Thursday, October 20, 2011

Story from far Java

On my last visit to Jogja (seriously this city has something captivating), I happened to visit Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat aaaand Kraton Surakarta in one-day-trip to Solo.

Both Kraton is interesting, but Jogja's has something more delicate about it. I dunno, maybe it's just me. Or maybe because by the time I visited Jogja, the city was kind of in hype for the royal wedding, hence the increasing number of activities inside Kraton.

The tour guide when I visited Kraton Surakarta was paying more attention to 'soul-searching-inspiration-seeker-meditation' bunch of guys so he neglected my seemingly college kids group. I know, we're less interesting. So at every stop, they sat down and meditated. Seriously. No kidding. Geez.

At first, it was interesting, but soon after that I found it so freakin boring waiting for 'em so we browsed the Kraton by ourselves, that's why we missed most of the story-telling from the guide. And maybe that's why I think the Kraton Surakarta is so-so.

On the other hand, in Jogja, when we asked for a tour guide, we're given a typical old lady with Jawa's culture. She's about 60 yrs old and she explained everything in a clear manner. We asked a lot of ridiculous question ("Can Sultan's children marry someone who is not Javanese?", "Can someone convert to muslim THEN marry Sultan's children?", "Who will be the next successor of HB X since he got only 5 daughters?", etc etc) and she answered it wisely. Too wise I almost wish I was Jogja javanese. Almost.

One part of her story that moved me a lot was about HB IX. She explained the guy's story proudly and it's so sweet. I almost hope our president was HB IX. He's smart, humble, honorable and loved his people. One thing about this whole Javanese tradition is that every gesture, every piece of clothes, every word has its meaning. She explained to me the meaning of Sultan's pose in every formal picture ever, the one with both your thumbs and pinkies was put together facing up and down. It means that Sultan fears his God and listen to his people. His famous motto was "Tahta untuk Rakyat" - Throne for the people.

Somehow, methink in general Sultan has this hesitancy to be involved with politic. What's with resigning from his position in National Democrat party in July 2011 and stuff. No question there, I mean as a city Jogja was a unique one, unified together as Jogja citizen, they can stand alone, they have calmer perspective about power and they act like a big family. Why bother messing your mind with Indonesia's dirty politic?

The tour guides in Kraton Jogjakarta were amazing, they possessed LOTS of languages or English at the minimum. So many foreigners in that place and I seldom hear English as the conducting language. They conversed in Dutch, Deutsch, Japan, Malay, Italian, oh-em-gee! I asked this once to my tour guide and she said there are only 3 languages that have not been covered in Kraton, which are Mandarin, Korean and Russian. So people, wish to have a simple life as cultural agent? Apply to Kraton, please.

In the end, she added something that really put me in utter embarrassment =__= "In my age, I cannot afford another language, but I keep telling my children, my grandchildren, if you're still breathing, keep studying."

0 tasted the wine: