Nastiness Diagnosis. Anthropology. Religion. Gender. Justice. A Personal Notepad For the General Public.
If Prabowo appears to some Westerners as ‘someone who “thinks like us” and talks like a Westerner’, it is because they mistakenly conflate Prabowo’s fluency in English and Western culture-speak with having democratic values that the West tends to associate with itself. Essentially they are saying, ‘You’re not like all those other Indonesians. You’re different because you sound like us.’
Prabowo Subianto is a ‘Third Culture Kid’. Despite sounding child-like, the term is popular among globe trotters and often appears in the international media. ‘Third Culture Kids’, or ‘TCKs’ for short, describe those who spend their childhood moving internationally multiple times and attend international schools. Prabowo did both.
In the 1950s and 60s, Prabowo left Indonesia and lived overseas with his family while his father was in exile for supporting a failed regional revolt. During this time, Prabowo grew up in Singapore (while it was still under British rule), Hong Kong, Malaysia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom while attending British, American and international schools. Prabowo graduated high school from the American School in London in 1969.
Growing up in six countries as Prabowo did is typical of Third Culture Kids, but it is no easy feat. TCK experts, David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken, explain that, ‘With one plane ride a TCK’s whole world can die.’ These children have to trade in their social network of relationships for new ones each time they move, with repercussions on their adolescent development.
stern milieu. If there were other non-white students in the school, they were often his own siblings.
Given the immediate post-colonial atmosphere of the time, one of Prabowo’s strongest memory of his experience abroad is that of racism:
There was still a strong sense of superiority among white people, westerners. They often insulted me at school. I was always part of the minority…Because we were often bullied, often insulted, we became tough. I can’t forget the first day I went to school in Switzerland. It was an international school where the majority were Americans. I must have been fourteen at the time. I got on the bus – immediately I was asked, ‘Where are you from?’ I answered, ‘I’m from Indonesia.’ [They said,] ‘Oh, your people still live on trees?’ Can you imagine? It was only the first day and already I was being greeted like that.