Ong Hok Ham


Ong Hok Ham

Ong Hok Ham (1 May 1933 – 30 August 2007)[1][2][3] was an eminent Chinese Indonesian historian considered one of the leading experts on Indonesian history during the 19th century Dutch colonial rule. His particular area of knowledge centered on events in Java during the period, and he authored a number of works dealing with the subject.

A native of Surabaya, East Java which, until the founding of Indonesia in 1945, was a part of Dutch East Indies, Ong Hok Ham lived in the city of his birth for the first twenty-five years of his life. In 1958, he moved to Bandung, West Java, where he received his schooling and began his writing career. Seventeen years later, in 1975, he received his Ph.D in History from Yale University with the dissertation The Residency of Madiun: Priyayi and Peasant in the Nineteenth Century.

He was a regular contributor to the Indonesian magazine Tempo and a collection of his pieces for the magazine written between 1976 and 2001, Wahyu yang Hilang, Negeri yang Guncang (A Lost Mandate, an Agitated Country) was published in 2002.

He wrote a series of other books, mostly a collection of essays and articles, including Runtuhnya Hindia Belanda (The Fall of the Netherlands Indies), Negara dan Rakyat (The State and the People), and Dari Soal Priayi sampai Nyi Blorong—Refleksi Historis Nusantara (From Priayi to Nyi Blorong—Historical Reflections on the Indonesian Archipelago).

An English-language collection of his writings, The Thugs, the Curtain Thief, and the Sugar Lord, received publication in 2003. The book chronicled power, politics and culture in colonial Java.

In 1989, he retired from his duties as professor of history at the University of Indonesia. His final responsibility was as chairman of the Lembaga Studi Sejarah Indonesia (the Indonesian Institute of Historical Studies).

Ong Hok Ham, who was a Buddhist, suffered a stroke in 2001 and died six years later at Dharmais Cancer Hospital in West Jakarta at the age of 74.

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