Family member of Hamengkoe Buwono VII sultan of Yogyakarta c. 1885 by Kassian Cephas

On Black December, The New Art Movement and Being Contemporary – FX Harsono

Desember Hitam, GSRB Dan Kontemporer

FX Harsono*)

Original Post by Adhisuryo Mei 19 2013

Sebelum tahun 1975 kritik seni rupa di Indonesia didominasi oleh teori yang datang dari barat, yaitu Eropa dan Amerika. Dalam praktik penciptaan ideologi modernisme ini tidak sepenuhnya dilaksanakan sama seperti di Barat, tetapi pada dasarnya seluruh konsep seni rupa Barat dipakai sebagai landasan untuk menilai perjalanan seni rupa Indonesia. Dikotomi antara Barat, non-Barat, tinggi, rendah, pusat dan pinggiran semua lahir dari konsep modernisme.

Medium penciptaan juga tak lepas dari pengaruh modernisme. Demikian juga dunia pendidikan. Pada masa itu kami sebagai orang muda mengatakan bahwa arus besar disebut mainstream. Praktik seni rupa tidak bisa keluar dari batasan seni rupa modern, yaitu lukis, patung dan graphic art.

Identitas

Ideologi modernisme tak disadari oleh para seniman pada tahun 1960an hingga 70an telah membawa mereka terjebak dalam putaran arus dikotomis. Pada satu sisi adanya keinginan untuk menempatkan kesenian mereka dalam arus universal pada sisi lain mereka ingin menunjukkan identitas nasional, yaitu identitas ke-Indonesiaan dengan menghadirkan gaya dekoratif yang direpresentasikan dengan dipakainya unsure-unsur ornamen, relief candi, topeng-topeng, kesenian tradisional dan semua yang dianggap sebagai benda tradisi.

Sepirit kerakyatan yang dikumandangkan oleh Lekra, dan Persagi dengan mencoba melukis masyarakat Indonesia dan kebudayaan luhur nenek moyang dianggap sebagai jalan keluar untuk menemukan identitas ke-Indonesiaan. Mereka tidak menyadari bahwa praktik seni rupa yang mereka pakai tetap mengacu pada ideologi modernisme. Dimana dalam ideologi modernisme tidak membarikan ruang pada masa lalu dalam bentuk apapun. Modernisme selalu berseberangan dengan yang telah lalu dan yang kuno. Demikian juga seniman adalah otonom dan tidak bisa diintervensi olah partai politik atau kekuasaan.

Latar Belakang Sosial & Politik

Peristiwa G30S di mana Partai Komunis Indonesia dinyatakan oleh pemerintah Soeharto telah melakukan kudeta. Peristiwa ini merupakan peristiwa politik yang membawa akibat berupa perubahan besar dalam perkembangan sosial, politik, dan ekonomi. Pengalaman traumatis dari seniman akibat dari peristiwa ini menimbulkan ketakutan untuk mengangkat masalah sosial ke dalam penciptaan keseniannya, yang kemudian dikenal sebagai trauma politik.

Sepinya penciptaan kesenian yang mengangkat masalah sosial dalam seni lukis, atau dengan kata lain, seniman tidak lagi tertarik oleh masalah sosial, bisa disebabkan oleh beberapa hal, antara lain trauma politik dan depolitisasi. Depolitisasi terhadap seluruh aktifitas kehidupan termasuk kesenian yang bertujuan menciptakan stabilisasi politik dalam upaya mensukseskan pembangunan ekonomi pada masa orde baru. Akibatnya, seniman takut untuk berbicara politik maupun ikut dalam partai politik, bahkan rasa takut untuk melukis rakyat. Melukis rakyat bisa diartikan msebagai aktifitas kesenian yang punya korelasi politik dengan sosialis atau komunis.

Kelompok Lima

Praktik seni rupa pada tahun 70an awal masih didominasi oleh batasan medium yang ketat. Yaitu seni lukis, seni patung atau seni grafis.  Yang semuanya dikategorikan dalam fine art. Penciptaan dan pendidikan seni terpusat pada dua institusi pendidikan resmi, yaitu Sekolah Tinggi Seni Rupa Indonesia ASRI dan ITB. Diluar institusi pendidikan resmi masih ada sanggar. Sanggar Bambu di Jogjakarta adalah satu-satunya sanggar yang masih bertahan setelah sanggar-sanggar dibawah partai politik berguguran. Semua ini dikarenakan terjadinya depolitisasi oleh pemerintah Soeharto, sehingga sanggar-sanggar dibawah naungan partai politik tidak popular.

Sanggar-sanggar yang bernaung dibawah institusi agama pun ikut redup. Diantaranya adalah Sanggar Latu Kuning dari kelompok Katolik, Sanggar Muslim dan sanggar Putih. Popularitas sanggar semakin menurun, nampaknya hal ini dikarenakan sikap individual seniman muda semakin kuat dan penolakan terhadap cantrikisme atau pendidikan seni rupa yang menjunjung tinggi senioritas atau patron dan klien.

Pada tahun 1972-73 muncullah kelompok-kelompok kecil yang diinisasi oleh para seniman muda di Jogjakarta. Diantaranya adalah Kelompok Lima Pelukis Muda Yogyakarta (KLPMY), yang terdiri dari Siti Adiyati, Nanik Mirna, Bonyong Munni Ardhi, Hardi dan saya sendiri. Kelompok ini pada awalnya didukung dan di fasilitasi oleh pelukis senior Fajar Sidik. Yang juga sebagai dosen dan ketua jurusan seni lukis di STSRI “ASRI”.

Kelompok ini mengadakan pameran di Solo, kemudian di Lembaga Indonesia Amerika di Surabaya. 3 dari anggota ini, yaitu Bonyong, Nanik dan saya kemudian mengadakan pameran di Balai Budaya Jakarta pada tahun 1974. Disini hubungan para seniman muda ini mulai bersinggungan dengan para pelukis senior di Jakarta, terutama dengan pelukis Nashar.

Gejolak estetika yang terjadi pada waktu itu sangat mewarnai proses penciptaan para seniman muda ini. Gejolak dan keresahan dalam penciptaan karya seni rupa (baca seni lukis) pada waktu itu lebih terpusat dalam dunia pendidikan dimana kami belajar. Keresahan ini memicu demo-demo dan diskusi-diskusi di dalam kampus yang nadanya menentang establishment dalam sistem pendidikan yang bersifat cantrikisme dirasakan mengekang kebebasan untuk bereksperimen.

Pemikiran dan aliran dari para senior banyak mempengaruhi para murid dan seniman muda pada waktu itu. Hal ini karena sistem pendidikan yang disebut sebagai cantrikisme tadi, seniman muda yang menjadi murid berlaku sebagai cantrik atau pengikut setia dari gurunya dan mengikuti pola penciptaan yang diajarkan dan tentulah dilarang melampaui atau keluar dari patron yang telah di tetapkan

Selain sistem pendidikan yang tidak memberikan kebebasan untuk bereksperimen juga diskusi-diskusi pencarian identitas yang sering dilontarkan oleh seniman muda di Jogjakarta. Sikap kritis ini dipicu oleh polemik antara Oesman Effendi dan Sudjojono pada sekita awal tahun 70-an di Koran Kompas, dimana tuduhan Oesman Effendi bahwa tidak ada seni lukis Indonesia dibantah oleh Sudjojono. Polemik ini menjadi pendorong diskusi dalam kelompok kecil untuk mempertanyakan identitas ke-Indonesiaan dalam seni lukis Indonesia. Pada masa itu identitas ditafsirkan sebagai ekplorasi visual yang menghadirkan ornamen, kesenian tradisional, artefak budaya masa lalu yang dianggap mampu memancarkan spirit nasionalisme.

Para seniman muda justru mempertanyakan, apakah menampilkan kebudayaan masa lalu dan kesenian tradisi lokal suatu etnis tertentu bisa merepresentasikan ke-Indonesiaan yang sangat beragam ini? Bukankah semua itu lebih diwarnai dengan eksotisisme? Pertanyaan-pertanyaan ini mendorong para seniman muda untuk lebih bergairah dalam melakukan eksplorasi pemikiran, teknik dan medium dalam penciptaan.

Munculnya gaya melukis geometris di kampus STSRI “ASRI”, gaya abtsrak ekspresionistis, gaya pop dan sebagainya. Yang mana eksperimen-eksperimen ini secara visual tentunya tak luput dari pengaruh seni rupa Barat. Meski pemahaman konseptual tentang seni rupa Barat kurang dipahami, dikarenakan minimnya kemampuan berbahasa Inggris dan minimnya informasi yang bersifat tekstual. Hal ini disebabkan pendidikan yang masih mengetengahkan teknik sebagai yang utama dalam penciptaan seni rupa, maka konsep, teori dan diskursus dalam seni dan kebudayaan bukan menjadi yang utama.

Desember Hitam

Pameran Besar Seni Lukis Indonesia yang pertama, yang merupakan cikal bakal Jakarta Biennale, pada tahun 1974 diselenggarakan di Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta. Anggota dari KLPMY ditambah Ris Purwono mendapat undangan untuk ikut dalam pameran ini.

Karya-karya para pelukis muda yang dipamerkan tidak lagi mengikuti cara dan teknik melukis dari para guru dan senior mereka. Penciptaan seni menolak lirisisme, kedalaman (deepness), ketunggalan, penciptaan yang dilakukan oleh tangan seniman. Seluruh proses penciptaan yang menjunjung tinggi nilai-nilai estetis yang menempatkan seniman sebagai individu yang otonom. Semua nilai-nilai itu ditolak dengan menghadirkan karya-karya yang tidak lagi bisa diidentifikasi sebagai praktik penciptaan yang tidak lagi merepresentasikan aura siseniman, karena orisinalitas, ketunggalan dan keunikan dari jiwa seniman yang terpancar tidak lagi dianggap sebagai suatu yang penting.

Bentuk karya yang mencerminkan eksperimentasi ini mendapat kritik dari dewan juri. Dalam pernyataan dewan juri dikatakan bahwa: “Usaha bermain-main dengan apa yang asal “baru” dan “aneh” saja, dapatlah dianggap sebagau usaha coba-coba, cari-cari, atau sekedar iseng, atau bukti langkanya idee dan kreativita”.

Kritik lain yang berlandaskan pada orisinalitas, juri mentakan: “Anggauta-anggauta juri mengakui bahwa hal pengaruh seni lain ialah gejala budaya yang wajar di setiap tempat dan zaman. Pengaruh tidak menentukan kadar kreativita. Sebaliknya, kadar kreativita ditentukan oleh usaha peniruan, lebih-lebih lagi usaha peniruan yang mentah-mentah dan tanpa pengertian. Sehubungan dengan diatas itu, maka orijinalita mutlak tidak dapat dijadikan tuntutan. Namun demikian, pentingnya orijinalita mesti diakui, sepanjang ini memperdalam atau memperkaya makna dan pengalamanan”.

Lebih lanjut mereka menuliskan: “Sehubungan pula dengan yang diatas harus segera dinyatakan bahwa cara-cara dan kecenderungan-kecenderungan melukis yang sudah lama dikenal tetap dapat menyumbangkan makna dan pengalaman berharga.”

Pernyataan dewan juri yang bernada mendiskriditkan para pelukis muda ini segera mendapat tanggapan dengan protes dan keluarnya “Pernyataan Desember Hitam 1974”. Protes ini didukung oleh beberapa seniman diluar seni rupa dan budayawan D.A. Peransi yang telah menuliskan pemikiran para seniman ini.

Pernyataan ini pada intinya mengatakan bahwa, keragaman dalam seni rupa adalah niscaya dan itu sah karena mencerminkan sikap hidup dan kebudayaan yang beragam pula. Untuk itu, maka eksperimen diperlukan, dan establishment tidak lagi positif untuk perkembangan seni rupa Indonesia. Penciptaan sebuah karya seni adalah sah untuk berorientasi pada semua unsur kehidupan, yaitu kehidupan social, politik, ekonomi dan kebudayaan. Pernyataan itu ditandatangani oleh 13 seniman dan budayawan, lima diantara mereka nantinya adalah sebagian dari pencetus Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru.

Keresahan dan Konflik Estetis

Gejala ini dicatat oleh Sanento Yuliman – seorang kritikus dan pengajar di ITB, Bandung – pada  70-an. Sanento mengatakan bahwa karya-karya para seniman muda yang diwakili oleh karya dari mahasiswa ITB (Institut Teknologi Bandung) dan STSRI “ASRI” (Sekolah Tinggi Seni Rupa “ASRI” di Jogja) bersifat antilirisisme ini berlawanan dengan lirisisme yang dianut oleh praktik seni rupa sebelumnya.

Lirisisme menyaring dan mentransformasikan pengalaman serta emosi ke dalam dunia imajiner, maka dalam nonlirisisme seniman seakan-akan menghindari penyaringan dan transformasi. Bukan gambaran benda-benda yang diperlihatkan, melainkan benda-benda itu sendiri disuguhkan. Bukan rasa jijik yang ditampilkan dalam lukisan, tetapi rasa jijik yang ditampilkan karena hadirnya benda yang sesungguhnya. Karya seni bukan lagi sepotong dunia imajiner yang direnungi dari suatu jarak, melainkan obyek konkret yang melibatkan penanggap secara fisik.

Konflik yang bersumber dari lingkungan pendidikan di kampus ini kemudian menyatukan kelompok mahasiswa STSRI “ASRI” dan kelompok mahasiswa dari ITB. Kemudian mereka membentuk “Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru” dengan pamerannya yang pertama di Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) pada Agustus 1975.

Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru

Pameran GSRB yang pertama ini diikuti oleh sebelas perupa muda. Mereka adalah: Siti Adiyati, Nanik Mirna, Pandu Sudewo, Muryoto Hartoyo, FX Harsono, Jim Supangkat, Anyool Soebroto, B. Munni Ardhi, Bachtiar Zainoel, Hardi danRis Purwono. Anggota GSRB ini setiap tahun bertambah dengan nama-nama antara lain: S. Prinka, Satyagraha, Nyoman Nuarta, Dede Eri Supria, Wagiono, Priyanto, Agus Tjahjono, Gendut Riyanto, Haris Purnomo, Ronald Manulang, Budi Sulistyo, Slamet Riyadi, Redha Sorana, Freddy Sofyan dan beberap lainnya.

Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru (GSRB) mengeluarkan statemen yang menandai sikap mereka dalam penciptaan seni rupa. Statemen itu kemudian dikenal sebagai “Lima jurus gebrakan Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia” yang diterbitkan dalam buku Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia yang diterbitkan oleh Gramedia. Buku ini terbit pada tahun 1979, menjelang bubarnya GSRB.

GSRB  sempat membuat pameran beberapa kali. Kemudian pada 1979, pameran mereka yang terakhir kalinya, kelompok ini membubarkan diri. GSRB menyatakan diri bubar setelah dalam sebuah rapat di Bandung, FX Harsono, Satyagraha, Jim Supangkat dan Freddy Sofyan, sepakat untuk membubarkan gerakan ini. Alasan pembubaran berbeda-beda pada setiap individu dalam GSRB.

Pertengkaran dan upaya untuk mendiskriditkan karya-karya beberapa seniman yang lebih muda. Upaya untuk menjadikan dirinya sebagai pusat dari gerakan. Dimana semua ini telah menyimpang dari komitmen pertama GSRB, bahwa kebebasan individu dalam mencipta adalah mutlak. Individu lainnya tidak bisa mengintervensi apa lagi berusaha menjadikan seniman lain sebagai pendukung pemikirannya. Semua ini menunjukkan bahwa pemahaman anggota terhadap visi GSRB tidak sama. Setelah GSRB bubar maka ketidak merataan pemahaman nampak jelas dengan hilangnya mereka dari jalur seni rupa kontemporer atau absennya mereka dari praktik seni rupa.

Dalam hal ini Jim Supangkat melihat adanya dua sikap yang saling beradu. Yang pertama cenderung bersikap: Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru adalah gerakan pembaruan yang terus-menurus melahirkan kebaruan tanpa perlu memikirkan kehadiran seni rupa di Indonesia, tanpa perlu mengkaji dasar-dasar perkembangannya. Yang kedua lebih kompleks: selain mencari pembaruan – yang dianggap penembusan kemacetan kreativitas – juga mendambakan pengkajian berbagai masalah seni rupa, mempertanyakan kedudukannya dan kepekaannya ditengah masyarakat.[1]

Post GSRB

Setelah GSRB bubar, para eksponennya melakukan aktifitasnya masing-masing. Nampaknya aktifitas untuk memenuhi kebutuhan hidup menjadi bagian penting dalam kehidupan mereka masing-masing. Sebagian besar dari mereka bekerja di perusahaan peiklanan, sebagian menjadi penulis dan sebagainya. Memang kesenian semacam yang ditampilkan dalam GSRB bukanlah seni yang bisa diserap oleh pasar. Pasar seni rupa pun pada tahun 70an akhir boleh dibilang belum terbentuk. Pasar seni rupa hanya diisi oleh para kolektor yang mau membeli karya-karya lukisan dari para master. Situasi ini yang menyebabkan para eksponen GSRB terjebak dalam kerutinan kerja industri periklanan atau penerbitan.

Setelah GSRB bubar memang tidak ada kegiatan seni rupa yang besar, tetapi juga  tidak saat itu bisa dikatakan vakum. Gelombang pengaruh gerakan ini mulai menjalar pada seniman muda lainnya, baik mereka yang berada di Yogyakarta, Bandung, maupun Jakarta. Hal ini bisa dilihat dengan bertambahnya anggota gerakan pada setiap pameran, dan munculnya gerakan-gerakan lain yang karya-karyanya mengacu pada bentuk-bentuk karya GSRB. Selanjutnya, muncul perubahan dalam kurikulum pendidikan di ITB (Fakultas Seni Rupa) dan Sekolah Tinggi Seni Rupa Indonesia “ASRI” (sekarang ISI, Fakultas Seni Rupa dan Desain) dengan memasukkan mata kuliah Eksperimentasi.

Di Jogjakarta kegiatan seni rupa yang bernuansakan eksperimen cukup intens. Para pelaku terdiri dari mahasiswa yang ikut dalam GSRB, mereka dimotori oleh Bonyong Munni Ardhi, Haris Purnomo, Gendut Riyanto, Wienardi, Mohamad Cholid, Ronald Manulang, Dede Eri Supria dan beberapa lagi. Hubungan dan diskusi antara beberapa eksponen GSRB dari Jakarta, Jogja dan Bandung masih berlanjut.

PIPA

Selain kelompok Seni Rupa Baru, muncul kelompok-kelompok lain yang mempunyai bentuk karya yang menolak dogma-dogma seni rupa lama. Salah satu dari kelompok tersebut adalah Kelompok “Kepribadian Apa”  (PIPA). Kelompok ini mempertanyakan apa itu kepribadian Indonesia. Bagi mereka pemantapan kepribadian Indonesia dengan pola yang ditentukan akan mengurangi kebebasan dalam penciptaan karya seni.

PIPA yang terbentuk pada tahun 1978, diikuti oleh 17 mahasiswa STSRI “ASRI” Yogyakarta. Mereka diantaranya adalah: Dede Eri Supria, Gendut Riyanto, Haris Purnomo, Ronald Manulang, B. Munni Ardhi, Wienardi, Tulus Warsito, Budi Sulistyo dan Redha Sorana. Karya-karya yang dipamerkan meliputi performance art, karya-karya instalasi yang mirip dengan karya dari GSRB. Pameran ini hanya berlangsung dua hari,  kemudian ditutup oleh polisi. Sebagian besar dari peserta pameran ini kemudian ikut dalam GSRB dan mengikuti pameran GSRB pada 1979.

Kegiatan lainnya:

Tahun 1980, Haris Purnomo mengadakan performance secara beramai-ramai di sepanjang jalan Maliobor dengan tajuk “Culture Shock”.

Tahun 1981,  Gendut mengelar karya di sawah

Tahun 1981, Haris Purnomo, Dadang Christanto dan beberapa lagi mengadakan performance “Pertandingan Tinju” di aula kampus STSRI “ASRI”

Tahun 1982, Pameran seni rupa lingkungan di Parangtritis, yang diikuti cukup banyak perupa muda dan mahasiswa STSRI “ASRI”. Saya dan Gendut yang sudah berdomisili di Jakarta pun ikut dalam kegiatan ini

Proses 85

Tahun 1985, kegiatan lain yang perlu dicatat adalah Pameran “Proses 85,” yang diselenggarakan di Galeri Seni Rupa Ancol, Jakarta pada Oktober 1985. Kegiatan ini mengangkat tema masalah lingkungan hidup. Pameran ini diikuti oleh lima perupa: B. Munni Ardhi, Harsono, Moelyono, Haris Purnomo dan Gendut Riyanto. Satu hal yang patut dicatat dari kegiatan ini adalah kesenian sebaiknya mampu menampilkan masalah yang dihadapi secara obyektif dan proporsional. Maka pengamatan lapangan secara teliti, penelitian dan kerjasama dengan pakar dari masalah yang akan ditampilkan adalah perlu.

Dari pengamatan saya kegiatan ini adalah yang pertama dimana penciptaan seni rupa bekerjasama dengan LSM dalam melakukan penelitian. Modus praktik penciptaan ini kemudian dikembangakn dalam kegiatan seni rupa yang bertajuk “Pasar Raya Dunia Fantasi”

New Art Movement Exhibition 1987, Project 1: Supermarket Fantasy World "No 1 in America"

New Art Movement Exhibition 1987, Project 1: Supermarket Fantasy World “No 1 in America” (http://archive.ivaa-online.org/events/detail/14)

Pasar Raya Dunia Fantasi

GSRB yang telah bubar pada 1979, kemudian coba dihidupkan kembali oleh beberapa anggotanya, antara lain Harsono, Jim Supangkat, Siti Adiyati, Gendut Riyanto, Haris Purnomo, Priyanto, Wienardi, dan didukung oleh Sanento Yuliman. Selain mereka, ikut serta pula seniman dari berbagai disiplin kesenian lainnya.

Pameran Proyek 1 Pasaraya Dunia Fantasi pada 15 Juni 1987  didahului dengan riset dan pengumpulan data, serta inventarisasi karya seni yang dijajakan di jalanan. Sebuah pameran seni rupa instalasi ruang yang dikerjakan secara kooperatif dengan mengangkat permasalahan kebudayaan urban di Jakarta bisa dianggap mewakili kota besar di Indonesia dengan segala kompleksitas kebudayaannya. Di dalam pameran ini tidak ada karya individual.

Pameran ini diwarnai dengan semangat eksplorasi yang tinggi dengan keinginan untuk meninggalkan seni elitis dan menekankan pada seni rupa yang lebih plural. Hasil temuan benda yang bisa diidentifikasi sebagai budaya urban di duplikasi dalam ukuran besar. Iklan dan media-media cetak di buat ulang dengan plesetan atau dalam postmodern disebut apropriasi dan …

Gerakan ini juga tidak bertahan lama. Nampaknya pengembangan pribadi masing-masing individu selama masa vakum dari SRB ini telah menciptakan kesadaran dan keberpihakan terhadap masalah-masalah yang berbeda.

Kiprah di Forum Internasional

Setelah keinginan untuk menghidupkan GSRB tak terwujud, tidak berarti gaung dari praktik penciptaan karya seni rupa seperti yang di lakukan oleh GSRB terhenti. Tahun 1989 Jim Supangkat, Gendut Riyanto, Sri Malela dan Nyoman Nuarta mendapat undangan untuk mengikuti Artist Regional Exchanges atau ARX ke 2 di Perth, Australia. Ini pertama kali seni rupa Indonesia masuk ke forum internasional. Setelah itu, tahun 1992, FX Harsono, mendapat undangan residensi di South Australia University dan dilanjutkan dengan pameran di ARX yang ke 3, Perth, Australi.

Nampaknya ARX adalah awal dari masuknya seni rupa Indonesia ke forum internasional. ARX yang ke 4, tahun (1995), diikuti oleh 4 perupa dan seorang penulis. Mereka adalah: Moelyono, Made Jirna, Arahmayani, Rotua Magdalena, dan Enin Supriyanto sebagai penulis dan curator.

Kiprah di forum internasional tidak terhenti pada ARX. Tahun 1993 untuk pertama kalinya perhelatan besar Asia Pacific Triennale yang diselenggarakan oleh Queensland Art Gallery dengan melibatkan perupa dari Indonesia. Sejak saat itu Indonesia mendapat perhatian institusi seni rupa Asia, termasuk Jepang. Pada setiap kegiatan saya catat baik di Indonesia hingga di luar Indonesia selalu terdapat eksponen GSRB yang berpartisipasi. Hal ini membuktikan bubarnya GSRB tidak berarti selesainya praktik penciptaan seni rupa masih berlanjut dan terus menginspirasi perupa dari generasi yang lebih muda.

The Best of 75 (Paling Top 75) By Harsono 1975

The Best of 75 (Paling Top 75) By Harsono 1975 (Source: http://u-in-u.com/nafas/articles/2010/fx-harsono/img/11/)

Institusionalisasi Seni Rupa Kontemporer

Meski sebutan kontemporer secara resmi tidak pernah kami pakai dalam semua aktivitas GSRB, tetapi praktik seni rupa GSRB tidak bisa lepas dari konsep kekontemporeran. Demikian juga dengan penolakan terhadap ideologi modernism tidak pernah tertulis secara eksplisit dalam statemen Lima Jurus GSRB, tetapi secara implisit tersirat dalam pernataan “Lima Jurus Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru”. Di dalam pernyataan itu dituliskan penolakan terhadap batasan seni rupa seperti yang dianut dalam pemikiran seni modern, yaitu yang disebut sebagai fine art yang terdiri dari seni lukis, seni patung dan seni grafis sebagai praktik penciptaan yang terpisah. Seni rupa Indonesia sah untuk mengakomodir semua inspirasi dari seni tradisi, dimana di dalam ideologi modernisme segala yang berhubungan dengan tradisi dan yang lalu bukan menjadi acuan dari pemikiran modern. Semua ini tertuang pada jurus yang pertama.

Pada jurus ke-dua jelas dikemukakan penolakan terhadap sikap elitis dan avandgardisme yang menjadikan seni rupa menjadi terisolasi dari masyarakat dengan segala permasalahannya. Secara implisit bahwa pemikiran ini adalah menunjukkan penolakan terhadap kedudukan seniman yang otonom. Dimana individu yang otonom adalah jargon yang dominan dalam praktik penciptaan seni rupa modern.

Pada pernyataan selanjutnya menekankan bahwa sejarah seni rupa Indonesia mempunyai alurnya sendiri dan menolak universalitas. Pernyataan ini secara tegas mepenolak dominasi teori Barat sebagai satu-satunya kebenaran, atau yang dikenal sebagai kebenaran tunggal. GSRB berpihak kepada keragaman yang dilandasi oleh kesejarahannya sendiri dengan semua latarbelakang sosial dan kebudayaannya.

Dalam sebuah seminar postmodern di Universitas Satya Wacana pada tahun 1993, Ariel Haryanto mengatakan bahwa praktik kegiatan seni yang di dasari oleh pemikiran postmodern telah di lakukan oleh Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru. Artinya secara tidak langsung bahwa praktik seni rupa oleh GSRB sejalan dengan apa yang disebut sebagai seni rupa kontemporer, apabila landasan ideologi seni rupa kontemporer dilandasi oleh pemikiran postmodern.

Secara resmi istilah kontemporer baru dipakai dalam Biennale Jakarta ke 8, tahun 1993 yang dikurasi oleh Jim Supangkat. Dimana pemikiran postmodern dipakai sebagai landasan kuratorialnya. Kemudian pameran tunggal saya pada tahun 1994 di Galeri Nasional istilah kontemporer saya pakai untuk menunjukkan praktis penciptaan karya-karya saya.

Ken Dedes by Jim Supangkat 1975 (Remade 1996)

Ken Dedes by Jim Supangkat 1975 (Remade 1996) (Now at the NGS https://www.nationalgallery.sg/artworks/artwork-detail/1996-00215/ken-dedes)

Persoalannya bukanlah terletak pada penyebutan istilah kontemporer atau penolakan terhadap ideologi modernisme secara eksplisit, tetapi harus dilihat bagaimana praktik penciptaan karya-karya seni rupa baru pada waktu itu. Demikian juga bagaimana gaung GSRB mampu memberikan inspirasi bagi perupa generasi berikutnya. Semua ini bisa dilihat dari simpul-simpul peritiwa seni rupa yang saya uraikan di atas. Kalau saat ini hanya bisa diketemukan beberapa eksponen GSRB yang masih aktif berkiprah di dunia seni rupa tidak berarti bahwa GSRB gagal, karena spirit tidak dapat diukur dari kuantitas. Spirit adalah roh yang merasuk kejiwa para generasi yang lebih muda untuk terus melakukan eksperimentasi dan membuka cakrawala baru dan memberikan warna pada perkembangan kebudayaan saat ini tanpa harus silau dengan kebenaran-kebenaran besar yang tak berakar pada kesejarahan kita sendiri.

*) FX Harsono adalah eksponen GSRB yang terus aktif berkarya hingga saat ini, sebagai penulis seni rupa dan pengajar

 

Lampiran:

Lima jurus gebrakan Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia

1. Dalam berkarya, membuang sejauh mungkin imaji “seni rupa” yang diakui hingga kini, (kami menganggapnya sebagai “seni rupa lama”) yaitu seni rupa yang dibatasi hanya di sekitar: seni lukis, seni patung dan seni gambar (seni grafis)

Dalam Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia, penetrasi di antara bentuk-bentuk seni rupa di atas, yang bisa melahirkan karya-karya seni rupa yang tak dapat dikategorikan pada bentuk-bentuk seni rupa di atas, dianggap “sah”  (Seni Rupa Baru).

Dalam berkarya, membuang sejauh mungkin imaji adanya elemen-elemen khusus dalam seni rupa, seperti elemen-elemen lukisan, elemen gambar dan sebagainya. Keseluruhan berada dalam satu kategori, elemen-elemen rupa yang bisa berkaitan dengan elemen-elemen ruang, gerak, waktu dan sebagainya.

Dengan begitu, semua kegiatan yang dapat dikategorikan ke dalam seni rupa di Indonesia, kendati didasari “estetika” yang berbeda, umpamanya yang berasal dari kesenian tradisional, secara masuk akal dianggap sah sebagai seni rupa yang hidup.

2. Membuang sejauh mungkin sikap “spesialis” dalam seni rupa yang cenderung membangun “bahasa elitis” yang didasari sikap “avand-gardisme” yang dibangun oleh imaji: seniman seharusnya menyuruk ke dalam dirinya dan mencari hal-hal subtil (agar tidak dimengerti masyarakat, karena seniman adalah bagian dari misteri hidup?)

Sebagai gantinya, percaya pada segi “kesamaan” yang ada pada manusia dikarenakan lingkungan kehidupan yang sama. Percaya pada masalah-masalah sosial yang aktual sebagai masalah yang lebih penting untuk dibicarakan daripada sentimen-sentimen pribadi. Dalam hal ini, kekayaan ide atau gagasan lebih diutamakan daripada ketrampilan “master” dalam menggarap elemen-elemen bentuk.

3. Mendambakan “kemungkinan berkarya”, dalam arti mengharapkan keragaman gaya dalam seni rupa Indonesia. Menghujani seni rupa Indonesia dengan kemungkinan-kemungkinan baru, mengakui semua kemungkinan tanpa batasan, sebagai pencerminan sikap “mencari”. Dari sini, menentang semua penyusutan kemungkinan, antara lain sikap pengajaran “cantrikisme” di dalam gaya seorang guru diikuti murid-muridnya, yang sebenarnya dapat berbuat lain, memperkaya kemungkinan “gaya” seni rupa Indonesia.

4. Mencita-citakan perkembangan seni rupa yang “Indonesia” dengan jalan mengutamakan pengetahuan tentang sejarah seni rupa Indonesia baru yang berawal dari Raden Saleh. Mempelajari periodisasinya, melihat dengan kritis dan tajam caranya berkembang, menimbang dan menumpukkan perkembangan selanjutnya ke situ. Percaya bahwa dalam sejarah seni rupa Indonesia baru ini terdapat masalah-masalah yang sejajar bahkan dimiliki buku-buku impor, dan mampu mengisi seni rupa Indonesia, baik kritikus, sejarahwan atau pemikir. Menentang habis-habisan pendapat yang mengatakan perkembangan seni rupa Indonesia adalah bagian dari sejarah seni rupa dunia, yang mengatakan seni adalah universal, yang menggantungkan masalah seni rupa Indonesia pada masalah seni rupa di mancanegara.

5. Mencita-citakan seni rupa yang lebih hidup, dalam arti tidak diragukan kehadirannya, wajar, berguna, dan hidup meluas dikalangan masyarakat.

 


Source: Desember Hitam, GSRB Dan Kontemporer by FX Harsono

For more of the work of Kassian Cephas

 

 

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The Najwa Gaze

A Note from Ahok

 

A Note from Ahok
For Metro TV Show Mata Najwa and host Nana.

Indonesian Police Mobile Brigade
Headquarters [Prison], 16 August 2017

I’m one of those who was often invited onto [Metro TV’s talk] show Mata Najwa. (Showing off a little here 🙂 ) What’s for sure is there were a lot of supporters both for and against me appearing on the show. Why? Because Najwa would ask the hard questions and would fish and box me in when the viewers suspected me of, thought I was giving the impression I was guilty or lying. For me, [the host of the show] Nana is a professional person, and doesn’t try to win the argument all the time or give the impression of cornering you. Nana only wants her viewers to get the truth from insightful questions, of course with that classic Najwa gaze. I’m grateful, the Mata Najwa show allowed me to appear just as I am, and definitely to say it as it is. Facing questions, and the Mata Najwa gaze, there was only one key. I had to answer according to what was in my heart and conscience. My mouth and brain had to connect. By doing that, Nana and the viewers would accept all my answers. I pray that Nana is successful and full of joy wherever she serves. The Lord bless you, Nana.

Signed BTP

Nana

Nana

Nervous waiting to interview Ahok

Nervous waiting to interview Ahok

Notes from Ahok on Twitter

A note from Ahok on Twitter

 


Will Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission Be Paralyzed During the Term of President Jokowi?

By Budiman Tanuredjo, Kompas daily,  4 July 2017

The actions of the Indonesian House of Representatives Committee of Inquiry into the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) are becoming increasingly absurd. The Inquiry Committee is to go on safari to Pondok Bambu and Sukamiskin prisons to meet prisoners convicted of corruption offences. It is hoped the Inquiry Committee will find information on how the corruption convicts were treated inappropriately by the Commission.

“We want to look for information about anything they have felt while they were witnesses, suspects and prisoners convicted in corruption cases,” said Deputy Chairman of the Inquiry Committee Rep. Risa Mariska (PDIP-West Java), House member for the electoral district covering the towns of Bogor and Bekasi. She said the Inquiry Committee has received information there was improper treatment when the suspects were interviewed by the Corruption Eradication Commission.

Doubtless the Inquiry Committee will not have any trouble meeting any number of corruption prisoners. Take for instance former Chief Justice of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court Akil Mochtar, former Democrat Party Representative and party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin, former Democrat Party Representative and party secretary-general Anas Urbaningrum, former Democrat Party Representative Angelina Sondakh, former Banten province Governor Atut Chosiyah, along with any number of other names. From them, one can guess, will emerge any amount of ammunition to finish off the Commission as an ad hoc institution ending in the Commission being disbanded or neutered.

Parahyangan University criminal law lecturer Agustinus Pohan views the effort of the Inquiry Committee as an attempt by politicians to take revenge on the Commission. “The fight against corruption is now dealing with white-collar plunderers who want to prove their power to pay back,” Pohan said.

Earlier, Deputy Chairman of the House Inquiry Committee into the Corruption Eradication Commission Rep. Taufiqulhadi (Nasdem-East Java) planned to invite constitutional law experts to justify the legality of the Inquiry. “Some say this inquiry is not appropriate. Different opinions are all right but we hope it can be kept balanced,” said the National Democratic Party politician, as quoted by Kompas daily on 30 June 2017.

The action of the Inquiry Committee in inviting constitutional law experts Professor Dr Yusril Ihza Mahendra and Professor Jimly Asshiddiqie to appear will be a priority before it calls Rep. Miryam S. Haryani (Hanura-West Java) who has been arrested by the Commission. Miryam was declared a suspect by the Commission over allegations she provided false information. Her case is to go to trial soon.

The origins of the House Inquiry Committee started when the Commission leadership rejected a request from House of Representatives Commission III to make public the recording of the examination of Miryam Haryani by Commission investigators. The Commission refused to make the recording public without a trial. Up until now, recordings resulting from wiretaps have always been made public in trial hearings. Previously as a witness appearing before the Criminal Corruption Court, Miryam retracted part of her testimony contained in a brief of evidence giving as the reason that she had been coerced by Commission investigators.

In response to the retraction of her testimony in the brief of evidence, senior Commission investigator Novel Baswedan was examined as a witness in the trial. Novel testified there had been no intimidation or coercion. Novel went so far as to claim Miryam had been influenced by House of Representatives colleagues to retract the testimony in the brief of evidence. Novel mentioned several names including Rep. Bambang Soesatyo (Golkar-Central Java) and Rep. Masinton Pasaribu (PDIP-Jakarta) as those who had influenced Miryam. She denied ever having referred to their names. From this, House Commission III asked the Corruption Eradication Commission to make the recording public which the Commission refused to do.

Whether it is related or not is not known, but Novel Baswedan was attacked with acid by an unknown assailant several days after testifying. His eyesight was damaged. He was taken to hospital and is still receiving ongoing treatment. Police are still investigating the case but so far the person who sprayed Novel with acid has not been identified.

After undergoing further questioning at the Commission’s Jakarta offices on Wednesday 21 June, Hanura Party politician Rep. Miryam S. Haryani’s (Hanura-West Java) brief of evidence was declared complete, or Form 21 was issued, and ready for trial in relation to the case of providing false testimony in the electronic identity card implementation corruption trial.

Strong Resistance

The House of Representatives Inquiry Committee into the Commission seems to need to look for political support from constitutional law experts. Earlier 357 academics from various universities and a range of disciplines issued a “petition” rejecting the House Inquiry Committee into the Commission on a number of grounds. The 357 academics included Professor Dr Mahfud MD, Professor Dr Denny Indrayana, Professor Dr Rhenald Kasali and many other prominent academics.

Inviting experts in constitutional law or inviting anyone else is obviously perfectly legitimate. The Inquiry Committee has indeed been given legislative authority to do that. No one is denying that the House of Representatives has the right of inquiry, the right of interpellation and the right to express opinions. But what actually has become an issue is whether it is appropriate for the House to exercise the right of inquiry for the Corruption Eradication Commission. The Commission is a law enforcement agency and an independent institution, not part of the government. Is the action of the House of Representatives in exercising the right of inquiry in line with the will of the people it represents?

Resistance to the use of the House of Representatives’ right of inquiry for the Commission indeed has been strong. The open letter of 357 academics across numerous universities and disciplines is one form of this. These academics have very clearly captured the intention of the House of Representatives in using the right of inquiry as to weaken the Corruption Eradication Commission. The academics have rejected the use of the House’s right of inquiry for the Commission.

Presently, the Commission is investigating a case of alleged corruption involving the procurement of an electronic national identity card involving a number of House members, including House Speaker Rep. Setya Novanto (Golkar-East Nusa Tenggara) who has been banned from traveling overseas. The alleged loss to the public revenue is substantial.

A Kompas daily poll on Monday 8 May 2017 also contained the same message. As many as 58.9 percent of respondents felt the House decision to use the right of inquiry did not represent the interests of the community. While those who thought that it did represent the interests of the community amounted to 35.6 percent. The majority of respondents (72.4 percent) believed the use of the House right of inquiry into the Commission was related to the Commission’s investigation into the electronic identity card corruption case.

In the virtual world, one internet user, Virgo Sulianti Gohardi, garnered support for a petition against the right of inquiry on the site Change.org. As of midday Friday 30 May 2017, the petition had been signed by 44,350 people. Virgo targeted the petition to be signed by 50,000 people.

In terms of representation theory, the formation of the House of Representative Inquiry Committee for the Commission really does not have social legitimacy or has a very low level of representation. In addition, the Democrat Party (PD) House faction, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) House faction, and the National Awakening Party (PKB) House faction have refused to join the Committee of Inquiry.

“The Democrats are not responsible for anything in the Inquiry Committee,” said House Deputy Speaker from the Democrat Party Rep. Agus Hermanto (DP-Central Java) at the congress building while stressing that the Democrat Party does not agree with the Inquiry Committee for the Commission.

“We reject the weakening of the Corruption Eradication Commission through the inquiry. The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) was being consistent by not sending any members, but the PKS is still critical of the Commission,” said Head of the PKS Advisory Council Rep. Hidayat Nur Wahid (PKS-Jakarta). National Awakening Party (PKB) party Chairman Rep. Muhaimin Iskandar (PKB-East Java) was also of the same opinion, rejecting the use of a House inquiry into the Commission.

History of House Inquiries

The right of inquiry is a constitutional right of the House of Representatives. No one can deny this. Article 20A Paragraph 2 of the 1945 Constitution explicitly regulates the right of inquiry. During the period of parliamentary government in the 1950s, the issue of a right of inquiry was also provided for by Public Law No. 6 of 1954 concerning the Right of Inquiry.

In Indonesia’s history the House of Representative’s right of inquiry was first used in 1959 in a resolution by R.M. Margono Djojohadikusumo that the House use the right to inquire into the government’s attempts to obtain foreign exchange reserves and how it was using them. As recorded by Subardjo in The Use of the Right of Inquiry by the Indonesian House of Representatives in Overseeing Government Policy, a committee of inquiry during Prime Minister Ali Sastroamidjojo’s first cabinet (30 July 1953 to 12 August 1955) was given six months. However, this was subsequently extended twice and the committee completed its work in March 1956 during the administration of Prime Minister Burhanuddin Harahap (12 August 1955 to 24 March 1956). Unfortunately, the fate of this committee of inquiry and its results are unclear.

During the New Order period, the House of Representatives also used the right of inquiry several times in relation to the Pertamina case. However, efforts to shake the New Order government failed and were rejected by a plenary session of the House. The New Order government was strong enough to prevent the use of the right of inquiry which had been initiated by Santoso Danuseputro (PDI) and HM Syarakwie Basri (FPP).

In the Reformasi (reform) era, the right of inquiry has also been used. However, all the targets of the right of inquiry have been the government and this is consistent with the legislation.

Legislation on the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), House of Representatives (DPR), Regional Representatives Council (DPD) and regional legislative assemblies (DPRD) regulates the right of inquiry. Article 79 concerning the Rights of the House of Representatives provides among other things that the House of Representatives possesses the right of inquiry. The right of inquiry is the right of the House of Representatives to investigate the implementation of a law and/or government policy which is related to important, strategic matters and has a broad impact on the life of the community, nation and state which allegedly conflicts with the law. The legislation also provides that an inquiry committee has to be joined by all House of Representatives factions.

From a legality standpoint, the House of Representatives Inquiry Committee for the Commission also does not satisfy the aspect of  legality. Historically, the right of inquiry was given to the House of Representatives to investigate government policies which are in conflict with the law. Whether it was the New Order government or post-Reform governments, it has only been the current 2014-2019 House of Representatives which has innovated by using the right of inquiry for a national commission named the Corruption Eradication Commission. The Commission is not the government. The Commission is a law enforcement agency.

The law also requires that an inquiry committee draw members from all factions in the House of Representatives. Thus, when the Democrat Party (DP) House faction, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) House faction, and the National Awakening Party (PKB) House faction did not send any representatives, the jurisdictional legitimacy of the Inquiry Committee became problematic.

Members of the public in the Healthy Indonesia Movement unfurled posters and banners in front of the offices of the Corruption Eradication Commission in Jakarta on Thursday (15/6). Consisting of writers, artists and anti-corruption activists, the crowd stated that they rejected the inquiry being rolled out by the House of Representatives.

From the political perspective, those who initiated the use of the right of inquiry are overwhelmingly from the parties which support the government. There are the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) House faction which is the main supporter of the government of President Joko Widodo together with the National Democratic Party (Nasdem) and the People’s Conscience Party (Partai Hanura). This coalition of government supporters is actually the group which has been keen to propose the use of the House right of inquiry.

Then there is President Jokowi. He has been placed in the position of a hostage by party officials of his own PDIP. President Jokowi has said he can not interfere in the affairs of the House of Representatives because an inquiry is the business of the House. President Jokowi hopes only that the Commission is still  strengthened.

President Jokowi’s attitude towards the Commission feels different this time. When there was conflict between the Corruption Eradication Commission and Indonesia’s National Police, and the public supported the Commission, President Jokowi demonstrated a firm political stance in support of the Commission. Likewise, when the Commission investigator Novel Baswedan was to be arrested, President Jokowi called loudly for Novel not to be arrested. However, this time President Jokowi is like a hostage, allowing the Commission to be de-legitimized by a coalition of his own supporters in the House of Representatives.

Will the Corruption Eradication Commission be paralyzed during the term of President Joko Widodo? History will record the answer.

 

 


Source: Akankah KPK Lumpuh di Era Presiden Jokowi?

The Role of the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office as dominus litis in the Fight Between the Corruption Eradication Commission and the Indonesian National Police

By Adery Ardhan Saputro S.H. (Researcher with the Indonesian Justice Monitoring Community of the University of Indonesia Faculty of Law – MAPPI FHUI), Thursday, 5 February 2015

Background

The chaos occurring now between two Indonesian law enforcement agencies, the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi or KPK) and the Indonesian National Police (Polisi Republik Indonesia or POLRI), was triggered by the decision of the Corruption Eradication Commission to declare Police Commissioner General Budi Gunawan a suspect in a corruption investigation. It should be noted as well that Gunawan was also a candidate for promotion to national police chief, announced by President Joko Widodo and approved by House of Representative Commission III. Several days later officers of the Indonesian National Police declared Corruption Eradication Commission Deputy Head Bambang Widjojanto a suspect in a criminal investigation in relation to allegations he had obtained false statements from a witness, in breach of Articles 242 and 55 of the Indonesian Criminal Code, during a Constitutional Court case. The case concerned the disputed election for District Head of West Kotawaringin Regency in Central Kalimantan Province in 2010.

Upon the arrest of Widjojanto, anti-corruption activists and members of the public reacted strongly, flocking to the Corruption Eradication Commission’s offices and protesting strongly over the police action, widely regarded as an arbitrary abuse of power. The storm of protest and controversy has even destabilized the country, evidenced by the statement of head of the Indonesian Armed Forces’ public relations unit Major General Fuad Basya that, “the military is ready to secure the Corruption Eradication Commission’s offices in the event the Police decide to raid the Commission.” President Joko Widodo on the other hand has not taken any meaningful action, afraid of appearing to intervene improperly in a law enforcement issue.

Friction between two investigative agencies is common in other countries. In the United States for example, a dust up over the authority to investigate narcotics cases between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has broken out on a number of occasions. However, this friction doesn’t cause such serious problems because hierarchically both agencies are directly under the authority of the US Attorney General. The Attorney General in fact has a critical role and is vital to the criminal justice system. A situation such as the controversy now being referred to in Indonesia as “KPK vs POLRI” would not be possible in the United States.

Position and Duties of the Attorney General in Indonesia’s Code of Criminal Procedure

If we reflect on the situation in Indonesia, even though the Attorney General’s Office is generally seen as holding the position of dominus litis, in this controversy it has not taken any meaningful steps to act as intermediary in the fracas. This is clear from the statement of the head of the Attorney General’s public information office Tony Spontana that, “We are guided solely by the Code of Criminal Procedure and we don’t want to be drawn into the polemic. The Attorney General’s Office is currently preparing to issue a direction appointing an investigating prosecutor to be assigned to monitor developments in the investigation.”

From Spontana’s statement we can draw a number of conclusions. 1. The Attorney General’s Office can only monitor and issue directions in relation to the result of an examination of a case file prepared by the Police. 2. The Code of Criminal Procedure prohibits the Attorney General’s Office from becoming directly involved in an investigation conducted by the Police. 3. The relationship between the police as investigator and the Attorney General’s Office according to the Code of Criminal Procedure is limited to functional coordination only. In the light of this, based solely on the Code of Criminal Procedure, Spontana’s argument can be regarded as appropriate, which is to say the authority of the Attorney General’s Office is limited to only monitoring a police investigation and does not extend to the supervision of a police investigation into a case. This is because the principle of functional differentiation on which the Code of Criminal Procedure is founded is the root cause of the problem of frequent friction between the two investigative agencies.

In relation to the police case against KPK Commissioner Bambang Widjojanto, the principle of functional differentiation will lead to significant problems in the future especially for the institution of the Attorney General’s Office. The institution of an attorney general which investigates solely on the basis of case files alone without being permitted to conduct investigations directly can create obstacles to the presentation of  evidence during court hearings. Assuming the case file for the Bambang Widjojanto investigation is regarded as complete by the Attorney General’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office would issue a P-21 Form on the basis of evidence obtained during the investigation. Later at the trial phase, should it become known that in fact some of the items of evidence were obtained other than in accordance with the law, or even, that a certain number of witness statements provided to investigators had been coerced, this could have the implication that the provision of evidence by the prosecution was less than optimal with a reduction in the evidence available for use by the public prosecutor to prove the guilt of the accused.

So there is a need for a strong connection between public prosecutors and cases being brought against accused persons which is not simply limited to an examination of case files, or merely to the provision of guidance to investigators. Rather, prosecutors should be able to conduct investigations directly (opsporing) or at least be able to conduct follow-up investigations (nasporing) in relation to enquiries already undertaken by investigators. The aim of this would be for prosecutors to be able to establish how investigators obtained evidence in a case and at the same time to establishing whether a suspect really was a party worth taking to trial.

In contrast, the position and duties of the Attorney General’s Office as dominus litis is in fact very clear in the provisions of the Revised Indonesian Code (Herziene Indonesisch Reglement or HIR). While the HIR remained in force, an investigation was an inseparable part of a prosecution. This authority establishes the Prosecuting Investigator as public prosecutor to be both the coordinator of an investigation and also as having the ability to conduct its own investigations. As a result, the Attorney General’s Office was in the position of a key institution in the overall process of criminal law enforcement from beginning to end.

With the repeal of the HIR by the Code of Criminal Procedure, the authority of the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations (opsporing) has been de-legitimised indirectly by the Code. However, the authority of the Attorney General’s Office as dominus litis did not disappear immediately with the repeal of the HIR. This is because of Article 27, paragraph (1), subparagraph (d) of Law No. 5/1991 concerning the Attorney General’s Office which provides that: “(1) In the area of crime, the attorney general’s office has the task of and authority to: (d) complete a particular case file and for this supplementary inquiries can be conducted before being transferred to the court which in their conduct are coordinated by the investigator.”

This provision clearly affirms that the attorney general has the authority to conduct additional investigations (nasporing). This authority affirms that the attorney general continues to constitute the agency in control of a case even at the investigation stage. This is also provided for by Article 30 paragraph (1), subparagraph (d) of Law 16/2004 concerning the Indonesian Attorney General. So the attorney general does in fact have the authority to carry out additional enquiries (nasporing) and as a result, the attorney general has the authority to ensure that investigations carried out by investigators have been conducted properly.

Thus although the Criminal Procedure Code appears to provide for the attorney general having a merely functional coordinating role in investigations which are to be conducted by the police, in fact if one relies on Article 30, paragraph (1), subparagraph (d) of Law No. 16/2004, in fact the Attorney General is able to take action beyond that of merely monitoring the results of police investigations or examining case files based on witness testimony alone. Quite the contrary, the Attorney General’s Office may take a more important role in the process of the inquiry into the case of Commissioner Bambang Widjojanto by way of additional inquiries into the relevant witnesses or suspects.

Quite apart from the attorney general being able to conduct additional inquiries, the writer is of the view that there are still problems in our criminal justice system. This is illustrated by the possibility of conflict between law enforcement agencies in dealing with an investigation. The current dispute indicates that the differentiation and the independence of each law enforcement agency in handling cases represents a conceptual mistake. Because of this there is a need for change in the criminal justice system in Indonesia to minimize friction between law enforcement institutions.

Integrated Criminal Justice System Reform

Change in the roles and duties of the Attorney General’s Office has in fact been accommodated by the proposed Criminal Procedure Code Bill. This is evident from the provisions of Article 46, paragraph (3) and (4).

Article 46 paragraph (3): If the public prosecutor still finds deficiencies in relation to a case file, the public prosecutor may ask the investigator to conduct additional investigations by giving instructions directly or can conduct additional inquiries prior to transferring to the court the implementation of which is coordinated with the investigator.

Article 46 paragraph (4): In subsequent case inquiries if necessary certain legal action to facilitate the conduct of hearings in court or the execution of judicial decisions, the public prosecutor can take legal action himself or ask for investigation assistance to be conducted.

These two articles affirm that the public prosecutor represents the party in control of a case at the investigation stage, even though the case is conducted by a different agency. The writer would add that despite the expanded authority of the attorney general in coordinating investigations, the Bill is not yet able to make the position of the attorney general into that of mediator in the event that the problem of sectoral egos arises between law enforcement agencies in the conduct of a case.

In relation to this problem, solutions can be suggested from the example of criminal justice systems in other countries. Examples include: 1. Coordination between police and prosecutors in the Netherlands is provided for by the Wet Bijzondere opsporingsbevoegd-heden, the Special Powers of Investigation Act or BOB, which came into force on 1 February 2000. This provides that the public prosecutor’s office is the appropriate agency to lead a criminal investigation. 2. Changing the hierarchy and position of the attorney general in Indonesia to be like that in the United States. By positioning the attorney general to be at the same time the Minister of Justice representing the highest agency in control of a case and the use of one investigation warrant (Surat Perintah Pemeriksaan or SPP).

Hopefully the case between the Corruption Eradication Commission and the Indonesian National Police will create momentum for improvement in the criminal justice system in Indonesia. At the same time hopefully it will be a forum that demonstrates the role of the Indonesian Attorney General as the dominus litis agency which is in control of criminal cases. Finally it is to be hoped that reform of the criminal justice system and the future operation of the criminal justice system will be based solely on legal perspectives without being influenced by considerations of a political nature.

 

Graffiti

Event: Two films on transgender issues in Indonesia

07 February 2017

Film screening

The first screening of the ‘Framing Asia’ film series will focus on transgender issues in Indonesia. Two short films Renita, Renita and Accross Gender  will be followed by discussion with Intan Paramaditha, Indonesian author and lecturer in media and film studies and one of the filmmakers, Anouk Houtman.

Films

Renita, Renita (15min)

Tony Trimarsanto

Trapped in a male body, Renita wanted to be a doctor and a woman since she was a child but her parents forced her to study at a Islamic school where she was bullied and ostracized. She rebelled by becoming a prostitute in the hope of finding freedom but instead, found that it came at a cost — she experienced brutality and was discriminated against by her family and the Indonesian society in which she lived.

Across Gender (24min)

Anouk Houtman

What is it like being transgender in Yogyakarta? There is no single answer to this question. This film aims to show different ways of negotiating visibility in the Indonesian society when one ‘crosses gender’. The difficulty of this negotiation becomes apparent through the anti-LGBT sentiments and actions in early 2016.

Discussion

Anouk Houtman is a young filmmaker with an MA in Visual Anthropology of Leiden University. She graduated with a film and thesis researching the visibility of transgenders in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Currently she is pursuing a second MA in Gender Studies and University Utrecht.

Intan Paramaditha is an Indonesian author and lecturer in media and film studies at Macquarie University, Sydney. Focusing on contemporary film practice in Indonesia, her research explores the relation between media, cultural activism, and sexual politics in the convergence and tension between national and cosmopolitan trajectories.

Time 19:30- hrs Venue Faculty of Humanities, Lipsius building, rom 028 Cleveringaplaats 1 Leiden Netherlands Google Maps

Source –http://iias.asia/event/two-films-transgender-issues-indonesia

Event: Women’s Resistance Through Arts and the Media in Indonesia – Intan Paramaditha

image

Praktisch: Free entrance
Doors open: 19:30
Met
Intan Paramaditha
Women’s Resistance Through Arts and the Media in Indonesia

The discourse of sexuality is inseparable from the tension and polarization that characterize politics and culture in Indonesia. Last year, after a series of anti-LGBT statements were publicly expressed by government officials and public figures, “pro-family” groups proposed to outlaw non-marital sex and homosexuality. This is not a sudden turn as debates around sex, bodies, and morality have been a national obsession for the past two decades. Sexuality is a contested sphere that reflects the fractured nature of the post-authoritarian nation.

Growing conservatism in Indonesia, as elsewhere, entails the attempts to regulate and censor women’s bodies. …

Source – http://intanparamaditha.org/event-womens-resistance-through-arts-and-the-media-in-indonesia/

Graffiti

7

By Emha Ainun Nadjib

My God

I entrust myself

to the heart

I make a life ready

for the vibration

where courageous thoughts

are solely of the ultimate gift

which is the frailest

of all prayers

My God

in this my small cell

on this aging mat

as I behold the wooden shelves

books

buildings of an overcast civilization

having done battle in the deceiving sun

I lay down my thoughts

I lift up my heart

and wash

in Your hands.


Emha Ainun Nadjib.  99 untuk Tuhanku [99 For My God],  Pustaka Bandung  1983

Benteng di Batavia

Jakarta Unfair

“Human rights group ‘LBH Jakarta’ reported that the Jakarta city government destroyed 113 homes in 2015 and planned to destroy 325 more in 2016. At least 70% of the homes were demolished with no consultation or settlement.

Today many of the homes threatened with demolition have been razed. The excuse is always the same: law and order and urban normalization (green open space, weirs or river management) in the interests of a better life.

“Jakarta Unfair” sets out to test the theory of the Jakarta city government that life is better after your home has been demolished.”

From WatchDoc Documentary, Jakarta

Biljartzaal van sociëteit De Harmonie te Batavia

Ayah

Ayah

Oleh Sylvia Plath

Kamu tidak lagi pas, kamu tidak lagi pas
sepatu hitam
Di mana aku sudah hidup seperti kaki
Selama tiga puluh tahun, miskin dan putih,
Hampir tidak berani bernafas atau bersin.

Ayah, aku sudah harus membunuhmu.
Kamu meninggal sebelum aku ada waktu–
Berat seperti marmer, sekarung penuh Tuhan,
Patung mengerikan dengan satu jari kaki kelabu
Sebesar anjing laut Frisco

Dan sebuah kepala di dalam Atlantik aneh itu
Di mana hujan deras berwarna hijau kacang di atas biru
Di perairan lepas Nauset yang indah
Aku dulu berdoa untuk mendapatkanmu kembali.
Ach, du.

Dalam bahasa Jerman, di kota Polandia itu
Terkikis datar oleh penggilas
Perang, perang, perang.
Tapi nama kota itu umum.
Sahabatku orang Polak

Katanya ada selusin atau lebih.
Jadi saya tidak pernah bisa tahu di mana kamu
Menginjakkan kakimu, akarmu,
Aku tidak pernah bisa berbicara denganmu.
Lidah terjebak di rahangku.

Lidah terjebak dalam jerat kawat berduri.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
Aku hampir tidak bisa bicara.
Aku pikir setiap orang Jerman adalah kamu.
Dan bahasanya kasar

Sebuah lokomotif, sebuah lokomotif
Bergemuruh membawaku seperti orang Yahudi.
Seorang Yahudi ke Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
Aku mulai berbicara seperti orang Yahudi.
Aku pikir mungkin aku adalah orang Yahudi.

Salju di Tyrol, bir jernih dari Wina
Tidak begitu murni maupun benar.
Dengan leluhur perempuanku seorang Jipsi dan keberuntunganku yang aneh
Dan pak kartu Tarotku dan pak kartu Tarotku
Mungkin aku sedikit Yahudi.

Aku selalu takut padamu,
Dengan Luftwaffemu, omong kosongmu.
Dan kumis rapimu
Dan mata Aryanmu, biru terang
Manusia Panzer, manusia Panzer, Oh Kamu–

Bukan Tuhan tetapi swastika
Begitu hitam sehingga tiada sedikitpun langit dapat mengintip.
Setiap wanita mencintai seorang Fasis,
Sepatu bot di muka, orang kejam itu
Hati brutal dari orang brutal seperti kamu.

Kamu berdiri di papan tulis, ayah,
Dalam gambar kamu yang aku punya,
Celah dalam dagumu bukan kakimu
Tetapi itu tidak mengurangi kesetananmu, tak juga
Mengurangi sifatmu sebagai orang kulit hitam yang

Menggigit hati merah cantikku menjadi dua.
Usiaku sepuluh ketika mereka menguburmu.
Pada usia dua puluh aku berusaha mati
Dan kembali, kembali, kembali kepadamu.
Aku pikir tulang pun akan cukup.

Tetapi mereka menarikku keluar dari karung,
Dan aku ditempel kembali dengan lem.
Kemudian aku tahu apa yang harus kulakukan.
Aku membuat model kamu,
Seorang pria berpakaian hitam berpenampilan Meinkampf

Dan sayang pada rak dan sekrup.
Dan aku berkata ya, ya.
Jadi ayah, aku akhirnya putus.
Telepon hitam itu mati pada akarnya,
Suara-suara itu tetap tidak mampu merayap keluar.

Jika aku telah membunuh seorang pria, aku sudah membunuh dua–
Vampir yang mengaku sebagai kamu
Dan minum darahku selama setahun,
Tujuh tahun, kalau kamu ingin tahu.
Ayah, kamu dapat berbaring sekarang.

Ada pasak kayu dalam jantung hitam gemukmu
Dan penduduk desa tidak pernah menyukaimu.
Mereka menari dan menginjak-injakmu.
Mereka selalu tahu itu kamu.
Ayah, ayah, bajingan kamu, putuslah aku.


https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/48999

Sylvia Plath, “Daddy” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1960, 1965, 1971, 1981 by the Estate of Sylvia Plath. Editorial matter copyright © 1981 by Ted Hughes. Used acknowledging all applicable rights of HarperCollins Publishers.

Source of English: Collected Poems (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1992)

Images: http://www.geheugenvannederland.nl/nl

The Love of City People

By Hanna Rambe

A plate of small cakes dangled from little Masni’s excited grasp as she clambered into Aunty Ruli’s car. A career woman of impressive years, and still single, Ruli was taking Masni with her to visit a friend.

      Masni had only recently arrived in Jakarta. Ruli had invited her to come and live with her in the city feeling she was now of sufficient means to help raise Masni. Before coming to live with Aunty Ruli, Masni had been cared for by her grandparents in a tiny village in provincial Sumatra where Masni was destined to become just one more among countless rural peasant women, just as all her forebears had been.

      They were about to set off to visit Musa, one of Ruli’s cousins. For some years after Musa’s father had passed away, Ruli paid for Musa’s schooling. Ruli and Masni arrived in, well, the second part of the name of the area was “Indah”(*), but Ruli couldn’t remember exactly what Musa’s house looked like. Fortunately she had brought the address.

      Musa had added another storey to his house and the whole place was now a dazzling clean white, right down to the fine wrought-iron laced fence and gate. Expensive plants stood scattered around the modestly-sized yard, casuarinas, areca nut palm trees and a variety of imported flowering shrubs.

      Despite the blaze of security lights the house itself looked quiet. Ruli pushed the bell on the gate several times but no one appeared. Masni began to shift uneasily from foot to foot shrinking before the soaring gates.

      “People in Jakarta don’t like guests,” Masni thought to herself. “I’m glad I’m with Aunty Ruli or I’d be standing here by myself.” She thought how different her own village had been. Nobody had a fence, apart from the village chief. And it certainly was not polite to let visitors stand for ages in the street.

      Ruli called out to someone, a builder it seemed, working next door who disappeared to the back and in a few minutes an elderly woman emerged who opened the gate for them. The old woman was wearing a sarong and a fine knee-length traditional lace blouse, indicating to Masni, happy at the sight, that she was from the same district in Sumatra as she was. The woman told Masni to call her “grandma” which also made Masni happy. Although the elderly woman was not her real grandmother she was a grandaunt.

      The three women talked away exchanging news. The man of the house was apparently away on annual holidays in Bali with his wife and children. Musa and the family, according to the elderly woman, always spent New Years outside Java. Ruli did not known this, recalling that Musa and the children had always called in to see her at Christmas or New Years to wish her the seasons greetings and leave a present.

      The elderly woman continued her news. Last year Musa bought the block of land behind their house and turned it into an orchid garden for his wife. His wife was buying and selling orchids. Just to make a little money.

      One of Musa’s four younger brothers and sisters, his name was Kahar, had been completely uncontrollable but had turned over a new leaf and was now working for Musa.

      “What is Kahar doing?” asked Ruli rather taken aback.

      The elderly woman continued. Musa had a cattle farm outside town. He had bought the land and was raising cattle. Kahar was managing it all, and the cows were producing plenty of milk. She went on and on with the family news, of how, well, to put it simply, Musa had done quite well for himself and had helped his brother to find work. Pleased to hear all the news Ruli was gratified that her help with Musa’s education had not been in vain. She was happy also that it was only because of Musa being so busy with his career that he hadn’t had time to keep up with news of other members of the family.

      Ruli gazed around the front parlour, cavernous by land-squeezed Jakarta’s standards. She gazed at the intricately decorated crystal lamp on the wall unit, the video recorder in the corner, the delicately carved teak lounge, electric organ, seawater aquarium in the other corner, lush Middle-Eastern carpet and indescribably modern paintings. It was all there.

      “Could open a shop if he wanted to,” she thought. “People become rich so quickly!”

      Masni stared in awe as drinks and cakes were served by a maid with short wavy hair wearing long slacks and lipstick. In Masni’s village there weren’t any women made-up like that, not even the village chief’s wife.

      During their visit, Masni sat as quietly as a mouse. She didn’t utter a word. The elderly woman then told them about the family’s pet dogs, one or two of which had indeed been wandering about barking. They were strangely shaped dogs, not like the ones grandpa kept in the village. These dogs had curly hair and a soft bark, one very small and low and without a real snout. The elderly woman described how the family had recently had a terrible experience and Ruli, politely feigning offence at having not being informed, asked what had happened.

      “Musa’s youngest child was bitten by one of the large dogs and had to be taken to the doctor. The dog was punished by the trainer and finally it died,” explained the old woman.

      Ruli anxiously asked whether it was a serious bite.

      “The bite wasn’t the problem. What worried Musa was losing the dog.”

      Incredulous at hearing such a story on New Year’s Eve, Ruli listened as the old woman described what happened.

      “Two years ago Musa bought a special German Shepherd. I can’t remember how to say its name but I do know it cost more than a million rupiah. They had to give it special meat, take it to the vet from time to time for check-ups and after it was big enough they took it to school.”

      Masni’s ears stood up! “Take a dog to school!” she thought. “What sort of dog would it have to be? Is it possible for a dog to go to school? Not even all the children in the village go to school. They can’t afford the monthly fees,” she thought. “It wouldn’t be a bad life being a dog in Musa’s family,” Masni thought to herself still refusing to say a word to anyone.

      “The dog became very clever,” continued the elderly woman. “It could play ball with the children. It guarded the house and it could open a closed door, so long as it wasn’t locked, jump over chairs and pounce on dangerous looking strangers. And that wasn’t all.”

      “Well, Musa must certainly be rich, aunty,” commented Ruli.

      “Ah, I wouldn’t say that. He is also responsible for a lot of people. There’s me, his brothers and sisters, and all his brothers- and sisters-in-law. And then there’s some of his friends’ children from close by,” the old sarong bound woman answered modestly.

      “When the dog finished its course it got a certificate too,” added the woman returning to her story.

      “A certificate, aunty?” replied Ruli, wide-eyed. “What would be the use of giving a dog a certificate, aunty?”

      “The dog’s job was to guard Musa. If someone wanted to hurt Musa, the dog would jump up and bite the person. But if one day Musa wanted to sell the dog the birth certificate, the pedigree and the training certificates would all have to be handed over as well or he wouldn’t get a good price.”

      “Oh,” sighed Ruli.

      It was late and Ruli could see the elderly woman was getting tired so she decided it was just about time to finish their New Year’s Eve visit. She had really wanted to see Musa’s wife. For the past seven years Musa’s wife had regularly sent a Christmas present and this was the first time Ruli had taken the time to drop in to thank her. Up till now Ruli had felt that as she was the older of the two it was Musa’s responsibility to call on her. In fact she wanted to introduce Masni to Musa and his family.

      They were about to leave when the old woman asked them to look through two thick photo albums full of pictures, of the dog and all its certificates. The elderly woman explained that one day Musa had been playing with the dog, telling it how clever it was, when the children arrived home from school and joined in. Something must have happened. Musa must have made some sort of movement that upset his youngest son because the child picked up a walking stick from the corner of the parlour and began pretending to hit his father.

      Suddenly the dog snarled angrily and jumped on the child and bit him. At first everyone thought it was all just wonderful fun, that the dog was showing how clever it was. As blood began to run down the child’s arm and she started screaming, the dog grew more and more angry. Then everyone suddenly realized what was happening and Musa leapt into action.

      Apparently what happened, the old woman remembered, was that the child moved exactly like the bad men the dog had been trained to attack at the school. Musa forced the dog out of the way and the house was in uproar. Someone called Musa’s wife who was next door at a neighbourhood function; someone called the family doctor; children started howling; and the elderly woman herself began yelling at Musa and the dog.

      The whole house was in chaos for a week. The dog was taken straight out of town to the trainer’s but after that the old woman didn’t know what happened to it. Musa never brought it home again and someone said that within a month it died.

      The child was not injured seriously but went into shock, unable to accept the fact that the dog she had lavished so much affection on had not returned the affection.

      “How could a dog respond the same way? An animal. The word itself is something you use to insult people,” the old woman scorned.

      Ruli and Masni finally asked the elderly woman to pass on their regards to Musa and his family and they left for home.

***

The following day Ruli asked Masni to go with her to visit another friend. “So the rest of the family in Jakarta can get to know you,” Ruli said. “After all, you’re new in Jakarta.”

      They set off for Boti’s house in the opposite direction to Musa’s. Also one of Ruli’s cousins, Boti was a senior civil servant with three children, all girls, and Ruli hoped that the girls would invite Masni to meet some of their friends. Boti’s house was always full of young people and the girls did turn out to be friendly to Masni. It was Masni herself who didn’t feel comfortable, preferring not to say a word.

      The main topic of conversation between Boti his wife Ida and Ruli was the sad event which had recently happened to the family. And what had happened? There had been a death, the mynah from Nias Island had died.

      “Ida, you really are too much! I thought that someone in the family had passed away. You shouldn’t be so sad over a bird?” tut-tutted Ruli making fun of her friends.

      “The problem isn’t just the death of an animal, Rul. You have to understand the role of the bird in the family.”

      “Ah. There are plenty of mynahs at the bird market near our house. You really shouldn’t be this sad about a dead bird,” said Ruli again somewhat frustrated.

      Ida looked at her husband and then explained. “This mynah was a gift from a very poor relative living on Nias Island when Boti was posted there. Boti was able to help the family in a small way and the mynah was a present, a token of their thanks for protection from the possibility of some penalty. It had only just been caught in the forest,” said Ida. “After we returned to Jakarta, Boti looked after the bird himself and taught it to talk and whistle. The whole household was happy with the new creature chortling away in the house.

      “In the mornings he would whistle and whistle, say ‘good morning’ to Boti and me and the children and in the afternoons he would sing the first lines of the folk song ‘Lisoi’. The children are always singing that song. Whenever a passing vegetable hawker or a rag-and-bone man was about to open the gate, the little mynah was taught to call out, ‘Who are you looking for? No one’s asked you to come in!’

      “For two years the mynah was the sixth person in the family and the maid was the seventh. When I think about it, Boti looked after the little mynah, checked its food and water every day when he arrived home from work before saying hello to me or the children. Only after he had seen that the mynah was all right would he check on the others in the house.

      “I had plenty to do outside, golf, the office wives’ association, dropping the children at school and picking them up in the afternoons, bowling and visiting all the different supermarkets in Jakarta, just for starters.

      “Last Sunday I got sick and had to stay home. I felt moody and fussed about as though nothing was how it should have been. I got cranky with everyone in the house and the maid and she even threatened to walk out if I kept becoming angry with her.

      “Well, I didn’t want the maid to leave so I bottled things up inside and that was the day I heard Boti come home. I was so furious when the first thing he did was stop outside the kitchen to look in the bird’s cage. Boti played with the bird, joked with it, whistled to it and filled up its water bowl.

      “Then he went into the bedroom, put down his case and changed. Well, I exploded. I told him he cared more about the bird than about his sick wife. Boti was worn out and sweaty and, shall I say, responded to my outburst in a way that was more appropriate to an infantryman in the middle of battle. Unkind, not to say, indelicate, words were fired between us mortar like. The maid was terrified, as was the little mynah who had never heard an angry word uttered in its life.

      “After a while Boti said to me, ‘Ida, you shouldn’t be jealous of a bird. The bird has only ever been something for the whole house to enjoy. If it could really talk you would have to apologize to it.’

      “I didn’t say anything but in my heart I was sorry. How could I have been jealous of a bird?

      “Three days after our fight the mynah died in its cage and we weren’t able to find the cause. The whole house is upset, especially Boti, who put in so much effort to training it.

      “Boti said to me flatly, ‘Now you don’t have to be jealous. Maybe the mynah did understand what we were saying and didn’t want to be a bother to you or the rest of us any more.’

      “I knew that Boti was distraught; he just wasn’t saying so for my sake. I was so sorry about my childish behaviour that day. True, nothing will bring him back, but everyone still feels his passing away terribly, no more cheery good mornings outside the kitchen.”

      For all their money, the mynah would not be easy to replace realized Ruli. A new bird would have to be trained patiently from scratch.

      Masni nodded politely in agreement when everyone in the house, equally politely, told her she should call in often and even stay over and that they wanted to take her out to Jaya Dream World at Ancol in North Jakarta or on a picnic into the mountains.

      Without saying anything, Masni was actually deeply disturbed by the fact Aunty Ida had been jealous of a bird. In the village mynahs lived in the forest.

      “The families Aunty Ruli has introduced me to are very odd,” Masni decided, “caring so much for dogs and jealous of birds.”

      In the car on the way home she wondered what marvels awaited her tomorrow.

      The next evening Aunty Ruli invited her to visit someone else and off they went to drop in on Grandma Sarintan who lived in Kebayoran in South Jakarta.

      Sarintan was a distant relative of Masni’s late father, but Ruli knew her well through work. She now lived by herself in a rented house which, compared to her former twelve bedroom palace which one had to circle on a small bicycle, was cozy and small. It had the feeling of a lonely mountain temple.

      She had once been in charge of a small company but it had gone bankrupt and she and her husband had fallen on hard times. Then her husband eventually ran off with another woman. Their only child, pretty and brilliant in school, had won a scholarship to study in Australia where she had married a millionaire Vietnamese refugee immigrant and settled down.

      Sarintan lived with no more companionship than that of her driver and two maids. She survived now by teaching English and music. Her income was actually not insubstantial, but with the tastes she had acquired in her days of plenty she never felt she had enough money. Her daughter understood how her mother felt, sending a little money from Australia from time to time and she had even sent her mother two Angora cats to provide a little companionship.

      When Ruli and Masni arrived a large crowd was gathered at the house and all the windows were wide open to the moist tropical air making a joke of the air conditioner still running. Ruli sensed something was wrong.

      And she was right. Without her usual corpse pale make-up, Sarintan was sobbing, and Ruli, startled by the scene, wondered what could possibly have happened.

      “Oh Ruli, Ruli, it’s so good to see you,” wailed Sarintan on seeing Ruli before bursting into tears.

      “There, there. Everything’s going to be all right. What’s happened?”

      Through her tears Sarintan sobbed, “Oh, oh. Onassis has been missing since yesterday afternoon. Ohh.”

      “Well, where is he? Have you looked for him?”

      “Yes,” she explained through her sobs, “all these neighbours have been helping me look for him.”

      It was as if someone in the family had died. Ruli thought to herself that if Sarintan became hysterical she would definitely have to take her off to the psychiatric hospital.

      Panic and pandemonium had gripped everyone in the house. They were looking everywhere, opening everything that opened, overturning everything that could be searched, but Onassis would not answer, not even to the loving calls of her owner.

      On seeing one neighbour climb down from the roof empty handed, Sarintan again burst into tears and called out repeatedly the name of her beloved puss Onassis.

      Whispering into Ruli’s ear Masni asked, “Why is she crying about a lost cat?”

      “Ah, the cat came all the way from America and cost a thousand dollars,” answered Ruli.

      “Is a thousand dollars a lot of money, Aunty Ruli?”

      “It’s a very large amount of money; it’s about one million seven hundred thousand rupiah, dear.”

      Masni didn’t say anything, unable to comprehend that amount of money. But when Ruli told her with that amount of money she could buy a large rice field and enough food and drink to last for one or two months, she began to understand what Sarintan was crying about.

      Quietly she began to think, “Maybe the old lady is crazy. Why would she want to pay more than a million rupiah for a cat?”

      Masni was shown a picture of the missing cat. Its partner lived in Sarintan’s bedroom and the cat was beautiful, thick fur, colours as soft as watercolours and large bright eyes. In all her life Masni had never seen a cat as beautiful as this, not even while collecting firewood in the forest around her village.

Masni listened open mouthed as Ruli whispered that the cat’s food had to be bought in Singapore because none of the supermarkets in Jakarta stocked it, and that Onassis, along with his partner Atina, had to take vitamins every day to make them strong.

      After Ruli and Masni had been there about two hours, one of Sarintan’s neighbours from the street walked in – Onasis in arms. Wearing a sarong the neighbour refused to come into the house. He had been about to go to bed when he came across Onassis being chased by a group of cats. Even though he was fat and well looked after Onassis was not up to fighting his brother cats.

      Sarintan leapt to the front door, wrapped her arms around Onassis warmly and carried him off forgetting the man at the door. Tears welled up in her eyes then flowed down her cheeks as she murmured ‘thank you’ over and over. Finally she carried him into the bedroom for a joyful reunion, all three losing themselves in a joyful embrace. Sarintan was clearing overjoyed, elated, by Onassis’ return. There was no doubt about it, her joy was palpable.

      To express her gratitude to all those who had helped her Sarintan handed out five thousand rupiah notes: to those who had climbed onto the roof, to those who had rummaged through the back yard and to those who had roamed up and down the street calling, “Puss… Onassis… puss, puss, puss.”

      Sitting silently throughout all her visits Masni could not decide whether she felt amazed, sick in the stomach, sorry for the old lady, or slightly jealous of all the people she had met on her New Year’s visits.

      It was almost midnight before Ruli and Masni left for home, almost the end of the third day of the New Year’s holiday. Before leaving, Masni caught sight of Sarintan lovingly pushing Onassis’ pills into his mouth. The old lady hadn’t paid the slightest attention to Masni or Ruli. She was drowning in the grief of losing Onassis when they arrived. By the time they left she was floating in an ocean of happiness over finding her imported cat again.

***

      During the past week Ruli and Masni had done a lot together to celebrate the New Year and all sorts of people had dropped in on Ruli. Each had their own particular stories, some unintelligible to Masni, others completely unbelievable. Masni found the city people she had met strange and foreign, totally unlike the people she knew back in her village.

      In the village she had seen images of Jakarta on television, sparkling glitter, dazzling lights, bustling crowds of cheerful chatter. Where was the real Jakarta, the one people did not see on television, full of people making friends of animals, full of endless overflowing rivers of cars flooding past the fronts of houses?

      Masni was deeply disturbed. Was this Jakarta, the place she had longed to see so much, centre of learning, the place where people could find a better life? There were other people from her village, other members of her family, here in Jakarta and she had visited some of them together with her late father’s cousin, Aunty Ruli. But not one had asked her to come and live with them. They all knew how her father had passed away, how her widowed mother had remarried and how, as a result, Masni and her sister Misna were being brought up on the edge of the forest by their poor grandparents.

      When Aunty Ruli invited her to come to Jakarta she had no idea she would see such things: emptiness, loneliness, coldness, indifference. Life in her village, so hard because of the poverty everyone lived in was nonetheless warm and affectionate.

      Masni didn’t have the courage to tell Ruli, busy with work and visitors, what was swimming in her head. Ruli had never tried to discuss with her how she was feeling or what she was thinking. Ruli had just accepted Masni would get used to life in the city quickly. After all didn’t every villager want to live in the big city?

      In Aunty Ruli’s house Masni could use as much fresh water as she liked. She didn’t have to haul buckets or earthenware pitchers from the well. In the evenings she didn’t have to light the lamps. Electricity did make it easier to cook and to find something to do. True. Life was easier in Ruli’s house.

      “But, dear Lord!” sighed Masni to herself. “Why do they care so much about animals?” This was what her tiny heart could not accept. Her grandpa had never killed an animal, hadn’t ever eaten meat and had once become angry when a group of children killed an animal that wasn’t threatening anyone. Grandpa taught the village children that animals were made by God to help people and therefore they shouldn’t be killed. But grandpa did get very annoyed every time an animal came into the house, except for skinks or ants. Dogs were not loved and fawned over and people didn’t sleep together with cats!

***

      Finally one day Ruli told Masni to gather all her personal papers together. She was off to enroll in school.

      School enrolments had started and Masni, little Masni who hadn’t been able to summon the courage to say a word at any of the gatherings of city people, now mustered all her bravery and said, “Aunty Ruli, I don’t want to go to school in Jakarta. I know we decided. But it doesn’t matter. I…, I would like to go home to my village.”

      “Honey, what’s that? Go back to your village? You said you wanted to become a clever girl, that you wanted to send some money back to help grandma and grandpa in the village. How are you going to earn any money if you don’t go to school?”  

“Aunty Ruli, please don’t be angry. Jakarta is too busy and crowded. There’s so much noise and dust and so many people, so many people and none of them are friendly. I don’t have any friends here. On television everything looks wonderful and new but every night I think of grandpa. I want to go home.”

      Ruli wasn’t pleased as she watched Masni sob quietly. Young as she was Masni was immovable. She had made up her mind. She wanted to be taken back to her village. Ruli tried to encourage Masni to change her mind but it didn’t work. A successful career woman, Ruli had forgotten about the thoughts and feelings of a small village girl. She hadn’t taken the time to sit down and talk to Masni heart-to-heart before going to bed. She had felt she was doing something good by helping the poor orphan child. To her mind Masni was being inconsiderate, even rude.

      Reluctantly Ruli took Masni back to her village. They flew to Medan, and then went by bus deep into the countryside. Ruli was so sad to lose Masni. She liked her very much, her clear olive skin, her gentle nature. True, Masni didn’t say much, didn’t ask many questions, but she did love reading and she always paid careful attention to any advice given to her.

      Quite some time after Ruli had left the village to return to Jakarta, Masni’s grandpa asked why she wanted to come back to the village. Had Aunty Ruli been angry or had Masni done something wrong?

      Masni answered with the honesty of a nine-year-old village child. “Grandpa, in the city people care more about animals than people. The rich people we visited keep dogs and cats and mynah. They pay lots of money for them. They don’t catch them in the forest. They send animals to school and the animals get certificates. They give medicine to cats as if they were babies and hug them and cry over them when they get lost. Even Aunty Ruli has pet fish in a tank and the water has to be pumped with an electric pump. I couldn’t bear to look at all the people, watch them ignore me. I’m poor and I come from a village. I don’t mean anything to them. To them the animals mean more than I do.”

      At first Masni’s grandpa laughed at her story, thinking she was making it all up to impress him now that she had been to the big city. But after a while her grandpa could see in Masni’s obvious sincerity that she wasn’t making it up.

      He put his arms around her, squeezed tightly and whispering, “Silly old Aunty Ruli. She cares more about her fish than about you.”

      Without thinking, Masni reached up and touched her grandpa’s cheek and realized it was wet.


Kasih Sayang Manusia Kota was published in Horison magazine in June 1990.

(*) Pondok Indah is a well known up-market district of Jakarta.

Image: Moord op Chinezen te Batavia, 1740, Jacob van der Schley, after Adolf van der Laan, 1761 – 1763

Manuscript

Sandalwood Fan

By Gerson Poyk

I live completely alone, but I can still live well enough since I don’t depend on anyone else. I can eat three meals a day. I can live in one rented room where there’s a couch, a bathroom and a kitchen. At the back outside it’s covered by a roof that extends a long way so the cooker, dish rack, bucket and bike can be stored there. There’s a second-hand television in my room which keeps me entertained every day.

If only my daughter hadn’t married a man who worked in the Middle East. Maybe I wouldn’t be living alone as she’d have been able to look after me, and my two grandchildren could have entertained me. But thankfully my daughter can help me out a little financially. For a long time since my wife passed away our situation has been pretty tight. My wife used to cook food out the back to sell for a little income. She’d cook spiced fish, uduk rice, chili soya bean, grilled fish, grilled eggplant and a chili sauce which I liked to call ‘chili Inul sauce’.

Every day I travel around on my bike selling food. I pedal from before dawn, sometimes till afternoon, and sometimes till late in the day. I target selling at the traditional markets and the multi-storey projects where day labourers work.

But after my wife passed away everything was a mess. My daughter was forced to drop out of school in year ten because she had to help me. Every evening I had to cook, carrying on as my wife had shown me. However, after cooking I had to rest half a day which meant the food wasn’t all sold everyday. Luckily my daughter knew a young woman from the island of Madura who sold drop cakes.

“Dad, I want to do what that woman from Madura is doing,” said my daughter.

”She dropped out of primary school but she could still get to run a business,” she said.

”Ah, you shouldn’t make fun of her,” I said.

”The only assets she has is a small cooker and one rice flour dough pot. She runs a business selling drop cakes. She’s very busy, dad,” said my daughter. ”I want to sell drop cakes like her,” she went on.

“But what about the food business your mother left behind? Do we have to forget about that? Would the income from that be enough for the two of us to survive on?” I asked.

”That’s easy. All it needs is one table. Some of the food you cook could be displayed on that one table and you can sell some of it from your bike. What do you think?”

So three days later, there was a small food stall in the traditional market. At the side of the table was a hissing cooker wafting the aroma of fresh drop cakes. My daughter’s drop cake “lecturer”, the woman from Madura, was selling not far away beside my daughter’s stall. Everyday very early in the morning my daughter sold by herself in the market without me for company. After sleeping till eleven o’clock in the middle of the day, I pedalled my bicycle to the market and collected some of the food my daughter was selling. I rode around to the busy building construction sites, busy factory fences and other places like that.

Early one morning a young journalist from the tabloid Voice of the Market, no stranger to staying up all night, squatted in front of my daughter’s drop cake cooker. The young journalist fell in love with my daughter. He published a photograph of her and the girl from Madura prominently in his tabloid newspaper. The story was long and detailed and described the “candak kulak” program which was a government program from the time of the New Order Government which had provided small-scale capital. The program was long gone, vanished without a trace.

Later my daughter married the journalist from the Voice of the Market.

Her friend the girl from Madura sold up and down the market until one day several months later a minibus driver proposed to her.  

Not long after that my son-in-law moved to the Middle East to work as a journalist with the magazine Oil which is part of an oil company.

Nevertheless, neither of them did help me much because they were studying while they worked there. My son-in-law was at university and my daughter finished her high school matriculation and then she went on to university.

But they did not forget to think about my financial situation. My daughter sent some money for me to use as capital to buy sandalwood and agarwood fans to sell in the Middle East along with necklaces made from sandalwood and agarwood beads. Later they also asked for offcuts of sandalwood and agarwood used for burning in the incense burners of wealthy middle eastern people.

So I was busy with my new business as a sandalwood fan trader. Each month I would freight the aromatic commodity. I rented a small post office box to support my business activity. Everything was small. The post office box was small, the bedroom was small, but with these small things I was involved in a world which was wide and large! Although sales of sandalwood fans was brisk enough for me to be able to buy a block of land in Jakarta, my children told me not to buy land to build a house in the city. My daughter thought it would just be destroyed by floods of both water and people.  

Their thinking seemed pretty strange to me.

Every time I went to the post office to send products I visited a small open air food stall in the grounds of the post office to have coffee or a bite to eat.  

The owner of the food stall Misses Agus was helped by her daughter who had a younger brother who hadn’t undergone the Islamic khitan or circumcision ceremony yet. At first I only had breakfast there, then I visited every day to have lunch and dinner. Master Agus who wasn’t circumcised yet was very pleased when I did drop in. Usually if I had any spare change I would give it to him as a present. Suddenly one day he showed me a piggy bank that was heavy. It was full of the coins I had given him. It was a real surprise to me to see a child who had apparently been left by a father who had passed away. Master Agus’ big sister Julie had been a wonderful help to her mother. Almost every day she worked in the small food stall unless she had to wash clothes at home, sweep or hang out washing.   

“Where do you work, sir?” Julie asked one day.  

“I work at home,” I answered.

“Where’s your office?” asked Julie.

“My office is as small as a box, a post office box!”

Julie laughed. “When you go to work, you first have to turn into an ant!”

“Ah, don’t be silly,” I said.

“Ah, don’t underestimate ants. They have a lot to teach humans. They work together and cooperate without anger, without getting emotional, like…”

“You’re having a go at me, aren’t you!” said her mother.

“So you’re emotional?” I asked.

“No, my mother is born from noble Javanese descent but now works in this humble little food stall,” said Julie.

“It doesn’t matter that it’s small, so long as it turns a dollar and makes a profit, to turn this food stall into a building. This shop is larger than my post office box. That’s my shop. It only returns a little, but fortunately I’m an ant so I don’t eat much,” I said. “Small people like us have to start small.”

“A post box can’t be bulldozed and relocated but it seems that even if the rent is paid this food stall can be taken away in a truck and piled up in the municipal depot.”   

One day early in the morning when I arrived at the post office I saw Mrs Agus having an argument. Two large men were carrying plates, pots, woks, cookers and other things, and piling them into a pickup truck. It seemed that Mrs Agus owed money to a village money lender. She just sat silently staring blankly, bright red eyes.

Although it was none of my business, something inside me compelled me to ask, “How much money do you owe?”   

“Only three-hundred thousand. How could they do something like that! And after the agreement was to pay a thousand rupiah a day. Suddenly he asked me to repay the whole loan because he said his house had been flooded,” said Julie.

“Where’s the money…”

“I actually had the money but yesterday I paid the doctor and bought blood pressure medicine,” said Mrs Agus.

I wasn’t being rational any more. At once I called out, “Mate, put those things back in the food stall. Here, I’ll pay what Mrs Agus owes you.” Then I pulled out three-hundred thousand rupiah from my wallet.   

“Wow, three hundred, only what about the interest? It’s now three years and my money’s been locked up in this food stall. Five hundred…”

“No way…”

“Why not?”

“There is no more money. Only three hundred.”

“Ah all right. Here’s the money.

“Yeh, and here are your things back,” they said.

After the debt collectors had gone, a little while later Master Agus arrived home from school. The small, first grade child was surprised mainly because there was no food. I told him to buy packets of cooked rice for four people and then help get the stall set up so it didn’t look like a wreck.

Since that incident Julie would always visit my boarding room with food, cleaned all the dirty things, washed my clothes and helped me pack the sandalwood and agarwood fans and also help cut up agarwood pieces. Then, when that was in order, she would help put them into boxes, write sender and recipient addresses and help carry them to the post office. She would also always check the post box and get any mail from my daughter overseas.    

Julie had become my assistant. Although she had only finished junior high school, her writing was good and she was quick with numbers.

After six months there was a disaster. Julie the fatherless child suddenly found she had a father in me, and at the same time, fell in love with me. I was racked by conflict. I was fifty five years old and Julie was just twenty. It wasn’t right. Poor Julie. But she stubbornly wanted to be my wife. For me this was not love that was normal, it was all because of the sandalwood fans, the aromatic agarwood fans meant money. If I hadn’t had any money the young woman wouldn’t have wanted this. Ah, sandalwood fans, the beautiful aroma of agarwood fans had preserved an old man who already smelt of the soil. It wasn’t right for Julie to marry this ancient from Jakarta.

Julie hugged me, hung round my neck and said, “I’ll look after you until you’re using a walking stick. You’ll live again, become young again, through our children.   

I became weak, and fell onto the bed.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door and as it wasn’t locked Mrs Agus walked right in. Her eyes were red. Maybe her high blood pressure had come back. Anyway she appeared to have tidied herself up and was thinking herself pretty. In fact because of the bright red of her lipstick I felt like I was being approached by a tiger.

It isn’t right for Julie to become your wife,” she said, “I’m the right one for you.” As she spoke she moved towards Julie then she slapped Julie.

As Julie ran out I made a run for the back door and then into the bathroom. I hid there for an hour. When I emerged into my room Mrs Agus was thankfully no longer in sight.

Since then I haven’t appeared at Mrs Agus’ food stall. I closed down the post office box and moved to another post office.

About three months later, Julie arrived at my room. She sat down as she slid a baby bottle into the lips of the baby in her arms. I was dumbstruck. Surely she wasn’t going to try it on me. I hoped she wasn’t about to go to the police station and report that her baby was my child, the child of a humble sandalwood fan trader.

“I’ve been living with a minibus driver,” she said.

“And had a baby right away?” I asked.

“No. His wife has left him and she handed the baby over to me. I just took her. After all where else was I going to go. My mother has high blood pressure. The important thing is that I have a husband,” said Julie, cradling the baby.

I couldn’t say anything. My eyes missed over.

One day about a year later as I was pedaling my bicycle, I saw Mrs Agus shuffling along dragging a half filled sack. I stopped but she had forgotten who I was which shocked me deeply. When I looked at the sack I realized. It was just full of plastic water bottles and old newspapers. Mrs Agus had become a garbage collector. To her, Jakarta had given only garbage.   

“Where’s Julie now?” I asked.

“Julie passed away,” she said.

“And where’s young Agus?” I asked again.

“At the intersection, selling bottled water,” she answered.

“Where are you living?”

“In doorways. There are plenty of doorways. You can just curl up anywhere.”

I was shocked.

“Who are you, sir?” she asked

“I’m a sandalwood fan trader.”

“Oh, my son-in-law, my son-in-law. Please can you just give me a ride on the back of your bike!”

Right away I gave her a ride to my room after getting rid of the sack of garbage. I told her to wash and fetched her something to eat.

The following day I went with her to the psychiatric hospital and put her into a nursing home.  

Depok, 10 February 2008


Kipas Cendana was published in Kompas daily in March 2008. [Retrieved from https://cerpenkompas.wordpress.com/2008/03/30/. Accessed 12 October 2016.]


Image: Back cover of EAP153/13/40: Syair Raksi Macam Baru [1915] http://eap.bl.uk/database/results.a4d?projID=EAP153;r=18467

Shackled by Cement

Indonesia’s brutal history brought to global attention — FT.com

“In 1999, as Indonesians were still celebrating the end of 31 years of dictatorial rule by Suharto, their second president, an unemployed philosophy graduate started writing a sprawling novel that blended his fascination for martial arts and horror stories with an acerbic take on his country’s twisted history.”  (Read more)

Source: Financial Times


Image: Rural women from Rembang in Central Java province protest outside the President’s office over the construction of a cement factory in their district.


Source: WatchDoc Films