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Friday, August 10, 2007
South Kalimantan

Kalimantan Tengah (Central Kalimantan) is about in the centre of Borneo Island. It is the one of Indonesian provinces. In comparison to the other provinces of Indonesia, this province is relatively in backward of the physical development stages. However, it has been a place of peaceful and lovely place for living. Geologically its area is far away from many natural disaster effects such as earthquakes / tsunami, land slides and others. The problem of smog during long summer days is only a temporary of extreme cause to affect the small portion of the most of natural living style of local community. This area has been able to be stable and recover from an internal ethnical riot in year 2001.

Central Kalimantan is still the one of largest area of Indonesian provinces. It has been number four among the provinces of Irian Jaya Barat, Papua and East Kalimantan.

The province was borne as the result of reorganization of Indonesian provinces in Kalimantan. It used to be a part of South Kalimantan Province.

Most of the land of the province is still mysterious, Southern part in general is cover by peat land and tidal areas. Across to the North, the landscapes come to the mountainous area of the Muller Schwanner mountain belt. This also is still to be a mysterious place for people.

Capital of the province is Palangka Raya. This city is in the centre from the all districts in the province. There is no so much different level of the development stages between the province and the districts; instead many of districts have been able to achieve a relatively bigger progress of development than the province, such as district of Kotawaringin Timur, Kotawaringin Barat and Barito Utara. This is caused by the leading position of Palangka Raya in the centre of province to bring about better simultaneous growing stages to the hinterland areas. Nowadays, inhabitants of this province are only about 12 percent per square kilometers and they are multi ethnic and multi cultural from all over Indonesian. However the first native inhabitant is the Dayak tribes.

Whenever you take a look from the window of a plane to the land surface of Central Kalimantan, you have to find a way to disclose the almost forever silvery clouds in the blue sky that always cover sky of the “Isen Mulang” (or no retreat). If it is enable, with a curious and distinctive effort, at first, you may be able to have a look to the almost virgin and silent shoreline of the province in the beach of Java Sea along 750 kilometers, there the downstream of big rivers comes to the end as just look like the head of big dragon in a never ending body. There are 11 big rivers and thousands of tributaries and small rivers. By the time you will see the hearth of Central Kalimantan, the province’s capital of Palangka Raya that lied down almost in the centre of Borneo Island.

Palangka Raya is a small city that has been created from nothing, as a result of grand design of Republic of Indonesia in the earlier time of Indonesian independence. The city was erected by the first President of Indonesia, Mr. Soekarno in togetherness with Mr. Tjilik Riwut and the local leaders of native people of Dayak. However, the city has been built hand in hand by almost all of the peoples of Indonesian. This is the only one of first city that has been planned and built from nothing in Indonesia. The city can be said as a nice gift of the earlier time of Indonesian independence that is in 1957.

Palangka Raya city can bee seen as a corner stone of a city development in Indonesia, because it was borne as the result of the fruit of Indonesian independence. It is from nothing to anything.

This is the one reason for annually event in the city has been arranged in an annual festival of Art and Culture of Dayak that is so called Isen Mulang Festival. This is an agenda of art and culture of the traditional Dayak tribes and their cultural blending to the outsides of their world.

The festival is of course, away from glamorous utopia art and culture dreams. This is only a representation of the native original simplicity of the tribal living of Dayak in the natural harmony and the philosophy of Indonesian Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (unity in diversity). This event is seldom and may be stranger for outside world, but we are exist and reachable for all who want to have in touch. …… So let’s go to discover Central Kalimantan in Palangka Raya through Isen Mulang Art and Cultural Festival. Come to the “the lung of the world” and the home of “orang hutan”, the most exotic and closer big ape or primate to human being.

posted by Armin Ade @ 6:07 PM   1 comments
Friday, July 20, 2007
South Sulawesi
The province of South Sulawesi comprises the narrow south-western peninsula of this orchid-shaped island which is mainly mountainous.
The seafaring Bugis dominate the southern tip, whereas the northern part of South Sulawesi is inhabited by the Torajas whose unique culture rivals that of the Balinese.
Famed for their seafaring heritage and Pinisi schooners for centuries, the Bugis possess to the present day one of the last sailing fleets in the world.
The Bugis vessels have sailed to as far as the Australian coast, leaving behind drawings of their ships on stone with words that have been integrated into the Aboriginal language of north Australia. Situated on the crossroads of well traveled sea-lanes, its capital and chief trading port of Ujung Pandang, is till today the gateway to eastern Indonesia. Spanish and Portuguese galleons, followed by British and Dutch traders sailed these seas in search of the spice trade, escorted by their men of war to protect them against the daring raids of the Bugis and Makassarase who attacked the intruders.
Ujung Pandang, was formerly Makassar, well known for its Macassar oil from which the English word "antimacassar" evolved for small covers to protect upholstery. The fortifications which overlook the harbor were originally built in 1545. Gowa's most famous king is considered a national hero, named Sultan Hasanuddin, the 16th king of Gowa who waged a long and fierce war against the colonial forces.
The Tomanurung stone with inscriptions can still be seen in a plot neighboring the royal graves, near Sungguminasa, formerly the seat of the kings of Gowa. The Bugis kingdom of Bone, Wajo and Soppeng and the Makassarase kingdom of Gowa emerged in the 13th century. Though interrelated through marriage, Bone and Gowa have for centuries battled against each other. The southern coast is protected by small archipelagoes and has excellent facilities for water sports. These islands have been developed for holiday resorts. Further north, through rugged country is Tana Toraja, often referred to as the "Land of the Heavenly Kings".
An ethnic group who believes that their forefathers descended from heaven onto a mountain some twenty generations ago, the Torajas have a unique culture based on animistic beliefs. Known for their grand burial ceremonies on cliffs or hanging graves, they practice an ancestral cult even today where death and afterlife ceremonies are great feasts when buffaloes are sacrificed in the final death ceremony, after which the deceased's remains are placed in a coffin and interred in caves hollowed out in high cliffs.
The mouth of the cave is guarded by lifelike statues, looking out from a "balcony". As death has such an "important meaning" when the souls are released, burials are elaborate and follow days of feasting. Rock graves are also a form of burial. A strict hierarchy is followed in the villages.
"Tongkonan" ( family houses) are built on stilts with roofs on each end rising like the prows of a ship, representing the cosmos. The mountains offer a fantastic panorama of natural beauty, including the long drive from Ujung Pandang to Tana Toraja. South Sulawesi is also known for its silk industry and silver-work whereas its economy is based on agriculture. Ujung Pandang is easily accessible by air. There are several daily flights from Jakarta and also daily services from Bali, Surabaya and Manado.

posted by Armin Ade @ 7:08 PM   0 comments
Tana Toraja (South Sulawesi)

Tana Toraja, (Toraja Land) which lies in the north of the province is known for its unique culture and ancient traditions. The center of tourism is Rantepao, 328 km from Ujung Pandang by road. There are several small bungalow hotels at Rantepao, and Makale, the district capital. The entry to Tana Toraja is marked by a gate built in traditional boat-shaped architecture. The road passes through the mountains of Kandora and Gandang on which, according to Toraja mythology, the first ancestors of celestial beings descended from heaven.
The majority of the people still follows an ancestral cult called "Aluk Todolo" which governs all traditional ceremonies. From Rantepao, side trips can be made to Kete, a traditional village where there are handicraft and unique shops. Behind the village there is a grave site on a hillside. Life-size statues guard over old coffins. As roads are not always paved, it is necessary to use a jeep or walk if the weather is good (between May and October). Two cliff graves easy to reach are Lemo and Londa. Londa is one of the oldest hanging graves belonging to the nobility. A large balcony is filled with effigies of the dead. Kerosene lamps with young village guides, can be hired to enter the caves to see skeletons and old coffins. At Lemo, burial chambers are cut out of the rock and several balconies filled with effigies look out while new caves are being dug to serve as family graves.
There are several grave sites and traditional villages of which Palawa is a classic example of a village on a small hill with "Tongkonan" or a burial place with celebrations and festivals. Visitors are welcome but they are expected to adhere to local customs of dress, seating and bringing a token present.
posted by Armin Ade @ 6:59 PM   0 comments
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The area of Buton, has since long been the homeland of the Miana Wolio people. At the end of the 13th century, this area was presumably visited by four people, named Sipanjonga, Sitamanoja, Simalui, and Sijawangkati, along with Sibatara and the princes of Wakaa-kaa. The first four were named Mia Patamiana . They landed on Kalampa Island.

Sipanjonga and Simalui came from Johor. Then they dispersed and stayed in the surroundings of what is now Bau-Bau. Sipanjonga married the younger sister of Simalui, whose names was Sibaana. Their descendants are the Wolio people, and Bau-bau became the seat of the Buton Kingdom.

The Muna people are believed to be descendants of sailors from Sawerigading , in Luwu, South Sulawesi, who drifted ashore. They stayed there and became the native people, know as the Wamelai.

Another version has it that the son of king of Majapahit, named Zulzaman, was found under supranatural conditions in a piece of bamboo, by La Balano. Zulzaman then married the daughter of the king of Luwu. Their descendants became the first king of Muna.

Apart of those three tribes mentioned, there are also new settlers such as the Bugis, Makasarese, Sangihe, Ambonese, Javanese, Sundanese, Balinese and Torajans.

posted by Armin Ade @ 1:43 AM   0 comments
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
According to their own tradition, migrants from Johore established the kingdom of Buton, probably in the beginning of the fifteenth century. The kings (raja) had relations with the Hindu kingdom Mojopahit on Java and probably were also Hindu. The sixth raja converted to Islam in 1540, and so became the first sultan. Under his reign the whole kingdom was formally converted to Islam. It is clear from western records that Buton lay at a strategic point on the route from Java and Makassar (South Sulawesi) to the Moluccas, the heart of Indonesian spice production. Especially in the first half of the seventeenth century it was difficult for Buton to maintain its independence in the power struggle between the two Indonesian sultanates of Makassar and Ternate (North Moluccas), in which the Dutch East India Company, VOC, also played an important role. In 1613 Buton entered into the first contract with the VOC, during a meeting between the fourth sultan, La Elangi, and the first Governor-General, Pieter Both. With this contract Buton sought support for its independence from Makassar and Ternate. Only after the sultanate of Makassar had been subjugated by the VOC in the years 1667-1669 did Buton become free from this power struggle. From then on Buton formed part of the territory administered under the Pax Neerlandica. During the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries the sultanate of Buton managed to remain an independent kingdom. The government of the Netherlands-Indies was not really powerful enough in the nineteenth century to intervene effectively. But this changed at the beginning of the twentieth century. A new contract was imposed in 1906, which stated that the government could interfere in the sultanate's internal matters. Although it was "self-governing," Buton was then definitely part of the colonial system. The foundations were laid for entirely new sociocultural and economic developments, especially in connection with government, education, health services, and the economy. It was one more step toward complete integration in the sociopolitical system of the Indies, and after 1949 in the state of Indonesia. This integration, or incorporation, culminated in 1960 with the dissolution of the sultanate a few months after the death of the last sultan.
posted by Armin Ade @ 9:00 AM   0 comments


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