Thursday, December 27, 2012

@lopenSMG, History Preservation through Twitter

From the left, Rizky, Fahry, Lovink, Ridho and Me, in front of Thio Sing Liong Mausoleum
The year of 2012 is almost end, and the holiday were spoiled me already this week. The rumours of the doomsday is now become a common jokes, thus the 2012 films for me, now is the biggest HOAX in 2011-2012, LOL. Anyway in this holiday also,  my friends, Ridho, Fahry, and Rizky ask me to do some unordinary activity, revealing the historical sites in Semarang city together, its like heritage trails who Komunitas Historia Indonesia did in Jakarta.What an Initiative! I felt so blessed and so happy, cause this is what I did for so long, mostly alone and now I will got a company. Then I set the date, and decide to realize this on December, 26th, right after christmas.

Inside the mausoleoum, where the Thio Sing Liong and
His 2nd Wife are buried, taken by Rizky Yuniarso.
The destination were undetermined yet. On the morning around 9 pm, we gathered in front of my elementeary school, SDN Sompok, and have a breakfast first on a waroong near there. Suddenly, Lovink, Ridho's classmate coming, and now we're five, and its make the trails more attractive. While breakfast, we discussed where is our destination today, and I offered them to exploring the remains of chinese grave along Sriwijaya street, and they approve it. The first destination were Thio Sing Liong Mausoleum, the grave of Thio Siong Liong together with his wife and relatives, who located near Gedung Wanita, Sriwijaya. Thio Sing Liong, was one's of the tycoon in Semarang city, His business was spice trading. His grave itself were in 100% condition, and this is  the best preserve chinese grave in Sriwijaya, who already demolished on thge 70-80 decades and changed into settlements. We entered inside its mausoleoum and found that this was so luxurious. The Mausoleum was in form of sculpture of Thio Sing Liong and his Wife, and its from marbles. The marbles itself were imported from Genova, Italy. We took several photos, because we found some interesting goods, like His family photos and a bouquet with certification, Societiet Hwa Yoe Hwe Kwan, 15 December 1940.

Then we continued our trails to the former dorms of my father. There's still existed three chinese grave on its backyards. But when we were there, there's nothing left, its already demolished all.As my memories, one's of the grave are in form of turtleback, I never found it yet in everywhere, only there. As I read on wikipedia, the turtleback tombs are common grave form in the coastal area in mainland of china. For me this is a proof that the chinese people who coming to Indonesia are traders, traders are using ship right? And it must be setlled near the coastal area. 

After that, we take a rest also take a lunch. There's an idea delivered by Ridho, to share about what we did through twitter. Since the power of social media are so strong now, we need to utillize it in order to increasing awareness of Semarang people about its the city history. Moreover, through twitter also, its possible to have an interactive interaction, so it'll be more interesting, at least the people itself know about what this city have.So today, I decide to make this account @lopenSMG so for everyone who have twitter account, kindly follow us and share what you know about Semarang city history specifically or Indonesia history generally with #blusukanSMG hastag. Keep tweeting! :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Meet Om Jongkie Tio, Semarang Story Teller & Writer

Me and my friends with Om Jongkie Tio, the author of Semarang Kota Kenangan book, in His residence that also a retaurant named Semarang International Garden and Family Restaurant.
What a December! After the event of Pameran Koloniale Tetoonstlelling successfully held, me and my friends who were volunteer are invited to the residence of Jongkie Tio, a famous story teller and writer about Semarang City. I know him from His book, Semarang Kota Kenangan that published when I’m still in Elementary School, on 2000. This book, for me is the first source that make up my mind, how rich my city is. Plenty of Semarang historical building and events are written in this book. 

Visiting His home on Jalan Gajahmada, who functioned also as a restaurant named Semarang International Garden and Family Restaurant, the atmosphere of Tempo Doeloe is so strong. The memorabilia, starts from old photos, radio, lamp, etc are well-decorated the reataurant.  We treats well by Om Jongkie, with His restaurant best food and beverages also with shared a lots of story related to the history and culture in Semarang, mostly about the relation of Chinese and the indigenous people. From His story, we know a lots of fact, like the committee that composed the foundation of Republic Indonesia, nine of them were Chinese descendant. Also like a fact that Admiral Cheng Ho were never landed in Semarang, only their crew who were landed in this city, He only observe from his ship, the main ship that command hundreeds of chinesse explorer fleet. He also share how difficult it was He photographs and exploring the story behind a building or kampoong under Soeharto regime. Even for several times He expelled from a kampoong, because of racial sentiments of chinese descendants, whereas He purposed to documenting the kampoong itself for the preservation, how ironic it is!

The reclame kiosk on the Chinatown, Semarang
taken on 2007
Then, I asked something that I never knew the story behind it, a tube shaped monument with a hexagon-shaped in the top of its, that located in pecinan (eng: Chinatown) and old town. He replied that, “That is not a monument, that is a reclame kiosk, a place for the people patch the advertising, so it wouldn’t patched randomly, in the wall of the building for example”. Well, the mistery has just revealed, also He said that the only one reclame kiosk that stil in genuine shaped is in pecinan. Genuine form its height for sure, cause the others in old town, is already “sinked” cause the elevation made by the city municipial, related to the flood and sea intrusions problems.

This dinner and all of the sharing time with Om Jongkie Tio, were made me felt so happy and believe , through history, we could build the understanding among the people from different background. Also, I realized that this city needs a lot of people who cares about the culture and history preservation. As the time goes by, a lots of old building also, local culture were disappeared, we as the young generation, never let it happened again, don’t we? People like Om Jongkie have a high expectation among the youth to continues what He do, to preserve the history and culture, specifically about Semarang city. So what are we waiting for? Let us do something to preserve it, and I believe in quotes, “Even the smallest people could change the course of the future”.  Lets Act! and thanks a lot for Om Jongkie anyway :)

The reclame kiosk, in the junction near Du Pavillion (now, Dibya Puri) Hotel (1929). (source: skycrapercity)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why We Fight?

The Dutch soldiers charged a republican basic during politionele actie II on 1948. In the picture appears, a Dutch soldier killed in action during the fight
Revolution, is always costly and has a dark side. Likewise, the revolution for independence in Indonesia. Soon after the proclamation of Independence on August 17, 1945, a lots of people questioned the meaning of independence. Traumatic by the Japanese occupation which causing the worst condition of life, and chaos caused by the vacuum of power soon after the Japanese surenderred, that often taken as a propaganda by the Dutch, that East Indie still required an intervention. On the other hand, Soekarno with others national leaders with confidence and optimism, take a significant step to become masters in their own land, who really   vast and rich.

The Dutch Soldier military parade, on
Bodjong Straat (Now Jalan Pemuda)
in front of Nambie Shop on 1947.
Source :
This time I will see the revolution of independence of Indonesia from the Dutch army side. Not because I'm an anti-nationalist, OF COURSE NOT!!! But just because I believe likely Germany Wehrmacht, they were just innocent people who keep the commandments of the country, but their leaders, if in this case is like van Heutz, van Mook, or perhaps the very cruel ones, Raymond Westerling, the slaughter of more than 4000 Celebes people, forced them into a terrible and exhausting war. Indonesia at that time, become the Netherlands Vietnam, long, exhausting and deadly battlefield.

As a state who were in war condition, the Dutch government implemented the conscription to face the revolution in Indonesia in the late 1946's. They are trained in Ede, they taught on how to fight a war in the East Indies, alse a knowledge about the tropical nature which the nature itself are very different from Europe. They were also told about the outbreak of revolution in the country and in East Indies as many troops are needed to restore the Dutch rule. Chaos has happened everywhere because of the vacum of power and the KNIL (Koninklijke Nederlands Indie Leger, Army of East Indie) troops is not in good condition after the Japanese occupation. 

A dead bodies of civillian after the
executie by the Dutch Soldier during
the Dutch military operations in
Indonesia. source: Volksrant
Generally, many of the young Dutch complained and objected. Just after the second world war ended, not many young people who have a willingness to fight, to joined as regular army, but refusing conscription is an against the state behaviour and its could be sentenced to jail. However, for the opportunists, it is seen as an opportunity to go adventuring, going from the Netherlands who were stuffy and chaos, after the World War II, and going to the fertille land that have plenty of natural resource: East Indie!

Finally mid-1947, this young soldiers were sent to the East Indies, and soon, face the fierce guerrilla warfare soldiers of the republican army as well as the pro-independence militias. The war was very tiring because of almost the majority of the indigenous people in East Indies which has now become Indonesia atfer the proclamation of independence, fully supports the revolution, support the independence of Indonesia. Things that they don't realized before cause on their minds, the people are getting suffer and hate the revolution, also presuming that the republican army and those militia are no more than a terorist group. As a result, many  of them become stressed and perform several actions beyond the military ethics, like the burnt to the ground the villages and kampoong who were accused as republican based, also civillian killings, since they are no longer able to distinguish who were soldiers or civillians.

Ereveld Tjandi, on 2012. The resting place for both
mercenaries and regular army of Dutch Regiments.
On an evening, ight after tennis practice, near the tennis courts, there is an Ereveld, the placed were Dutch soldiers casualties during the revolution are buried. The Ereveld Tjandi, is one of the Ereveld established in Indonesia by the Dutch government as the resting place for thousand of Dutch soldiers, both the mercenaries or regular army who died during military operations in Indonesia. As I observed the graves, it is likely that many of them are still as young as me, 21 years old, even some of them are still in 18 years old! They have dreams, they kept a lots of expectation on their mind, they waits for their future but soon, dispossessed by  war which initiated only by a few of people. 

Someday, when you were a leader. Beware of taking a decision, caused ur decission are impacted the lifes of others people under your command.

Awakening the Historical Sense through Exhibition

The Sentiling mini exhibition in SMA Negeri 1 Semarang, all of the visitors were so curious with the sories. Reputedly its named Sentiling due to the Javanese felt hard to spell Koloniale Tetoonstelling, so they simplified it to Sentiling.
(photos by: Harry Suryo)
"Als Ik een Nederlander Was" (If I were a Dutchman). A quotes from Ki Hajar Dewantara (Suwardi Suryaningrat) articles in De Express Daily, written in 1913 criticizing the Dutch government preparations of Koloniale Tetoonstelling event, held in Semarang, which also become the commemoration of 100 years of Dutch independence from France. In the article he wrote that, if I were a Dutchman, I will never celebrate my independence day commemoration in the land were I grabbed their independence.  The article also makes him exiled to Holland by East Indies Gouverneur-General, Idenburg.

That quotes welcomed the visitors on the Sentiling 1914 exhibition, held in SMA 1 Semarang in order to provide knowledge to the public about this Koloniale Tetoonstelling. Anyway, the area of SMA 1 Semarang itself stands on the former area of Koloniale Tetoonstelling, which stretched from Pieter Styhoof Laan (now Jalan Pandanaran) to the south, around the area of ​​what we recognize as Taman KB nowadays. The event was held over three days from 10-12 December 2012.

The main gate of the exhibition, situated in the south side
of Pieter Styhoof Laan (now Jalan Pandanaran).
(Source: Troopenmuseum)
Less people know that in Semarang, from August to November 1914 was held this Koloniale Tetoonstelling, a colonial exhibition that used to be the biggest in Southeast Asia's, a world expo which until this day havent held yet in Indonesia anymore (see the list of worlds fair in the world here). As an efforts related to the preparation, facing this event, the infrastructure in the East Indies soon be "slicked up". Train is a favourites transportation on that age, so that railway stations are built for facilitate those visitors from the another town. Jurnatan station, before it the station was just a simple timber station, then converted into a luxurious grand station in 1913, then become the largest station in Semarang, unortunatelly, its already demolished. Then another two new stations built, there are Tawang (inaugurated in June 1914) and Poncol (inaugurated, August 1914), all of that purposed to support the event of Koloniale Tetoonstelling.  A lots of car rental established and of course, a lots of hotels were built in the southern part of Semarang as a visitor accommodation.

The situation on the exhibition, its visible the tram track,
which served to transported around the exhibition area.
(Source: Troopenmuseum)
This event also an event to show off the Dutch achievements in East Indies. Plantations, the main commodity that exported from East Indies, the pavillions is built completed with the miniature of sugar, coffee, tea, cacao, kina, and many more plantations landscape. The manufacturing, trade, financial, bank companies and the colonies in the archipelago complete with custom homes and custom performance shown also participate in this event. As it name as a world expo, this event were invited several fellow country. Unfortunately, on the same year the World War I broke out, which led to this event didnt realized as its planned before. All the representatives of European countries to cancelled their participation, and the only fellow country that attend this exhibition only  United States, Australia, British India, Switzerland, French Indochina, China and Japan.

Explanation through archival photos and books attract the attention of visitors. Until the end of the even, its recorded that 286 people visited the exhibition. A number, that I think its very fantastic, because it is just a simple exhibition, with minimal decoration precissely. This exhibition also financed by Titus Aji, also the initiators of this exhibition that also ask me in favor together to handle it. Salute! in this materialtistic world, there's a people who still wanna to hold this kind of event, which surely there's no benefit at all. Well its already done anyway, thanks for all especially to my friends who have been strong willingness as a volunteer to handle it. So proud you guys! May the knowledge of the visitors after attended our events and their smile, always be a remembrance for us, and made us believe that what we've done is worth, and may God replied by His own way :) ameen. . . 

Me with all of  Sentiling 1914 exhibition committee, from OASE community, gonna miss y'all guys :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Inside the Jiwaraya (NILMIJ) Semarang Building

The PC tile floor, formed a word "NILLMY" on the front terrace of Jiwasraya office Building, Kota Lama, Semarang.

A foggy morning on the beginning of December, and my friends invite me accompany her visiting the Jiwasraya office, or NILLMIJ, on the old town. She wanna make a coverage about this, and since I like this kinda activity, she wishes I could enrich the information. Messed up with the assignment of Economic International subject, I nearly refused this invitation, but after all with a little struggle finishing the assignment with an extra effort, Finally, I could go, and even the rain are make us wet, I have no regret at all ;)

A stained glass on the main hall, looks
so fascinated around the circular stairs,
and the artistic lamp.
I have posted abouth this building before here, but I haven’t entered the building and saw how inside. My friends, named Kuni was a campus journalist, so she have a press card as a legality to access any  information, what a smart card! Then we welcomed by floor structure formed word “NILLMY” in the terrace. Moving inside to the building, we accepted by Mr. Sis, a Jiwasraya employee then he showed also explained us about the story inside. Begin with the main hall, its already stacked with the new floor, continued with the fascinating circular stairs, with its artistic lamp, but actually its added on 1983. But we could see the original floor, on the 3rd floor, and on the balcony. I don’t know why, the floor on the old building always stacked with the brand new ceramic tile beside let it use the PC tile which for me, its more artictic then the ceramic tile.

Moving to the 2nd floor, Mr. Sis showed us the location where the elevator is “lying”. This was the first elevator in Indonesia, and this elevator, since Mr.Sis is in service in this office is already not active, even another source Mr.Mukidi a guard of this office told that on 1974 according the story of his senior, the elevator is already unactived. I looked nearly and found this elevator are OTIS Elevator product, one’s of the leading elevator company in the world until now. 

An old elevator, on the 2nd floor, this
was the first elevator in Indonesia (1916)
Then moving to the highest level, on the 3rd floor , the floor since the staircase is still in orginal form, with the PC tile. And yap we moving to the top balcony, and woooow! The scenery is so great, the view of old town from the high level. But also we saw, a real threat facing by this building on the next couple years. Due to the rain, and its hasn’t been renovated for a long time, the rainwater are absorbed in the structure, and made its fragile, and maybe the worst is the structure could be torned down.

Back to the inside, and prepared to get back, I asked my last question, is there any inauguration plaque in this building? Then Mr.Mukidi replied yes, it is, and he showed us the location, in the wall in front of the cashier. Its demolished on 1995, together with the works to stacked the floor. Mr.Sis also testified, that its formed like a small altar, and its made from the marble. Well its placed in the corner of the building and seems like it will make no interruption among the people who walks through this, so, why it must be demolished? At last once again I just only said, what a pity!

Looking down from the top floor (3rd floor), the main hall circled with circullated stair,
and on the left side of the sofa, below the stairs is where the inauguration plaque situated.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Uitkijk, the watchtower of Semarang Harbor

De Uitkijk te Semarang or the harbormaster tower of Semarang, as its seen on 1870 (source:

Uitkijk (eng: look-out), that’s what the dutch called for this habourmaster tower building. Talking about Uitkijk, so its cant be separated from the Vijfhoek(eng: pentagon), a fort that built in the site that Uitkijk is erected. The Fort itself was built on the site of a simple earthen wall, built by Adriaan Speelman on 1677. Its built as the respond to the convention between VOC and Amangkurat I, the Sultan of Mataram, as the return for the VOC services to assist him suppressed the rebellion of Trunajaya, which really frustrated Amangkurat I because of this rebellion gained a lot of support among the regent and religious leader over Java Island because of Amangkurat dictatorship rules. In the convention its mentioned that VOC gained control over the north coast of Java Island, thus they need a this fort to protect their interest in Semarang.  

The ruins of Uitkijk on 2007
According to the article in Suara Merdeka newspaper, its built on 1825, the Uitkijk has a role to control the activity on the small harbor situated on Kali Semarang, which a lot of merchant loading and unloading their goods to supply the needs of the people of Semarang. And the Vijfhoek itself has largely demolished on 1741, except two bastions on the west and north, which were included in the new city wall.

Visiting this site todays, it will be difficult because of there’s no suitable parking area, and its turned become slum area. One’s of the old person said that it has been functioned as the warehouse to kept the coal in before the reformation 1998. Then during the reformation, the people surround it looted this, they take the windows, doors, floors, stairs who were made from the finest teak woods. Then yap, the result is like what we saw nowadays, no frame, no door, no stairs, only ruins and garbage precisely.

The remain of Vijfhoek itself is still unvisible right now, but on 2009, some archeologist doing the excavation on the site near uitkijk and found the foundation of the vijfhoek wall. Constrained with the permission of the land owner (which is one’s of the state company) and the sea intrusion phenomenon called “rob” which made this excavation become harder, its stoped, and still there’s no continuity related to this excavation anymore. The excavation site are filled with the rob water, made it look like a cesspit, yuck, disgusting!

The article on Kompas daily which explained about the excavation of Vijfhoek on 2009