Lunar New Year pictures have been sitting in my phone since forever. Although it’s been really late, I think there’s no harm sharing all of them for readers. This year’s been rough year for Chinese descents in Indonesia. Pilkada (governor election) in Indonesian capital city Jakarta whose candidate is from double minority (Christian Chinese) had shook the nation like it never had before. To compare “Christian Chinese” in Indonesia to “Black Muslim” in US is a bit exaggeration since we were never been driven to the corner socially. But you might have understood the similarities between us. Discrimination is inevitable. Short-minded people bash everyone they meet in the street just because they are “different”. They often selfishly proclaim that “majority has power, we kindly allow you to do as your wish among us but you have to submit to us” – more so in social media. The strain has become so strong that I had ever experienced being yelled “Chinese bastard!” by a random woman in the street when I was walking down the sidewalk.

There are so many articles and news everywhere in the world covering about Indonesian intolerance about minority group these days, especially about how radicalism grew wide and bore fruit – even – among moderates. From the eye of majority, CNY is often viewed as Chinese-exclusive ritual. Only few people know that it is definitely not. As you can browse in the next pictures I will show you, there are so many native people from any religion flock around the lion/dragon dance stage to watch and enjoy the performance. Many performers and wushu trainees are native too. It’s not “exclusive” at all.

One of many reasons this huge discrimination exists is because people don’t want to befriend people who has different religious view/ ethnic group. They don’t want to learn and enjoy culture other than their own. Most of radicals make excuse that it is “prohibited to do so”. It also includes “choosing minority whose religion different from them” just because they are told in their book that it is haramm. They say, in country whose majority is X, one shall choose X and is prohibited to choose any other. It is literally translated as “we’d rather choose unjust and corrupt person whose religion the same as us than choosing clean and just person from other religion”. These minorities are criminalized just because they speak their mind about this inhuman concept of “justice”, promoting radicalism and eventually tearing apart a nation. But there also emerges few people from moderates who are fed up. They begin to speak their mind to help powering minority’s struggle… but alas, it only creates endless pointless arguments. And sadly, they never stop.

This year’s Lunar New Year didn’t seem to give off intolerance vibe from outside. However, there are, I believe, people who still think that we live in the same world and together we will be brothers and sisters. Let us hope the second round of governor election will end in peace for both sides.

Goodness I haven’t uploaded the pictures from Lunar New Year… I think I have some debts to readers too so I’ll try to pay them all now in a single post! There isn’t much to say about last year’s Christmas, New Year, or Lunar New Year. I attended Christmas Eve’s Mass at St. Paulus and Christmas Service in the morning with my mother the day after. And about Lunar New Year, there is lesser people attending family gathering than before, probably because of the long weekend and everyone’s taking their holiday.

St. Paulus's Christmas Eve Celebration

St. Paulus’s Christmas Eve Celebration

Goodness, I only have two good photographs to be shared?! Where am I last year? At Christmas Eve’s Mass, I recorded my aunt’s choir but it turned out not good due to limitation of cellphone’s mic. Fortunately nothing happened during Christmas and New Year. We wish you (very late) Christmas and a good New Year!

candle lights at vihara

candle lights at vihara

Surprisingly enough, in this post I attached two different celebration in two different religion in two different year and two different place of worship. This year is YEAR OF THE HORSE! Everyone celebrated it by wishing good wishes and luck, wearing red clothes and I remembered it was raining heavily in the morning before dawn (and a bit in the afternoon). If you are bored with horse-face-mask people sold last year, you have to endure all year starting [today].

 

Lunar New Year Candle at Vihara Dharma Bakti

Lunar New Year Candle at Vihara Dharma Ramsi

Although it was almost late…. oh well. Happy Lunar New Year, may this year be prosperous for all of us, despite of being a water snake year (not eel, I assure you). My family had a nice lunar new year celebration again this year, the same as last year, visiting vihara (what is it in English, is it shrine or temple?) Dharma Ramsi, seeing dragon dance and lion dance, visiting family. I want to share the lion dance and dragon dance video but apparently wordpress doesn’t allow me to upload mp4 format… and the main problem is the internet connection. I guess I’ll share you photographs this year.

Lion Dance, also called Barongsai in Indonesia, bowing for blessing at the entrance before playing

Lion Dance, also called Barongsai in Indonesia, bowing for blessing at the entrance before playing

Let’s wiki attack for a moment. Lion Dance (舞獅) or spelled wǔshī in Chinese, is called Barongsai in Indonesian language. You won’t see that strange vocabulary in English Wikipedia. Perhaps, or so I believe, barongsai is used (in Indonesia) because it looks like a “barong” – mythical ‘lion’ creature in Bali island – and ‘sai’ is Hokkien’s vocabulary for dance (there are many Hokkien Chinese descents here in Indonesia, even the traditional merchants speak in Hokkien like: ce pek (100), go pek (500), go cap (50), ce pe ceng (100,000), ban gou (15,000), ce pek ji gou (125), etc.). Guess what, these lion dance performers are children, not older than 17 years old, and from Sukabumi, which town is well-known for its lion and dragon dancers. Before performing dance, the lions bowing for blessing in front of altar or temple’s entrance.

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新年快乐!恭喜发财!
万事如意,年年有余。

(二零十二年一月二十四日星期一)
Today I escorted my parents to temple and saw children performing Lion Dance attraction to celebrate Lunar New Year (too bad I didn’t take picture) and had vegetarian dishes for lunch. 爱好吧! It rained a little before we went home, but it was a good sign! In our tradition and belief, Lunar New Year needs to be raining 雨, symbolizing prosperity, rich soil, and nice harvest for a year. After that, the big 陈 [Chen] family gathered together in grandma’s house and the married ones gave us 红包 [hong bao]. It was a tradition for Chinese family to give something wrapped in red envelope to their children/ unmarried couples in the family. It’s supposed to be given to older/ parents symbolizing children’s tribute for their parents though, 哈哈哈;;

inside the temple

We’re keeping traditions that in Chinese New Year, we have to eat fish (年年有余 [for years prosperity], 余 [prosper] is similar pronunciation to 鱼 [fish] 😀 ) and noodle for looong looong blessing. It is said, sweeping dust since it is believed to be sweeping good luck. We also played fireworks to fend off bad spirits. I don’t really believe about those, but it doesn’t hurt, though, since we younger generations are suppose to keep traditions too. Plus, the dishes are delicious and since I’m not married yet, I’ll still get the red envelope. The temple’s visitors said that there will be ta-pe-gong event (I don’t think that’s right pronunciation, since it’s perhaps in Hokkian) in 50 days after New Year (cap go meh: cap go = 15) and there will be 60 representatives from other towns participating. I’ll surely take a lot of photos and videos of Lion and Dragon Dance this time!

*陈淑慧