Save

Space and Belonging in Suparto Brata’s Donyane Wong Culika (The World of the Untrustworthy)

In: Philological Encounters
Author:
Els Bogaerts Visiting Fellow Leiden Institute for Area Studies, Leiden University Leiden the Netherlands

Search for other papers by Els Bogaerts in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8272-6977
Open Access

Abstract

Exploring the representation of space and belonging in Javanese literature, I will use Suparto Brata’s novel Donyane wong culika (The World of the Untrustworthy, 2004) as a case study. Firstly, I will focus on how literary, linguistic and epistemological features shape and give meaning to Javanese spatiality and on how the references to Javanese customs, literary and cultural traditions, and the Javanese mind in the twentieth century may address and evoke feelings of belonging. Secondly, as the novel features historical events as a kind of backdrop, I will pay attention to what Le Juez and Richardson (2019) call the perceptions of associated loci and on how these loci articulate individual and collective memories of the 1965–66 events, a traumatic period in postcolonial Indonesian history.

Introduction

The blurb on the back of Suparta Brata’s Donyane wong culika (The world of the untrustworthy,1 hereafter DWC), published in 2004, frames the use of place and space in the book. But it is not only about place and space. It is also about being Javanese and about factors one can identify with and that may arouse feelings of longing and belonging.

In translation, it reads as follows:

This is a Javanese story. It tells the story of Javanese people, Javanese habits, Javanese feelings and the Javanese mind in the Java of the twentieth century. It is the story of the Javanese in villages, rice fields, towns, village houses, European quarters [of the colonial era], hotels, guest houses and palaces.2

Java here stands for a geographical, social, historical, cultural and hence also linguistic, and epistemological space.

A historical novel, DWC projects the narrative onto a background of chaos and violence, which are linked to a specific period in Indonesian history when the Indonesian Communist Party was a major player alongside religious groups, nationalists, and the military.3 An attempted coup in the night from 30 September to 1 October 1965, referred to as the G30S PKI, resulted in a gruesome tragedy. The term G30S PKI pertains to what in official Indonesian New Order historiography is perceived as a failed coup of the Thirty September Movement (Gerakan 30 September, G30S) by the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia, PKI). On 1 October, Major General Suharto and the army seized power. The next months, military and anti-communist and religious groups of civilians engaged in massive killings, mainly in North Sumatra, Central and East Java and Bali.4 They aimed at eradicating the Indonesian Communist Party, including all affiliated organizations and their (alleged) members.5 During approximately 32 years, the New Order government view of the events,6 presented as the national history, was the dominant narrative.7

In the years immediately after the killings, several short stories portraying the events of 1965 were published in Indonesian literary magazines.8 Many more short stories and novels reflecting on this period were about to follow. They attracted ample scholarly attention.9 Most research focused on creative literature that was composed in the national language, Indonesian. Comparable historical novels rendered in local vernaculars, the mother tongues of Indonesia’s different ethnic groups, such as Balinese or Javanese, received less attention.10 Donyane wong culika should be included in the corpus of creative literature that portrays the 1965–1966 era so as to provide future research with crucial details, the “details we don’t want to hear because they come back to haunt us in our sleep.”11

Two ideas framed my own research of DWC. The narrative of DWC confirms George Quinn’s claim that “the Javanese novel largely defines its boundaries by reference to categories of space, and in particular the conventional spatial divisions of the domestic dwelling.”12 Secondly, due to the novel’s historical background, I was curious whether the concept of “guilty landscape” (schuldig landschap) would be a useful analytical tool. In the 1970s Dutch-German artist Armando (1929–2018) coined the term for landscapes in which during the Second World War in Europe devastating events took place, which he represented in his paintings and drawings.13

Exploring the representation of space and belonging in Donyane wong culika, I will firstly focus on how literary, linguistic, and epistemological features shape and give meaning to Javanese spatiality and on how the references to Javanese customs, literary and cultural traditions, and the Javanese mind in the twentieth century may address and evoke feelings of belonging. Secondly, as the novel features historical events as a kind of backdrop, I will pay attention to what Le Juez and Richardson call the perceptions of associated loci,14 and on how these loci articulate individual and collective memories of the events of 1965–66, a traumatic period in postcolonial Indonesian history. Questions I want to raise are: What places and spaces does the author introduce? How does he shape these spaces? What purpose do they have—in the narrative itself and for the reader? How does the novel represent and produce meaning by means of these spatial entities? I will briefly explore Suparto Brata’s views on literature as a space of knowledge, history and culture and his use of the Javanese language. Then, I concentrate on how the narrator marks out the space in the first pages of the novel. “Making sense of the landscape” dwells on inhabited space and the meanings it generates. In the last paragraph before the conclusion, I discuss the concept of padesan, the rural area, as a site of idyll and disruption. But let me first introduce the author and the novel.

Suparto Brata’s Donyane Wong Culika

Suparto Brata (1932–2015) was born in Surabaya (East Java) as a member of the Javanese ethnic group of Indonesia. He spent part of his childhood in an aristocratic milieu in the court city of Surakarta (Central Java), where he learned how to master Javanese etiquette and behaviour and to speak, read and write in Javanese, as the author often explained during interviews.15 Age six, he moved back to Surabaya, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. Suparto Brata was enormously productive—he wrote more than forty novels in Javanese and many more novels in Indonesian, short stories (published in Javanese magazines) and essays.16 He was very eager to promote the use of Javanese as a spoken and written language and in countering the discourse concerning the loss of the Javanese language and literature. For his Javanese novels, the author received several prestigious awards “in acknowledgement of his contribution to modern Javanese (and Indonesian) literature.”17

For several reasons, it took the author about twenty-two years, from 1979 to 2001, to write, improve, complete, and correct the novel before it was published in 2004 by Narasi in Yogyakarta, Central Java. Financial (the author himself had to partly fund the publication, which is often the case in Indonesia) and political (the sensitivity of the subject) reasons may have played a role.18 Yoseph Bambang MS’s suggestion that Suparto Brata postponed the publication of his novel for political reasons should nonetheless be questioned. Although considered a taboo subject, it was actually possible during the Suharto regime to publish novels having the 1965–1966 events as a historical background, as Taufiq Hanafi recently discussed in his 2022 dissertation. Authors who published their novels before 1998 (the year Suharto resigned) did have their ways to deal with or bypass censorship. Besides, Suparto Brata was not an opponent of the regime and was in touch with Harmoko, Minister of Information of the Suharto government (1983–1997).19 Most important, however, was the author’s sense of responsibility and his drive to create Javanese literature in print in an era when publishing Javanese novels was not that common anymore,20 let alone literature with the quality of world literature.21 As his main aim was to revitalize Javanese literature in print, meaning to imbue it with new energy, it seems to have been exactly the right momentum to publish DWC, proving that Javanese was not only utilized as a spoken, but also very well suited to be a written language.22

The novel consists of three parts, narrated in sequence from the points of view of Kasminta, Tukinem and Pratinah, the three protagonists. It is set in the rural area of Purworejo (a town located in Kedu, on the south coast of Central Java) and its environs in the years before and after the turmoil of 1965. However, time in the novel is stretched out, from long before the events of 1965 to their aftermath, and covers the period from the end of the colonial era and the fight for independence to the beginning of the New Order era. Place is also expanded to encompass Jakarta, Surakarta, Yogyakarta and other locations. And, besides the three protagonists, many other characters enter the story,23 including historical figures.

Part one opens with the story of Kasminta’s arrival at the village Bangkuning in Central Java after a long absence. His mother tells him about the tumultuous period (jaman geger) in the village. Helping him to make a living, his former teacher Sukardi offers him several projects, but Kasminta proves to be untrustworthy. In bits and pieces readers are given information about Kasminta’s past as an active member of the communist organization Pemuda Rakyat, People’s Youth.24 Only the final pages of the novel provide the full context of what happened.

Part two presents Tukinem’s view of the same events. She is a former teacher, a strong woman, married to Guru Kardi. An antagonist of Kasminta, Tukinem reflects on the consequences of the communist movement for the villagers. She supports newcomer Den Darmin in adjusting to village life, while Den Darmin instructs Tukinem and Guru Kardi (and the reader) about political systems, history, religion and culture, about the activities of the PKI and the situation of the farmers.

In part three, the narrator focuses on Pratinah. Of aristocratic descent, well- educated by her mother and well-versed in literature and court dance and singing, Pratinah leaves the village after her parents have been intimidated by young PKI members. In Jakarta, where at first she earns a living as a woman of easy virtue (palanyah)25 in the higher social classes, she witnesses the changes in the political landscape and the 1965 coup from close-by. Pretty, as she is called, chooses to live a happy and free life, not taking a stance in the political scene, all the while keeping to her mother’s wise Javanese teachings. She becomes a modern dance instructor and a singer in a night club. Accepting a treacherous deal from one of her lovers, she returns to the village where her life takes a dramatic turn.

Though realistic in style, DWC contains several characteristics of the detective story genre, suspense accelerating the plot,26 while flashbacks offer moments of reflection. As the author was a practised writer of detective stories, he knew how to persuade his readership to absorb the story of the untrustworthy in the era of 1965–1966 until they reach the end of the novel.27

The narration of the storyteller and the dialogues and inner monologues of the protagonists provide ample opportunity for discussions of specific themes, that recur in most of the author’s work. Often, they are conveyed in the form of a lengthy debate or in advice (J. pitutur) from a wise person to a “pupil,” a typical Javanese way of instruction. The main themes include modernity and the world of traditional culture (including the necessity to keep one’s culture alive);28 morality, religion and Javanese ethics;29 freedom of choice for each individual; independence (of the nation and the individual30 ); the need to develop one’s talents (bakat),31 and feminism, which the author tackles critically. Ras adds “love, crime and the struggle for Independence” to the list of principal themes, “always treated […] with careful attention for the human character and with an excellent description of the setting.”32 These key themes reveal the “necessarily partial and particular perspective […] from which a writer represents and imagines his or her worlds,” as Orsini and Zecchini state, and therefore, location “is not simply a geographical, historical, or cultural context.”33 Rather, it defines the standpoint from which the author creates the world of the novel. The most elaborately treated keywords in DWC, literacy, historical awareness and tradition versus modernity, will receive special attention in this article.34

Literature as a Space of Knowledge

Literature is the gateway to knowledge and it is of the utmost importance to acquire literacy, is Suparto Brata’s motto. Social contacts are based on crita, the ability to tell stories and to teach about the nature of human beings (kamanungsan). One has to read, not just listen to stories.35 Suparto Brata’s plea to develop a sharp, intellectual mind is a crucial subject in his work. The more one reads, the more one becomes aware of the unlimited beauty of life on earth. After all, not only what we do constitutes our life, but also what we think.36 Hence, Pratinah learns from her mother that reading will enlighten her about the world’s progress (so she can see and feel it), about all things and issues.37 The author interprets the concept of literature as a source of learning very broadly. It ranges from Old to nineteenth-century Javanese poetry to contemporary literature, including world literature of various categories and written in different languages, demonstrating the cosmopolitan outlook of Suparto Brata himself.38 Strongly connected to literacy is the responsibility of each individual to develop historical awareness.39

History in Suparto Brata’s work has an exemplary function. The reason why he wrote so many historical novels is to demonstrate how one can learn lessons from the history of one’s nation.40 The author also propagates cultural awareness. Donyane wong culika is imbued with references to expressions of Javanese culture that strengthen the local feel and that may be familiar to Javanese readers and arouse feelings of belonging. These references also present an opportunity for the narrator to give readers more background on cultural phenomena. Various forms of wayang theater feature throughout the novel,41 as traditional performance genres that have a specific function in the narrative, and as a reservoir of common ground, offering a means to characterize the outward appearance of a dramatis persona in the novel or his or her personality, as a stylistic feature or a narrative device, in metaphors and similes, and in terms of specific concepts. Further, there are ample reflections on Javanese dance: the ledhek, a rural genre, is for instance compared to the srimpi, a female court dance that belongs to the sphere of the kraton,42 both dances having their own connotations and evoking their own spatiality.

These examples demonstrate how traditional performing arts present frames of reference to both the characters in and the readers of the novel. They show the importance of the common ground between the storyteller and the reader, the familiarity (J. akrab) with the language and culture and all it encompasses, as this determines if and how the reader interprets and gives meaning to these passages, as such addressing the reader’s poetic memory.43 The novel does, however, not only represent aspects of Javaneseness and traditional culture. Depicting the contemporary atmosphere in the capital of Indonesia from Pratinah’s point of view, the narrator weaves popular culture that pertains to the modern lifestyle in Jakarta into the story.

The language of the telling and the dialogues shapes the linguistic space. The mere fact that the novel is written in Javanese, the language of the largest ethnic-linguistic minority in Indonesia,44 already creates a space of belonging, particularly since the tale is told in the Javanese speech style ngoko, “the literary language that was the standard when this fictional story (crita rerekan) came into being” as it says in the blurb on the cover. Javanese consists of a complicated system of rules and conventions through which speakers express degrees of politeness, courtesy, respect or appreciation to the person(s) being addressed or referred to.45 The ngoko speech style is used to express everyday language, the familiar.46 Basa is spoken to express courtesy, whereas basa madya is an intermediate speech style that is more formal than ngoko but less polite than basa; both basa and basa madya are used in the dialogues whenever the context so demands. The use of Javanese, and especially of the ngoko speech style in which the story is told, is a factor that allows readers to identify with the local, their local, which would not have been possible if the novel had been written in Indonesian, the national language. The local vernacular is associated with liveliness and emotion, and is perceived as attractive, spontaneous.47 It is a marker of local identity. As Terkourafi frames it,

the difference between a “language we understand” and “our language” lies precisely in this—not in the ability to form grammatical sentences in that language (although, of course, that is part of it) but in the ability to read off of particular ways of putting things a host of information about how our interlocutor perceives the world and themself in it, how they construct their social categories and index them linguistically, information that would otherwise take days, or perhaps a lifetime, to get across—precisely because it takes a lifetime of shared experiences to build.48

Terkourafi’s statement, while presented in the framework of sociolinguistics, applies to culture in its entirety as well, and to what it takes to be able to read Donyane wong culika, for instance, and make sense of spatiality and the meanings it generates. It also reveals that the implementation of Javanese criteria and categories of analysis when studying Javanese literature will generate other insights than if we only use non-Javanese categories of analysis. The local then refers to those characteristics that connect people who share “a powerfully imagined and strongly felt commonality.”49 Exactly these local particularities can address the reader’s feelings of rootedness and belonging.

Marking Out the Space

To sketch how space is represented and from which point of view, I will begin by focusing on the first pages of the novel and paraphrase a few fragments. These first pages present an introduction to the spaces and the spatio-temporality that will be expanded and take full shape in the novel. They present the frame of the entire story, introduce the characters, tell about the events that later in the novel are elaborated on and are told from the perspectives of the three protagonists and the other characters. Right from the beginning the readers are confronted with the atrocities that took place in the hamlet.

Around midday, a two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage (dhokar) speeded forward, carrying a male passenger. Sitting behind the carriage driver, the passenger looked around, astonished when seeing the hamlets they were passing. The driver and the passenger had a chat, their dialogue sometimes interrupted by the driver spurring on his horse. Their conversation went on like this:

“Wow, whose house is this? Oh, it became a shop! Wasn’t it owned by Wongsotukiran?” he asked the carriage driver when they passed a house which had been turned into a shop.
Yes, it is still Mbah Wongso’s. That is, the house at the back. His daughter lives in the house that was added to the front, she lives there with her husband, Guru Kardi.
O, so, Guru Kardi is his son-in-law, isn’t he? His wife is Wongsotukiran’s daughter. Ah, what’s her name again?
Tukinem. She used to be a teacher, they say.
Oh yes, now I remember. […]50

The conversation continues. Using the intermediate Javanese speech style, basa madya, the men talk about the places they pass and the people who live there or who used to live there. In the meantime, the narrator also informs us about the thoughts both men have while talking to each other and looking at the environs.

Reading these first pages, we see how the author is mapping the setting of the fictional world. This mapping is done through the narrative and through the dialogue of the two men. The narrator accompanies the two men in the carriage when they move through the landscape. The men are both part of the space and at the same time observe it and comment on it in various ways. For this process of mapping, Robert Tally uses the term “literary cartography.”51 Tally sees “the novel [a]s a sort of map, one that enables readers to orientate themselves and the characters, events, settings, and ideas of the novel in the world.”52 According to him, “The novel projects, describes, and figuratively maps the social spaces depicted and in some sense created in its pages.”53

Suparto Brata succeeds very well in painting the setting and the atmosphere of life in a small Javanese village in the area of Kedu, South Central Java, to the West of Yogyakarta. The real and the imagined dimensions of this geographical space almost touch each other. However, we need to keep on realizing that the setting in the novel is imaginary, not geographical, as it is part of the mediated “fictional universe,”54 the crita, as Suparto Brata calls it.55 To the readers of the novel, this geographical space evokes ideas on the use of the Javanese language, specific Javanese customs, literary and cultural traditions, and the Javanese mind in the twentieth century. All these themes allow readers to identify with them, or not, and may address and arouse feelings of belonging, or not. Also, the geographical space is the common ground on which the author determines his position towards the imagined world of the story, his perspective towards the location and all it stands for.

Making Sense of the Landscape: Desa, Kutha, Kraton

Returning to the first pages of the novel, we read that the carriage went southwards:

Hr! Ck-ck-ck!
After they had passed two broad treeless fields, the passenger spoke again.
Well, whose house is this, here at the left. How tiny it is.56

The house he asked about seemed to be deserted. It was constructed of bricks and was clean, with all the doors closed. Driver Sabar remembered that that house was built when he was still a very young child.

It is indeed called Tiny House.57 It is Den Mintarti’s house.
Is the owner a woman? Named Mintarti?
I think so, yes. Her father was called Den Darmin, he died […] in the middle of that rice field.58

This tiny or cute house introduces several meaningful spaces in the narrative. Kasminta saw how the empty spot of the past, the space which was said to be haunted, had become a yard on which a small and cute brick house had been built. It had the design of a town house. Meaning, it was not a traditional house with a pendhapa (a pillared pavilion) or a house with a rooftop consisting of just one room, Kasminta observes. It was clear that the one who built the house was somebody who had “smelled the city” (wong sing wis tau mambu kutha).59 Indeed, this was someone from town, someone who had not been afraid to build a house on a haunted space in a remote area and close to a graveyard.

Each type of architecture is associated with a particular feeling or generates “affective resonance,” as Tally calls it.60 The architecture of the Tiny House is associated with an urban building style and a modern way of life; the typical Javanese architecture of houses with an open pillared pavilion (pendhapa) stands for wealth and aristocracy with all its connotations; houses made of woven bamboo (omah gedheg) resonate simplicity, poverty, an agrarian community and its customs. This example demonstrates that “[i]nhabited space in the Javanese novel is crucially functional, it is not merely scenery.” As Quinn argues, “[t]he house and its surroundings speak to the reader, and what is communicated is integrally part of the events and import of the narrative.”61

The opposition between tradition and modernity plays a prominent role in DWC and in Suparto Brata’s other work as well, as Wieringa demonstrates in his essay in this volume. In DWC, the contrast between kutha (the town) and desa (the village) is particularly strong in the social space presented in the novel. We learn about the extreme poverty in the remote Javanese villages, over generations, which is extremely difficult to overcome (kemlaratan). The poverty was predestined, it was a tradition, says the narrator.62 Kutha, on the other hand, stands for luxury, for clever people (wong-wong pinter63 ). Also, the meeting and blending of the two worlds and their mutual influences on each other are discussed. Reflecting on the haunted space on which the house had been built, the narrator (or is it Kasminta?) remarks that city dwellers are not scared to inhabit haunted spaces; and that villagers, influenced by urban views, slowly but surely abandon their belief in ghosts and spirits (bangsane dhanyang lan lelembut).64

The spatial category of the Central Javanese court, the kraton, represents yet other qualities. The wealth of the local aristocracy (priyayi) is mentioned in this frame,65 their status as leaders, their use of court etiquette (tatakrama), which differs from the manners and habits in rural areas and in towns and cities.66 Moreover, Indonesia is very much present as another spatial category within and next to the Javanese space—these spaces cannot be separated from each other, and partly overlap. In the built environment, the national occupies its space in bridges, roads, and schools that were constructed in local towns by and financed with subsidies from the central Indonesian government, typical for the historical period that forms the background of the story.

Padesan as a Site of Idyll and Disruption

To illustrate how the author constructs spatiality by means of the narrator and the dialogues between the characters, I will now zoom in on the concept of padesan as a site of idyll on the one hand and disruption on the other. Padesan can mean “countryside,” but since the words padesan and “countryside” have different frames of reference, related to different cultural contexts, I would rather translate it as “rural area.” I want to discuss padesan because the novel concentrates on the rural area in which the three protagonists were born, live and work, and on how they perceive, make sense of and comment on this space. Padesan is a space that is both meaningful in terms of cultural belonging as well as “identifiably linked to particular geographical and historical situations.”67

While we already read about disruptive events in the first pages of the novel, later flashbacks remind us of the situation of the area before the turmoil. In the second part of the novel, the narrator presents a series of scenes from Tukinem’s point of view, when she recollects (J. eling) what happened in the past. It is at night that the vivid images of the events in Purwadadi and Ngombol haunt Tukinem in her sleep. She sees the inhabitants who competed against each other, those wanting to assume power, the villagers fiercely joining them, ignorant of what was really going on, eventually pitching into each other, beating the hell out of their own kind.68 The many victims, the relatives diametrically opposed to each other …: In these moments, thinking of the PKI, she recollects the period before the chaos, when the rural area was silent and calm (kahanane pradesan sepi lan ayem69 ). The farmers lived peacefully, the rice fields yielding a sufficient and constant crop, though just enough to live on. Rice at the time used to be the farmers’ most valued crop in the region of Purwodadi-Ngombol. The ones who had the rice were, however, not necessarily the ones who owned the fields. But even those who did not own the rice field themselves did not have to suffer, as the owners, all rich, did not only care for their own profit, but shared their good fortune with the farmers.70 To Tukinem, the rice fields stand for food, for tradition, the farming and rural life in tune with the seasons and nature, for local habits and the pace of life. They also stand for poverty, as is mentioned elsewhere.71 Thoughts of the coming communist uprising disturb the rural idyll. They remind Tukinem of how the atmosphere in the village changed, it was fizzing, like water about to boil, the people not concerned anymore with the tilling of the land. Rice was not the most valued matter anymore. The rural area became devastated.72

The geographical area that constitutes the setting of the novel used to be a site of extreme violence. Suparto Brata very vividly depicts the social unrest prior to the alleged coup and the “heightened anxiety, conflict, tension and great uncertainty of public life” in the Central Javanese rural areas.73 He focuses on the PKI campaigns that targeted land reform as an effort to redistribute land and extend share-cropping rights,74 and on the effects of these actions on the local populace. His attention to the historical events after the alleged coup and the outbreaks of violence, which he calls the time of revenge (jaman piwalesan75 ), is less detailed.

Tukinem’s thoughts then dwell on Den Darmin’s and his daughter Mintarti’s fate. She recollects how newcomer Den Darmin arrives in the village and decides to start a new life as a farmer after having quit the army, as he does not want to fight his own people;76 how he is eager to learn and adopt the traditional way of working the fields.77 Den Darmin purchases several plots of land in the hamlet of Bangkuning, all fertile rice fields, owned by well-to-do people.78 The last field he wants to buy, however, is in the hands of an old and poor peasant. According to a local custom, the pedigree of a rice field (silsilahipun sabin) influences the welfare of its owner. If the consecutive owners have been wealthy, so will the new owner. But if Den Darmin were to buy the land called Si Junjung, the needy peasant’s rice field, it would bring bad luck and he might even be cursed. Den Darwin discards the warnings and decides to purchase Si Junjung.79 He faces a similar consideration when he is about to buy some land to build his house on. It had been for sale for several years, nobody wanted to buy it, because it was located in a remote area, near a graveyard. Above all, it was said to be angker or sangar,80 two Javanese concepts to indicate that a space is haunted and should be avoided. Once more, Den Darmin decides to ignore the ominous advise of those he consulted. Do not buy that land, they tell him, the soil is sangar, it will bring disaster!81 He purchases the land anyway and builds a tiny house on it, the Omah Cekli. The first year, everything goes well. Den Darmin learns the art of farming and he begins to feel attached to the land.82 His daughter Mintarti attends Junior High School in Purworejo and only comes home on Sundays. Everything goes well …

The fact that the field and plot of land are dangerous spaces not only alerts Tukinem and other characters in the novel, it also forewarns readers who are well-informed about Javanese culture: the spaces are haunted and mischief is in the air. Indeed, when the government organization Padi Sentra makes the use of a certain fertilizer compulsory for everybody, the tranquillity of the village is disturbed. Above all, the buyers are automatically listed as members of the Indonesian Peasants’ Front (BTI, Barisan Tani Indonesia), a body affiliated to the Communist Party, that promises to protect the farmers. From being a space of peace and calm the rural area turns into a space of oppression, cruelty and slaughter. A representative of the local government threatens the landowners with the confiscation of their land if they do not obey instructions.83 Most of the farmers are scared and buy the fertilizer; only Tukinem and Den Darmin resist, not wanting the chemical product to make the fertile soil of Bangkuning unproductive.84 They chase away the leader of the local Peasants’ Front. Tukinem then apprehends that the leader and his troops are stirring the people in the villages to seize the land of the owners. After all, land is the source of good fortune for the peasants.85 Chaos is the result, Den Darmin one of the victims.

Another glance at the first pages of the novel reveals briefly what happened to Den Darmin, the details of the atrocious murder following in the second part of the novel, the details that haunt Tukinem in her sleep, and that made Mintarti, Den Darmin’s daughter, lose her mind. In these first pages, the tiny house and the rice field are already introduced as loci that are linked to a particular historical period and the atrocious events that took place in Indonesia. Passing the site evokes memories in the mind of the carriage driver.86

It is indeed called Tiny House. It’s Den Mintarti’s house.
Is the owner a woman? Since the name is Mintarti?
I think so, yes. Her father was called Den Darmin, he died in the middle of that rice field after the communists had ripped him open. With a sickle they cut his belly, his intestines hanging down like Hariya Penangsang’s entrails that were twisted around a dagger (keris).
Huh, who is this Hariya Penangsang? It looks as if you know him!87

The carriage driver Sabar tells the details of Hariya Penangsang’s end in the story, a story that is often performed in the popular Javanese urban theater genre kethoprak—hence referring to both local history and local culture. A figure of the first half of the sixteenth century, Penangsang lives on in storytelling and various performance traditions in Java, and particularly the tale of his gruesome death is well-known.88 Sabar says he witnessed the killing himself. He was still a child, just beginning to drive the carriage.

Suparto Brata, who was much concerned with the history of his country and social issues, registers the locations that had become an area of tragedy in that period. He mentions names of villages, towns, and rivers: Bangkuning, Sruwoh, Grabag, Jombang, Purwodadi, Magersari, Sangubanyu, Bagelen, Jenar, Kecamatan Ngombol, Pasar Njasa, Sungai Bogawanta, and so on.89 Again, this is a kind of mapping.

As such, the novel has become a literary witness of and a commentary on what happened in the past.90 The locations in the novel reflect individual and collective memories of a traumatic period in Indonesian history, a period of large-scale unrest and mass-killings by and of people considered to be communists and anti-communists.91 But Suparto Brata has voiced (hence re-written) the events of 1965–66 from a personal point of view, and from the local Javanese perspective that he imagines. In the course of the narrative, we learn about the activities of Kasminta and his fellows as members of the Communist Party. We learn how they stirred the masses and added fuel to the flames.92 Eventually the events are told in more detail:93 the murders, people disappearing, bodies floating in the river. Apparently, Kasminta returned to his village as he was not safe anymore in the towns where he had been active as a member of the Communist Party—“they” were after him when he was fleeing. Kasminta returned to the village he used to belong to. He probably thought he would come home to his old world, but that had changed. After he has been exposed as a deceitful person, a liar, a wong culika, he is taken prisoner by the regional military commander.94 Kasminta’s comrade, the leader of the local Peasants’ Front, disappears when the time of revenge has come. Some say he was killed, giving details about the where and how, but without any proof. Some say he was still alive, having escaped the revenge.

Here, the spatial and the temporal have come together as a site of historical memory and a political and emotional space that people do not talk about but cannot forget. It is a space one belongs to, due to and notwithstanding the circumstances. This is a clear example of what Le Juez and Richardson call the problematic character of space, “characterized as it is by ambivalence, between senses of belonging or exclusion, and constantly at the mercy of compromise and change.”95 Kasminta, Guru Kardi, Tukinem, Den Darmin, Mintarti, and Pratinah are all tied to the village Bangkuning in different ways and are torn between belonging to and being excluded from that space. After his return to the village and his new start, Kasminta is taken prisoner and hence expelled from the community as a consequence of his choices and the changed circumstances. Den Darmin was killed because of the land he owned and tilled with dedication, his house on a haunted space, while his daughter Mintarti becomes excluded because of her mental breakdown. Pratinah, who comes home after her happy years in Jakarta and craves for the idyll of the rural area, the freshness and fertility of the landscape, the breeding-ground of local culture and the arts, loses herself in the village and meets her end. Living in such a space, a guilty landscape that has perceived horrific things happening and has remained unconcerned, that has even been shameless as it just continued to grow, involves pain, writes Armando.96

Conclusion

Donyane wong culika introduces several categories of space to the readers, a few of which I have referred to in my analysis: geographical, social, historical, cultural, and hence also linguistic, epistemological, seen and unseen. They include a village and its environs in Central Java around 1965, local towns, and Jakarta as the capital of Indonesia; the local and the national, Javanese and Indonesian and the overlap between the two; built spaces such as houses of various architectural styles; rural areas (or padesan) and urban and courtly loci; a rice field with an inauspicious pedigree and a haunted plot of land; Javanese as the language of the telling and the dialogues, and in particular the narrator’s familiar speech style ngoko; local concepts and expressions of culture. They all have their proper function and generate their proper meanings: they shape the settings, define the landscapes in which the events take place, characterize the protagonists, create the right atmosphere, provide the readers with information, knowledge, hints, frames of reference and entertainment. The spatial entities present multiple identities and belongings. They “speak to the reader,” as George Quinn calls it. They demonstrate how longing and belonging are connected to identifying and self-understanding, the familiar, proximity. Within the novel and on the meta-level there are the categories of literature, of the telling of stories (crita) and of history and fiction that frame the other categories of space.

Reading from the perspective of spatiality, we see how discussions about the modern and the traditional are treated, about the differences between urban, rural and court areas. We perceive how the “outer” world is incorporated into the narrative, including Jakarta as the locus of the central government and Europe and the United States. At the same time, this perspective reveals the local particularities of the novel, its wonderful language use, the Javanese gaze, the representation of local history and culture, sites of belonging. Suparto Brata has addressed crucial issues and universal themes and therefore Donyane wong culika deserves to receive more attention, both in Indonesia and elsewhere.

The analysis demonstrates how Suparto Brata created a space for “the richly diverse perspectives of the people, often doing this in a much more subversive way than [national] historians, who have focused on the events at a national level and settled into the moulds of national chronology.”97 As a Javanese author not belonging to the literary centre and writing in Javanese and from a local perspective, he is able to give voice to silences about the past and show the sufferings of individuals, to point out the guilty landscapes and reveal that almost every human being is culika. According to Taufiq Hanafi, this is possibly due to the relatively greater freedom in literature as such to speak about topics that must not be spoken of.98 We need to add here that literature composed in a local vernacular has even more freedom to speak than literature written in Indonesian. While literature is not a reliable historical source, Hanafi claims that Indonesian historiography is not either. Mastering all kinds of storytelling techniques, Suparto Brata brings us very close to the events that took place in the period he deals with, hence as readers we almost feel, smell, and taste what is happening. Yes, it is fiction, but his vivid representation of the historical circumstances of 1965–1966 in South Central Java is heart-breaking.

Acknowledgment

I would like to thank the editors of this volume and the “Java in Jerusalem” colleagues for the valuable input, questions and comments to the first draft of this article. I also would like to thank the anonymous reviewers.

References

  • Armando. Het Schuldige Landschap—Die Schuldige Landschaft. Amsterdam: Voetnoot, 1998.

  • Arps, Ben, Els Bogaerts, Willem van der Molen, Ignatius Supriyanto and Jan van den Veerdonk, with the assistance of Betty Litamahuputty. Hedendaags Javaans. Een Leerboek. Leiden: Opleiding Talen en Culturen van Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië, Universiteit Leiden, 2000. [Semaian 20].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bambang MS, Yoseph. “Donyane Wong Culika, Kita lan ‘Beban Sejarah’. 1. Pambuka.” Panjebar Semangat 10, no. 5 (2005): 2526.

  • Bambang MS, Yoseph. “Donyane Wong Culika, Kita lan ‘Beban Sejarah’. 2. ‘Tegangan’ ing antarane Crita lan Gagasan.” Panjebar Semangat 11 (2005): 2526; 43.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bambang MS, Yoseph. “Donyane wong culika, Kita lan ‘Beban Sejarah’. 3. Kita lan ‘Beban Sejarah’.” Panjebar Semangat 12 (2005): 2526.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bambang MS, Yoseph. “Donyane wong culika, Kita lan ‘Beban Sejarah’. 4. ‘Momentum Revitalisasi’ Sastra Jawa?Panjebar Semangat 13 (2005): 2526.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bogaerts, Els, and Remco Raben. “Beyond Empire and Nation.” In Beyond Empire and Nation. Decolonizing Societies in Asia and Africa, 1930s–1970s. Edited by Els Bogaerts and Remco Raben, 721. Leiden: KITLV Press, 2012.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brata, Suparto. Donyane Wong Culika. Yogyakarta: Narasi, 2004.

  • Brata, Suparto. “Makalah pada Seminar ‘Wong Jawa Ilang Jawané’.” Surakarta: Balai Soedjatmoko Solo & House of Danar Hadi, 2009.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brata, Suparto. Jatuh bangun bersama sastra Jawa. Surabaya: Litera Media Center, 2011.

  • Brubaker, Rogers, and Frederick Cooper. “Beyond ‘Identity’.” Theory and Society 29, no. 1 (2000): 147. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3108478.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cribb, Robert. “Introduction. Problems in the Historiography of the Killings in Indonesia.” In The Indonesian Killings 1965–1966: Studies from Java and Bali. Edited by Robert Cribb, 143. Clayton, Victoria: Centre of Southeast Asian Studies Monash University, 1990.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eickhoff, Martijn, Donny Danardono, Tjahjono Rahardjo and Hotmauli Sidabalok. “The Memory Landscapes of ‘1965’ in Semarang.” Journal of Genocide Research 19, no. 4 (2017): 530550. doi:10.1080/14623528.2017.1393945.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Foulcher, Keith. “Making History: Recent Indonesian Literature and the Events of 1965.” In The Indonesian Killings 1965–1966: Studies from Java and Bali. Edited by Robert Cribb, 101119. Clayton, Victoria: Centre of Southeast Asian Studies Monash University, 1990.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Grunberg, Arnon. “‘Nee! Nee!’ Remembering Ultimate Acts of Resistance.” 4th of May Commemoration Speech, Amsterdam (2020). Translated by Sam Garrett. https://www.eurozine.com/nee-nee/. Accessed October 10, 2022.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hanafi, Taufiq. “Can Fiction Ever Be an Alternative to History?The Jakarta Post, September 30, 2016. https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2016/09/30/can-fiction-ever-be-an-alternative-to-history.html. Accessed July 27, 2021.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hanafi, Taufiq. “Writing Novels under the New Order. State Censorship, Complicity, and Literary Production in Indonesia, 1977–1986.” PhD diss., Leiden University, 2022.

  • Jupriono, D. and Soekarno HS. “Menggugat Etika Jawa dalam Novel Donyane Wong Culika Karya Suparto Brata.Diglossia: Jurnal Kajian Ilmiah Kebahasaan dan Kesusastraan 3, no. 1 (2001). doi:10.26594/diglossia.v3i1.70. Accessed October 3, 2022.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Le Juez, Brigitte, and Bill Richardson. Spaces of Longing and Belonging. Territoriality, Ideology and Creative Identity in Literature and Film. Leiden/Boston: Brill/Rodopi, 2019.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Orsini, Francesca, and Laetitia Zecchini. “The Locations of (World) Literature: Perspectives from Africa and South Asia. Introduction.” Journal of World Literature 4 (2019): 112. doi:10.1163/24056480-00401003.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Prabowo, Dhanu Priyo. “Kon[s]telasi Donyane Wong Culika dalam Dunia Penerbitan Sastra Jawa: Sebuah Keberanian Suparto Brata.” https://supartobrata.blogspot.com/2007/01/donyane-wong-culika-novel-bhs-jawa-537.html. Accessed November 7, 2022.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Prasetiyo, Ari. “Peranan dan Kedudukan Perempuan Jawa dalam Novel Jawa Karya Suparto Brata.” PhD diss., Universitas Indonesia, 2016.

  • Quinn, George. The Novel in Javanese. Aspects of its Social and Literary Character. Leiden: KITLV Press, 1992.

  • Quinn, George. “Teaching Javanese Respect Usage to Foreign Learners.” Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 8, Suppl. (2011): 362370.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Quinn, George. “Emerging from Dire Straits: Post-New Order Developments in Javanese Language and Literature.” In Words in Motion. Language and Discourse in Post-New Order Indonesia. Edited by Keith Foulcher, Mikihiro Moriyama, Manneke Budiman, 6581. Singapore: NUS Press, 2012.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ras, J.J. Javanese Literature since Independence. An Anthology. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1979.

  • Robson, Stuart and Singgih Wibisono, with the assistance of Yacinta Kurniasih. Javanese-English Dictionary. Singapore: Periplus, 2002.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schreiner, Klaus. “Lubang Buaya: Histories of Trauma and Sites of Memory.” In Beginning to Remember: The Past in the Indonesian Present. Edited by Mary S. Zurbuchen, 261277. Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2005.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sungkowati, Yulitin. “Lintasan Sejarah Indonesia dalam Novel-Novel Suparto Brata.” Lingua 4–1 (2009). doi: 10.18860/ling.v4i1.585. Accessed January 3, 2023.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tally, Robert T. Jr. Topophrenia. Place, Narrative and the Spatial Imagination. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019.

  • Terkourafi, M.Language and Belonging.” Inaugural Lecture. Leiden University, 2018.

  • Wahid, Abdul. “Campus on Fire: Indonesian Universities During the Political Turmoil of 1950s–1960s.” Archipel 95 (2018): 3152. doi:10.4000/archipel.612.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wiyadi, Sugeng. “Sastra lan Pengarang Jawa Durung Mati.” Suara Merdeka (“Sang Pamomong”), February 26, 2006.

  • Young, Kenneth R.Local and National Influences in the Violence of 1965.” In The Indonesian Killings 1965–1966: Studies from Java and Bali. Edited by Robert Cribb, 6399. Clayton, Victoria: Centre of Southeast Asian Studies Monash University, 1990.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zurbuchen, Mary S.Introduction: Historical Memory in Contemporary Indonesia.” In Beginning to Remember: The Past in the Indonesian Present. Edited by Mary S. Zurbuchen, 332. Singapore: Singapore University Press. 2005.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
1

George Quinn translates the title as The World of the False and Cunning. George Quinn, “Emerging from Dire Straits: Post-New Order Developments in Javanese Language and Literature,” in Words in Motion. Language and Discourse in Post-New Order Indonesia, ed. Keith Foulcher, Mikihiro Moriyama, Manneke Budiman (Singapore: NUS Press, 2012), 73.

2

Iki crita Jawa. Critane wong Jawa, cara Jawa, rasa Jawa, pikiran Jawa, ing Tanah Jawa Abad 20. Iki critane wong Jawa ing desa, ing sawah, ing kutha, ing omah kampung, ing loji, ing hotel, ing guest-house, ing kraton (DWC 2004: Back cover).

3

Abdul Wahid, “Campus on Fire: Indonesian Universities During the Political Turmoil of 1950s–1960s,” Archipel 95 (2018): 31–52.

4

Taufiq Hanafi, “Writing Novels under the New Order. State Censorship, Complicity, and Literary Production in Indonesia, 1977–1986” (PhD diss., Leiden University, 2022), 23.

5

For studies on the aborted coup and the events leading up to and following it, see Hanafi, “Writing Novels,” 25.

6

In 1966 the army pressured Sukarno to step down. When Suharto was installed as the new president, this marked the end of the Old Order regime and the beginning of the New Order. Supported by the army, Suharto restored political stability, focusing on economic growth. The regime became authoritarian and suppressed all opposition. Also, it took control of Indonesian historiography.

7

Mary S. Zurbuchen, “Introduction: Historical Memory in Contemporary Indonesia,” in Beginning to Remember: The Past in the Indonesian Present, ed. Mary S. Zurbuchen (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2005), 3–32; Klaus Schreiner, “Lubang Buaya: Histories of Trauma and Sites of Memory,” in Beginning to Remember: The Past in the Indonesian Present, 261–77.

8

Robert Cribb, “Introduction. Problems in the Historiography of the Killings in Indonesia,” in The Indonesian Killings 1965–1966: Studies from Java and Bali, ed. Robert Cribb (Clayton, Victoria: Centre of Southeast Asian Studies Monash University, 1990), 4; Keith Foulcher, “Making History: Recent Indonesian Literature and the Events of 1965,” in The Indonesian Killings, 101–19.

9

Hanafi, “Writing Novels,” 5–6; 118–48.

10

For instance, Ari Prasetiyo, “Peranan dan Kedudukan Perempuan Jawa dalam Novel Jawa Karya Suparto Brata” (PhD diss., Universitas Indonesia, 2016).

11

Arnon Grunberg, “‘Nee! Nee!’ Remembering Ultimate Acts of Resistance,” 4th of May Commemoration Speech, Amsterdam 2020. English translation by Sam Garrett. https://www.eurozine.com/nee-nee/, accessed October 10, 2022.

12

George Quinn, The Novel in Javanese. Aspects of its Social and Literary Character (Leiden: KITLV Press, 1992), 195.

13

Armando’s creative work is closely connected to the impact of the Second World War on him personally.

14

Brigitte Le Juez and Bill Richardson, Spaces of Longing and Belonging. Territoriality, Ideology and Creative Identity in Literature and Film (Leiden/Boston: Brill/Rodopi, 2019).

15

Suparto Brata, “Makalah pada Seminar ‘Wong Jawa Ilang Jawané’” (Surakarta: Balai Soedjatmoko Solo & House of Danar Hadi, 2009).

16

An overview of his novels composed in Indonesian and in Javanese is published in Dhanu Priyo Prabowo, “Kon[s]telasi Donyane Wong Culika dalam Dunia Penerbitan Sastra Jawa: Sebuah Keberanian Suparto Brata,” 2007, fn. 3 and 4. https://supartobrata.blogspot.com/2007/01/donyane-wong-culika-novel-bhs-jawa-537.html, accessed November 7, 2022.

17

George Quinn, “Teaching Javanese Respect Usage to Foreign Learners,” Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 8, Suppl. (2011): 363.

18

Yoseph Bambang MS, “Donyane Wong Culika, Kita lan ‘Beban Sejarah’, 1, Pambuka,” Panjebar Semangat 10, no. 5 (2005a): 26. I am grateful to George Quinn for pointing me to Yoseph Bambang’s publications in the Javanese magazine Panjebar Semangat.

19

Suparto Brata, Jatuh Bangun Bersama Sastra Jawa (Surabaya: Litera Media Center, 2011), 92–93.

20

Most novels were published as serials in Javanese magazines.

21

As Suparta Brata wrote himself in a letter to Dhanu Priyo Prabowo (Prabowo, “Kon[s]telasi”, 2007).

22

Yoseph Bambang MS, “Donyane Wong Culika, Kita lan ‘Beban Sejarah’, 4, ‘Momentum Revitalisasi’ Sastra Jawa?” Panjebar Semangat 13 (2005): 25–6.

23

Yoseph Bambang MS, “Donyane Wong Culika, Kita lan ‘Beban Sejarah’, 2, ‘Tegangan’ ing antarane Crita lan Gagasan,” Panjebar Semangat 11 (2005): 26.

24

DWC, 97.

25

Stuart Robson and Singgih Wibisono, Javanese-English Dictionary (Singapore: Periplus, 2002), 426.

26

Prabowo, “Kon[s]telasi,” 2007.

27

Wieringa (in this volume) elaborates on Suparto Brata’s experience in writing detective fiction and on his literary achievements.

28

nguripake budaya bangsa (DWC, 216).

29

D. Jupriono and Soekarno HS, “Menggugat Etika Jawa Dalam Novel Donyane Wong Culika Karya Suparto Brata,” Diglossia: Jurnal Kajian Ilmiah Kebahasaan dan Kesusastraan 3, no. 1 (2001), accessed October 3, 2022.

30

tansaha urip madeg dhewe, aja gumantung marang wong liya (DWC, 347).

31

DWC, 272.

32

J.J. Ras, Javanese Literature since Independence. An Anthology (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1979), 26.

33

Francesca Orsini and Laetitia Zecchini, “The Locations of (World) Literature: Perspectives from Africa and South Asia. Introduction,” Journal of World Literature 4 (2019): 1–12.

34

In her contribution to this volume, Ronit Ricci discusses the function of keywords as “indicators for central concepts and topics within a socio-cultural community.”

35

For instance in DWC, 167–68.

36

DWC, 168, 260, 295, 344.

37

DWC, 260.

38

During an interview in Surabaya in August 2004, the author told me about his literary sources of inspiration.

39

DWC, 173.

40

Yulitin Sungkowati, “Lintasan Sejarah Indonesia dalam Novel-Novel Suparto Brata,” Lingua 4 no. 1 (2009).

41

Such as shadow puppetry (wayang kulit) and dance drama (wayang wong).

42

DWC, 49–50.

43

Danielle Chen Kleinman and Naresh Keerthi (in this volume) discuss the role of the readers and their acquired knowledge of literary codes and signs.

44

A group of approximately 100 million people.

45

Ben Arps, Els Bogaerts, Willem van der Molen, Ignatius Supriyanto and Jan van den Veerdonk, with the assistance of Betty Litamahuputty, Hedendaags Javaans. Een Leerboek (Leiden: Opleiding Talen en Culturen van Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië, Universiteit Leiden, 2000 [Semaian 20]), 31.

46

Since the 1930s, ngoko has become the language of the narration in modern Javanese novels and short stories.

47

Sugeng Wiyadi, “Sastra lan Pengarang Jawa durung Mati,” Suara Merdeka (February 26, 2006).

48

M. Terkourafi, “Language and Belonging” (Inaugural Lecture, Leiden University, 2018), 7–8.

49

Rogers Brubaker and Frederick Cooper, “Beyond ‘Identity’,” Theory and Society 29, no. 1 (2000): 20. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3108478.

50

“Wah, niki griyane sinten? Kok dadi toko! Riyin rak gadhahane Wongsotukiran?” pitakone marang kusir nalika padha ngliwati omah separo tembok, sing ngarepe diblak amba dienggo bukak toko.

“Nggih tesih Mbah Wongso. Nika sing wingking. Griya tambahan ngajeng niku dienggeni putrane setri, kalih semahe, Guru Kardi.”.

“O. Guru Kardi niku rak mantune, nggih ta? Anake Wongsotukiran rak sing estri. Ah, sapa ta jenenge?”

“Tukinem. Riyin nggih guru turene.”

“La! Enggih niku! Enget kok, kula. […]” (DWC, 1)

51

Robert T. Tally Jr., Topophrenia. Place, Narrative and the Spatial Imagination (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019).

52

Tally, Topophrenia, 95.

53

Tally, Topophrenia, 95.

54

Tally, Topophrenia, 96.

55

DWC, 167–68.

56

“Hr!Ck-ck-ck!” […]

Bareng wis ngliwati rong bulak, penumpange nyuwara maneh.

“La, yen kiwa niki griyane sinten? Kok cekli!” (DWC, 2)

57

The term omah, Javanese for house (in ngoko or the familiar speech style), is used in the narration, whereas griya (basa or polite speech style) is used in the dialogues; hence also Omah Cekli (ngoko speech style used in the narration) and Griya Cekli (basa speech style used in the dialogues) (DWC, 2–3).

58

“Pancen sebutane nggih Griya Cekli. Griyane Den Mintarti.”

“Tiyang estri napa, namine kok Mintarti?”

“Karang enggih. Bapake namine Den Darmin, pun pejah […] teng tengah sabine ngrika.” (DWC, 2)

59

DWC, 3.

60

Tally, Topophrenia, 97.

61

Quinn, The Novel in Javanese, 195–96.

62

Kemlaratan pepesthen, kemlaratan tradhisi (DWC, 6–7).

63

DWC, 31.

64

Wong desa saya ilang kapercayane marang bangsane dhanyang lan lelembut, kedheseg karo pikirane wong kutha (DWC, 3).

65

DWC, 16.

66

DWC, 202.

67

Le Juez and Richardson, Spaces of Longing and Belonging, 10.

68

DWC, 118–19.

69

DWC, 119.

70

DWC, 119.

71

DWC, 5–6.

72

DWC, 120.

73

Kenneth R. Young, “Local and National Influences in the Violence of 1965,” in The Indonesian Killings, 71–2.

74

The policy of “class-based mobilization” (I. aksi sepihak, “unilateral action”) was initiated by the PKI in 1963. Young, “Local and national influences,” 71–2; 75.

75

DWC, 92.

76

DWC, 140–42; 148–49.

77

Tukinem kelingan keluwargane Mintarti. Mesakake nasibe. Kelingan nalika teka sepisanan ing desa kono (DWC, 120).

78

DWC, 122.

79

DWC, 123.

80

Jare angker, apa sangar, ngono (DWC, 3).

81

DWC, 124–25, 194, 252.

82

DWC, 126–28.

83

DWC, 134.

84

DWC, 136–37.

85

Tanah kuwi bandhane wong tani (DWC, 148).

86

On the concept of “memory landscapes,” see Martijn Eickhoff, Donny Danardono, Tjahjono Rahardjo and Hotmauli Sidabalok, “The Memory Landscapes of ‘1965’ in Semarang,” Journal of Genocide Research 19, no. 4 (2017): 530–50.

87

“Pancen sebutane nggih Griya Cekli. Griyane Den Mintarti.”

“Tiyang estri napa, namine kok Mintarti?”

“Karang enggih. Bapake namine Den Darmin, pun pejah diedhel-edhel tiyang PKI teng tengah sabine ngrika. Padharane bedhah dikekrek ngarit, ususe ndlole kados ususe Hariya Penangsang sing disangkutke kerise.”

“Heh. Hariya Penangsang niku sinten, Sampeyan kok kaya ngreti-ngretia!” (DWC, 2.)

88

Hariya or Arya Penangsang is the grandson of the first sultan of Demak, in the sixteenth century the dominant kingdom at the North Coast of Java, and heir to the throne. After the passing of the Sultan of Demak, not Penangsang but the regent of Pajang becomes the new ruler. Assisted by Sunan Kudus, Penangsang then attempts to eliminate his opponents. In a duel with his adversary he loses temper, misinterprets a secret sign of Sunan Kudus and, accidentally cutting his own intestines, kills himself with his own dagger. Another gruesome murder which has been commemorated in kethoprak is the death of Mangir, as Verena Meyer recalls in her essay in this volume.

89

Prabowo, “Kon[s]telasi,” 2007.

90

Prabowo, “Kon[s]telasi,” 2007.

91

DWC, 92–3.

92

DWC, 97.

93

DWC, 92.

94

DWC, 112.

95

Le Juez and Richardson, Spaces of Longing and Belonging, 13.

96

Armando, Het Schuldige Landschap, 1998.

97

Els Bogaerts and Remco Raben, “Beyond Empire and Nation,” in Beyond Empire and Nation. Decolonizing Societies in Asia and Africa, 1930s–1970s, ed. Els Bogaerts and Remco Raben (Leiden: KITLV Press, 2012), 10.

98

Taufiq Hanafi, “Can Fiction Ever Be an Alternative to History?” The Jakarta Post (September 30, 2016).

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 108 108 20
PDF Views & Downloads 114 114 26