The Story of an Old Building in Cianjur, Witness the Glory of Chinese Entrepreneurs in the Old Age


An old building stands at a crossroads in the Cianjur urban area. People know him by the name Suge. The building turned out to keep the history of the great businessman from the Chinese Ethnicity in the City of Santri.

The old building is right at the T-junction of the Cianjur protocol road, namely Otista Street, Ir H Juanda Street, and Taifur Yusuf Street.

At a glance, anyone could see if the building was an old building. Unfortunately the building was not maintained until the roof and inside of the building had started to break down and collapse.

People often use the building as a benchmark if they show the location in the vicinity or stop from public transportation. Although many know the building as Suge, in fact the building is named Gow Su Gwe which is taken from the name of the owner.

“In the past it was a shop, the name of the owner was Gow Su Gwe, an ethnic Chinese who lived and opened a business in Cianjur. The building was named after the owner. But now he is better known as Suge,” said Cianjur historian Pepep Johar, Saturday (2/7/2022). ).

Suge building in Cianjur. Photo: Ikbal Selamet/detikJabar

Pepep explained that Gow Su Gwe is a grocery store. But not an ordinary grocery store, but a supplier of food and snacks for Europeans, especially the Dutch, during the colonial period.

Gow Su Gwe’s expertise as an owner in trading and his ability to speak Dutch made him increasingly trusted as a major food supplier.

“In the past, not many could speak Dutch, even businessmen from ethnic Chinese. But Gow Su Gwe is willing to learn to be fluent, so he can be trusted to be a supplier of food and snacks for Europeans and especially the Dutch in Cianjur,” he said.

Depressed Due to SARA Issues

The glory of Gow Su Gwe even lasted until the time of independence. His business is not only limited to food and snacks, but also materials.

“Initially grocery, then food and snack suppliers, until there are also materials. Only incomplete, only a few types of materials are sold,” he said.

Unfortunately the heyday only lasted until the 1960s. Riots due to racial issues that broke out in 1962 and 1965 made Gow Su Gwe’s shop also a target for looting and vandalism.

“Actually, the Chinese and indigenous people in Cianjur were peaceful at that time. But because of strong incitement, riots also occurred in Cianjur. As a result of the riots, Gow Su Gwe fell from its heyday,” said Pepep.

Suge building in Cianjur.Suge building in Cianjur. Photo: Ikbal Selamet/detikJabar

Not long after the riots and the collapse of his business, Gow Su Gwe died. Gow Su Gwe’s efforts were carried out by his descendants, but to no avail.

Now the building is only a silent witness to the triumph of the Chinese Ethnic in trading in Cianjur and the darkness of the riots caused by the SARA issue.

“Now it is not maintained and only a silent witness of all events from the colonial period to the 60s,” he said.

The article has been published in detikJabar.

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