Arifin Bey

Journalist, Deceased Person

1925 – 2010


Who was Arifin Bey?

Arifin Bey was born in Padang Panjang, West Sumatra in the Minangkabau heartland of West Sumatra, one year before the Communist revolt in 1926, and three years before the participants of Youth Conference in 1928 avowed themselves to be one people, the Indonesian people, constituting one nation, Indonesia, with one language Bahasa Indonesia. They were years of growing political and social unrest during which Dutch rule became increasingly oppressive.

He was one of eight siblings, five girls and three boys. His father was a school inspector in the Dutch administration. Among friends and colleagues, he was known as Buyung, thus his Dutch colleagues referred to him as Mijnheer Bij,-Mr.B. Bij was Indonesianised to Bey, and adopted as the family name of his children. Arifin was highly intelligent, and qualified for entry into the Dutch educational stream. It was said of him that he was never without a book. He kept up with world events, and assembled files of newspaper clippings. He was politically engaged, and a member of the Young Sumatra Association. At the age of 16, his public speaking activities had him investigated by the police, his father interrogated, their home searched, and his newspaper clippings confiscated. The headmaster of the Dutch school he attended recognised his ability saved him from any further escalation of punishment, and arranged for him to continue teacher-training studies in Bandung. The Japanese Occupation in 1942 interrupted his formal education. But he studied privately, despite the chaos, and began the study of Japanese that was to become the foundation of his future career. He was selected by the Japanese to study in Japan as a potential leader in Indonesia when the war was won. Ironically, Tokyo was thought to be too dangerous for his cohort of Indonesian and other students from Southeast Asia, and they were sent to study at the Hiroshima University of Arts and Sciences. Hiroshima up to that time had not been heavily bombed.

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Mar 5, 1925
Padang Panjang
Also known as
  • Buyung
  • Indonesia
  • Georgetown University
Sep 2, 2010

on July 23, 2013


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