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Jakarta Post

Chinese Indonesians can't be put in boxes

Jakarta   /   Mon, May 26 2008   /  10:17 am

Not many people, even those of Chinese-Indonesian descent, comprehend the complexity and diversity of Chinese people and their culture, let alone their history. Here is a glimpse of that complexity. Peranakan is a term for people of Chinese descent who were born in Indonesia and have blended into the local culture. Usually a peranakan has an Indonesian name and cannot speak Mandarin. Totok refers to Chinese people who were born in China and maintain strong links to mainland China. The term now also includes Chinese Indonesians raised with strong Chinese traditions, and usually speak Mandarin. "It is only a matter of time before such differentiations fade away," Chinese culture researcher and chairman of the Chinese-Indonesian Association (INTI), Benny G. Setiono, recently told The Jakarta Post. "Due to better education, the younger gen...