1. Full Interview: Boy

    What your ethnic background?
    West Sumatran, my mother is Minang and my father is Pariaman. The two ethnic groups are actually very different, Minang people have travel embedded in their culture since they practice merantau, even the women. They value education and seeing far away places very much. On the other hand, Pariaman is a lot like Sundanese in Java. They are matrilineal, they are also more strict in a way. Basically, the two families don’t actually get along all that well because of this cultural difference between them.

    Can you elaborate more?
    Well, when you go merantau, even though my mother’s family may be somewhat wealthy in Sumatra, the wealth is not considered to be hers. In my mother’s family, once you leave the household, everyone starts over with nothing. People from Pariaman puts a lot of emphasis on wealth, it’s as if you have to be rich no matter what. Status and wealth are highly valued. The Minang people value education a lot more than wealth, meanwhile Pariaman people care mostly about money.

    When you came here, was it because of merantau? Did your parents send you away?
    Yes! It is merantau! But my parents never really told me to go abroad or anything like that, at least not directly. They would just talk about their experiences when they were younger, so maybe that influences my  decision. I always thought that my parents lived adventurous lives, so I would like at least some of that in my life too.

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  2. 
When I was growing up I spent most of time hanging out with natives. The area where I grew up was predominantly pribumi  and I also went to public schools. I hardly know anything about the  Chinese culture, I don’t speak the language either. When I got here, the  disparity became a lot more noticeable because my friends here know how  to speak Chinese and are brought up with more exposure to the Chinese  culture. It’s even harder when I started working because most of the  Singaporeans are Chinese, and they always kind of question my integrity  when they realize that I don’t speak the language even though I look  Chinese. It also presents an obstacle, like a social wall.

    When I was growing up I spent most of time hanging out with natives. The area where I grew up was predominantly pribumi and I also went to public schools. I hardly know anything about the Chinese culture, I don’t speak the language either. When I got here, the disparity became a lot more noticeable because my friends here know how to speak Chinese and are brought up with more exposure to the Chinese culture. It’s even harder when I started working because most of the Singaporeans are Chinese, and they always kind of question my integrity when they realize that I don’t speak the language even though I look Chinese. It also presents an obstacle, like a social wall.

  3. 
There is this unspoken racial tension that is going on. It’s all under  the table, but it’s there. But then again, the funny thing is when you  do go overseas and you meet pribumi people it’s a lot easier. It’s only  when you try to connect with the ones who actually live in Indonesia  that there is this thing. But after a while it disappears, after you get  to know them, it tends to disappear but initially there’s always that  thing that you have to overcome.

Read Sam’s full interview here.

    There is this unspoken racial tension that is going on. It’s all under the table, but it’s there. But then again, the funny thing is when you do go overseas and you meet pribumi people it’s a lot easier. It’s only when you try to connect with the ones who actually live in Indonesia that there is this thing. But after a while it disappears, after you get to know them, it tends to disappear but initially there’s always that thing that you have to overcome.

    Read Sam’s full interview here.

  4. Full Interview: Sutayasa

    Sutayasa lives in Singapore.

    Where are you from?
    Indonesia, Jakarta.

    Which part of Jakarta?
    South Jakarta, the best area to live in. It’s near to everywhere that matters, really. It’s near to the central business district, to Kemang, to all the malls.

    Is that what you like about Jakarta? Convenience?
    I don’t know, I think they have better food than Singapore. It’s also home for me, where most of my friends are and that’s what makes Jakarta for me. My friends make me love Jakarta.

    What makes you go abroad for college?
    I just wanted to be abroad. To be honest, before this I never really been abroad before. I never travelled until college. I wanted something new. You also cannot deny that Singapore has a better educational system than Indonesia, it’s one of the best in Southeast Asia.

    How’s living in Singapore different from living in Jakarta?
    I think first thing that makes it difficult is keeping in touch with my friends in Jakarta, because that’s the friendship that I really want to keep and maintain. It can be quite a struggle, especially when I was maintaining all these different activities in college. I was having a long distance relationship with someone in Indonesia, that was difficult. Singapore is also very competitive. It wouldn’t be Singapore without the competition.

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  5. 
People don’t see me as being Indonesian. They wouldn’t acknowledge me as  an Indonesian. As a halfling, at first I thought I’d get acceptance  from both cultures. But really, that’s not true, you’re really an  outcast of both races. In Australia, a predominantly white country, they  refer to me as being Asian. On the other hand, when I am in a  predominantly Asian country they’ll refer to me as being a caucasian.  Really, I am forced to find an independent identity. Being a “half  cast”, there are just some things that Indonesians just don’t  understand. Their open mindedness only go so far.

Read Richard’s full interview here.

    People don’t see me as being Indonesian. They wouldn’t acknowledge me as an Indonesian. As a halfling, at first I thought I’d get acceptance from both cultures. But really, that’s not true, you’re really an outcast of both races. In Australia, a predominantly white country, they refer to me as being Asian. On the other hand, when I am in a predominantly Asian country they’ll refer to me as being a caucasian. Really, I am forced to find an independent identity. Being a “half cast”, there are just some things that Indonesians just don’t understand. Their open mindedness only go so far.

    Read Richard’s full interview here.

  6. Full Interview: Inez

    Inez lives in Singapore.

    How long have you been living in Singapore?
    Five years i think, since 2005, June.

    Was it a personal decision for you to come here or did your family make you go?
    It was quite a personal decision. My parents offered studying abroad at first but the decision was mine.

    How do you like it so far? Now that you’ve been here for five years.
    More or less, I’m used to it. Some of my friends who came here in a group, don’t really enjoy life in Singapore because it’s very laid back and somewhat boring since it’s a very small country. I came here on my own, without anyone that I really know, except for my sister, and for me it made it more interesting.

    How old were you when you left?
    17

    If you were to choose where to go at 17, where else would you be? What other options would you consider?
    I never really had thought of the idea of studying overseas until it was brought up by my parents.

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  7. 
It is almost like whenever we come back, we have to revert back to how   we were when we first left. The years that happened after we left   Indonesia, we never bring back with us whenever we come home.

Read the full interview with Veli and Veli here.

    It is almost like whenever we come back, we have to revert back to how we were when we first left. The years that happened after we left Indonesia, we never bring back with us whenever we come home.

    Read the full interview with Veli and Veli here.

  8. 
"There’s a lack of political willpower but there’s also a way of doing  things in bureaucracy from what I have observed through a culture of  corruption. I think it’s unproductive what the bureaucracy does. The  system of reward rewards by seniority not by merits so you have to stay  in the system in order to climb up and get into a position of power. By  the time you get there you get ambivalent about what you do and then you  leave all the planning to the younger group. The structures of  corruption is not only a culture, it’s also operational. It’s in how you  do your ordering, accounting and purchasing. I personally believe that  Indonesia is not poor. A lot of money is wasted or is put to projects  that have absolutely no real returns on investment or just very  negligible ones. They do it because they have to do it."

Read Nida’s full interview here.

    "There’s a lack of political willpower but there’s also a way of doing things in bureaucracy from what I have observed through a culture of corruption. I think it’s unproductive what the bureaucracy does. The system of reward rewards by seniority not by merits so you have to stay in the system in order to climb up and get into a position of power. By the time you get there you get ambivalent about what you do and then you leave all the planning to the younger group. The structures of corruption is not only a culture, it’s also operational. It’s in how you do your ordering, accounting and purchasing. I personally believe that Indonesia is not poor. A lot of money is wasted or is put to projects that have absolutely no real returns on investment or just very negligible ones. They do it because they have to do it."

    Read Nida’s full interview here.

  9. Glodok: A Photo Essay - by Monika Swasti Winanirta and Paul Kadarisman

    In the wake of the riots in May 1998 and the revelation that more than one hundred rapes – mostly of Chinese Indonesian women – took place, sensationalised representations of this sexual violence emerged in some parts of Indonesian society.  Pornographic novels and tabloid stories surfaced, depicting Chinese Indonesian women as exoticised, lascivious Orientals somehow deserving of the hate-filled violence unleashed upon them. Images were also circulated on the internet of a beaten naked woman’s body, upon which the words ‘Cina’ or ‘Chink’ were inscribed. Whether these were ‘real’ photos or manipulated is unknown and in some ways irrelevant. What was alarming was the way in which these women’s bodies were used as markers of cultural, ethnic, and racial difference.

    The day after the May 1998 riots in Jakarta, photographic artist Paul Kadarisman took photos in Glodok, Jakarta’s Chinatown. Glodok was one of the worst hit areas of the city in the destruction that took place on 13 and 14 May. Its malls and markets were ransacked and severely damaged and the large Glodok Plaza mall set alight. In a pattern repeated elsewhere in Jakarta and other cities, urban poor looters from nearby slums perished in the fire. Kadarisman has previously exhibited works of photography that critically engage with social concerns but these Glodok images have not been exhibited.