Photo of the decorated Indonesian soldier Slamet Riyadi (left) next to Surakarta, commander of Tentara Pelajar, Achmadi.

The Indonesian word ‘pemuda’, or young person, has a complex meaning and history. Like in other languages and cultures, the term conjures up images of change and vitality. But in Indonesia, it also carries militaristic and masculine connotations which are coloured by the way it was used during the New Order era.

In his PhD thesis at the University of Melbourne, Jonathan Tehusijarana traces the term back to the history of Tentara Pelajar, student militia units, that were active during the Indonesian War of Independence. He chats with Tito Ambyo about the fate of these Tentara Pelajar veterans, which was often determined by the needs of the political elites – some found political, intellectual and cultural success in post-war Indonesia, while others were not so fortunate.

In 2023, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Tito Ambyo from RMIT, Dr Elisabeth Kramer from the University of New South Wales, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University and Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via Apple Podcasts or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


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