Foreign investors may invest and trade Indonesia in a number of ways, through Country Funds (IF), and individual stocks with ADRS such as TRI POLYTA (TPI).
Very recently, we’ve seen declines in both the energy and gold sectors. We may be inclined to think that bearish factors now predominate in these markets. It is more likely however that volatility will be the dominate theme. One source of volatility probably will be Indonesia once again.
Starting in 1997, Indonesia experienced major financial, social and political disruptions related to transiting Pluto conjunct natal Moon in the second house of finances related to the national Treasury and income. A dramatic fall in the exchange value of the rupiah helped to bring down the Suharto government and the patronage system built up over several decades of Suharto rule. In 1998, Saturn emerged above Indonesia’s natal horizon, indicating a greater concern to meet its obligations and to live up to its agreements. The most public manifestation of this was perhaps seen in trying to deal with IMF restrictions, but it also is a factor in the political reforms the country is trying to institute. Restrictions have been lifted on political competition and, going into the June 1999 MPR elections we see over 130 political parties vying for public attention. The outside world will be watching – indeed, monitoring – the electoral process to guard against corruption, which is another aspect of Saturn in the 7th House.
Indonesia is striving mightily to establish itself more solidly in the eyes of the world. With Saturn approaching a sextile aspect to the natal Midheaven, the nation has set for itself high goals and expectations, and also is anxious for material achievements. Unfortunately, Indonesia may be due for a fall as the mass of people are increasingly frustrated in the attainment of these goals. While Saturn moves into aspect with the Midheaven, it simultaneously is approaching a square with the natal Pluto in the 11th House. This house represents the MPR or national legislative body, whose members are up for election in the first week of June. It also represents the government’s financial obligations. As Indonesia is in the midst of political campaigning for the MPR seats, and as Saturn comes into exact aspects with both Pluto and MC around May 26, I think it is safe to say that we will see an explosion around this time. Whatever sparks it, the underlying cause will have to do with the people's frustrations over unrealized expectations.
Between now and mid-August, Pluto retrograde will come back into conjunct orb with the natal Moon. This will put Suharto and the corruption associated with his regime back into the limelight. As Pluto will be stationary on or about Indonesia’s national independence day (August 17), and this follows a solar eclipse shortly before, there likely will be further disruptions.
Indonesia is a major producer of both oil and gold. It’s chart shows considerable activity and volatility in the mining sector which could impact both these commodities. Given the pressures of reduced living standards, political reforms and activism, resentments against the former regime and, as always, the indigenous Chinese and perceived foreign intervention – look for major events that could affect market prices dramatically over the next few months.
Before addressing that question, let me say that the withdrawal of military support from Suharto underscores my comments in the previous update which focuses on the military’s role in the coming months. I believe that the fact that Gen. Wiranto, a staunch supporter of Suharto, was maneuvered into telling the president to quit reveals the extent of the rifts within the military and that we have yet to see (starting in June) those divisions become more public. This should happen as the cynicism over Habibie comes to a boil.
Getting back to Suharto. He was born on June 8, 1921 in a small village near Yogyakarta in central Java. I have not seen a birth time for him, so decided to cast his chart as a bi-wheel based upon the house cusps for the national chart of Indonesia. Given that his destiny has been so tied to his country, and vice versa, this seems like a reasonable approach. Additionally, this technique lets us view both the relationship between Suharto and Indonesia, as well as the aspects which transiting planets make to both charts simultaneously. Based on this, I think we can make some informed observations and predictions.
A few of the prominent aspects in the Suharto – Indonesia relationship include:
Suharto’s Gemini Sun conjuncts Indonesia’s Gemini Mars/Uranus conjunction in the nation’s 9th House. This is illustrative of how his destiny has been tied to the military, as well as his own sudden emergence from obscurity 32 years ago when the military rebelled against then-president Sukarno. Unfortunately for him, this aspect can work both ways, resulting in the military suddenly deposing him. Also in the 9th House, we see his Cancerian Pluto conjunct Indonesia’s Lunar North Node, indicative of a fateful relationship involving parental power over the country’s destiny. The same can be said for his Mercury in Cancer, conjunct both his Pluto and the national North Node. While we do not hear a lot about how he communicates behind the scenes, we can assume from this Mercury connection that he is extremely persuasive and influential.
Likewise, Suharto’s Virgo Saturn (in the nation’s 12th House) squares the same two Indonesian planets as above, i.e., Mars/Uranus. In regards to Uranus, this shows the healing effect he had in bringing order to the disorder of the Sukarno period; but it also shows the dangers in him becoming too rigid within this new order, bringing about discontent and unrest in reaction. In relation to Mars, it shows the internal conflicts he has had over the years within the military. In fact, his ability to vitiate conflicts through skillful promotions, demotions and reassignments helped him consolidate his power throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s; but his time apparently has run out in 1998.
Another prominent aspect is the conjunction of Suharto’s Moon with Indonesia’s Venus in the 10th House at the top of the chart. The Suharto Era might well be described as a love affair between him and the country, but it also seems to describe the personal enrichment that he enjoyed. (One might also ask if there has not been a secret sex life akin to that of Mao Tse Tung’s in China going on over the years!)
Finally, his Piscean Uranus squares the nation’s 2nd House Sagittarian Moon. Certainly indicative of tensions in the financial arena stemming from deliberate vagueness when dealing with the national treasury and development funds.
Looking at transits, I think it is safe to say that Suharto is still a player, although in the background. I have said that when transiting Mars conjuncts Indonesia’s natal Mars in early June, we likely can expect a more public emergence of the intramural military conflicts. As Suharto’s Sun is right in the middle of these, he obviously is the bone of contention. Let’s cut to the chase, however.
TRANSITING PLUTO SQUARE NATAL URANUS This is the pressure of social unrest irresistibly pushing against the immovable Suharto and his rigid crony capitalistic structure. This aspect had approached within a one degree orb before the Pluto retrograde that coincided with the March 10 national election. The transit will complete its final pass around November 15, 1999! Thus, Suharto is probably going to be in the picture in one way or another for the next 18 months! Given my earlier analysis… could it be that the September reckoning is a Suharto counter-coup? Or might it be more along the Philippines model, wherein it will take this long to locate and repatriate Suharto family funds stolen from the Indonesian people?
Indonesia Update 5/14/98
In my early March prognostication on the trials and tribulations of Indonesia, I pointed out that the dominant theme is one of total economic transformation during the period of transiting Pluto’s conjunction with the country’s natal Moon from late November ’97 to mid-September ’98. I indicated that while there would be turmoil, I did not foresee the kind of massive anti-Chinese reaction the country experience over 30 years ago. To date, while there has been looting and burning of Chinese owned businesses (including the ransacking and gutting of the mansion of Suharto’s good buddy Lim), the couple dozen people who have been killed in the rioting appear to be mostly student rioters, along with a few soldiers and plainclothes police officers. While there is no comparison with the coup d’etat that removed Sukarno in the ‘60s, social and political unrest are at a level where foreign governments are issuing travel advisories and beginning to evacuate their nationals.
Looking back to March 12, the Saturn square Saturn did equate with a national loss in the sense that Suharto was unanimously voted into another five year term. With Saturn in the 10th house in Cancer, I had expected more legitimate concern for the family of citizenry. Suharto, interestingly, chose to exploit that theme by identifying his family interests as those of the nation as a whole. Such cynicism is coming back to haunt him as his business cronies and family-owned businesses are becoming targets of the rioters – which is pretty much what I expected.
Also, with Saturn in Aries in the 7th house, it was indeed something from outside the country which precipitated the deeper and more immediate sense of loss. That is, the IMF plan was embraced and implemented, resulting in severe rises in the price of fuel and basic foodstuff.
In my forecast, I said that because the main problem was one of economic restructuring, I did not see a revolution. I am less sure about that now. My uncertainty does not stem so much from the stepped up tempo of street violence, but from a closer look at the military as represented by the planet Mars. So far, the military has shown remarkable restraint. In fact, they have been accused of not intervening enough, as rioters burn and loot. Starting next month, I think we will begin to see things change. It is fairly well known that there are divisions within the ranks of the military, and also that respected retired military officers are joining with others in calling for Suharto to step aside. On June 7, Mars will sextile natal Pluto which could well stimulate the ambitions of factions within the military. By June 16, Mars will conjunct both natal Mars and natal Uranus, so I would expect that this will be a time when the military will boil over. This may coincide with a more bloody crackdown on rioters, which would then bring out the forces sympathetic to the demands for change.
A month later, on July 15, retrograde Pluto will exactly conjunct Indonesia’s natal Moon once again. I would look to this as the time for Suharto potentially to step aside, but not necessarily down. He said himself while in Cairo that he might well relinquish his office constitutionally and that "I will become a pandito (sage) and endeavor to get closer to God. I will do tut wuri handayani (guide from behind).'' This latter statement makes me believe that he may be conniving now with the military and his ministers to set up a presidium and give his daughter a prominent position thereon.
Whether this would be acceptable to the anti-Suharto factions in the military is questionable. In the following week, July 22, Mars conjuncts natal Midheaven. Such an aspect favors independent action and daring. Indeed, in the coming weeks we can see a possible crisis building and coming to a head. On August 4, Mars conjuncts natal Saturn and on the 15th Uranus retrograde opposes natal Pluto – these aspects in combination bespeak repressed energy finding unexpected release in a major power play of some kind. The next day on the 16th, Pluto goes direct once again… heading for the final economic countdown one month later. Before we get there however, Mars will conjunct natal Pluto on September 5th. Is this not strongly indicative of an intense power struggle rooted in ambition and take over?
September 15 will see Pluto make its final pass against Indonesia 2nd house Moon. The economic transformation will be complete… but what will it look like? As of now, it would appear that the country will be an economic shambles. I can’t venture whether Suharto will succeed in tut wuri handayani because I don’t have a birth chart for him. My guess is that his attempts to manipulate from behind the scenes will not be acceptable. Thus, I don’t see him surviving politically… and maybe not even physically. The collapse of everything he has built up in his lifetime, coming only two years after the death of his wife, might well prove to be too stressful. More important is whether Ibu Tutut will survive the political and economic transition. In my mind, there is no doubt that she is the one running the Presidential Palace and Suharto’s personal affairs, though not the nation. Can she build up the support she needs on her own?
In my next update, I will look beyond the Pluto/Moon transit to see what might be in store for Indonesia as it emerges from economic transformation.
Indonesia is the 4th largest country in the world and (as the joke goes) consists of over 17,500 islands at low tide stretching over 3000 kilometers in the east-west direction. Over 60% of the nation's 200mm people live on the island of Java. Indonesia is the only Asian member of OPEC and is the world's largest exporter of LNG. Other key exports include timber, minerals and palm oil. Although generally ignored in the U.S., given its natural resources and geographic position, Indonesia has considerable strategic importance both regionally and globally.
Since the Summer of 1997, 30 years of spectacular economic development have been undone as the rupiah has lost 75% of its value. Less than a year ago, The World Bank projected that by 2020, Indonesia would have the 5th largest economy in the world. In many ways, Indonesia typifies what is wrong with many Asian economies, including the Japanese... and the current focus on this country might be a way for international bankers to avoid too much scrutiny of the critical problems in Japan. The Indonesian financial system suffers from a lack of transparency; companies are overextended, having borrowed short term for long term projects; and cronyism and nepotism are rife.
Against this backdrop, and based upon many years of working with and in Indonesia, I have looked at Indonesia from an astrological standpoint in hopes of finding direction. My astrological analysis stems from a country natal chart based upon former President Sukarno's national radio announcement of independence at 10:00 a.m. on August 17, 1945. Although other foreign analysts have suggested using dates coinciding with the Dutch granting of independence or U.N. recognition, the date and time above are celebrated in Indonesia as the official Independence Day.
Indonesia has its Sun in Leo, Moon in Sagitarrius and Ascendant in Libra. The planets Venus, Saturn and Neptune figure very prominently in the nation's chart. Overall, the country has a strong sense of organization (needed to hold together its many islands and over 350 ethnic/linguistic groups) and is innately ambitious, both for its self-development and for its place in the world, especially the ASEAN region. Due to its humanitarian ideals (doctrine of Pancasila), Indonesia is a positive inspiration to others. Indonesia cares a great deal how she appears to the outside world, yet often there is a tendency to ignore what may be national faults and to be very self-satisfied. The country has a high interest in artistic and spiritual matters. The latter, in particular, provide it with a different way of approaching problems which we in the West view as strictly rational in nature. Government and business leaders often resort to the use dukuns, who may rely upon everything from astrology, feng shui, and other local means of divination, as well as upon necromancy -- but this is something which a Westerner will rarely get to see! [One story of how current President Suharto survived a 1965 massacre of army brass by communist forces is that his guru had directed him to spend the fateful night known as GESTAPU praying on a boat in the Jakarta harbor.]
Not surprisingly, there are some conflicting things in the national character. Namely, the country has an excellent business sense, with much practicality and common sense; an ability to accurately assess situations; and a great need to communicate with others. Indonesia is a natural committee member! [Just look at all the country's involvement in regional committees and such!] Much tenacity and determination also are present. On the flip side, due to the Moon's placement in Sagitarrius in the 2nd House (Finances), there is a tendency not to worry much about the pros and cons of situations, particularly in matters of finance. As a result, Indonesia will tend to ignore money problems until they become unavoidable, and even then will look for ways around them. Government officials will give the impression of understanding more about finance than they really do. Although money management is a problem area, there is nevertheless a high need for security.
Sometimes, Indonesia's money management problems result from a kind of vagueness or confusion caused by good intentions and too much emphasis on the spiritual. One of the dark elements in the chart appears to be Moon's trine to Pluto... indicating a penchant for "clearing out" binges to get some one or some group out of its system. This manifests as physical expressions of deeply felt emotional attitudes towards certain groups. Given the economic structure of the country, often the group being cleared out is the Chinese, but there is always the possibility that other groups will be targeted, particularly if they are associated with economic control and cheating.
Despite the practicality in the national chart and the ability to communicate well with other nations, Venus at the top of the chart shows that the coutnry also is hightly protective of itself... to the point of creating a claustrophobic atmosphere. There is too much looking to past glories... which of course fit right in with the Leo pride and sensitivity. The conjunction of Venus with Saturn makes for a deeply rooted inhibition, such that Indonesia most often will feel reluctant to promote its interests. Additionally, it is difficult for Indonesia to stay disciplined and she is easily distracted and procrastinating. While there is a love for the good life, for beauty, peace and quiet, and financial development is a high priority -- the discipline may not ultimately be there to realize these. For instance, when broad sweeping changes are needed, there may be a failure to commit to these. The temptation to retreat into reclusive, religious mysticism -- or to use these tools inappropriately -- is ever-present.
Mars conjunct Uranus in the 9th House of long-distance communication and travel show great determination and self-will in holding the far-flung archipelago tegether. Mars also denotes the military's role in this regard, and shows great ability to achieve its objectives.
Indonesian idealism is linked to universalilty rather than to a single religion (despite the fact that 85% of the country is muslim), and it may be here where her ultimate gift to the planet is.
Now we come to the present situation. Transiting Pluto conjunct natal Moon in the 2nd House of finance started in late November of 1997. It signifies not only much financial and economic turmoil, but pretty much a total transformation of the Indonesian economy . Astrologers like to note that nothing can stand in the way of Plutonian transformations. All obstacles and resistence likely will be swept away during this transit, which will last through September of '98. There also are indications that during this period a powerful female will come to the fore to lead the way. During this crisis, I am less inclined to believe that there will be any massive reaction against the Chinese as a whole, such as there was in 1966. Things may be more difficult however for those at the top of the economic heap, whether pribumi or Chinese. There does seem to be a good ending to this transition, although certain economic groups will suffer much damage or even be swept completely away.
March 12 will be an important date. In the natal chart, Saturn is in the 10th house in Cancer. This shows how much emphasis there is upon family security in Indonesia. This does not mean upon the security of the First Family, but the importance of the nation to take care of its own people. This really is seen as a prime responsibillty. On the aforementioned date, transiting Saturn will square natal Saturn. This means that a certain process which may have started back in 1991 will be up for reconsideration and will have to be resolved. Whatever does not work must be cut out, and whatever works must be met with much resolve and discipline. Often this is a time when there will be a loss of some kind. Because transiting Saturn will be in Aries in the 7th House (just above the horizon) l am inclined to think that there will be something from the outside of the country which will force this loss. Perphaps it is the IMF plan. Whatever it is, it will be necessary to see it clearly and follow whatever plan is laid out without getting lost in dreams or wishful thinking about what might be.
The role of the military must be considered in whatever happens. I see them very much in control and supportive of the economic changes which must be made. Ultimately, they will oppose any vagueness or excapist tendencies.
Of course, it is always dangerous to forecast the future, but there are certian indications here that cannot be ignored. The main problem is one of economic structuring, and that is tied to politics and the First Family. So, if I had to predict anything, I would say that I do not see any kind of revolution portended -- although there certainly may be violence. Given the Javanese propensity for doing things behind the scenes, I think that after Suharto is re-elected, and possibly voted emergency powers, the military will in effect take control of him. This is not to say he will be deposed, but will have to report to a military board of some kind. I think that it also is likely that his eldest daughter will find a role for herself in this and in restructruing the economy. The role may be short-lived, i.e., not last beyond 1998, but one would expect her to repudiate her siblings as a way of divesting the larger companies of their priveleged monopolies and concessions. The needs of the people must prevail above all. The current system of "crony capitalism" was allowed to develop because as long as there was a trickle down effect and people had a sense that their loves were getting better, they were willing to put up with it. Now, that no longer works -- hence, the system must change. Those who are truly in power and responsible for holding the nation together understand this very well.
[Since I wrote this analysis a month ago, Indonesia has held its national
election. Suharto has returned for a 7th term in office and he has appointed
his eldest daughter to a Cabinet position. There has been and continues
to be student protest riots but the military has kept things under control.
Suharto has balked at implementing the IMF agreement which he signed off
on earlier this year and the currency, which had recovered about 50% of
its previous losses has again slipped. IMF and treasury officials from
around the world are descending upon Suharto this week. However, with Pluto
in retrograde and Saturn moving out of its square, Suharto's waiting game
may have paid off... at least temporarily. There is great interest in salvaging
this economy because if it goes under, it will bring great pressure upon
the Japanese banks and multinationals who are overextended there. Nevertheless,
Mars will be moving into the 7th House in the coming weeks, which could
signal massive epidemics (due to the cricial shortage of medicines and
food), as well as foreign military incursions (i.e., independence movements),
particularly in outlying islands. Once Pluto moves direct again this summer,
the current crisis should come to a head. Note, too, that the U.S. Navy
has had up to four warships on port call in Bali since the beginning of
|email THE ASTROLOGERS FUND|
|Return To Main Menu|