Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Renew Old Memories in Purworejo (part 2)

Purworejo Train Station in 2014 (in the left) and the condition on 1910 (in the right). (source: Leiden University Library)

Hello world! Long time no see, well I've gotta continues my story when I was renew my old memories in my childhood city, Purworejo! Well, the journey continues, 

After having lunch, we continued our journey to Purworejo Train Station. Passing through Jalan Jendral Sudirman, on the right side there's an old building complex that is still in good condition. The building is the former Hollandse Kweekschool (HKS) that now used as SMA Negeri 7 Purworejo. The building is established in 1914, as the continuation of Kweekschool in Bandung. Kweekschool is a formal education to become a teacher during the Dutch East Indies period, and its used Dutch language as the language of instruction. In 1930, this school were merged into Hollandsche Indische Kweekschool (H.I.K) in Bandung, and the building of HKS in Purworejo become Meer Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs (MULO), a Junior High School at that time. After the independence, the building used as an institute to educate the teacher or known Sekolah Pendidikan Guru (PGS). Thus until now, even my Mom, recognize it as SPG building. But in 1991, the building used as SMA Negeri 7 Purworejo until now.

The Hogere Kweek School (HKS), Purworejo dated 1930 taken
from Achmad Nangim collection.  two pilars as a gate in front of it
still depicted the symbol of HKS, a proof that once
this building was used as HKS campus, a school for .
A couple minutes from the HKS, we arrived in Purworejo Train Station. According to the text that now displayed in the main hall of the station, not so many changed occured in Purworejo Train Station. This station which is built in 1887 by Staats Spoorwegen (SS) are representing the architectural style of the train station in the 19th century, simple and counted heavely on its function rather than the aesthetics aspect nor certain architectural style. Thus, the PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) as the operator of the railways services in Indonesia now categorized it as a cultural heritage site.

Once, when I was 5 years old, I became the witnessed of  this line was reactivate by the Ministry of Transportation at that time, Haryanto Dhanutirto in 1996 after it was inactive for several years. The people celebrate it by coming to the station and saw the incoming train from Kutoarjo, a city that located in the main line of Jakarta-Jogjakarta line, the nearest station from Purworejo. Only one train arriving and departing from this station , that is the feeder train serving the lines between Purworejo-Kutoarjo. Since November 2010, the feeder train is no longer operated due to the condition of the railroad that getting old and havent been renovated for a long time. Thus, the line now became inactive again until uncertain time.

Fort and barracks of Kedoeng Kebo, Purworejo in 1880 (source: Leiden University Library)
From the station, We moved to visit my childhood house that located in Jalan Kesatrian, behind the military complex of 412 Batalyon, or well known as Kedung Kebo military facilities. This was one's of the military complex that inisiated built by the Dutch in order to repelled the Diponegoro rebellions during the Java War using the Benteng Stelseel (eng: Battlefield Fortification) strategy. It was implied since May 1827, the Battlefield Fortification means that fort was not only have a passive role in the military defense, but it’s emphasized that the fort has active and important role as quarter for offensive operation, military command and control and logistic purposes.

 Balai Prajurit building in Purworejo, 2014.
The complex later equipped by housing complex, hospital, sport facilities and so on. Made it a compact military facilities that also made the Purworejo city developed well. Until now, several military assets thats is coming from the colonial period were still well preserved when another where torned down or decayed. Now here I stand in Balai Prajurit, a big hall that almost 19th years ago, my family as well as my neighborhood doing our Tarawih prayers every Ramadhan, since there's no mosque available yet. I feel slightly sad when I see this decaying or going to waste. This place have held so much memories, but now they are just left there, abandoned and slowly forgotten...

Monday, April 21, 2014

This Antique House Belongs to Thio Thiam Tjong

The house of Thio Thiam Tjong on Jalan Gajahmungkur Selatan 11, Semarang. This antique indisch house were designed by Thomas Kaarsten, the famous architect during the colonial period. (source: Mas Khrisna)
Have a friends that works in architectural agencies which is have specialized in preservation old building, were so helpful for me in order to complete my articles about the history mainly in related with Semarang. Its my friend named Yohanes Khrisna H P, that asked me about "who is actually Thio Thiam Tjong? How come this man afford to hired Thomas Kaarsten, the famous architect at that time in order to design His house?". I was so long time ago known this house but just now, by the info from Mas Khrisna actually, know that this house once belongs to Tho Thiam Tjong, and its designed by Kaarsten. Then I found who is Thio Thiam Tjong as its written in "Prominent Indonesian Chinese: Biographical Sketches" by Leo Suryadinata. 

The preparatory commission and the welcoming commission of Chung
Hwa Hui at the assembly table, 1927. Thio is in the left most position
on that picture. (source: Chinese Indonesian Heritage Center)
Thio Thiam Tjong was born on April 4th 1896 form the wealthy peranakan (native-chinese) family. His father was the owner of the export-import firm in Semarang, Thio Siong Liong Maatschappij, which Thio Thiam Tjong inherited and expanded after his father had retired. Thio was Dutch-educated, first in Semarang and later in Delft Technical College, Netherlands. Before graduating, he returned to Java, presumably to take over His fathers business, He became very active in the local chinese community named Chung Hwa Hui (CHH). Founded in 1928 CHH is a political organization that carried the ethnic Chinese Nationalism oriented to Dutch East Indies authorities, this was contrary to Tiong Hoa Hwe Kwan (THHK). This movement is getting support from so many peranakan intellectuals. CHH take a cooperation sides against the Colonial authorities and actively participate in local political institutions included in the Volksraad (People's Council). Here, Thio was elected to its central board, where after that elected as President of the Semarang branch in the 1930s and served as the Provincial Council of Central Java.

participants of Chung Hwa Hui Congress came together for dinner
at Hotel Du Pavillion (now Hotel Dibya Puri), 1927.
(source: Chinese Indonesian Heritage Center) 
Beside His political carrier, Thio Thiam Tjong  also concerned with social and educational affairs of the Chinese community. In 1928, He became the chairman of the Chinese-English School (Now used as SMA Negeri 5 Semarang). Following the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, He inisiated the Jiogou Houyuan Hui (Save the country from the back line) movement and later the China Charity Fund (Semarang Branch) in order to support the resistance against Japanese in Manchuria. It was reported that for every donation drive His Thio Siong Liong Maatschappij was alway the largest donor. Before the Japanese invasion of Java, the Colonial Government organized a local defence force in which He was appointed as the Chief Commander. Thus, following the fall of Java into Japanese force, Thio was detained in Interneringskamp (eng: consentration camp) from 1942 until 1945.

The Chinese English School "Hwa Ing" in Bodjong Straat (now Jalan-
Pemuda) Semarang. Thio became the Chairman of this school on 1928.
Now its used as the SMA Negeri 5 Semarang. (source: semarang.nl)
When the Revolution for Independence broke up. Thio was invited by Governor-General Van Mook to became His personal adviser, considering Thio's popularity among the Indonesian chinese. In 1948, Thio established Persatuan Tionghoa (PT) with the aim of organizing Indonesian Chinese readiness for the changing situation. Nevertheless, the complete withdrawal of the Dutch forces and the coming power of indigenous Indonesians diminished Thio's influence. His past record as van Mook's adviser made Him labeld as anti-nationalist movement. Thio's PDTI (the new name of the PT after 1950) was declining and replaced by Baperki. Thio later concerned in His busines and education activity. In 1957, he together with another Chinese-Indonesian, formed a committee to established the Tarumanegara University. Thio Died in Netherlands on December 22nd 1969.

His House in Semarang once used as Singapore International School (SIS) before its moved to another place in Semarang. Now its remained empty, and wished this antique indisch house, still preserved for a long time. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The story of German Mercenaries in Indonesia

The Württembergisches Kapregiment Kaserne in Jurnatan, Semarang. The headquarters and the base of Wurttemberg Cape Regiment, unfortunatelly this complex has been demolished and now used as Semarang Plaza shopping centre.
(source: Tropenmuseum)

Being a soldier in the past is a profession that is not very popular. Very few people wanna be a soldier in the army especially those who were sent to the expedition to the east. The solution is hired the mercenaries in order to overcome this problems . During the colonial period, one's of the mercenaries is a people from Württemberg, Germany that being one's of the mercenaries during the VOC rules as well during the Dutch Indies. These regiment known as Württembergisches Kapregiment (eng: Wurrtemberg Cape Regiment), its named after firstly this units was stationed at the Cape of Good Hope or now known as South Africa.  

Taken from Wikipedia , Württemberg Regiment soldiers contracted into the Dutch East Indies in 1790-1808 and consist of 2,000 troops. In the beginning of November 1786 came the commander ( responsible for the fund) the officers of the Staff of the I. Battalion and the first regimental quartermaster their service to the recruits met by little one . After its formation in Ludwigsburg, the first battalion on 2 was May the Second Battalion on 26 October 1787 in Vlissingen on the V.O.C. sworn . A regiment remained nominally the whole time the reigning Duke of Württemberg , but neither Carl Eugen nor his successor, to whom the respective regimental commander regularly (as far as the political situation allowed boat transport to the mainland in Europe) sent reports , attending more to the regiment .

VOC Soldiers eqquiped with musket
(source: semarang.nl)
The French set the Dutch Republic as their Client State on 1795 with the Louis Bonaparte with the accession of Louis I to the throne of Holland. Thus the Dutch being the French allies opposite the British and their allies (Spain, Portugal, Austria, etc), and these conflict also occurs in their colony. The Württembergisches Kapregiment  also take a part during this conlict, where almost all of these companies were moved to East Indies in 1791.

In Java island, the battalion headquarters and three companies of Württembergisches Kapregiment stationed in Semarang , one company in Surabaya, one company in Meester Cornelis (now: Jatinegara, Jakarta). Thus in Semarang there is a place named Württembergisches Kapregiment Kaserne ( eng: military barracks of Wurrtemberg Cape Regiment) situated in Jurnatan, on the south of Kota Lama Semarang. The facilities were so large but unfortunatelly this complex has been demolished and now used as Semarang Plaza shopping centre.

Due to the climatic conditions the Württembergisches Kapregiment mortality rate as well as the dessertion rate was very high. Exact figures of the total losses can no longer be determined . Around 2,300 of the disengaged were killed in the regiment. Only about 450 were in British captivity and were partly in local services, 229 were taken in Dutch services, about 50 have been adopted. ; on their fate is almost nothing known. Only about 100 are likely to be returned

 Replica of a VOC galleon in front of the Batavia Town Hall during
 the event of Pasar Malam Gambir 1938 (source: Tropenmuseum)
The regiment was on 1 March 1808 on the orders of the Dutch Governor-General, General Herman Willem Daendels , officially dissolved , then the surviving remaining 229 men, including the officers were incorporated with the local Dutch troops. Many of these former German soldiers and officers who later lived and married in Dutch Indies, later Indonesia. Thats why there are several generations here, in Indonesia who have a German surname. Perhaps its also why the Indonesian people have the words "Cus" on their conversation as a term to say goodbye, and its similiar with the German word "Tschüss" who have the same meaning.