In the talk, I will reflect on Jeff Hadler's constant reminder that the archive is a vital first destination for historians and area specialists to understand national, regional, and global history. He rejected the idea that theory or a flimsy reading of a state's history was sufficient to narrate complex local histories. Reading against the grain in the archive is essential, he told me. Nevertheless, the documentary record cannot be discounted in establishing the empirical foundation to make a scholarly intervention. Heeding his advice, during my Indonesian fieldwork, I discovered a surprising entry in the National Archives of Indonesia's photographic inventory: Suharto at the Port of Oakland in 1970. I returned to the documents in Jakarta and the US and I reappraised the story of American support for Indonesia in the wake of 1965. Archival digging convinced me that the traditional narrative was, in fact, missing contingency and clarity in what is often considered one of the more important events in postcolonial history. When held up to the light of archival findings, I saw a vision for a new Asia emerging from Jakarta and Washington. Jeff always pushed us to consider paths to reexamine traditional narratives by immersing ourselves in the archive. Archival labor, he emphasized, is a cornerstone of pursuing historians' and area specialists' craft and the responsibilities we have as scholars to the field, places we study, and ourselves.