Stories of Indonesian Migrants in Canada on Display

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No less than 150 audiences gathered at Lipont Art Center, Richmond, British Columbia (BC), on March 25th, 2017. They were on site to attend “Lansia Oral History Project-Kick Off Celebration” launched by Canada Indonesia Diaspora Society (CIDS). The event displayed videos, photographs and narratives that told stories of Indonesian migrants that arrived in Canada since 1950`s.

Ever since its first inauguration in May 2016, CIDS presented their long-time efforts for over a year to capture the documentation of Indonesian migrants in Canada, particularly in BC Province. CIDS was supported by several young volunteers that carried out their role as researchers, interviewers and translators had managed to verify people that have ties with Indonesia in term of blood ties and people who used to live in Indonesia before migrating to Canada. Dr. Peter Gout, one of the Indonesian migrant, was born in Bandung and lived in Indonesia before he migrated to Canada.

Dr. Peter Gout, in his testimony, claimed that he still remembered Bandung and felt that he is still Indonesian. In the other hand, Hon. John Yap, Legislative Assembly Member from Richmond Steveston, claimed to have an Indonesian blood ties from his mother who was Belitung origin. The visit had reconnected him with his relatives from his mother side and he declared his excitement when he had a chance to visit Belitung, Jakarta, Bandung and Bali in 2015. He also promised to return one day to Indonesia in the future.

The Oral History Project was applauded by various parties, including BC Premier, Christy Clark, that conveyed her written wishful remark at the event “British Columbia is fortunate to be such a diverse and welcoming place, where people of all nations and cultures can preserve their heritage proudly, all the while developing strong roots in their new communities. Drawing on the challenges and successes of their elders, the LANSIA Oral History Project is such a wonderful way to record the experiences of Indonesian immigrants to Canada”.

Consul General of Republic of Indonesia, on her remarks, conveyed appreciation on the initiative and efforts of CIDS team that have reminded Indonesian diaspora in BC to retain cultural ties with Indonesia and to actively contribute in any means to Indonesia. The outcome of Lansia Oral History Project will remain on display until May 2017 as part of Vancouver Asian Heritage Month.

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