Memoirs of an Indo Woman
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Twentieth-Century Life in the East Indies and Abroad
Written by Marguerite Schenkhuizen, Translated by Lizelot Stout van Balgooy
A Dutch heritage title
This book provides an overview of practically the whole of the twentieth-century as experienced by persons of mixed Dutch and Indonesian ancestry who called the former Dutch East Indies home. The author provides vignettes of Dutch colonial and Indonesian life, both rural and urban, as seen by her first as a girl, then as a wife forcibly separated from her husband during the Japanese occupation, next stranded in the Netherlands after World War II while on holidays (when they could not return to Indonesia) and finally as an immigrant to the United States. This self-portrait offers glimpses of the life of “Indos” from inside their society, glimpses that are valuable for their descendants as well as for outsiders. Written with humor and a positive outlook, the author’s story sets aside the myth that Indos were denied access to the upper layers of Dutch colonial society or were otherwise disadvantaged. Instead, her life’s story provides an authentic view of a very vital Indo culture and experience that has largely been unavailable to the general reader in the English language.
“This book is most valuable for its minutely detailed record of the everyday life of the Indos of Java in the heyday of the Dutch East Indies. Ms. Schenkhuizen was a keen observer, with what seems a near-photographic memory for scenes and situations…. The book provides plenty of raw material for the study of culture contact and human tensions. Anyone interested in ethnic relations in a colonial hierarchy should read this book.” - E. N. Anderson — Anthropology and Humanism.
Paperback, 284 pages, illustrated, glossary of foreign, topographical and biological terms (Dutch, Dutch colonial and the local Indonesian expressions).
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