What Singkawang in Kalimantan is famous for, friendly people and wife selling.
The fair town of Singkawang in western Borneo, 140 odd km's from Pontianak, is mainly known for two things. The first, as a classic Wikipedia article wiki discusses below, is the bloody 1999 pogrom by long-standing residents against recent Madurese immigrants:
.... the people of Singkawang are extremely friendly, and when the Madurese arrived with no belongings and nowhere to live, they were given permission to stay in any spare place like people's front yard. As timed passed, the Madurese got accustomed to the local hospitality, offering nothing in return but rude comments. Soon they started to treat the small pieces of land they were lent as their own, in addition to getting into robbery, pity crimes and extorsion. As one local policeman said: "They started to behave like mobsters." Soon, they were driven out of the city .....
The same authoritative source says that Singkawang is known as "City of Thousand Temples", because about half of its population is Chinese (Hakka it seems), and this brings us to the second reason, and more proof of the "extreme friendliness" of the people there, the fairly common practice of bride selling to the highest bidder.
Maya Satrini, an activist in the town, says recent government efforts to reduce the incidence of bride selling or contract marriages among the ethnic Chinese section of the "Hong Kong of Indonesia" have not met with much success:
In 2007 there were over 100 cases, not much different from the previous year.
However she suggests that the 100+ figure is a considerable understatement, because those cases that get reported generally involve the girl being dumped, or having some other reason to complain about the outcome of the "marriage", - because she was put to work as a prostitute, abused, or was simply very disappointed with life in the new country.
How to Get a Wife in Singkawang
Most of the men who come to Singkawang looking for young women to marry are from Taiwan, China, Malaysia, or Singapore. These men arrive, get in touch with a broker, the broker then approaches a family with a suitably aged girl and generally offers the parents about five million rupiah (a bit over $500) for her.
The overseas men of course pay the broker much more than this figure, with one 2006 Singapore source suggesting the fee is around 30 million rupiah (about $3,000). Often a time period is stipulated in the contract as well, like two or five years, or sometimes very short periods, and often there is in fact no legal marriage. newpaper.asia1.com.sg
Singkawang has a lot to offer.
What the "Amoy Singkawang", or the girls involved think about all of this is something of a mystery.
Maya Satrini says the men who contract to buy wives in Singkawang tend to come from middle to lower class backgrounds, or are quite old, and are generally not the most eligible of bachelors, if they're bachelors at all.
Find Indonesian Chinese brides, possibly from Singkawang, at Meet at IndonesiaMatters!