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Social Solidarity between Minangkabau and Chinese Ethnic Groups in Post-2009 Earthquake in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia: Transforming Disaster Policy and Governance Framework


This study focuses on social solidarity between Minangkabau (Minang) and Chinese in Padang in the context of post-2009 earthquake. It is a case study that borrows some techniques of ethnography and historiography to collect data through in-depth interviews, direct observation and literature reviews and to approach data to conduct analysis. Field-works were conducted in 2013 and 2014 with additional data of my 2010 research. Social solidarity between Minang and Chinese in Padang is interesting to discuss because it gives another picture of the two ethnic groups relationships, which used to be viewed as distancing. Although Minang and Chinese are rare to get involved in violent conflicts, tensions between them are said to sometime arise. The causes are differences in ethnicity, religions, and economic competition. In fact, in some areas of life, Minang and Chinese are connected, tied in collective activities and share mutual understanding. Collective recovery between Minang and Chinese in post-2009 earthquake is a clear example. This shows us potentials of grass roots engagement between different ethnic groups, amid the social pressures, which most people, including policy makers, are not always aware of. Based on field works, this study found the practices of social solidarity involved the significant roles of at least 4 grass roots institutions. They include kongsi, nagari, kampung surrounding Pondok (Padang China town), and traditional markets. In the context of post-2009 earthquake recovery, the social solidarity is manifested through the distribution of aids, collective reconstruction of public facilities, and adat entitlement to ethnic Chinese. Further scrutiny will tell us that Minang and Chinese social solidarity in Padang post-2009 earthquake recovery has a crucial explanation for the two ethnic groups relationships, which are lack of attention in academic discussions. First, it shows us the interdependence of the two in running daily economy. In post-disaster context it appears in the collective reactivation of daily trading activities. Second, from the perspective of culture, it illuminates the application of the Minang cultural value and belief, namely raso pareso, by both Minang and Chinese ethnic groups. Finally, from the perspective of politics it tells us about power relations between the two ethnic groups, which also include negotiation, inclusion and recognition. For underlining citizenship recognition in grassroots level, social solidarity between Minang and Chinese not only has implication on the two ethnic groups relationships. It also becomes a crucial source for transforming the framework of disaster policy and governance in Padang, which so far is known to be very bureaucratic and not having strong sensitiveness to the local context. Unfortunately, in disaster policy and governance in Padang, such a practice was not strongly recognized. From the side of the government, this is due to the know-everything pathology in bureaucracy. From the side of society, this is due to the inconsistency in political activism of civil society elements.

Key Words: Disaster; Social Solidarity; Economy, Culture/inter-religion and Politics of Collective Recovery, Citizenship across Ethnic and Religious Groups, and Disaster Policy and Governance Transformation.