Almost hidden behind a bustling morning wet market in Tangerang is a meticulously restored and preserved museum, the work of Udaya Halim, who grew up right across the street and was determined that this piece of Indonesian history would not be destroyed.
Halim, who now divides his time between Tangerang and Perth, Australia, said establishing the Museum Benteng Heritage was a dream. He had brought his children to see the place where he lived as a child, and was appalled to see the state of the surrounding buildings.
Halim initially considered opening a museum at his own school, where he runs English-language education programs and represents British schools abroad.
“I had quite a few reasons for starting the museum,” Halim said. “I’m a museum lover with an appreciation of heritage. As an educator I have to keep educating people and challenging stereotypes … I am happy to see what I have been doing at the museum can open up people’s eyes.”
The stereotypes to which he refers relate to how people of Chinese descent have historically been treated in Indonesia.