In the present Interim Report Mary F. Somers undertakes to view the overseas Chinese question as part of the politics of Indonesia, concentrating on the persons of Chinese descent who are Indonesian citizens. She devotes particular attention to the peranakan Chinese organization, Baperkip and the role it has played, both in Indonesia’s Chinese community and generally on the Indonesian political scene. She is also concerned with the reaction of the peranakan Chinese to the possibility of cultural assimilation into Indonesian society and the willingness of the Indonesians to accept them.
After gaining her B. A. in History and Chinese Language at Trinity College in Washington, DC, Miss Somers entered Cornell University in 1958 as a Ph. D. candidate in the Department of Government and Southeast Asia Program. Following an initial period of research at Cornell and an intensive study of the Chinese (Mandarin) and Indonesian languages, she carried out research in Indonesia from December 1961 to May 1963 under a Foreign Area Training Fellowship. While there she interviewed prominent Chinese widely — both in Java and in Sumatra (Palembang, Medan, Padang), in Sulawesi (Makassar) and in Kalimantan (Bandjarmasin, Pontianak, Singkawang).
Miss Somers wishes to emphasize that the conclusions she has reached in the report are tentative; and she hopes to develop them further in a forthcoming publication. She would, therefore, welcome any comments on or criticisms of her study. - George McT. Kahin, March 16, 1964