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Traveller's Tales


Tong Tong

While the fact that Indonesia has been colonized under the Dutch for centuries, however the emotional relationship between the Indonesian and the Dutch is not just unique, but also as  strong as ever. The taste of Indonesia in The Netherlands is just about in every corner, especially in urban towns, be it restaurant or shop selling all sorts of Indonesian delicacies and needful things.
Many Indonesia cultural events are held in The Netherlands, such as: film festivals, cultural exhibitions, bazaars,   concert of Indonesian music etc. One kind of mixed cultural events is called “Pasar Malam” (literally means Night Market) which are held in many big towns and one of the famous is called “Tong Tong”. Every year Tong Tong is held and located in Malieveld area in Den Haag, about 5 minutes walk from Den Haag Central Station.
Tong Tong or Pasar Malam is kind of bazaar, a mixed of both cultural as well as business events. Many Indonesian cultural shows are performed and just about any Indonesian delicacies, fruits as well as handicrafts are sold.
A shop specializing in selling “Sambal” (chilly based ingredients for foods) was also found in the Tong Tong, something I could not even see such a specialized shop in Jakarta.
Besides all kind of both, cultural and bazaar, Tong Tong is a place of yearly gathering of those old-timers, both the Indos as well as the Dutch, who happened to live in the Indonesian archipelago, during the good old colonial days, many years ago.
The Tong Tong is also a long awaited event for those who already spend their time in the house for elderly people ….
One of the main attraction in Tong Tong is the Cultural Shows, performing Indonesian traditional dancing and songs and as always, the event is not complete without the performance by the most famous singer of the Good old days, such Wieteke van Dort (or more known by the name “Tante Lien”, literally means Aunty Tien) and Ruddy van Dalen.
However, when visited I missed the Tante Lien Shows, only watching Ruddy van Dalen shows. During Rudy’s show, an elderly Indo (a mixed Indonesian and Dutch) who stand next to me,
whispered to me, saying: “You know, he could not even remember the name of his grand-child, but could still sing very good …….”
Durian somehow very much attached to Indonesia and always presence in the Tong Tong, even they were imported from Thailand….
Besides Indonesian CDs and Karaoke DVDs ……
and Indonesian films stared by the Dutch film star …..
The Guling, a long pillow or, for many version of reasons, more popularly known as “the
Dutch wife” also becoming one of the most search items amongst the Indos.
And a Becak was also in display ……
There are apparently people who doesn’t like to depart with the land where they were born and a statement in a cap “born in Maluku” seemed serves the purpose …….
I happened to visit Tong Tong 5 years ago and in my visit this time, I noted that there were a great deal many of elderly people sit in wheel-chairs and it seems that in the years to come, many of them may not be around …..
Well, after a tiring day in Tong Tong, a visiting gentleman from other city taking the opportunity of a little nap outside, the busy Tong Tong …….
See you in the next article and bye for now …….

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