Indo Dutch-Indonesian

I was born partially Indo. It is a mixture of Dutch and Indonesian decent. I never knew how much this part of my heritage influenced my up-bringing until all the research I did for this project. There were a few topics I learned more about in the digging of my sub-culture: intriguing history, the value of family, and cultural influences.

This excerpt from the text book was something that I wanted to center my project on. "The history may be obscure (hidden), but it is still related to the national history. Cultural-group histories help us under- stand the identities of various groups." (Nakayama 126). My sub culture has a lot of it's own history that makes it different from the nations history. Indos are one of the largest ethnic minorities in The Netherlands but we have our own past that makes us unique.

These are a few well known Indo people. Skin colors can range anywhere from white to a little darker Indonesian looking.

Around the year 1650, people from the Netherlands moved to South East Asia to trade and start a new colony. The Dutch government also sent a lot of orphans to the south east region to increase the amount of dutch presence and to work for the trading companies. However conditions were dangerously poor and many children dies on the journey over seas. A journal was found that gave some examples of what life was like. One account was, "Willem Pieterz from Amsterdam as young carpenter to East Indies on the Waterlant in 1687. Extended his employment at Onrust [island near Batavia] in August 1692. Is dead and done with 1695 16 August." (Hoitink). Interracial marriages become very common and a large part of the population in Indonesia became known as Indos.

During the World War many Indos were put in Japanese concentration camps. Because of racial issues and not being able to provide proper documentation to truly tell which culture they belonged to, many Indos were put in harsher concentration camps they should not have been in. After the war many Indos moved back to The Netherlands to get away from the harsh living conditions. I was able to talk to my Opa (grandpa in dutch) who was taken by force to live in a Japanese concentration camp. He was treated terrible and lived in horrible circumstances. In my interview with him he told me, "They could not tell who was Indonesian or Dutch so they made many mistakes when labeling us." I asked my Opa what was something he took away from his experiences at the concentration camps. He then proceed to to explain, "Our culture is very tight-nit. We were labeled and separated by skin color by other people. We had only each other to rely on. Family is a very important part of our culture because in the concentration camps that was all we had."

In the late 1700's you can see the Netherlands take over as the main power. During the World War you can see the Japanese take over and finally how the dutch moved back to their native land.

During my Opa's time in the concentration camp, he learned that the Indo culture is very collectivistic. In our textbook we learned that collectivism is, "The tendency to focus on the goals, needs, and views of the ingroup rather than individuals’ own goals, needs, and views." (Nakayama 55). In order to survive the conditions of the camps, they needed to bond together and be as torn unit to overcome the circumstances.

Indonesian culture influences a lot of dutch culture and vise versa. Whether it is in clothing, food or architecture the aspects of either society collided in many areas of life. My family would cook a very traditional Indonesian dish called Nasi Goreng. It is a rice dish with many different types of meat or vegetables in it. We had this very often especially when my Opa and Oma would come to visit from Holland.

When I was younger I was baffled how such a traditional European culture could be intertwined with another culture that was completely different halfway across the world. However eating this dinner favorite made me forget about all our differences and I enjoyed the meal with family.

Many old stories and literature came from Indo culture. I went to a family party this past week and spoke to some of my relatives where they were telling me about some of their past readings. Tjalie Robinson was an intellectual writer and journalist. He is well known in the Indo culture. Much of his work is read through the Netherlands. A short biography on a literature pages describes his life best. They go not o explain, "Jan Boon was a writer and journalist, who published under the pseudonym Tjalie Robinson, and also as Vincent Mahieu. He is known for his many publications based on Dutch East Indies culture. He was the son of a Dutch soldier in the colonial Dutch Indies, and his first job was that of a teacher in Java." (Limbiek). My Opa lived Java so he gave me some insight as to what it was like at the time. At my family gathering I learned just how much of these two very different cultures come together to make one.

Tjalie Robinson

Although my culture is not well known it is important to us and our identity. A piece from our textbook accurately depicts how important it means to those smaller sub cultures across the globe, "People from nonmainstream cultural groups often struggle to retain their histo- ries. Theirs are not the histories that everyone learns about in school, yet these histories are vital to understanding how others perceive them and why. These nonmainstream histories are important to the people in these cultural groups, as they may play a significant role in their cultural identities." (Nakayama 135).

I strongly believe that this quote by an Indo by the name of Ronny Geenen says it best, "We are Indo’s, not equal, but more different. We are sober and magic. We eat Indonesian food, but also Dutch stew. Some of us are brown with blue eyes; others are blond with black eyes. We are not half Dutch and half Indonesian or whatever you might think. We are something special with our own culture. I do not go along with those who say that we need to adapt to the Dutch or the Indonesian culture; integrate yes, but never assimilate. We are different and ourselves; unique. I am not Dutch or Indonesian. I am an Indo with a particular culture and history. And the Dutch, Indonesians and any other culture must respect that. An Indo culture in all its individuality and uniqueness!" (Geenen). This quote explains how we are different but still unique. I have a sense of identity in my culture not because I am Dutch, and not because I am Indonesian but because I am Indo. We have our own background and story to tell. The Dutch did not suffer the type concentration camps that my family had to go through. The Indonesian's did not have to be sent to the South East region to populate. We are a special type of culture. The Indo culture!

Work Cited

Hoitink, Yvette. "The Sinister Amsterdam Orphan Trade." Dutch Genealogy. N.p., 04 Sept. 2015. Web. 4 Apr. 2017.

"History of Indonesia." YouTube. YouTube, 22 Nov. 2014. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.

"Tjalie Robinson." Lambiek.net. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.

Geenen, Ronny. "Indo World." About indo. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.

Martin, J. N. & Nakayama, T. K. (2013). Experiencing Intercultural Communication: An Introduction. 5th Ed. New York: Mc-Graw-Hill.

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