Wed, 25 Mar 1998

Assimilation of ethnic Chinese

One of our new cabinet's tasks is "to strengthen national unity". This involves, among others, improving relations between ethnic Chinese Indonesians and their indigenous compatriots, which is better known as "assimilation of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia". In view of the above cabinet's important task, I would like to make the following suggestions.

As regards to Indonesians of Chinese descent, numerous misunderstandings exist; for instance, they are still oriented to China, culturally as well as politically. Due to the assimilation policy of our government, the majority of those six million ethnic Chinese nowadays do not speak Chinese anymore. In daily life, most of them speak Bahasa Indonesia or an Indonesian dialect. This is not the case in Malaysia, where they in general cannot speak the national language Bahasa Malaysia.

Indonesia should, therefore, be proud of its success in this matter. Furthermore, the notion that all are very rich and economic animals, is not true. Most of them are ordinary people living from their jobs as professionals, managers, lawyers, doctors, small businesspeople or employees. These people do not enjoy any special facilities whatsoever.

Do not forget that there are also "good Indonesians of Chinese ethnicity" like Prof. Dr. S. Gautama, Dr. Mely G. Tan, Dr. Lie Tek Tjeng, Dr. Utama Wijaya, Kwik Kian Gie, Prof. Dr. Satyanegara, Susi Susanti, Verawaty, Ateng, and many others. They are not involved in any monkey business.

Let us hope that the new cabinet keeps the above in mind when looking for a smooth solution of our Chinese problem.


Director Institute for Studies

on Ethnic Chinese Assimilation

in Indonesia