Time flies in Jogja, Bengkulu, Jakarta, Penang and Singapore

Time flies when you’re having fun. Another wonderful week in Indonesia and in Malaysia and Singapore. Back in Jogja I went for a jeep tour on the Merapi. After the last eruption many plants allready grew back. The river has vaporized, but now it’s possible to have fun in the mudpools by driving fast through them. After dinner with my good friend Efan and saying goodbye to everyone here, it was time to go to Bengkulu.



Bencoolen (Bengkulu)

My oldest ancestors who I could trace back are Henry Lewis who left Scotland (or England) around 1783 and his wife, an Indonesian woman from Bencoolen, now Bengkulu (I’m not sure about ner name). They had 4 children. All of them worked at Fort Marlborough until 1824 and were close to Sir Stamford Raffles. I visited the fort (which was a trading post back then) and also found my ancestor’s grave. The area is very beautiful, but the sea is very dangerous. I met many kind people here and everyone wanted to take a picture with me and were very i terested to hear about my ancestors. One of them happens to be the descendant of the guy who discovered the famous flower Rafflesia Arnoldi.



Jakarta

Last weekend I was in Jakarta for the Formula E. That was amazing! I had a very good seat to watch the race and there were good bands playing. And reporters of two media sites interviewed me about why I’ve come all this way to see the Formula E. The hotel where I stayed had a rooftop bbq party with a great view on the city. I’ve also visited the former office where my grandfather used to work. It’s a museum now. The kind people who work there were also interested to here that my grandfather used to work here and showed me a book with many pictures from that time.

Penang (Pulau Pinang)

Following the path of my ancestors, who went to Penang, I’ve visited this island in the north of Malaysia. Winson and his friends and mom picked me up for dinner. The next day they gave me a tour around George Town and the rest of the island and told me more about my ancestors here. One of my ancestors was resident councillor of Penang until 1860. When he retired, he remained in Penang. He stayed at the Suffolk house, this was also the meeting place where Raffles discussed the founding of Singapore. I’ve also visited his grave and the graves of his wife and daughter. And I went to Fort Cornwallis, where he was welcomed with a salute. When he was sick he spent some time in a little house on Penang hill, which I visited too and saw many monkeys up there and an amazing view. Penang is a very nice island, good food and well known for it’s street art. George Town, the capital, is on the UNESCO World heritage list.



Singapore

Four days ago I arrived Singapore. I stayed near the Raffles Landing Site at the Bencoolen hotel and went to see his statue. There were two otters playing at the boulevard. I went to the Gardens by the sea, very beautiful! And walked around the city. When I arrived at the Botanic gardens it suddenly started to rain heavily. So I went there again the next day, my last day here. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to see and do everything here, so I’ll have to come back. And I would like to see more of Indonesia too. Next time! The last day in Singapore was wonderful. The Botanic Garden was very beautiful and so many orchids.

In the evening it was time to leave and go back to the Netherlands (with transits in Jakarta and Doha). That was a bit of a nightmare. When the airplane landed in Jakarta, the engine wouldn’t switch off. Eventually they fixed it after an hour and we were allowed to leave the airplane. Then my baggage was missing. Luckily the airport crew found it just in time to go through immigrations. There, I had to buy a voa again and check in again. When I arrive at the check in counter I suddenly had to pay a lot extra to check in. When I ask him about this he keeps changing the reason and amount. It doesn’t feel right and up until now everyone was so kind and helpful, but what can I do? I can’t miss my flight, because I have to go to work on monday and boarding starts in 3 minutes. Bad end of this day, but when I wake up on the plane the view is amazing.

Finally, I arrived in my house after 28 hours from Singapore. Well “all is well that ends well”. Allthough I would have loved to stay in asia. I’m looking forward to see my friends and family again, especially my little nephew and niece and I’m going camping with them next weekend.

I’m going to miss all my friends in asia. Terima kasih for a wonderful time in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. See you next time, sampai jumpa! 😄

Second week in Yogyakarta and Salatiga

Allready another week has passed, so here’s an update.

The weekend in Yogyakarta was very relaxed at a good hotel and I went to a good Salon&Spa. Also I had dinner with my good friend Efan and I saw the amazing show of Ramayana Ballet Purawisata, who performed the epic Ramayana tale of Valmiki. Terima kasih banyak.

On monday Warin and Surotun from Salatiga Heritage drove to Jogja to pick me up and drive me to Salatiga. They gave me a 3-day tour around the city and surrounding area. Besides showing me where my grandparents used lived, worked and spent their spare time, they also told me more about them and the history of Salatiga.

My grandparents met eachother when they were children. They lived next to eachother, here, with the families. Next to their houses was the ‘soos’ where parties were helt and opposite their houses used to be a tennisfield. They played tennis everyday. Behind the houses was the swimmingpool, which is still there.

I didn’t know their fathers (my great-grandfathers) had been so important to this city in the 1920’s. They made it possible for the school for indos and Indonesians to be built as well as the watersupply from the spring in Senjoyo to Salatiga.

I was invited to the school to meet the headmaster, teachers and children. I helped them practice their English and joined a class about the history of Salatiga and the ancient art of lontar writing.

At the Salatiga Heritage museum was a rock with an ancient inscription and many more artifacts.

Outside was a jackfruittree and many bananatrees. One of them had a flower. They took it and I was invited to the family, where it was prepared in a special dish for lunch. I also watched the traditional preperation of a special candy they make.

And I’ve visited my friend Anti in Semarang and had a delicious lunch at her restaurant. She gave birth to her baby girl a few days ago. She’s sooo cute. Terimah kasih untuk soto ayam enak!

It was a wonderful tour, lots of fun and delicious food. Terima kasih banyak untuk semua dan sampai jumpa.

Tomorrow I’m going to Bengkulu and after that to Jakarta, Penang and Singapore.

Beautiful Nusa Penida

Waking up with this view is wonderful. I’m in paradise. Finally back in Indonesia 😀

I’ve been in Jakarta for a few days (it was fun hanging out with the kind people I met there). Now I’m in Nusa Penida. Staying in a little house with an ocean view. I’ll be back in Jakarta in June to watch the Formula E next to Ancol beach. Yesterday I’ve made a tour around the island, it’s so beautiful here and I even saw some turtles 😀 Today I was snorkeling with mantra rays 😀

Continuing my journey

Welcome to my blog about my journey to my roots in Indonesia and Malaysia. I started this journey because I wanted to know where I come from. My whole life I’ve listened to all the stories of my grandmother, mother, uncle and aunts. I’ve seen many pictures and off course I know the delicious food from family recipes and family celebrations.

Finally in 2018 I was able to go to Indonesia for the first time and see what it’s like there myself. It felt like coming home. Eventhough it’s a whole different world, the food, the smells, the habits and many more things are very familiar to me. I’ve made many friends and seen wonderful places in Indonesia during my travels. And there is so much more to see. So I went back twice in 2019.

During the lockdown I was able to find out more about my ancestors in the online archives of the East India Company in the British Librairy and Singapore National Archive. I had seen a small portrait of an ancestor and there were some stories about a guy who went from Scotland to Indonesia a few hundred years ago and married an Indonesian girl. I was able to find out who they were and where they (and the next generations) lived.

Now I’m finally back and continue my story.