Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Yesterday I stopped by Metro Desserts for a casual snack and a late tea time. As one might. Club sandwich, French fries, Hong Kong Milk Tea: 公司三文治、炸薯條、港式奶茶 ('gong si saam man ji, jaa syu tiu, gong sik naai chaa'). And note that the term "club" is translated as 公司 ('gong si'; "public manage"), usually meaning a company, but also used in modern Indies Dutch (the ideolect common among Indies exiles and émigrés to the home country since the war) for a social group or class. A term from Chinese, borrowed into city Malay / Indonesian during the modern era, transported to the Netherlands after WWII, used in its traditional sense of firm or partnership, an association for commonly managed affairs.
Sometimes loosely structured or informal. Like a club.
People with something in common.

One could say that my kongsi in the United States is somewhat limited. I know almost no Indies Dutch of any kind here in SF, though when I still lived in the Netherlands my social ambit was filled with them. There are probably less than twenty or thirty or so Dutch speaking Cantonese speakers in San Francisco; I've met several others over the years. Many of them also know older style Indonesian or Petjok, one or two have Sranantongo.

It's a small unstructered cocktail of a kongsi at best.

We know of each other, we've chatted.

We are all quite different.


Like the club sandwich and fries, we're good with sambal. Which should not surprise you. It's what makes living among the howling savages possible, which is why you'll find a number of us in Southern California and Michigan, and many urban areas across the country.
As well as the SF Bay Area.

It's not an identity so much as a commonality. Sambal Dutch American.
Honestly. You should see what's in my refrigerator.
A sambal eater would feel at home.

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