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Deconstructing the Diaspora: The Construction of Chinese-Indonesian Identity in Post-Suharto Indonesia

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posted on 2023-05-28, 01:33 authored by Pamela AllenPamela Allen
One of the most telling aspects of the polemics surrounding the issue of Chinese identity in Indonesia is the very language in which it is embedded. The Chinese, their culture, their religion, arguably their very existence in Indonesia, have been branded by colonialists, scholars and politicians alike as masalah Cina, 'the Chinese problem.' I am not necessarily suggesting that this has become a self-fulfilling prophesy, but I would argue that we are shaped, influenced, and to a certain extent defined by the labels that others put on us. In the case of the Chinese in Indonesia, it certainly seems to be a case of 'once a masalah, always a masalah.' Or, to look at it another way, as Ignatius Wibowo recently asked - rhetorically, presumably-: At what point does a person's Chinese-ness cease to be?') As I demonstrate in this chapter, labelling has played a very significant part in the way in which Chinese-Indonesians view and understand themselves and are viewed and understood by others.


Publication title

Asian Futures, Asian Traditions






Global Oriental

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  • Published

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Folkestone, UK

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  • Open

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