Indonesia, Brunei and East Timor


Outline

Regional Characteristics

Physical Environment 

Resources

Population

Climate

The People

Language

Religion

Culture

Economic Development

Indonesia

Dutch Colonial Rule

Political Rule

East Timor

Independence

Brunei

Oil Wealth

Political Rule

References

Review Questions

 


Regional Characteristics

Physical Environment

Indonesia consists of over 17,000 islands and is the world's largest archipelago. Not only is Indonesia the fourth largest country in the world, but it's two largest islands, Borneo and Sumatra, are the third and sixth largest islands in the world. The island of Borneo is about the size of Texas and is divided by three countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. The country of Brunei is the smallest of the Southeast Asian countries and is about the size of the US state of Delaware. The terrain throughout most of the islands is lowland coastal, but on the larger islands mountains and volcanoes can be found. Brunei consists of hilly lowlands in the western portions of the country, swamps along the coast, and mountains in the eastern part of the country.

 

Indonesia is also a major oil producer and a large producer of tin. Brunei is a country rich in oil and in liquefied natural gas, though it lacks in other areas. The country is not able to support all of its needs for foodstuffs because of the lack of land and people to work the land, but agricultural development is on the rise because of government involvement and a desire to be self-sufficient in the future. The climate is suited for growing rice along the coasts and fruits and vegetables are grown in the interior of the country. Forests cover three-quarters of Brunei and the government protects them from vanishing by limiting the amount of logging to meet local needs only (Government of Brunei, Economy).

Population

The population of Indonesia is the largest in Southeast Asia at 231.6 million people (World Population Data Sheet, 2007). The population of Brunei, however, is the smallest of the Southeast Asian countries with only 0.374 million people (World Population Data Sheet, 2007). In Indonesia the majority of the population is located on the islands of Java. Because of Java's large population the government has instituted a resettlement program that relocates the people to other islands. This migration has caused problems as the land of the indigenous people is taken over and a new culture and way of life is forced upon them. The population of Brunei is concentrated around the oil fields in the western corner of the country and in the capital city (Bandar Seri Begawan) in the east. With it's small population Brunei has had difficulty finding enough labor and has been forced to import from other countries.

Climate

The climate of Indonesia is a tropical one, hot and humid in most of the islands. Exceptions can be found on the larger islands where the higher elevations affect the temperatures. The islands are subject to numerous natural hazards such as severe droughts, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Brunei also has an equatorial climate with rainfall varying from 2,500 mm per year on the coast and 7,500 mm in the interior (Government of Brunei, Land and People).

The People

In Indonesia over 742 languages and almost every religion can be found somewhere in the country (wiki page). The official language is Bahasa, which is a modified form of Malay, which was instituted as the official language in 1949 when Indonesia gained its independence. The language is spoken by over 80% of the population as a first or second language while the rest of the country speaks English, Dutch, or a local indigenous language such as Javanese, which is spoken by 75 million people (wiki pages). The majority of the people in Brunei speak Malay, with a small population of English and various dialects of Chinese.

The major religion of Indonesia is Islam that accounts for 86% of the population (CIA World Factbook,Indonesia). Brunei is also a predominantly Muslim country (67%), with the Sultan as the head of faith. Other major religions found in the country are Buddhist (13%), Christian (10%), and various indigenous and other beliefs (10%) (CIA World Factbook, Brunei).

The culture of Brunei is a mixture of influences from the four dominating periods of its existence- animism, Hinduism, Islam, and the Western influence, with Islam having the greatest affect on the philosophy and ideology of the people. In the Brunei Museum and the Malay Technology Museum elements of Brunei's past can be seen in the displays of bronze tools, wood carvings, cloth weaving, musical instruments, and women's jewelry (Government of Brunei, Language and Culture). The population celebrates a variety of holidays ranging from National Day (February 23) to traditional Islamic festivals to Teacher's Day (September 23).

Economic Development

The economic development of Indonesia has increased rapidly over the last 30 years, but the country still remains a poor one with a GNI PPP of $3,950 for 2007 (World Population Data Sheet, 2007). Indonesia is an exporter of coffee, spices, tea, rubber, and palm oil products, which constitute for 13% of its exports (Bradshaw, 278). The economy of Brunei is relatively dependent upon its oil and natural gas production, though it is working on diversifying its interests because of the limited supply. The country is able to produce 65% of the vegetables it needs and 11% of the fruit it needs and has also become involved in rice production and cattle and buffalo ranches (Government of Brunei, Economy). There is also talk of making the fishing industry more highly developed, possibly with foreign assistance (Government of Brunei, Economy). Brunei is also concentrating on developing its tourism industry and is hoping to have at least one million people a year visit the country (Government of Brunei, Tourism).

Demographic Analysis

Countries

 

2007-Population

(Millions)

 

Rate of Natural

Increase %

 

Infant Mortality

Rate

 

Gni

PPP

 

 

 

 

 

Brunei

 .4

1.6

7

-

 

 

 

 

 

Indonesia

231.6

1.7

34

3,950

Indonesia

Dutch Colonial Rule

Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands until December 27, 1949. The Dutch had ruled in Indonesia since 1515 and controlled all of the islands with the exception of East Timor, which was controlled by Portugal. The importance of Indonesia as a Dutch colony was that the capital city of Indonesia (Jakarta) was used as the headquarters for exporting goods. The Dutch operated under the Dutch East India Trading Company and forced farmers to work on plantations to produce crops in demand such as coffee, sugar, and indigo, rather than trying to produce enough food to feed themselves.

Political Rule

Indonesia is a democratic republic with the capital city of Jakarta on the island of Java. It was ruled by a semi-dictatorial ruler named Sukarno after it gained its independence. Sukarno was forced to resign in 1967 and Suharto assumed rule. Suharto was forced to resign in 1997 when the United States came to Indonesia's aid.

East Timor

When Portugal granted East Timor independence it was taken over by Indonesia, who controls the western half of the island. The western half of the island is predominantly Muslim, while the east half is Catholic because of the Portuguese influence. The East Timorese went to war with Indonesia in 1975 and were forced in submission when Indonesia cut off their food supply. Another war erupted in 1999 that led to East Timor being given independence from Indonesia.

Brunei

Oil Wealth

The majority of Brunei's wealth comes from oil and liquefied natural gas production. It ranks as third in Southeast Asia in oil production and fourth in the world in natural gas production (Government of Brunei, Economy). Oil and natural gas accounts for about 36% of Brunei’s Gross Domestic Product in 1996.

Political Rule

At one time the reign of sultanate of Brunei extended over the islands of Sarawak, Sabah, and a portion of the Philippines. The country became a protectorate of Britain in the late nineteenth century. Britain allowed Brunei to establish a system of self-government in 1959, and Brunei gained full independence on January 1, 1984 (Government of Brunei, Brief History). Today, the country of Brunei is still a sultanate and operates under a written constitution. The current leader, Yang Di-Pertuan, has ruled since the country gained its independence in 1984. The sultan not only operates as the head of the government, but also as the head of the Islamic religion in Brunei (Government of Brunei, System of Government).

 

References

PRB. “Population Reference Bureau” www.prb.org/Datafinder.aspx. 2007.

Wiki pages. Languages of Indonesia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Indonesia. 2006.

"The Government of Brunei Darussalam." www.brunei.gov.bn As viewed on February 19, 2008.

"CIA - The World Factbook." Information on Brunei and Indonesia. www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html. As viewed on April 20, 2008.


Review Questions

1. The island of Borneo is NOT shared by which of these countries: A) Malaysia, B) Philippines, C) Indonesia, or D) Brunei?

2. Where does the worlds only tropical island glacier exist: A) China, B) Brunei, C) Irian Jaya, or D) Sumatra?

3. What is the major language of Brunei: A) English, B) Portuguese, C) Chinese, or D) Malay?

4. What percentage of the population of Indonesia lives on Sumatra: A) 40%, B) 60%, C) 9%, or D) 20%?

5. Which of the following Indonesian islands is the most populated: A) Sumatra, B) Java, C) Borneo, or D) Irian Jaya?

6. What product is NOT a major export of Indonesia: A) rice, B) rubber, C) tea, or D) coffee?

7. What island did Indonesia acquire in 1962: A) Java, B) East Timor, C) Irian Jaya, or D) Sumatra?

8. Which of the following countries is ruled by a Sultan: A) Indonesia, B) Brunei, C) Neither, or D) Both?

9. What natural disaster will you NOT find occurring in Indonesia: A) Earthquake, B) Tsunami, C) Tornado, or D) Flooding?

10. What country formerly ruled East Timor: A) Netherlands, B) England, C) France, or D) Portugal?


Eric Otte 4/11/2008