Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fight against "Forgetting"


Ignoring or just try to forgetting? A words that so many people in this country fight aginst it. Once, also there’s a word “apologizing”, but sometimes, we just forget the meaning of each words, and which one is we used again some problem, are we apologizing? Or just ignoring moreover forgetting? Confusing, yap its confusing enough. Its just when we were in the election, a lot of people just change “their clothes”. From one party to another party, kinda new promises, kinda new hopes, then people easily forget about what he done in the past, about his track record. Finaly, its just such an empty promises where always promising about the prosperity and kinda social welfare, just like in the past.

Its October, 1st, 46 year ago, in Indonesia, an old reign just begins to torn down, with a designated failed coup, the mr.president, Soekarno just being accused of tried to coup his own reign, it not making sense at all, but later people who were in bad economic condition, living with starvation because of embargo, and sick with unended confrontation (with Malaysia) easily agitated with the opinion. They demanding the better condition, and seeking for the new hopes that Soeharto with their company in Army promising. The people start to condemnd their own leader, people start to being anarchy, and demanding Soekarno take into the court. Then the court was held but is just a menthaly terror that so exhausting for the old man like Soekarno that also depressed and often to get illnes. Closed court were chosen rather than public/open court, the objectives is clear, to make all the case still unclear, kept the public condemnd their ex-great leader, the man who take the nation equal to another big country. Most of the people, were just being unpatient to the new hopes of people walfare, that Soeharto brought with. Several years later, the stabilization and economical growth extremely good, but its just because of foreign country aid, like Japan, US, EU, followed by their economic capitals of course, something that Soekarno didn’t like it much.

In the end of his reign, its true that so many people under Soekarno era suffering for the economical disasters. But not so many people that suffers, died, moreover lost because of military suppression. Events like eradication of communist activity, petrus (miterious shooter), tanjung priok massacre, 1998 tragedy, taken lifes thousand of people in this country. Once again, its just let it without any courts. Most of the people try to apologizing, but its true that they apologizing? Or just ignoring or just try to forgetting?

#commemorating 46 years of 30 September Movement, dedicated to my beloved Grandpa

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Karawang - Bekasi (a Poem to Recall Rawagede Massacre)

Kami yang kini terbaring antara Karawang-Bekasi
We who are lying between Karawang-Bekasi
Tidak bisa teriak "Merdeka" dan angkat senjata lagi
We who cant shout Merdeka (Freedom) anymore and take up arms again
Tapi siapakah yang tidak lagi mendengar deru kami
But who can no longer hear our roar
Terbayang kami maju dan berdegap hati?
Can you imagine when we move forward with steel heart?
Kami bicara padamu dalam hening di malam sepi
We talked to you in the silence of night
Jika dada rasa hampa dan jam dinding yang berdetak
With the empty heart and the slowly move of times
Kami mati muda. Yang tinggal tulang diliputi debu
We die young, living with bones covered by dust
Kenang, kenanglah kami
Remember, remembered us!
Kami sudah coba apa yang kami bisa
We’ve tried what could we do
Tapi kerja belum selesai, belum apa-apa
But the task isn’t accomplished, nothing
Kami sudah beri kami punya jiwa
We have show to you, we have our own soul
Kerja belum selesai, belum bisa memperhitungkan arti 4-5 ribu jiwa
The task isn’t accomplished, couldn’t get the meaning of 4-5 thousand of lives
Kami cuma tulang-tulang berserakan
We’re just scattered bones
Tapi adalah kepunyaanmu
But we are yours
Kaulah lagi yang tentukan nilai tulang-tulang berserakan
In your hand, determining the values ​​of this scattered bones
Ataukah jiwa kami melayang untuk kemerdekaan, kemenangan dan harapan
Or our soul is float to freedom, victory and hope
Atau tidak untuk apa-apa
Or just nothing!
Kami tidak tahu, kami tidak bisa lagi berkata
We do not know, we can no longer say
Kami bicara padamu dalam hening di malam sepi
We talked to you in the silence of night
Jika dada rasa hampa dan jam dinding yang berdetak
With the empty heart and the slowly move of times
Kenang-kenanglah kami
Remember, remembered us!
Menjaga Bung Karno
Keeping Mr. Karno ( Soekarno, 1st Precident of Indonesia)
Menjaga Bung Hatta
Keeping Mr. Hatta ( Moehammad Hatta, 1st Vice Precident of Indonesia)
Menjaga Bung Syahrir
Keeping Mr. Syahrir ( Sutan Syahrir, 1st Prime Minister of Indonesia)
Kami sekarang mayat
We’re now only corpses
Berilah kami arti
Give us the meaning of die
Berjagalah terus di garis batas pernyataan dan impian
Keep stay on the lines of statements and dreams
Kenang-kenanglah kami
Remember, remembered us!
Yang tinggal tulang-tulang diliputi debu
Living with bones covered by dust
Beribu kami terbaring antara Karawang-Bekasi
Thousand of us lying, between Karawang-Bekasi

Chairil Anwar (1922-1949) Famous Poet of Indonesia 

Long Road to Justice, Rawagede Massacre

Douglas C-47 Skytrain or known as Dakota. This kind of plane owned by Koninklijke Nederladsch Indisch Leger (KNIL) who were crashed in Rawagede triggered the offensive that resulted massacre of 431 civillians in Rawagede. Inset: KNIL insignia (source: wikipedia) 

This September the people of Indonesia, especially the people of Rawagede gained a victory over the International Court of Justice, for the first time. On September, 14th 2011, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, recognize Rawagede Massacre as the crimes against humanity, and blamed Netherlands Governments for it. The Courts demanded Netherlands to pay compensation over the victims. Its good for the victims that already 60 years without any justice, but then what about the others war crimes involved the Royal Army of Netherlands during 1945-1949? Also the rebellion involved the desertion army of KNIL( Koninklijk Nederlandsch Indische Leger) to disturb the rise of Republic Indonesia during Soekarno period? Well, for me, Rawagede Massacre is just one’s of the massacre that happened during the politionele actie that held by Netherlands between 1945-1949. So what is Rawagede Massacre itself?

The people of Rawagede mourning the destruction.
(source: 60 tahun Indonesia Merdeka)
It begun when West Java, before the Renville Agreement was signed, the Dutch army from Division 1, also known as December 7th Division troops launched a cleaning unit and Indonesia militias who are still held against the Dutch. In the area of ​​operations in Karawang, small city 50km to the west of Batavia (Jakarta), the Dutch army, hunt the Indonesia Regular Army and also the militia who was believed to responsible to shooting down the C-47(Dakota) Plane that carries 19 of Dutch Army officers from Semarang to Batavia. In fact the plane itself suffered engine failures, Nobody was injured and all the occupants were seen by a Thunderbolt pilot to leave the plane. When a rescue party of the RAF Regiment arrived, a howling mob surrounded the plane and there was no sign of the occupants, the rescue team believed that the officers was already kidnapped or murdered by the militia. The Dutch army inspect all over the village, door to door. But they did not found any Indonesia Regular Army nor militia over there. Then forced the entire population out of their homes and gather them in a field. Male population was ordered to stand side by side, then they were asked about the existence of the militia or regular army. But none of the people who say fighters are hiding. Then the brutality was start. The leader then ordered the Dutch army to shoot to death all the male population, including young teens. Some people managed to escape to the forest, although wounded shot. The worst one is there’s a popular stories that Dutch Army, let the villagers run out to the forestall area, but then from behind, they shoot them repatedly with machine guns.

Aftermath the Dutch troops burnt down the entire village of
Rawagede. (source: 60 tahun Indonesia Merdeka)
That day the Dutch soldiers massacred 431 people of Rawagede. Before the Dutch army leaves, they burned over the villages. This form of field executions (standrechtelijke excecuties) are an action that is clearly a war crime and its happened many times. It is estimated that victims of the massacre of more than 431 people, because many are swept away in flood to the river because of heavy rain after the massacre over. The rain which flushed resulting in a pool of blood soaked the village. The next day, after the Dutch troops to leave the village, the women tried to bury the bodies with crude equipment. As the witness said, mother buried her husband and two sons aged 12 and 15 years. They can not dig a hole too deep, only about 50 cm only, not too deep, so the smell of corpses still smelled for several days. This event later immortalized by Chairil Anwar, a famous poet at that times into a poem titled, Karawang - Bekasi.

The Rawagede victims now will felt a lil bit satisfied following this resolution. But not with the Republic of Indonesia government I think. Maybe, the government just feared of, if they concerned to this resolution, which is strong related again human right, maybe next day, the government itself must be preapared to the court also for the systematical crimes like Massacre of Communist Followers in 1965-1966, Massacre of Tanjung Priok, Petrus, Santa Cruz Massacre (Timor Leste), and 1998 Riots.

Sources: Metro Files, "Cerita Kelabu di Rawagede"
Pict Sources: ( Dakota )

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The story of Nitisemito, "The Kings of Kretek"

The Bal Tiga factory in Jati, Kudus around 1936 and the Bal Tiga logo's, the cigarettes brand founded by Nitisemito
Last Weekends, me and my friends from university, pay a visit to Kudus city, the city which is located around 70 km away to the east from Semarang. We did our assignment from Ekonomi Pertanian (Aggricultural Economics) subject to collecting data from Sugar cane farmer and also sugar factory in Kudus to complete our assignment. 1,5 hours ridin’ my motorbikes, finally i reached this city on 10pm, and this is my first time i’m ridin’ my motorbike outside the city of Semarang alone, hehe.

Well, i’m not going to share about my experience there, but there’s one story that really interested me. That is about the Kudus city is so famous for its cigarettes, so this city also called as “Kota Kretek” (The city of kretek). The kretek it self was found by the javanesse, but nowadays, only small number of javanesse company handled this business, the others was controlled by chinesse. In fact in the early of 20 century, there was a Javanesse Tycoon named Nitisemito that ruled this business. Even if we pray in the great mosque of Kudus actually, Pekalongan, Magelang, and another city in Middle Java especially, we could find a stand pendulum clock with a Nitisemito cigarettes company, “Bal Tiga” trade mark. Seems that all of this clock are Nitisemito’s company gift. So, who is actually this man? What is he and his company story? Well, lets figure out

Nitisemito born from an ambtenaar (civil officer) family on 1863. His Father was a regent in Kudus City. Not like the others peeps who born from its kind of family, Nitisemito choose himself as a businessman. Firstly his business on textile, then in the early of 1910, he start his business in cigarettes business named Bal Tiga Cigarette. He concern on Kretek type of cifgarettes. Well, This is why he called as “The King of Kretek”, eventhough the founder of its kind of cigarettes actually not him, but a Kudus people also named Jamhari.

On that age, Nitisemito was already invented a promotional for his product like a modern company. He used a gift to interested the consumers. A couple of Bal Tiga pack can be exchanged with a goods like plate, a clock, until a bike! Also he promote his product through carious media that available, mostly through newspaper. His business start ruled the cigarettes market. A lot of Kudus people say that he wan owned a large scale of land in the Menara Region, a region that located in the heart of Kudus city.

A pendulum Clock, a gift from Nitisemito
on Masjid Jami Pekalongan 
His business start to declined since the Chinesse-Javanesse Riot on Kudus on 1918. The riot started when the chinesse beated the javanesse people when some of the javanesse insulting the chinesse festival. Well, many peeps also said that the riot actually caused by a unhealthy business rivalry between businessmen. This riot that known as “Peroesohan di Koedoes”, its really affected to all sector of industries in Kudus city. Many of house, warehouse, and factory was burnt down. Many of javanesse businessman also being arrested by the colonial police because of many of them blamed as the provocatore, mostly the businessmen that incorporated with Sarekat Islam (SI)organization.

The Bal Tiga Company fortunately can survive from its hard period, but suddenly a big problem shocked this company. The colonial government accused the company embezzling tax, and also many rumours there were an internal affairs inside the company. The company was didn’t developed well as in the past, moreover during the Japanesse occupation. The stories of this Javanesse tycoon ended when he died on 1953, and no one of his descendant become his successor. But the histories cant be bears his named as one of the succesfull javanesse businessman. Like most of the Kudus people remembered him

Sunday, March 13, 2011

De Zikel (Marba) Building, One Stop Shopping Services in the Old Days

An illustration made by Frits van Bemmel around 1930 depicting the crowd on the old model of self-service stores in East-Indies. (source:

De Zikel Stores on 1920 (source: Leiden University Library)
Semarang as a main harbour city in Central Java region seems so attractive for the new businesses. Also for a Hamburg born entrepreneur, Adolf Zikel the founder of Toko Zikel & Co. , which believed as the first department store in Semarang. Adolf Zikel with His brothers, Bernhard Zikel, founded Zikel & Co. in the early 20th century, and in Semarang they start their shop by purchasing the former Genie-Atelier (Military Engineering Workshop) on the corner of the Heerenstraat, nowadays Jalan Letjend Suprapto  in the main artery of Kota Lama (Old Town)of  Semarang whereas was the main business district in the city of Semarang.  Long before Semarang, Adolf Zikel started His business in Medan, as its written in the articles of Bataviasch Nieuwsblad in December 16th 1890 when He sue His employee for a fraud in His shops in Medan which handled by Raad van Justitie (high court) of Medan.  But still unknown, when He’s started His business in Indonesia, or at that time was Dutch Indies.

The initial Toko Zikel in Semarang, bought by Zikel brothers to set up their shops in 1902. The buildings before was used as a Genie-Atelier, a workshop for Military Engineering Department. (souce: Leiden University Library)

Zikel & Co. seems gained success in Semarang, its even has its branch in Bandung, also in its main business district, in Groote Postweg or currently known as Jalan Asia Afrika. In 1906, they were not only act as a local shop, but took it to the next level as importer. Zikel & Co transform into NV. Impot Maatschappij Zikel & Co with the initial capital of 1000 Guilders, more than USD 55.000 in todays money.  But in that announcement  which published in Bataviasch Nieuwsblad dated December 5th 1906, it seems that Adolf were no longer involved in the business as His name not mentioned there, only Bernhard and Carl Zikel. Such an interesting name with this Zikel families? Since its start with Adolf, then Bernhard and Carl, which when we take initial of their name will be A B C Zikel, lol.

Adolf Zikel seems back to Europe prior His retirement, as in a obituary in one’s of the local newspaper in Nijmegen, Netherlands, Adolf was died there in 1919 and the obituary was presented by Bernhard and Carl Zikel. Zikel & Co. later in the 1920’s decade built its famous building right in the “heart” of the Kota Lama Semarang. A two story buildings with remarkable wall of an exposed red bricks, with a neoclassic style combined with tropical architecture soon become one’s of the notable building surround it. The buildings of Toko Zikel appears many times in the postcard issued about Semarang during colonial period, mostly taken from the east and its perfectly depicted Zikel & Co. with Koepelkerk and the old buildings of Borsumij with its famous gevel that changed into a simple art-deco style in 1939.

De Zikel or Marba Building on 2008.
De Zikel & Co or simply known at that time as Toko Zikel provides so many stuffs on their shop and mainly its imported stuffs. They provides stuffs from fashion, sportswares, housewares, groceries and even furnitures. Its fashion stuffs that provides for man, women, childern and babies was following the trends that emerged from times to times  which used mannequins to display it, something that consider as sophisticated at that time. The economic disasters in 1930’s that brought the period known as Great Depression also affected to the fate of this company. Mainly since during the period, the purchasing power were declined. Its indeed for Toko Zikel which provided such a luxury goods, this circumstances were disastrous.  The company then went into bankruptcy in 1932, and its announce to sell their property also in the same year.

The next owner of the building after its sold? There’s still no records about it, but perhaps the Yemenite businessman, Martha Badjunet, which then the buildings was bear His name as Marba, the acronym of His name. Today the building well-known as Marba , rather than Zikel and for its initial building in the corner of Jalan Letjend Suprapto, its more unrecognized as one’s of Toko Zikel buildings, as its not as famous as it which located in the centrum, nearby Taman Srigunting or before was Paradeplein, a park which as consider as main destination in Kota Lama Semarang.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Early Hospital in Semarang (Part I) : St. Elisabeth Hospital

Elisabeth Ziekenhuis, or now known as RS St. Elisabeth around 1947 (source:

In the city of Semarang in early 1920's there's only 2 hospitals, Central Burgelijk Zienkenhuis (CBZ), which is a government hospital (now RS dr.Kariadi) and Juliana Zienkenhuis which is a privately owned hospital (now RS Bhakti Wira Tamtama). At that time, both hospitals are no longer able to accommodate the patient who increasing significantly by the presence of various types of disease outbreaks that often hit the city of Semarang and claimed many casualties. Its really need one new hospital to built to overcome the problem.

A Dutch soldier being treated at Elisabeth Ziekenhuis,
the photos taken on 1947 (source: 
According to RS St. Elisabeth official sites its written that the sisters of the catholic brotherhood St.Francis in Semarang strive to accomplish their goals to establish a new hospital in Semarang. Well, the preparation itself is begun a couple years before by collecting funds from the noblemen in Semarang municipal government and from the center of the Sisters of St. Francis. On 3 September 1923 the funds used to purchase land former Chinese cemetery in the area covering 34.000 in the Nieuw Tjandi(Candi Baru) Region, with beautiful landscape, and quiet area(at that time actually, now is so crowd,haha) it’s a best place for a the hospital. Since laying the first stone on March 9, 1926 by Mgr.APF Van Velsen SJ, the development is carried out by three contractors Ir.Karsten, Ir.Zoetmulder, Ir.Peters and Ir. Keliverda. Prices of building materials has increased remarkable during Ir.Kersten development, so that required substantial additional funding. But finally, the building construction is completed on August 8, 1927. Various preparation for the inauguration held among others by placing 50 beds and other equipment. On October 18, 1927, St. Elisabeth Hospital was officially opened by Mgr. Van Velsen, SJ, accompanied by Fr. P. Hoeberechts, SJ and Mr.Van Gulk, the Resident of Semarang City. (Source:St.Elizabeth official page)

A ward on St. Elizabeth Ziekenhuis
The hospital continue to serve the people until the Japanese occupation in 1942, whereas this hospital was taken over and used as a military office. Well, at that time, all of the Dutchman were sent to the Internment camp. In Semarang City itself the Internment camp was established in Lamper Region, Bangkong(on the Sedes Sapientiae Senior High School), Halmahera Region, and so on. The Dutch nuns from the St.Elisabeth hospital also being taken and 9 of them died in the camp. Folowing Japanese surender in 1945, the St. Elisabeth opened again on 1 September 1945 in a state of disarray and lack of energy. But since the Semarang city was controlled strongly by the Dutch troops during the Independence War of Indonesia, the hospital also become one’s of the important hospital for the Dutch troops. After the war was over in 1949, the St.Elizabeth hospital continued to serve da people and together with the others hospitals in Semarang, providing the best healthcare to the society.

Paul Acket (source: wartajazz)
There's a interesting story about this hospital related with Jazz. How come?Well, this hospital become the born place of the founder of Rotterdam North Sea Jazz Festival, Paul Acket. According to the story Mr.Sambudi in Jazzngisoringin session, Paul Acket's parents actually residenced a plantation in Pemalang City, a city 135km to the west from Semarang. When the time to engender is come closer, since, the medical support is not as good as in Semarang city so Paul Acket's parent decided to go to Semarang by train and engender their babies in St.Elizabeth Hospital.

Paul was not alone, beside him, there's also famous jazz figure born in this hospital. In 1950, this hospital also become the born place of Daniel Sahuleka, the famous Jazz artist. 2 weeks later, little Daniel with their families moved to Winterswijk, Netherlands, a land where he grow up and start his career as musician.

Maybe, Paul and Daniel is just one of a thousand stories related with this hospital. Well, do u have any stories too? Lets share :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Purworejo, My Childhood City

Van Laar Junction (Tugu PKK). Its named after Van Laar, because of once there's a Hotel near there named
Van Laar 
The cloudy sky this evening make my mind remember about the sky in my childhood city, Purworejo. I was in Purworejo from 1991(whan I was born, hehe) until 1996. But the memories was so strong in my mind, especially whan my mom’s took me to that city last years to accompany her to visiting her friends in SMP Negeri 1 Purworejo, well that junior high school was her past work place. So, I’m gonna tell y’all about the stories of my childhood city.

Purworejo Train Station
The history of Purworejo when I search in is firstly known as the part of Ancient-Mataram Kingdom based on Kayu Ara Hiwang inscriptions found in the village of Boro Wetan (Subdistrict of Banyuurip), if converted to the Gregorian calendar is dated October 5th, 901 AD, showed that its has been a settlement before that date. Bujangga Manik a Pakuan Kingdom(ancient kingdom in West Java)voyager, on his journey allegedly that he pass through this area on his way home from Bali to Pakuan,. The Journey is at 15th century.

In the Sultanate of Mataram until the 19th century it is probably better known as Bagelen Well, currently Bagelen even just a subdistrict in the district and it has a big market called pasar bagelen, a famous market on that region. I’m still remember when I was child I’ve a friends who coming from that region.

The Town Square of Purworejo, its could be seen
in the distance the GPIB church, ones of the old
building landmarks in Purworejo
After the Duchy of Bagelen submitted his mastery to the Dutch East Indies by the Sultanate of Yogyakarta (due to the Diponegoro War), the region is merged into the residency of Kedu and become district. The Dutch Government under Van Den Bosch (the Governoor-General) built a new settlement, named Purworejo as a center of government (until now) with the Dutch town planning design engineer, while still taking the elements of Javanese tradition. This new city is a city of military barracks, and a number of Dutch troops from the Gold Coast (now Ghana), West Africa, known as Black Dutch settlements centered here.Its interesting that there were a large settlement of Dutch Negro Corps in Purworejo. The people aways call them as belanda hitam or translate as Black Dutchman. But until now, I cant find the rest of them, maybe they just leave for a long time, but to comemmorating the settlement there was a street named, jalan afrika (eng:africa st) in the region that in the past is become the settlement of this belanda hitam.

Well, the old city must have an old building too. When I’ve my trip there, some old buildings are still well maintained and stylish Indisch used up to now, such as the military complex near Ksatrian (my family past residence), masjid Jami 'Purworejo (dated 1834), housing regent, and the church beside my childhood kindergaten, the GPIB church. My city also become the birthplace of the famous people like, Jan Toorop (Famous Dutch Artist) A.J.G.H. Kostermans (Botanical expert), Johan Hendrik Caspar Kern ( Dutch Linguistic expert), Oerip Soemohardjo (Independence Heroes), and so on. Wish I could be as famous as them. Every javanesse city has its own square in the middle of cities. Also in Purworejo, it has a square, covering an area of 6 hectares, and is reputedly the largest in Java. Well, I really missed my childhood city, so bad.
Bedug Pendowo, finished in 1840 and was the largest bedug
 in Central Java in the past

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The NILLMIJ Building, The First Modern-Style Buliding in Semarang

The office of Nederlandsch-Indische Levensverzekering en Lijfrente Maatschappij (NILLMIJ) in 1920.
(source: tropenmuseum)
Yesterday, my Friends, who coming from outside Semarang city and have studied here said, ‘I love this city very much”. When I asked why? He just replied that He felt such an unique atmosphere that he dont get it in his hometown, thats the power of acculturation, the blended between the old and modern. Well, that was totaly true. I also really love this city and the stories inside this city. Like here, in Kota Lama (old town) and its surrounding are interested to be investigated, hehe…though i’m not an professional historian, but i’ve tried to seek an information about the building in Kota Lama, even the building itself its already changed or broken down.

(source: skycrapecity)
So, now i’m gonna share about the first modern-architecture bilding that bulit in the Semarang city, that is the NILLMIJ Building or now known as Gedung Jiwasraya . At that time, in the early of 1910’s, there is a changed of building style, from indisch architecture into tropic-artdeco style architecture. The Office of NILLMIJ (Nederlandsch Indische Leven Sverzeking De Lifrente Maatschappij) is the first building in Semarang that built by its tropic-artdeco style architecture. Built by architect named Thomas Karsten (famous architect at that time) in 1916's.The buliding built in the front face of Koepelskerk (Blenduk Church), and Parade’s plein (Srigunting Park).

The NILLMIJ building has a typical of tropical-artdeco architecture with a small dome in the middle of the roof of the building. The building was symmetrical with the entrance located in the middle. If we observe closely, this building not facing the highway, but the oblique facing the Koepelskerk and Paradesplein, its just because karsten want to get the impression that this building oversee both the building (the church and park). The building was the first building in Semarang city with concrete material to form it, so its also one of the reason that this is the first modern-style buliding, beside viewed from its architectural design. Here's also the first building who using lift in Dutch-Indie.

The NILLMIJ or now known as Asuransi Jiwasraya
building taken from the north side.
Following the nationaization of the colonial assets, the building become the ofice of PT.Asuransi Jiwasraya after the Independence of Indonesia around 50's decades, but its still preserve as the first time been built. The open space in the front without wall, and open corridor in the form of a window, adorn the entire front facade of the building with the amount of 8 windows in each building wing, 4 windows at ground floor and 4 windows on the first floor. The window is protected cantilever to reduce incoming sunlight into the room. Above each window there is a big bouven with ornaments in the form of concrete orders. In front of the building there’s an open space in front of the bulding and there is a small park to reduce the harsh impression on the landscape surround it.

In 2002 the renovation of repairs and repainting damaged walls to make this building looks more clean and beautiful. Its already more than 90 years, but the building still strong existed in the old town, and become the eyewitness about the journey of insurance bussiness in Semarang city.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The History of Pecinan (Chinatown) of Semarang

Klenteng Tay Kak Sie, the oldest confucian temple in the chinatown of Semarang.
The Chinese and Semarang city, have a good relation for a hundred years ago. Since, the Semarang city is the main harbour for Demak Kingdom, so many of foreign traders come to this city, like arabic, chinese, and Indian. The story of the chinese in Semarang firstly note on the history since the crew of Admiral zheng he great voyages, are brethed in Semarang due to linked the trade relations between chinese and the kingdoms in Java Island. Then they made a settlement around Simongan completed with mosque and shrine. Many people believe, this was the first chinese region in Semarang.

The Chinese English School, now is used by SMAN 5
Semarang. (source:
The relationship between the Chinese and the native people was good, until they cooperate to revolts againts the dutch in 1740. Since the dutch controlling the trade in Indonesia, many chinese and native people have difficulties to trade. Then the excalation become high in the city of Batavia (Jakarta), because of was the fear in the highest ranks of the VOC (Veerenidge Ost Compagnie, the dutch trade company) prevailed for some time that the continuous uprising unemployed Chinese workers on the sugar plantations in the districts of Batavia might spread to large groups of more affluent and better-organized Chinese traders and artisans within the walls of the city.

The Chinesse start to attacking the military post of VOC, helped by the native, the Batavia become so chaos. Fear of the condition become worst, The Governor-General Adriaan Valckenier, ordered mass killing in the village outskirt of Batavia. At least 10.000 people died in Batavia. The clashes eventually spread out especially in major cities in Java Island like, Semarang, Cheribon, Surabaya, Rembang, and so on.  The rebels are retreated from Batavia, runs out to the east, and they burnt and attacked every Dutch post and plantation. Lack of organization and weapons, finaly the Dutch could defeated it. They stregthen their post and fortrees along the north coast of Java. The Dutch also separated the settlements of native and chinesse. Then,  the separation of the Chinese and the Native begun.

The chinese funeral ceremony in Candi, Semarang taken
on 1904. (source: tropenmuseum)
The Chinese people become centered in one region, called pecinan (Chinese quarter), maybe it will be looks like the concentration camp at that moment. Also in Semarang, that situated in the banks of Semarang river, now we know as pecinan (chinese quarter). The VOC controlled the pecinan of semarang with the patrol of the cavalry every nite, through the banks of the river that surrounded the neigborhood, then now we known as jalan inspeksi (eng: inspection street). The chinesse couldnt leave the neigborhood without a permission. So, the living of chinesse people in Semarang at that time just concentrated on there, so they built school, market, crematorium, and temple to support their daily. Many of them are still existed nowadays like pasar senggol(market), tay kak sie temple, . Then after the VOC bankrupt and the Indonesia directly become the colony of the Dutch in 1799, many chinese heve a good relation with the government, and the culmination was the Dutch government allowed the chinesse to residence outside the chinesse quarter in the middle of 19 century. Since that moment a lot of building in the neigborhood become abandoned or torned down.