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Novel Edensor karya Andrea Hirata. Teori-teori utama yang digunakan dalam penelitian ini diadopsi dari teori kohesi yang diusulkan oleh Halliday dan Hasan . She is much better than all the screaming from kim basinger. More bang for your buck is what you get with the expendables 3. Novel cinta di. Rainbow Troops PDF fix Chapter 26 Furious Genie Children Chapter 27 Edensor Chapter 28 A Hidden Treasure beneath our School Chapter 29 .
He himself took three. In the beginning, he was just an ordinary student. B ut a chance meeting with an old hair-growth product bottle from somewhere on th e Ara- bian Peninsula forever changed the course of his life. On that bottle was a picture of a man; he was wearing red underwear, had a tall, strong body and was as hairy as a gorilla. From then on, Borek was no longer interested in anything other than maki ng his muscles bigger.
Because of hard work and exercise, he was successful and earned himself the nickname Samson—a noble title that he bore proudly. It was definitely strange, but at least Samson had found himself at a young age and knew exactly what he wanted to be later; he strove continuously to reach his goals. There are those who never find their own identity and go through life as someone else.
Samson was better off than them. He was completely obsessed with body building and crazy about the macho-man imag e. One day, he lured me in and curiosity got the best of me. He jerked my hand and we ran to the abandoned electric shed behind the school.
He reached into his bag and pu lled out a tennis ball that had been split in half. I looked at the two halves with surprise and thought to myself: It must be a great discovery.
What is he going to do to me? I was hesitant, but I had no other choice. I unbuttoned my shirt.
I stumbled back and almost fell. He had caught me by surprise and I was powerles s, my back against some planks of wood. To make matters worse, Samson was much b igger than me and was as strong as a coolie. I wriggled around trying to break f ree. And then I understood. The tennis ball halves were supposed to work like that s trange thing with a wooden handle and a rubber cup that people use to unclog toilets.
I felt the life being sucked out of my insides—my heart, liver, lungs, spleen, b lood and the contents of my stomach—by the cursed tennis ball halves. My eyes fel t like they were going to pop out of my head. I choked, unable to speak. I signa led to Samson to stop. Oh man! Darn it! Counting names and parents was our own foolish cre- ation—doing something within t he amount of time it took to say the full names of everyone in our class and the ir par- ents.
For example: No way cou ld I endure these things sucking the life out of me for the entire amount of tim e it would take me to count names and parents. Malay names were never short! I was a fish trapped in a net. My breaths became short.
The su ctioning of the tennis ball halves felt like stings from killer bees. My body s eemed to be shrinking. My legs flailed around hopelessly. The suffer- ing felt a s though it would never end. Then, all of a sudden, one of the wooden planks behind me fell and gave me r oom to gather my strength. Without stopping to think twice, I mustered the last ounce of strength left in my body, and with one roundhouse style move, I kicked Samson as hard as I could right between his legs—just like when the Japanese boxer Antonio Inoki took a cheap shot at Muhammad Ali in their fight.
Samson howled and groaned like a bumble bee trapped in a glass jar. I broke free from his grasp, jumped away and bolted off. That genius body-building invention flew up into the air before sluggishly tumbling down onto a stack of straw. I s tole a peek back and saw the boy Her- cules hurl over and clutch his legs before falling down with a thud.
For days, my chest was encircled by two dark red cir- cular marks, traces of unb elievable idiocy. Muhammadiyah Ethics class taught us every Friday morning that we were not allowed to lie to our parents, especially not to our mothers. I was forced to expose my own stupidity. My older brothers and my father laughe d so hard they were shak- ing. Pretty serious, Ikal! But that morning it was quiet.
Most of us came to school berkaki ayam—chicken footed, literally, but in othe r words barefooted. Our underprivileged parents deliberately bought shoes that were two sizes too big so they could be worn for at least two school years.
By the time the sho es fit, they were usually falling apart. Malay people believe that destiny is a creature, and we were ten baits of destin y. We were like small mollusks cling- ing together to defend ourselves from the pounding waves in the ocean of knowledge. Bu Mus was our mother hen.
Harun with his easy smile, the handsome Trapani, li ttle Syahdan, the pompous Kucai, feisty Sahara, the gullible A Kiong, and the ei ghth boy, Samson, sitting like a Ganesha statue. And who were the ninth and tent h boys? Lintang and Mahar. What were their stories? They were two young, truly s pecial boys. It takes a special chapter to tell their tales.
We were dumbfounded when we heard his reason. In the middle of the road, blocking my way, lay a crocodile as big as a coconut tree. All I could do was stand there like a statue and talk to myself. His size and the barnacles growing on his back were clear signs that he was the rule r of this swamp. Then suddenly, from the cur- rents of the river beside me, I heard the water rippling. I was surprised. I was frightened! The hair on th e back of my neck stood up as he walked in bowlegged steps in my direction.
Not one of us could find the courage to comment. We waited tensely for the s tory to continue. Then he ap- proached the ruthless animal blo cking the road. He touched it! He petted it gently and whispered something to it—i t was so bizarre! We were stupefied.
It was as loud as seven coconut trees cras hing down! If that an- cient animal had decided to chase me earlier, the only thing people would have found would be my decrepit bicycle. My courage collapsed; with just one pull, he could have drowned me in the water. But he just passed by.
Just like that? But I feel lucky. It was true that I had never witnessed Bodenga in action, but I knew him better than Lintang. Bodenga provided me with my firs t life lesson on premonitions. For me, he symbolized all things related to the f eeling of sadness.
His face was scarred with craters and he was in his forties. He covered himself with coconut leaves and slept under a palm t ree, curled up like a squirrel for two days and two nights at a time.
When he wa s hungry, he dove down into the abandoned well at the old police station, all th e way to the bottom, caught some eels, and ate them while he was still in the w ater. Bodenga was a free creature. He was like the wind. No one knew where he came from. His ears could not hear because one day he dove into the Linggang River to fetch some tin and dove so deep that his ears bled.
And then, he was deaf. Nowadays Bodenga was like a lone piece of driftwood. People say he sacrificed his leg in order to acquire more crocodile magi c. His father was a famous crocodile shaman. As Islam flowed into the villages, people began to shun Bodenga and his father because they refused to stop worship ping crocodiles as gods. His father died by wrapping himself from head to toe in jawi roots and throwing himself into the Mirang River.
He deliberately fed his body to the ferocious cro codiles of the river. Now Bodenga spends most of his time staring into the currents of the Mira ng River, all alone and far into the night.
Th ey had caught a crocodile that had attacked a woman washing clothes in the Ma nggar River. Its big m outh was propped open with a piece of firewood. When they split its stomach in half, they found hair, clothes and a necklace. He sat down cross-legge d be- side the crocodile. His face was deathly pale. He pitifully pleaded for th e people to stop butchering the animal.
They took the firewood out of its mouth and backed off. They also understood that for Bodenga, this w as the crocodile his father had turned into because one of its legs was missin g. Bodenga cried. It was an agonizing, mournful sound. Some wept with choking sobs.
Bodenga and the incident of that evening created a blueprint of compassion and s adness in my subconscious. Perhaps I was too young to witness such a painful tra gedy.
In the years to come, whenever I was faced with heart- wrenching situatio ns, Bodenga came into my senses. That evening, Bodenga truly taught me about premo- nitions. And for the first ti me, I learned that fate could treat humankind very terribly, and that love could be so blind. Nevertheless, he never missed a day of school. He pedaled 80 kilom eters roundtrip every day. Thinking about his daily jour- ney made me cringe. Dur- ing the rainy season, chest -deep waters flooded the roads.
When faced with a road that had turned into a ri ver, Lintang left his bicycle under a tree on higher ground, wrapped his shirt, pants and books in a plastic bag, bit the bag, plunged into the water, and swam toward school as fast as he could to avoid being attacked by a crocodile.
Because there was no clock at his house, Lintang re- lied on a natural clock. On e time, he rushed through his morning prayer because the cock had already crowed. He finished his prayer and immediately pedaled off to school. Halfway through his journey, in the middle of the forest, he became suspicious because the air w as still very cold, it was still pitch black, and the forest was strangely quiet. There were no bird songs calling out to the dawn.
Lintang realized that the co ck had crowed early, and it was actually still midnight. He pushed the bike about a dozen kilometers by hand. By the time he got to the school, we were getting ready to head home. The last l esson that day was music class. It was a slow and so mber song: For you, our country, we promise For you, our country, we serve For you, our country, we are devoted You, country, are our body and soul We were stunned to hear him sing so soulfully. After he sang the song, he pushed his bike back home, all 40 kil ometers.
His father now thought of the decision to send Lintang to school as the right on e. He hoped th at one day Lintang could send his five younger siblings—each born one year after t he other—to school and also free them from the cycle of poverty. When Lintang was in first grade, he once asked his father for help with a homewo rk question about simple multiplica- tion. How much is four ti mes four?
He gazed wistfully through the windo w at the wide South China Sea, thinking very hard. The pine tree man ran at top speed as swift as a deer to ask for help from people at the village office. Not much later, like a flash of lightning, he slipped back into the house and was suddenly standing attentively before his so n. He felt a pang in his heart, a pang t hat made him make a promise to himself, I have to be an intelligent person. Instead, he sat on the bar that connects the saddle to the handlebars.
The tips of his toes barely reached the pedals. Every day he moved slowly and bounced up and down greatly over the steel bar as he bit his lip to gather his strength to fight the wind.
The house was a shack on stilts, in ca se the sea rose too high. The roof was made of sago palm leaves and the walls we re meranti tree bark. Anything happening in the shack could be seen from outside because the bark walls were already dozens of years old and were cracked and br oken like mud in the dry sea- son.
None of the windows or doors locked. They tied the frames shut at night with cheap twine. Their skin w as so wrinkly you could grab it in handfuls. Each day, the four grandparents be nt over a winnowing tray to pick maggots out of their third-class rice, the onl y kind they could afford. They spent hours on that arduous task—the rice was that putrid. He was a man making a living by selling his bodily power. Lintang could only study late at night. Because the house was so crowded, it w as difficult to find an empty space, and they had to share the oil lantern.
He immersed himself in each se ntence he read. He was seduced by the eloquent writings of scholars. He gasped when he fou nd out that gravity can bend light.
He was amazed by the roving objects of the skies in the dark corners of the universe that may have only been visited by th e thoughts of Nicolaus Copernicus. When he reached the chapters on geometry, Lintang smiled cheerfully because his logic so easily followed math- ematical simulations of various dimensions and sp ace. He quickly mastered the extraordinarily complicated tetrahe- dral decompos ition, direction axioms and the Pythagorean theorems.
This material was way beyo nd his age and edu- cation, but he mused over the fascinating information. Each number and letter squirmed about and then lit up, transforming into f ireflies buzzing around him and then penetrating his mind. He had no idea that a t that mo- ment the spirits of the pioneers of geometry were grinning at him. Co pernicus, Lucretius and Isaac Newton were sit- ting down beside him.
In a very s mall, narrow shack of a very poor Malay family on the edge of nowhere far off on the seashore, a natural genius was born. The next day at school, Lintang was puzzled to see us confused about a three-dig it coordinate exercise. What are these village kids so confused about?
Just as stupidity often goes unrealized, some people are often unaware that the y have been chosen, destined by God to be betrothed to knowledge. One problem after another struck our school. For years, financial difficulty w as our constant companion, day in and day out.
Plus, people always assumed our school would collapse within a matter of weeks. However, we were able to hold on, thanks to the winds of determination blown our way every day by Bu Mus and Pak Harfan. Bu Mus, who was growing increasingly fretful, stared at the main road, hoping th ere would still be another new student. Seeing her empty hope scared us. So unli ke other elementary schools that were full of happiness when wel- coming the stu dents of their newest class, the atmosphere on the first day at Muhammadiyah Ele mentary School was full of concern, and the most concerned of all were Bu Mus and Pak Harfan.
Those humble teachers were in this nerve-wracking situation because of a warning issued by the School Super- intendent from the South Sumatra Department of Educ a- tion and Culture: If Muhammadiyah Elementary School had fewer than ten new s tudents, then the oldest school in Belitong would be shut down.
Last year Muhammadiyah Elementary School only had eleven students. Pak Harfan was pessimistic that they would meet the target of ten this year, so he secretl y pre- pared a school-closing speech. The fact that he only needed one more stud ent would make this speech even more pain- ful to give. The atmosphere was silent. I un- derstood how she felt, becau se her hope to teach was as great as our hope to go to school.
She was only fifteen years old. Sadly, her fiery spirit to be a teacher was about to be doused by a bitter reality—the threat of her school closing becaus e they were short by just one student. Bu Mus stood like a statue under the bell, staring out at the wide schoolyard an d the main road. No one appeared. Waiting for one more student was like trying to catch the wind.
In the meantime, the parents probably took the shor- tage of one student as a si gn for their children—it would be better if they sent them to work. The other chil dren and I felt heartbroken: Our heads hung l ow.
It was five till eleven. Bu Mus could no longer hide her dejection. Her voice was grave, normal for someone with a sink ing heart. Finally, time was up. It was already five after eleven and the total number of s tudents still did not equal ten. My overwhelming enthusiasm for school dwindled away. She wore socks and shoes, a jilbab, a blouse, a nd she also had books, a water bottle and a backpack—all were new. Pak Harfan went up to the parents and greeted them one by one.
It was devastatin g. Pak Harfan stood in front of the parents. He looked devastated as he prepared to give his final speech. His clothes and hairstyle were very neat. He wore a long- sleeved white shirt tucked into his shorts. His knees knocked together when he moved, forming an x as his body wobbled along. A plump, middle-aged woma n was trying with great difficulty to hold onto him. That boy was Harun, a funny boy and a good friend of ours. He was already 15 years old, the same age as Bu Mus, but was a bit behind mentally.
He paid no attention to his moth er, who stumbled after him, trying to hold onto his hand. His mother continued. Pak Harfan was smiling too. He looked over to Bu Mus and shrugged his shoulders. Harun had saved us!
We clapped and cheered. Bu Mus blushed. She held herself hi gh like the poised stem of that beautiful flower. She cheerfull y began to assign our seats. Bu Mus went up to each parent seated on the long benches, striking up friendly c onversations with them be- fore taking roll call. He could not sit still, and he sme lled like burnt rubber. What a strange name.
Hearing the decision, Lintang squirmed around, struggling to break loose so he could enter the cl assroom. I was left behind, watching from outside. He was l ike a little kid sitting on a pony—delighted, not wanting to get down. He had just leapt over fate and grabbed education by the horns.
He resembled a pine tree struck by lightning: He was a fisherman, but his face was like tha t of a kind shepherd, showing he was a gentle, good-hearted and hopeful man. Unlike other fishermen, he spoke softly. He told Bu Mus a story. These fishermen were unable to work f or themselves—not for lack of sea, but lack of boats. His eldest son, Lintang, would not become a fish- erm an like himself.
Instead, Lintang would sit beside the other small boy with cur ly hair—me—and would ride a bike to and from school every day. If his true calling w as to be a fisherman, then the kilometer journey over a red gravel road would break his determination. That burnt smell I noticed earlier was actually the sm ell of his cunghai sandals, made from car tires. They were worn down be- cause L intang had pedaled his bicycle for so long. In order to get there, you had to pass through four thatch palm areas, swampy places that were hair-raising for people from our village.
A child that small The overa bundance of energy in his body spread over to mine, stinging me like an electric shock. He talked without stopping, full of inte- rest, in an amusing Belitong d ialect, typical of those from remote areas. He was like an artillery plant. When drops of water f all on its petals, it shoots out pollen—glit- tering, blossoming and full of life.
Being close to Lintang, I felt like I was being challenged to run in a hundred- meter dash. Bu Mus then gave out forms for all of the parents to write their names, occupati ons and addresses. He hesitantly took the form and held onto it, tensely. The form was lik e an alien object in his hands. He looked to the left, and then to the right, se eing the other parents filling out the form. He stood up with a puzzled expressi on. It was a lot of new things for a small child to ex perience in such a short amount of time.
Anxiety, happiness, worry, embarrass ment, new friends, new teachers, all of them stirred about inside of me. One more thing made matters even worse: I tried to hide the sight of my shoes by tucking my feet behind me. Black with white stripes and made of hard plastic, they looked like re- ally ugly socc er shoes.
This morning at breakfast, my older brothers laughed so hard their sto machs hurt.
One look from my father was enough to silence them. But my feet hurt and my heart was embarrassed, both because of these shoes. I understood. For him, education was an enigma. Many generations beyond his recollection, th eir ancestors lived during the antediluvian period, a time long ago when the Ma lay people lived as nomads. They wore clothing made from bark, slept in the bran ches of trees, and worshipped the moon.
Lin tang and I were deskmates because we both had curly hair. But Borek and Kucai were seated together not because they looked alike, but beca use they were both difficult to control.
Sahara was e xtraor- dinarily hard-headed. That water bottle affair marked the beginning of a rivalry between them that would carry on for years to come.
For me, that morning was an unforgettable one that would stay with me for dozens of years. That morning, I saw Lintang clumsily grasping a large, unsharpened pe ncil as if he were holding a large knife.
His father had bought him the wrong ki nd of pencil. It was two different colors, one end red and the other blue. Or shoe- makers to mark the leather? Whatever kind of pencil it was, it definitely was not for w riting. The book he bought also was the wrong kind of book. It had a dark blue cover and was three-lined.
And in the years to come, everyt hing he would write would be the fruit of a bright mind, and every sen- tence he spoke would act as a radiant light. It was one among hundreds—maybe even thou sands—of poor schools in In- donesia that, if bumped by a frenzied goat preparin g to mate, would collapse and fall to pieces. We only had two teachers for all subjects and grades.
Our school was built on the edge of a forest, so when n ature called, all we had to do was slip off into the bushes. Our teacher would w atch after us, just in case we were bitten by a snake in the outhouse. When we were sick, whatever it was—diarrhea, swelling, cough, flu, itch- ing—the teacher gave us a large, round pill that resem bled a raincoat button. There were three large letters on the pill: The APC pill was legendary throughout the outskirts of Belitong as a magic medicine that could cure any illness.
Our school was never visited by officials, school ad- ministrators, or members o f the legislative assembly. The only routine visitor was a man dressed like a ni nja. He wore a large aluminum tube on his back and a hose trailed be- hind him. He looked like he was going to the moon.
This man was sent by the department of health to spray for mos- quitoes with chemical gas. Whenever the thick white puf fs arose like smoke signals, we cheered and shouted with joy. A yello w bamboo flagpole was the only thing that indicated this was a school building. A green chalkboard displaying a sun with white rays hung crookedly from the fla gpole. Written in the middle was: Those words were ingrained in our souls and remained there throughout the journey to adulthood; we knew them like the back of our own hands.
If seen from afar, our school looked like it was about to tumble over. The old w ooden beams were slanted, unable to endure the weight of the heavy roof. It rese mbled a co- pra shed. The atmosphere inside the class could be described with words like these: A wedge of paper was the only thing that could keep it shut.
But in our class, the big glass di s- play case stood untouched in the corner. Unlike other elementary school classrooms, there were no multiplication tables i nside our classroom. We also had no calendar. The one thing we had hangi ng up in our class was a poster. The poster showed a man w ith a dense beard. He wore a long, flowing robe and had a guitar stylishly slung over his shoul- der.
He was sneaking a peek at the sky, and a l ot of money was falling down toward his face. On the bottom of the poster wer e two statements that, when I first started school, I could not comprehend. But in second grade, when I could read, I learned that it shouted: Rhoma Ira- ma, rain of money! When being evaluated as a model school, these photos are a determining factor.
No one ever came to in- spect whether or not we had the mandatory picture s hang- ing, since the school board barely acknowledged our exis- tence. It was as if our school was lost in time and space. But whatever, we had an even better picture: Rhoma Irama! Imagine the worst possible problems for an elemen- tary school classroom: We experi- enced all of these things.
So, my friend, talking about the poverty of our school is no lo nger interesting. What is more interesting is the people who dedicated their liv es to ensur- ing the survival of a school like this. Those people are none other than our school principal, Pak Harfan, and Bu Mus. His thick mustache was connecte d to a dense brown beard, dull and sprinkled with grays.
His face, in short, was a bit scary. Reading the introducti on alone was enough to make anyone ashamed of having asked the question in the f irst place.
On this first day, Pak Harfan wore a simple shirt that at some point must have b een green, but was now white. The shirt was still shadowed by faint traces of co lor. His un- dershirt was full of holes and his pants were faded from be- ing wa shed one too many times. For the sake of Islamic edu- cation, Pak Harfan had been serving the Muham madiyah school for dozens of years without payment.
He supported his family from a crop garden in the yard of their home. Because Pak Harfan looked quite like a grizzly bear, we were scared the first ti me we saw him.
Small children would throw a fit at the sight of him. But when he began to speak to us that first morning, his welcome address emerged like poeti c pearls of wisdom, and a joyous atmosphere en- veloped his humble school.
Almos t immediately, he won our hearts. We watched with enchantment and hung onto his every word. Moral lesson number one for me: If you are not diligent in praying, you must be a good swimmer. He went on to tell a mesmerizing story of a histori- cal war during the time of the Prophet in which the forces were comprised of priests, not soldiers: You will fall to your deaths within the next 3 0 days!
Hearing his shouts made me want to jump up from my seat. We leaned forward w aiting for more, straining our spirited chests wanting to defend the struggle of our religious forefathers. Then Pak Harfan cooled down the mood with a story of the suffering experienced b y the founders of our school— how they were suppressed by the colonial Dutch, aban doned by the government, cared about by no one, but nonetheless stood firmly to pursue their big dreams for education.
Pak Harfan told all of his tales with the enthusiasm of his telling of the Badar War, but at the same time, with the serenity of the morning breeze. There was a gentle influ- ence and goodne ss about him. He was a guru in the true sense of the word, its Hindi meaning: He often raised and lowered his intonation, holding th e edges of his desk while empha- sizing certain words and then throwing up both hands like someone performing a rain dance. When we asked questions in class, he would run toward us in small steps, staring at us meaningfully with his calm eyes as if we were the most precious of Malay children.
He whispered into our ears, fluently recited poetry and Koranic verses , challenged our comprehension, touched our hearts with knowledge, and then fell silent, like one daydreaming about a long lost love. It was so beautiful.
He inspired us to study and dazzled us wit h his advice to never surrender in the face of difficulties. Our first lesson fr om Pak Harfan was about standing firmly with conviction and a strong desire to r each our dreams.
He convinced us that life could be happy even in poverty, so lo ng as, with spirit, one gave, rather than took, as much as one could. He was a worn-out lo oking man with shabby cloth- ing, but his pure thinking and words shone brightly. I felt unbelievably lucky to be there, am idst these amazing people.
Sadly, the energetic and captivating teacher had to ex- cuse himself from the c lass, because his session was over. One hour with him felt like one minute. We f ollowed each inch of his trail until he left the classroom.
Our stares could not be torn away because we had fallen in love with him and he had already made us fall in love with this old school. The general course from Pak Harfan on our fir st day at Muhammadiyah Elementary School strongly imbedded in our hearts the de- sire to defend this nearly collapsing school, no matter what.
One by one, each student came fo rward and introduced him or herself. His tears had subsided, but he was still sobbing. He was asked to come up to the front of the room, and he was delighted. In between sobs, he smiled. A Kiong stared hesitantly at Bu Mus, and then went back to smiling.
His father m ade his way up through the crowd of parents, wanting to see his child in action. How- ever, even though he had been asked repeatedly, A Kiong did not say one wo rd. He just continued smiling. A Kiong answered only with his smile.
He kept glan- cing at his father, who appe ared to be growing more impa- tient by the second. He was a farmer, the lowest status in the social ranks of Chinese in Belitong. Bu Mus coaxed him one last time. His smile was wi de and his chipmunk cheeks flushed with color.
Moral lesson number two: And so ended the introductions in that memorable month of February. It is part of Su- matra, but because of its wealth, it has ali enated itself. There, on that remote island, ancient Malay culture crept in fro m Malacca, and a secret was hidden in its land, until it eventually was discover ed by the Dutch. Deep under the swampy land, a treasure flowed: Blessed tin. A handful was worth more than dozens of buckets of rice.
Like the Tower of Babel, the metaphoric stairway to heaven and symbol of power, tin in Belitong was a tower of prosperity incessantly looming across the Malacc a Penin- sula, as incessant as the pounding of ocean waves. Seen from off the coast, Be- litong beamed of shiny tin, like a lighthouse guiding ship captains.
Famous throughout the world for its tin, it was written in geography books as Be litong, Island of Tin. Instead, God had intended for the tin to be a guide for the inhabitants of the island itself.
The tin shone late into the night. Large-scale tin ex- ploitation constantly too k place under thousands of lights using millions of kilowatts of energy.
If seen from the air at night, Belitong resembled a school of comb jellies glowing brig htly, emitting blue light in the darkness of the sea; by itself, small, gleamin g, beautiful and abundant. And blessed is the land where tin flows, because like a widow flower swarming w ith honeybees, tin is always ac- companied by other materials: We even had ura- nium. Layers of riches stirred below the stilted houses where we lived our deprived lives.
We, the nati ves of Belitong, were like a pack of starving rats in a barn full of rice. PN sta nds for Perusahaan Negeri, or state-owned company, Timah means tin. PN operated 16 dredges. It was a pulsing vein with a complete power monopoly over the whole islan d of Belitong.
They were like giant, greedy snakes that knew no exhaustion. They were as long as football f ields, and nothing could stand in their way. They smashed coral reefs, took down trees with trunks the size of small houses, demolished brick buildings with one blow, and completely pulverized an entire village. They roamed over mountain sl opes, fields, valleys, seas, lakes, rivers and swamps.
Their dredging sounded li ke roaring dinosaurs. We often made foolish bets, like how many minutes it would take a dredge to turn a hill into a field. The loser, always Syahdan, would have to walk home from school backwards, not allowed to turn around at all. We would fol- low along, be ating on tambourines while he waddled back- wards like a penguin. His journey us ually ended with him bottom up in a ditch.
The Indonesian government took over PN from the colonial Dutch. The treatment d iffered based on caste-like groups. The highest caste was occupied by PN executives. They usually were referred to as Staff. The lowest caste was comprised of none other than our parents, who worked for PN as pipe carriers, hard laborers sifting tin or daily paid laborers.
Because Belitong had already become a corporate village, PN slowly assumed the form of a dominant hege- monic ruler and, fitting with the feudalistic design, the caste of a PN worker automatically bled over into non-working hours. This area was tightly guarded by security, fences, high walls and hars h warnings posted everywhere in three languages: Formal colonial- style Indo nesian, Chinese and Dutch. Their curt ains were layered and resembled movie theater screens.
Inside, small families li ved peaceful- ly, with two, maybe three children at the most. They were always p eaceful, dark, and not noisy.
Each house consisted of four separate structures: All of them were connected by long, open terraces encircling a small pond. C aptivating blue water lilies floated around the edge of the pond.
In the center stood a statue of a potbellied child, the legendary Belgian peeing mannequin th at always sprayed water out of its em- barrassingly funny little piece. Pots of silver ball cacti hung in rows on the rim of the roof. There was a speci al worker to tend to the flowers.
Outside the circumference of the pond stood a square cage decorated with Roman pillars. It was the home of the Eng- lish pigeo ns, voracious but tame. The living room was filled with a large Victorian rose- wood sofa. Sitting on it , one felt like an exalted king. Next to the living room stretched a long, intri cate corridor. The occupants of the house ate dinner wearing their best clothes—they even put on their shoes for the meal.
And no one put their elbows on the table. There was alm ost utter silence. There was some play- ful noise coming from the corner over th ere, but wait, it was just a poodle messing around with a few angora cats. A ho usemaid, after being snapped at by her boss, broke up the cute animals, and it w as quiet once again. Not much later, the sound of tinkling piano keys escaped f aintly from one of the tall-pillared Victorian homes. A small tomboy, Floriana, or Flo for short, was having a piano lesson.
Un- fortunately, she was a bit drow sy. Her chin rested on both of her hands, and she yawned over and over again. Sh e was like a cat that had had too much sleep. Her father, a Mollen Bas, head of all the dredges, sat beside her.
The private teacher meekly started with the notations do, mi, so, ti, moving acr oss four octaves, and showing the finger position for each notation, a basic han d-positioning exercise. Flo yawned again. Hundreds of qualified students competed at the highest stand ard at this school, and one of them was Flo.
The difference between this school and ours was like the difference between land and sky. The PN School classrooms were adorned with educational cartoons, basic math tables, the periodic table, world maps, thermometers, photos of the Presid ent and Vice-President, and the heroic national sym- bol—which included that stran ge bird with an eight-feath- ered tail.
I became lost in thought. The first day of enrollment at the PN School was a joyous celebration. Not nerve -wracking like at our school. Dozens of fancy cars lined up in front of the sch ool.
Hun- dreds of wealthy children enrolled. That day, the new stu- dents were measured for three different uniforms. The uniform for Mondays was a blue shirt with a beautiful floral prin t. Every morning, the PN School students were picked up by a school bus which also was blue.
Whenever that vehicle passed us, we stopped, stared in amazement from the side of the road, and admired it. Seeing the PN School students gettin g off of the school bus reminded me of a picture of a group of small, cute, wh ite and winged children getting off of a cloud, like in the Christian calendars. She managed her gestures in a way that accentuated her social class. Up close, anyone would feel intimidated. It was clear by the way she wore her makeup that she was fighting her age; it also was clear that it was a battle she had already lost.
Ibu Frischa was very proud of her school. If one had a chance to speak with her, she was only interested in talking about three things: That school only accepted children of the Staff who lived in the Estate. There was an official rule that regulated which rank of employees could enroll their children at the PN School. And of course, on the gate hung that warning not to enter unless you had the rig ht. If they wanted to go to school, they were forced to join the Muhammadiyah village schoo l, which if caressed by just a little bit of strong wind, could fall apart.
This was the most ironic thing in our lives: Like the hangi ng gardens of Babylon built for the ty- rant Nebuchadnezzar III for worshiping t he god Marduk, the Estate was a Belitong landmark built to continue the dark dre am of spreading colonization.
Its goal was to give power to a few people to oppr ess many, to educate a few people in order to make the others docile. The worshi ped god was none other than status, status built through the unjust treatment o f the poor native inhabitants. The amount of mines sprawled across the land was unim aginable and tril- lions of rupiah were invested here.
Yet, zooming back in , the wealth of the island was visibly trapped in one place, piled up inside the fortress walls of the Estate. They blamed the government for not providing them with enough e ntertainment, so at night, they had nothing to do besides make children. My fath er vividly recalled the storm. For we were to be occupied in another way. Our land was seized once again, but in a more civilized manner. We were freed, but not yet free. Our yard, overgrown with shrubs, velvet, and shoe flo- wers, was boring.
Our cri sscrossed fence, which leaned over the edge of ditches filled with still, brown water and mos- quito nests, was also boring. At the edge of the village, tucked away in a co rner, was the long house of the Sawang tribe.
Their house was long, and so is th eir story—which I promise to tell you later. The rest were government offices, built with no logical plan in mind, and eventu ally abandoned, or used for official projects, legal and halal permissible by I slamic law.
The term official was often used to legitimize the corrupt rob- ber y of state money. The Chinese-Malays, as they sometimes are called, have lived on the island for a long time. They were first brought to Belitong by the Dutch to be tin laborers. That tough ethnic community developed their own techniq ues for manually mining tin. Their terms for these techniques, aichang, phok, k iaw, and khaknai, are still spoken by Malay tin prospectors to this day.
As for the Malays, they lived like puppets—controlled by a small and comical but v ery powerful puppet master called a siren. The siren roared from the PN central office. Im- mediately, PN coolie s bustled about, emerging from every corner of the village to line up along the side of the road, jumping and jamming themselves into the backs of trucks which would bring them to the dredges.
The village fell quiet again. But moments later, an or- chestra emerged as the w omen began crushing their spices. The sounds of pestles pounding against wooden mortars incessantly echoed from one stilted house to another, but when the cloc k struck five, the siren shrieked once again. The coolies dispersed to go home l ike ants fleeing a burning anthill. Their meals were accompanied by bickering, hu sbands complaining about the menu—always the cheapest fish for breakfast, lun ch, and dinner.
The businessmen receiving conces- sions from the tin exploitation live d in Jakarta, and the conspira- tors receiving bribes were none other than the p oliticians. They sat prosperously on the highest throne in the most exclusive class. They were the biggest benefactors of the riches of our island. The expressions on their faces led me to bel ieve that they might have forgotten we existed. There was no middle class, or maybe there was—the public servants who engaged in s mall-scale corruption, or the law officers who took in extra money by intimidati ng the businessmen.
The lowest class was occupied by our parents, the PN coolies. PN paid them 30,00 0 rupiah per month. They wer e also given about 50 kilograms of rice. They had no choice; that amount had to be sufficient to support a wife and at le ast seven children.
Every year! It would be a miracle comparable to Moses dividing the Red Sea if a coolie achie ved a wage above 35, rupiah before reaching retirement, and only God and Mose s know how they were able to make it through each month. The bit- ter reality of their wages meant only one thing: One of the extraordinary qualities of Malays is that no matter how bad their ci rcumstances, they always con- sider themselves fortunate.
That is the use of re ligion. I remember something my father told me a few days before my first day of school. You must be grateful to Allah for what we have.
Then my father said that he heard that she, the new, young Muhammadiyah teacher, wanted to teach so village children can get an education.
Lin tang was the son of a fisherman, Borek was the son of a dam keeper, Syahdan was the son of a boat caulker, and A Kiong was the son of a Chinese farmer. When the winds were calm, they reaped a nice profit from shell fish and tapped rubber trees and were above the rope, having a little more money than us. But during the prolonged rainy season, they were below the jump rope of poverty and barely scraped by as the poorest of the poor on the island. And despite our varying degrees of poverty, there was someone even poorer than a ll of us, and she wanted to be our teacher.
She was somewhat awkward, because it was her fi rst day teaching. There, they learned how to cook, em broider and sew. Bu Mus had been determined to go to the regency capital, Tanjon g Pandan, to go to school at SKP so she could get a higher level di- ploma than that offered by the elementary school where she would teach. Upon graduating from SKP, she was offered a job with PN as the rice warehouse he ad secretary—a very promis- ing position.
She had even been proposed to by the son of a business owner. Midah, Aini, Izmi and Nurul, her class- mates, could not f or the life of them understand why Bu Mus had turned down those two attractive offers. Unlike Bu Mus, those four swooped down and seized the opportu- nity to b ecome PN administrative workers.
She spoke calmly and slowly. Her determined choice to become a teacher would later bring Bu Mus unimaginable hardships—no one else wanted to teach at our school because there was no pay- ment. Yet Bu Mus and Pak Harfan filled their roles whole- heartedly. They taught every subject. After a day of killing herself in class, Bu Mus received sewing orders and worked on lace food covers. From day one, troubles endlessly came our way.
Villa- gers jeered that our schoo l was abysmal, and that our educa- tion would be in vain. People from the Estate made fun of our school by spelling Muhammadiyah as Selamatdiyah, meaning: May G od have mercy on the students of that school.
Not to mention the difficulty Bu M us encountered trying to raise our self-confidence, which hid in inferiority und er the pre- tention of the PN School. Very cool. Whenever this happened, Bu Mus would bring us outside and use t he ground as her chalkboard.
But gradually, unexpectedly, all of these trials ma de Bu Mus a strong, young teacher—char- ismatic, in fact. Somehow, when spoken by Bu Mus, those words were di fferent and more powerful, re- sounding in our hearts. We later felt the remorse when we were late for prayer. On one occasion, we were whining excessively about the leaky school roof. The picture was of a narrow room, surrounded by thick, gloomy walls that were tall, dark and covered with iron bar s. It looked stuffy and full of violence.
Here he served his sentence. But he s tudied every day, and read all the time. He was our first president, and one of the brightest people our nation has ever produced. We were astounded and our complaints fell silent. From that moment on, we ne ver again whined about the condition of our school. One time, it was raining ver y hard, and thunder struck repeatedly. Rain spilled from the sky into our class room.
We studied while holding umbrellas. Bu Mus covered her head with a banana leaf. That was the most awe-inspiring school day of my entir e life. For the next four months it rained nonstop, but we never missed school, nev- er, and we never complained, not even a little.
For us, Bu Mus and Pak Harfan were true patriots without medals of honor. They w ere our teachers, friends and spiritual guides. They taught us to make toy hous es from bamboo, showed us the way to cleanse before prayer, taught us to pray be fore bed, pumped air back into our flat- tened bicycle tires, sucked poison from our legs if we were bitten by a snake, and from time to time made us orange jui ce with their bare hands.
They were our unsung heroes, a prince and princess of kindness, and pure wells of knowl- edge in a forsaken, dry field. Their boun tiful leaves know no season. Gor- geous parakeets would often visit them, and be fore attack- ing our filicium, those lovely green birds would first survey the a rea from the branches of a tall ganitri tree behind our school, scouting out the possibility of competitors or en- emies.
Then, with lightning speed, those vor acious birds would dive down and plunder the small fruits of the filicium with t heir razor-sharp beaks. While eating, they constantly turned their heads to the left and right in a paranoid fash- ion. Moral lesson number three: If you are go rgeous, you will not lead a peaceful life. They had no predators, not even hu- mans.
They enjoyed each bite of fruit carelessly left behind by the parakeets, then defecated as the y pleased—even when their mouths were full. Those bloated little birds, full of f ruit, meandered about, to and fro. As afternoon approached, a few ashy tailorbirds birds would land in silence on t he branches of the filicium.
Calm and beautiful, they would peck at caterpillars crawling on the tree, eating less greedily than the parakeets, and then fly of f again, as noiselessly as they had arrived. Like those birds, our days were oriented around the filicium. That tree was a wi tness to the dramas of our child- hood.
In its branches we constructed tree hous es. Behind its leaves we played hide-and-seek. On its trunk we carved our promis e to be forever friends. On its protruding roots, we sat around listening to Bu Mus tell the story of Robin Hood.
And under the shade of its leaves, we played l eap- frog, rehearsed plays, laughed, cried, sang, studied and quarreled. For us, school was amazing. I often heard that kids complained about going to school. Bu Mus and Pak Har- fan made us f all in love with school, and more than that, they made us fall in love with know ledge. When the school day was over, we complained about going home. Bu Mus and Pak Harfan told stories all day long.
They touched our hearts and taught us empathy. Then, the first day of our second week. I came really early. I was surprised when I opened the door to the class. Off in the corner was a drowsy cow, and in the oppo- site corner, sitting just as calmly, was Lintang. Even though his hou se was the farthest, he always came earliest. We chanted cheerfully. The next week, slowly, we learned to write the first seven letters of the alphab et, from A to G.
I only saw these new letters in Indonesian sentences every so often. Why did they make something that was rarely used? Just to make our lives more difficult. As I was sighing about that, someone sitting beside me raised his hand.
I want to fill it ou t. Later, in second grade, when you learn how to write, you can fill it out. I alrea dy promised my father. Even though Lintang insisted he was able, Bu Mus was still doubtful. She opened her desk drawer, pulled out the form and moved toward Lintang. We all got up at once and crowded around him. Bu Mus set the form on his desk. Lintang took a pencil from behind his ear, bit the end, and reached for the form. Name of Student: Lintang Samudera Basara Name of Parent: Sya hbani Maulana Basara We could only gawk at him—Lintang could write, and he could write well!
Bu Mus was awestruck, she just stared at Lintang as if he were a stunning pearl in a clam. Chapter 8 Mental Illness No. Our poor school was still poor, but it was increasingly fascinating. His body was the smallest, but he ate the most.
He never turned down fo od. It was baffling, he was so small— where did it all go? It must have been because of the impoverished c ondition of his Hokian family. Nevertheless, when seeing A Kiong, anyone would understand why he was destin ed to end up at this poor school. He had the appearance of a true reject. He loo ked like Frankenstein. His face was wide and box-shaped, and he had porcupine ha ir. His eyes were tilted upwards like sword blades, and his eyebrows were virtua lly nonexistent.
He was bucktoothed, and the rest of his teeth followed suit. On e look at his face and any teacher would feel depressed imagining the difficult y of cramming knowledge into his boxy aluminum head.
His name was Kucai. Kucai was rather unfortunate: He suffered from seri- ous malnutrition as a small child—a condition that had a large effect on his eyesight. For that reason, we unanimous ly appointed him class president. Being class president was not a pleasant position. As class president he was worried about being held accountable for his actions after death, not to mention the fact that he already loathed looking after us.
He stood up and said very pointedly: Borek acts like a mental hos- pital patient. Sahara and A Kiong fight nonstop. It gives me a headache. Harun does nothing but sleep. I demand a vote for a new class president!
Years of built up frus- tration exploded from his body. He almost seemed to be having difficulty breathing as he huffed and puffed uneven- ly. Bu Mus was shocked. Never before had one of her students protested something in such a direct manner.
She thought for a moment, and then forced her face to refl ect neutrality. She instructed us to write the name of a new class president on a piece of paper and to fold it in half.
He believed that justice had been served and was sure that af ter years of wanting to not be class president, his suffering would finally com e to an end.
We folded up our pieces of paper and gave them to Bu Mus. The moments leading up to and during the vote count were tense. We nervously anticipated the results — w ho would be our new class president?
Bu Mus opened the first piece of paper and read the name inside. Mental Illness No. Kucai was distraught. He was irritated with Borek, who was shaking from tr ying to hold back his laughter. Ku- cai was trying to glare at Borek, but it lo oked as though Trapani were his target. But Bu Mus still respect ed his political rights.
She shifted her gaze over to Harun. He was as fascinating as the cinenen kelabu bird, and he was our class mascot. His hair, pants, b elt, socks and clean shoes were always spotless and impeccable. He smelled good too. His shirt even had all its buttons. He was a well- mannered, promising young citizen who was a model of Dasa Dharma Pramuka—the Boy Scout promise. He wanted to become a teacher and teac h in isolated areas when he grew up to help improve education and the condition of life for back-country Malays—a truly noble aspiration.
Trapani was very close to his mother. No discussion was interesting to him other than those related to his moth- er, perhaps because among six children, he was the only boy. Sahara, the only female in our class, was like the para- keets—firm and direct. Sh e was hard to convince and not easy to impress. Another one of her prominent cha racter- istics was her honesty—she never lied. Even if she were about to walk the plank over a flaming sea and a lie could save her life, not one would escape he r mouth.
Sahara and A Kiong were enemies. They would have huge fights, make up, and then fight again. It was as if they Mental Illness No. There are too many names and places, difficult for me to remember them. My God! Where do you get off criticizing excellent literature, A Kiong? On the other hand, Sahara had a soft spot for Harun. Harun, who was well-behaved , quiet and had an easy smile, was completely unable to comprehend the lessons.
Nowadays people call it Down Syndrome. When Bu Mus taught, Harun sat calmly with a constant smile on his face. Then Harun clapped his hands. The two of them shared a unique emotional connection like the quirky friendsh ip of the Mouse and the Elephant.
Harun enthusiastically told a story about his three-striped cat giving birth to three kit- tens, which also had three stripes , on the third day of the month. Sahara patiently listened, even though Harun to ld this story every day, over and over again, thousands of times, all year ro und, year after year. The number three was indeed a sacred number for Harun. He related everything t o the number three.
He begged Bu Mus to teach him how to write that number, and after three years of hard work, he could finally do it. The covers of all his sc hool books soon had a big, beautiful and colorful number three written on them. He was obsessed with the number three. He often ripped off the buttons on his sh irt so there were only three left. He wore three layers of socks. He had three k inds of bags, and in each bag he always carried three bottles of soy sauce. He e ven had three hair combs.
When we asked him why he was so fond of the number thr ee, he pondered for a while, and then answered very wisely, like a village head giving religious advice. He smiled whenever he saw me doing this. He was aware that he was the oldest amo ng us, Mental Illness No. There were times when his behav- ior was very touching. One time, unexpecte dly, he brought a large package to school and gave each of us a boiled ca- ladiu m tuber.
Everyone got one. He himself took three.