Friday, October 26, 2012

Religion Tolerance a la Kudus City

Al Aqsa Mosque or people recognize it as Masjid Menara Kudus, in 1940
(source: Tropenmuseum)

Hello World!
Happy Iedul Adha all! Yesterday we celebrated one’s of the holy day of a moslem, the symbol of sacrifice and  togetherness. During Iedul Adha, one things is important, that is qurban (sacrifice) itself, which in the holy Koran, we recognize that phopret Ibrahim (Abraham) had a recurring dream, in which Allah SWT was commanding him to offer his son, Ismail (Ishmael) as a sacrifice. Ibrahim felt so confuse whether he want to obey the God orders, but there’s no father in the world who have his heart to sacrificing his dear son.  But later when Ibrahim asked Ismail about this, Ismail replied, “ Insha Allah (God willingness), you’ll find me to be patient, just do what the Allah asked to you father”. After all Ibrahim realize orders to sacrificing his son, he blindfold his eyes when he cut Ismail throat. When he cut Ishmael's throat and removed the blindfold, he was surprised when found  Ismail was unharmed and and still alive! But he found a dead sheep which was slaughtered. Abraham had passed the test by his willingness to carry out Allah SWT order. Since that day, all the moslem who’ve been capable are have a duty to slaughter a cattle (cow, goat, sheep, camel, ram, buffalo) during Iedul Adha day, then later distributed to the poor people. That’s the origin of Iedul Adha, but I wanna share about the unique tradition in Kudus city, a city to the east of Semarang about this day.

The story teller, Hasan, experted
about the story about early Islam in Java
I got this story from my friends who comin’ from there named Hasan Anwar, he explain me about, why the Kudus people are forbidden to use cow as their qurban? Even not only on that celebration, we almost couldn’t find any soto, kind of Javanese soup, which using cow meat in Kudus, because they changed it with buffalo meat. So, whats the reason behind it?

Hasan, told me that its just because of Sunan Kudus, the pseudonym of Jaffar Shadiq, the early Islam missionary in Java who lived in Kudus, forbid the people to slaughtering cow, in order to respect the Hindu’s people, who at that time are the majority in Java island. One day, he received a cow coming from the merchant from India. The people are so curious when the cow is tethered in front of Sunan Kudus house. The hindu’s people want to know what will Sunan Kudus do, for the holy animal according to their belief. The number of people gathered increasing, both of the Hindu’s and Muslim’s, who want to  prevented, if any trouble happened to the Sunan Kudus. Then Sunan Kudus come out from his house and said, “Brothers and sisters! My beloved people, I’ll not do any danger to this cow, and I beg u not to hurt even slaughter the cow, because in my childhood this animal once saved my life, its nursing me when I was suffering due to really bad thirst. Even in our Koran, there’s a surah (chapter) using the name of this animal, called Al Baqarah (Baqarah: female cow). ”

Then the people are so excited with what the Sunan Kudus said. Its proof them about the high tolerance of moslem people. Even after that a lots of people converted to Islam, and Sunan Kudus according to the folkstale, received a granted, there’s a building from the local religious leader, where later he renovated it and nowadays become what we recognize as Masjid Menara Kudus.  Most of the building carried the Hindu’s architecture, dominated with the red bricks structure. Its always remind me about , the beauty of harmonism.

Well, until now, Kudus people still obeys the Sunan Kudus order not to slaughtering cow. Every Iedul Adha day, there’s no cow is slaughtered, only goat, sheep, and buffalo. Even Hasan’s added, “once there’s a kampong, break the rule, they slaughter the cow and later all of them were ill.” Believe it or not ;)    

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jazz with Javanese Taste, its Ngayogjazz!

Ngayogjazz 2011, Nandoer Jazz-ing Pakarti 
As the November comes, the most awaited jazz performance event, the Ngayogjazz, is finally ready “break the rule” of the common Jazz Festival! Its free and its so Javanese ;). With the tagline of, Dengan ngejazz kita Tingkatkan Swasembada Jazz (through the Jazz, we increased the self-supporting Jazz)  Ngayogjazz 2012 will be held on Sunday,November 18, 2012. This year it’ll be held on Desa Brayut, a village near in the outrkirt of Jogjakarta. Well, it takes me back to the memories of Ngayogjazz 2011 when it  was held in Pasar Kotagede, a traditional market encircled with the local kampong.

Our fellow "Aljabar Band" from Jazzngisoringin community,
one of the raising star in Semarang City nowadays.
Jazz music where always find its spontaneity, being interactive, expressive and friendly, and through the ngayogjazz  all of this aspect is fulfilled. The event itself its free of charge, accommodating the local performer, and has its own characteristic as Jazz in the Javanese land, not those from the west, that’s the main differences. In the Ngayogjazz 2011, I accompanied by my friends Wisda, Bagoes and Ikhsan also with my Russian friends, Sasha, depart from Semarang city on the noon, and arrived in the venues on maghreeb time, around 6 pm. Soon we experienced  the mystical and magical jazz spirit courtesy of Ngayogjazz 2011. A stage in the middle of kampong, a stage in the parking lot of traditional market, it’s a jazz fest but there’s a lot of tradional food seller with their gerobak(cart) on it, really unbelievable where the music that a lot of people see it as the identity of the high class society, then we could see it in the condition like this.

There’s 6 stages on Ngayogjazz 2011, but we choose the Horn Stage, because there’s a Jazzngisoringin, a jazz community from my city, Semarang, that performed. The stage itself situated in the yard inside the kampong, well this is a symbol that bringing jazz into the traditional people is not impossible at all. Feeling thirsty and hungry, we decided to pay a visit to a warung(tavern) a traditional food and beverages. There we meet another mates, mas dimas, mas aji and mas erje. They also coming from Semarang to enjoyed the event. As we take a rest in the kiosk, there’s another stage situated near it, so our conversation are accompanied by chilling jazzy music performed from the stage near us

All of my friends who accompany me enjoying this
Ngayogjazz 2011, thanx for the memories mates! ;)
We close our journey here, in the main stage. Enjoying the closing performance by Djaduk Ferianto, a famous ethnic music artist that also the founder of this event, Idang Rasjidi , the famous jazz pianist,  and Trie Utami, the famous jazz singer. Here we enjoyed the jazz mixed  with javanese traditional music resulting the amazing harmonious music. So guys, the November is  near, just prepare yourself to Ngayogjazz 2012! Its gonna be worthy and unforgettable, for sure ;)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hotel Bellevue Semarang, A Recommended Place to Stay

Hotel Bellevue in 1948, the front side is no longer like its appears in the photos because now there's a cafe built in front of the hotel (source: 
Visiting Semarang city, everybody needs the comfortable place to stay precisssely. Well, I'll show you the recommended hotel in Semarang that everyone who stay there will not only just rest for a while, but also enjoying the old memories for those who lived in the colonial period, and an old time experience for those who was born after it.

Bellevue Hotel, or now recognized as
Hotel Candi Baru as it appears on 2007
Its, Candi Baru Hotel which provides a mix of original Dutch building with cold and calm atmosphere in the , Candi baru settlement. Its built after the boom of the hotel growth in Semarang, right after the Koloniale Tetoonsteling event, that increasing the number both of business growth and tourism in Semarang. So many new hotel built in the Nieuw Tjandi areas because in the colonial age, this area belongs to outskirt city area. But now its no longer anymore, its already a densely area, then it makes the area is too crowd as the resting place, and  the result? Many hotels are demolished. Thats why, we recognizing there's a kampoong named Candi Losmen, but of course now adays there's no losmen (hostel) anymore existed on that place.

Back to the Candi Baru Hotel, originally has a name as Bellevue Hotel until it changes in the early decades of 60's since Mr.President Soekarno, banned the used of foreign language as his efforts related to nationalism. Built by Van Damen Wars in 1919, and now owned by PT Sido Muncul, one's of the traditional herbal product company, the building is still well preserve and strong enough. Beautiful park scenery and artistic architectural, decorating with the statue of angels make its really attractive to everybody who stay there. The hotel rates itself are varied start from IDR 85,000 to IDR 500,000 per night. Well, for you who wanna coming to Semarang, its recommended to stay here :)

Inside the hotel, the dining hall, still preserved the old atmosphere. Hanging lamp, PC tile floor, chairs, tables, all inside the hall, perfect! (source: official website of Candi Baru Hotel)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tong Koei See, Place to Back Together

Hello mates! Long time no see, hehehe, to busy with several college activities and assignment is not good for my blogging activity. Well Thanks God, in this early October I could have a lots of free time and wish I could manage my time to make my blog "alive" again :)

Well in this October too, on first week, my Friends from China, named Cherry who was worked with me in ROAR Project AIESEC UNDIP last year, coming back to visit Indonesia, she said she really damn missed with all of Indonesian-thingy, hehe, well then the story goes as she arrived in this city after having a lots of amazing experience in Bromo, and suddenly contact me to meet up with her in Simpang Lima. Then while meet up, after several sharing time, they asked me to take them to the interesting place in Semarang, since Cherry bring her friends together with her Chissy, who never visit Semarang before. Then yes, we decide to Masjid Agung, but before that I rememmber that I need a chinesse to translate a historical sites named "Bong Bunder", a chinesse graveyard who the story beside it still mysterious, then they agree to help me, then yap! They got a city tour and I got a translator :D

My friend, Cherry and the grave who all
person who re-buried here have a "Ho"
Then we arrived on the sites, both of Cherry and Chissy, looks so surprissed, seeing there's an ancient chinese graveyard, looks so old, even cherry said that it must be from Ming Dynasty, seeing from the shaped and letter that used in the inscription. Then they start to translate it to english, a little debates occurs between them because its really hard to translate this letter who were in Traditional Chinese, while now in daily they used Simplified Chinese. 

According to them, this graveyard are mass grave, more than one person are burried in one grave. One of the grave are grave for Cheng Ho descendant, WOW! Cherry argue it must be grave of Cheng Ho followers then their descendant since in the surname they used that name. And the others grave are mass grave, but its not written in the "bongpay" (chinese gravestone) its not contains any name. 

There's an inscription in a rectange-form stone that stood in the northern side of sites, and from that inscription can be seen, that this is was a mass grave from several grave that moved here from their old place, also the cost that spent to built this, the name of the person who burried here, and also the year. The year are in the chinesse lunar calendar, then Chissy took her i-phone and convert it into the gregorian style, and yap we got the year, its built on 1804!

Another grave which is not specificaly
mentioned the name.
Its really helpful, and now I've a clear story after it. Before they translate it, I just know its story from a local newspaper that this site are built to be a mass grave from the chinesse graveyard that demolished in the Petolongan, an Arabic settlement near China Town. Its moved because of the Dutch authority want to built a new settlement over it. But the story confusing with another story that mentioned that it was a mass grave of the victims under japanese ocupation during pacific war, anither story mentioned that it was a grave of famous chinesse tycoon that coming from Semarang city, that is Oei Tiong Ham. Everybody knows that Oei, is buried in the luxurious grave in Simongan Hills ( but now is already gone, and turn into a settlement)

Well, thanks for Cherry and Chissy, thanks for coming back! And also for helping me to translate all of this chinesse letters, zai jien! :D