Edited Books New Routes for Diaspora Studies. Indiana University Press. Co-edited with S. Banerjee and A. Contributions to Books Palgrave MacMillan Press. Routledge Press. Co-authored with A. Second author: D. At that time it cost me six million rupiah. It would have cost me more than twenty thousand rupiah, maybe even twenty-five thousand. Generally the new economic situation means that most Hadrami people experience difficulties in upholding relationships with friends and relatives in other places. In such a situation several of them choose to sell off more land, even in periods when the market value of land is not in their favour.
Even though it is the case that most of my Hadrami informants presently experience more and more difficulties in travelling, for economic reasons, this does not mean that they are in the process of being totally assimilated to the majority populations where they live, and there are few reasons why this should happen within the foreseeable future. First of all, historically the opportunities for overseas travelling of Hadrami people has waxed and waned several times. In other words, the present difficulties following the Asian economic crisis in is in principle nothing new.
Second, other opportunities for keeping in contact have become important during the latest years. Several of my informants frequently receive sms-messages and emails updating them on Hadramawt and Hadrami societies elsewhere. Religious scholars from Hadramawt continue to visit Indonesia. Books by those and other Hadrami scholars are very cheap and widely available in Indonesia. Besides these, one type of contact through travelling seems to be on the rise, especially in the eastern parts of where I did my fieldwork: young females in economic hardship are travelling to the Middle East where they earn money as house-keepers and in other relatively low-paid jobs.
Third, as will become clear in the following chapters, some special Hadrami cultural and organizational traits continue to be of great importance, although sometimes these have been locally transformed to some extent, as for example the case of Hadrami marriage customs. The maintainance of Hadrami networks, including transnational networks, is not only an economic virtue. It could be argued that the social and cultural virtue of being connected may be of greater importance for my Hadrami informants than managing business network and owning and investing in land.
Investing in social networks and in cultural values seems very important for most of them.
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While reforming the homeland of Hadramawt in earlier times was a primary goal of many Hadrami organizations and individuals prior to the Second World War Mobini-Kesheh , both regarding education, healthcare, religious life and political organization, reforming the homeland is still an important priority of many of my informants, the homeland presently being Indonesia for most of them.
As an example, several of them are presently actively engaged in fundraising for hospitals, schools and mosques in various parts of Indonesia. As will be further dealt with later in this chapter, many Indonesian Hadramis started already in the s to stress their loyalty to the homeland of Indonesia and to emphasize the value of joining Indonesian political parties and organizations.
By contrast, one of the candidates for the presidential election last autumn, Megawati Sukarnoputri, was often portrayed, together with Suharto, as an uneducated person who for this reason was not prepared for political leadership of the large state of Indonesia.
Even more important among several informants is the possession and pursuit of religious knowledge, and they often held the view that most Muslims in Indonesia lack in such knowledge and follow religious tradition of which they do not know the background. Their religion is merely on the surface. But for the future generation? Hans Christian Nielsen in Knutsson et al.
Second, this city is also regarded as the place where central Arabic and Islamic virtues are most pronounced. In the old city, people can trust each other, old and sick people are not living in isolation and people care for each other and help each other when sickness and misfortune occur. In the old city people live honourably. Even though they praised inhabitants of Hadramawt as being closer to central Islamic and Arabic virtues than Hadramis in Indonesia, they did not want to become too similar to them.
Once in Denpasar, when I was chatting with an old man, brother of Ahmed, from Singaraja, and one of his sons, we were looking through a teaching book in modern literary Arabic used in some Western universities. I asked him whether this tradition also pertains to Hadrami people on Bali. Although such behaviour is considered more honourable, they seemed to hold the opinion that there is more than enough honourableness in Hadramawt.
Although a place where people are clever at socializing, Hadramawt is also considered a somewhat dirty and backward place by several of the informants, both people who had visited the place themselves and people who had not. The custom of eating from the same plate, as practiced in Hadramawt, is an expression of sociability that is not present among any of my informants. One old man, who has been living in Hadramawt for half a year, spoke highly of this practice.
At the same time, he voiced concerns about the hygiene. You know, they all had such incredible yellow fingers and teeth, and I could never avoid being aware of this.
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In Hadramawt the water can be very cold, and people looked in astonishment at me when I took a bath that frequently. They themselves at most took a bath once a week. After a while I got sick, and people recommended me to take less frequent baths. So I tried once a day, then every second day, then twice a week, and at last, once a week. Then I became well again, after becoming more like them!
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He died two years ago, nearly hundred years old. Friends also tell me the same story, that people there plant khat and nothing else, no food. Most people I know who travel outside Indonesia go to places like Australia, America and Holland and got a permit to stay. I know about no one who settled in Hadramawt, that very dry and barren place.
Well, some visited the place for about a month. But the political system there is very unstable. Not even the flight schedules are reliable; no one knows when the planes arrive and when they depart. Most people there are still primitive. Some of them have studied abroad, though, like their ministers.
And some have studied religion, in Al Azhar. This complex attitude towards their perceived original homeland is somehow matched by equally paradoxical attitudes in Hadramawt towards Hadramis born abroad. This attitude is well portrayed in a poem by the judge Muhsin b. How odd! How strange! This harshness and severity. By the wells you stay, for here is ease; Contentment is wealth, in it well-being and peace. Ah the clean life, with neither meddling nor discord. You care over money, the cause of enmity. Oh shabby smelly spit, throw a cover over it!
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This devaluation of people and things foreign contrasted with the positive value given to people, things and traditions local in a society with a strong migrant tradition like Hadramawt, is somewhat surprising and puzzling. In Hadramawt muwallads living there are frequently conceived of as lacking purity, both in a moral and hygienic sense Ho In other words, just as my Indonesian Hadrami informants tended to express mixed feelings towards Hadramawt, attitudes among people in Hadramawt towards foreign born Hadramis may be better described as complex rather than purely negative.
Islam should be taught without any consideration for money. Moreover, benevolent acts like establishing health facilities ought to follow the teaching. They have no religion; they only respect their own closest forefather. He now and then comes to visit them in their houses and they treat him well. For other people they feel no responsibility. They sometimes may act charitably towards others, but only their own kind. Hadramis used to be as rich as the Chinese, before corruption became a problem. Hence they loose money. But not the Chinese, because they have no religion.