Publications

Performing "Chinese-ness" in Singkawang : Diasporic moorings, festivals and tourism

Ong, C.E.; Ormond, M.E.; Sulianti, Dian

Summary

Through an examination of two festivals – Qing Ming and Cap Go Meh – in the town of Singkawang in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), we show how Singkawang-bound Chinese Indonesian tourists and their Singkawang-based relatives produce a diasporic heritage network through ‘moorings’ generated by both transnational and internal migration. Instead of returning to a singular ‘homeland’ in distant China, these tourists return to Chinese-majority Singkawang as a result of their personal genealogical roots and of their broader cultural allegiance with a kind of Chinese-ness that Singkawang has come to represent within a post-Suharto Indonesia. Through these two festivals, we demonstrate how personal heritage practices like ‘roots tourism’ and visiting friends and relatives are intimately bound up with identity and developmental politics at local, national and international scales. In so doing, we identify a range of ways in which migratory and tourism flows by Chinese Indonesian
internal migrants shape relations to their ancestral hometowns and cultural ‘homelands’ in Indonesia within the context of membership to and participation in a broader transnational diaspora.