Indonesian Journeys
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More from this series
  a.. Part one: Jakarta

  b.. Part two: Aceh

  c.. Part three: West Timor

  d.. Related links
    a.. Country profile: Indonesia 

    b.. Anita Barraud's journal

    c.. West Timor: Picture gallery

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  e.. Documentaries

In just over ten years, Indonesia has transformed from a centralised 
authoritarian regime under Suharto to a decentralised multi-party democracy.

With parliamentary elections approaching in April and a presidential poll later 
in the year, what are the issues, challenges and expectations of the world's 
largest Muslim population?

Anita Barraud of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) travels to four 
very different parts of Indonesia where 240 million people are preparing for 
their general election.

Part three - The forgotten island - West Timor 

West Timor is greatly overshadowed by its famous and now independent neighbour 
East Timor.

It is one of the poorest parts of Indonesia where people are severely 

Just as there are seasons here for planting and harvesting, there is a season 
called 'Musim Kelaperam', which means 'the starving season'. 

The rain does not fall and water is scarce, resulting in almost 60% of children 
under five suffering from chronic malnutrition. 

West Timor has a fabled history as the Sandalwood Island, and for hundreds of 
years was a valuable source of what was once known as 'wooden gold'. 

However, it is no longer the valued commodity it once was, and the island's dry 
hills lack the touristic appeal of its tropical neighbours further to the west, 
Bali and Lombok. 

With the breaking away from Indonesia of half of this island as independent 
East Timor in 2002, this impoverished region also had to absorb nearly 200,000 
refugees from fierce fighting. 

Join Anita Barraud as she travels deep into the countryside and discovers 
malnutrition that rival parts of sub-Saharan Africa, visits farms in the north 
and discusses ancient clan ties with the descendant of a king.

Indonesian Journeys is co-production by ABC's Anita Barraud and the BBC's Neil 

This documentary was first broadcast on ABC Radio National and aired on BBC 
World Service on Wednesday 11th March 2009.




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