Sunday, March 18, 2012

Introduction To Chinese In Pontianak

West Kalimantan (Indonesian: Kalimantan Barat often abbreviated as Kalbar) is a province of Indonesia. It is one of four Indonesian provinces in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. Its capital city Pontianak is located right on the Equator. Pontianak City (“Khun Tien” in Chinese dialect)  was founded on October 23, 1771 along the mouth of the Kapuas and Landak rivers. Pontianak has an area of 147,307 km² with a recorded 2010 census population of 4,393,239. Pontianak is a multicultural city. It has a large population of Chinese alongside the native Malay and Dayak ethnic groups. The rest are Javanese, Bugis, Madurese, and etc. Following the civil war and widespread poverty in China at the end of 19th century, many Chinese migrated to Indonesia, which also targeted Pontianak due to its strategic location for trading, main occupation of the Chinese. You may find that Pontianakians of each ethnic tend to live homogenously. For example, areas along Jalan Gajahmada are overwhelmingly Chinese whereas Sungai Jawi in the suburb are settled mostly by ethnic Malays.
Chinese/ Tionghoa population in Pontianak is predominately Teochew, with a Hakka presence as well. Those are chinese sub-ethnics. Most people of ethnic Chinese at the southern bank of Kapuas river speak Teochew, and those at the northern bank speak mostly Hakka (called Khek by locals). Mandarin is spoken mostly by those aged 30 years old or above, but do not be surprised if they mix it with Hakka or Teochew dialect as it is not very commonly spoken in town.  The Teochew dialect originally come from many provinces on Guandong, RRC, such as: Jieyang (pronounce in Teochew: Kek-nyo), Chaozhou (pronounce in Techew: Teo-Chew) dan Shantou (pronounce in Teochew: Sua-thau). I think this the introduction about Chinese in Pontianak. Later on, I will share to you the information about Chinese culture in  more specific.

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