Last month was the 15th anniversary of the coronation of the Sultan of Yogyakarta; here’s a belated tribute. I covered the coronation for Reuters in Indonesia, accompanied by the fabulous photographer Enny Nuraheni. Here are some of her pictures, rescued from the trash.
The dwarves, albinos and albino dwarves that the Sultan keeps at court are supposed to concentrate mystical power around his person. He’s not all mystical though; he is a businessman who once had presidential ambitions and has battled with Jakarta to hold on to the hereditary governorship of the special administrative region of Yogyakarta. He won that battle in 2012, and is now the only non-elected head of a province in the country. When these photos were taken in an earlier, less democratic age, his popularity was unquestionable. I happened to be in town in 2012 when parliament passed the new law allowing the Sultan of Yogyakarta to assume the administrative post of Governor without elections. I met some people who objected to the abrogation of their democratic rights, but even they said they would have voted for him, given the chance.