The Origin of the phrase – Vivere Pericoloso!

The term ‘vivere pericoloso’ is actually a phrase used by Sukarno to rally the Indonesian people in his campaign to ‘crush Malaysia’ in 1964. Specifically the term ‘vivere pericoloso’ is used in his Independence speech in 17th August 1964. Not surprisingly that speech is titled: “Tahun Vivere Pericoloso” (The Year of Living Dangerously).

At that time Sukarno was indeed living dangerously. He was tenuously holding his country together between factions of Communist (PKI), the military (TNI) and also nationalists and religious groups. At the same time he faced the possibility of British bombardments. On that same day (17th August) a detachment of the TNI landed near Pontian. On the 1st of September a group of TNI commandos parachuted at Labis. So in retaliation, the British threatened the use of force on Indonesia if the situation were escalated. On top of all that Sukarno’s health was also failing. He was gravely ill with sickness – he has a chronic kidney disease at that time. And we must also remember, the Indonesian population was restless due to high levels of inflation and destructive economic policy, all courtesy of Sukarno’s Ekonomi Terpimpin (Guided Economy – Indonesian way of Socialism).

Clearly Sukarno had gambled himself and his country to achieve his political aims.

These are the characteristics that describe some one who lives dangerously.


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