Indonesian immigrants use Australia as a mirror by which they examine and perceive their homeland, but not all in the same way, nor is the experience of liminality in their host country the same. Rather, ethnicity seems to trump national origin when it comes to how Indonesians in Australia perceive their hostland and in their patriotic attachments to homeland. This difference in attitude to both homeland and hostland stems largely from the differing status of ethnically native Indonesians, who only temporarily reside in Australia, and ethnic-Chinese Indonesians, who are often permanent residents. Ethnicity and residency status are related in this case, partly because the long victimization of Chinese Indonesians in Indonesian history contributes to their reason for immigrating to Australia in the first place. This is the reality depicted, and whose consequences are dramatized, in the two works of fiction considered here: a collection of short stories titled Satu Pertanyaan dari Selatan: Kumpulan Cerpen Berlatar Australia (A Question from the South: A Collection of Short Stories Set in Australia), whose characters and authors are mostly Indonesian students studying in Australia; and Rani Pramesti’s digital graphic memoir The Chinese Whispers, which represents the experience of ethnic-Chinese Indonesians. Juxtaposed, the two texts dramatize the extent of the differences in these two groups.
Wulandari, Elisabeth Arti
"Stories from the South: Literary Depictions of Indonesians in Australia,"
Antipodes: Vol. 33:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/antipodes/vol33/iss2/8