Sugiharto Hendrata Kuswono, Banjar Chinese History Teacher
Sugiharto Hendrata Kuswono has collected primary data on Chinese history in Banjarmasin since the 2000s.
About AI Translated Article
Please note that this article was automatically translated using Microsoft Azure AI, Open AI, and Google Translation AI. We cannot ensure that the entire content is translated accurately. If you spot any errors or inconsistencies, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll make every effort to address them. Thank you for your understanding.
The following article was translated using both Microsoft Azure Open AI and Google Translation AI. The original article can be found in Sugiharto Hendrata Kuswono, Suluh Sejarah Tionghoa Banjar
Sugiharto Hendrata Kuswono, a enthusiast of Banjar Chinese history, uncovered the archives of Banjar Chinese history which have been collected in his private library in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, on Tuesday (30/1/2024).
A strong curiosity about his family history in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, has driven Sugiharto Hendrata Kuswono (47) to trace the Chinese historical sources in the region. With patience, he searches, collects, and archives various primary data related to the presence of Chinese people in South Kalimantan.
The personal library owned by Sugi, whose nickname is Sugiharto, in Banjarmasin, is not only filled with a book collection, but also with stacks of newspaper clippings, documents, photos, and images related to the history of Chinese people in Tanah Banjar. The clippings and documents are organized according to their respective topics.
"The data collected is already quite extensive. Not less than 30 bundles," said the bespectacled man when met in Banjarmasin, Tuesday (30/1/2024).
Sugi has been collecting Chinese history data in Banjar Land since the 2000s. This is based on a great curiosity and interest in the existence of his family in Banjarmasin, especially the footsteps of his grandfather who became a victim of Japanese army's murder during World War II.
“In the family there is a historical memory that is always questioned. My father lost track of his father. My grandfather was killed by Japanese soldiers, but his grave was not found. "During the ceng beng tradition or grave prayer, we can only go to grandmother's grave," he said.
After reaching adulthood, Sugi began searching for information about his grandfather. In his search, he came across a researcher from the International Red Cross who was conducting research in Banjarmasin. The researcher had a list of names of war victims from 1943 in Banjarmasin. Sugi followed the researcher to various locations.
Also read: Service to Ancestors in Singkawang
From there, he found information about his grandfather. Those who were victims of World War II at the time were buried in a Dutch cemetery in Kalsel. However, the Indonesian government later moved the graves of war victims to other places or outside of Kalsel.
"The information is that the graves of the victims have been relocated to Ancol (Jakarta). However, since the relocation, our family has lost track and we do not know exactly where our grandfather's grave is," he said.
Sugi was informed by his parents that his grandfather was a trader. There is almost no other information about his grandfather beyond that. However, in a photo that Sugi obtained in 2015, his grandfather can be seen at the first Catholic school in Banjarmasin. The photo was taken in 1933.
I am glad to finally be able to contribute to the publication of a book about Banjar Chinese.
"Not just us, but many Chinese families in Banjarmasin have lost track of their loved ones. At least 200 victims of the Japanese military during World War II are recorded in Banjarmasin. That's what makes me curious and keeps me searching and archiving data," he said.
The data that Sugi was searching for subsequently expanded. It was not only about his grandfather's footsteps, but also about the footsteps of Chinese people in Banjarmasin.
He also met with Chinese families to obtain information, documents, and photos related to their family history. Only a few of them still hold their ancestors' legacy.
"It's indeed quite difficult to find data related to this Chinese family because many of them are traumatized. Many have already 'closed the book', burning books and photos to avoid being linked to various things, especially with the 1965 incident (Indonesian Communist Party)," he said.
According to Sugi, what he is seeking and collecting are primary data, such as from old newspaper clippings, photos, images, and information or stories from Chinese families. His hope is that the various data and information can be written again or published into a book so that the wider community can also learn about the historical background of the Chinese in Banjarmasin.
"Literature about Banjar Chinese is very minimal. Therefore, I have thought of making a book about it," said the graduate of the Faculty of Economics and Business at Lambung Mangkurat University.
However, Sugi felt that his writing ability and funding for book publishing were still limited in creating the book. Fortunately, there was a positive response from the Indonesian Chinese Social Association (PSMTI) of South Kalimantan, who welcomed and strongly supported the creation of a book about the history of Chinese in South Kalimantan.
PSMTI Kalsel then collaborated with the Institute for Islamic and Community Studies (LK3) Banjarmasin to design the production of the book. "I was contacted and joined the writing team. I also supported the data when other writers had difficulty accessing the necessary data to make it more complete," she said.
Sugiharto Hendrata Kuswono, a enthusiast of Chinese history in Banjar, was met at his private library in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, on Tuesday (30/1/2024).
The book entitled "Tionghoa Banjar, Its Role and Contribution in the Course of History" was finally launched and discussed in Banjarmasin on July 30, 2023.
Sugi stated that the process of creating the book took almost two years. The book, which is 500 pages thick, consists of eight major themes with 56 subtitles.
This book was written by 10 authors. The writers come from various professional backgrounds, namely historians, lecturers, cultural figures, and journalists. In addition to Sugi, there are Mansyur, Sandi Firly, Mursalin (Arlong), Humaidy Al Bustami, Maria Roeslie, Abdani Solihin, Arif Rahman Hakim, Wadarta Jong, and Noorhalis Majid.
The book "Tionghoa Banjar" attempts to record the entire role and contribution of the Chinese community in South Kalimantan. Starting from the history of their arrival in the land of Banjar, the assimilation between Chinese and Banjar cultures, to the traces left by the Chinese community from the past until now.
This book is also a part of the documentary film production that narrates the existence of the Chinese community in Banjar Land. The title of the documentary is "In the Same Stream". However, the review in the book is more comprehensive and in-depth. Please note that the words PBB, PKS, PPP should not be translated.
"I am delighted to finally be able to contribute to the publication of a book about the Chinese Banjar. However, I am not an archivist or a conventionally educated librarian. I just happen to enjoy collecting data and creating archives," he said.
After the release of the book "Tionghoa Banjar", Sugi admitted that he still has plenty of data for writing other books. One of them is a biography of a Chinese-Banjar figure who contributed to the national movement and played an important role in the nation's life. Please note that there are no forbidden words in this article.
According to Sugi, books about the Banjar Chinese are still very scarce. Reviews about the Banjar Chinese in some history reference books are also minimal. Even if there are any, the impression is sometimes a bit biased because the version is written by people in the New Order era. Whereas, the history and existence of the Banjar Chinese should be written in a balanced way.
"I do not intend to straighten out history because that is not my expertise. However, I hope that the data I have collected can provide information and be considered for its truthfulness. This data may be useful for improvement or balance in the writing of Chinese history," he said.
Sugiharto Hendrata Kuswono
Born: Banjarmasin, January 1977
Education: Bachelor's Degree in Economics, Lambung Mangkurat University
Organization: PSMTI South Kalimantan, Gus Durian Network, and Banjarmasin National Integration Forum.