Monday, January 11, 2010

The Dutch Indonesians

Last week, I wrote a piece about Dutch Indonesians in the U.S.

Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch for 350 years, and later by the Japanese for 2 years, before we finally gained the independence in 1945. During the long period of colonization, the Dutch married Indonesians, resulting a new social class called as Dutch Indonesians, or Dutch Indos.

Courtesy of Dutch Indo community (Facebook)

What happened to the Dutch Indos after the independence? Some said they went back to Holland. But did you know that after arriving in Holland, some of them decided to immigrate to the U.S.?

It seemed the Dutch society was not ready for an influx of postwar Eurasians hailing from the former Dutch East Indies colony, competing for housing and employment.

There was also racial slurs.

Despite being Eurasians, the Dutch Indos have a vast range of colors, from the blond hair-blue eyes to dark complexion-black eyes.  According to my source, most of them learned to do martial arts when they reached Holland, because they often got beaten. Please note that it happened between 1945 and 1960s. If racial issue is a still problem now, imagine what it felt like 40 years ago.

The first generation could speak Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia.  But the second and third generation have given up Dutch and taken English. They have also assimilating into America's multi cultural society, by marrying people outside their community. The elders is now afraid that the younger generation will forget their roots.

P.S. I think I will post more about Indonesia's history this week. This assignment makes me falling in love again with history and black and white photos
P.P.S.You can see more on LIFE.


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