/ba.ca/ with New Naratif: Finding Home Event Recap

Welcome to Community Corner, a space for our members to catch up on events that they have missed, read team recommendations, and write to us!

Last year, New Naratif joined forces with Better Engagement Between East and Southeast Asia (BEBESEA) and invited members of communities in or from Southeast and East Asia to pitch their ideas for original creative works telling stories of migration across these regions. After reviewing close to 50 applications, we selected 7 compelling stories and developed them into multimedia formats. 

To launch these incredible stories, we organised a special session of /ba.ca/ with New Naratif back in May. We brought together the story fellows, members of the migrant community, and our larger community to explore the diverse experiences of migrants in Southeast Asia. The story fellows shared their insights and personal encounters related to the intricate issues surrounding migration within this region.

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Lost Homeland: Indonesia’s Exile Story

Kadir Soelardjo, a 29-year-old medical student from Medan, North Sumatra, had been a guest at an event commemorating 16th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Tiananmen, Beijing, when he received the news: there’d been an attempted coup back home.

In the early hours of 1 October 1965, six army generals in Jakarta, including Army Commander Lieutenant-General Ahmad Yani, had been abducted and assassinated by dissident members of the Indonesian Army who referred to themselves as the 30 September Movement. It was a fairly short-lived movement; Army Strategic Reserve Commander Major-General Suharto crushed the attempted coup that evening. The plot was blamed on the pro-Beijing PKI, triggering a large-scale anti-communist purge. Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president, was politically weakened and forced to cede power to Suharto, who was formally appointed president in 1968.

A member of the Communist Party–affiliated CGMI (Concentration of the Indonesian Students Movement), Kadir became one of hundreds of Indonesians in Eastern Europe and China—mostly students, scholars and civil servants—who were exiled for their refusal to support Suharto’s New Order.

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