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Monday, 19 January, 1998, 14:10 GMT
Suharto turns to puppets for popularity

Reports from Indonesia say that the government is urging traditional puppet-theatre performers to put on shows which portray President Suharto in a heroic light.

The tourism minister, Joop Ave, is reported to have said that small amounts of money would be paid to puppeteers to adapt stories from a Hindu epic Ramayanaso that President Suharto is cast as a brave, victorious leader.

Correspondents say that the "wayang" puppet theatre is a widely popular tradition in Indonesia and has been a means of preserving the Hindu heritage in a mainly-Islamic country.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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