Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Sumartono ‘Martono’ Hadinoto

About PMS: PMS is a social organization established since 1932 where its main activity is social activities and other activities needed in accordance with the needs of the community, including fostering intercultural communication and appreciation. Currently in addition to interfaith social activities, there are activities in the arts, culture, sports and youth.

Global Business & Interfaith Peace Bronze Medalist

Escaping with his life from ethno-religious riots in Indonesia, Sumartono ‘Martono’ Hadinoto, owner of CANDI aluminium building materials company, takes a leading role in organizing humanitarian and socioeconomic initiatives as well as intercultural programs, such as the annual Solo Imlek Festival, that bring people together so that such religious and ethnic violence might never happen again.

Acceptance Speech

“First of all, I would like to say thank you to all the people who helped me to get this award. I can’t be more grateful that the small things which I’ve done were able to bring me here. This award is definitely a proof for me, my family, and the society, that changes can be made by each of us with just one small act. I always mention that we can’t choose to what race we are born into. I was born as an Indonesian but also born as a Chinese. But the blood that runs in my veins is 100 percent Indonesia. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika – Unity in Diversity. From our nation’s strong slogan, I have worked to introduce my Chinese culture to Indonesian society and now it is accepted as one of the beautiful differences that we can cherish together. Differences that make us rich, colorful, unique and strong. Now, every year, every Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year celebrations are not just for us Chinese people. But the celebration is also for Indonesian society and is an annual event that Indonesians are proud of. Differences won’t break us but strengthen us as one INDONESIA.” (See all medalists here.)


“One can’t choose to be born to Chinese, Javanese, Batak or any other parents. But God will always give us the choice to be men of virtue regardless of our ethnic origins in the sense of benefiting others and being willing to share with and help people in need,” said Sumartono Hadinoto. The man, born Khoe Liong Haow but called Martono, is a successful businessman now active in 19 social organizations engaged in helping people in distress. “I’m busy but I just go with the flow. Meeting people of various backgrounds is interesting. I’m doing all this with delight,” he added. With the organizations he works with, Martono is usually present at relief efforts such as helping victims of floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, overcoming blood shortages at the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), or seeking food aid and school fees for poor families. “Helping others makes me feel useful,” he said. Sumartono Hadinoto was born Khoe Liong Hauw of Chinese descent in 1956 in Solo, Central Java. In his childhood, he helped his mother selling batik textile after school, but it did not work out. Later he established an aluminum business that became very successful and is continuing to grow and diversify. However, it was not a smooth ride. In May 1998, a large scale anti Chinese riot broke out in Solo. His home and business were looted and burned. He almost went bankrupt and had to restart. He then became involved actively in serving the people in needs, especially in emergency situations, so much so that he is nicknamed “the man in emergencies”. Now he serves in the leadership positions in the Red Cross, Surakarta Society Association, Lions Club, and many other civil society organizations. Since the Indonesian political reform in 1999, he has led the annual Chinese New Year’s festival in Solo as a way to rebuild the interethnic and interfaith relations in the city. It has become a major event for the city. For his services, he has received many awards and appeared in many newspapers, magazines, and TV shows, including the nation’s leading talk show Kick Andy.

More Detail

In May 1998, a large scale anti Chinese riot broke out in Solo. Many homes and businesses of ethnic Chinese people were looted and burned. After the Indonesian political reform in 1999, Sumartono Hadinoto took a role in the Surakarta Society Association (PMS: Perkumpulan Masyarakat Surakarta), founded in 1932. With the association, he organized a Chinese New Year festival in the city with the support only a few of similar ethnic Chinese organizations. It is called SIF or Solo Imlek Festival (Imlek = Chinese new year). The idea was simple: how the Chinese New Year celebration can be enjoyed by the society, by people of different ethnic and faith backgrounds. Since then it has grown into a major tourist attraction of the city, drawing people from diverse backgrounds, and more importantly, benefitting local people regardless of their faiths and ethnicities. It has stimulated the growth of small and medium enterprises because the Chinese New Year celebration becomes more festive every year. This year the festival officially started on January 17 and ended on February 11, 2017. It was organized by the Surakarta Society Association and the City of Solo, and was co-sponsored by the State Electricity Company (PLN) and business and professional associations such as the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce, Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association, Asociation of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies, Indonesian Marketing Association, and Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association. Every year it has drawn news coverage locally and nationally. The theme of the 2017 festival: One Nation, Weaving Diversity, Strengthening Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (Nusantara Satu, Merajut Kebhinekaan, Memperkokoh NKRI).

Racial, ethnic, and religious stereotypes: Because of their pervasiveness, it is very difficult to find people who want to participate wholeheartedly in overcoming them and building peaceful interethnic and interfaith relations. Sumartono Hadinoto is overcoming them through individual and institutional approaches. Individually, he is committed to helping people with sincerity and integrity regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds. His leadership in the Solo Red Cross has shown this and inspired others as a role model. Institutionally, he built more inclusive and participatory corporate cultures and policies. He played a key role in transforming the Surakarta Society Association from a Chinese businessman club into a more open organization with more than 3,000 members of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. Without the transformation, it could not have organized the Chinese new year festival as a celebration of diversity. In the Solo Red Cross, Sumartono as its secretary led the implementation of an open management system that has significantly increased the participation of highly qualified and committed people with diverse backgrounds—ethnically, religiously, professionally—in its board and voluntary works. It is now the most trusted organization in Solo for emergency response and enjoys a wide support in the city.

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