I turned on Hayam Wuruk Street and walked into a street lined with shops. There were many shops selling small items. The sidewalks, which were covered with a roof to keep out the strong sun, were also bustling with goods on display. This area is a Chinatown in Jakarta called Glodok.
Indonesia's largest Chinatown didn't feel so Chinese-style when I just walked around. If you don't know anything about it, you might simply think it's an area with some Chinese restaurants. It was true that the name of the shop was also written in Chinese characters. However, there were no signboards with Chinese characters like those in Chinatown in Bangkok, and there were no gold sellers, which is a favorite of overseas Chinese.
It is said that the first overseas Chinese came to this place in the 17th century, so it has a long history. Some people may have become indigenous to Jakarta as a result of having been based there for many generations. They must have felt closer to this place than Fujian and Guangdong where their ancestors came from. But strangely enough, unlike the Malay Peninsula to the north, the term 'Straits Chinese' is not used for the indigenous Chinese people. Is it because Jakarta does not face the Strait?
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May 25, 2020
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