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Updated: Jun 22

Yearning for your hometown, a familiar thought arises: “How is my city now?” Thanks to the convenience of modern technology, a quick search on Google Maps can transport you back to the streets of your cherished memories.

With anticipation, I opened Google Maps on my laptop and eagerly typed in the name of my city. Instantly, the screen unfolded before me, and I navigated the digital pathways using the yellow person icon. Suddenly, I found myself cruising along the highway, seamlessly reconnecting with one of the bustling lanes of my beloved city. As I ventured further, I embarked on a nostalgic journey, visiting places that had shaped my formative years, from kindergarten to high school. However, it became apparent that much had changed; almost 80% of the buildings had undergone transformations. Yet, amid these transformations, the comforting realization dawned upon me that the addresses remained steadfast, evoking a sense of continuity and familiarity.

Continuing my virtual stroll, I meandered through the streets that were adorned with countless memories and stories of my upbringing. The Chinese town, fondly known as “Kampuang Cino,” held a special place in my heart, being in close proximity to my home throughout my childhood and teenage years. The vibrancy of the people and the pulsating energy of the streets were intertwined with my personal growth. It was here that I first attempted to photocopy my drawings on sketch paper, experimenting with sizes and materials. Adjacent to this neighborhood was the basketball court, where my friends and I would passionately practice our skills after school during our junior high years.

Reflecting further, I recalled the enchantment of Karia cinema, the very first place where I experienced the magic of movies during my elementary school days. Sneaking in without my parents’ permission, I felt a thrill coursing through my veins. This Chinatown district, with its colonial-style buildings and touches of Dutch architecture, held countless other tales and memories that I hold dear. Though I’ve shared only a glimpse of these cherished recollections, there are many more stories that I hope to recount in the future.

It was during those bygone days that I discovered many “firsts” – playing billiards, mastering the game of 8-ball, and affectionately referring to the establishment owners as “cece,” “cici,” or “koko” depending on their gender.

Before the ever-changing nature of infrastructure takes its toll, I wanted to capture a snapshot of this treasured place. Enclosed within this article is my screenshot from Google Maps, taken in 2019, immortalizing the streets, the landmarks, and the enchanting architecture of Chinatown, or as the locals affectionately know it, “Kampuang Cino.”

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