August 22, 2019

The child of all nations

I recalled the phrase Anak semua bangsa” when I heard Mita speak Bahasa Indonesia. Mita is the adopted Indonesian name of a young Vietnamese person I met in a small alley in Saigon. I remarked to her that I rarely hear a Vietnamese speak such fluent Indonesian. Mita replied that her curiosity about cultures and religions led her to explore Indonesia. She lived in Surabaya for a year and fell in love with Indonesia.

Most South-East Asian teenagers are keen on Korean or Japanese popular culture. But often in Vietnam, I meet young people who are interested in Indonesia, India or Myanmar. They are the true Anak semua bangsa” - the child of all nations (the phrase is the title of a novel that is set in Surabaya). I miss another Saigon friend who loves Indonesia. We sometimes used to go to the Indonesian/Malaysian enclave to eat Mee Goreng. And I miss Indonesia. What time is the next flight to Jakarta?

Mita, a child of all nations

Vietnam Indonesia People

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