Grilled Satay at BBQ’s. The smell of Durians in the fridge. My aunt chanting in the afternoons. I have always treasured my Indonesian heritage. It has influenced me since I was a young boy.
After Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945, World War II was over in The Dutch East Indies and the rest of Southeast Asia, my grandparents (Opa and Oma) and their 6 children immigrated from Indonesia to Holland in 1956. They eventually made their way to America and settled in Santa Barbara, CA in 1960. Fast forward many years and eventually my mom met my dad while taking golf lessons. The rest is history, as they say.
Fast forward a few more years and my sister and I were born. During my youth we would constantly be watched by Opa and Oma while my parents worked. This created many distinct memories. They still spoke Bahasa and Dutch to each other so we were taught many words to use for simple requests. I remember Opa cooking satay for us during BBQ’s. I didn’t know it was called satay, I just thought that was how you were supposed to eat chicken. I still think that. I remember Opa’s favorite ice cream flavor was Haagen Dazs Coffee Ice Cream. My sister and I used to steal the ice cream out of the freezer and systematically dismantle said ice cream with no remorse. I remember Opa used to bring durian home from his trips to Indonesia and smell up the house to many complaints from the rest of us. I remember my aunt ringing her gong and doing her Buddhist chants in the afternoons. I remember Opa wearing his nice Batik shirts and always thinking they were very beautiful. This has specifically had a large influence on my personal taste in clothes. Today I wear patterned shirts at my performances in honor of Opa and my Indonesian heritage.
Opa and Oma have since passed away, and the rest of our family now carry on the traditions of our Indonesian roots. Opa’s recipe for Satay was used during our last thanksgiving. It’s still the best way to eat chicken.
Like many other Indos I’m a musician receding in Las Vegas and had the privilege to meet up with the GM of the Ritz Carlton in Singapore who visited one of the lounges in Vegas were I was performing, he offered me to stay in his hotel in Singapore and by the end of this month I’ll be flying back to perform on a nightly basis, this is for me a beautiful opportunity to fly from Singapore to Jakarta to stay with my cousins.
I’m so happy to be the opening at at Socal Indo’s 2nd Annual FAIR FOOD FESTIVAL Sunday 8 September at Dutch Club Avio and look forward to meet all you Indos.
Thank you for reading, my name is Cameron Dettman.