In the past week, three remarkable men have passed away. The best writer of all times, one of the most innovative artists of all times and one of the most influential economists of all times.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006) passed away last Sunday (30 April).
For me, his numerous books, short stories and essays are the most remarkable works I have ever read. Both his use of language and his choice of topics make that his books and stories portray a lively picture of Indonesian societies and cultures. Toer brought history to live, from the early Majapahit kingdom to the first stages of colonialism, from the first movements towards independence to the repression of the Suharto regime. I wrote a short post on is work before. Here is my top 5 of his work:
1. Gadis Pantai (The Girl from the Coast, 1962)
2. Buru Quartet: Bumi Manusia (Earth of Mankind, 1980); Anak Semua Bangsa (Child of all Nations, 1980); Jejak Langkah (Footsteps, 1985) and Rumah Kaca (The Glass House, 1988)
3. Korupsi (1954)
4. Keluarga Gerilya (The Guerrilla Family, 1950)
5. Arus Balik (1995)
Karel Appel (1921-2006) passed away last Wednesday in Zurich.
Appel was probably the best known contemporary Dutch painter. He was one of the founders of the COBRA group, a group of painters from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, allied with abstract expressionism.
John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) passed away on Saturday 29 April.
From the Economist:
“At six foot eight, he was a giant. Intellectually he was equally towering, a man who spent more than seven decades either on the stage of American public policy – as a bureaucrat in Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, a confidante of John Kennedy and adviser to countless other Democrats – or loudly lambasting Washington from offstage left, as a Harvard professor.”
And a well known quote:
“There are two classes of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know”