Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Where is The Exact Place of De Locomotief Office?

De Locomotief office that situated in Hoogendorpstraat 20-22 just like its written in its headlines (see the inzet). Hoogendorpstraat currently became Jalan Kepodang, and this photos is taken on 2007, long before the 2nd floor part is collapsed in early of 2015.
De Locomotief was the first newspaper published in Semarang. It was established in the middle of 19th century and led by Pieter Brooshooft, an ethical political activist. The daily was originally named Semarangsch Nieuws en Advertentieblad. In 1863 it was renamed De Locomotief, after the passage of the first train in Semarang. The paper was closed, but in 1947 De Locomotief was re-opened again. According to Rukardi Achmadi, a notable Semarang historian In 1957 due to the Indonesian confrontation with the Dutch related to the Papua Barat (eng:West Guinea) issue , the newspaper was closed and the building was taken over by Tempo Media Group, and there they runs the newspaper named Suluh Marhaen until its banned by the government under Soeharto regime on 1966 due to its political affiliations. 

De Locomotief office condition, shortly after I got information about the exact
place of this from Indische Literarire Wandelingen but its already in ruins.
Trace back De Locomotief office, Senarai Bangunan dan Kawasan Pusaka Kota Semarang (List of the Heritage Building and Area in Semarang) issued in 2006 stated that the building currently used as Bank Mandiri KCP Kepodang. Its a national bank branch that situated in the crossroad between Jalan Kepodang and Jalan Suari. Then in, also stated that place is supposed to be the location of De Locomotief Hoofdredactie. But if we check through the photo’s archive  of KITLV and Tropenmuseum either. The building that currently used as Bank Mandiri KCP Kepodang isn’t the De Locomotief daily office. Its a Nederlandsch Indische Handelsbank, a Dutch private bank that established in 1863 and nationalized by the Indonesian government in 1957 and renamed into Bank Umum Negara (BUNEG). BUNEG then changed its name into Bank Bumi Daya and following the major restructurisation of the national banking company in 1999, Bank Bumi Daya mergered with three others bank, Bank EXIM, BAPINDO and Bank Dagang Negara formed Bank Mandiri. Thus the asset now belongs to Bank Mandiri. So its became clear that building isn’t De Locomotief office. 

Inside the ruins of De Locomotief building. On the
opposite is the former office of one's of the largest
export-import company during the colonial period
Geo Wehry & Co.
In the headlines of De Locomotief its written that the address of the office is in Hoogendorpstraat 20-22, Semarang. Currently the place that used to be named as Hoodendorpstraat is changed into Jalan Kepodang, but the problem is, is it the numbering of the building still following the numbering during the colonial period? Then in June 2015, I got the answer!  A website named “Indische Literaire Wandelingen” doing the documentation of several building in Kota Lama (eng: old town) Semarang. Its seems like they do it in the 90’s decade (seen from the photos and comparation of the condition of the building), and there, they written about De Locomotief office is located in Jalan Kepodang 20-22, so the numbering  is just the same as during the colonial period.

Unfortunately, when I got there to make a documentation, the 2nd floor part is already collapsed! What a pity! The owner took the teak wood of the 2nd floor, because of some of its got stolen before. Its became a fatality due to the construction of the building still in the old ways, that floor is also use a function as wall holder. Then during our wet season, the wall getting fragiled and collapsed. Only the 1st floor is remained, like a ruins in World War 2 film scene.  Luckily i have a documentation about this building in 2007, but I take it from a bit far distance. At least, I can show to the people how’s look like, De Locomotief  office. A place where ethical politics figure like Conrad Theodore van Deventer struggled for the better condition of the indigenous people of Indonesia through the newspaper. Without De Locomotief activities, I simply cant imagined about how the history of Indonesia would written. Surely its a really important building as a part of our struggle for independence, but now its forgotten and slowly perished.

NB. This article firstly published on November 9th 2012, but then due to these new fact about the exact position of the De Locomotief office, so I completely change the old version of the articles. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Luxury Office of Oei Tiong Ham Concern

The luxurious entrance in Oei Tiong Ham Concern Headquarters.
inzet: the inscription that indicated Liem Bwan Tjie as the
architects of this building also the year its finished, 1930.
In economy, we recognized conglomerate company model. Its a combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses that fall under one corporate group, usually involving a parent company and many subsidiaries. Conglomerates are often large and multinational. Conglomerates also often related to the tycoon, a billionaire! Here in Semarang, its widely known about the story of the first tycoon in South East Asia, a man who have a reputation as “200 million guilder man”.

His name was Oei Tiong Ham, I’m not going to write down about his biography, because you can find it easily in the internet. But I’m going to write down about his legacy, a luxury-three story building that used to be his company headquarters, located in Kota Lama (eng: Old Town), Semarang. It’s a bit hard to going inside, exploring the proof of Oei Tiong Ham Concern conglomeration success story. But, when there’s a will there’s a way! Last week I used to help the Dutch Experts related to the heritage preservation from Missing Link. One’s of the activity is inviting the owner of the buildings in Kota Lama area. Then I met with Mas Nur, the Marketing Manager of PT. Rajawali Nusindo, the company that used to managed the legacy of Oei Tiong Ham Concern after the whole assets is confiscated by Indonesian Government in 1961. Well, its supposed to be a great company, but, just like the others company who managed the asset from nationalization, the performance is declined, not as good as its supposed to be. Hehehe, back to the story, then together with two vrouwen from Missing Link, Pauline and Esther, we explored this building, with the permission from Mas Nur of course.

Mas Nur from PT. Rajawali Nusindo (current owner of the
building) shows the secret cabinet in the meeting rooms to
Paulie, one's of the expert from Missing Link.
Taken from the 3rd floor, office and warehouse as well! 
One things that I have to say when I entering the building is, enormous! All of the material which used here seems to be the finest material that they can get at that time. High quality and colourful marbles used as the floor tile and also wall decoration. Here also in the entrance we found the inscription that the building is finished on 1930, and designed by Liem Bwan Tjie, the prominent Chinese architect, that supposed to be the first Chinese descent architect in Indonesia also.  The building, in my opinion is really a models of green building. Its have a good ventilation to managed the good air circulation from the side wall and also from the roof. There’s a special form of glass ceiling to maximize the application of natural lighting. But rather than using all of these advantages of design, the people there currently made some modification that even make all of these things become useless. Like the adding of air conditioner system and the heat pump, they placed it inside the building also, then you can imagine how it’ll made the building so “warm”. Also several ventilation are closed, and so much modification in its lavatory. Even the main hall, now functioned as warehouse also. Screw it all! At least this building are still in good condition, because of still in used, not abandoned like several building in Kota Lama. We also can find the secret cabinet behind the wall decoration in the meeting room. Wow! What a functional design!

Oei Tiong Ham itself never worked in this building, because its finished in 1930, he already died 6 years before, on 1924 in Singapore. At that time the Oei Tiong Ham Concern runs by his successors, Oei Tjong Hauw, the sons of Oei Tiong Ham from his 4th wife.