Month: September 2008

READ: Young Indonesians Challenge the Old Order

By Stanley A. Weiss JAKARTA—Sitting down with Indonesia’s rising business stars gives a sense of the progress and perils that define the country as it marks a decade since the downfall of authoritarian president Suharto and heads into parliamentary and presidential elections next year. “Indonesia is now an economic powerhouse, the biggest in Southeast Asia,” said Fauzi Ichsan, chief economist at Standard Chartered Bank. “Our middle class is the size of Malaysia’s entire population and growing.” Rozan Anwar, director of a human resources company, compares Indonesia to the so-called BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India, China] countries lauded for rapid economic development since the turn of the millennium. “We say iBRIC—it makes it sound cooler,” said Sandiaga Uno, a leader with the country’s young entrepreneurs association. But ask the same analysts about the country’s political health and the responses are not as positive. “I have no confidence in the political system,” said Arif Arryman of telecommunications giant Telkom. According to Sandiaga, corruption and nepotism are key impediments to progress. “We need to invest in infrastructure and education, …

READ: Turf War

Americans can’t live without their lawns—but how long can they live with them? by Elizabeth Kolbert   In 1841, Andrew Jackson Downing published the first landscape-gardening book aimed at an American audience. At the time, Downing was twenty-five years old and living in Newburgh, New York. He owned a nursery, which he had inherited from his father, and for several years had been publishing loftily titled articles, such as “Remarks on the Duration of the Improved Varieties of New York Fruit Trees,” in horticultural magazines. Downing was dismayed by what he saw as the general slovenliness of rural America, where pigs and poultry were allowed to roam free, “bare and bald” houses were thrown up, and trees were planted haphazardly, if at all. (The first practice, he complained, contributed to the generally “brutal aspect of the streets.”) His “Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening” urged readers to improve themselves by improving their front yards. “In the landscape garden we appeal to that sense of the Beautiful and the Perfect, which is one …