Saturday, 21 September 2013

Nora Suryanti (Soh Lian Tjie) - puzzle 1

I wrote this short biography of Soh Lian Tjie for Claudine Salmon in 2010. It was not yet finished. I felt that I do need to do a proper research before completing it. It was forgotten until recently Yerry, a researcher who did the research on Soh Lian Tjie under the guidance of Claudine Salmon, e-mailed me asking my permission to use it. He also thinks that it would be good to have it online to help future researchers who are interested in doing a research on Soh Lian Tjie.

This short -unfinished- biography was written using the data from an unpublished autobiography. I was actually lack of data since I only have a very limited data from our family. Due to this lack of data, I am now using the title puzzle 1. I do hope that friends who knew her, or researchers who are doing research on her can help adding puzzle 2, 3, and so on...until we can get a full frame of her works. I prefer to use her new name Nora Suryanti as her name because she always use that name after she changed her Chinese name, and I am more familar with that name.

Soh Lian Tjie, Nora Suryanti (b. 1914 in Makassar, d. 1995 in Makassar, South Sulawesi)
Civil servant, freelance journalist, freelance translator, tour guide.

She was born in Makassar, then the capital city of the Residency of South Celebes and Dependencies. She was the eldest of sixteen children of Soh Heen Liong (the name derived from Souw Heen Liong, changed to ease his trading communication with Singapore) and The Siok Kie Nio. Her father, Soh Heen Liong, was the second generation of the family Souw in Indonesia. Her grandfather, Souw Thwan Sioe, arrived in Tegal, Central Java with his two brothers Souw Thwan Soen, and Souw Thwan Gie. 

Soh Heen Liong then moved to Makassar, South Sulawesi, to build his trading business. He was also active in social life, he introduced her daughter to the Indonesian operas performed in the Chinese Community’s Clubhouse, Lok Siang Sia. Since her childhood she followed her father to the clubhouse and became familiar with the performance of Miss Dja, Miss Ribut, and Dardanella. Perhaps it was how Soh Lian Tjie was always interested in art and cultures.

Soh Lian Tjie attended HCS (Hollands Chinese School), the elementary school for Chinese children. Then, she continued her school in MULO (now VMBO in the Netherland, read the history Both schools were in Makassar. There were few girls who lasted to finish MULO at that time, but Lian Tjie passed it with rather good marks. She wanted to go for a further study to Batavia, now Jakarta, but her father was doubtful. Luckily her mother supported her and insisted that she could go with her brothers.

While waiting for his brothers to passed their examination, she became involved in founding the Chinese women organization Nu Tse Lien Ho Hwee.

In Batavia, she went into AMSB, the middle school which prepared students for higher education. She was bright in languages but found mathematics and chemist too difficult for her. So she moved into a training college for teachers at the St. Ursula convent. Here, she joined the girl guides, and was chosen as leaders of girl guides who went to a leader course in Salatiga, Central Java. Due to financial reason, she moved into HCK (Hollands Chinese Kweekschool) at Meester Cornelis (now Jatinegara), a Dutch Chinese Training College for teachers.

Finishing her school, she moved back to Makassar and became a teacher. She came back to Batavia to have a course for teachers of English. She financed herself by working as a matron of a Chinese Girl boarding house. Her passion in writing which she began by writing for the school monthly when she was in the middle school, was then developed into articles for Keng Po and Sin Po.

The World War II forced her to move back to Makassar and came back to teaching in an elementary school (HCS). She continued being active in the girls guide activities. Through this activity she became familiar with the interpreter job.

In 1941, while the political situation was heated, she was appointed to sit on a committee to organize the evacuation of the Chinese community if the need arose. The organization was not working as planned because the majority of Chinese people refused to go to the evacuation place. Mostly prefer to go to their family in the countryside. While her mother, sisters and brothers went to Bantaeng (120 km from the city Makassar), Soh Lian Tjie stayed in Makassar and joined the Red Cross. The Japanese troops landed in Pare-pare (150 km from Makassar) and she was caught by the Japanese and had to help the army hospital. After the Japanese left, the Indonesian Republic announced its independence, yet the Dutch was also returning. She became a translator in the legal division of Netherlands Indies Central Administration. 

1 comment:

Ben Usagani said...

Sayang sekali karena tidak diterusin.