What did hunger in the colonies mean? How did the experience of famine divert for indigenous people and those that took over control? We will discover that the answer to this question is not straightforward. Since locals were considered to be a tool to work the land and not human beings, a lack of access to food was part of everyday life. Controlling famine was part of a managerial strategy. Relief, on the other hand, can also be a part of policies to consolidate a need for colonial presence. Secondly, we will discuss discourses and strategies concerning poverty and food relief used during the 1900-1904 famine in Indonesia to expose historical foundations for the contemporary rhetoric on what needs to be done to exterminate hunger and poverty.