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Old December 3rd, 2004, 07:07 AM   #1
chinada
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My eyes on Indonesia as a Chinese

I am a Chinese in Canada. Before I came to Canada, I have never met any Indonesians and in fact know very very little about Indonesia. There were only two incidents giving me a chance to learn about this country in China. One is because my high school history teacher, he is a Chinese indonesian (or Indonesian Chinese??)returned to China in 1965. We still called him "Hua Qiao"(Overseas Chinese) although he got Chinese citizenship 30 years ago he told us some stories when his families were in Indonesia, some happy but some very sad. I can see the tears in his eyes. he told us he stil got some relatives in Jakarta. At that time, I think Indonesia is a beautiful island country just like Singapore.

In 1998, When we heard about the riots and horrible stories about Chinese Indonesians, my classmates and many Chinese were furious. We blamed the Chinese government and Taiwan government did nothing to help those victims and these acts reminded us about what Japs did to Chinese people in WWII. Many university students in Beijing went on strike to the Indonesian embassy to pretest. However, someone on the internet explained that Chinese Indonesians were no longer Chinese so Chinese government can do nothing about it. And if Chinese controlled governments like mainland, Taiwan and Singapore interfere the internal affairs of Indonesia, it will make the native Indonesians even more hostile to indo-chinese. At that time, we were angry and also confused when some sources isaid that Chin-indonesians don't even like Communist Chinese government. anyways, this incident left me a controversial impression about this country.

When I come to Canada, I started to see some Indonesians, don't even bother to ask, just judging by their appearances, they are all Chinese Indonesians. Unlike a huge number of other ethnic Chinese here in Canada, this group of Chinese indonesians are very special. They do not have Chinese names, do not speak Chinese and know nothing about China and very little about Chinese history and culture. They have difficulty in communicating with other Chinese groups here. Language is the biggest barrier. Chinese people here no matter where they come from, Mainland, Taiwan, HongKong, Singapore, Malaysia. They all understand Chinese which make the communication much more comfortable, but Chinese indonesians can only speak Indonesians and stick together all the time, they go shopping together, go to class and return home together and discuss in Indonisian in class. I felt so weird about these at first. It seems that they have nothing Chinese left except a Chinese face.

But one day, When I realzied I had a crush on a Chinese indonesian girl, things started to change. I like this girl so much that I am so determined to make her my girlfriend. In order to chase this girl, I begin to do extensive background research on Indonesia and expecially the history of Chinese Indonesians. I just realized how ignorant i was before. I find Indonesia is such a big country in terms of size and population. I was simply shocked when I found there are 10 million ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. before that i thought Singapore has the largest Chinese population. What shocked me even more was how Indonesian government has been treating Chinese population in many decades. I realized immediately why Chinese indonesians can not speak Chinese and do not have Chinese last names. In fact, My heart keeps bleeding when I was reading those stories and discriminating regulations towards Chinese population. After that every time I see these Chinese indonesians, I smile and greet to them, from the bottom of my heart, I've treated them as my brothers and sisters, I do not care how they think of China, like or dislike, the most important thing is I and most of Chinese people care about them. I still remember the tears in my history teacher's eyes. I keep asking myself why Chinese people either as a nation or an ethnic group always suffer so much pain? Hopefully, Everthing is changing as we are growing stronger and stronger.

If some words above offended some of you, pls forgive me my ignorance. I do not mean that.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 08:15 AM   #2
indistad
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Hi Chinada

I understand your concern, the state here has been condoning and creating tension and profitting from the antagonism between Natives and Chinese Indonesian. The Chinese has always been used as a buffer between the state and the populase, as a measure of protection. This has been the case since the 17th century!

Believe it or not, although the new order government were pretty repressive toward its Chinese populace, some of the greatest offences were done in Colonial times. The greatest of which was the Chinese massacre of 1740 in Batavia/Jakarta.

The New Order government under Soeharto was repressive not only toward its Chinese populace, but also toward every other Indonesian. You have to realize this! This was a very corrupt, very violent dictatorship that have a large record of human rights abuses. (Compared to the East Timorese, the plight of the Chinese may seem a little light).

But now things are better. After the Suharto dictatorship was overthrown, we had pretty democratic governments. The latest government is very democratic and things are going a lot better now. We have Chinese news shows and Chinese newspaper now. We have Chinese schools and Chinese lessons. And a lot of the discriminatory law imposed have already been rescinded.

Another thing is that the Chinese have always been traveling to stay to Indonesia. In fact, most of what are native Indonesian are remnants of two large migration of Chinese from the south China pushing the 'more native' Austronesian (similar to people in Papua and Australian Aborigines) into extinction in the islands.

And for the centuries afterward, the Southeast Asian Islands have always had a steady stream of Chinese to live and mingle here. But in the 19th century, a new Chinese nationalist identity was revived. Chinese people that for centuries before had come here and become 'native' now became essentially Chinese, using the brand new Chinese identity (a creation of the modernism of the 19th century).

In our history, a lot of Chinese have come over here and became Indonesian. The famous ones are married to Sultans or become Sultans themselves, there are a lot of them that become religious leaders (Muslim!), so it is simplistic of defining people here as Chinese and Natives. There is always option for a Chinese to blend in with the natives, in the past and probably in the future.

Some Chinese people in Indonesia prefer to mingle with themselves (maybe that's what you saw in Canada), others are like any ordinary Indonesians. I have several Chinese friends here and they are very shy to talk about their Chinese-ness. I don't know if they are shy or if they really just don't care that much about it. A Chinese friend of mine said that she doesn't want to be identified just as a Chinese, she has a lot of other identities. I don't think she cares that much about being a Chinese, I think she cares more about being an Indonesian.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 08:19 AM   #3
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Hi Chinada,

Welcome to our forum! As a Chinese-Indonesian myself, I have my own views on this issue. Well, discrimination towards ethnic Chinese in Indonesia goes a long way from the Dutch colonial era, when the Dutch colonial government practiced the policy of "Divide and Rule", not just between Indonesia's hundreds of ethnic groups, but also between Chinese migrants and Indonesians. These Chinese migrants (whose descendants now become Chinese-Indonesians or Indonesian-Chinese) were, I believe, treated favourably by the Dutch colonial govt. compared to Indonesians, so the roots of resentment/jealousy towards Chinese-Indonesians go back to hundreds of years ago. This phenomenon was then exarcebated by the so-called communist uprising in 1965 (which led to the slaughter of 500,000 communist party sympathisers), which the Indo government at that time blamed on China's communist party. 30-years of new-order government between 1965 and 1998 produced economic growth and prosperity, indeed for many chinese Indonesians, but their freedom was constrained...they weren't allowed to celebrate Chinese new year, the display of chinese characters, distribution of chinese language books & the teaching of Chinese language were forbidden. Not to mention discrimination to enter the military, government posts, and public universities.

But now, since the fall of Suharto, these policies are slowly in retreat. Communism is no longer a "taboo word" used for political purposes as it was back in the new order era, the Chinese are allowed to cleebrate Spring Festival openly (indeed it is a National Holiday now, along with Christmas, Idul Fitri, Nyep and other religious festivals),and the Mandarin teaching colleges have sprung up in recent years. I'm in Shanghai right now (learning Mandarin) and it is amazing to see so much interest in China not only from chinese-Indonesians but also from a lof of people from many countries in the world...I believe that the future of Asia (and perhaps the world in the longer term) will be tightly linked with China's development..and no country can afford to ignore this trend, including Indonesia. There goes my 2 cents =)
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 09:16 AM   #4
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Like Indistad, I know some Chinese-Indonesians that wouldn't even refer to themselves as such. However, as Chinada has seen, in North America and particularly on North American campuses Chinese-Indonesian communities become xenophobic to some extent. I've been to many and it's not really indicative of the group as whole. The reasons are many: they can't communicate well with other Chinese, they don't feel "up to snuff" with other Chinese, they are not as financially capable as some other East Asian groups, there are no other Indonesian ethnic groups in North America, and they see other people coming after their beautiful women.

On the other hand, the Chinese-Indonesians I know in Indonesia who don't have enough money to go to a foreign campus see themselves first as Indonesians and secondly as Chinese. That's just from my experiences.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 09:19 AM   #5
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This is a Reality ....

Indonesian-Chinese Is Part of the Indonesia History ...
Indonesian-Chinese Also Struggle for Indonesia's Independence
Indonesian-Chinese Also Become a Minister
Indonesian-Chinese Also Indonesia in their Heart ....

Still Remember Jayabaya Prophecies [ this is a " Nostradamus" of Indonesia ]
That china and western will be part of Indonesia in the future ....

Wong Jawa kari separo.
Orang Jawa tinggal separo.
The Javanese will remain half.

Landa-Cina kari sejodho.
Belanda-Cina tinggal sepasang.
The Dutch and the Chinese each will remain a pair.


Discrimination ( Not Only for Chinese ) was a history [ Hope It dissapears Soon ]
Every group feel that the goverment discriminate them ...... ( during the past era )

But ...
It's getting better now
Much Better ...

Let's forget our mistakes in the Past
Let's together build our beloved country ... Bahu membahu ... ( bahasa Inggerisnya apa ??? ]

HIDUPLAH INDONESIA RAYA ...
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 09:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgyver



Let's together build our beloved country ... Bahu membahu ... ( bahasa Inggerisnya apa ??? ]

HIDUPLAH INDONESIA RAYA ...
Shoulder-to-shoulder
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 12:48 PM   #7
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Thank you for your guys mind-opening replies. I really apprieciate. I am wondering do you Chinese indonesians go to the same schools as other indonesians? Do you feel isolated or discriminated by the students or teachers of other ethnic groups? If Chinese indonesians are not allowed to enter the government, public sector and military, I dont think the government treat Chinese as indonesian citizens. The most ridiculous thing is to deprive your education right of going to universities. If I were Chinese indonesian in this situation, I would go crazy. I would rather Chinese occupy a bigger island and declare independent(sorry just bullshitting here). I am also wondering as so many human rights abuses happened in Indonesia for so many decades, our "Repected World human rights Police", say, Uncle Sam, did nothing to prevent it. I am guessing Suharto must have had some under table business with US to maintain his 30 year dictatorship.

Last edited by chinada; December 3rd, 2004 at 01:06 PM.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 01:00 PM   #8
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Anyways, I should stop saying unhappy things. some questions regarding the characteristics of Chinese girls in Indonesia. Since they are truly indonesians now, there must be some special criteria or logics of choosing boyfriends and marriage. What are the appropriate and effective ways to show my love or chase a indonesian girl? Do they tend to be very conservative or shy on this issue because of the islamic influenances? what should I do now? Since this group of Indonesians always stick together, I don't know how i can break into their group. Shall I ask her out to play badminton? :-) ....sorry, maybe this topic is not appropriate here.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 01:57 PM   #9
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Chinese students can go to ANY state school or anything, the riots in 1998 was happening because of political motivation. Suharto banned the chinese influences in Indonesia, Because he wanted to see his family to have all the power and wealth. I even didnt know until yesterday if Suharto also have chinese blood.

most of US here in my company are mixed from Chinese to the Native Indonesian, but we can get a long together. Dont worry, Indonesians arent like what US media reports...just visit here sometimes and see it.

Cheers
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 01:59 PM   #10
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Chinada, to get into Indonesian group, you dont have to do anything...just ask her out. The heck with her friends!

Cheers
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 11:22 PM   #11
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Hi Chinada! I am Indonesian Chinese and live in Vancouver. Indonesian Chinese can't speak Chinese because Indonesian government ban all chinese schools. Part of them still able to speak Chinese though. Of course there are also those chinese with ancestors came from China long time ago, nth generation, and those who are just very recent generation.
Many still have 2 names, Chinese and Indonesian names, because of government regulation to use Indonesian names. The family is the one that give chinese names. Usually chinese Indonesian are mostly Buddist, Confusius (spelling ?), Christian or Catholic. Few of them are moslem. Indonesia, though in majority are moslem but there are ethnic which are not, Bali are into Hinduism, for example.
Depend on the family, but usually Indonesians are conservative. Just be friend of her first is the best.
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Old December 4th, 2004, 02:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chinada
Anyways, I should stop saying unhappy things. some questions regarding the characteristics of Chinese girls in Indonesia. Since they are truly indonesians now, there must be some special criteria or logics of choosing boyfriends and marriage. What are the appropriate and effective ways to show my love or chase a indonesian girl? Do they tend to be very conservative or shy on this issue because of the islamic influenances? what should I do now? Since this group of Indonesians always stick together, I don't know how i can break into their group. Shall I ask her out to play badminton? :-) ....sorry, maybe this topic is not appropriate here.
Nah .. here comes the real situation ...


Chinada ... for Indonesian Girls it's a susah-susah gampang , or jinak2 merpati ...he he he ....

One thing for sure .... most of Indonesian girl ( not All be careful, though ) ...usually like
Rather Calm, Determined, and LOYAL boy [ try to find Indonesia Movie called AADC or "Ada Apa Dengan Cinta" on Yahoo or Ebay ... Watch and See the characters of Rangga ..... :-) ]

LOYAL is the most they are looking for ...
and
DO NOT EVER LIE TO THEM .... :-)

Good Luck ...
Happy Chasing .. after her ...
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Old December 4th, 2004, 08:52 AM   #13
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Quote:
Hi Chinada! I am Indonesian Chinese and live in Vancouver. Indonesian Chinese can't speak Chinese because Indonesian government ban all chinese schools.
Not anymore teddybear, In Indonesia, there are now hundreds of chinese schools, Because when you looking for a job in a company, most of them will require you to speak and write mandarin. Thats why many chinese and non chinese indonesian are starting to learn Mandarin, be it in China or Indonesia. Whatever they can afford.

Cheers
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Old December 4th, 2004, 10:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Not anymore teddybear, In Indonesia, there are now hundreds of chinese schools, Because when you looking for a job in a company, most of them will require you to speak and write mandarin. Thats why many chinese and non chinese indonesian are starting to learn Mandarin, be it in China or Indonesia. Whatever they can afford.
Thank God for the progress. BUT, I suspect they let these chinese schools because China is getting so important economically in Asia, as a big trade partner. I believe this because till now discrimination still exists toward the Chinese and few other ethnic too.
It's sad that the chinese is one of the main economic drive but they are still discriminated or hated... not totally but in some degree.

It's a fact that the crisis has made many Indonesian chinese out of the country... but let Soeharto stay at his comfortable home, uncaught for his huge corruption. Unbelievable... wonder what SBY can do to fix...
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Old December 4th, 2004, 02:30 PM   #15
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Thank you guys for your information. I heard from my formal classmate who is currently working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC said China actually is using economics as a leverage to deeply influence Indonesian politics. Those Chinese indonesian business men are being invited either to invest in China or act as bridges to do business bewteen two countries. In this way, many indo-chinese business men can keep some portion of their weath in China as a safe place also gain lots of reward from investment. Also as China is becoming the world lastest manfucturing base, Chinese goods need indonesian market. Indo-chinese can earn lots of money from doing business between two countries as agents. When indo-Chinese once again control the business channel between China and Indonesia and this trading partnership become so important to two countries, the indonesian politicians will dare not to descriminate Chinese two much or threat their lives since this will seriously affect China's national interests, and the Chinese government will have very good reason to give pressure to the Indo government without being feared to be blamed as interfere internal affairs as in 1998.
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Old December 5th, 2004, 01:59 PM   #16
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hi chinada,

i think you've had enough information about chinese-indonesian v.v, it's all in the past, maybe you will hear some of negativity around these issues, i believe that you will hear from the people that hasn't been back home for years, so they haven't got the real picture of us.

even i don't have chinese blood in me, there are thousand of them out there i call as friends, so by it means back to basic as humans hey.... we're we have to respect each other no matter what.

my suggestion to you is BE PATIENCE, they're a bit hard to get (you might not get a kiss on your first date you'll be lucky if you get the kiss on the cheek). just like MCGyver said you better watch AADC (what's up with love, and watch the character of typical dream boyfriend they want)

happy chasing
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Old December 6th, 2004, 03:11 AM   #17
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If the Chinese are working covertly to influence Indonesian politics with economics they shouldn't be surprised if another 1965 happens. That's no threat, just the simple facts. One nation using coercion to suppress the national will and sovereignty of a people will always backfire, just as China has seen with Taiwan.
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Old December 6th, 2004, 07:44 AM   #18
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chinada, how do you feel about the way the Chinese government have treated the Muslims in Western China?
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Old December 6th, 2004, 10:23 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamauchi
If the Chinese are working covertly to influence Indonesian politics with economics they shouldn't be surprised if another 1965 happens. That's no threat, just the simple facts. One nation using coercion to suppress the national will and sovereignty of a people will always backfire, just as China has seen with Taiwan.
Agree ....

I prefer we both grow together ..
and also with India ....

so ... another Economic Cooperation .... 3G ( India, Indonesia and China )


India
Indonesia
China
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Old December 6th, 2004, 03:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamauchi
If the Chinese are working covertly to influence Indonesian politics with economics they shouldn't be surprised if another 1965 happens. That's no threat, just the simple facts. One nation using coercion to suppress the national will and sovereignty of a people will always backfire, just as China has seen with Taiwan.

Taiwan is a different issue, Taiwan is part of China which is no doubt about it, the problem is which government is the official government representing China, either ROC or PRC. At least half of the Taiwanese do not want to be independant. PRC is very flexible on this issue, it even does not care about the name of the new unified China, it could be Republic of China as both sides share the same Father of the Nation. PRC government won't fight a war with Taiwan people whatsoever according to a credible source, PRC is just using this excuse to quickly develop its military capabilities in order to face its real enemies and competitors: Japan and US without scaring its neighbouring countries.

And China is not intending to intefere other countries internal affairs but only to protect overseas Chinese. coz if China does not do so, it will be blamed by overseas Chinese all around the world. Did you know what happened in 1998 when Chinese gvernment took a blind eye on the indonesian riots? All Chinese communities blamed the Chinese government for doing nothing and thousands of overseas Chinese wrote protesting letters to critizie the Chinese government. They said even Taiwan government stopped financial support and delayed shipping rescue goods to indonesia as a punishment. One Taiwan legislator even slapped the face of a indonesian diplomat in Taipei. Chinese government was blamed for acting too weak ans showed no sympathy on its overseas Chinese. Chinese government felt lose face and had extreme pressure from the world Chinese communities. Therefore, it has determined to protect overseas Chinese rights in a more effective but cautious way.
let's take Singapore as an example, since Singapore is a purely Chinese controlled government, have you evee seen China pressed Singapore to obey its orders? I think Singapore is more pro-US than pro-China.
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