Cosmoscopia Club International presents:
Festschrift in honour of Myra Sidharta
Project 1


Selected Impressions & Remembrances of Myra:

Dedication by Mai Dar

(Alumnus of Southeast Asian (Jakarta, Manila, Songkla) Universities; Eastern (Krakow, Lodz & Torun) & Western (Freiburg, Hamburg & Berlin) European Universities, etc., etc.)

Relevant quotes & quotations:

  • Sylvia, Julie & Amir Sidharta:

    Myra (Moy) Sidharta, yang kami panggil "Mami", memang boleh dibilang tidak pernah merayakan hari ulang tahunnya. Ia lebih suka kabur ke luar kota untuk merayakannya sendiri dengan caranya sendiri. Kami tidak pernah tahu pasti ke mana ia pergi, tapi yang jelas ia pergi ke tempat yang berlain-lainan setiap tahun.

  • Jakob Oetama:

    Di tahun 70-an Pater MAW Brouwer -- kolumnis dan psikologi yang akrab dengan keluarga Sidharta -- meminta agar Ibu Myra (Ibu Moy) membuat artikel tentang masyarakat Tionghoa. Ibu Moy akhirnya beralih perhatian ke sastra Melayu-Tionghoa. Ia lantas dikenal sebagai ahli sastra Melayu-Tionghoa. Mengajar di Fakultas Sastra UI untuk matakuliah Sejarah Pemikiran Cina. Kata pepatah Latin, gratia gratiam parit, berkah itu melahirkan berkah.

    Dari seorang psikolog ke filolog terbentang proses jatuh bangun yang tidak terkatakan sulitnya. Ibu Moy blusukan, keluar masuk pasar loak, berburu buku-buku sastra Melayu-Tionghoa. Trial and Error dia tempuh. Semangatnya menggebu. Ada ambisi. komitmen dan upaya tak kenal lelah. Dilengkapi riset dan pergaulan luas, akhirnya ia [Myra Sidharta] lebih dikenal sebagai filolog dari pada psikolog. Ia menulis artikel dan buku-buku tentang sastra Melayu-Tionghoa.

    Otoritas Ibu Moy sebagai filolog diakui, baik dari kriteria ilmu, intelektualitas maupun kecendekiaan. Ditunjang fasih dalam bahasa Jerman, Belanda, Perancis, Mandarin, Hokkian, Melayu Malaysia dan tentu Inggris, eksistensinya sebagai filolog semakin mantap. Pengakuan atas otoritas Ibu Moy terbukti antara lain oleh permintaan UI mengajar di Fakultas Sastra dan bukan di Fakultas Psikolog.

    ... Ibu Myra adalah juga sosok yang melawan arus. Dia selalu menerobos dan mendahului zaman.

  • Peter Sie:

    One of the most amazing characteristics of Moy [Myra Sidharta] is her memory!

  • Joyce Baerts:

    We both love antiques ... We both love literature and we love to lose ourselves browsing for old books on Indonesian or Chinese art. You have been a real teacher to me, actually much more than my own parents could have been.

  • Pia Alisjahbana:

    My nicest memory with Moy was my experience attending the Bar Mitzvah of Jonathan Leibovic, Joeke's second son in 2003. For me it was the first time -- maybe the only time -- that I ever attended a Bar Mitzvah ceremony at the Jewish Temple in Richmond, VA, USA. ... We both have a great love for ceramics. ... I have also known Moy as a collector of writings by Chinese women writers.

  • Toety Heraty:

    Tapi lalu Myra menjadi penulis, di bidang psikologi bersama dengan pastor Brouwer, kemudian tema-tema kesusastraan Cina dengan Claudine Salmon. Ia pandai mencari teman atau persahabatan yang merangsang produktivitasnya. Pendeknya, ia unggul, tangguh dan banyak humor yang terkadang tajam tetapi tetap lucu.

  • Athong Euw-Jong:

    Ce Moy [Myra Sidahrta] is like a nun - non material items were your priority!

  • Leonard Blusse:

    Myra clearly does not harbour such misgivings because she recently wrote an intersting contribution for our book about the Kong Koan of Batavia focusing on the role of go-betweens in marriages. ...No word better explains for Myra's excelent character than the epitheton ornans midwife. What would we her foreign friends be without her help? How could our ideas about Indonesian culture and society mature without her comments. ... But to me the one and only midwife is Myra who inspired so many ideas and who has introduced me to so many new experiences.

  • Tineke Hellwig:

    More than once did I make Prapanca Raya my pied-a-terre in Jakarta. I do not know how often I enjoyed Moy's hospitality and generosity, always so readily given without expecting anything in return. Over the years Moy shared much more with me than her kindness in providing me with accommodation, meals and the use of her computer. When my research interests turned to popular Malay narratives from the early 1900s, Moy imparted her immense knowledge and expertise on the topic of Chinese Malay writing with me. Her private library was open for me to browse, and many of her ideas pointed me in a direction for further research. ... Moy has guided me many times to interesting Malay narratives and research questions. With her own academic productivity and publication record she serves many as a role model, but not only in scholarly terms. She is a true friend and mentor, and words cannot express my deeply felt gratitude to Moy for her generosity and magnanimity.

  • Leo Suryadinata.

    Since the late 1980s, whenever I returned to Jakarta for a short visit, I always called her [Myra Sidharta]. She has always been hospitable and often organized small funtions to invite writers and reseachers. In these functions, I met many Indonesian friends, old and new, not necessarily ethnic Chinese, but non-Chinese as well. I recolect that on one evening, I was invited to her home and discovered that there were already many guests, including Mrs. Tjoa Hin Hoey, daughter of Kwee Tek Hoay who was a major peranakan writer before World War II, and Jakob Sumardjo, a leading literary critic and a hitorian on peranakan literature. Both I met for the first time. ... I gradually discovered her wide interests, including in social and women issues, family and Chinese customs, but I am of the view that her strenght is in biography and literature, especially peranakan Chinese biography and literature. She had a rich collection of peranakan publications, especially those published before World War II. I had the opprtunity to see her impresive collection. ... Mrs. Sidharta is a generous friend. ... Mrs. Sidharta is well known overseas, and she receives a lot of invitations.

  • Mary Somers Heidhues:

    Myra returned to Indonesia and began bringing up a family in Jakarta, teaching and practicing psychology and gaining new experiences. The house in Kebayoran had room for Pek's practice, for which patients lined up into the night to see highly-regarded neurologist. The house also became a place of hospitality, with frequent house guests and other festive invitations for a great number of people with diverse interests. The Sidhartas' wide circle of friends and acquaintances were invaluable for visiting scholars, for Myra was quick to bring together persons whose interests could complement one another. Time and again she helped me find information, accomodations, and contacts in Bangka, Belitung, and Kalimantan, and my work could hardly have come to a good end without her.

    In Jakarta, she also pursued a hobby of collecting Chinese porcelain, for which she showed both interest and taste. Indonesian art forms and theater, from wayang to modern, also captured her attention. Another atraction was to textiles, and she manages to be uniquely well-dressed by combining locally produced cloths with her own sense of style. She has also written about batik and the newer patterns and trends in producing it. ... For her own scholarly interests in Chinese-Malay literature or women's affairs, she often traveled as an invited guest to conference in Europe or elsewhere. Other voyages took her to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or even Israel.

    Myra's many interests not only won her a wide circle of friends but gave her inspiration for her writings. I have mentioned an article about batik. The book about Kwee Tek Hoay, which she edited and contributed to, not only commemorated a significant literary and religious figure but contributed to peranakan history and the uinderstanding of Chinese-Malay literature, as have other articles she publihed.

  • K. Nicholas Leibovic:

    For my part, perhaps the most exiting meeting was when Marianne and I visited you and Pek in Indonesia. You were wonderful, gracious hosts. It was an unforgettable experience.

    Some years later you joined us in Lithuania with Stephen and Julie searching for my roots. Our little band included our families from as far away as Israel and Indonesia as well as from United States.

  • Ning Mahar Mardjono:

    Dalam pertemuan-pertemuan singkat itu saya telah dapat menduga dan merasa bahwa Moy mempunyai sense of humor yang cukup tinggi dan dia seorang yang sangat kritis!

  • Pat Lim:

    Since we live in diffirent countries, we try to meet as often we can. We meet in the homes of mutual friends, in hotels, in bookshops, in antique shops, and in seminar rooms. When we meet, we talk, we laugh, we joke, and we continue where we left off.

  • M. Sadli:

    Myra dan dulu suaminya, Dokter Sidharta atau Pek Giok untuk teman-teman dekatnya, juga menjadi tamu akrab kami di Jl. Brawijaya, Kebayoran Baru, dekat rumah keluarga Sidharta. ...

    Myra Sidharta dikenal sebagai peneliti dan pengaji masalah-masalah yang dihadapi oleh minoritas Tionghoa (peranakan) ini, dan ia, baik di dalam maupun di luar negeri, dihargai sebagai pemerhati yang ingin membantu resolusi permasalahan golongan minoritas ini dengan mengumpulkan sebanyak mungkin relevant information. Studi demikian tidak selalu perlu dilakukan dengan pendekatan ilmu politik, sosial atau ekonomi. Segi-segi kebudayaan, bahkan bahasa atau buah karya sastra, juga bisa ikut menyoroti berbagai aspek kehidupan golongan minoritas ini dalam sejarahnya di Indonesia. Tionghoa peranakan sering tidak mengekspresikan dirinya dalam bahasa Tionghoa, melainkan "Melayu" (sebelum perang dunia kedua).

  • Claudine Salmon:

    Apart from Sino-Malay literature, a topic which we have never ceased investigating, we were also interested in the history of the Sino-Indonesians as well as in Peranakan women.


    What struck me the most is how during these years Myra dedicated her energy to the preservationn of the Sino-Indonesian heritage and her pen to the study of Sino-Indonesian literature. Thanks to her diplomacy and perserverance, the Gong Guan Archives have finally been placed in safety. As early as 1980 Myra wrote: "The case of the Kong Koan Archives is going to be a real mystery ..."

  • Saparinah Sadli:

    Di antara psikolog lulusan Belanda adalah dra. Sie-Ew Jong Tjhoen Moy [Myra Sidharta] yang kemudian menjadi dosen di Fakultas Psikologi Universitas Indonesia. ... Sebagai dosen di Fakultas Psikologi UI, saya kenang Moy bersama dengan Dr. Lie Pok Liem dan Drs. Yap Kie Hien sebagai psikolog-psikolog yang ikut meletakkan dasar-dasar studi psikologi di Indonesia. Studi Psikologi di Indonesia dicanangkan oleh Profesor Slamet Iman Santosa dalam tahun 1953. ... Selain menjadi kepala Klinik Psikologi Anak yang pertama, Ibu Sie [Myra Sidharta] adalah pengajar grafologi sebagai bagian dari mata pelajaran psikodiagnositik. ... Saya agak kehilangan jejak dengan Moy dan keluarga Sie Pek Giok karena mereka untuk beberapa waktu lamanya pindah dan mengajar di Malaysia dan setelah kembali dari Malaysia Moy memilih untuk mengajar Psikologi Sastra di Fakultas Sastra sambil menekuni bidang studi sinologi. ... Tetapi yang saya kagumi darinya ialah kecanggihannya dan minatnya terhadap bidang tehnologi informasi, ... Ternyata minat dan pengetahuan Moy tidak terbatas pada bidang psikologi dan sastra dan tehnologi komputer. Dalam suatu perjalanan bersama (saya dan suami) naik mobilnya, Moy kemudian menjelaskan tentang kondisi khas mobilnya.

  • Suzanne E. Siskel:

    It was through Sid that I came to know of your work on food and your shared interest with him in the culinary uses of soy beans. This was the first time I've ever struck up either a professional or personal relationship with anyone over tahu and tempe, but I'm delighted it happened.

  • Judith Tyler Pigossi:

    My friendship with Moy began sometime in the early 1970s in Jakarta. I do not recall exactly how we met, but we lived in the same Kemang neighborhood and shared mutual friends. With Moy and two of those friends, Pia Alisjahbana and Toeti Noerhadi, I made a trip to Medan in 1977 where Moy had been asked to contact Queeny Chang on behalf of UI. Queeny, the daughter of Tjong A Fie, was born in 1896 in Sumatra and the first part of her fascinating nyonya memoir had just been published in The Star, Malaysia.

  • Jacob Vredenbregt:

    The first time I got to know Moy had to do with ceramics. It might have been at a meeting of the Ceramic Society but it is also possible at another occasion.

  • Bondan Winarno:

    Saya masih punya janji dengan Myra untuk melakukan sebuah proyek "Jalansutra", yaitu berkunjung ke Belitung, ke tempat kelahiran Myra, untuk berjalan-jalan dan mencicipi masakan-masakan khas di sana. Belum lama ini Myra sudah mengirim beberapa file elektronik berisi foto-foto pemandangan Belitung yang indah. Ia rupanya khawatir saya sudah melupakan "proyek" itu.

  • Ardiyanto Pranata:

    Sedangkan dari pergaulan saya dengan seluruh keluarganya saya merasakan sikap Ibu Myra yang sederhana tetapi penuh karakter. Rambutnya yang semakin memutih memberikan penampakan seorang wanita yang kuat pada concernnya. Penampilan yang tegas walaupun postur tubuhnya pendek memiliki kemampuan keras.

  • Arief Budiman:

    Ibu Sie [Myra Sidharta] bukan seorang yang menonjol. Suaranya sangat halus, termasuk juga ketika dia mengajar. Para mahasiswa harus memperhatikan dengan sungguh-sungguh supaya bisa mendengar dengan jelas apa yang dikatakannya. Dia juga sering tersenyum, hampir tak pernah marah. Karena sifatnya yang pasip ini, agak sulit mendekatkan diri kepada dia. ...

    Saya beberapa kali datang ke rumah mereka. Kadang-kadang diundang, kadang-kadang tidak. Kadang-kadang datang sendiri, kadang-kadang bersama Leila. Saya jadi dekat dengan kelurga ini. Bukan saja dengan Pak dan Bu Sie, tapi juga dengan putra-putrinya yang saya temui kemudian.

    Kalau saya datang, biasanya Pak Sie bercerita banyak tentang pengalaman masa lalunya ketika jadi tentara Jepang. Ibu Sie biasanya mendengarkan dengan sabar, sambil kadang-kadang menambah cerita. Begitu asyik ceritanya saya dengarkan, sehingga saya separuh "memaksa" dia untuk menuliskan pengalaman hidupnya ini. Mula-mula dia tidak mau. Tapi akhirnya terbujuk juga.

  • Stephen Leibovic:

    Moy [Myra Sidharta] could almost leave an observer with the impression that she was somehow disengaged from the activities of her children. But I learned, over the years, that it was exactly her relationships with her children taht had encouraged their individuality and independence over the years ... something that serves as a model for me as a father of three children.

    Her engagement with her own work, Chinese women's affairs particularly, has also served as a model for her kids as she has pursued her intersts and has repeatedly been "in demand" for her opinions and expertise.

    But it is her calmness under pressure, her unwavering steadiness, and her strenght, that I most admire. Little flusters her. And it is this quality, so well transmitted to Julie, that I most appreciate. Without it, I would be lost!

    Her children have traveled far and wide around the world. And as they exercise to commitment, the compassion and the expoertise that hey have inherited from their mother, the world is becoming a better place.

  • Fuad Hassan:

    Myra Sidharta; sosok mungil yang murah senyum ini saya kenal sejak tibanya dari negeri Belanda pada tahun 1962 dan langsung bekerja sebagai dosen di Fakultas Psikologi UI. Kepadanya diandalkan tugas sebagai Kepala Bagian Psikologi Anak di Fakultas Psikologi yang waktu itu masih muda usia. Di kalangan mahasiswa pun makin meningkat peminat yang memilih psikologi anak sebagai fokus studinya.


    Di samping itu jangan dilalaikan bahwa Myra Sidharta telah pula menunjukkan kematangannya sebagai penulis. Ini dibuktikan oleh tulisan-tulisannya yang dimuat dalam berbagai majalah dan surat kabar. Dari berbagai tulisannya itu terkesan bahwa Myra Sidharta memiliki kejelian observasi dan ketajaman analisa mengenai berbagai gejala dan peristiwa kemasyarakatan umumnya, tanpa kesan mau-benarnya-sendiri, tanpa marah-marah dan -- seperti dinyatakan pada awal tulisan ini -- "selalu murah senyum".

  • Sandra Hamid:

    Persahabatan saya dengan Tante Moy [Myra Sidharta] membawa saya ke ruang-ruang yang "lain". Hanya bersama Tante Moy saya bisa asyik mengocok peruntungan di dekat altar Cina dalam pelataran Pura di Kintamani. Tante Moy membuat klenteng dan kuburan menjadi cerita.

    Saya kenal Tante Moy pertama kali memang di bali. Belum terlalu lama, lima belas tahun yang lalu. Tante Moy datang di bulan Maret, untuk ngumpet. Dan saya beruntung, kerena tempat kami tinggal (saya, Lisa, Santi) dijadikan tempat "persembunyiannnya". Tante Moy ingin sembunyi karena tanggal 6 Maret adalah hari ulang tahunnya -- dan dia ingin lari dari Jakarta. Dia tidak suka rame-rame saat ulang tahun.


    Saya banyak belajar dari Tante Moy: tentang persahabatan, tentang rasa berpetualang, tentang gossip.

  • Han Awal:

    Mengenal Moy [Myra Sidharta], selalu menyenangkan, riang dan selalu ada flavor budaya. Pernah saya ditanyain alamat perajin tempe goreng khas Malang. Katanya mau dibawa ke seminar kedele di Tiongkok, lalu setelah presentasi para hadirin mau dicicipin tempe ... Idee yang briliyan sekali. Inilah Moy, original, intelligent, dan sangat human .. Apa yang dicerita Moy mengenai tempe tersebut dapat dibayangkan. Menyebar pengertian di mana salah satu ikon boga di tanah air kita menjadi begitu nyata dan sederhana.

  • Ong Hok Ham:

    For although I have attended many birthday parties of her late husband Prof. Dr. Pek Sidharta, I did not really know Myra's birthday. I mean, I realize that she now must have birthdays, for age does not seem to touch her.

    Myra will always be "the women of my life", a friend, a grandmother, and older sister (my servants at home often confuse her with many eldest sister from Malang and to her annoyance always call her "Bu De" ("Ibu Gede"). Rightly so, for Myra/Moy is unique. The nickname Moy maybe from Belitung, where she was born and usually Chinese girls are called "moy" from "amoy", although she was very much a peranakan.


    This is what I meant her age has not touch her. Her personality remains original. One of our doscussion is about the origins of calendars.


    Myra Sidharta has many friends and colleages among sinologists. At her house I have met many well-known visiting sinologists, among them, the French couple Denys Lombard and his wife Claudine Salmon.

    Myra's contribution in this field is not exactly in the field of classical Sinology, since it is on Indonesian Chinese intellectual history, such as life of Kwee Tek Hoay, Soe Lie Piet, (Soe Hok Gie's father, a journalist) and others.

    More classical studies are her interest in Indonesian Chinese and of the religion of Bali. But a testimony of her wide and varied, as well as innovative, interest are her cultural essays about Put On of the Sin Po (1950s), a caricature figure of a Chinese peranakan from whom many professionals such as Sidharta and other Orde Baru businessman tycoons emerged.


    I add to her many and wide sided to enrich my life, knowing her, Myra Sidharta has been enriching my life.

    Read more, click here!


    Kawan Kami: Myra 'Moy' Sidharta; Biographi Delapan Penulis Peranakan (2004); Cultural Curiosity -- Thirteen Stories about the Search for Chinese Roots (edited by Josephine M.T. Khu, 2001 ); The Archives of the Kong Koan of Batavia (edited by Leonard Blusse & Chen Menghong, 2003); "The Making of an Indonesian Chinese Woman" by Myra Sidharta in: Indonesian Women in Focus (edited by Anke Niehof & Elsbeth Locher-Scholten, 1987), Internet infos, private letters, live interviews, etc.

  • Live long and prosper!        
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