Encountering peranakan, Indonesia




This month, I am very lucky to know more Indonesia peranakan culture from Indonesian Chinese friend.

His grand father was the first generation Chinese arriving in northeast jawa in 18 century. Comparing with other Chinese at that time, they had higher social identity, affluent source and protection from family hall.

His father was a teacher. They followed traditions to get married only with peranakan. From the family manners, wedding traditions, lifestyle, etc.. The way of their thinking is totally different with “dodo” ( Chinese people with lower status, not well-educated, profit mindset)

Peranakan is thinking in cultural ways, keeping traditions from ancient era. In fact, he is true. When the fist time we met, he was shaking hands humbly, tasting food very detailed and enjoyed. Honest speaking, making many friends from ID, he is totally different with others. It seems like I am having dinner with friends, even like more Japanese.

The richest period of Chinese in Indonesia was the legends. They even had their own money, newspapers, schools… Everything was like moving the “new culture” to Indonesia.

However, during the 1950s-60s, there was a serious exclusion movement happened not only with Chinese people but with them in person. The magazines shows not only the great time of Chinese, but also the later disaster happened on Chinese.
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He remembered when he went to school, only 10% for the best Chinese. But, during the 1950-1970, the teacher humiliated Chinese students and treated them as shits. Once a time, the teacher even told the rest of Indonesian students in public, they are the lowest people in Indonesia. In terms of trying reversing social status at that time. I believed it was a disaster to remove and hurt their roots of culture.

In the end, he proved that Chinese was not weak. He went to one of the top 5 universities, which is the first Indonesian president graduated from. He represented himself not only the top 10% Chinese to go to school, but the outstanding Chinese.

He explained lots of peranakan stories for me when he was taking a historical trips of peranakan’s immigrating routes. Nowadays He preserves his culture very carefully and detailed!!!! Next time, I gonna explore more stories in Indonesia.

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(All Photos and copyright belong to private collector)

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