i console my sadness at sunset that is so fleeting
when night falls let my longing stay strong
till the next sunset when our meeting begets gazes
And that if God still takes pity
and eases my worry that’s reached the point of exhaustion.
‘Adat law 100 years on: Towards a new interpretation?’ – KITLV
REMINDER: The Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society (VVI), in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), organize an international conference on the continued importance of adat law in present day Indonesia on 22 May 2017.
22 May 2017
National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden
This international conference focuses on adat law in Indonesia a century after the Adat Law Foundation (adatrechtstichting) was set up in Leiden in 1917 by Cornelius van Vollenhoven and Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje. In present-day Indonesia adat law continues to be of great importance.
The international conference aims to provide an update and to look at the current legal, social and political meaning of adat law, the way it is being invoked and how it is deployed for a variety of purposes. The key question is what the relevance of adat law is in present-day Indonesia.
These are the hands of a student,
My hands. Oh my God.
My hand reaches out,
And what I grab is a beautiful hostess’s petticoat.
What an idiot. My hand goes limp.
My hand knocks on the door,
But no one answers.
I kick the door,
And the door swings open.
Behind the door there’s another door.
There’s a sign with the opening hours,
Which are short.
I shove my hands in my trouser pockets,
And I go out and sojourn.
I’m swallowed by Great Indonesia.
Dozens of hands used in life
Suddenly appear in front of me.
I hold out my hands too.
But they look out of place among the thousands of hands.
I’m worried about my future.
Farmers’ hands are covered in mud,
Fishermen’s hands are covered in salt,
I pull back my hands.
Their hands are full of struggle.
Hands that are productive.
My hands are anxious,
They don’t solve any problems.
But the hands of businessmen,
The hands of bureaucrats,
Are calculating, nibble, and very strong.
My anxious hands are suspected,
My hands close into a fist.
And when they open again are transformed into claws.
I reach out in all directions.
At every desk in every office
Sits a soldier or an old person.
In the villages
Farmers are just laborers for landowners.
On the beaches
Fishermen do not own any of the boats.
Trade goes on without supermarkets.
Politics only serves the weather…
My hands close into a fist.
But there’s a brick wall in front of me.
My life has no future.
For now I have my hands in my pockets.
I journey from place to place.
I scrawl obscenities
On the chancellor’s desk.
Jakarta Arts Center
23 June 1977
Poem on Hands (Sajak Tangan), State of Emergency, W.S. Rendra, Wild & Woolley, Glebe, 1978, p. 34.
The sun rose this morning
Sniffed the smell of baby piss on the horizon,
Looked at the brown river snaking its way to the sea,
And listened to the hum of the bees in the forest.
And now it starts to climb into the sky
And it presides to bear witness, that we are gathered here
To investigate the current situation.
Why are good intentions sometimes no use?
Why can good intentions clash with good intentions?
People say: “We have good intentions.”
And we ask: “Good intentions for who?”
Yes, some are mighty and some are humble.
Some are armed and some are injured.
Some have positions and some are occupied.
Some have plenty and some are emptied.
And we here ask:
“Your good intentions are for who?
You stand on the side of who?”
Why are good intentions put into practice
But more and more farmers lose their land?
Farms in the mountains are bought up by people from the city.
Only benefit just one small group.
Advanced equipment that is imported
Doesn’t suit farmers with tiny pieces of land.
Well we ask:
“So your good intentions are for who?”
Now the sun is rising high in the sky.
And will indeed be enthroned above the palm trees.
And here in the hot air we will also ask:
All of us are educated to stand on the side of who?
Will the knowledge taught here
Be an instrument of liberation,
Or of oppression?
The sun shall soon go down.
Night will arrive,
The geckos chatter on the wall
And the moon sail forth.
But our questions shall not abate.
They shall live in the people’s dreams,
Grow in the fields that recede into the distance.
And on the morrow,
The sun shall rise once more.
Evermore the new day shall incarnate,
Our questions shall become a forest,
Transform into rivers,
And become the waves of an ocean.
Under this hot sun, we ask:
There are those who scream, and those who beat,
There are some with nothing, and some who scratch for something.
And our good intentions,
Stand on the side of who?
1 December 1977
This poem was presented to students at the University of Indonesia, and performed in the film “Yang Muda Yang Bercinta” directed by Syumanjaya.
Poem for a Student Meeting (Sajak Pertemuan Mahasiswa), State of Emergency, W.S. Rendra, Wild & Woolley, Glebe, 1978, p. 38.
Aliansi Badan Eksekutif Mahasiswa (BEM) Seluruh Indonesia yang di dalamnya beranggotakan 150 lebih perguruan tinggi menyatakan penolakan menghadiri undangan terbuka Presiden Jokowi ke Istana Negara …. https://t.co/hAJZV5ax3H