New Mainers Speak 03/09/2014


New Mainers Speak 03/09/2014


Kate Manahan



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Kate Manahan interviews Ina Demers, who immigrated to Maine from Semarang, Middle Java, Indonesia. They discuss Indonesia’s geography, culture, languages, and Dutch and Japanese colonial history. They also touch on Ina’s experience growing up, attending high school and a teacher’s institute, and her experience as an Indonesian of Chinese descent post-independence from Japan. Ina gives a brief summary of the September Movement of 1965, in which General Suharto led a failed US-backed coup against Indonesian President Sukarno, who was friendly with the Chinese government. Following the coup, fears of communism led to discrimination and violence against Indonesians of Chinese descent.

Ina came to the US in 1974, seeking gender equality and the freedom to speak her mind. She moved to Bath, ME, with her first husband; she describes her first memories of Maine, and her relationship with her mother-in-law, an English immigrant. She received her Bachelors, Masters, and teaching certification from the University of Southern Maine, and now works as an elementary-level educational technician in the Portland Public Schools teaching English Language Learners. Many of her students are immigrants and refugees, and Ina describes conversations with her students about the term “refugee,” and reads two poems from Refugee: the Ugliest Word by Aftaba Mezetovic.

Ina offers community-building recommendations for New Mainers, including multicultural groups for both children and parents at the Center for Grieving Children, and the Portland Public Schools’ Rock Around the World fundraiser.

Publication Date



WMPG 90.9 FM


Portland, Maine


WMPG, community radio, college radio, New Mainers Speak, Kate Manahan, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, Portland, New Mainers, Ina Demers, Semarang, Middle Java, Indonesia, Chinese Indonesians, University of Southern Maine, Portland Public Schools, English Language Learners (ELL), Dutch, colonialism, September Movement, President Sukarno, General Suharto, gender equality, Bath, Maine, Refugee: The Ugliest Word, Aftaba Mezetovic, Center for Grieving Children, multicultural groups, Rock Around the World

New Mainers Speak 03/09/2014