In the aftermath of the May 1998 riots that forced President Suharto to step down, ethnic Chinese received unprecedented freedom to assert their long suppressed cultural and religious identity. Following the transition from assimilation to multiculturalism, for the first time in over three decades Chinese culture became more visible and ethnic Chinese could finally enjoy the freedom to celebrate Chinese New Year (Imlek) publicly. This article focuses on the politics of the re-emergent Chinese New Year celebration in the Indonesian public sphere. It demonstrates the significance of Imlek as an ethnic symbol to Chinese-Indonesians. Borrowing Hobsbawm’s concept of “invented tradition”, the article critically examines how the festival has been reinvented, represented, commodified, and consumed by both Chinese and non-Chinese-Indonesians in the cultural, political and religious contexts of contemporary Indonesia.
Indonesia, Chinese, Chinese New Year, ethnic relations, politics
Asian Studies | Political Science | Race and Ethnicity
Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies
Australian National University
HOON, Chang Yau.(2009). More than a Cultural Celebration: The Politics of Chinese New Year in post-Suharto Indonesia. Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, 3, 90-105.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/754
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