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Mean-minded people.

Medan -- The Boxing Day 2004 tsunami hit six countries, the worst hit area being Aceh, Indonesia, where many ethnic Chinese Indonesians live and who also lost many family members. Sadly, after the catastrophe, Chinese Indonesians in Aceh still face racial discrimination.

In one town, perhaps also in others, when the Indonesian aid team brought water, the Chinese Indonesians lined up with the others to ask for supplies. The soldier in charge of distribution told the Chinese group that if they wanted to drink this water, they had to pay Rp. 7500 (approx. US$ 0.80) per cup. He said this aid was only for Pribumi (Malay/ Indonesians), not for others, such as the Chinese, even if they had been born in Indonesia or had lived there for many years.

Chinese Indonesians in Aceh had to pay the hospital between Rp. 8-10 million (US$1000) to retrieve the dead body of a family member. Their houses and stores were looted. If stored food had been looted, one could perhaps understand, because people were hungry and food was scarce. But these were electronic and other stores; only stores belonging to the ethnic Chinese were hit.

It was the same with their houses which were burned if they had survived the tsunami, with local people saying, "I've lost my house, and now you (the Chinese ethnics) must lose your house as well."

The Hercules planes removing survivors took only Malay people, not the Chinese. Finally, some Chinese Indonesians were able to move to neighbouring Medan only because a wealthy man in Medan gave each of them a flight ticket from Aceh. This still left many Chinese trapped in Aceh without food and water. Newspaper and TV media never exposed this tragedy. (Maria Koo, Feb. 21, 2005)
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Title Annotation:Indonesia
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:May 1, 2005
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