via Jakarta Post, 2 March 2023: The tomb explorers share their findings and stories on social media to raise awareness and appreciation of Chinese heritage in Indonesia.
A community explores ancient Chinese tombs to further delve into Indonesia’s Chinese history.
Some people may find it frightening to explore tombs; but for others, doing so can be a way to reconnect with the Chinese civilizations that have long since gone. In Indonesia, Chinese culture holds a long history, dating back to the 13th century. They mainly moved as sojourners wishing to return to their mainland after retirement or old age, but some stayed as migrants.
Philipus Dellian Agus Raharjo, also known as Pippo, and Bram Luska, another Semarang, Central Java resident, spent three days a week searching for Chinese tombs. Both began exploring the Chinese tombs in Semarang approximately three years ago through a map from the colonial era that tracked the locations of various graveyards.
“There are many undiscovered histories of Chinese [ancient] cultures in Indonesia, and I want to uncover that,” Pippo said, and, lucky for him, he can read a bit in Japanese; it enabled him to at least understand some hanzi (Chinese characters) from the tomb he found as it similar to kanji.
Leo Suryadinata, a Singapore-based sinologist, explained the main reason why Chinese histories were not recorded in Indonesia is that Indonesian Chinese was not mentioned in any school textbook or Indonesian history books, as if they were separate from Indonesia.
Source: Understanding Chinese heritage through tomb exploration – Community – The Jakarta Post
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