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The changing face of Chinese-Indonesian identity

Yudhistira Agato

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, February 12, 2021  /  11:16 am
The changing face of Chinese-Indonesian identity

Some younger Chinese-Indonesians are shedding Chinese traditions for the sake of fitting in to the majority culture. (AFP/Bay Ismoyo)

Being Chinese-Indonesian today can be confusing. I look noticeably Chinese, I celebrate Chinese New Year with my family and I used to get angpao, or red envelopes filled with money, as a kid. But I also grew up in a household where my parents conversed more in Javanese than in any other language. I don’t speak any Chinese dialect and was given a very Javanese-sounding name. As a result, I’m often unsure of where I fit in culturally. This is a dilemma that a number of young Chinese-Indonesians are familiar with, as many shed much of their Chinese identity and become “assimilated”. According to the 2010 census, only 24 percent of Chinese-Indonesians still use Chinese as their home language. Some Chinese-Indonesians see this as a good thing. Laurensia Felise, a 22-year-old newspaper reporter from South Tangerang claims that “being less Chinese” allo...