By Jack Profijt, Canada
Over the last couple of weeks, I have spent much of my time in contemplation of the Indo experience. Reading the various posts on blogs and web sites and on Facebook groups, I have begun to see that we are all not really that far apart.
Yes, we are separated by time and distance, but not by spirit, culture and heritage. As I move from story to story and read the names of our loved ones that have passed, it brings me one step closer to knowing my own clouded history. Sometimes I say their names out loud to breath life into their memory and to bring honor to our ancestors.
I look at every photo that is posted and look into the eyes of the people in those fading black and white images, I see a history that stretches back for generations. I see determination and pride in those faces but also sadness. I look at each photo to see if there are any links to my past. Each story I read and image I see fuels my need to know and pushes me to ask the question “Who am I?”
We all have a heritage that is rightfully ours, and it must be preserved and fostered for the young people that will follow after us. The longer our stories are left to the whim of history, our culture will be lost in the abyss of time. The stories must be written down and spoken out loud so that they are heard in the modern age.
We are a race of people that are 300 plus years in the making; we must take a lesson from the native peoples of the USA and Canada. Their stories live on in dance and song and spoken word. We must expand on these principles and bring our stories to the present.
As times change, so too must the medium in which we tell our stories. The danger if we do not, is that we will slip into obscurity and we will have lost our identity. My personal fear is that if it is allowed to continue, what I call “The Silent Nation” will die.
Editor’s Note (updated 4-14-13): Jack represents the first generation of Indos who grew up in their newly adopted country (Canada) after his parents emigrated from Holland. He is the founder of the Dutch-Indonesian Community Facebook page which has grown to over 3,123 members worldwide.
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I bumped into this website while searching for family related history and I can’t agree more with this post. My great great grandmother is Dutch. I live in Indonesia but will be moving to another country soon and I want to make sure the story of my families will stay alive by creating a family blog site. It is still a long way to go and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who care. Thank you for this post and the link to the group on Facebook.
The thing that I have come to in my quest of “Who am I?” is that as I started pondering on other Indos I have known or, those whose stories I have heard and read, I started noticing that Indos, on the whole, are not like others who have “identity crisis”. They don’t “act out”, as is the term. It is these kinds of ‘discoveries’ that make me very proud to be Indo. What a rich heritage.