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Open Access A Researcher’s Notes

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A Researcher’s Notes

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Chapter Summary

This chapter seeks to reconstruct the biographies of some key actors in Kupang. Kupang's long colonial history can be deciphered from archives preserved in the Netherlands and Jakarta. The author's biggest find in Kupang was the personal library of El Tari - 26 meters of books and official reports, still sitting on their original shelves in his house three decades after his death. The theatricality of public historical discourse in Kupang has limits. Out of the public view, beyond the cardboard cut-out heroes without birth dates, other biographies circulated in private. Here, losers condemned to obliteration by the town's establishment once more stirred to life, and even winners were seen to be human after all. Here, lives did not run predictably along tracks laid down by the invincible force of nationalism, but zigzagged hazardously among the contingent shoals of regime changes and personal rivalries.

Keywords: El Tari; Jakarta; Kupang; nationalism; Netherlands



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