Discrimination History of Surabaya in the Past

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UNAIR NEWS – In the beginning of the 20th century, Surabaya can be regarded as a developed city. It can be seen from an article of a traveler from Makassar published in Bintang Toedjoe Newspaper in 1904. The article described the majestic of Surabaya from the traveler point of view.  It was stated by Dr. (Cand) Samidi, SS, MA., in the International Seminar “On Urban History”.

In the seminar held on Tuesday (5/4), Samidi elaborated his dissertation, “Symbols of Modernity and Lifestyle in Surabaya”. The doctoral candidate in History also said that Surabaya was an industrial city at that time, it was indicated by entertainments elements, food court, transportation, and communications. It showed that industrialization as a symbol of modernity of a city. He believed that the conditions caused discrimination as different lifestyles practiced by the elite and the lower classes were evident. Some of the factors that characterize the lifestyle of the elite is distinctive, glamor, and luxurious.

“Elite group definitely chose their own social environment, people belonging to the lower classes were prohibited to join them,” he said.

In a seminar held in Siti Parwati Auditorium FIB UNAIR, it was explained about the existence of Societet in colonial times. For him it is a proof of discrimination in the city of Surabaya.

” Societet was an organization whose members were the elite Europeans in Surabaya considered to distinguish themselves from the lower classes. Their life was just for fun, free from the burdens, because their focus was wealth, “added the lecturer of History UNAIR.

Besides Societet, there was also found Schouwburg , an art gallery or house of comedy used to stage the European arts in Surabaya. The crowd was also dominated by the Europeans who belong to the elite, so there will be restrictions for non Europeans. Indeed, at the beginning of its formation there was resistance from the local community who had predicted that there would be discrimination. However, the organization was still formed.

“Although there were elements of rejection during the establishment of the organization, but the fact it was going on,” he said.

In the end of his explanation, Samidi revealed that discrimination will always be found. Although in disguised, but the boundaries that distinguish the elite and the lower middle class will always be there. (*)

Author: Dilan Salsabila
Editor: Nuri Hermawan

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