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Sindhunata: An Indonesian Writer in his Context

Sindhunata: un écrivain indonésien dans son contexte
Simon Rae
p. 133-149

Résumés

La traduction en anglais de deux romans de l’auteur catholique indonésien Sindhunata a permis de faire connaître son œuvre à un plus grand nombre de lecteurs, dont la plupart seront déconcertés par sa façon bien javanaise de raconter des histoires. Cet article présente les romans Herding the Wind et The Chinese Princess, tous deux traduits en 2015 à l’occasion de la foire du livre de Francfort, et offre un panorama de la variété de la production écrite de Sindhunata, dans le contexte de sa vie de prêtre, journaliste et écrivain. Cet article s’adresse à ceux intéressés par la présentation d’une forme de narration singulière, mais il livre également les références aux lecteurs qui souhaiteraient explorer d’autres textes en indonésien.

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Texte intégral

  • 2 JMP[John Mansford Prior], “Contextual Theological Reflections in Indonesia 1800-2000,” in John C. E (...)

1The invitation extended to Indonesia to be the Guest Nation at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair provided an opportunity for some Indonesian writers to see some of their work translated for overseas readers. For Dr Gabriel Possenti Sindhunata SJ, who writes as Sindhunata and is known to many Indonesians simply as Romo (Father) Sindhu, this was an unanticipated opportunity. His writings are so deeply embedded in the social and cultural worlds of the Javanese that a colleague once suggested that it would need a host of academic footnotes to make them accessible in English translation.2

2While this is true of some of Sindhunata’s published work the two major novels that were translated for Frankfurt should be accessible to readers outside Indonesia who are prepared to enter sympathetically into the world view they reflect. This is all the more likely when many modern travellers, and others familiar with the cultural world of Java, may already have experienced the Ramayana stories and the gamelan orchestra, ketoprak and wayang plays, or the great outdoor dance-drama at Prambanan, through which traditional stories are constantly adapted and retold, in Javanese form.

3Sindhunata, however, is not bound to the classical culture associated with the courts of the Javanese princes. Rather he has chosen to set much of his writing in the context of popular Javanese culture, portraying and celebrating the daily life of the people around him, and offering out of their own heritage wisdom and values that might provide a foothold in an era of confusing social change.

4His writing is set in the vibrant cultural traditions still very much a part of the everyday life of even the most humble Javanese. His sympathies clearly lie with the marginalised, the oppressed and the victims of ethnic prejudice, sexual violation, political alienation and victimisation. Both his journalism and his larger works address contemporary social and political questions and the conflict of values in modern Indonesia, and draw strength and relevance from both an academic study of relevant issues and a wide engagement with people working in other artistic and cultural media who are addressing these concerns.

  • 3 Sindhunata, Anak Bajang Menggiring Angin, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 1983, 9th printing, 2010 (...)
  • 4 Sindhunata, Putri Cina, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2007; English translation by Katherine Rae (...)

5Already an experienced journalist, Sindhunata became well known to a wider circle of Indonesian readers through his 1983 novel Anak Bajang Menggiring Angin, (The Bajang Child Herding the Wind) which has been constantly reprinted, and appeared in a fine English translation by Joan Suyenaga, Herding the Wind, in 2015.3 A book of lyrical beauty, this retelling of elements of the Ramayana cycle of stories has defied the fate of most Indonesian novels – disappearance, even after a successful initial reader response. The Ramayana stories are central to classical and popular Javanese culture, and the language of their re-telling has made this book a model of modern Indonesian writing. The other book translated for Frankfurt 2015 was Putri Cina (The Chinese Princess) - a sombre, complex novel focusing on the fate of Chinese in Java between the 16th and 20th centuries, told in the style of Javanese wayang and ketoprak dramas.4

  • 5 Pramoedya Ananta Toer, The Mute’s Soliloquy: A Memoir, Jakarta, Hasta Mitra, 1999, pp. 328-337.

6Sindhunata was born in Batu, Central Java, 12 May 1952, to Chinese Indonesian parents. A professional journalist he worked initially for the youth magazine Teruna produced by the state publishing house Balai Pustaka, 1974-1977. Since 1977 he has been a journalist with the prestigious Jakarta daily, Kompas, writing social and cultural columns and soccer commentaries. He continued his journalism while a candidate for ordination, and subsequently as a Catholic priest. This parallel career and a continuing engagement with social issues and the creative arts have given depth and breadth to his writing and in part at least explain its variety and relevance. He has commented that for him writing is as much a work of the feet as a work of the brain – but also a work of the heart. Elsewhere he has remarked that his work as a journalist has taken him to places priests seldom visit – one notable case in point being his visit in 1977, as a 26-year old Kompas journalist, to the political prisoners exiled on the distant island of Buru, where he was able to bring reassuring messages to Pramoedya Ananta Toer from his family. Pramoedya seems to have responded warmly to this man “with long hair and light-coloured skin,” about the same age as his oldest daughter. They discussed Pramoedya’s situation, and wider issues of literature and politics, and Sindhunata left with a recorded message for Pramoedya’s family.5

  • 6 Sindhunata, Kambing Hitam – teori René Girard, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2006, pp. 400-401.
  • 7 Sindhunata, La quête de Semar: conte philosophique javanais, trans. Nathalie Belin–Ridwan, Paris, A (...)
  • 8 Karel Steenbrink, “The ‘reformasi’ of Basis,” in Willem van der Molen, ed., Milde Regen: Liber Amic (...)

7Sindhunata completed his philosophy and theology courses in Java and was ordained 23 January 1984 within the Society of Jesus. For several years he was pastor of a parish on the slopes of Mt Merapi, where he shared the life of the farming families, living as they did; “there was no other Chinese person. They knew I was Chinese and they loved me. I lived among them.”6 There he gathered a little library, and had school children in his house in the evenings, where there was lighting to do their homework. From 1986 to 1992 he pursued doctoral studies in the Hochschule für Philosophie, in the Jesuit Faculty of Philosophy in Munich. His published dissertation, Hoffen auf den Ratu Adil – Das eschatologische Motiv des Gerechten Königs im Bauernprotest auf Java während des 19 und zu Beginn des 20 Jahrhunderts (Hamburg: Verlag Dr Kovač, 1992) was for a long time his only major work available in a European language. Alongside political and social factors Sindhunata emphasises in this study the role of story and tradition in Javanese resistance to Dutch colonial rule, themes he would elaborate in his later writing. A French bilingual edition of his Semar Mencari Raga (Semar Searches for his Bodily Form) was published in 2011 but is sadly out of print.7 Now based in St Ignatius College, Yogyakarta, Sindhunata teaches in the Sanata Dharma University and, since 1996, he has been executive editor of the literary and cultural magazine Basis.8

8Alongside active ministry Sindhunata has written novels, in both Indonesian and Javanese, and has published analytical studies, poetry, and collected volumes of social and cultural essays. While very much at home in academic and artistic circles, he has chosen to focus his concern and to set much of his creative writing in the context of popular Javanese life.

  • 9 Sindhunata also uses what may be less well-known forms of the names of characters from the classica (...)

9Given to creating enigmatic titles, Sindhunata presented his translators with initial difficulties, only partly clarified by a reading of the text. Bajang is Javanese and has negative connotations of smallness, dwarfishness or physical handicap. Anak Bajang has been variously translated by commentators as “The Little Runt,” “Midget” or the “Ugly Child,” or a child rejected because of some defect or handicap. The translator wisely opted for a shortened, dynamic title, Herding the Wind, and left introducing the Anak Bajang to the poem that precedes the narrative itself, where the Javanese word is still used, defined in the glossary as the “spirit of an abandoned child.”9 The bajang child is a powerful image for a rejected figure, marginalised on account of some perceived handicap or deformity; a less-than-whole person in the eyes of some, yet a protagonist in these timeless stories.

  • 10 The Kakawin Ramayana is an Old Javanese version of the Ramayana; it shows both local variation and (...)

10Sindhunata’s Herding the Wind, a retelling of the story of Rama and Sita from the Ramayana cycle, first appeared in a weekly series, ‘Kakawin Ramayana’, in Kompas, in 1981.10 Revised, it was published as a 472 page book, in 1983 and by 2010 had been reprinted nine times, and remains in demand. The fine translation by Joan Suyenaga makes this very significant book accessible to modern readers whether they are familiar with the stories (as many visitors to Java and Bali are) or not.

11The story of Rama and Sita, which had its origins in India, has local, regional and international variations, having set down roots in all the societies in south and southeast Asia influenced in former times by Indian culture. Without divulging details of Sindhunata’s narrative, the foundation story can be noted, concerning the love of Rama and Sita, noble figures of godly lineage, their exile at the instigation of one of Rama’s father’s wives who saw her son as a rival for Rama’s kingly inheritance. Loyal to the king, Rama and Sita accept their lot and find a simple, reflective life in a forest, accompanied by Rama’s loyal brother Laksmana. After varied experiences they become victims of trickery. Laksmana is deceived and Sita kidnapped by the demon king Rahwana, at a time when Rama is absent. Their search for Sita draws in the support of a colourful band of unlikely heroes, monkeys (kera), demons (raksasa) and others, representatives of quite different elements of society from Rama, Sita and Laksmana. In Sindhunata’s telling of the tale, these protagonists from the margins play a heroic role that will prove crucial in the defeat of Rahwana and the rescue of Sita. Another central theme is Rama’s growing doubt about the faithfulness of his beloved wife during her captivity, which culminates in his insistence that she undergo trial by fire to verify her purity.

  • 11 Marshall Clark, “Shadow Boxing: Indonesian Writers and the Ramayana in the New Order,” Indonesia 17 (...)
  • 12 The vanara (Skt vānara), forest-dwellers, of whom the kera are the best known in Javanese story-tel (...)
  • 13 The name Alenka (Skt Lankā, in Javanese ngalengkadiraja), modern Sri Lanka, is a clue to the origin (...)

12It has been cogently argued that Sindhunata’s re-telling of the Ramayana epic can be read, along with the work of some other writers in the period before the fall of Suharto’s New Order regime in 1998, as a form of literary shadow boxing; a kind of “warming up” for the real fight against the neo-feudal and highly Javanised New Order regime that would come only in 1997-1998.11 In this reading the wicked ruler, Rahwana, represents the increasingly despotic head of state while the ordinary people (rakyat) are represented by the unlikely company of forest-dwellers (vanara),12 the monkeys, demons and others who by their united efforts overthrow the demon king. The noble (ksatrya) figures, Rama, Sita and Laksmana, heroes of the classical Ramayana epic, are somewhat sidelined in Sindhunata’s version. They are clearly fallible and subject to negative emotions like anger and suspicion that undermine their godly demeanour. Rama can achieve nothing without the vanara heroes, Sugriva, the monkey-king, Hanoman, the monkey super-hero, and the great company of their followers who together built the causeway necessary for the invasion and overthrow of Rahwana’s kingdom, Alengka.13 In this reading the “lesson” for the New Order regime was that the president, increasingly aligning himself with the feudal values and mythical ideology of the old Javanese rulers, could achieve nothing, or even survive, without the loyal support of the citizenship united and acting together. Clothed in so classical a guise this was a subversive reading hidden in plain sight.

  • 14 An example, “Petruk Jadi Guru” (Petruk Becomes the Mentor) in a collection of his essays from Kompa (...)
  • 15 Sindhunata, Semar Mencari Raga, Yogyakarta, Basis, 1996, published to mark the 45th anniversary of (...)

13Such a reading would be consistent with Sindhunata’s sustained advocacy for the disadvantaged and marginalised and his sometimes subversive satire of those who are seen as rulers and exemplars for society,14 or in his use of the ever popular but mysterious wayang figure Semar to highlight the plight of village people squeezed for more and more of their scarce resources in the last years of the Suharto regime. Significantly, Semar regains his raga or bodily form when he takes his place again as the spirit-clown protector of the Javanese people, with them and not above them.15

14But the Ramayana is too rich to be reduced to a single focus, and Sindhunata’s re-telling of its Javanese embodiment catches up many themes, both concrete and contemporary (as above) and ethical and moral, reflecting in a literary milieu his sustained engagement with issues of humanity and spirituality. At this point two things should be noted. Herding the Wind, and its Indonesian original, are works of literature, not of propaganda or proselytising. Sindhunata is a Catholic priest and writer, and while his priestly role and Catholic identity are never disavowed, his literary, cultural and academic writings are allowed to speak for themselves – as a writer of fiction he is in some ways like the English Catholic J. R. R. Tolkien whose stories of sweeping imagination, and the characters who inhabit them, are allowed to develop in their own way. Herding the Wind is an epic (wiracarita or hero-story), not an allegory.

15Secondly, as noted above, Sindhunata writes here in a popular format for a modern readership, and in Indonesian not Javanese. Visitors to Java and Bali will be familiar with the classical Javanese and Balinese presentations of these old stories, in wayang (puppet) and sendra-tari (dance-drama) performances. But Sindhunata’s medium and focus is not the elitist cultures derived from the Javanese princely courts, but the vibrant living cultures of ordinary Javanese people, who know these stories and identify with their characters. So, while he has written novels in Javanese Sindhunata has chosen here to write in the national language, Bahasa Indonesia, to communicate as widely and freely as possible. That the epic responds to universal human issues, faced by people in many eras and cultures, makes it relevant and thought-provoking in translation, to readers anywhere who are willing to engage with this mode of story-telling.

16While the traditional Javanese epics affirm the feudal relationship of servant and lord (kawula-gusti) foundational to traditional Javanese society, and of the client-patron relationship that was at the power base of Indonesia’s New Order, Sindhunata actually sidelines the aristocratic deific heroes of the Ramayana, in favour of the ragged company of forest dwellers who conspire to save the day. He highlights the way weakness of character, like Rama’s persistent suspicion of Sita’s purity and faithfulness, detract from their mana as ksatrya, although their noble characters continue to reinforce the positive ideals of the just ruler, the good father, the loyal sibling, wife or servant.

  • 16 It is tempting, but pointless, to try to identify the genus of Hanoman; kera are larger, upright-st (...)

17While the company of faithful monkeys (ketek-ketek yang mengabdi) and the white-monkey hero Hanoman are regular and popular features of Javanese wayang they carry an enhanced role in Herding the Wind. They are kera (or ketek in Javanese) not the more general but less reputable, monyet (monkey), commonly employed as a term of abuse.16 Reading in a context wider than New Order Indonesia, they may be seen to reflect ordinary people unsure of their capacity to make a difference who by their courage and solidarity achieve unimagined triumphs. Although doubtful of their own merit or capacity, their loyalty turns out to be crucial to the victory of the princely heroes who are all too assured of their virtue and worth.

  • 17 Sindhunata, Anak Bajang…, (9th printing, 2010; pagination may vary between printings) p. 61; Herdin (...)
  • 18 Ibid. Citations translated from the Indonesian text.

18A notable feature of this re-telling of the tale is Sindhunata’s observation that the kera are creatures – divine creations (titah) – aware that they lack completeness and yearning for the perfection of humanness.17 Comforting his children who have become monkeys Resi Gotama declares, “Over there evil and pride are enthroned in the person of a worldly creature who seeks to go beyond himself as a divine creation. [...] His pride and evil cannot be overcome by anyone at all, except those who are conscious of themselves as divine creations, small and of no consequence. Pride can only be overcome through humility, my children. […] It is through this suffering that a duty has been laid on you to conquer pride and self-centred greed.” When challenged, “But why, Father, must we become monkeys?” Resi Gotama responds, “My children, kera are the titah who yearn for the perfection of humanness. They are closest to the form of a human person and because of this they are constantly anxious to attain perfection swiftly.”By becoming kera the children of Resi Gotama will more readily realise their true nature as titah – creatures.18

  • 19 Sindhunata, Herding the Wind, p. 412; Anak Bajang…, p. 449.

19While overthrowing Rahwana is still central to the developing narrative, and a political reading is entirely possible, the emphasis here is more on issues of humanness and spirituality. Facing a ruler who has overreached himself in pride and arrogance – who has made himself equal to the gods – only the contrary qualities will bring victory. Here universal themes are in play; the origin of evil is a mystery but it manifests itself in pride and an arrogant assertion of status and power. But perfection, complete humanness, comes only with humility and acceptance of suffering in the task the gods lay on us. Sindhunata avoids any inclination to introduce Christian concepts of fall and original sin as explanations of the origin of evil. Rather he addresses the popular Javanese sense that people come into the world as they are, neither good nor evil but mixed, imperfect beings imbued with a yearning to become better, more complete. It is a kind of non-dualistic reading of the human condition that extends the epic beyond the events of one era, grim and tragic as they were, or the range of one cultural or religious tradition of explanation, to a wider sphere of humanness, worthy of consideration in all times and places. As for evil itself, it is “a secret whose origins are unknown, however it has powerful influence over humanity.” An empirical observation, again in harmony with a Javanese way of seeing things, and once again followed up with the affirmation, “It can only be overcome by the secret of the goodness and humility of the heart of nature.”19

  • 20 Sindhunata, Herding the Wind, p. 424; Anak Bajang…, p. 464.

20Unlike the arrogant and powerful, the forest people have endearing playful, even childlike characteristics. They are alive and lively, and are able to unite in facing challenges. Hanoman, son of the divine Anjani has the form of a white ape. Left without father, and motherless when Dewi Anjani is taken into the heavens, he is powerful with the godlike abilities of a Javanese superhero and some features also of the Javanese messianic figure, the Just Ruler (Ratu Adil). He also has the heart of nature (hati alam) that alone can persevere in the face of pride and evil. He is a shapeshifter, and able to pass swiftly from one land to another. While he suffers the sorrow of being parted from his mother he resolutely accepts the mission to which he was summoned – to search for the abducted Sita, and to help rally the forest people to attack the demon-king Rahwana in his kingdom. Hanoman also has very human qualities; an endearing character, some child-like reactions and, significantly, a level of doubt about his own capacity to do what is required, but at the very end he summons the courage to rebuke Rama to his face - Rama whom has served so faithfully. Seeing that Rama’s invincible suspicion cannot be swayed by testimony he challenges him: “My Lord,… is it not your own doubt that burdens you? You cannot endure the truth of this, so you throw the accusations onto your lover who is innocent.” This finally seems to bring Rama to his senses.20

21Sufficient then to indicate something of the richness of this re-told epic, with its great themes and its multitude of human and not-yet-human figures, divinities and their avatars, and the host of monsters, ghosts and ghouls, ogres, demons and barong lion-dragons whipped along by the Bajang spirit child in the opening poem. It speaks on many levels, to many situations and while in the 1980s it may well have been politically subversive it was always much more than that, speaking at one level to universal issues of society and at another to individuals seeking a foothold (pegangan an Indonesian might say) on life. Reviews and comments speak of Indonesian readers finding strength or light for life, and an affirmation of the values of comradeship, togetherness, fairness and humility in the face of life’s challenges. How the saga ends is shocking (the Ramayana tradition offers different outcomes for Sita’s trial by fire) but there remains a vision of hopefulness as the innocent children of demons and monkeys play boisterously together, forgetful of their elders, and of their own differences. Their parents’ lives were dreams that ended in futility, but for them… ?

  • 21 Sindhunata, Putri Cina, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2007. Sindhunata, The Chinese Princess (En (...)

22The second novel translated for Frankfurt, Putri Cina21, also has a title difficult to render succinctly. In Indonesian putri means “princess,” but is also employed in polite speech to signify “a daughter of...” or “a woman of...”, so Putri Cina can signify either “a Chinese princess” or “a woman of Chinese ethnicity,” and the structure of the novel rests on this linguistic circumstance. In this story the16th century Chinese princess, having told her own grim story, becomes a time-travelling putri Cina recounting the violence and tragedy that were the lot of her people, and most appallingly of her sisters, in the centuries that followed.

23For generations Javanese people have been entertained and instructed by the re-telling of stories from their own cultural history and from the cultures of the Indians, Arabs and Chinese who long ago made their homes in Indonesia. In Putri Cina the writer draws on a wide range of Javanese and Chinese wisdom, poetry, stories and traditions while exploring in this complex novel the tragic fate of Chinese in 16th century Java, and down to our own time.

24At the same time this novel addresses issues common to human experience around the world and readers from beyond the region, who are prepared to enter into a perhaps unfamiliar mode of story-telling, will encounter a truly contemporary account of life, love, loyalty and betrayal; of prejudice, lust, violence and tragedy, set in Java and recounted in a Javanese way where old stories speak to new situations, present or to come; where history, story, myth and the often tragic drama of life interact.

25According to the Babad Tanah Jawi (The Chronicle of Java) the 16th century ruler of Majapahit, King Brawijaya V, had a Chinese princess as a junior wife and mother of their son Raden Patah (Fatah). She was later given to the king’s son, Arya Damar in Palembang, to appease the jealousy of the queen consort, and with him she had a second son, Raden Kusen (Husen). These two figures played roles in the great changes that came in Java with the waning of the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms and the advent of the first Islamic rulers. As the novel begins the Chinese princess reflects on the events of her own time and their impact on her family then, in the person of the Putri Cina, she travels through time, observing the tragic vulnerability of her people in times of social disorder, witnessing the joys and sorrows of her people in the land of Java, as seen through the eyes of Chinese women of later times, and in the latter part of the novel in the fate of the ketoprak artist Giok Tien, in whom the Chinese tale of “Sam Pek, Eng Tay,” made popular in Indonesia through a 1931 film, is tragically re-enacted. The fairy-tale culmination of the story of the “butterfly lovers” allows the protagonists to make their exit leaving the reader to ponder the human condition these stories have exposed:

  • 22 Sindhunata, The Chinese Princess, p. 358.

“..In this world all people bear a shared destiny,
because all of us are only dust.
Chinese and Javanese, their dust is the same.
Why do we continue to ask who are we?
After all, born into the world,
are we not all brothers and sisters?”22

  • 23 The fact that the writer’s language teacher, in Yogyakarta in 1972, was horrified to know that he h (...)

26The form of this novel will be challenging for many Western readers, accustomed to development in characters and plot. It is perhaps helpful to see The Chinese Princess more as a literary embodiment of the Javanese wayang dramas where protagonists have set roles and express attitudes and embody values that are familiar to viewers. If the classical Ramayana performances stood behind Herding the Wind the narrative technique of The Chinese Princess rests more on popular puppet plays, and performances of ketoprak, a popular23 modern Javanese dramatic performance depicting historical or pseudo-historical themes, played by actors often on temporary stages set up in public spaces.

27The novel, in consequence, embodies much direct speech, reflecting the dialogue of a live performance, and characters do not ‘develop’ in the way a Western reader might expect but, like the characters in a stage performance, they represent readily recognised attitudes and moral positions. It is the exchange between protagonists and the clash of characters and values rather than character development that carries the story forward. But there is plenty of drama, and an intensity that makes some sections emotionally challenging as the reader identifies more and more with the fate of Chinese victims of lust and violence, culminating in the terrible events around the collapse of the Suharto regime in 1998; historic events presented here in the form of an epic Javanese drama.

28In his introduction to the original version of the novel Sindhunata shows how the theme itself evolved from a catalogue, entitled Babad Putri Cina (Chronicle of the Chinese Princess) that he had compiled in 2006 for an exhibition of paintings by his friend Hari Budiono. It is one of these paintings, entitled “Indonesia: Mei 1998,” that provided a haunting cover illustration for the Indonesian version of the novel. “I deepened and developed the theme and story which I had written there,” Sindhunata noted, “until this book emerged, to which I gave the title, Putri Cina.

  • 24 Originally Nancy K. Florida, Writing the Past, Inscribing the Future: History as Prophecy in Coloni (...)
  • 25 Op. cit., chapter 2, “Babad Jaka Tingkir in Translation” (pp. 81-245).
  • 26 Sindhunata, “Sepatah Kata” [Introduction, lit. “A Few Words”], Putri Cina, pp. 7-8.

29In addition to frequent discussions with Hari Budiono he acknowledged a very significant study by Nancy K. Florida, Menyurat yang Silam Menggurat Yang Menjelang (2003)24, where the story of Jaka Prabangkara is told in part of her study, “Babad Jaka Tingkir.”25 Another version of the story was presented in a ketoprak drama “Putri Cina,” based on a script by Indra Tranggono and Bondan Nusantara, born in the same year as Sindhunata and now a leading figure in ketoprak in the Yogyakarta region, provided a version of the story of Roro Hoyi.26 In this way history, art and drama have all contributed material and insight for the development of a multi-layered novel that weaves a variety of themes and stories around the journey of the Putri Cina from 16th century Java to 21st century Indonesia.

30These themes include the lot of the overseas Chinese who have no secure identity (“face”), and in spite of their wealth, success and status have no assured foothold in the societies in which they live, and into which many of them were born. In times of harmony the Chinese share happily in many aspects of Javanese social and cultural life, from the popular ketoprak dramas to places of pilgrimage. But harmony, friendship and shared life in community are disrupted in times of tension or social disorder, a zaman edan or ‘time of madness’ in Javanese reckoning.

  • 27 Sindhunata, Kambing Hitam: teori René Girard, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2006.

31At this point Sindhunata’s writing is enhanced by his academic study of the social phenomenon of scapegoating. His 2006 study, Kambing Hitam, Teori René Girard,27 which features another of Hari Budiono’s dramatic paintings, is a close examination of the theory of the French philosopher-anthropologist René Girard that under threat of violent and disruptive disorder societies will search for a scapegoat; a person or social group sufficiently like themselves that they can identify with them but sufficiently different to be set aside as “other” – a threatening other that must be sacrificed to end the disorder. As the Putri Cina discovers, since pre-colonial times the Javanese have turned on the Chinese among them in times of crisis, and Chinese women, the putri Cina, have become tragic victims of scapegoating, in orgies of hatred and lust. Examples of these tragically recurring outbursts of violence are cited in both this study and in the novel. Sindhunata also identifies a clear parallel between social and sexual violence, and violation.

  • 28 Idem, pp. 363, 387.

32What could have become a one-sided polemic is balanced by Sindhunata, himself of Chinese heritage, addressing through his protagonist the faults that make the Chinese community a target for resentment. Drawing on his study of Girard’s theory on the social phenomenon of scapegoating, Sindhunata acknowledges that the victims of persecution may themselves be justly accused of faults, or accused of actions that their accusers considered wrong.28 By appeal to both traditional Chinese teaching – philosophy, story and poetry – and a critique of the attitudes of some of the more successful Chinese in Java the Putri Cina warns that her community can attract to itself the kind of suspicion and resentment that is all too easily fanned into communal violence in which all are stereotyped and suffer.

  • 29 The Chinese Princess, pp. 355-356.

33Alongside themes drawn from the Chronicle of Java and from the traditional stories of such characters as Jaka Prabangkara and Roro Hoyi there is also a personal element in The Chinese Princess, expressed most clearly in the person and experience of the ketoprak artist Giok Tien. Also phenomena observed during his time as a village priest on the flanks of Mt Merapi, the active volcano that broods ominously over the Yogyakarta region, are also woven into the fabric of this rich yet brooding story – the yellow butterflies whose mass flight to the north borne on the seasonal winds is a sign to village farmers that the rains will soon come to refresh their parched land, is taken up in the novel to embody the promise for the Putri Cina that life comes through acceptance of death.29

  • 30 “Sam Pek Eng Tay” was a popular film released in the Dutch East Indies in 1931, based on the classi (...)
  • 31 Mangunwijaya (1929-1999) was a polymath: an active priest and prolific writer, a pioneer of Indones (...)

34There is a particularly moving significance to Sindhunata’s re-telling of the Chinese story of Sam Pek and Eng Tay, a tragic account of the ill-starred love of a poor young man, Sam Pek, and the daughter of a rich family Eng Tay.30 Recalling the way in which his mother had been deeply moved by this story, Sindhunata gave it a central place in the tragedy of Giok Tien, who played Eng Tay to perfection on the ketoprak stage, attracting the love of a Javanese officer who would carry her into a place where she would come face to face with the tragic fate of her people as scapegoat when society explodes in a time of madness. Like Y. B. Mangunwijaya, a priest-writer of the post-Independence generation,31 Sindhunata reveals a sensitive understanding of the challenges and suffering of women caught up in chaotic social disorder. The choice of female protagonists by both writers and the manner in which they are presented is an effective representation of the exploitation of women in patriarchal societies.

  • 32 Kambing Hitam, pp. 389-404. The “Sorrow of the Chinese Princess” was the title Sindhunata gave to a (...)
  • 33 “Cina kelahiran Jawa” is the phrase he uses.
  • 34 Idem. pp. 355-360.

35In an excursus to Kambing Hitam, entitled “Kesedihan Putri Cina” (“The Sorrow of the Chinese Princess”), Sindhunata gives a moving account of his recovery of his own Chinese identity.32 Like Giok Tien in The Chinese Princess, Sindhunata by immersion in Javanese culture had become accepted as Javanese; a writer, in both Indonesian and Javanese, and a regular commentator on issues in Javanese life. He had been saved the necessity of buying in to the disadvantages of being Chinese in Indonesia. While studying for his doctorate in Munich, and meeting others puzzled to identify their true home, he came to acknowledge the necessity to affirm his identity - Chinese, born in Java33 - and from that time he sought to free himself, and the Indonesian Chinese community, from their harsh fate as Indonesia’s scapegoats. He saw clearly a parallel with the fate of European Jewish people and communities, from the 14th century to our own time, at the hands of Christians seeking scapegoats for the crises they faced.34

36In this intermingling of stories of Java, from the 16th to the 21st centuries, history and myth are not separated; history is the context in which myth re-expresses itself and legend and story are re-enacted. Similarly Chinese and Javanese traditions, values and stories are intermingled. In this process questions of humanity, loyalty, values, happiness, violence, rivalry, deceit, corruption, suspicion, scapegoating, sexuality, and lust are raised in situations set in contexts of Chinese traditional wisdom, Javanese historical tradition and Indonesian history from both the colonial and modern (Republican) eras. The manipulation and abuse of women in patriarchal societies, and the link between political and sexual violence – power and lust which are intimately connected – and the connection between arrogance, insult, hatred and vengeance all lurk in the background ready to fuel outbreaks of communal violence. Here, authentically Javanese drama (lakon, ketoprak) becomes a metaphor (ibarat) of life, and tragically life comes to replicate drama.

  • 35 Idem, pp. 403-404.

37In sharing the experience of exploring his Chinese-ness (Kecinaan) Sindhunata closed with the story of a friend, Sioe Lien, with whom he played when they were children in the 1960s. Recalling her joyful and playful personality he tells of his confusion when he learned that she, with all her family, had to go away.35 Expelled by the Indonesian government under a 1959 ruling about residence and citizenship, they had to return to China:

  • 36 Idem, p. 404.
  • 37 The Chinese Princess, pp. 357-8. Putri Cina, pp. 301-2.

Remembering Sioe Lien I was suddenly reminded that by its own
nature humankind does not have a permanent homeland in this world:
their eternal home is not in this world. This awareness forces people
to have the courage to live alone, and quietly.
Whenever I am reminded of Sioe Lien I become more certain about
what ‘Chinese born in Java’ means… . This kind of Chinese-ness is
really a deep longing of the human heart for an eternal homeland,
peaceful and calm and which will never again divide people.36
The life of humankind has no root,
like dust on the road we are blown about,
carried by the wind, and scattered everywhere,
our body is too weak to resist.
Because of our birth into the world we are brothers
and sisters, so why must we still ask,
who belongs to our family.37

38Drawing on such a rich tapestry of Indonesian and Chinese cultures, Sindhunata has woven a complex novel of more than local significance, addressing in an Indonesian context and format issues that are sadly universal, and showing little sign of going away.

39These two very different novels represent only a fraction of Sindhunata’s creative engagement with contemporary issues, and his ability to set old stories in a living context. Being there (writing as a work of the feet), as an observant journalist and as a compassionate pastor, keeps all his work rooted in the realities of human living, while his integrity as a writer precludes propaganda or proselytising. His wide-ranging and very active dialogue with those active in other artistic and cultural media enriches both the range and the depth of what he writes. Sindhunata is different from any of the other Indonesian writers known internationally. Hopefully more of his writing will become available in the years ahead to those who do not have the opportunity to read Indonesian.

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Bibliographie

Dr Gabriel Possenti Sindhunata SJ: A Provisional Bibliography38

Academic publications

Dilema Usaha Manusia Rasional: Kritik Masyarakat Modern oleh Max Horkheimer dalam rangkah Sekolah Frankfurt. Jakarta: Gramedia, 1982, 179 p. Malaysian edition: Dilema Usaha Manusia Rasional: kritik sosial oleh Max Horkheimer, adapted to Bahasa Malaysia by Zararah Ibrahim. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1993, xxiv + 190 p.

Hoffen auf den Ratu-Adil – Das eschatologische Motiv des Gerechten Königs im Bauernprotest auf Java während des 19. und zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovač, 1992, vii + 445 p.

Civil Society dan visi Sumpah Pemuda. Analisis CSIS, 28:2, 1999, pp. 100-105.

Kambing Hitam: Teori René Girard. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2006, xiii + 413 p.

“Terang yang Tersembunyi dalam Kegelapan,ˮ in I. Wibowo and B. Herry-Priyono, eds, Sesudah Filsafat: Esai-Esai untuk Franz Magnis-Suseno, pp. 1-28. Jakarta: Kanisius, 2006.

Literary works

Tak Enteni Kelompokmu: Tanpa Bunga dan Telegram Duka. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2000, 174 p. (Novel).

Anak Bajang Menggiring Angin. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, first edition 1983, 9th printing 2010, 467 p. English translation by Joan Suyenaga: Herding the Wind. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2015, 426 p.

Putri Cina. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2007, 302 p. English translation by Katherine Rae and Simon Rae, The Chinese Princess. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2015, 358 p.

Social and Cultural Commentary

Sindhunata et al., Islam, kebebasan dan perubahan sosial: sebuah bunga rampai filsafat. Jakarta: Penerbit Sinar Harapan, 1986, 151 p.

Air Penghidupan: Peziarahan Mencari Diri. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1988, 162 p.

Sindhunata with Moh. Hatta, Koen Hian Liem, Ridwan Saidi, Baba bisa menjadi Indonesiër: Bung Hatta, Koen Hian Liem dan Sindhunata Menyorot Masalah Cina di Indonesia. Jakarta: Lembaga Pengkajian Masalah Pembauran, 1988, 46 p.

Menulis wayang dengan estetika Semar. Yogyakarta: Universitas Sanata Dharma, 1994, 11 p.

Semar Mencari Raga. Yogyakarta: Kanisius with Basis, 1996, vii + 59 p. French translation by Nathalie Belin-Ridwan, La quête de Semar: conte philosophique javanais. Paris: Association Franco-Indonésienne Pasar Malam, 2011, 125 p.

Editor, Sayur lodeh kehidupan – teman dalam kelemahan. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1998, 188 p. (Indonesian teachers’ experiences, stories).

Bayang-bayang Ratu Adil. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 1999, xxiii + 477 p. Illustrations by Dwi Koendoro. Introduction by Jacob Oetama. (Javanese philosophy)

Sakitnya Melahirkan Demokrasi. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1999, 406 p. (Issues around the collapsing New Order regime and 1999 elections)

Pameran foto era Reformasi: pameran karya Pewarta Foto Indonesia. Jakarta: Pewarta Foto Indonesia with Bank Universal, 1999, 21 p.

Editor: Sayur lodeh kehidupan – teman dalam harapan. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1999, 235 p. (Indonesian nurses’ experiences, stories).

Editor: Membuka Masa Depan Anak-anak kita: Mencari Kurikulum Pendidikan Abad XXI. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 2000, 235 p. (Conference papers)

Editor: Pendidikan: kegelisahan sepanjang zaman: Pilihan artikel Basis. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 2001, xvii + 276 p.

East Timor, the Long and Winding road. Jakarta: Aliansi Jurnalis Independen Indonesia, 2001, 211 p.

Jembatan Air Mata: Tragedi Manusia Pengungsi Timor Timur. Yogyakarta: Galang Press, 2003, lv + 261 p.

Ilmu Ngglethek Prabu Minohek. Sleman, Yogyakarta: Boekoe Tjap Petroek, 2004, xiv + 320 p. (Comedy, Javanese comedian Kartolo)

with Agus Leonardus, Waton Urip. Yogyakarta: Nineart Pub., 2005, 144 p. (social life, economic condition of Yogyakarta becak operators)

Ekonomi Kerbau Bingung: Manusia dan Keadilan. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2006, xi + 160 p. (social-economic conditions, Indonesia, 1997-)

Segelas Beras untuk Berdua: Manusia dan pengharapan. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2006, xi + 188 p.

Dari Pulau Buru ke Venesia. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2006, xi + 200 p.

Burung-burung di Bundaran HI. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2006, xiii +158 p.

Petruk Jadi Guru: Manusia dan Kebatinan. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2007, 198 p.

with Julian Sihombing, Jakob Oetama, Mata Hari 1965-2007. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2007, 299 p. (Photographs from Kompas, 1965-2007)

with Hermann, Kitab Si Taloe: gambar watjan botjah 1909-1961. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2008, 252 p. (Review of publications used in elementary school education 1909-61)

Pawukon. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2009, 70 p. (Javanese traditional calendar)

Komidi putar: seni rupa gesing. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2009, 176 p. (Indonesian games, tops)

Pranata mangsa. Jakarta: Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia with Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2011, 162 p. (Social life and customs)

with others: Ilir-ilir: ilustrasi tembang dolanan. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2012, 216 p. (Javanese folk songs)

with others: Kesurupan kuda lumping. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2013, 180 p. (traditional ecstatic dance)

with Hermann: Djalan ke Barat: Jawa di mata C. Jetses. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2014, 240 p. (Javanese history as seen by Cornelis Jetses (1873-1955)

Spirituality, Religion and Society

Aburing kupu-kupu kuning. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1995, 229 p. (Javanese text: sermons)

Ndhèrèk sang dèwi ing èrèng-èrènging redi merapi. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1995, 252 p. (Javanese text: [‘Following the goddess on the slopes of Merapi’], sacred wells, Christian places of pilgrimage on Mt Merapi). Indonesian version: Mata Air Bulan. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1998, 216 p.

Sisi sepasang sayap: wajah-wajah bruder Jesuit. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1998, 182 p. (portraits of Jesuit brothers in Indonesia)

with Franz Magnis-Suseno and others: Pergulatan intelektual dalam era kegelisahan: mengenang Y. B. Mangunwijaya. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1999, 422 p.

Editor: Mengasih Maria: 100 tahun Sendangsono. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 2004, 204 p. (Sendangsono parish history)

Editor: Belajar ber-teologi –dari Romo Kieser kata merangkai hidup. Yogyakarta: Penerbit Universitas Sanata Dharma/Kanisius, 2007, xiv + 370 p. (Moral theology in Indonesian context: Festschrift for Dr Bernhard Kieser SJ)

Injil papat: piwulang Sang Guru Sejati ing tembang macapat. Yogyakarta: Boekoe Tjap Petroek, 2008, 540 p. (Gospel passages in Javanese macapat verse form)

Poetry

Sumur Kitiran Kencana: Sekar Macapat. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1995, 180 p. (Javanese poems). Cassette recording with the same title, Yogyakarta: Kanisius Multi Media, 2000. (sung in Javanese).

Puisi Bisikan Daun-daun Sabda. 2000.

Air Kata-kata. Yogyakarta: Galang & Bayu Media, 2003, xv + 195 p. (Indonesian and Javanese).

Penjala Kata: Puisi untuk Professor Teeuw. Basis 55(11-12) (Nov.–Des. 2006), p. 42-45. (Indonesian with English translation)

Art and Exhibition Catalogues: (in the latter Sindhunata contributes an introductory essay)

Berguru pada Estetika Semar. Kalam 9, 1997, pp. 67-70.

Wayang Gepuk wayang alternatif. Jakarta: Bentara Budaya Jakarta, 1997, 36 p. (Modified Wayang by Gepuk)

Cikar bobrok. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1998, xii + 277 p. (Art and culture from the margins)

Editor, Menjadi Generasi Pasca-Indonesia: Kegelisahan Y. B. Mangunwijaya. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1999.

Brajoet. Yogyakarta/Jakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2004, 39 p. (Wayang)

Tjap djaran: katoerangan. Yogyakarta/Jakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2004, 244 p. (Horses in art – Javanese and Indonesian text)

Pameran seni rupa Ayo Ngguyu. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2005, 32 p.

Gendhakan: visualisasi parikan ludruk. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2006, 168 p. (Javanese poetry, ludruk).

Selayang pandang Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta 1982-2007. Yogyakarta/Jakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2007, 243 p.

Sasana etnika: pameran fotografi karya Wawan H. Prabowo. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2007, 40 p.

Septemberan 2007 Bebeye: Boeng aja Boeng! Tafsir ulang nilai manusia Affandi: karya 25 dari 100 perupa ternama Indonesia menandai peringatan 25 tahun Benteng Budaya, 100 tahun pelukis besar Affandi. Yogyakarta: Benteng Budaya Yogyakarta, 2007, 44 p. (Text Sindhunata, edited M. Wuryani)

Ana dina ana upa. Yogyakarta/Jakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2008, 162 p. (social life and customs, text by Sindhunata, compiled by Hermann)

Wong Liya: Pameran drawing Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta 16-26 Maret 2008. Yogyakarta/Jakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2008, 93 p.

Pameran seni rupa ‘Perang kembang’. Yogyakarta/Jakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2008, 96 p.

Wangkingan Kebo Hijo. Yogyakarta/Jakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2008, 240 p. (Kris, traditional weapons)

Petruk nagih janji: pameran seni rupa. Yogyakarta/Jakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2009, 208 p. (Art exhibition on Petruk)

Seni Rupa Rai Gedhep. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2009, 96 p.

Pasar Ilang kumandhange mletho. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2011, 104 p. (Catalogue of paintings on display at Bentara Budaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesian and Javanese text)

Watu ijo. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2013, 152 p. (Indonesian and Javanese text)

Pawukon 3000th. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2013, 216 p. (Indonesian and English text. Art and astrology exhibition)

Pameran tunggal visual art Ong Hari Wahyu. Yogyakarta: Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta, 2014, 26 p. (Exhibition, 16-24 December 2014)

Football

Air Mata Bola: catatan sepak bola Sindhunata. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2002, xv + 215 p.

Bola di Balik Bulan: catatan sepak bola Sindhunata. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2002, xv + 296 p.

Bola-bola Nasib, catatan sepak bola Sindhunata. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2002, xv + 320 p.

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Notes

2 JMP[John Mansford Prior], “Contextual Theological Reflections in Indonesia 1800-2000,” in John C. England et al., eds, Asian Christian Theologies: A Research Guide to Authors, Movements, Sources, Delhi, ISPCK, 2003, vol. 2, p. 216.

3 Sindhunata, Anak Bajang Menggiring Angin, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 1983, 9th printing, 2010; English translation by Joan Suyenaga, Herding the Wind, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2015.

4 Sindhunata, Putri Cina, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2007; English translation by Katherine Rae and Simon Rae, The Chinese Princess, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2015.

5 Pramoedya Ananta Toer, The Mute’s Soliloquy: A Memoir, Jakarta, Hasta Mitra, 1999, pp. 328-337.

6 Sindhunata, Kambing Hitam – teori René Girard, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2006, pp. 400-401.

7 Sindhunata, La quête de Semar: conte philosophique javanais, trans. Nathalie Belin–Ridwan, Paris, Association franco-indonésienne Pasar Malam, 2011.

8 Karel Steenbrink, “The ‘reformasi’ of Basis,” in Willem van der Molen, ed., Milde Regen: Liber Amicorum Voor Hans Teeuw bij zijn vijfenachtigste verjaardag op. 12 Augustus 2006, Nijmegen, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2006, pp. 219-235. Some information also from an interview with Tarko Sudiarno, Jakarta Post, 20 January 2009, the year of Sindhunata’s jubilee: www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/01/20, accessed 10 March 2016.

9 Sindhunata also uses what may be less well-known forms of the names of characters from the classical stories. Examples: Sita/Sinta, Hanoman/Anoman.

10 The Kakawin Ramayana is an Old Javanese version of the Ramayana; it shows both local variation and creativity, rooting the Indian epic in a Javanese context.

11 Marshall Clark, “Shadow Boxing: Indonesian Writers and the Ramayana in the New Order,” Indonesia 17 (October 2001), pp. 159-187, at pp. 159-162.

12 The vanara (Skt vānara), forest-dwellers, of whom the kera are the best known in Javanese story-telling.

13 The name Alenka (Skt Lankā, in Javanese ngalengkadiraja), modern Sri Lanka, is a clue to the original Indian context of the epic, but the Kakawin Ramayana is so much at home in its Javanese context that these identities are no longer relevant.

14 An example, “Petruk Jadi Guru” (Petruk Becomes the Mentor) in a collection of his essays from Kompas on themes of Humanity and Spirituality, Sindhunata, Petruk Jadi Guru, Jakarta, Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2006, pp. 59-66.

15 Sindhunata, Semar Mencari Raga, Yogyakarta, Basis, 1996, published to mark the 45th anniversary of Basis, of which Sindhunata is now editorial director.

16 It is tempting, but pointless, to try to identify the genus of Hanoman; kera are larger, upright-standing apes with no tail. A rare albino siamang might fit in the Javanese context, but Hanoman is of Indian provenance and both Indian and Indonesian representations show an impressive tail and a semi-human body; he is a creature of literature, not zoology.

17 Sindhunata, Anak Bajang…, (9th printing, 2010; pagination may vary between printings) p. 61; Herding the Wind, p. 55.

18 Ibid. Citations translated from the Indonesian text.

19 Sindhunata, Herding the Wind, p. 412; Anak Bajang…, p. 449.

20 Sindhunata, Herding the Wind, p. 424; Anak Bajang…, p. 464.

21 Sindhunata, Putri Cina, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2007. Sindhunata, The Chinese Princess (English translation), Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2015.

22 Sindhunata, The Chinese Princess, p. 358.

23 The fact that the writer’s language teacher, in Yogyakarta in 1972, was horrified to know that he had attended a ketoprak performance (“It is not suitable for educated people!”) shows something of the gulf between elitist and popular cultural forms.

24 Originally Nancy K. Florida, Writing the Past, Inscribing the Future: History as Prophecy in Colonial Java, Durham NC, Duke University Press, 1995, an original study of history writing as prediction based on a close study of Javanese sources.

25 Op. cit., chapter 2, “Babad Jaka Tingkir in Translation” (pp. 81-245).

26 Sindhunata, “Sepatah Kata” [Introduction, lit. “A Few Words”], Putri Cina, pp. 7-8.

27 Sindhunata, Kambing Hitam: teori René Girard, Jakarta, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2006.

28 Idem, pp. 363, 387.

29 The Chinese Princess, pp. 355-356.

30 “Sam Pek Eng Tay” was a popular film released in the Dutch East Indies in 1931, based on the classic Chinese story of “The Butterfly Lovers,” a popular stage play of that time.

31 Mangunwijaya (1929-1999) was a polymath: an active priest and prolific writer, a pioneer of Indonesian architecture and an innovative educationist. Two of his novels are available in English translation: Burung-burung Manyar: Sebuah Roman, Jakarta, 1st ed. Pustaka Kuntara, 1981, 2nd ed., Jakarta, Djambatan 1993, English translation by Thomas M. Hunter, The Weaverbirds, Jakarta, Lontar Foundation, 1991; Durga/Umayi, 1991, English translation by Ward Keeler, Durga/Umayi: A Novel, Seattle, University of Washington Press, 2004, and Singapore, University of Singapore Press, 2004.

32 Kambing Hitam, pp. 389-404. The “Sorrow of the Chinese Princess” was the title Sindhunata gave to a painting by the artist Sulasno of the Chinese princess who was the mother of Raden Patah, king of Demak; her sorrow seemed to him to embody the realisation that she and her children were fated to “await their karma as scapegoat” (p. 392).

33 “Cina kelahiran Jawa” is the phrase he uses.

34 Idem. pp. 355-360.

35 Idem, pp. 403-404.

36 Idem, p. 404.

37 The Chinese Princess, pp. 357-8. Putri Cina, pp. 301-2.

38 This bibliography is part of a long-term project. In preparing this provisional bibliography the compiler acknowledges the list of publications provided in R. Myrna Nur Sakinah, “Identitas Politik Pada Tokoh Perempuan ‘Putri Cina dan Giok Tien’ dalam Novel Putri Cina karya Shindunata (sic),” Apollo Project: Jurnal Ilmiah Jurusan Sastra Inggris (Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung) 1:1 (Juli 2012), pp. 26-27. The OCLC WorldCat, international library catalogue, consulted during Feb. 2018, has been valuable for provision and verification of some details.

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Référence papier

Simon Rae, « Sindhunata: An Indonesian Writer in his Context », Archipel, 95 | 2018, 133-149.

Référence électronique

Simon Rae, « Sindhunata: An Indonesian Writer in his Context », Archipel [En ligne], 95 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 juillet 2018, consulté le 17 juillet 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/643 ; DOI : 10.4000/archipel.643

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Auteur

Simon Rae

Principal Emeritus, Theological Hall, Knox College, Dunedin, New Zealand, taught English literature in Padjadjaran University, Bandung, history and theology at Otago University, Dunedin, N.Z, and was more recently a visiting professor in the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS), in the Graduate School, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta

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