圖片來源:Shutterstock

在研究98事件的過程中,有一點最令我憂心:結構的不平衡,系統性地製造了種族刻板印象,且自我發展存續,帶來致命的結果。

在印尼,階級被賦予鮮明的種族色彩。這裡的刻板印象是「本土」印尼人(pribumi)比「非本土印尼人」(non-pribumi,亦即華人)窮。本土等於窮,華人等於富有的對比,使卸責給華裔印尼人十分簡單。無論是一般人或專家都很少深究這個「階級種族化」的現象。

我最近(2018年2月)就曾遇到一名研究華裔印尼人的美國研究員,在一場公開演講重複了「華裔印尼人比較有錢」的講法。看似簡單的刻板印象卻根深蒂固,很難靠事實破除,譬如印尼也有窮困的華裔印尼人,也有富有的本地印尼人,最顯而易見的例子就是蘇哈托本人和他的家族。即便我努力與他論證,他還是相信自己在印尼「目擊」的現象。

男性華人面孔=錢?

在印尼,人們習慣將「(男性)華人面孔」和錢聯想在一起,長久以來,龐大的知識型產業強化了這樣的印象。這不只發生在印尼。在亞洲甚至全球,大眾媒體不成比例地關注成功的男性華裔商人,英語學術界更是如此。尤其在東南亞,許多被關注的男性華裔商人慣性地將他們的成功歸功於「華人文化」。他們用一本又一本的回憶錄或傳記,集體創造了「華人很會做生意」的迷思,而這個迷思在許多華語系社會廣為流傳。殊不知,光鮮亮麗的刻板印象的背後也有黑暗恐怖的一面。

蘇哈托政權非常善於利用成功男性華商的刻板印象,作為政府控制社會經濟和政治的工具。當蘇哈托於1960年代掌權時,他制定了歧視華裔印尼人的政策,禁止中文和中華文化,將華裔印尼人排拒於公部門和政治之外。於此同時,蘇哈托卻與他的華商夥伴密切合作發展經濟。

印尼在二次大戰後針對荷蘭展開反殖民戰爭,流動性高的單幫客華商用走私的方式衝破荷軍的物資封鎖,成為供給印尼軍隊必需品甚至軍火的重要來源。許多印尼軍官在這時期與他們合作,而這種互惠關係一直持續到印尼獨立後的1960年代。

2014年,Richard Borsuk和 Nancy Chng針對林紹良和他創辦的集團Salim Group,發表了一本書。林紹良曾是蘇哈托主要的商業夥伴和親信。作者使用林紹良的兒子們和摯友的訪問內容,精彩地描繪了林紹良和蘇哈托之間的親密合作關係。

一開始,林紹良在中爪哇和同業競爭蘇哈托所掌管部隊的生意。由於林紹良商譽佳,成功取得蘇哈托的信任,當蘇哈托成為總統後,林紹良和「蘇哈托一手打造的」Salim Group即獲得政府授與專賣權和優惠待遇。

林紹良的產業在蘇哈托的庇蔭下茁壯。而為了回饋蘇哈托和他的家人,他也貢獻一部份的企業利潤到蘇哈托指定的「特殊基金會」。蘇哈托在任時,各種需要用到大筆資金的計畫都少不了林紹良的支持,而他也由衷地支持蘇哈托,甚至蘇哈托倒台之後,林紹良的企業陷入窘境,他也對蘇哈托毫無怨言。印尼人對類似林紹良的華裔印尼商人稱作「cukong」,Borsuk和Chng解釋為「獲得重要政治或軍事領袖保護的華裔企業家。」[1]

蘇哈托身處印尼政治權力的顛峰,他與林紹良的親密合作關係,建立了惡劣的模式。在新秩序時期,有權勢的軍官和華商之間的主雇關係複製到社會各層面,造成濫權、裙帶關係、尋租行為,也造成華裔印尼人的制度性弱點──他們必須要願意「付出」,才有辦法得到「保護」和「恩庇」。帕爾迪簡潔地描述了這種有害關係,凸顯華裔印尼人在該國承受著體制性風險。她寫道:

在新秩序時期,政府維持了權貴階層和華裔印尼人之間的互惠關係,使得華裔印尼人越來越暴露在仰賴軍方高層以及權貴保護的風險之下。這種和蘇哈托家族以及軍方高層的互惠關係僅限於一小部分華裔印尼人,但類似的作為和試圖合理化此行為的論述也發生在小商人和地方軍官之間。因此在社會各個層級,華裔印尼人必須為他們的人身安全付出金錢,購買保護,不為什麼,只因為他們的族裔身份。[2] 

少數華人真的控制了大部分印尼經濟?

華裔印尼人生活在什麼樣的體制性風險之下?舉例來說,許多人把印尼的貧富差距問題怪罪於華裔印尼人,因為「華人控制著經濟」、「華人犧牲本地印尼人圖利自己」。印尼的經濟繁榮時,蘇哈托模式的裙帶資本主義使得許多受「保護」的華裔印尼人企業蓬勃發展。1998年5月暴動發生的前幾個月,「少數華人(不超過3%)控制大部分(50%-80%)的印尼經濟」的說詞在印尼流傳。

學者指出,這些所謂證實華裔印尼人控制印尼經濟的數據通常不正確而且非常籠統。這些數據忽略了一些因素,譬如華裔印尼人被排除在國營企業之外。儘管如此,帕爾迪在書中提出比較精確的數據時指出:

印尼華人擁有超過80%私營企業財富。印尼前十大企業集團中,華人擁有的就佔了9個,並且掌握前300大集團8成的資產。該國前15名繳稅大戶中,13人是華裔──另外兩人分別是班邦.蘇哈托和湯米.蘇哈托,他們是蘇哈托的兒子。[3]

從表面上看,這些數據讓類似「華裔印尼人控制印尼經濟」等等的刻板印象有了可信的依據。但更精準的分析是這些數據證實了新秩序政權利用種族主義建構的政經關係非常成功。一小部分華裔商人(遠小於3%)取得巨大財富,但華裔印尼人作為一個群體卻陷入體制性的弱勢。在新秩序時期扎根的政經架構一直複製著「華人等於有錢」的假象,而成功的華商樂於「配合演出」,導致充斥着種族色彩的刻板印象不斷在印尼擴散。多年後,林紹良的兒子兼繼承人林逢生很無奈地「默認華人在新秩序時期成為鎖定對象──且成為1998年5月暴動的明顯目標──是因為其中一小部份人變得十分富有,這是沒有辦法改變的。」如林逢生所說:「我們無法改變歷史。」[4] 這就是光鮮亮麗刻板印象背後的黑暗面。

棉蘭與梭羅:從非雅加達的角度思考華裔印尼人困境

帕爾迪的研究讓我們從「非雅加達」的角度理解華裔印尼人所面對的體制性弱勢和風險。她聚焦在1998年5月被忽略的區域,譬如蘇門答臘的棉蘭和爪哇中部的梭羅。這些地區也發生了驚人的暴力事件。帕爾迪認為這些暴力事件發生的原因,跟華裔印尼人日復一日經歷的各種暴力被正常化有關係。

譬如棉蘭。駭人的暴力事件在1998年5月4日爆發,比雅加達提早大約一週半,且持續了更久──連續5天維安部隊沒有介入。棉蘭的暴力事件和隨後在雅加達和印尼其他地方發生的暴力有著相似的模式,因此政府的調查小組稱棉蘭暴動的模式為「樣板」。

棉蘭有著地方特殊性。這裡華裔印尼人較多(佔當地人口12%),是棉蘭的第三大族群。棉蘭華人也常常被認為「比較不融入」。帕爾迪認為棉蘭凸顯了全國華裔印尼人「用錢交換保護」的困境。棉蘭華人常常遭到政府官員、當地軍方、如「五戒青年團」(Pemuda Pancasila)之類「青年團體」以及幫派成員,以提供「安全」或「保護」的名義索取錢財。

有看過那部著名的印尼紀錄片《殺人一舉》嗎?這部紀錄片拍攝主角和他的流氓朋友到市場逛,半逗弄半威脅充滿驚恐的華裔店主們,同時向他們索討「保護費」。主角的行為肆無忌憚,但是毫不迴避被拍攝,好像向店主們拿錢是天經地義的事。這些影像取自棉蘭。在暴動發生的前夕,棉蘭的流氓團體將威脅和索錢的頻率升級。帕爾迪描述當時的棉蘭已被「恐怖氛圍」籠罩。

中爪哇的梭羅則呈現與棉蘭不一樣的情況。暴力事件和雅加達幾乎同時爆發,破壞力十分嚴重。儘管如此,帕爾迪發現梭羅當地人清楚地意識到印尼、亞洲和全球媒體將雅加達暴動描繪成「排華」暴動。所以許多在梭羅的團體和梭羅人,包括當地的華人,設法將當地的暴力事件塑造成「非排華」事件。然而,他們對暴力事件的解釋卻隱藏了種族色彩。

譬如,暴民洗劫商店的主要動機是「經濟因素而非仇恨華裔印尼人」的講法,迴避了梭羅人都知道的事實,那就是梭羅80%的商店經營者都是華裔印尼人。帕爾迪認為梭羅這種拒絕承認「排華暴力」的狀況,讓深植印尼體制化的種族問題無法浮上檯面。

那些華裔印尼女性受害者的沈默

相較媒體和學界對成功男性華裔商人豐富且頻繁的描述,1998年5月被強暴的華裔女性受害者有的則是縈繞不去的沈默。

探討1998年5月強暴事件的Elaine Tay寫道,極端的性暴力常常被「沈默以對或中性化,塑造成是戰爭或暴力衝突無法避免的不幸副作用」。[5] 然而,這些默不作聲本身便是一種訊息。強暴常常成為男性溝通的一種武器,在戰爭或衝突中,作為主體的男性將強暴當作溝通工具,傳達「敵人不是真男人因為無法保護自己的女人」的訊息。雖然1998年5月的暴力完全不是什麼「戰爭」,強暴作為一種傳達種族男性氣概的工具,仍然有效。而且相對於體制化的弱勢,性侵暴力更加令華裔印尼人擔心受怕。1998年5月和之後的日子裡,許多華裔家庭紛紛將女兒送走,通常藉由與外國人結婚讓她們離開印尼。

面對志工團的報告,哈比比政府在承認和否認強暴曾經發生的立場之間搖擺不定。因為沒有證據,高階軍官仍堅持沒有發生大規模的強暴事件。警方宣稱他們無法找到任何「強暴受害者」,也沒有人報案。警方並且威脅將起訴那些企圖「編造」5月強暴事件的團體,因為他們認為這些團體捏造事實,破壞印尼的良好聲譽。在一系列的公開爭論中,受害者只能保持沈默。

1998年8月,《亞洲華爾街日報》報導稱在網路上流傳的一系列「1998年5月受害者」的照片是「假的」,激起了又一波強暴究竟是否發生的質疑。印尼的國家聲譽再度受到重創。時任印尼外交部長的阿里.阿塔拉斯(Ali Alatas)表示網路上流傳假照片是「刻意策劃」用來削弱印尼政府,也因為這些負面消息,一些印尼駐外使館遭到電子郵件轟炸,被迫關閉網路。

在種種以印尼國家形象岌岌可危為藉口,爭辯5月強暴到底是不是「真的」的情況下,要求「真的」受害者站出來,等於將受害者送上受審席。最後,印尼政府的事實調查小組確認的確發生66起強暴案,但調查小組無法找出強暴案與其他暴力事件之間的關聯。調查小組也並未確認志工團記錄的5月強暴案件,是否為一系列經策劃的暴力行為。

明目張膽、喧鬧並且充滿陽剛氣概的論述和作為圍繞著1998年5月發生的暴力事件,所以沈默、分歧和干擾一直揮之不去。這些論述和作為持續壓抑有意義的集體記憶的可能性,這在事隔20年之後,徒然令人感傷不已。

(作者為獨立學者,前新加坡國立大學歷史系助理教授。本文由黃馨儀翻譯。上篇請見:【印尼98事件專題】集體記憶的不可能性:反思1998年5月印尼暴力事件(上)

     

[1] Richard Borsuk and Nancy Chng, LiemSioeLiong's Salim Group: the Business Pillar of Suharto 's Indonesia, ISEAS Publishing, 2014, Chap. 1.

[2] Purdey, Anti-Chinese Violence, 1996-1999, p.21.

[3] Purdey, Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia, 2006, p.25.

[4] Richard Borsuk and Nancy Chng, LiemSioeLiong's Salim Group: the Business Pillar of Suharto's Indonesia, ISEAS Publishing, 2014, Chap. 22.

[5] Elaine Tay, "Discursive Violence on the Internet and the May 1998 Riots: Analysis, Representation, Resolution" in Charles Coppel ed. ViolentConflicts in Indonesia: Analysis, Representation, Resolution, 2006, p.63.

以下為英文原文:

The Impossibility of Collective Memory: Some Reflections on the May 1998 Violence in Indonesia (II)

by Sai Siew-Min (Independent Scholar)

Wealth has a (Male) Chinese Face

Perhaps the most troubling lesson I have learned from studying the May 1998 violence is the way racial stereotypes are systemically re/produced from structural asymmetries and take on lives of their own, with deadly consequences. The ease with which Chinese Indonesians could be "scapegoated" leans on the widespread belief that compared to "indigenous" Indonesians —marked by the Indonesian term "pribumi,"— "non-indigenous" Indonesians, i.e., the "non-pribumi" (which is a code word for Chinese Indonesians) are wealthier. The fact that class assumes overt racialized forms in Indonesia is not often examined, much less interrogated by laymen and experts alike. Just recently (in February 2018), I met an American researcher studying the Chinese Indonesians who repeated the platitude that they are wealthier than indigenous Indonesians to a public audience. This persuasive stereotype is not easily overturned by obvious facts such as there are many poor Chinese Indonesians as well as many rich indigenous Indonesians, the glaring example being Suharto and his family. Thus, when I offered these data points for his consideration, the researcher argued he was describing a "general" phenomenon which suggests he failed to realize how class identities have been consistently racialized in the country. 

The discursive practice of giving wealth a "(male) Chinese face" draws life from an elaborate infrastructure of knowledge that has long and deep histories not only within Indonesia but also beyond Indonesian shores. Disproportionate attention is given to successful Chinese businessmen in the regional and global mass media but also crucially, in the English-language academia. It does not help at all that notable Chinese businessmen, particularly in Southeast Asia, routinely refer to some aspect of their "Chinese culture" to account for their business success. The notion that some "cultural and racial DNA" makes the Chinese good at business and money-making, also enjoys immense cache in many Sinophone societies and communities around the world. And so, we often forget that the same racialized argument can have a glowing but also a dark side.   

New Order Indonesia was exemplary in exploiting the stereotype of the successful Chinese businessman, embedding it centrally in mechanisms of socio-economic and political control. When Suharto assumed power in the mid-1960s, he instituted extensive policies that discriminated against Chinese Indonesians. He banned the Chinese language and elements of Chinese culture and kept them out of the civil service and the political arena while working with his close Chinese business partners to develop the economy. Since Indonesia's anti-colonial war against the Dutch, Chinese smugglers/businessmen whose operations were mobile and small-scale had been critical in supplying Indonesian army commanders with necessities and even arms. Such mutually beneficial relationships persisted after Indonesia achieved its independence and well into the 1960s. 

Using interviews with Liem Sioe Liong (Sudono Salim), his sons and close friends, a recently-published book on Liem, who was Suharto's primary business partner and crony, paints a vivid picture of their intimate relationship which began when Liem vied with others to supply the army under Suharto's command in Central Java with necessities. When Suharto became President, Liem and the Salim Group, an enterprise described in the book as "Suharto's creation," were given government monopolies and preferential treatment. Liem thrived under Suharto's protection and patronage. In return, Liem channeled a percentage of his company's profits to special "foundations" benefiting Suharto and his family or gave them shares in his businesses. Liem was also the chief financier for Suharto's major pet projects. Indonesians have a name for Liem and Chinese Indonesian businessmen like him. They are known as "cukong." As the authors of this book explain, "cukong" refers to "a Chinese financial backer who is given protection by powerful political or military leaders." (Richard Borsuk and Nancy Chng, Liem Sioe Liong's Salim Group: the Business Pillar of Suharto's Indonesia, 2014, chap. 1)   

One must fault Suharto for setting a toxic model at the apex of power. The patron-client relationship between army commanders and Chinese businessmen was replicated throughout all levels of New Order Indonesian society, leading to abuses of power, nepotism, rent-seeking behavior but also systemic vulnerabilities for Chinese Indonesians, who must be willing to "pay" to receive "protection" and "patronage." Purdey's succinct description of this toxic relationship illustrates well the systemic vulnerabilities affecting Chinese Indonesians in the country: 

The New Order kept in place a mutually beneficial system for members of the elite and for many Chinese Indonesians while increasing their underlying vulnerability and dependence upon the elite in military and government for protection. High-level relationships such as those with Suharto's family members and senior military figures were restricted to a minority of Chinese Indonesians, but the same discourse and practices also defined relations between small shopkeepers and local military officials. At all levels of society, their ethnicity meant that Chinese Indonesians required security and needed the means to purchase it. (Purdey, Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia, 1996-1999, 2006, p.21) 

Such vulnerabilities include being susceptible to racist accusations such as "the Chinese are corrupt," "the Chinese control the economy," "the Chinese enrich themselves at the expense of indigenous Indonesians" and so on. As Indonesia's economy boomed, the Suharto-styled system of crony capitalism ensured that businesses owned and managed by Chinese businessmen with powerful patrons dominated the private sector. In the months leading to the May 1998 violence, claims that "the Chinese control a huge chunk of the country's economy"was circulating. Such claims were usually accompanied by vague "quantitative data" such as that Chinese Indonesians constituting no more than "3% of the total population dominated 50% to 80% of Indonesia's economy." 

 As scholars point out, what passed as "quantitative data" was more often than not, inaccurate and used loosely, ignoring, for example, the exclusion of Chinese Indonesians from several lucrative state sectors. Nevertheless, Purdey writes that more accurate figures do show that before May 1998, "Chinese Indonesians owned about 80% of the country's private corporate wealth. That is to say, of limited liability companies. Chinese Indonesians owned nine out of the top ten business groups in Indonesia and controlled 80 percent of assets in the top three hundred groups. Of the country's top 15 taxpayers, 13 were ethnic Chinese— the other two were Bambang and Tommy Suharto, the President's sons." (Purdey, Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia, p.25)  

The numerical data discussed by Purdey may seem to lend some weight to popular stereotypes surrounding Chinese control of Indonesia's economy. A sharper analysis, however, reveals what is not evident at first glance. These figures demonstrate, in fact, that the patron-client structure had been wildly successful in keeping super-rich Chinese businessman precisely where he would be most useful for the New Order regime. A tiny percentage of well-connected Chinese businessmen — certainly less than 3%—profited handsomely as a result while Chinese Indonesians bore the collective burden of institutionalized discrimination and systemic vulnerabilities. This was a structure that reproduced itself, feeding off one anti-Chinese stereotype after another, making it convenient for the government to blame Chinese Indonesians collectively for the country's rapid descent into economic crisis during the late 1990s. Many years after the tragic events of May 1998, Anthony Salim — Liem's son and successor —would, with more than a hint of resignation, "tacitly acknowledge there was no way to dislodge the view that Chinese became a bigger target during the New Order —clearly targeted in the May 1998 riots —because a small group of them became very rich. As Anthony Salim put it, "We cannot change history." (Richard Borsuk and Nancy Chng, Liem Sioe Liong's Salim Group: the Business Pillar of Suharto's Indonesia, ISEAS Publishing, 2014, chap.22.)  

Purdey's research moves us away from Jakarta to demonstrate how Chinese Indonesians in hitherto neglected areas such as, in the cities of Medan in Sumatra and Solo in Central Java, were impacted by the violence. She connects the extraordinary violence in these places to the common systemic vulnerabilities afflicting Chinese Indonesians, arguing that the remarkable violence was enabled by yet draw attention away from normalized forms of violence Chinese Indonesians were experiencing on a daily basis. 

The case of Medan was especially striking because violence erupted in this city on 4th May 1998, about 1.5 weeks earlier than in Jakarta and lasted for much longer — five days without active intervention from the security forces. The violent episodes in Medan followed a similar pattern and displayed remarkable similarities with what happened subsequently in Jakarta and elsewhere, prompting the government's Joint-Team to describe the pattern of violence in Medan as a "template." Medan has its local specificities. It has a higher concentration of Chinese Indonesians (about 12% of the local population) who make up the third largest ethnic group in the city. Medan Chinese are also widely perceived to be "less assimilated." Thus, Purdey argues that the systemic vulnerabilities of Chinese Indonesians on a national scale and their entrapment within "cash-for-protection" practices are magnified in Medan. Medan Chinese are routinely subjected to demands for money from agents of government, local military, "youth groups" such as "Pemuda Pancasila," (Pancasila Youth) gang members and thugs who promise them "security" and "protection" in return.  Remember the famous documentary "The Act of Killing"? In that documentary, the protagonist and his gangster friends were filmed going around the marketplace, half-teasing and half-threatening terrified Chinese Indonesian shop-owners as they demanded "protection money" from the shop-owners with ill-disguised ease and impunity. This was day-light robbery carried out with bizarre light-heartedness. That took place in Medan. In the days before 4th May, these groups escalated their threats and demands for money, creating what Purdey describes as "a mood of terror" in the city.  

The situation in Solo was noticeably different from Medan's. Violence in Solo erupted almost simultaneously with that in Jakarta and the scale of the destruction caused was as extensive, if not worse than in Jakarta. However, Purdey finds that local Solonese were extremely conscious of reports in the national, regional and global media portraying the violence in Jakarta as "anti-Chinese." As a consequence, numerous groups in Solo, including Solonese-Chinese themselves sought to portray the violence in Solo as anything but "anti-Chinese." Yet, some of the arguments they put forth —including the contention that the main grievance of those who looted and plundered was "economic" and thus not targeted at the Chinese specifically — were tacitly racialized. About 80% of the shop-owners in Solo are Chinese Indonesians, a fact not lost on most Solonese. Purdey argues that this denial of "anti-Chinese violence" in Solo leaves the structural reproduction of systemic vulnerabilities afflicting Chinese Indonesians, intact. 

And Silence Has a Female Face

The contrast between prolific images and narratives of exuberant male Chinese wealth and the silence hanging over Chinese female victims who were raped and tortured during the May 1998 violence could not be starker. Elaine Tay, who explored the issue of the May 1998 rapes, writes that racialized sexual abuse is often "a matter surrounded by silence or naturalized as an unfortunate side-effect of war or violent conflict." (Elaine Tay, "Discursive Violence on the Internet and the May 1998 Riots" in Charles Coppel ed., Violent Conflicts in Indonesia: Analysis, Representation, Resolution, 2006, p.63) These silences, however, communicate. Rape is often wielded as an instrument of male communication, for male protagonists in war and conflict situations to communicate to their enemies that they are not masculine enough to "protect" their women. Although the May 1998 violence was by no means a shooting war, rape as an instrument of communicating racialized masculine power amplified the terror felt by Chinese Indonesians, way beyond the systemic vulnerabilities they were already experiencing on a daily basis. During and after May 1998, families sent their daughters away, usually marrying them into families outside Indonesia, including Singapore and Taiwan.

The highly gendered messaging was sustained in acrimonious public debates on the May rapes which only succeeded in further silencing the victims. Confronted with the Volunteers' findings, the Habibie government veered between accepting and denying that the rapes took place.  High-ranking military officers maintained that the rapes did not take place because there was no evidence.  The police claimed they could not locate any "rape victims" and no reports had been filed. They threatened to charge groups that were reportedly "fabricating" the occurrence of the May rapes, with disastrous implications for Indonesia's good name.  Groups like the Indonesian Committee for World Muslim Solidarity (Komite Indonesia untuk Solidaritas Dunia Islam) or KISDI slammed media reports claiming the victims were raped because they were "Chinese" and "non-Muslims." These reports, KISDI charged, portrayed Muslims in a negative light and damaged Indonesia's national image abroad. 

In August 1998, an Asian Wall Street Journal report stated that photographs of "May 1998 victims" circulating on the internet were "fake" which provoked further speculation on whether the rapes took place.  Indonesia's national reputation was again threatened. Then Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, commented that the distribution of fake photographs on the internet was "engineered" to discredit the Indonesian government and that because of the negative publicity, some Indonesian embassies had received "email bombs," forcing them to shut down their internet networks. In the din generated over whether the May rapes were "real" on the pretext that Indonesia's national reputation was hurt, the demand for "real" victims to step forward only threatened to put, not perpetrators, but the victims on trial. In the end, the Joint Team confirmed there were indeed 66 cases of rapes but failed to connect these rapes to the general disturbances. It did not establish the Volunteers' argument that the May rapes were part of one systematic and orchestrated act of violence and it concluded that there was no evidence to demonstrate that religion had been involved. Silences, gaps and distractions surrounding the May 1998 violence are part and parcel of how brazen, dominant and masculine discursive practices communicate in Indonesia. These discursive practices continue to inhibit genuine efforts in commemorating the May 1998 violence collectively and in meaningful ways. 

In March 2018, I was back home in Singapore and managed to attend a talk by two young Singaporean artists. That session ended with a Malay pantun, a four-line Malay poem. It was a simple poem that spoke volumes about the contrast between the tangible world and invisible wounds. As I was writing this article, the poem stayed with me. I hope those who are silenced by the loud controversies surrounding the violence of May 1998 can find some comfort in the poem's unpretentious simplicity: 

Buah berangan masaknya merah,

(The chestnut turns red as it ripens)

Kelekati dalam perahu,

(Winged ants inside a boat)

Luka di tangan nampak berdarah,

(The wound on my hand can be seen bleeding)

Luka di hati siapa yang tahu,

(The wound in my heart nobody knows)

Pantun by anonymous writer; translation by Alfian Sa'at

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20年前,印尼發生了對社會帶來嚴重傷害的98「排華」事件。

光是首都雅加達,就有幾千多家華人工廠、店鋪、房屋遭燒毀,華裔婦女遭強暴的悲慘情狀更震驚國際。然而,在封閉的政治脈絡下,這個事件被歷史掩蓋,成為印尼人心中「大家都知道,卻沒人討論」的痛。

這一次,獨立評論特別邀請與此領域相關的作者群,從歷史分析、實地訪談與親身經驗中,拼湊出當時的故事:爪哇人真的痛恨華人嗎?族群與宗教間的糾葛是如何形成?身為當事人,他們又看見什麼?

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