• David Reeve
Cover of To Remain Myself: The History of Onghokham

This is a particularly vivid biography of a remarkable individual, an Indonesian historian and public intellectual who was both a public figure and a multi-minority member, being Dutch educated, Indonesian Chinese, gay, alcoholic, irreligious and hedonist, in a conservative society. This is the first Indonesian biography where the interior life is closely recorded: the fears, doubts, confusions; the issues of sexuality, the mental breakdown, the jailing, the later success, joys and celebrity, as a historian, public intellectual and famous cook. In its early chapters this biography reveals much about the ‘sugar king’ Chinese aristocracy of Indonesia, from the inside. In its later chapters this book shows much about the development of Indonesians writing their own post-colonial history, and the intellectual influences on this writing. Onghokhams writing show original insights into many varied Indonesian topics, including colonial history and its effects on modern politics and society; the Indonesian Chinese; ‘outsiders’ -- marginal people; the jago or brigand as people’s champion; sexuality in Indonesia past and present; food; the Oedipus complex; painting; traditional Javanese beliefs from the palace to the peasant. --E-book publisher description.


Reeve, David. To Remain Myself: The History of Onghokham. Singapore: Asian Studies Association of Australia in association with NUS Press, 2022.