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Jakarta Post

A nation's history of discrimination

  • Agustinus B. da Costa


Jakarta   /   Sun, November 29 2009   /  05:34 pm

The now infamous May 1998 riots in which Indonesian Chinese were the target of attacks and their shops and houses looted were not an isolated incident of ethnic conflict in Indonesian history. The stories of a small Chinese community in West Kalimantan (also known as West Borneo) show that violence and discrimination against ethnic Chinese Indonesians have evolved throughout the history of modern Indonesia. This historical evolution is the focus of a book titled Penambang Emas, Petani dan Pedagang di Distrik Tionghoa Kalimantan Barat (Gold Miners, Farmers and Traders in the "Chinese Districts" of West Kalimantan) by Mary Somers Heidhues, a lecturer in the Southeast Asia Department of Cornell University in the United States. The book records the history of the Chinese community in West Kalimantan since the Dutch colonial era, through the Japanese occupation, into post-Inde...