Indonesia is home to hundreds of ethnic groups, but is based on the Malays. Malay culture is a different story. They’re not like anyone – neither the Indians nor the Chinese or the peoples of Oceania, the Polynesians or Papuans. In principle, we are dealing with a distinctive civilization, concealed at first under cover of Hinduism, then of Islamization, then European colonization, and in the 20th century under the guise of modernization – at first strictly nationalist under President Sukarno and his successor Suharto, and today is liberal – since the presidency of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and up to date with Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla. But whatever form or take Indonesia, she is Malay. If we want to understand it, we must first understand Malay identity.