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Chinese New Year in Tambak Bayan: A kampung of struggle and hope

Reno Surya

The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Surabaya  /  Fri, February 12, 2021  /  11:20 am
Chinese New Year in Tambak Bayan: A kampung of struggle and hope

Lim Kiem Hau, also known as Gepeng, is a third-generation resident of Tambak Bayan. (JP/Ivan Darski)

Three days before Chinese New Year ten years ago, residents of the East Java kampung of Tambak Bayan were busy with their preparations for the holiday: sautéing spices, steaming dumplings and preparing snacks. But suddenly things took a turn. In broad daylight, with most residents busy in the kitchen, trucks filled with state officers burst into the neighborhood. The officers carried long poles with knives attached to their ends. Several were in full combat gear gripping rifles. Some of the residents ran home and locked their doors, while others chose to try to prevent the officers from coming further into the neighborhood. "Tear it down! Put it all down! This is an order!" snapped one of the officers while cutting down banners put up by the residents around the neighborhood. The banners protested the efforts of a nearby hotel to drive residents out of neighborhood...