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. 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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  4. 
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.

  5. Full Interview: Veli and Veli

    Veli and Veli live in Singapore.

    Where do you guys live in Jakarta?
    Jatinegara. Jakarta Timur. There was a lot of banks in our area that hide the more residential neighborhoods. The mob basically just ignored us because of that.

    I remember our dad and our brother tried to safeguard the area or something.

    Was coming here your decisi-
    No! [both laughs] totally was not our decision.

    No?
    Nope. I mean until now, I think that I would’ve been happier growing up there.

    In Indonesia?
    Yes

    Really?
    [laughs] I don’t know. I think, with us being here, there was a lot of expectation for us to do well. Financially, our father spent quite a bit of money to send us here. Our family kind of told us before they sent us, that if we do bad and return, we should just go hang ourselves or something.

    Yeah. It was academically stressful. Our parents came from a very academic background, and then when I first came here, I got into a school that was not good academically. There were a lot of gangsters [laughs] That was secondary two and that same year I had to take this test that would get me into a more prestigious school. Somehow I studied hard enough that I could enter into a much better school. Everything happened in such a short period of time. We had to take Chinese and our mother tongue.

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