Journal Province: Central Java Regency/City: Blora Subdistrict: Randublatung

A Rich King in a Nonarable Land

Written by Otty Widasari

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Randublatung, a small town in Blora Regency, Central Java, is like a dull pearl on a king’s crown covered by dust. This small town is a part of Cepu Block (oil and gas contract area) and is located in the middle of the best quality teak forest.

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The community has never had a chance to benefit from the wealth of their land which contains a lot of oil and teak. Since the Dutch domination, everything was dominated by the colonial government. After independence, the republic governments take over the management and share it with a foreign company. The forest community called ‘Blandong’ has only been able to peak teak leaves and twigs from the ground to make their living since a long time ago. The name ‘Blandong’ is even more known as ‘thieves’ of teak leaves and twigs from the government forest.

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Teaks grow rapidly on very dry and less water containing soil. The community has only to benefit from the nonarable land.

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As has been known in history, this area is famous with its people opposition. From Naya Gimbal’s soldiers brave opposition, mutiny against Dutch colonial tax system by a social protest conducted by Samin Soerosentiko and his followers, until the Dutch government exiled him to West Sumatra until he passed away. Up to now Sanimism followers are still solid and everlasting spread all over Blora Regency surrounding.

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Even Pramoedya Ananta Toer, due to his literature works was considered a rebel by the government.

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Blora is also the main cow distributor town in Central Java. There is a term Rojokoyo (a Rich King) in the Javanese tradition, i.e. four-leg livestock that have a high investment value like cows, water buffaloes or goats. Perhaps the term ‘rich’ here does not refer to the ability of having luxury at present, but the safe condition for the offspring’s in the future.

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And cows are ‘Rich Kings’ in Randublatung, Blora Regency. The price of a newborn cow is about Rp 3 millions. When 10 pedets (newborn cows) are born daily, the total will be Rp 30 millions. After the cows are older, the price will range from Rp 7 millions to Rp 10 millions. The most expensive cows are called ‘Brahma’, having a superior quality. Ranging from Rp 13 millions to Rp 17 millions.

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Randublatung community raises their cows inside their house. Treating them as a part of the family. The stalls are placed in the living room, bedroom, or even parallel to the dining room. Perhaps by bearing the name of ‘Rich King’ there is much hope in imagining a better future without depending on the wealth of the land they stand on.

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This article is part of a collection of akumassa texts that was ever exhibited in the form of text-image by Forum Lenteng on Images Festival 2011. The reports about akumassa at Images Festival can be seen in David Darmadi’s articles, “Kabar dari Toronto: Pembukaan Pameran akumassaand Kabar dari Toronto: Malam Penganugerahan Images Festival“. The photos contained in this article comes from the archives of akumassa and Akumassa Video, titled Hari-Hari Sapi“.

About the author


Otty Widasari

OTTY WIDASARI is an artist, writer, director and curator. Currently, she is the Director of the Media Education and Empowerment Program (AKUMASSA) at the Forum Lenteng.

1 Comment

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