About TFI Reunion

A TFI Reunion is a gathering of former students and alumni of the TH (Technische Hogeschool te Bandung) i, FT-UI (Fakultas Teknik – Universitas Indonesia), FIPIA (Fakultas Ilmu Pasti dan Ilmu Alam) and ITB (Institut Teknologie Bandung) to celebrate and relive the participants’ days when they shared the same alma mater. As you can see from the jumble of acronyms, it is a hodgepodge of Dutch and Indonesian, just like the languages that are spoken during these Reunions, in addition to a variety of Indonesian dialects, English, and a smattering of German. That is what makes TFI reunions as unique as its well-travelled participants with their multi-cultural and multi-lingual backgrounds, work experience, and post-graduate educations.

As mentioned in the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung of Saturday/Sunday May 22/23, 2004 ii, the common denominator for these reunions is not so much the shared origin of the participants, but “their common fate”. When Suharto rose to power in 1965, he immediately decreed laws that severely discriminated against the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. Many students and graduates belonging to this minority felt compelled to leave the country in search of a safe and secure future for themselves and their families. As graduates of science and technology studies, they managed to build overseas careers in many parts of the world and did not return to their homeland, except for the occasional family visit.

Today, most of these seniors are citizens of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. “We are becoming extinct,” Willy Tjen of Los Angeles stated matter-of-factly, as the ship carrying more than 200 of these seniors travelled upstream on the River Neckar during a TFI reunion that was held in Germany. He was referring to his generation who experienced the end of the Dutch colonial era, survived the turbulent fifties and sixties and moved overseas, only to lose contact with friends and the generation of students and alumni who came after them.

After President Suharto came to power, Indonesian Chinese were encouraged to adopt Indonesian-sounding names to promote assimilation into Indonesian society. While some kept their Chinese names, the majority adopted names that better matched the local language. This made it difficult to track down friends who were no longer known by their old names.

In order to reconnect with old friends and alumni in Indonesia and elsewhere, a group of TFI alumni who had immigrated to the United States decided to organize a reunion for ex-students and alumni of the TH, FT-UI, FIPIA and ITB who were scattered in different parts of the world.

For the detail story please download this files: TFI History