Yesterday was my Birthday!
I had super fun, and I made this video.
Brothers Tan Kioe Lie and Tan Kioe Gie are preparing to leave their Cicuruk home to find work: Kioe Lie will go to Bandung, while Kioe Gie will go to Batavia (now Jakarta) and become a letter-setter. As they are packing, Kioe Lie’s fiancée Gouw Hap Nio visits. She leaves some snacks with their father, the poor farmer Tan Lauw Pe, before going home, promising to take care of Pe while his sons are away. The brothers finish packing, say goodbye to their father, and head for the train station.
Three years later, Kioe Lie visits his brother in the latter’s Batavia home. Kioe Gie has become an editor of the newspaper Kamadjoean and is known as a generous philanthropist. Kioe Lie, meanwhile, has become the manager of a tapioca factory, but is planning to leave for competing business run by Tjio Tam Bing, who has offered him twice the salary. Kioe Gie asks him to reconsider, or at least not take any customers, but Kioe Lie is set on his goals. Before Kioe Lie leaves, the brothers discuss marriage: since Kioe Lie has no intent to marry Hap Nio soon, Kioe Gie asks permission to marry first. Though Kioe Lie disapproves of Kioe Gie’s sweetheart, a poor orphan girl named Oeij Ijan Nio, he agrees.
Another four years pass, and Kioe Gie has become editor-in-chief of Kemadjoean and married Ijan Nio. He is concerned, however, over the newspaper’s new political orientation: the owner, Oeij Tjoan Siat, is aiming to make the paper pro-Dutch East Indies, a stance that Kioe Gie considers a betrayal to the ethnic Chinese. When Tjoan Siat comes to Kioe Gie’s home to ask him to follow the former’s new political leanings, heavily influenced by a monthly payment of 2,000 gulden offered by an unnamed political party, Kioe Gie refuses and resigns.
During the following week Kioe Gie and his wife sell their belongings and prepare to move back to Cicuruk. This departure is delayed by a visit from Kioe Lie, who reveals that he will be marrying Tam Bing’s widow Tan Houw Nio – Tam Bing having died the year before. Kioe Gie is horrified, both because the widow has the same surname[a] and because Kioe Lie had promised their father on his deathbed to marry Hap Nio. After an extensive argument, Kioe Lie disowns his brother and leaves.
Five years later, Kioe Lie and Houw Nio’s marriage is failing. Owing to poor investments (some made with embezzled money), Houw Nio’s gambling, and Kioe Lie’s keeping of a mistress, they have lost their fortune. Kioe Lie tries to convince his wife to sell her jewellery, thus allowing him to return the stolen money. Houw Nio, however, refuses, tells him to sell the house and his mistress’ jewellery, and then leaves. Soon afterwards, Kioe Lie’s friend Tan Tiang An warns him that he will be arrested by the police unless he flees the colony. Together they rent a car and Kioe Lie heads for the port at Batavia.
Passing through Cicuruk, the car breaks down and, while the chauffeur attempts to fix it, Kioe Lie takes shelter in a nearby home. He learns that it belongs to Kioe Gie and Hap Nio, who have built up a vast farm, garden, and orchard that provides them with ample income. The two philanthropists are friends with the area’s elite, and Hap Nio is happily married to a rich plantation administrator. When Kioe Gie and his companions return from playing tennis, they discover Kioe Lie hiding shamefully under a piano. Kioe Lie admits that he was wrong to be greedy. When a police officer arrives, Kioe Lie confesses to poisoning Tam Bing, then runs outside and shoots himself.