Today, I decided to handwrite my reflection, because it felt more personal, after discovering that a lot of people who are close to my family have experienced the 1998 riot in Jakarta, and have been living in fear for the past two decades.
I also learned yesterday after an interview with my mother’s friend that money is not the primary reason people choose their citizenship for the Chinese Indonesians in Jakarta. “Flexible citizenship is an ideology on citizenship that asserts that economic reasons are the primary reason people choose their citizenship” but in fact the family I interviewed chose to change from an Indonesian passport to Singaporean passport because they wanted to change their nationality, since they are not proud to be Indonesians (the discrimination felt by Kian was intense, and for the first 15 years of his life, he was stateless and considered an “alien” and always laughed at; even though he speaks fluent Bahasa, Indonesians of other ethnicities do not accept him as a “true” Indonesian or equivalent to themselves). They wanted to go somewhere with less physical discrimination and was not a physical threat to their safety and Singapore is the ideal place for that, with a more welcoming community. The Chinese diaspora in Jakarta have different reasons for changing citizenship and this was surprising to me.
The past two days have been a bit emotionally overwhelming, and I hope that tomorrow will be less heavy! 🙂
Thank you for sharing this Nicole. It isn’t easy to hear about legacies of conflict of those close to you, but I think it is both a sobering and important experience to really learn/understand shared and individual histories. Keep engaging with what is difficult and complex.