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IN their own way, each man helped deliver Indonesia to its independence. Liem Koen Hian and Yap Tjwan Bing joined a committee tasked with preparing for independence and the foundations of this country. Meanwhile, Djiauw Kie Song—a farmer in Rengasdengklok, West Java—hosted Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta when they were ‘kidnapped’ by young people one day before the Proclamation. But the future is not as the men imagined. After Indonesia’s independence, Liem and Yap fell victim to its own nation and Djiauw’s home in Rengasdengklok is no longer given certain privileges.
BORN in Banjarmasin (now in South Kalimantan), Liem Koen Hian, an ethnic Chinese, would one day become an important figure in the pre-independence nationalist movement. Known to be clever and courageous, Liem lived a life of adventure as a young man. His political attitude was shaped when he was working as a journalist writing for a number of newspapers in Java and Sumatra. Although he once supported China, Liem later promoted Indonesia’s independence and fought for the future of the nation’s minority groups as a member of the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesia’s Independence (BPUPKI). His colorful life ended in misfortune. It is unknown where he is buried.
Liem Koen Hian recommended legislating automatic citizenship for local-born ethnic-Chinese. He had a close relationship with Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo.
The Pharmacist’s Passion for Politics
Yap Tjwan Bing opposed the Dutch occupation of Indonesia since his youth. He studied in Amsterdam so that he could read more books about politics. He was close with Bung Hatta and Indonesian university students who were active in the struggle for Indonesian independence while studying in the Netherlands.
As an active participant in Indonesia’s independence, Yap Tjwan Bing helped draw up the 1945 Constitution. He was close with Sukarno.
Some serious guests suddenly arrived at the home of Djiauw Kie Siong in Rengasdengklok (now part of West Java).
Born and raised on the banks of the Citarum, Djiauw Kie Siong’s livelihood depended on the river. He could build a house in Rengasdengklok after some hard work in various fields.