Several years ago i was approached by one of the prominent publisher is Singapore to do a book project. The story or perhaps i should say the book was ready, but it was still in Indonesian and Dutch. The publisher wished to publish Pak Oei's story in English, hence they asked me to co-author the English version together with Pak Oei.
After I met Pak Oei personally and learned about his fascinating story, I said yes.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The book is an auto-biography of Oei Hong Kian, a prominent Indonesian dentist around President Soekarno's era.
Pak Oei was a fourth-generation of Javanese-Chinese Peranakan in Indonesia. He witnessed the changes of history in Indonesia, from Japanese Occupation, Indonesia's Independence, the President Soekarno's fall and when the communist tried to had a coup d'etat in September 1965. He was western (Dutch) educated and was once President Soekarno's personal dentist. He also served many prominent personalities such as Vice-President Adam Malik, US Ambassador Howard Jones, Gen. S Parman and many more. Pak Oei gives special insights of the political situations at that time because of his closeness to these people.
His book also tells story across generation, from the time of his great-grandfather to his children and grandchildren, where three different cultures - Chinese, Javanese-Indonesian and Dutch influence their way of living.
What is the most interesting things about Pak Oei story for me is his recounts of events during his childhood, living in Magelang, a small town in central Java, being Chinese but very Javanese at the same time. His detailed story about the Chinese customs his family was practicing is very captivating. Anyone who is interested in social - culture studies of Straits Chinese in Indonesia would love to add this book into their personal favourite collection.
WHERE TO BUY
"Oei Hong Kian - A Journey Through Three Cultures" can now be purchased at Kinokuniya Singapore and Indonesia. Online purchase can be made through Straits Times Press as the publisher, Select Bookshop or Amazon (starting from 15 Sept 2012)
Price: US$23.10 (SGD30.00-SGD32.00*)Format: Paper Back, 330 pages
Published: 2012/06, Singapore, 1st Edition
SB#: 053406 (120)