|L.A. Times Magazine Article
The Long Way Home
6-Feb-2011 by Elisabeth Greenbaum Kasson
The Story Behind the Story
It might have been the peanut butter sandwich.
It started with the first email, then the phone call, then the recruitment and selection of interviewees, followed by three revised publication dates, finally 8 months later this article came to fruition. Elisabeth Greenbaum Kasson is not only a prolific writer but a champion for Indos. She approached us about 9 months ago after observing the vibrant dialogue on social media sites. The online Indo community talked about everything from old family photos to how you eat a peanut butter sandwich (she thought this was brilliant !) to why in the tropics the men wore pajamas in the middle of the day to what boat your family came on. It was our kletsen-kletsen (chit-chat) that caught her eye.
This is a good example of the impact of social media. For those of you not familiar with social media or Facebook, it's like a giant electronic coffee klatch. Instead of sitting across the table from each other with a cup of coffee chit-chatting, we're sitting in front of our computer screens basically doing the same thing - kletsen. Jack Profijt from Canada founded the Dutch-Indonesian Community Facebook page which now has 2,599 members and is the main umbrella group that sprouted other sites like branches of a tree. The Dutch-Indonesian Kitchen Facebook page founded by David Marcos Williams of Washington has 3,419 members (tons of recipes) and, more specific, The Indo Project Facebook page has 1,289 members. Membership numbers overlap from site to site. Other Indo-Dutch sites are springing up as well.
All this internet activity amongst our community picqued Elisabeth's curiosity and inspired her to write this article. Throughout the process Elisabeth said she was deeply moved by the stories of the families. To read our collective history and culture from an observer is truly profound, not to mention the skill required to harness such a complex history in such little space. She truly deserves our gratitude for writing such a masterful piece. You can leave comments online at the bottom of the article.
Poezie Album A Treasure of a Bygone Era
Courtesy of Carol Norwood
Her mother's Poezie Album from 1939 Sumatra
Here is another example of the immense diversity of our community and how we are all connected. Although we emphasize Indos, The Indo Project is inclusive to all. Many of our counterparts were from different European countries. In fact, many Indos have German lineage rather than Dutch. This little book was posted on our Facebook page and it triggered quite a response from people, mostly women. It was a tradition for young girls to have a little "Poezie Album" or poetry book. Family members and friends would write something like wishing them well or a kind thought. One lady said when they had to leave everything behind in Indonesia she was still able to bring her Poezie Album with her across the continents and oceans. The little book was decorated with colorful little stickers. It's almost like a combination of a greeting card and a journal. A very sweet tradition.
Carol, the daughter of the owner of this Poezie Album, hopes that one of her mother's classmates may recognize this and reconnect with her. The Poezie Album belonged to Cita Dromer. Cita's parents were from Germany and they lived in Sumatra from 1927-1940. Cita attended a Dutch school in Medan by the name of "Polonia" (questionable spelling). If you knew Cita, please contact us.
Happy Valentine's Day
Will You Marry Me
Wedding Photo of the Month
Courtesy of Helen Buiskool
Oct 4, 1949 wedding of Loes Agerbeek and Gerald Buiskool on Java
News and Announcements
Sundance Film Festival Award Winner - Leonard Retel Helmrich, Indo filmmaker won Word Cinema Documentary Jury Award
for the film "Position Among the Stars" or Stand van de Sterren. Portrait of Indonesia seen through one family in Jakarta. He is also the director of the film "Contractpensions".
Superior Court Judge - The State of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has elected Fernande "Nan" Duffly as the next associate judge. She is from Indonesia with Chinese-Dutch parents.
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