Zhuang Wubin’s “Chinese Muslims in Indonesia” — the History & Today’s Lives


Born in Singapore in 1978, Zhuang Wubin is a photographer focusing on the Chinese communities in South East Asia. His third photographic book, Chinese Muslims in Indonesia, has been published by Select Books. With the publication supported by Lee Foundation, “This book attempts to counter the erasure by focusing on the faces and places associated with this small yet important community in Indonesia,” Wubin wrote on his blog.

He also wrote that from 2007 to 2009 he had made numerous visits to Bangka, Palembang, Java and Madura, in an attempt to understand the histories of the Chinese Muslims in Indonesia and the lives that they have led today.

“As early as the 15th century, Chinese Muslims were already living in Java and Palembang, even before these cosmopolitan port-cities were converted into Islam. In the subsequent centuries, they continued to make significant contributions to the political, cultural and social fabric of the Indonesian archipelago. But the colonial policies of the Dutch government, perpetuated subsequently by Suharto, had obscured their place in the histories of the Nusantara,” Wubin wrote.

Wubin added that the essays of Charles Coppel, Enin Supriyanto and Yenny Zannuba Wahid have added substantially to this photographic monograph.

photo by Han Tan

photo by Han Tan

You can get this book with a S$50 (Rp 368,000) in a hard cover, or S$35 (Rp 260,000) in a soft one, or download parts of the book here for free. To buy online, you can visit either the Select Books or Amazon.

As Wubin wrote on his e-mail to Exposure Magazine, the book launch would first take place in Indonesia, at the CCCL Surabaya (Jl. Darmokali 10) on January 18, 2011, at 6.30pm onwards, and at the Antara Photojournalism Gallery (Jl. Antara 59, Pasar Baru, Jakarta 10710) on January 27, 2011, at 7pm onwards.

The launch in Surabaya would be featuring a lion dance and Chinese music performances, and would coincide the opening of Wubin’s photo exhibition, the “Chinatowns of Southeast Asia.” The one in Jakarta would be featuring Myra Sidharta as its guest speaker. “There would be discounts during the launch,” Wubin wrote.

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