May 15, 2010

Gedung Agung

When tracing back the history of Indonesian independence in Yogyakarta you cannot leave off the President’s Residence The Residence lies upon a 43.858 square meter land and is also known as Gedung Agung. The naming was thought to be related to one of the functions of the main palace as a room for receiving noble guests.

Gedung Agung is one of the six President’s Residences in Indonesia who played an important role in the struggle for Indonesian independence and life. The other are Istana Negara and Istana Merdeka (Jakarta), Istana Bogor (Bogor), Istana Cipanas (Cipanas), and Istana Tampak Siring (Bali). The construction of Gedung Agung was initiated by Anthonie Hendriks Smissaert, the 18 head of Dutch Residency in Yogyakarta (1823-1925) who wanted to own an official office as well as residence for the Dutch Recidents in Yogyakarta. In May 1824 the Indies Governor General then appointed architect A. Payen to start the construction. The construction process was delayed due to Diponegoro War outbreak (1825-1830) which was also known as the Java War (Java Oorlog). After the war ended, the construction continued and finished in 1832. When an earthquake hit Yogyakarta on June 10 1867, the building collapsed. It was reconstructed and finished in 1869. More ... >>

May 3, 2010

EloProgo Art House

On Monday, March 15, 2010 at 11 a.m., I left for Magelang. From Km 13 Kaliurang Street, Yogyakarta, I took the alternative road northward to EloProgo Art House at Bejen, Wanurejo, Borobudur, Magelang. In this place, the heart of the archipelago, the middle of eastern and western Indonesia, I wrote a note about the fine art and culture of this art and cultural house.

Arriving at EloProgo Art House, I entered a gate with a dragon and a buffalo statues. A few meters forward, I could hear the sound of water. I parked my motorcycle and rushed to enjoy EloProgo vast river flow. I grinned, almost as wide as the coffee cup I use to drink coffee back home, a moment before i ran to that scented land.

At EloProgo Art House, I met the owner whom I used to chat on Facebook. We introduced each other, shared ideas and discussed about Malay art, culture and values. My conclusion was that the owner is a brilliant painter with egalitarian character and broad knowledge. He is Sony Santosa, the painter.

Sony Santosa was born in Curup, Rejang Lebong, Bengkulu. His mother belongs to Basemah ethnic group in South Sumatra, while his father belongs to Rejang ethnic group in Bengkulu. Sony spent his youth on the streets of Jakarta. Then, in 1989, he decided to go to Ubud, Bali, to develop painting. Two years afterwards, in 1991 – 1992, he established his Painting Gallery in Ubud. In 1993, he founded another gallery called Sony Painters Place.
More ... >>

Apr 29, 2010

Penglipuran Traditional Village

Bali is the island of millions of wonders. Not only is it popular as the Island of Gods or the Island of Thousands of Temples with gorgeous scenery, Bali is also known as the island of thousands of symbols due to the various customs and traditions strongly attached on the Balinese. The beauty of its panorama and culture makes Bali a favourite tourism destination for domestic and foreign tourists.

The beautiful nature combined with local cultural element and good tourism management gives Bali many tourism awards. Some of the awards received in 2009 are the award for “The Best Exotic Destination” from Luxury Travel Magazine, London, England; “The Best Island” in Pacific Asia from Hongkong based DestinAsia Magazine, and “The Best Spa in The World” from Senses Wellnes Magazine.

Besides its scenic beaches, Bali has a tourism object which presents the enchantment of local culture and daily activities. It is Penglipuran Village, authorized as a traditional village in 1992, a rural area in Bali with a well-ordered lay-out and local government organization as well as strong cultural values maintained by its people.
More ... >>

Apr 26, 2010

The Sultanate of Serdang

The history of the Sultanate of Serdang, located in East Sumatra, is a complicated and volatile one. The establishment of this sultanate cannot rule of the heyday of the Sultanate of Aceh. The history of the Sultanate of Serdang should begin with Tuanku Sri Paduka Gocah Pahlawan. He was a brave figure known as the Army Commander-In-Chief (Panglima Besar Tentara) and Commander of Aceh Armada (Panglima Armada Aceh). Carrying the banners of the Sultanate of Aceh under the aegis of Sultan Iskandar Muda, Tuanku Sri Paduka Gocah Pahlawan led the conquest operations of the lands along the West and East Coast of Sumatra and reached Johor and Pahang. There were some who said that Tuanku Sri Paduka Gocah Pahlawan who was entitled Laksamana Kuda Bintan was none but Laksamana Malem Dagang who led the Aceh fleet fought against the Portuguese (1629) and conquered Pahang (1617), Kedah (1620), Nias (1624) and more (Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II, 2007 b:4).

In 1632, Sultan Iskandar Muda authorized Tuanku Sri Paduka Gocah Pahlawan the vice of Aceh Sultan or the representative of the country due to his merit and service to the Sultanate of Aceh. He then led Haru, or later known as East Sumatera (Basarshah II, 2003:2). Haru was in fact an independent kingdom conquered by the Sultanate of Aceh under the command of Tuanku Sri Paduka Gocah Pahlawan. He was the ancestor of the kings in Haru, an area which later changed into Deli and Serdang. The name Haru itself first emerged in the travel journal of a Chinese wanderer who stopped by in Sumatra at around the 13th century. It was stated in the journal that Haru sent a mission to China in 1282 AD when China was ruled by the Mongolian Empire under Kubilai Khan leadership. In addition, the name Haru was also written in Pararaton chronicle in the fragment on Pamalayu Expedition, which explained about Majapahit struggle to conquer Malay starting from the 13th century. Haru was recorded as one of the main countries in Sumatera besides Lamuri, Lamuri, Samudera, Barlak (Perlak), and Dalmyan (Temiang). Negarakertagama by the legendary Mpu Prapanca also treated the existence of Haru by stating that, in addition to Pane, Majapahit also conquered Kompai and Haru. More >>

Apr 5, 2010

Traditional Medical Therapy: Malay Traditional Medical Treatment in Aceh

Acehnese have been known for having the culture which is strongly influenced by Islamic culture. This is reflected in Aceh major Moslem population. In addition, the acculturation of both culture in Aceh is expressed in a proverb “Adat ngon Hukum han jeut Cree, Lagee zat ngon siffeut”, which means that the tradition and Islamic canon law are inseparable as though substance and its characters (M. Alamsyah, 1998/1999:53-54).

The acculturation of tradition (culture) and Islam causes the perspective on culture to be synchronized with Islamic perspective, and so are health problems. Aceh culture views the health for Acehnese must agree with the Islamic view on health. Likewise, Islamic explanation on health must be adjusted to Aceh culture.
Islam advises its adherents to always maintain their health and to make efforts to stay out of illnesses. Moreover, in Acehnese perspective, every illness suffered is Allah’s will (Rusdi Sufi & Agus Budi Wibowo, 2006:28).

Related to that perspective, there is a popular proverb which develops in the Acehnese. It says ‘na umu na ubat’ which means if someone is blessed with long life, every illness he suffers will have its remedy. This perspective is in accordance with the Hadith ‘Allah does not create an illness without its remedy.’ (Alamsyah, 1998/1999:54).
More ... >>