At first, I thought that I had to speak English to him. Before the day of the trip, I opened dictionary and practised my English (;p).
When we met, I realized I was totally wrong. He spoke amazingly in bahasa Indonesia as fluent as I did. More amazingly, he knew every inches of Mount Gede-Pangrango much better than local people did. Just like Heyne and Van Steenis, two well known botanists, who knew about Indonesian flora much better than any Indonesian botanists did. How could?
He’s 66 years old but physically fitter and stronger than I’m. When I walked with him in the middle of the forest, I remembered so called “Indonesian men of thought” who always quoted Geertz, Liddle, Dan Lev, or Barton when they talked about Indonesia, their own country. No wonder they did it. That day I had to admit that they, western Indonesianists, knew about our culture, our beliefs, our social system, our land, our mountains, our flora, much better than we did.
After fasting, they will become very beautiful creatures. (What is beauty, what is ugliness, then, Sir?)