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Blogger Indonesia of the Week (26): Christine Susanna Tjhin

Blogger Indonesia of the Week (26): Christine Susanna Tjhin

Ethnic Chinese, according to a survey conducted several years ago and reported also in Gatra (?) magazine is among the four major ‘chosen’ ethnics of the world beside Anglo-Saxon, Jews and Indian. Believe it or not, but the facts are all the above-mentioned ethnics always excelled in every sphere of lives: be it in business, science and technology, writings, etc. No ancient secret beverages behind their success, they just simply stick to old dogma of success: hardwork, which the Indonesian majority mostly dont have or tend to forget.

For Chinese-Indonesian, like most Chinese in other parts of the world, they tend to focus their hard-working ideology on business. So, to see someone like Marie Elka Pangestu, trade minister in current Indonesian cabinet is a rarity.As someone might notice, Marie Pangestu previously is a researcher in CSIS, a think thank institution founded by Ali Murtopo–home minister during Suharto regime– which focus on political, economical and strategic studies.One of Marie Pangestu’s most favorite ‘pupil’ researcher is Christine Susanna Tjhin who is still active in the institution. As a researcher in a prominent Indonesian think tank, she traveled everywhere to attend various seminars, workshops, etc. And understandably writes many research papers and op-ed pieces who is regularly published in the Jakarta Post and some other journal publications.Anyone who thinks that a writer is only fighting injustices through his/her writings is incorrect. At least, that’s not Christine’s. During Tsunami disaster, she’s also came to the ground-zero in Aceh.

Being a person who belongs to ethnic minority, her concern with anything to do with the well-being of chinese-Indonesian also become one favorite topic of her writings. In one of her op-ed piece she writes:

The tsunami disaster has taught a Chinese Indonesians a lesson about solidarity in ways they may never have thought of before. The disaster has meant that a new humanitarian agenda has become more important than an anti-discrimination agenda. This may well be the first time Chinese Indonesians engage in a real nation-building agenda that is inclusive as well as cross-cultural.

Understanding comes from knowledge. And to understand Chinese-Indonesian’s psyche by reading their writings, including the ones written by Christine is one towards that direction. No real peace and harmony unless we try to understand each other in full earnest.***

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