Written by John Mateer
In 1998, after President Suharto resigned and most expats had fled, John Mateer arrived in the Sumatran city of Medan with the intention of writing a handful of poems. But Mateer’s fascination with everyday life in Indonesia’s third largest city soon led to him chronicling his daily experience. The Indonesia of Semar’s Cave is not that of the television news. Whether describing a package tour of Lake Toba with a group of Chinese families, meditating in Borobudur in Java or a literary discussion at an embassy party in Jakarta, Mateer’s insights into Indonesia are vivid and precise.