Category Archives: Pandemi

Short Story: Bitter Covid By Seno Gumira Ajidarma

Bitter Covid

By Seno Gumira Ajidarma

“Which one tastes bett’a, Kab, bitt’a coffee or bitt’a cofi’?”

Sukab grins from ear to ear on hearning young Jali, who has taken the opportunity to rest his motorcycle taxi at the food stall rather than continue the endless daily roar of collecting food and delivering it.

“Ain’t you workin’ because of the lockdown, Li?”

“See ‘ere, this lockdown ‘as made online fried tofu and fish dumplin’s sell like ‘ot cakes, Kab.”

“So, how comes you is still ‘angin’ aroun’ ‘ere, then?”

“One by one them regular customers is dyin’,” says Jali, taking off his baseball cap as if out of respect. “Left an’ right, front an’ back, in every ‘ouse, there is someone depar’in'”

“Depar”in’?”

“Depar”in’ this world, Cor!”

“Oh gees, yeah, sorry. So..?”

“What people who is still at home is still bein’ infected like, lookin’ for oxygen cylinders, which is real ‘ard, see. An’ if they looks ‘ealthy, like, it turns around they is still OTG anyway, infech’ted but without no symp’oms.

“‘at is the gravest of dangers, i’n’t it.”

“That is when they is the most infetchious!”

“Is that why you don’t wanna go out? Ain’t motorcycle taxis right popular jus’ now?”

“Fact is, there ain’t no orders, Kab. Ain’t jus’ the people who’s buyin’ food what’s ‘eadin’ to the gates…”

“The gates?”

“Oh, Sukab! Headin’ to them pearly gates, ‘ken ‘ell!”

“Ah! Snuffin’ it! Look yous keep changin’, see!

“Yeah, not jus’ the buyers even. Plen’y of sellers it is ‘ho ‘as also shuff’led off…”

“Shuffled off? You mean croaked it again, right?”

“Yaapp! Now you knows, ok, why I been sittin’ ‘ere playin’ chess, rather ‘an run aroun’ all confused like, ‘n all not knowin’ what I outta be doin’?”

Yati shouts as she holds out a packed of fried catfish and peanut sauce. “What the hell! Deliver this. And fast. Then get straight back ‘ere, ok? It all ain’t no use neither that people sellin’ food is shippin’ out…”

“Shippin’ out? Dyin’ too?”

“Hey, stup’id, the importan’ thing is I don’t wants no one who is still ‘ealthy dyin’ o’ ‘unger, right…”

Jali grabs the packet and climbs straight onto his motorcycle like a cowboy climbing up onto his horse.

The stall was quiet again then, though the motorcycle taxis are still queuing. Waiting for Yati’s food packets. With all the constant coming and going, Sukab gets to thinking. “With being right at the bottom sure is lucky we is still making a little somethin’.”

“It may be goin’ all right,” he thinks, “but the worst thing is, Christ, the lives…”

“If there is a collapse, like, you’re gonna collapse too…,” says Yati, who has joined every type of online groups. WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Twi’er. They are all confusing people and making them panic, even if they aren’t wrong.

“The ambulance drivers are all exhausted. The grave diggers feels likes they ain’t got no hands left. The preachers is all praying 24 hours a day. The  doctors is havin’ to pick from dozens of dyin’ patients layin’ all around the place in the emergency tents. Then there’s the health workers, helpin’ theirselves to the vaccines… What else is it if it ain’t a collapse… a break down, a crash…,” says Sukab, as if he is in a sort of theater drama.

It’s true everything that was happening. At the food stall you hear every neighborhood announcement from the speakers at the mosques, the ones close by as well as the ones way off. There’s no end to the speakers wailing Inna Lillahi, etcetera and ending in the news that some body or other is going to be taken directly from the hospital to the graveyard. Bodies are being lost, bodies are being swapped, their souls flying up and not being able to say nothing to their relatives who are praying in front of the wrong body’s grave.

Yati shakes her head and just stares at her cellphone.

“It sure is like that. The people who ain’t passed are saying they’re almost goin’ crazy just because they ain’t been to the mall…”

“Pass?”

“Like, it’s everything from before: croaks, goes up to that big house, goes to them pearly gates, shuffles off, departs this world… does I really have to say dies? All right, so, passes on…”

Sukab picks up his mask and takes a mouthful of his corn coffee.

“What it’s called is running outta energy, from being a volunteer, all the worry by itself is.., just real hard…”

“But, you ain’t gonna run out, right, Kab?”

“Of what?”

“Of what you says. Of energy.”

“Gees! It ain’t not enough to just pray!” Then Sukab points to his forehead.

“Your human brain has gotta really work good, like!”

He stands, grabs his hoe and dustpan.

“Where is you goin’, Kab? Ain’t there a lockdown?”

“‘ell, who is gonna bury all them people ‘ho croaks?”

***

Pondok Ranji, Thursday 15 July 2021


 

Bitter Covid (Kopid Pait) was published in Panajournal, 15 July 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.panajournal.com/2021/07/kopid-pait)

Seno Gumira Ajidarma, born in Boston, United States, June 19, 1958. Now serves as Chancellor of the Jakarta Institute of the Arts (IKJ). Seno became better known after writing his trilogy of works on East Timor, namely Saksi Mata (collection of short stories), Jazz, Purfum, dan Insiden? (novel), and Ketika Jurnalisme Dibungkam, Sastra Harus Bicara (collection of essays). In 2014, he launched a blog called PanaJournal (www.panajournal.com) about human interest stories with a number of journalists and professionals in the field of communication. For other work by Seno Gumira Adjidarma click here.

Kopid Pait

The author’s blog is available at The World of Sukab.

New Album: Menolak Tunduk By Wukir Suryadi

New Album: Menolak Tunduk [Refuse to Obey]

By Wukir Suryadi

Based on album notes from Bandcamp:

The uncertain situation of the pandemic due to government policies that are not concerned with the welfare and security of the people makes anyone indignant. Survival is initiated independently and collectively through community solidarity action, including protest. Ironically, community action has not been responded to as an aspiration prompting government improvement, but instead was responded to with repression. Wukir’s statement of disobedience is not only directed against the sociopolitical conditions, but also against all things that limit and restrict freedom of expression.

This attitude is reflected in the compositions on this album. It’s not as melodic as it used to be. Dark as usual, aggressive, abrasive, transcendental, and definitely tribal. The percussion element is very dominant. This emerged from his new instrument in the form of a wooden box with a line-shaped hole. This ancient-futuristic album marks a tumultuous new cross-dimensional era to affirm our stance, to disobey.

credits
released November 10, 2021

Instruments:
Kentongan serie A and B,
Guitar, Industrial Mutant, Solet, Senyawa x Benchlab Pedal serie R prototype

Recorded in Senyawa Mandiri, 2021
Mastered by Joseph Lamont

license
some rights reserved

Tags
alternative experimental indonesia Yogyakarta

Yes No Wave Music’s website

Obit: The Funeral of RM Hario Soerjo Soebandrio By Noto Soeroto, 1918

Obit: The Funeral of RM Hario Soerjo Soebandrio

By Noto Soeroto, 1918

On 13 November 1918, Raden Mas Hario Soerjo Soebandrio, the younger brother of Z.H. Prince Mangkoe Negoro VII, passed away at the Hague at the age of 29 years, a victim of the current influenza epidemic.

On 15 November the funeral took place in a rather Javanese ceremonial manner, with the Committee of the Indian Association acting as master of ceremonies. The funeral procession attracted the attention of those present because of the particular decoration of the coffin which was painted ivory. The middle part of this was covered with a white sheet on which were hung traditional Javanese flower arrangements. In addition, many wreaths of flowers filled the carriage, including those of Mrs. van Deventer, Mr. Abendanon, the Indian Association, Minahassans and Sumatrans, Solonese princes and many friends and countrymen. Five carriages of the closest friends who had already gathered at the house of the deceased at Fahrenheitstraat had already left in advance.

At the Old Oak and Dunes Cemetery, a number of Indonesians and interested people waited who wanted to pay their last respects to the deceased. After that his countrymen, all wearing white mourning armbands, carried the coffin from the funeral wagon, preceded by the wife of Mangoenkoesoemo, Noto Soeroto and Surya Ningrat, carrying respectively a bowl of flowers, a vessel for incense and the Quran, the coffin was placed in the van Deventer family crypt.

After the usual spreading of flowers and the reading of texts from the Quran by one of his Islamic compatriots, a brief eulogy was given by the chairman of the Indian Association, Dr. Goenawan Mangoenkoesoemo, who described the deceased as a quiet and serious man who was driven only by the desire for greater knowledge of Europe. Everyone who knew him, knew how friendly Soerjo Soebandrio was, how extremely kind and gentle he always was. The speaker described how not only here at the grave side, but also on his deathbed, his countrymen had surrounded him and that this could be seen by Soerjo Soebandrio himself with his own eyes. And now the beloved is not on strange soil in the family tomb of Mrs. van Deventer.

A few words were then said by J. Oudemans representing the Minister of Colonies, Dr Tumbelaka, on behalf of the Minahassans, Mr. Dahlan Abdoellah spoke on behalf of the Sumatrans in Malay, Mr. Soenario in Javanese, Mr. J. H. Abendanon and Mr. W. J. Giel. Soerjo Soebandrio’s teacher Mr. Herman Middendorp also spoke in moving terms about how the relationship between teacher and student had quickly become a relationship of two friends. Then how he had grown to know what Soebandrio was like: so good, so clever, so sincere and so straightforward, but that it had been in this simplicity that the depth of his soul was revealed.

2017_09_30_14_03_26_Nederlandsch_Indie_oud_en_nieuw_year_1918

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Netherlands-India, old and new (year 1918, volume 003, issue 008) (Stoomvaart-Maatschappij “Nederland.”. Nederlandsch-Indie oud & nieuw)

Indies Association (Perhimpunan India), 1918

The procession in the cemetery.


Source: Netherlands-India, old and new (year 1918, volume 003, issue 008)

On the career of Noto Soeroto see Mirror of the Indies: A History of Dutch Colonial Literature, Robert Nieuwenhuys, p. 184, and the examples of his work available on this blog are here.

For background on Dr. Goenawan Mangoenkoesoemo see Goenawan Mangoenkoesoemo, Sang Visioner: Usia 15 Tolak “Politik Dinasti”.

For background on Indonesian students in the Netherlands in the early twentieth century see Indonesian Identities Abroad: International Engagement of Colonial Students in the Netherlands, 1908-1931.

Perhimpunan Indonesia

  • Amstutz. (1958). The Indonesian youth movement, 1908-1955. Tufts University.
  • Ingleson, J. (1975). Perhimpunan Indonesia and the Indonesian nationalist movement 1923-1928. Clayton, Centre of Southeast Asian studies, Monash univ.;
  • Hatta, Mohammad.  (1928).  Indonesie vrij.  Den Haag :  Perhimpoenan Indonesia;
  • Perhimpunan Indonesia.  (1938).  “Indonesia” jubileum-nummer : uitgegeven ter gelegenheid van het 30-jarig bestaan van de Perhimpunan Indonesia, 1908-1938.