After graduation from Yale College in 1928 Raymond Kennedy began, almost fortuitously, a career in Far Eastern affairs by teaching for a year at the Brent School in the Philippines, Then, a year later, he became a field representative for General Motors in what was then called the Netherlands East Indies. As the peripatetic automobile salesman discovered the cultural riches of the fabulous Indies, he became progressively less interested in American machines and more fascinated by Indonesian people. This led him to give up his commercial job and return to his alma mater in New Haven for graduate study in anthropology and sociology. He knew well that “he who would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the Indies with him. ” Thus began the academic career of one of American's pioneer scholars in the field of Southeast Asian studies.

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