May 1998 in Jakarta: a personal account



A British expat blogger, under the pseudonym of ‘Jakartass’, recounted his haunting personal experiences – in a rather cynical, dark humor – of surviving in Indonesia’s capital during the May riots, from the beginning of Trisakti shootings, until the resignation of Suharto more than a week after.

Download his full story, a PDF file, in his blog.




Thursday May 14th 9 am
By the time you get this, you’ll know whether Suharto and his cronies have gone or whether they’ve shot a few more students. A mass people march is planned for the 20th and all the signs are that this revolution is now unstoppable.

Suharto has spoken from Cairo: “If I’m no longer trusted (to lead the country), I will become pandito (sage) and endeavor to get closer to God. I will spend my time to guide my children so they become good people … I will do tut wuri handayani (guide from behind).”

Is this enough?

I was in the middle of writing the last bit when I was rung by the office ~ we’re shut for today at least. The British Embassy’s advice is to take it day by day. And the news (almost) live on TV is that north and west Jakarta is burning. Are they attacking the Chinese? Fools if they are!

NB. They were.

Slightly later: they’ve attacked a cash ‘n’ carry, Goro, owned by Tommy Suharto which is just down the road from my office.