Monday, January 08, 2007

Buleh Fever

Indonesians, it seems, generally love Buleh (sometimes obviously they have ulterior motives - but hey, us Irish always have ulterior motives for being friendly with tourists ;)). As a Buleh, you get a massive boost of your ego when you go there.

All in all I am very ambivalent to it.


I was showing a Chinese-Indo pal of mine some of my pics on flickr of my sis and I having a blast with random Indonesian ppl that we'd bumped into on our hols.

The first thing she said was: "pity they're not like that with us".

Some things struck me:

1) "them" and "us" -- even though "Chinese" have lived in RI for generations.
2) could the Indonesian smiles for us just as easily morph into jeers for many Chinese? --I recall "Pribumi" friends mentioning how they used to mock Chinese as kids.

Anyways, I remember two heartening accounts from my reading Indonesian history.

1) Revolusi Sosial, Pemelang, 1945. The corrupt officials that empoverished the farmers in and around Pemelang during Jap occupation finally get their comeupance. Not all were corrupt however, and one in particular had helped this poor Chinese guy out when a lower official was trying to suck every last Rp from him. Just as the crowd was about to lunge at the official, the Chinese guy jumped in front of them with a knife, yelling "I will stab anyone who comes one step closer". The crowd stopped, the official saved.

2) Anti Chinese Pogrom, a poor Kampong in Jakarta, mid 70s. A young girl is hiding with her family at home, the pogrom is sweeping through. She can hear what's going on outside. She's terrified. The only thing standing between them and that whirlwind of rape and God knows what is an old "pribumi". He has the Haji title (he'd been on the Hajj pilgrammage). I imagine he had only a walking stick to defend the house. He stays in front of the house the whole day and the family are left untouched.

I'm not sure what conclusion to draw. But fear and bravery are probably part of it.

[Of course the kinda ironic thing is that the "Pribumi" were originally Chinese, just some came late to the party. The real Pribumi or "original people" were / are actually melanesian (I think that's the correct term) peoples that now inhabit Papua (in fact they are found all over the pacific - e.g. Hawaiians are Melanesian)]


Angie said...

ya, that's true john. watever u wrote is true.

Angie said...

btw john, basa basi is like small general talks often to people thaty ou havent met for a long time and u dont know very well or to older people.

LIke this:
I met my mother's friend and i'll be like "ah..tante, how are you? I'mgood.. yeah yeah, weather isn't so great these days...Oh, yeah I see.. I have to leave now, but send my regards to your daughter" - end of conversation, and I leave the scene. do you get the idea?

johnorford said...

thx for the comments angie.

basa-basi must be "small talk" then.

johnorford said...

btw, cool new profile pic!! :)

Angie said...

wah.. thank you :) hehehe