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Jakarta Post

Former Chinese cemetery serves as bustling market

Jakarta   /   Sat, September 19 2009   /  12:04 pm

Looking for a bit of history with your shopping experience this Idul Fitri? Customers strolling through Pasar Bong market - in Surabaya's Chinatown - may not know it, but a unique and interesting multicultural history lies right beneath their feet. Pasar Bong may not be the biggest wholesale market in the city, but every Ramadan the market is jammed packed with local shoppers who come from far and wide. Not many people are aware that Pasar Bong was built on the grounds of a Chinese cemetery, where Han Bwee Kong, alias Han Bwee Sing (1727-1778), the first person from the Han clan to serve as a Chinese captain, was buried. The Dutch colonial administration appointed Souw Beng Kong (1580-1644) as a Inlandsche kommandan, or Kapitein der Chineezen, (Chinese captain) on Oct. 11, 1619. Chinese captains were not military or government officials, but were given a mandate to ma...