I Move To “www.sunjayadi.com”

14 04 2008

Hallo teman-teman dan pembaca,

Mulai hari ini, 14 April 2008 seluruh content blog ini saya pindahkan ke www.sunjayadi.com

Jadi bagi anda yang ingin membaca postingan-postingan saya selanjutnya silakan kunjungi website saya.

Bisa klik disini

Terima kasih, Achmad Sunjayadi (Sangkelana)


Dear readers and colleagues,

Since April 14, 2008, I moved all the content of this blog to my website www.sunjayadi.com

so if any of you would liked to continue reading my posts,  please visit and enjoy 🙂

Thank you, Achmad Sunjayadi (Sangkelana)


Bathing, through generations

11 04 2008

‘Bangun tidur kuterus mandi…’ This is the first line of an Indonesian children’s song that I remember about the habit of washing ourselves in the morning. This habit is a ‘taboo’ on holidays or Sundays, because on these days we tend to be too lazy to take a bath as early as usual. However, the habit of bathing, especially in the morning, is good to make us fresh to start the day.

Ones of the things that I could not find in the Netherlands were bath tank and water dipper. Obviously they are not known in the Netherlands. They only have badkuip or bathtubs and shower there. Bath tanks, even if they exist, must be of a giant size, which are called (swimming) pools. Therefore, in the old Dutch, there were only baden (to bathe in the rivers or ponds) and douchen (to take a shower). After it was known to them how we, Indonesians, wash ourselves (mandi in Indonesian), then mandiën entered into Dutch vocabulary. Along with it were the words mandiebak (bath tank, or bak mandi in Indonesia), mandiekamer (bathroom, or kamar mandi in Indonesian), and gajoeng (water dipper, or gayung in Indonesian). The list does not stop here, a literary man Louis Couperus even said that the term sirammen (siram in Indonesian) is also used related to activity of washing ourselves.

For Dutchmen who have lived in the East Indies, cleansing is a very interesting matter, because in their homeland cleansing it is a constraint, especially during winter. They usually did not take a bath, but rather splash water into their bodies and wiped them. All they needed is to spray some perfume, and that’s all. So, when they arrived in this tropical country, they found that bathing was a must for them, especially when they did not want to smell bad.

According to historian Anthony Reid, the abundant supply of water is one of the characteristics of tropical countries, especially in South East Asian countries. Therefore, they did not seem to worry about running out of water. In fact, they even look ‘wasteful’ when it comes to washing their bodies. However, water supply in several regions currently starts to become a concern.

In the 17th century, Asian people had the habit of washing their body in free flowing water, as opposed to European people who showed antipathy to it. Since the Asian people chose rivers to wash themselves, they tend to live along them.

If they found no river, they would pour a pail of well water onto their head. In this way, they kept bacteria from the lower part of their body away from their heads. This practice is safer than washing ourselves by bathing in tubs shared with all family members – from the oldest to the youngest ones (babies) – as found with people living in cold winter climate (Europe).

During VOC era, Dutchwomen, like Portuguese women, were ‘braver’ than their men in terms of dealing with water. The Dutchmen were ‘scared’ of water, or too reluctant to take a bath. Actually, there were pros and contras among Batavian Dutchmen themselves. Those who were accustomed to taking a bath felt uncomfortable when they did not do it. In those days, they used the word wassen (wash), instead of baden (bathe).

The group that saw the importance of taking a bath issued a special regulation to all VOC soldiers, requiring them to take a bath every eight or ten days. However, many did not comply with this regulation as required. They did not want to take a bath. Consequently, another regulation was issued stipulating that VOC soldiers in Rijswijk should not have been forced to take a bath once a week.

In 1804, an anti-bathing group received a support from Keuchenius, a doctor. He said that bathing was not necessary and was even considered bad for health. By this, Keuchenius actually referred to their bathing places – rivers – which were then described by J. Rach in details.

The bathing place during the VOC era, was called paviljoentjes and was a part of a luxurious building owned by VOC high officials. Under their bathing place, which was like an audience hall, there was a kind of cage with wooden bars. One who wished to cleanse would get down into the cage. Of course, this was in an open air.

However, in the 18th century, there were closed and half-closed bathrooms. Such as the one that belonged to Reinier de Klerk on Gadjah Mada Str. (now the National Archive building). According to F. De Haan, in Oud Batavia (1922), there were also big houses with waschhuis (wash house) in the backyard. In the unroofed structure, there was a wooden barrel and a water dipper. This kind of place was usually called mandihok (washing cage).

In the subsequent era, through olden time photographs, we can see wells in the backyard of Dutchmen’s houses. They functioned as springs of which the water would used for the bathrooms. Those bathrooms were also huge. Such as the one in my grandmother’s house in Menteng (already ruined); it was 2 m x 1.5 m x 1 m in size. In order to be able to clean it, we have to get into it.

Justus van Maurik, a cigar businessman from Amsterdam, wrote about bathing. He said in some East Indies hotels there was a warning hung on the wall:
Het is verboden in den mandiebak te baden of het water met zeep te verontreinigen.” (Don’t get into the bath tank; do not dirty the water with soap).

Interestingly, on June 1, 1861, a businessman called Victor Thornerieux established a hotel in Molenvliet (around Harmoni) which was called Hotel de l’Univers. Perhaps it was aimed at competing with des Indes Hotel just across the street and to look different from it, in an advertisement released by him, it is said that the Hotel de l’Univers was equipped with a bathing pool using river water!

Meanwhile, Augusta de Wit, a Dutch tourist who visited Java at the end of the 19th century, talked about his impression of bathing. In his opinion, taking a bath several times a day was a must. Those who did not do it would not be deemed as decorous. Bathing in the East Indies was different from that in Europe. In Europe, he usually only soaked in the tub, but in the East Indies he had to splash his entire body with a lot of water using a water dipper. It was such a luxury for body and soul, he wrote.

Living in the Netherlands, I miss the days when I bathed with a lot of water using water dipper. It feels like there is something missing, either in terms of the splash of the water or its freshness.

So, if you are accustomed to washing your body like you usually do in Indonesia, just don’t expect to find bath tanks in the Netherlands. Even if you yearn to take a bath in the river, don’t jump into the grachten (canals) there, because you would violate the law. The water is dirty anyway.

While, if you are in Indonesia, please remember one thing when you take a bath: Don’t waste too much water inconsiderately. Save water because many people in other regions experience droughts and are in severe need of water. Related to the issue of saving water, I once saw in an Amsterdam store a t-shirt with a text that reads: Save the water, I drink beer! I think in Jakarta we can replace it with: Save the water, I drink bajigur (bajigur is a West Javanese drink, served while warm, with the warm sensation of ginger, coconut milk, and palm sugar)

Sejarah April Mop

1 04 2008

Bagaimana tanggapan Anda jika mendengar kabar pada 1 April : “Hey, di Jakarta lagi turun salju!” atau “Semua penduduk Indonesia dapat beras gratis!”. Tentu reaksi pertama adalah tidak percaya alias menganggap berita itu hanya ndobos.  Bagi yang percaya tentu mereka terkena April Mop. Kebiasaan ‘menipu’ orang lain yang setiap tahun ‘dirayakan’ oleh segelintir orang di berbagai belahan dunia.

            Tentu akan menarik jika kita mengetahui asal-usul sejarah kebiasaan ‘bodoh’ ini sehingga Anda bisa memutuskan apakah memang kebiasaan ini benar-benar menghibur atau malah kebiasaan konyol belaka.

            April Mop yang dikenal dengan April Fools diduga mulai diperingati pada abad ke-16 di Perancis. Ketika itu awal tahun baru jatuh pada tanggal 1 April. Cara merayakannya mirip dengan masa kini. Penuh pesta, dansa-dansi sampai pagi. Pada 1562, Paul Gregory memperkenalkan kalender baru yang tahunnya diawali bulan Januari. Namun, ada beberapa kalangan yang belum mendengar dan tidak mempercayai perubahan ini. Jadi mereka terus saja memperingati tahun baru pada tanggal 1 April. Orang-orang inilah yang disebut April Fools atau orang-orang yang tertipu di bulan April.

            Cerita lain mengatakan bahwa tradisi ini dimulai pada jaman Romawi kuno ketika orang merayakan festival Ceres setiap awal April. Ceres adalah dewi panen yang puterinya diculik Pluto, dewa dunia gaib. Ceres diceritakan mengikuti gema suara teriakan anaknya. Suatu hal yang mustahil karena gema sangat sulit dicari sumber asalnya. Sehingga apa yang dilakukan Ceres disebut ‘a fools errand’ atau pekerjaan orang bodoh.

            Kebiasaan membohongi teman dan anggota keluarga ini diduga menyebar dari Perancis ke Inggris dan Skotlandia. Lalu menyeberang ke Amerika ketika orang-orang Eropa beremigrasi ke sana.

            Di Perancis sendiri disebut Poisson d’avril atau Ikan April. Mereka percaya ikan kecil ini mudah tertangkap atau tertipu. Di Skotlandia istilahnya April gowk yang beratri burung tekukur yang di sana melambangkan kepolosan. Di Skotlandia malah April Fools Day diperingati selama dua hari. Hari kedua khusus untuk meledek anggota badan dan disebut Taily Day. Jadi hal yang lumrah jika Anda menempelkan tulisan “Kick Me” pada bokong kawan Anda.

Sementara itu April Mop dalam sejarah Muslim Spanyol berawal pada tahun 1487 atau 892 Hijriah.  Perayaan April Mop diawali dengan peristiwa penyerangan besar-besaran oleh tentara Salib terhadap negara Spanyol. Pada masa itu Spanyol berada di bawah kekuasaan kekhalifahan Islam. Beberapa kota di Spanyol yang dikuasai pasukan Islam seperti Zaragoza dan Leon di wilayah Utara, Vigo dan Forto di wilayah Timur, Valencia di wilayah Barat, Lisabon dan Cordoba di Selatan serta Madrid di pusat kota berhasil dikuasai tentara Salib.

            Granada adalah kota pelabuhan yang merupakan kota terakhir yang ditaklukkan pasukan Salib. Penduduk-penduduk Islam di Spanyol yang juga disebut orang Moor terserbut terpaksa berlindung dalam rumah. Pasukan Salib pun terus mengejar mereka. Mereka tahu orang Moor itu bersembunyi di rumah. Pasukan Salib meneriakkan pengumuman dengan lantang bahwa para Muslim Granada dapat keluar dari rumah dengan aman dan diperbolehkan berlayar keluar Spanyol.

Namun, orang-orang Muslim masih curiga dengan tawaran tersebut. Beberapa dari mereka diperkenankan melihat sendiri kapal-kapal penumpang yang telah dipersiapkan di pelabuhan. Setelah mereka yakin bahwa kapal-kapal itu disediakan untuk mereka, maka bersiaplah mereka untuk berangkat meninggalkan Granada. Pasukan Salib berjanji memberikan kebebasan serta menjamin keselamatan para Muslim jika mereka meninggalkan Spanyol serta persenjataan mereka.

Ketika ribuan orang-orang Muslim telah berkumpul di pelabuhan, kapal-kapal yang bersandar dan sedianya untuk mengangkut mereka langsung dibakar dan orang-orang Muslim itu dibantai hingga air laut menjadi merah kehitam-hitaman bersimbah darah. Peristiwa pembantaian dan pengingkaran janji itu terjadi pada 1 April 1487 dan dikenang sebagai ‘The April Fool Day’.
            Demikian berbagai versi sejarah April Mop di dunia. Terserah Anda mau percaya yang mana. Namun, satu hal yang harus kita perhatikan adalah jangan hanya ikut-ikutan ‘merayakan’ April Mop tanpa mengetahui asal-usulnya. Belum lagi dampak yang disebabkan karena begitu ‘percaya’nya pada rutinitas lelucon April Mop. Yang bisa merugikan diri sendiri dan orang lain.

 Misalnya pada 1 April 1946 terjadi tsunami gempa Pulau Aleutian yang menewaskan 165 orang di Hawaii dan Alaska. Di Hawaii, tsunami ini dikenal dengan ‘Tsunami April Mop’, karena banyaknya orang yang tewas karena tidak percaya berita akan kedatangan tsunami tersebut.