What is the most basic of all the problems between the Chinese community and other ethnic groups in this country, including in Medan? The answer is social inequality.
History records how more than a century ago the Dutch separated the indigenous group from the Chinese immigrants and divided them into classes for the benefit of the colonizers themselves. If we trace the clashes that occurred between the Chinese and other ethnicities in the early history of togetherness between the two sides in the archipelago, we will see that there is a common thread called social jealousy in it.
This is the common thread behind all the racial riots both before and during the New Order government as well as acts of discrimination against ethnic Chinese.
Look at the streets in major cities in the country, including Medan. The ethnic Chinese people milling about in four-wheeled vehicles and not a few of them driving luxury cars, while the majority of other ethnicities on motorbikes or even ride angkot or city transportation. At the time, owning a car was a relatively easy problem for some Medan Chinese, including the younger generation--though in fact there were still many Chinese people who did not own a car, not even a motorbike--the majority of other ethnicities had to struggle to pay for a two-wheeled vehicle. .
Some of the ethnic Chinese live in exclusive houses in comfortable complexes, while many residents of other ethnicities live in very simple houses which make them dizzy during the rainy season. In the fine restaurants in the heart of the city, almost every day many ethnic Chinese people are crammed into enjoying good food, but those outside them have to work hard for a mouthful of rice.
In Medan, when the academic abilities of young ethnic Chinese overseas graduates are combined with the talent for trade and lobbying plus the capital inherited from their parents, what is left for other communities that are not ready?
Visually, social inequality will become more apparent because the pace of development cannot be prevented. The construction of luxury houses in various expensive areas in Medan City will continue to occur, and most of the people who will inhabit them will certainly be ethnic Chinese citizens. On the one hand, there will be more and more exclusive residential complexes and will even spread to the outskirts of the city, on the other hand, there will also be more and more pockets of poverty and some are in danger of being evicted for various reasons.
The problem is further complicated because the social jealousy that is harbored by other ethnicities is not pure jealousy, but is based on suspicion and prejudice against the Medan Chinese. The assessment of ethnic Chinese tends to be subjective by generalizing that all ethnic Chinese traders have obtained their wealth in an incorrect way.
Photo by Halim Kosasi on Unsplash
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