Montmartre in Bondowoso
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Soerono and Lee Lin were school-days sweethearts from Pah Chung Chinese School in the 50s in Jakarta the capital city of Indonesia. He was of Javanese stock and she was Chinese Indonesian.
Swept up in political fervor of the times, both went to the newly liberated China with the intention of furthering their education, but soon caught up in the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution as well as the impact of the bloody 1965 purge back home in Indonesia.
With the help of a family friend they managed to leave China, got married and set up a new life in Paris. They lived in a charming little suburb outside Paris spending time entertaining old friends, reminiscing the good old days.
After years of regulated peaceful life Soerono became restless, resented the sedate provincial life that he associated with life stuck in stagnant waters. He went back to Bondowoso, the place of his birth in an attempt to connect with his roots and recover the vigor of youth which he desperately missed, and hoped to create a vibrant Bohemian lifestyle of Montmartre in Bondowoso.
There, in the land of his birth he experienced a reversed cultural shock; things were not as they used to be. Cultural and social degradation were rampant, corruption and religious intolerance were the order of the day. And to his surprise people were still living in fear affected by the shadow of past 1965 mass murder.
During his stay in Bondowoso Soerono had a whirlwind love affair and gratifying relationship with Marjora, a young drop dead gorgeous fashion journalist, a social activist with strong nationalistic bent. It was a life changing experience for Soerono who prior to his affair had been a faithful husband. In spite of his long married life he was emotionally a virgin when it came to women. The only woman he knew all his life was his wife.
His relationship with Marjora led him to question the sanctity of marriage that placed great single emphasis on sexual fidelity. He wondered if it could ever be a demarcation between marriage and love. The affair posed a threat to his marriage when inadvertently his wife found out about his secret. Faced with the situation, he was left wondering how to live with the dilemma.