Back in 2009, I posted a story about Chinese New Year's Festivities in Bandung. Since then, I have not posted any other similar stories. Last week, I received a series of wonderful black and white photographs of the Chinese New Year rituals from a young and talented photographer whom I met last year in a couple of photography workshops in which I was asked to mentor.
Ali Mecca, the name of the photographer, is a film and photography student at a Pasundan University in Bandung.
This is the text that he wrote to accompany the above pictures after I edited it:
Under the "New Order" regime (1966 - 1998), the Indonesian ethnic Chinese endured a discriminatory treatment. Their cultural identity was subsumed under the mainstream national identity. They were encouraged to use Indonesian names in lieu of their Chinese names, given a different ID card that differentiated them from the indigenous Indonesian, and were not allowed to perform and show their cultural heritage in public.
The advent of Reform Era (Era Reformasi) changed all that. Under the presidency of Abdurrahman Wahid (October 1999 - July 2001) the government reinstated the Indonesian ethic Chinese civic and cultural rights and made the Chinese New Year a national holiday. Since then, the Chinese New Year has once again become a festivity that is celebrated throughout the country, not only among the Chinese, but also by many other Indonesians.