This is one of the stories I did during my internship at The Jakarta Globe. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Jenkins, the Australian journalist, who was very inspirational and made me really wanna jump up, hit the streets and dig up a good, juicy story.
NOT MANY PEOPLE CAN CLAIM that they were literally part of history. But retired Australian journalist David Jenkins, who was banned by President Suharto from Indonesia for eight years, may be one of those who can actually truthfully make this claim.
Over his four-decade journalism career, Jenkins has had a keen interest in Southeast Asia. He worked as a correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review from 1976-84, when he covered Indonesia as part of his assignment, and as an editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Times on Sunday from 1985-2004.
Jenkins has also written a lot on Indonesia, including a controversial book and story that had far-reaching diplomatic consequences.
Jenkins was in Jakarta on June 30 for the relaunch of his book, “Suharto and His Generals: Indonesia Military Politics 1975-1983.”
The English edition of the book was republished by Equinox Publishing and the Indonesian edition published by Komunitas Bambu. The book was originally published in English by the Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications in 1984.
“Suharto and His Generals” was banned in Indonesia in 1984 due to its in-depth and critical analysis of the political situation at the time.
It tackles the complex military and the parallel government political structure of the country, as well as opposition against the state, which was mainly led by retired generals.
Jenkins described Suharto, who was in power for 32 years, as someone who kept his subordinates guessing.
“The story of Suharto is of someone who made good despite a very troubled early life,” Jenkins said.
“He was of very modest educational background, a troubled family background, but extremely intelligent, capable, thorough in his preparations and a difficult man to read.”