…AND THE CHINESE OF
INDONESIA AND .
By Mansor Puteh
First, someone in Palembang, Sumatera stole my main luggage, which left me wearing the same clothes for four days, since I was on the road and did not have the chance to change clothes or to by new ones.
I then bought a plane to
without continuing on my trip from Palembang to . Jakarta
I thought I would take the ferry from Melaka in
to Dumai in Sumatera and then on by bus to Pekan Baru to Palembang
and then to . Jakarta
I wanted to see the sights and to do some research on the Sriwijaya Empire.
I still managed to do that.
But I chose to fly to
Jakarta from Malaysia a few days later thinking that it was a
direct flight and Jakarta is not . Palembang
I was right, but only to a certain extent.
It was still pleasant to be able to return to
after an absence of nine years. Jakarta
The weather was fine and not so hot, but pleasant and I was able to walk a lot in the city taking the KRT trains and local modes of travel including the ‘bajaj’ and buses packed with people.
It was more pleasant to discover that
was celebrating the 486th anniversary of its founding in 1529. And I
was there to experience it. Jakarta
There were many activities organized but I chose those that were held at Taman Fatahilah or
at Jakarta Kota or Kota Tua.
This was where the Dutch had their headquarters when they colonized the whole country.
I enjoyed visiting the Muzium Bahari where some relics from ancient Portuguese and Dutch times are put on display other than the ‘bakso’ that are sold by the food vendors outside of the museum.
American President Barack Obama had remarked in Melayu, ‘Bakso sedap. Nasi goreng sedap’ or ‘Bakso is good. Fried rice is good’ when he met some Indonesians at a university in Jakarta the last time he was back in the city where he had grown up as a boy studying at the primary school in the exclusive and residential Menteng district.
I had a bit of ‘bakso’ as I had not tasted it in a long time. They do sell it in
mostly by the Indonesians themselves and in the night markets. Malaysia
The Melayu in
I sat at a table in front of a young Chinese man and a young Chinese woman. They spoke in Melayu or Bahasa Indonesia.
It is not a rare sight to see the Chinese in
And I have not seen any Chinese in
eating and enjoying ‘bakso’ at the stalls in the night markets in . They
have not gotten to like the food. Malaysia
And while I was in
Jakarta, their Governor Joko Wibowo
or Jokowi, was in Kuala Lumpur to promote the
‘Enjoy Jakarta 2013’ where he remarked how he would like to see Jakarta as clean as . Kuala
I don’t find
to be clean. And I don’t think Kuala Lumpur
can be as clean as it is now. Jakarta
The main roads in and around
are clean. The areas beside the railway lines are also clean. Jakarta
There used to be huts where some people used as their houses where they would cook and also change their clothes as the trains pass by them.
But this scene is gone.
I first visited
Jakarta in May, 1974 just two months
before I enrolled at the Institut Teknologi Mara in Shahalam in to
work on my degree in advertising. Malaysia
I did not experience being cheated then. I was a young boy. So no one could think they could cheat me of anything.
The rate of the Rupiah to the Malaysian Ringgit then was 145 Rupiah to One Malaysian Ringgit.
Today, it is about 3,000 Rupiah to One Ringgit.
I could buy a large banana for twenty Rupiah then or Roops as the Caucasian tourists or visitors would say.
Now I am much older and am a person of some means, and the people in
and also the whole of
could see that. Indonesia
So I can become a victim of scam.
So I can become a victim of scam.
You don’t have to tell anyone what you have and who you are; they can tell it if you fit in their profile of a potential and easy cheat-victim.
You do not have to flaunt your ‘wealth’ they can see it from a distance, from the way you carry your electronic gadgets and also your dress, even if you still prefer to be like the locals and eat ‘bakso’ and take their public transport.
I did Enjoy Jakarta even if Jokowi does not ask me to do.
He is such a simple man, who has the look of Barack Obama. In January when I was in Aceh, I noticed him on television for the first time.
This time in
But he lives in a large white mansion which is colonial-style in the Menteng District and not too far away from Barack’s school.
Jokowi may be Melayu or Jawa, but he has Chinese features, which indicated that his ancestors could be Chinese.
But he did not want to make that a big deal; he does not care about his ancestry or where his ancestors had come from. To him, he is Indonesian and Jawa or Melayu.
He is like the many Chinese in
who have Chinese ancestries, but who said they are from another part of Jawa.
They did not want to go further back in the history of how their ancestors had
come here from Indonesia South China.
Most of them were boys or men. And they had married local Jawa women. And they had indeed left
for good to become good Indonesians. China
They are unlike the Chinese in
They know they are not able to do that, so they settle for creating more and more Chinese schools and speak in Chinese as much as they can and some fractured Melayu when they have to.
Yet, many of them are able to get their driving licenses despite not being able to read or write in Melayu well or at all.
So far the Chinese chauvinist groups and their leaders and their political parties in
Malaysia have not tried to relate to their
brethren in Indonesia, or
for that matter, in Singapore,
Brunei, Thailand, the and the other countries
in the ASEAN region. Philippines
They did not want to do that as they know the Chinese there have been so assimilated that they are not interested to relate to the Chinese in
On the flight back the immigration officer wanted some ‘bribe’ money for losing the departure card, which I had put somewhere but not with my passport.
He said if I chose not to pay I could be fined. The amount was pittance, if it is true – 200,000 rupiah or about RM18.
I said I did not wish to pay the fine, and I wanted to be sent to prison. I could get a story worth more than RM18.
The Indonesian immigration officer was shocked. He did not think I was joking. But he let me off passing through his counter, so I was able to wait for my flight back to
Where in the world where you can get an interesting experience and story for only RM18?
The skies over Sumatera were clear in early June. They were also clear in
in the middle of
But now they are not so clear; they are hazy.