Wednesday, February 6, 2013

God's Love for Chinese People in Indonesia

Chinese New Year is coming soon! By this weekend, some of my friends are going home to celebrate the Chinese New Year with their families. I am not going home, but it does not mean that I don't celebrate it. Chinese New Year cannot be forgotten. Somehow, I am thinking a lot of Chinese people in Indonesia this past few weeks, especially after I met Guo Shu Shu (Uncle Guo), a stranger and an unbeliever that sat next to me during my last journey by plane.

We talked a lot during our flight from Surabaya to Jakarta. He really interested to talk with me. He said that he was thinking that I am Chinese-Medan because of the way I walk and move. I said, "No. I am Chinese-Surabaya." Then we continue our conversation. It was surprising that we have the same family name, "Guo". And we talked a lot about Chinese people in Surabaya.

For the last 100 years, there are 3 groups of Chinese people in Surabaya, and I think in all places in Indonesia too.
First group is Chinese-totok. They are very genuine. Some of them just being "imported" from China for the last 100 years. They speak mandarin and hold tightly their culture. A lot of Chinese-totok can be found outside Java. We can meet them in Singkawang, Batam, Tarakan, Kalimantan, Medan, etc. I remember when I was in Batam, once I went to a little restaurant which the owner could not speak Bahasa. That was a little bit awkward since we could not communicate to each other. Hehehee... It is not easy to find young Chinese-totok in Java. Usually they are as young as my parents. My mom is one of the Chinese-totok. She speaks mandarin and bahasa. She is able to differentiate Chinese people according to their tribes by looking on their appearance and see the way they talk and interact with others, or even just knowing their job. My mom even educated in a Chinese school near Pasar Atum, Surabaya, before G30S/PKI happened in 1965. My grandparents were teachers in that school. If they become Christians, they would like to go to a mandarin-presbyterian church (let say, GKKA, GKT, some of GKI churches, GKA, GKY, etc).

Second group is Chinese-Holland Spreken. My dad comes from this group. His forefathers had lived for more than 100 years ago, when the Dutch still reigned in Indonesia. Chinese-Holland Spreken usually are Christians/Catholic, well-educated, and influenced by the Western-culture. Some of them speak dutch. Whenever I meet a relative from my dad's family, we always kiss each other on the cheek. We also eat Holland Spreken food like red soup (consist of meats: chicken, beef, pork; carrot, tomato pasta) and pastel tutup (see the picture below).

About education, usually Chinese-Holland Spreken send their children to Catholic schools. My dad was graduated from SMA Frateran, Surabaya. Talk about schools, how about Christian schools that dominated by Chinese people? I'll post about it someday.

Now, the third group. Chinese-totok called them "tu sheng hua ren" or in bahasa we called "tionghoa peranakan". Their culture is assimilated with Indonesian culture. We can see them everywhere in Java. I think most of the young Chinese generation is included into this third group.

I am so thankful that God sent a lot of Chinese people to live in Indonesia, including my forefathers. Here in Indonesia, we know Jesus Christ. Here in Indonesia we have our rights to become Christians. A lot of churches with Chinese background can be built. Even some Chinese people can be pastors. One of the biggest Chinese-totok pastor in Indonesia is Pdt. Stephen Tong. He led many Chinese people in Indonesia to Christ. I also know some Theology School that have Chinese background in Indonesia. No doubt that God really loves Chinese people in Indonesia.

I heard many stories about Christianity in China and so thankful that I am here in Indonesia (despite the painful history of G30S/PKI and tragedy on May 1998). These past few years I become more thankful to know that God of the Ancient China is found as YAHWEH. I still in searching about this, but maybe this sermon from Rev. Kong Hee can be helpful. I found two parts videos of his sermons. This is the first one.

Next time I will share more about Chinese and God of the Ancient China. O yeah, I'm also thankful that our YAHWEH is not only the God of Israel, He is the God Almighty, the God of all nations, the God of Chinese too!!
Hope your Chinese New Year-celebration will be joyful!!!

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