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Sidharta Myra. Asmaraman Sukowati Kho Ping Hoo b. In: Archipel , volume 48, Actually, he wrote that very first story out of necessity.
He had established a new magazine for short stories with some friends and had approached a translator of this genre of stories to become a regular contributor. The latter, however, refused, saying that he was too busy.
Kho, who had already written a few short stories published in family magazines such as Star Weekly in Jakarta and Liberty in Surabaya then decided to try to do it himself.
This makes him one of the most prolific writers in Indonesia. His stories are read by people of all social levels, including generals, university professors, housewives, students, taxi and becak drivers 2. They can be found in roadside lending libraries and bookstalls, but so far not in the bookshops.
It is only recently that Gramedia, one of the largest bookshops in Indonesia, has stocked this genre, including Kho' s books. His stories have also been adapted into movies and thus known and enjoyed by many people.
For Kho, it is something very flattering. His goal is not to write for a certain class, but he wants to provide entertainment for all. He also hopes that they would be able to learn something from his writing. This paper 3 also describes the writer as a person, the genre of stories he writes, and how it has become popular in Indonesia. Finally, I will describe a few of his works to give an impression of how he sees his task as a writer in this multi-racial society.
The person. His paternal grandmother and maternal great-grandmother were Javanese. Besides the colloquial and written forms of Javanese, his first language, he has also mastered its modern and ancient scripts. Moreover, he has imbibed much of the local culture: the many stories of the wayang, the indigenous shadow-puppet plays. Although a practising Christian, he is an adept of Javanese mysticism. Recently, however, he joined the Subud movement, a mystic movement involving diverse religions. His parents had 15 children and because his father, a sugar-broker, devoted most of his time to meditation, they had a materially poor existence.
From his father he learned martial arts and through his father's books, which he read secretly, because he was too poor to buy books himself, he became interested in the mysteries of the supernatural, such as mysticism, hypnotism and telepathy.
Young Kho was sent to a Dutch medium school run by the missionaries. It was in this school that he learned Malay and Dutch. Because he was too poor to pay school fees, he was allowed to attend classes, but he did not receive his school diploma at the end of his education. He continued secondary school under the same conditions. He was then already married and had two children. He not only picked up the local Sundanese dialect, but also some Hakka, the dialect spoken by some in that community, and, in addition, learned Mandarin.
He became more and more China-oriented, and when in the Dual Nationality Treaty 6 was signed, he opted for Chinese nationality. It was also at that time that he started to learn English, and also typing, a skill which served him well in writing his short stories, which he began to do frequently.
These short stories were published in the most popular magazines at the time. After passing the British Council English examinations, he was asked to teach in the language classes of the International English School. He found it difficult, however, to deal with his students, who were high school teachers and much older than himself.
In the riots of , which broke out in Sukabumi and Bandung, a city close to Tasikmalaya, and which were aimed at the Chinese and their property, Kho' s house was set on fire and his furniture, his new Vespa scooter and his children's bicycles were reduced to ashes. His printing machine, which he had acquired to print his stories, was also destroyed. Discouraged by the riots, he decided to move back to Solo. There he started anew, devoting himself full-time to writing and printing his stories, after they had been serialized.
Kho still continues to write at present after a career of 40 years, and his printing business has expanded from only one hand-set printing machine to three and, to keep up with the times, he has acquired a modern IBM printer. Asmaraman Sukowati Kho Ping Hoo However, he has kept his hand-set printer, which he uses to print the covers of his books, because the workers handling them have been working for him since he started the plant and he feels reluctant to lay them off.
Besides being involved in the printing business, Kho is also a publisher, publishing stories from other writers in the same genre. A full-time illustrator and a graphic designer help him with the lay-out, illustrations and design of his books and covers, as well as the designs of the labels for traditional medicines and syrup bottles printed at his firm. Helping him with his business are some of his children and children-in-law. They are in charge of the management, editing, and distribution of the books.
In this way he can devote himself full-time to writing, which he does mostly in the mountain-resort Tawamanggu on the slopes of Mount Lawu, close to Solo. At the end of every week, however, he is in Solo, supervising his business. However, due to transportation problems, the majority of these aliens were not able to leave Indonesia.
After the coup, he was aware that he would never be able to go to China and for the sake of his children's education, he applied for Indonesian citizenship.
He became an Indonesian citizen in the early seventies. According to Kho himself, his fame as a writer helped him get through the bureaucratic formalities more easily. He is probably one of the few writers in the country who benefits from writing and publishing, although he admits that he also profits from the side- businesses, such as the printing plant and the publishing firm. He admits that business is not as it was some 20 years ago, when each book had a total printing of 15, for the first edition, compared to 5, at present.
However, each book may reach as many as six to seven editions nowadays. This decline may be due to the easier access to books through lending libraries. In spite of this, he has been able to keep a staff on the payroll in his printery as well as in his publishing firm, and he has also been able to provide his children with appropriate education. He has helped other writers publish their stories, and, above all, he not only gives his fans pleasure in reading his stories, but also gives them information about history, culture and morals.
Thus he feels happy and wants nothing more than to be able to write for as long as he can, not only because of the financial benefits, but also because he has been able to help others. He raised his children — thirteen in all, from two different beds — in the spirit of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Unity in Diversity , which is the motto of the Indonesian government.
He speaks Sundanese to the older ones, who were raised in West Java, and Javanese to the younger, who were born later in Central Java. They are married to people of diverse ethnic groups, totok Chinese, peranakan Chinese, a native of Java, and one from West-Sumatra.
He stresses that they all married out of love and their own free choice and not because they had to serve as good examples for the sake of the process of assimilation. Writing comes naturally to him, and he usually works on four stories at the same time.
It amazes him to find that the stories do not get mixed-up, because he does not have an idea of what he is going to write about when he starts a story. However, he thinks he is able to do it because he concentrates fully on a story once he starts writing. He still uses a portable typewriter, because he finds the rhythm of the typewriter inspiring. He has no wish to use a computer, which, he says, makes him feel lonesome and isolated.
Besides writing books he also types letters in answer to his fan mail, which he handles personally. His fans not only write to him to comment on or criticize his works, they also ask him for help, either financially or with their personal problems. Cloak-and-dagger stories set in Indonesia. Cloak-and-dagger stories are among those Chinese stories which have continued to be very popular in the peranakan Chinese community.
Since the end of the 19th century many of these stories have been translated into the local dialects, as well as into Malay, which before independence, was the lingua franca in the entire archipelago. Starting with translations of religious books, such as the Yuli baochao quanshi wen Precious records to admonish the world , translators gradually turned to books for entertainment.
Cloak-and-dagger stories or cerita silat, as they are called in Indonesian, began to develop in China at the end of the Qing dynasty, when new trends in literature developed. These had their roots in earlier novels, but with a completely different spirit.
They praise heroic deeds and the fight against injustice, such as in Shuihu zhuan The Romance of the Water Margin , which was first translated into Malay in The overwhelming success of this story brought about a rapid development in translations from Chinese stories, and Claudine Salmon noted translations and adaptations of this genre during the years from to Written by the ethnic Chinese, these works were mostly translated into the colloquial Malay language commonly used by them in conversations and newspapers, as well as in literature, a language mixed with expressions from Hok- kien, Dutch and local Indonesian languages.
These stories are sometimes very long and to keep the prices low, they were published in small format book- form, each approximately pages in length.
These books were published periodically to enable the reader to buy them in installments and to give the translator the time to finish the next installment. Some of these stories may. The popularity of this genre can also be judged by its numerous translations into local Indonesian languages.
However, many of these translations have not been recorded as they were unoffieal translations and told orally by story-tellers. Many Javanese friends have told me that they used to visit someone's house in the evenings, where a person would read a translated Chinese story. The stories were handwritten in the Javanese script on wrapping paper.
In Ujung Pandang, the capital of South Sulawesi, we know of the existence of three translators into the local language. A collection of manuscripts still existed there in the early s at the residence of the late Liem Kheng Yong, who lent them out to the general public.
They were written in the local script by Liem himself from the years to Present-day Indonesians tend to call all the stories published in this format buku silat, and they may include historical, fantasy and ghost stories. This genre is still very popular and can be found serialized in many periodicals to boost sales; later the stories are published as books.
They may be written by native Indonesian writers, who adopt the same format, or they may be published in a thicker format, such as the story about Senopati, a Javanese hero, written by Arswendo Atmowiloto. He writes this genre full-time, although he also has a few novels and mystery stories to his credit. He wants his works, into which he weaves his teachings, to be read by all people, especially by the man in the street.
He knows that high ranking officials of all ethnic groups are among his readers, and he counts that fact as a good omen, although they are not his main target-group. His name has become a household word in many families that treasure their collections of the cloak-and-dagger books, as well as among those who enjoy his books borrowed from road-side lending libraries.
His works. According to Claudine Salmon, Kho started his writing career in with a short story entitled Sosiawan Besar The Great Philanthropist in an anthology of short stories named Pertemuan, published in Tasikmalaya.
Khoo Ping Hoo
Sidharta Myra. Asmaraman Sukowati Kho Ping Hoo b. In: Archipel , volume 48, Actually, he wrote that very first story out of necessity.
Si Bangau Merah
Pedang Kayu Harum 2. Petualang Asmara 3. Dewi Maut 4. Pendekar Lembah Naga 5. Pendekar Sadis 6.
He is well known in Indonesia for his martial art fiction set in the background of China or Java. During his 30 years career, at least stories has been published. Despite the fact that most of his stories were based on Chinese martial art genre, Kho Ping Hoo never actually learned Chinese. He had his inspirations from Hong Kong and Taiwan kung fu films. He made a significant contributions to Indonesian colloquial literature. The novels also introduce many Chinese terms in Hokkien dialects to Indonesian terms.
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