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Friday, June 16, 2006


“A place without social discrimination would be utopia.”

I found this statement in one article in The Jakarta Post, one national newspaper published in Indonesia in English. The title is “Being a Chinese-Indonesian”, and the writer as a Chinese-Indonesian man who was married to a Native woman. It was published on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 page 6.

Social discrimination happens everywhere in different forms; such as discrimination toward people who have Chinese blood in their body in Indonesia; and discrimination toward black people in the US.

Some weeks ago, I read an article in a local newspaper, an interview to a Chinese Indonesian man in my hometown Semarang. He expected that in the future there will be no discriminative treatment toward the Chinese Indonesian; let’s say they are allowed to be civil servants; no complicated process to get identity card, etc. The article especially focused on the social discrimination toward Chinese Indonesian. The interviewee seemed to ignore that many companies belong to Chinese Indonesian also apply discriminative treatment toward their Native employees in return. Perhaps the journalist was also not confident to write that fact.

However, in the article “Being a Chinese Indonesian”, the writer--Wijanto Hadipuro—illustrated that. He wrote how his wife got discriminative treatment in her job; for example she got less amount of salary than her Chinese Indonesian fellow worker although she had worked in that company longer, and both she and the Chinese Indonesian fellow worker had the same managerial position.

It reminded me of my college time when a classmate presented a paper with the similar topic, the social discrimination the Chinese Indonesian get from society. My classmate happened to have fair complexion and slanted eyes, really looked like a Chinese although she was not; she also worked in an institution where many Chinese Indonesian worked there. She presented the discriminative treatment her Chinese workmates and friends got from the government, from society while in fact, they probably the fifth generation or perhaps more than that.

Listening to her presentation, Julie and I discussed the discriminative treatment of those Chinese Indonesian people toward the Native. Her sister got lower salary than her Chinese Indonesian workmate coz she worked in a Chinese-owned company; how many those Chinese Indonesian people dehumanize their housemaids, exactly like the American people used to treat their black slaves.

Around 1994-2000 I used to work in a company that belonged to Muslim people. What I heard that the “policy” of that institution was they only hired Muslim. However, I found two Christian fellow workers there. I could see clearly that both of them didn’t really feel at home to work there. The similar policy was also applied to companies that belong to Non Muslim people; they just hire Non Muslim employee; if some Muslim people happen to work there; they will not get time they need to do religious teachings—let’s say pray when they are at the office.I am wondering when this discriminative thing will end. I am expecting to see society where people always respect other people as human beings despite the difference in color, ethnic group, religion, sex.

“Treat other people just like you want other people to treat you.”

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