Excerpt from “The Weaverbirds”

Fact was, there was my mother’s skin. She was fair, that’s true, but her skin had a tawny hue, very much like the color of the lansat fruit, held up as the model for the perfect “native” complexion. That was offered as one proof that Mama wasn’t pure-blooded Dutch. The color of real Dutch people is different, a splotchy red color like that of a piglet. So, actually, the comments of my friends from the garrison made me feel proud. Who wanted to be Dutch anyway when the life of a native army brat was a million times more interesting? Who wanted to be a Dutch boy, forced to dress so very neatly with a spanking white shirt and shoes and who had to remember hundreds of little points of politeness which made you end up feeling no better than a marmot in a cage?

-Y.B. Mangunwijaya, The Weaverbirds, 1981

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