Book presentation

On Thursday evening 30 November 2023, the book launch of the comic book De legende van Vleermuisvechter will take place at De Utrechtse Boekenbar in The Netherlands.

You can read more about the three guest speakers on this page.

Indonesische stripboek Legenda Sawung Kampret. Een Indonesisch stripboek over het VOC-verleden.
Spreker dr. Mei Li Vos bij de presentatie van het stripboek De legende van Vleermuisvechter

Guest spreaker dr. Mei Li Vos

Dr. Mei Li Vos is known as a politician, previously as a member of the House of Representatives and now of the Senate (GroenLinks/PvdA). She will receive one of the first copies of the comic.

The Chinese grandfather and Indian grandmother of Vos settled from Indonesia in the Netherlands in the 1960s with her then twenty-year-old mother. Vos talked about this in 2019 in her contribution to the Indies Monologues and in the short comic Hollands getogen (Dutch raised) that Karida van Bochove made about her: 'My family adapted. The entire past, painful and beautiful, was hidden away. I may not have been raised Indo-Dutch, but I am.' Click here for the link to 'Hollands getogen' in Wortels in Nederlands-Indië (Roots in the Dutch East Indies).

In the same year, Vos also wrote: 'So I am a quarter Chinese, a quarter Indo-Dutch, and because of my being Indo-Dutch plus my Dutch father, I am more than half Dutch. I am never approached about my Chinese background; apparently the Chinese roots have been so weakened that the outside world no longer sees them. When I participated in the TV program Verborgen verleden (Hidden Past) in 2010, researchers were able to dig deep into the 17th century for the Indo-Dutch branch. But the Chinese branch is less penetrable. They are a dying species, the Peranakan Chinese. Just like the Indo-Dutch, by the way. I think it will help the complicated discussion about Dutch identity and the tense attitude towards migrants if the various migrant groups make themselves heard and seen more.' Click here for the link to 'Mijn ongekende peranakan-geschiedenis' (My unprecedented Peranakan history) in Indies tijdschrift (Indies Magazine).

Guest spreaker prof. dr. Kees Ribbens

Prof. Dr. Kees Ribbens is professor of Popular Historical Culture of Global Conflicts and Mass Violence at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication of Erasmus University Rotterdam. As an expert lover of comics, he published the book Getekendetijd. Wisselwerking tussen geschiedenis en strips (Drawn Time. Interaction between history and comics) with Rik Sanders in 2006. Ribbens will receive one of the first copies of the comic.

Ribbens recently wondered whether colonialism and comics can be combined effectively. Can you bring together a painful system of inequality with a visual language that seems limited to humorous fantasy stories? The historical ties between the Netherlands and Indonesia have been depicted in both countries in a varied way in a colourful panorama of comics that have been published in both countries since the twentieth century. According to Ribbens, determining the actual impact and scope of such imaginations is a complex task, but every attempt to answer questions in that area helps us to become better aware of the once self-evident presence of colonialism and of the fact that comics play a role in the changes that appear possible.

Pattynama Pamela Universiteit Leiden

Prof. dr. Pamela Pattynama

Prof. Dr. Pamela Pattynama is emeritus professor of Colonial and Postcolonial literary and cultural history at the University of Amsterdam. She has lectured and published on Indo-Dutch literature and on 'gender', 'mixed race' and Indo-Dutch identity. Belonging to the second generation of Indo-Dutch people, Pattynama is specifically interested in the transfer of memories between first, second and third generations of Indo-Dutch migrants. She will receive one of the first copies of the comic.

On August 17, 2023, Pattynama made herself heard again in an article in the Volkskrant about Dutch and Indonesian students who are studying the colonial past together. She criticized the widely praised book Oeroeg by Hella Haasse. 'The book starts with the sentence: "Oeroeg was my friend". And then Oeroeg – "the Indonesian voice" – does not speak in the entire book, says Pattynama. "It remains a book by a Dutch writer who explains how she believes the Indies/Indonesia should be understood." The problem is that the Dutch East Indies has always been described in Dutch, and from a Dutch perspective.'