Saturday, December 18, 2010

Java Trip (XI)

Chinese Indonesians

Chinese Indonesians have been systematically discriminated since the eras of Sukarno and Suharto. During the 1998 riots, many Chinese Indonesians were killed, and women raped. Situation may have slightly improved in the last few years: learning of Chinese language is now allowed; Chinese New Year has been made a public holiday; former President Abdurrahman Wahid even publicly admitted his Chinese root.

The desire to know more about Chinese Indonesians was what prompted me to visit the ‘Chinatown’ of Surabaya. To my disappointment, few of them still lived there…

A few days later, when I was in Malang, I learned from my Lonely Planet that there was a Chinese temple. I made the effort to visit it.

In Eng An Kiong Temple (永安宮), I finally came face-to-face with Chinese Indonesians. Unfortunately, I was too shy to communicate with them. (They probably thought I was one of them.) The temple was more than just a place of worship – I saw teenagers practicing table tennis in the compound.

Actually, majority of Chinese Indonesians were Christians, but I didn’t know which churches they go to. (In any case, churchgoers were more likely to tell me the story of Yesus rather than their own stories.)

So, my objective of learning more about Chinese Indonesians was not met. Anyway, I wish them a better future. I pray for them…


A Chinese restaurant:


Eng An Kiong Temple:

Teenagers playing table tennis inside the temple:

18 comments:

  1. yes, thinking about how the Chinese are discriminated in Indonesia then really upset me..

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  2. but then glad to know that they are now accepting Chinese and start to learn the culture..

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  3. so did you go in that chinese restaurant to dine and see how well they cook the chinese food??

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  4. yeah, same here, really wish the Chinese community can get stronger and treated better.. :)

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  5. Discrimination against any particular race is an ugly thing.

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  6. There are chinese temples in manado too. Will cover that in the future, but not so soon.

    Surabaya has got this mosque with Chinese architecture.

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  7. At least Chinese New Year being made a public holiday is a good start... :)

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  8. I can still vividly remember the tragedy...the massacre...horrific! :(

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  9. It was a really unfortunate event for the chinese during the riot. hopefully they will gain back their pride in the coming generations.

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  10. sigh. i've heard bout this from my chinese indonesian coursemate last time but dey r getting better n being accepted quite well dy, :)

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  11. SK
    No, I didn't dine in the Chinese restaurant.

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  12. Situation have change both domestically & politick'ly now that China is becoming super strong most countries would love to rub shoulders with. If one knows Chinese language would be an added asset to the people and country. In the 80s all books with Chinese words were confiscated at the customs.

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  13. I can't imagine Malaysia following that route. It would be disastrous and oppressive and encroaching on human rights, IMO.

    Interesting post!

    Medan has a sizeable population of Chinese of Hokkien heritage. They still celebrate Chinese traditions such as Chinese New Year. Chinese dishes are still part of their daily life.

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  14. Do they speak Chinese language among the Indonesian Chinese? And did you eat at the Chinese restaurant?? Hehe

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  15. When I was in Jakarta, my client took me to tour all the wealthy homes to study the way of their lifestyle and it saddened me to see how they built walled fences as tall as their roof with iron gates! That's for security reasons after the riots!

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  16. I am glad Chinese people are being more accepted in Indonesia.

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  17. witch
    I think most of them speak Indonesians. I didn't eat in the restaurant.

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  18. Playing table tennis in a place of worship? That's new, though it felt a little inappropriate to me somehow.

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