“The Royal Library of Bone: Bugis and Makassar manuscripts in the British Library
In March 2019, the digitisation was completed of 75 Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta now held in the British Library, which had been captured from the Kraton or Palace of Yogyakarta in June 1812 following a British assault. What is much less widely known is that the British Library also holds the core of another royal library from Indonesia, also taken in armed conflict during the brief period of British administration in Java from 1811 to 1816 under the command of Thomas Stamford Raffles. All the 34 manuscripts from south Sulawesi in the British Library can be identified as orginating from the palace of the Bugis kingdom of Bone, and were seized in a British attack on of Bone in June 1814.” (Read more.)
To recall mother
Is to recall dessert,
Wife is the sustaining main
Girlfriend the side dishes,
The perfect final,
In the great communal feast of life.
Her countenance is the sky at sunset:
The grandeur of the day that has completed its work.
Her voice the echo
Of the whisper of my conscience.
I look on the promise of the best in life.
Hearing her voice,
I believe in the good in the human heart.
Looking at mother’s photograph,
I inherit the essence of the creation of the world.
Talking with you, my brothers and sisters,
I remember that you too have mothers.
I shake your hands,
I embrace you in fraternity.
We don’t wish to offend each other,
So we do not insult each other’s mother,
Who always, like the earth, water and sky,
Defends us without affectation.
Thieves have mothers. Murderers have mothers.
Just as corruptors, tyrants, fascists, journalists on the take and members of parliament for sale,
They too also have mothers.
What sort of mothers are their mothers?
Aren’t their mothers the dove soaring in the sky of the soul?
Aren’t their mothers the gateway to the universe?
Would a child say to his mother:
“Mother, I’ve become the lap dog of foreign capital,
Who makes goods which don’t do anything to reduce the people’s poverty,
Then I bought a government mountain real cheap,
While the number of landless villagers goes through the roof.
Now I’m rich.
And then, mother, I also bought you a mountain too,
To be your resting place one day.”
No. This is not something a child would say to his mother.
But how then will a child explain to his mother his position as tyrant, corruptor, forest scourge and mouse plague overrunning rice fields?
Will the tyrant declare himself leader of the revolution?
Will the corruptor and lap dog of foreign capital announce that he’s the hero of development?
And will the forest scourge and rice field mouse plague label himself the ideal farmer?
But, then, what of the beaming gaze of his mother?
Is it possible for a mother to say:
“Child, don’t forget to take your jacket.
Remember to wrap up against the night air.
A journalist needs to stay healthy.
Oh, yeah, and if any fat envelops come your way,
Just pick me up some fried prawns.”
Mother, now I really understand your value.
You are the statue of my life,
Not a fake statue or a white elephant like Monas and Mini Indonesia Park.
You are the anthem Great Indonesia.
You are the rain I watched in the village.
You are the forest encircling the lake.
You are the lotus flower of meditation’s peace.
You are the song of the simple people.
You are the arrow of my conscience in all I do.
Pejambon, Jakarta 23 October, 1977
Poem for Mother (Sajak Ibunda) was published in State of Emergency, W.S. Rendra, Wild & Woolley, Glebe, 1978, p. 52.
On Saturday November 2, 2019, a public seminar will take place in cooperation with the National Archives. During this seminar we will focus on (archival) research: what does research look like in practice? Which sources are used for the research programme and what do they tell us? How do the researchers deal with one-sidedness and inconsistencies in the sources? And how do they ensure multi-perspectivity?
The programme researchers and some external experts share experiences from their research practice in workshops and presentations. In addition, the National Archives gives workshops on archival research, as well as tours through the depot and the exhibition Highlights in perspective.
The seminar comprises of a morning and an afternoon session, with an almost identical program. Conference registration for one of the half-day sessions is possible via Eventbrite. Both parts of the day contain Dutch and English sessions. The main language of the plenary session is Dutch, with English surtitles. The full program is available on our website.
You can register for the morning or afternoon session at Eventbrite. Conference registration is possible until Sunday October 27, 11.30 p.m.
A joint research programme of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), the Netherlands Institute of Military History (NIMH) and the NIOD, Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Read more here.
‘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.