In February 1998, the ‘dying days’ of the authoritarian regime of President Suharto, a group of women occupied the roundabout outside the Hotel Indonesia (HI), a hectic road junction on one of Jakarta’s busiest streets. The motorists whose passage was impeded were handed roses, packets of milk powder and pamphlets protesting the rising costs of basic commodities consequent on the Asian financial crisis. The protesters singled out the problems faced by women in meeting the basic needs of their families. The group organizing the protest called itself Suara Ibu Peduli (SIP), or the Voice of Concerned Mothers. Their ‘demo susu’ (milk demonstration) drew on the central trope of womanhood in the state ideology of Suharto’s self-styled New Order regime (1966-98): the wife and mother, whose principal duty as a citizen was to raise a new generation of Indonesians. The demo susu attracted extensive publicity, both nationally and internationally, due to its brilliant theatricality and the televised images of the brave but clearly terrified women being dragged off by the police. Their chosen location, outside Jakarta’s first modern skyscraper hotel built soon after independence, is redolent with symbolism of the pride and optimism in the nationalist spirit of the post-independence Sukarno presidency (1945-65): it invokes a political memory that is in stark contrast to the ethos of the authoritarian Suharto government. Two of the women arrested, Karlina Leksono and Gadis Arivia, were among the organizers of the demonstration, but the third, Wilasih, was a passer-by who had spontaneously joined the protest. Her action symbolized the extraordinary and immediate appeal the protest had for a wide range of Indonesian women and its powerful engagement with the symbolism of women as mothers that was part of New Order hegemonic ideology.