Ira Katznelson, 7 November 1991
May 20 is marked each year in Indonesia as the Day of National Awakening. It commemorates the founding in 1908 of Budi Utomo, a nationalist organisation created by Javanese in their late teens and early twenties at the Western-type medical school in Batavia, colonial capital of the Netherlands Indies. These founders were drawn from a tiny protoélite, numbering just over a thousand, who had been educated at Dutch-language primary schools. Budi Utomo’s leader, an East Javanese named Soetomo, soon became a significant nationalist intellectual. Late in life, he wrote Kenang-Kenangan (Memories), the first autobiography of its kind in Indonesia.