950s; (2) Flores-West Timor whose area is next to newly-independent East Timor; (3) the legacy of the sectarian conflict in the Moluccas and North Moluccas; (4) the Dayak-Madurese conflict in Kalimantan; (5) the so-called Chinese minority in Indonesia; (6) the dominance and compromises of the Javanese as well as the bombing in the neighboring island of Bali organized by some radical Muslim terrorists; (7) the emergence of Malay nationalism in Riau; (8) the secessionist movement in Papua; and (9) the bitterness of the Permesta rebellion in Minahasa, northern Sulawesi, which will also include a visit to Miangas Island, the northernmost island of Republic of Indonesia.

I will travel to these areas and spend about two weeks each, indeed, after doing intensive research and some preliminary interviews over the phone. It will take about one year, which is a very tight deadline, to finish the book. More or less, each chapter will be produced in six weeks. The English manuscript is to be finalized in one year. It will be published probably two months after the submission of the manuscript.

I hope the Bahasa Indonesia version can be partly translated and partly written with some degrees of adopting to the local Indonesian dialects in respective area soon after the English version has been completed. I have discussed publication of both the English and Indonesian versions with Mark Hanusz of the Equinox book publishing house.

In his classic, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, the political scientist Benedict Anderson argued that a nation is an “imagined community.” By definition, a community has members who are aware of each other's existence. But even for a lifetime, members of an imagined community do not meet or come to know a substantial number of the other members.

Indonesia is an imagined community. Let’s take an example. Most Sabang citizens, the westernmost tip of Indonesia, have no idea what Merauke looks like in Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua. Yet through a number of media, which include the Indonesian national song Dari Sabang Sampai Merauke, these members acquire a sense of belonging to this larger group, thinking that “bangsa Indonesia” exists from Sabang to Merauke in Papua.

BBC journalist Michael Ignatieff wrote in his book Blood and Belonging: Journeys Into the New Nationalism that culturally, nationalism provides men and women with their “primary form of belonging.” Morally, it can serve to be an "ethic of heroic sacrifice, justifying the use of violence in the defence of one's nation against enemies, internal or external.”

Ignatieff identifies two types of nationalism: (1) civic nationalism, in which the predominant belief is that all those within a nation who subscribe to the nation's political creed should be its citizens; and (2) ethnic nationalism, in contrast, holds to the idea that belonging and attachment to a nation is inherited, not chosen. “It is the national community which defines the individual, not the individuals who define the national community.”

Most Indonesian elite members consider ethnic nationalism to be their nationalism, for instance, by producing and using the notion that there are “pribumi” and “non pribumi” to differentiate between Indonesian of Chinese descent and other Indonesian citizens.

It turns out that this kind of nationalism has also spread to the troubled regions where people identity themselves as, for example, “bangsa Aceh” versus “bangsa Jawa” in Aceh, or “pendatang” (immigrants) versus “orang asli” (indigenous people) in Papua, or “merah” (Christian) and “putih” (Muslim) in the Moluccas, and in northern Sulawesi, the Minahasans have set up an organization whose name is “Persatuan Minahasa” (Minahasa Association) –the same name used by the Minahasans in the 1920s to advocate stronger position against the Dutch colonial administrator.

I will try to take a look into this big question by travelling into the eight areas, writing not only about the conflicts but also the historical backgrounds, e.g., how the Portuguese or the Dutch had conquered local sultanates or tribes in the 18th or 19th centuries and thus united the archipelago.

The book will have 110,000-120,000 words or around 380 to 400 pages. Each chapter will have around 12,000-13,000 words divided into five or six parts. Each part will consist of about 2,500 words. Each page will have 400 words more or less. But the chapter on Java will be longer than the other chapters as it will also include the Bali bombing.

I like the sizes and physical appearances of books published by Anchor Books, a division of the New York-based Random House Inc. One particular book whose format I like is Chaim Potok’s My Name Is Asher Lev. Paperback: 384 pages; Dimensions (in inches): 0.87 x 8.14 x 5.22.