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The Indonesia Interviews: Jeffry Pondaag #1




This is the first part of a new interview-project by Histori Bersama. With this series we aim to give Indonesians in the Netherlands a voice. The problem is that most Dutch people cannot differentiate between those who identify as ‘Indisch’ (Indies) and those who are Indonesian.

The Indisch-identity is a colonial identity and refers to the name that the Dutch gave to the occupation: Nederlands-Indië (Dutch East Indies). It also relates to the 3-layered apartheidssystem in which Indo-Europeans (in case they were legally recognized by their father) could obtain the European status. After Indonesia’s independence in 1945, many mixed-race families with European status had to make a choice whether they wanted to keep their privileged status and move to the Netherlands or support the Indonesian Republic and become Indonesian.

Naturally, this created a lot of division within families. In the 1950’s and 1960’s about 350,000 of them migrated to the Netherlands. As a result, most of the people with Indonesian ancestry in the Netherlands are not Indonesian but identify as ‘Indisch’. Their parents or grandparents didn’t want to be part of Indonesia and often share quite anti-Indonesian views. Since the Indisch community is the largest community of people with Indonesian ancestry in the Netherlands, the small minority of pro-Republic Indonesians is often overlooked, not taken into account. Their views are even seen as extreme or exceptional.

That is why Histori Bersama wants to create more awareness about how colonial racist laws still impact our societies of today. With K.U.K.B. chair Jeffry Pondaag we discuss the way that this apartheids-law created a divide in his family too. As an Indonesian he was mocked by his own family members when he arrived in the Netherlands in 1969 as a 16-year old teenager. We also discuss his childhood in Indonesia, including nice memories of his youth, such as the illegal radio studio he set up with his cousin.

Copyrights: Histori Bersama
Camera: Lyndon Gaul
Producer/Music: Daniël Samar
Studio: Torsten Eichten ‘Granny House’
Interview & Video editing: Marjolein van Pagee
Translation: Dida Pattipilohy, Fitria Jelyta, Ady Setyawan Spelling check: Saut Situmorang

Intro Video ‘The Indonesia Interviews’

The Indonesia Interviews – Preview Jeffry Pondaag