Student Meliani Xu, 21, decided to go to Shanghai to pursue her mother tongue and immerse herself in her lost heritage.
“My parents felt very strongly about Chinese culture,” she said, adding that she and her siblings “want to preserve our culture for our children as well.”
Xu said she was not alone.
“I met so many Indonesians over there [in China], so it’s definitely a growing trend,” she said.
Yap said that while he grew up understanding a Chinese dialect he is thankful for the public Lunar New Year celebrations, because it is the only time he feels “Chinese.”
Fifi Effendi said that non-Chinese have been so impressed by displays of Chinese culture that they now want to emulate it.
“They’re attracted to Chinese culture, they say we work hard. They want to know our culture and our language now,” she said.
“It makes me happy. We’re now part of Indonesia,” Effendi added.