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Series EN 020

on Tue, 10/06/2015 - 02:21
The East Kali Besar Street
The East Kali Besar Street

Their coversation about the situation of Batavia continued, although the political climate to the Chinese was heating up lately, no doubt Batavia was a vibrant city of the trade in which the role of the Chinese people was very important. The scorching sun baked sweating body, flushed skin, the lips were broken, shabby clothes full of dust, though not felt by the bustle of the port which was the heart of the city. In awe, on the boat, this young man explored the city through his eyes. The boat continued to move closer to the port of Sunda Kelapa that was arid, filled with the shouts of the porters. River water was blackened grow thick, shiny befallen by afternoon sun.

Near the dock small boats were waiting for passengers. The boatmen were ready to offer his services. Its atmosphere was boisterous  like a honeycomb. Batavia was like Venice where boats were the urban transport. Only the rich who had the carriage for city transportation. For most people who did not use the boat as city transportation, they walk.

The coolies lined up ready to carry the goods from the ship and lowered to the ground, brought it into the warehouse. All seemed full dynamics of a city in Java Island which was famous for its trade.

This young Sinshe slowly went down the gangplank with suspicion on the city. He carried on his shoulder a bundle of modest clothing. His head bowed, his eyes watching the foot steps on stairs one by one. From the sidelines of the stairs he saw the water of Ciliwung river rippling small, dirty, a sign of a lot of mouths dumping into the river.

"Jing Bing?" Suddenly from a side someone greeted him, a blue shirt with long sleeves rolled up, his trousers wide and ponytail swaying. His body stocky, his face round, pleasant laugh so that anyone would be happy to see him.

"Yes, I am Jing Bing ..." he was stunned for a while ... "Ah, are you Poh An?"

"Yes, I am Poh An" they were laughing and shake hands, then embrace each other, two old friends who have not met for a long time. Their face were shining, looking at each other, almost failed to recognice. They are directly involved in the conversation about the old nostalgia.

The young Sinshe is none other than Tan Jing Bing who sailed from Fujian to Batavia on an Invitation of Captain Nie Hoe Kong to work at the Chinese Hospital in Batavia. Having fled to Xiamen he tried to open a practice, but always failed because there were many sinshes more senior and well-known. Eventually he worked in a treatment house belonged to family Nie. Here was where he received an invitation from captain Nie Hoe Kong of Batavia.

Tan Poh An was a descendant of Tan family that migrated to Batavia sixteen years ago. He stopped in the city to try his fortune in 1721. Poh An went away from Fuqing following his father who later died of cholera in Batavia four years after arriving in this dirty town. Fortunately Poh An was adopted as a  son by Tan Tion Qua who eventually became Lieutenant. Tan Tion Qua was a rice trader who owned a shop in Heerestraat. His house was two stories, elongated with rice shop in front and a rice store at the rear side. Tan Tion Qua family lived upstairs, while Tan Poh An got a room at the back near the rice warehouse. Traders family always utilized all the space in the house as a warehouse. Tan Tion Qua was the only merchant who supplied rice to the castle as a need of the Dutch company.