Letter to the Editor

In your September 2013 issue, I read your article, “Bahasa Indonesia championed by Chinese”, and I have a question for the writer. Since she said that Bahasa Indonesia was already widely used by the Chinese even before Indonesia’s independence, why then did the Suharto government ban the use and education of Chinese languages? Also, why were the Chinese targeted in so many racial riots when they contributed so much to the development of Bahasa Indonesia? Amadeus

The article was wrien to share how national languages develop, which can be done devoid of top-down government intervention policies. Bahasa Indonesia was an example, and I chose to focus on the role of the Chinese – even though they were not the only ones involved – mainly because they owned the medium of distribution, i.e. the press.

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