Monday, January 23, 2012

Imlek 2012: I turned 1/8 Chinese!

Pak Hartono, My Javanized Chinese (?) - Maros Grandfather

I am a big fan of diversity. I’m also a hater of racism. I proud of my heritage, of my dark complexion, of my hair and eye colors, and of my genetics. I always believe that I am 100% native to the Jewels of Equator: my father is pure Mandarese (however, according to his uncle’s wife lontaraq our extended family was actually coming from Luwu. One of his great grandmothers was called We Datu ri Larompong, Sovereign of Larompong) and my mother is half Java and half Bugis (Makassar?).  Not like others who are so proud of their mixed blood with foreign elements (such as Chinese, Arabian, Pakistani, India, or Dutch), I embraces my nativity and I’m totally fine with that.

I always refer myself to either Javanese or Sulawesi culture on determining my own identity. But this morning, I might add some new “ingredient” on the bowl of my family’s DNA.

I started this morning and realized that today is the Chinese New Year. Of course, as a tolerant sympathizer in Bhinneka Tungga Ika Archipelago, I updated my facebook’s status saying happy new year for my fellow Chinese friends. Not so long after I posted it, one of my cousin (from mother’s side) who live in Makassar replied and said that our family actually has a Chinese heritage from Pak Hartono (my mom’s dad). It was followed by posts from Nanda & Rani (my biological sisters), they protested that because we never heard such story from our mother. My cousin resisted, she said that the story is true, being confirmed by Opa Yono (his late grandfather, which is my mom’s uncle) that every Imlek morning Opa Yono always tell her the same story about Pak Hartono’s past.

Here’s the preview of my “Chinese-heritage” family post:
(click on the pic for bigger preview)

I’m so speechless! Seriously, me, with this dark-skin has Chinese ancestry? Well, I know its only 1/8 but somehow it does explain why my bude and uncles are all white (but my mom and his youngest brother). One question: why my mom’s family cover this story? Is it because during Soeharto’s reign people with Chinese blood were unfairly discriminated? I don’t know. She doesn’t want to talk about it either when I phoned her. She laughed when I tried to confirm this story, then answered: “halah... yo wis tho.”

I don’t hate Chinese people, but receiving this fact on Imlek is just... shocking, you know. Is that why my cousin in Kediri being called as ‘Singkek’ by his bully-friends? And is that why many my other cousins have slanted eyes and light complexion when they were little? Some Chinese teenagers in Makassar didn’t catch my symphaty at all because they acted like they owned the city, dress better, rich, more cultured, and blah blah blah. I’m not generalizing them, but somehow I found irony on their petition to be treated equally; they still makes special school and special housing which is separated from the local community. At least I could be proud that my great great grandfather was married to a native woman named Daeng Keboq (and possibly the member of Gowa’s court due to her “Padaengan” title) and mingled with the society in Maros, South Sulawesi.

The Chinese traders started to come to Makassar when the city arouse. Its becoming important port amidst Indonesian archipelago post Malay colonization by the Portuguese. Began in 17th until 19th Century, many Chinese immigrants live in surrounding area, including Maros. Probably my Chinese ancestors were one of these traders that settled down in the Island. Another theory, the Chinese already made relationship with Bugis people hundred of years ago, if we interpret Princess We Cudai of Ale Cina as real royal from mainland China, not Cina in Pammana.

Regardless where am I truly come from or what my heritage is, I respect my forefathers that bravely sailed into unknown land and made a step to build intercultural relations. Thank God I’m here, the fruit of their successful journey, I conclude.

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