Dear kind readers,
When a friend just returned from a holiday with her family in Tana Toraja, I asked her what is interesting from that place. Frowned, she replied, “If the objection of the trip was to find something extraordinary, then Toraja is the place. But, if you plan to have a vacation, sightseeing, Toraja is not the place.”
On the other hand, when our editorial staff met with Helen Marshall, a British photographer, who just held her exhibition in Jakarta this January, we received a different reply. She felt she found a new spirit for she has the feeling that she has received a new meaning of death.
In Toraja, death is something “special”. Children and grandchildren would feel guilty if they did not bury their parents or forefathers decently with many rituals—including the cost that could reach billions of rupiah—as part of funeral ceremony called rambu solo’. The ceremony, which in the past was only organized by the noble families, is now conducted by “ordinary people” who happen to be successful overseas.
This is something wonderful since it turns out that the successful migrants are excitedly return home to “compete” in organizing lavish ceremonies for their deceased forefathers—and even inviting a national figure from Jakarta.
For this edition we specially sent our editorial staff Viesta Karwila Wingtyas and Photo Editor Hardy Mendröfa to Tana Toraja to cover the atmosphere of rambu solo’ ceremony held between December 24, 2011-Januari 3, 2012. The ceremony drew the attention of thousands of tourists. You can read the long report in the columns of GONG, Local Wisdom, Sites, Textile, Culinary, Dance, and Zoom.
We also have other similarly interesting reports for you, including the Seren Taun (Custom Ceremony)—a dedication of the Sundanese Wiwitan community for the Goddess of Sri, or the one covering the fate of ancient Malay manuscripts from Sambas Sultanate, West Kalimantan, which many have been taken to Malaysia (Literature).
Do not miss the articles on fafiri—boomerang from Nias (Traditional Game), the special interview with Prof. Dr. F.G. Winarno about traditional food (Interview), and the one about Rahayu Supanggah who has been persistent in globalizing Indonesian gamelan (Figure).
Finally, there is also some good news in early February, one member of our Editorial Board, Yusuf Susilo Hartono, received a literary award, Rancage, for his poetry compilation in Javanese, Ombak Wengi. Rancage is a literary award given to poets who write in local languages of Sundanese, Javanese, and Balinese. The award is certainly a motivator for us to bring the best for the readers.
Warm regards from us,
Rita Sri Hastuti/Chief Editor