Chinese overseas enjoy festivities and remember home ties

By KARL WILSON in Sydney and LEONARDUS JEGHO in Jakarta | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-09-30 07:39
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Children wearing hanfu, traditional Chinese clothing, take part in an event to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sept 24. CHONG VOON CHUNG/XINHUA

One of Sydney's main tourist precincts, Darling Harbour, has been festooned with lanterns, food stalls, cultural performances and dance events for two weeks starting Sept 15.

Further afield

Across the sea in Indonesia, Sept 29 is a special day for Adolf Auradanu.

He and other senior staff members at his central Jakarta office received the popular kue bulan, or mooncakes, the typically tasty treats that are sold or given out at Mid-Autumn Festival in the Chinese calendar.

"The wife of my boss makes kue bulan, and he gives them out to us. They are very delicious and we got them again this month as always," said Auradanu, a native Indonesian and manager at an electrical appliance manufacturing company in Jakarta.

His boss is an ethnic Chinese, whose wife is a Chinese Indonesian.

In Indonesia, making, selling and giving out kue bulan mooncakes are the festival's hallmark. Kue bulan is the Indonesian name for tiong chiu pia, which originates from the Hokkien dialect in the eastern Chinese province of Fujian.

The sweet dessert is the mosttalked-about item during Mid-Autumn Festival days in Indonesia, especially among the Chinese community, but most of the younger people have little knowledge of and pay little attention to the cultural and moral messages behind the items.

Other than Jakarta, mooncakes are also found in cities and large towns across the archipelago, especially on major islands such as Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan, where ethnic Chinese have a relatively stronger presence.

Hotels and bakeries in those areas offer different kinds of mooncakes, specially prepared for Mid-Autumn Festival, at relatively high prices. Some hotels have even reportedly imported mooncakes.

At the Mandarin Oriental Jakarta, special chefs have been preparing mooncakes since early last month. A staff member said customers can eat them in the hotel or order them for home delivery.

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