Friday, September 25, 2009

Friends from Surabaya ...

Tikno is also blogging about Surabaya, so this is a curious coincidence. A family joined a tour and we met them at the Hilton Hotel near San Francisco airport this evening. The best I can tell, they are long term friends of my relatives, because my nephews are quite close to their children from when they were hanging out together in Singapore.

It has been 25 years since I visited Indonesia. At the time my relatives put a stack of Chinese newspapers in my luggage, but this was illegal due to racial animosity between the Indonesians and Chinese. My relatives assured me that westerners wouldn't get their bags searched, but this was little comfort to me. The only thing giving me confidence was that I was fairly certain that they didn't want their son-in-law in jail in Indonesia. Anyway, I made it through without any problems. The Bible commands us to confess our sins, so here it is: I am a contraband smuggler.

Things have changed in Indonesia. The children of this family were attending Surabaya Taipei International School with classes mostly in Mandarin. Haven't heard of it? The senior class has 4 students, so presumably there isn't a large network of parents to discuss college issues. Needless to say, our main discussion was on universities. They are thinking to send the oldest to Taipei for college next year, but going to the US is a backup plan. All the ins and outs of TOEFLs, SATs and ACTs needed to be processed along with pros and cons of various schools. When to apply, where to apply and how to apply were also on the meeting agenda. These kids seemed reasonably able to handle both Mandarin and English, but they were thrown on a few words like "gaudy".

We finished things up by presenting them with a box of chocolates and some red envelopes for the kids. I came out pretty good on the deal too because they presented me with two boxes of cashews packed in Surabaya along with some Indonesian coffee. It was a nice evening to chat and make some new friends.


Rummuser said...

You have just gone up on the data bases of various agencies as a gullible carrier of contraband goods.
The internet is a wicked place.

Delirious said...

Too bad the president took down his snitch website. ;)

tikno said...

Ahh... if I know you also come to Surabaya maybe we could meet.

Racial animosity (but I like to call it racial jealousy) only happened during the era of the power of "Orde Baru". Since the power of "Orde Baru" (lead by former president Soeharto) has collapsed by "people power" (especially by college students) then the era of hatred has ended.

Looney said...

Tikno, I have never been to Surabaya. Only Jakarta and Sulawesi. It is good to hear that things are much better now. Some of my classmates of long ago went through the period of the 60's which was really bad.

What part of Indonesia do you live at?

tikno said...

I live in Samarinda, the capital city of East Kalimantan province. Maybe thousands of miles from you, but feel close through blogging.

Nice to talk with you, Looney.