Three months ago, I exchanged e-mails with Priscilla K M regarding the fact that there is very little available in English that deals with the horrific circumstances of the Dutch-Indonesians on Java under the Japanese during WWII that I describe in “with nothing but our lives”. Priscilla is the founder of The Indo Project whose focus is to preserve the history and culture of the Dutch-Indonesians in the English Language.
When I mentioned to Priscilla that I was not a Dutch-Indonesian but was a totok (person born in the Dutch East Indies but with a pure Dutch father and a Dutch mother), she wrote me this lovely comment:
“Indo, Dutch-Indonesian, Totok, Dutch-Indo, etc…. it’s all semantics. What is important is that we, who have our roots and were born in the former Dutch East Indies, are a people who have similar remembrances of a land that is no longer there…a sort of melancholy that binds us. Just as important is that we keep that history alive by writing about it. I look forward to your book, Leo.”
Yes, indeed. Thank you, Priscilla.