Jacqui was born in Indonesia and moved across to Australia at a young age. Her mother is Indonesian, whilst her father is Australian, and as a family they make regular visits back to her place of birth to visit family members and attend weddings.
While sitting down in conversation with Jacqui to discuss Indonesia and her memories and understanding of the culture, the first thing she brought attention to was the substantial divide between the upper and middle classes. Her relatives belong to the wealthier population of Jakarta, and outside their gated houses she said there are often many of the individuals of lower socio economic standings squatting. For an income her family owns and operates a number of businesses, ranging from electronics to restaurants. Multiple family members operate many of these, where they all help one another out in the running of the businesses.
Another very family orientated event is a wedding. Jacqui recalls being a flower girl at one such wedding. Her family are practising Christians, and all wore traditional Batik to the ceremony. In day to day life it is only the older members of her family that wear Batik, the younger generation tend to opt towards more Westernised garments. At the ceremony however there was a mix of both Batik and Westernised dress throughout the attendees, she cites this as mainly due to the amount of Australian family members. Gifts of money were given as opposed to objects or flowers, and at the end of the ceremony everyone formed a line to shake hands with the bride and groom as the couple gave their thanks to all their guests. There was no alcohol served, and although it was just family at the exchanging of the vows, there were a few hundred people who went to the ceremony afterwards.
Although Jacqui belongs to a Christian family, she explains that it is expected to cover up at all times whilst in Indonesia. Her cut away denim shorts are never even considered as dress whilst within the country, and when she leaves the gates of her family home, must cover her legs and shoulders.
The accompanying image is a photograph supplied by Jacqui that her aunt sent her from Indonesia. It shows both Jacqui and her brother as children in 2002, dressed in traditional costume on one of their first visits back to Indonesia.
2015, pers. comm., 29 April
Photograph Credit: Jacqui’s personal collection