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Kwee Tek Hoay

Writer



A Chinese Malay-language writer of novels and drama, and a journalist. He was the author of several works, mostly inspired by real life incidents and political issues.1

Kwee began his writing career as a journalist. He served on the editorial board for magazines and newspapers, such as Ho Po Li Po (Bogor), and Sin Po (Batavia, Jakarta). As a journalist Kwee attained much success, but he achieved yet another mark as a novelist and playwright. His first story in drama form that received acclaim was Allah jang Palsoe (Counterfeit God). Published in 1919 the story condemns those people who are driven by money. Another of his works, Boenga Roos dari Tjikembang (The Rose of Tjikembang), was inspired by William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Kwee adapted the story to reflect Indonesian circumstances, but also used the book to open discussion on the issue of the nyai, a concubine often kept by young unmarried men. The novel has been adapted for a play and twice for a screenplay, in 1931 and 1975. A recent staging of the play drew many people to see it for the sake of nostalgia.

He wrote 62 books or serials (36 non-fiction and 26 fiction), 3 essays, and 11 stage plays. He also edited 5 magazines and translated 15 books or other writings. Aside from these works, listed below, he is known to have written numerous reports, obituaries, articles, and film reviews as a magazine editor. Many of Kwee’s religious books (as well as some novels) were reprinted by the Surakarta-based publisher Swastika in the early 1960s. Several further books were reprinted in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Kwee’s birth.[1] In the 2000s, ten of his works were reprinted as part of the Kesastraan Melayu Tionghoa dan Kebangsaan Indonesia series. Two of his works, the novel Boenga Roos dari Tjikembang (1927) and the study Atsal Moelanja Timboel Pergerakan Tionghoa di Indonesia (1936/37), have been translated into English.

Kwee’s works, Nonton Cap Go Meh, was honoured by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in November 2011, along with eight others with the Bintang Budaya Parama Dharma award for contributing to the cultural heritage of the country.

Recognizing the contributions of Kwee and other major writers to Indonesian literature, Gramedia released a series of ten volumes, titled “Kesastraan Melayu Tionghoa dan Kebangsaan Indonesia”, (Chinese-Malay Literature and Indonesian Nationhood).2


  1. Ampimargini 

  2. Wikipedia 

Book(s)



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