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A make-believe nation

Will Indonesia—and its turtles— thrive despite its government?

Halmahera, part of the Maluku Islands, Indonesia

Weda Bay is not a place you’ve ever heard of, so don’t pretend.

It was not a place I’d ever heard of until a couple of months ago, either, and I’ve been trailing around the outer reaches of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands on and off for over 20 years. I tripped into Weda at the start of this year, attracted by tales of phenomenal economic growth, galloping corruption and parties, lots of parties. In the seven years since I last lived in Indonesia full-time, the country has gone through a frenzy of democratisation.


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