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Jakarta Post

The tale of the `peranakan'

Jakarta   /   Thu, January 22 2009   /  01:49 pm

Peranakan is a term used to refer to the descendants of early Chinese immigrants who partially adopted indigenous customs through either acculturation or intermarriage with indigenous communities. Many peranakan Chinese families have been settled in Indonesia for centuries and have mixed indigenous-Chinese ancestry. There are about 7 million peranakan in Indonesia. According to University of Indonesia anthropologist, Iwan Meulia Pirous, the origins of Chinese Indonesians vary greatly, as do the timing and circumstances of their immigration to Indonesia and their strength of ties with the Chinese mainland. "Many local Chinese cultures are disregarded. After political reformation in 1998, the Chinese could more openly express their culture," said Pirous, who is also a member of the Forum for Indonesian Anthropological Studies (FKAI). "But this i...