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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 separates Chinese-Indonesians from relatives during Imlek

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, February 12, 2021   /  07:04 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
A woman prays at the Hwie Ing Kiong Tri Dharma Temple in Madiun, East Java on Feb. 12, 2021. The temple has changed the prayer schedule from midnight to noon during the micro-scale public activity restrictions (PPKM Mikro) to curb COVID-19 transmission during the holiday period.(Antara/Siswowidodo)

Chinese-Indonesian families have been unable to celebrate together during this year’s Chinese New Year, locally known as Imlek, as health takes precedence over traditions amid the coronavirus outbreak in Indonesia. The country saw a much quieter celebration of the Lunar New Year, as it is also known, than the festive celebrations in January last year, before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March. For 25-year-old photographer Donny Fernando, this year’s Chinese New Year would be the first celebration that he spent alone since he moved to Jakarta. In previous years, he usually gathered with relatives in Sunter, North Jakarta in a small family reunion, or flew back to his parents in Bangka Belitung Islands. He would spend the Lunar New Year praying for late ancestors at the altar and breaking bread with his relatives while sharing life stor...