A procession on the occasion of Chinese new year "Cap Go Meh"
Singkawang, (Indonesia), Feb 19: Although there is still no final data from local elections, it is certain that the city of Singkawan will have a record: for the first time in Indonesia’s history there will be a woman mayor and that too of a Chinese descent, Thjai Chui Mie.
During the regional elections held on February 15, Mie beat three other competitors. To her credit she has a respectable career in politics, having won a seat in the Regional Assembly and been President of the regional parliament for two parliamentary mandates. Mie follows Confucianism.
In general, the minority in Indonesia, citizens of Chinese origin count for around 1.2%. Singkawan is the second most important economic centre in West Kalimantan and as the provincial capital, Pontianak, has a Chinese majority of 70% of the residents, so much so it has been named the “Chinese City”.
Usually in Java and in big cities, the Chinese occupy important posts in the commercial sector or in other strategic segments of the economy. But Singkawan also finds Chinese working as cheap labourers, taxi drivers and farmers. The local language is the Hakka or Tiochew, even though everyone knows the national language, Bahasa Indonesia.
Singkawan is famous also because 15 days after the Chinese New Year it holds the festival of the “Cap Go Meh”.