Thursday, 17 May 2007

Fighting my Weakness

“Write down your weakness and bring it to Me as your offering”.

One of my weaknesses is my racial background. I won’t lie if people asked, but I would not voluntarily announce my Chinese descendant. I thought my appearance already speak for the fact.

When I was young I used to say to friends who asked my racial background that my Chinese ancestors came here long…long time ago…seven generations before. I did not really study history back then, and my fellow friends just accept that as the fact that I am not as Chinese as they thought. I did not realize that Indonesian ancestors were also come from the same direction.

This subject is one of my weaknesses that was also the reason I doubted marrying my husband. I used to seek indigenous man for my spouse, thinking that it would be a better alternative for my children. They’ll have the indegenous status. My family had mixed marriage history, so I could see how different it would be if the father is not a Chinese descendant. Children got the “pribumi” (indigenous) status right away. God has something for me in His plan.

I met Kurnia, my husband, when doing my final project in the university. He is also Chinese descendant, even worse…his family speaks Cantonese! My family use Makasarese dialect as our mother tongue. He is very kind and helpful, but I do not think his background is suitable to mine. He is not rich, that would make life more difficult. Being Chinese Indonesian you’re faced with the generalized prejudice of being rich. So if you are not rich, you’ll have to really striving to success. Yet, a lot of Chinese Indonesian survived from the very bottom economic background to the top!

I rejected to be his girl friend, but he was still very kind to me. Other man used to be really angry and hate you for that. Then you’ll end up loosing another friend…The fact that we are in the same group seeking for the same professors’ assistance made us good friend. Javanese has a saying that “witing tresno jalaran suko kulino”, being together could make people fall in love. Yet, I did not want to marry him.

My conscience was built in a Catholic way of thinking, so I felt guilty rejecting a man based on racial background. I realized that would make me another racist!

I was eager to go to the States to learn more, but my family could not afford that. I still have three little brothers who did not finish their study. My parents would like to give us all the basic education at least until university. Beside they thought it would be a waste of money if I have a higher and expensive education and later on I could not have a good job or I ended up as a housewife. I could not promise anything on that. I tried a scholarship from Leuven but again to no avail. I was interested in urban planning, or architectural critic. Both seemed to be far from producing money.

To cover my disappointment later on my parents gave me a great gift, visiting my cousin who studied in Paris and to go to Lourdes. I travelled with my uncle and my auntie; we also went to London, Rouen, Lyon, even to Barcelona as well. I used that chance to visit a friend in Hamburg and to have a day visit in Amsterdam. I enjoyed being a bag packer! This is a lifetime chance for me, a really great present when realizing that my parents didn’t have the chance to go to Lourdes yet. They have never visit Europe themselves!

I don’t know if this gift is also to give me a chance to be away from my boyfriend, but I did a lot of thinking and visit almost every Catholic churches I found in Europe to pray for enlightenment. Yet, it took another couple of years to decide that I would commit “I do”.

He was Buddhist, but he became Catholic three years before our marriage. A decision he had to take himself, and I clearly stated that his being Catholic would not guarantee my willingness to marry him. I always think that all religions are good, but I am also thinking for the future children. I do think children need to have a good basic in religion. That would be a bit confusing when they come from a family with two religious back grounds. Some of my friends came from family with different religious background and they live in harmony but I didn’t really convinced to be able to do that on my own.

Citizen Journalism Websites helps me fight my weakness.

I’ve written in my previous post how could make me publish my being Chinese Indonesian in writing. I wrote an article to announce how I honor the late Javanese King (Sultan) Hamengku Buwana IX. I honored him due to his gentle attention to my mother when they’ve met in Singapore. I should state my being Chinese Indonesian to stress out how his low profile attitude towards a woman from the minority race of his country made him a real King in my eyes.

The International Ohmy News made me did it once again when I wrote about the May riot. The mothers of the university students’ victims were crying for nine years to seek justice for their sons. Some living victims might still seek for psychological helps, while the spirit of the death victims might not all resting in peace. Lots of people missed their loved one in the saddest way of parting. A lot more people were condemned as the family of rioters while they might only be looters. Lots of prospective youngsters with Chinese descendent origin feared to come back to Indonesia. Yet, the law suit to find the mind master of the act was facing a big political power. I do not agree to the looting, but usually people without education are easily driven by mass driven opinion.

We were also loosing our fighter for Human right, Munir. He passed away in the Garuda flight when he was going to pursue his further study in the Netherlands. The autopsy found arsenic in his body, but the case is not clear until today.

May riot was the abuse of Human Right, the fight to make it clear will help the future generation to condemn that kind of “devide et impera” politics and to avoid the human right abuse in the future. It is the kind of politic that seemed to be successfully implemented in my country throughout its long history being in colonialism.

Being only a naïve citizen, I did fear a lot of things to produce that article. Who am I to write all of that? I’m not a politician; I’m not an activist of any human right organization. I am not even a professional journalist! Yet, I am a human being; I do have the heart and the right to ask for a better world to live in. God is the one who gave me the strength to fight for my weakness, but citizen journalism websites are the one who provide the tool.


Oni Suryaman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oni Suryaman said...

I have the same background as you, and I feel somewhat similar to your feeling. The only difference is that it looks like I manage to succeed marrying a pribumi (hopefully in the following month, Deo Volente).

But I struggle most on my religion, not on being Chinese. Would you like to see my writing on that topic?
I have it on my other blog:
Menjadi Katolik, Pengalaman Cina

Retty N, Hakim said...

I'll visit your blog. I'm lucky as I was born a Catholic, and my family and school lead me into the essence of being a Catholic. All religions are enriching me. I like to hear other sermons only to add more knowledge in practicing mine.