The expansion of the middle class in Indonesia has been accompanied by a rise in Islamic consumerism. Dr Inaya Rakhmani examines dominant narratives in Islamic-themed television programs, writing that the commercialisation of Islam has encouraged ideas and beliefs that aggravate rather than moderate social divisions.

During the New Order period, the middle class was routinely depicted as small (less than 10 per cent of the population) and uninterested in democracy. According to Dr Gerry van Klinken, that picture now needs a serious overhaul. They are interested in democracy, he writes, and even more in decentralisation, and play a crucial role in holding the country together.

Indonesians often complain about kelas menengah ngehe, or the “awful middle class”, on social media. But despite the ubiquity of the term, there is little consensus on how to define it. Who are the awful middle class? And what makes them so ngehe? Dr Salut Muhidin takes a look at the phenomenon.