Proud Chinese Heritage | Living Here

Dear Mom and Dad,

Greetings from Beijing!

Andrian and I are doing well in Beijing. The weather is getting colder as autumn arrives. October 1 was the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

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I serve as tour guide for my Indonesian friends at the Great Wall.

China’s National Day parade stunned me. Were you able to see live coverage of the parade in Indonesia? Our school’s teacher and student representatives participated in the mass pageantry. On October 1, I woke up at 7 a.m. and watched the live coverage of the entire parade because it was so exciting. Not only was I proud of our teachers and students’ opportunity to participate in the parade, but also delighted by China’s development.

The parade featured many innovative firsts. But I was most impressed by the orderly phalanxes and disposition of the marchers. When Chinese President Xi Jinping waved to them, they shouted “serve the people” with thunderous voices. The formation of female militia, dressed in red with their heads held high, was perhaps the most eye-catching group. Success of a military parade requires each solider to perform perfectly.

Lately, we have watched the spectacular scenes of China’s previous parades either on the internet or Douyin, a Chinese short video app known as TikTok outside of China. Now, we all can sing the Chinese national anthem “March of the Volunteers,” and many of my Chinese friends can now sing the national anthem of Indonesia. On China’s National Day holiday, my Chinese friends were in high spirits. We wished them the best and expressed hope for China’s prosperous future and improved lives for the Chinese people.

On October 2, we went to a movie theater to watch a new release: My People, My Country, a film depicting many historical moments since the founding of the PRC in October 1949. It combines seven short stories by seven different directors, including the Chinese women’s volleyball team winning Olympic gold at the 1984 Los Angles Olympics and the return capsule of the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft landing in the target area in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in 2016. But ordinary people have also witnessed the changes of the times. The film tells a touching story of the intertwined relationship between ordinary people and their country.

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Me with hosts of the awards ceremony of a
dubbing contest organized by the Confucius
Institute in 2018.

As we have been living in China, we have joined locals to celebrate Chinese festivals, watched hit patriotic films and eaten delicious Chinese food, which helped us become deeply integrated into Chinese life.

Whenever the word “China” is mentioned, I remember why I wanted to learn Chinese. My grandfather was a Chinese immigrant to Indonesia who never forgot his native country. He has maintained his Chinese lifestyle in many ways. For example, he uses chopsticks, watches news about China and still longs to climb the Great Wall. So when I was a kid, I became determined to learn Chinese well and grasp as much Chinese cultural knowledge as possible.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to study in China. Being awarded a scholarship to study abroad was the proudest moment of my life. In September 2014, the College of Chinese Language and Culture at Jinan University in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, warmly welcomed us foreign freshmen. However, when I arrived, my Chinese was not very good. I could hardly understand any of the lessons. It was very difficult for me to communicate with anyone inside and outside of school. After about three months of hard work to improve my command of the Chinese language, I could understand what people were saying and express myself without any obstacles.

Once, the school organized a Chinese speech contest. I signed up with hopes of improving my Chinese. Upon hearing about my impending participation, my classmates and teacher became excited and expressed hope that I would do well to show how good our class was. Every time I attended that class, the teacher would always ask me to come to the front to practice delivering a speech, after which my classmates would actively offer feedback.

After countless rounds of practice, I delivered the prepared speech fluently and confidently and received good scores, making my teacher and classmates proud. I have also actively participated in various activities inside and outside the school. In this pleasant learning and living environment, my knowledge of Chinese culture has been constantly expanding and enriching.

I still remember returning to Indonesia during my first winter vacation as an undergraduate when Andrian had just graduated from high school. I told him about the things I saw and heard in China and described the charm of Chinese civilization to him, which inspired Andrian to follow me to China for college. He made his own dream come true by becoming an undergraduate student at Huaqiao University (Xiamen Campus).

I want to share an embarrassing story about him. When Andrian first arrived, he couldn’t understand a word of Chinese. One day when he bought stir-fried rice at school, he pronounced “moderately spicy” as “heavily spicy.” The next day he had severe abdominal pains that made him even more dedicated to improving his Chinese.

Now, I have fulfilled my childhood dream of climbing the Great Wall. Andrian loves to travel as much as me, so we have visited Changsha, capital of Hunan Province, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan Province, Fenghuang (Phoenix) Ancient Town on the western edge of Hunan and West Lake, the most famous icon of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province.

We both like crab soup dumplings, a specialty in Shanghai, and we eat a ton of them every time we have them. We visited the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, where I saw tragic scenes of Chinese people being murdered by Japanese invaders, making me cherish the country’s current hard-won peace and stability even more. As a Chinese Indonesian, I have witnessed the pain China once suffered and the stable development China has been embracing now, and I would like to contribute to the common development of China and Indonesia by saying “I love you, China.”

When my four years of undergraduate study were about to end, I felt reluctant to part with China. I decided to apply for a master’s scholarship to keep studying in China longer. Fortunately, I was accepted to a postgraduate program at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) in September 2018, where I delivered a speech on behalf of foreign students at the opening ceremony. At BLCU, there are students from more than 100 countries, which makes for a strong learning atmosphere and colorful life. I was so happy when Andrian enrolled at BLCU in 2019 so we could finally study at the same university.

Time flies. Only a week is left to complete my thesis proposal, but I am still not ready. Obviously I need to focus on study.

After graduation, Andrian and I both look forward to taking what we have learned in China back to Indonesia and becoming either a teacher or some sort of messenger committed to promoting exchange between the two countries. A third option is that we could run a Chinese-learning class together and manage the business ourselves. Through the class, we can share our experiences learning Chinese with others. What do you think?

Looking forward to seeing you both in China. I will show you around.

Love,

Franky

Translated and compiled by Tian Yuan
Layout by Tian Yuerong

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