SoCal Indo founder Michael Passage started 2023 by hosting a very well-attended Kumpulan, which is Indonesian for “gathering”. The event was attended by Indos and others with a shared history in the Dutch East Indies. Over seventy people from multiple California counties gathered on the evening of Friday, January 6th at the Indonesian Consulate in Los Angeles.
The Kumpulan kicked off with scrumptious Indonesian food catered by the Banana Leaf from Temple City: nasi kuni kuning, sayur buncis hijau (groene boontjes), egg telor, kripik katjan, rendang, and lots of krupuk.
Indo International Magazine Sharing Stories
After dinner, Vivian Boon, Editor in Chief of the Moesson magazine, reviewed the history of her family’s legacy of capturing and sharing Indo history one story at a time. Her grandfather, Tjalie Robinson, a celebrated author focused on Indo stories, had a long history of recording the Indo journey. Tjalie initially started writing columns for the well-known Dutch newspaper, Het Parool, and for the Surabaya based, De Vrije Pers, and went on to establish the Onze Brug newspaper, the Tong Tong magazine in both the Netherlands and in Southern California, and the Moesson magazine in the Netherlands. She reminded the audience of her grandfather’s call to action: write your story down. And if you don’t know how to start it, start by writing me a letter with Dear Tjalie, I remember when…and then, tell your story.
Vivian described her desire to continue Indo storytelling in English. She was particularly motivated after the passing of René Creutzburg and the end of the beloved American publication De Indo. Vivian has a great passion to reach the English-speaking community with Moesson International, which is now being rebranded as The Indo International. Each magazine edition is a beautifully bound glossy quarterly magazine. Subscriptions include digital-only copies, physical-only copies, or both digital and physical copies. She described that the name change from Moesson International to Indo International is to honor René Creutzberg’s well-known and long-running little yellow magazine, De Indo, which stopped publishing upon his passing during the COVID era.
Sharing Their Stories
Following Vivian’s Moesson magazine presentation, Michael Passage encouraged the audience to share their stories that evening. A handful did right then and there. Many of the stories shared had similar themes:
- Longing for togetherness
- Missing the first Indo generation
- Telling one’s own story
- Everyone has their own story; they are similar collectively but individually different
Many in the audience stated how encouraged they were that younger generations are becoming increasingly interested in their Indo heritage. There were many families with younger children in attendance. People felt truly united as Indos that evening. The stories told brought back memories of their parents’ and grandparents’ perseverance for a better life.
The Indo Project team members were also present. TIP Vice Chair Jeff Keasberry posted on social media, “Great Indo vibes at this Kumpulan. Well done, Michael Passage”. TIP secretary Patricia Teunisse said, “Never forget the work we do to maintain our connection to our rich and diverse culture. The Indo Project exists to educate others about our culture and history. Events like this kumpulan that bring us together help to unify us as a unique cultural group. Thank you, Michael, for the opportunity to connect”.
TIP treasurer Maureen de Schepper stated, “It was a very well organized event and agenda/guests – plus great food and cendol. We definitely need more of these to unite the Indos and continue to grow our Indo constituents together with multiple generations. Next time, more of you come out and be one bigger Indo family.”
The event included the sharing of a delicious Indonesian dinner, being inspired to tell and share personal Indo stories by Moesson magazine editor Vivian Boon, and ended with music performed by Indo musician James Intveld.