This article is part of the Eleven Stories from the Southeast written by Muhammad Sibawaihi, Otty Widasari and Manshur Zikri, published by Forum Lenteng in 2016. We re-upload it on the AKUMASSA website in the framework of the “Darivisual”.
icung icung pangi gading kali cuang
biola biola makan gola mentaluan peta
ali agem…ali agem…
But if we hummed the beginning part of that verse, those who still had experienced the time were instantly reminded of the whole song and sang it with a dreamy gaze on a happy childhood.
Ahh…! You know that song?
Yes, you don’t have to ask. It’s the anthem of citizens of Pemenang!
Sometimes a line of poem could have the power to bring people’s memories beyond technological visual capabilities. It unloaded human’s contemplation space. That was the strength of literature.
Baiq Ilda Karwayu was a Mataram’s young writer, who played in the area of abstract poetry, playing to return the word into its basic form. Ilda restored the mass’s memory through the pre-school and kindergarten age children from 4 schools in Pemenang. They sang Icung Icung Pangi of which the meaning of the lyrics was not important anymore, apart from the collective memory it brought, in the Bangsal Menggawe Folk Festival. The teachers of the pre-schools and the kindergartens were also excited to sing their childhood song again.
Ilda was a good observer, observing the deepest side of human’s daily life. Although Ilda seemed to experience a little difficulty in doing the action to go down to the people since indeed it was not easy to merge the abstract area into the practice of people’s lives, actually Ilda eventually translated the identity of Pemenang into her collection of poetry books through a process of “being a resident” of other artist friends.
Ilda met Pemenang not socially, but abstractly. She met the history of Pemenang, ideal concepts of Pemenang and constructions that built Pemenang without having to explore further practically its social life. The interesting things about Ilda’s working process were how she showed that poetry was able to talk about a location, records of events, and especially because Ilda and her poetry competently established relationship with other art medium which indeed experienced the intersection with her working process: video, painting, graffiti, mime, dance, song, and more. Not only that, Ilda even recorded individuals of those performers.
Ilda’s literature works summarized the role of a writer who described her feeling through words, visualized the locations and people like paintings, recorded the city like graffiti, and the most important thing was she recorded the movement of a small town like a journalist. The poems of Baiq Ilda Karwayu were a chronicle.
So, the identity of Pemenang existed. It did not disappear. It just hid behind the tourism slogan. It still hummed softly behind the pounding of the party music.
Poems by Baiq Ilda Karwayu.
Sunday, February 28, 2016, at half past one.
The report via Hadi’s handy talkie to Dhoom: Guntur Muda Square of Pemenang was totally empty.
The sun burned my head, and my heart raced. There should have been hundreds of people there by then. According to the schedule, the parade would start at two.
Where were they?
The report from Gozali, who was in the house of the Regent, to Dhoom: The Regent of North Lombok and the Deputy Governor of West Nusa Tenggara Province and their entourage were ready to go to Bangsal. They would arrive in about seven minutes.
And the report from Guntur Muda Square: still totally empty.
The combined forces of the Pemenang Police and the Military were already placed on alert at many points to guard the event so that it would run perfectly. However, it was reported that even the Head of the District who would wave the flag as the sign that the parade was started had not been seen yet in Guntur Muda Square.
Apparently the citizens of Pemenang had a habit. When they wanted to do the parade that was started at noon, they would walk from their homes after doing the noon prayer. One more thing that had to be done was lunch, so they did not starve when parading. Actually, we provided five hundred rice packs which were purchased from Inaq Pitu, a woman who sold rice beside the office of Pasirputih, with the 30 percent discount plus 500 glasses of mineral water which she donated for free. May God bless Inaq Pitu.
At a few minutes past two.
The delegation of local officials arrived at the designated location, which was at the gate of Bangsal public transport terminal to welcome and join the parade. Earlier, the Secretary of Regency, Doctor Lalu Mukhsin, the religious harmony figure of Pemenang, and several military guards of the Regent and Deputy Governor in batik uniform had already been there. They all sat on the chairs shaded by a canopied tent, watching hundreds of Bujangan Urban’s colorful sunflowers which were scattered along the roadside walls toward Bangsal.
Finally, at half past two.
Hadi’s report to Dhoom: The Head of the District of Pemenang had already waved the flag as the sign that the parade was started.
Relieved. It meant that we only had to estimate how long these hundreds of residents had to travel from Guntur Muda Square to the location where we waited which was less than one kilometer from there. Surely it was not in a short time, imagining they walked in hundreds of lines. In this parade there were also small children and older people, whose pace of the steps surely were not as stable as the youth, not to mention that the sun was blazing.
My eyes could not blink staring at the end of Bangsal intersection, where citizens who marched should have appeared. It was almost three o’clock. The officials were chatting with each other. I was nervous, so were the Pasirputih members who were here with me. The asphalt road which extended to the south looked as if it fumed because it was burned by the sun. Three cidomo which had been called from the street before, were neatly parked on the roadside, ready to transport the team of officials and the parade to Bangsal in a procession. But the parade had still not shown up yet. I just kept quiet, calming myself down while occasionally responding to these gentlemen’s questions…
Finally at three o’clock sharp, that voice was faintly heard and then it was more clearly and getting closer. The sound of long howling music, slashing mystically, was accompanied by the faint sound of Sasak gamelan.
The row of Mr. Emy and children of Karang Baru was behind the group of Gerbang Tua (Old Carriages) community who had the initiative to bring rengka (palanquin), which they made themselves, full of donated food by the citizens. Residents crowded the road towards Bangsal. At the front row, Asta and Saharudin Efendi who were fully dressed with suits, sarongs and peci (rimless cap), led the march. They looked very handsome. They shouted through the mosque’s loud speaker, voicing the Bangsal Menggawe and the top event of the final round of Bangsal Cup. Each of them brought a goat. Asta brought a big goat that would become the winning prize of Bangsal Cup, and Sahar brought a small goat which was the second prize. When they arrived right in front of the group of local officials, the parade stopped for a moment, inviting these officials to ride cidomo and join the parade. The parade was then resumed. The rengka carrier group escorted the officials. Asta, Sahar and the goats continued their shouting. The delegation was followed by the Perisean group. Mr. Emy and the children played the Sasak gamelan music. The sound of Mr. Emy’s flute filled the open space through the loud speaker that was placed high connected by a long pole to a battery-powered sound control device.
The sound of Perisean music and the music of the Women Rudat group answered each other. They were replied by the singing of the pre-school and kindergarten children. Then the steady row of Rudat led by Zakaria chanted the joyful shalawat (prayers to Prophet Muhammad SAW) shrilly. Jabo wore Rudat uniform and danced with them. The drum band of high school students, gambus music (Arabian music), the qasida (Arabic form of sung writing poetry), and all sounds in Pemenang filled the air.
Rows of parade continued to snake through Pemenang city. The number of people who participated far exceeded our estimation. Instead of 500 people like the number of the cooked rice and mineral water provided by Inaq Pitu, there were more than a thousand people from various elements of society involved in the parade. May God bless the citizens’ participation.
All kinds of art in Pemenang took their stages, shouted to each other, had fun, and had a party. The cloudy expression that was often seen on Zakaria’s face now disappeared. Handsome, in his red Rudat costume uniform, he danced and narrated the shalawat with the members of Panca Pesona Studio while smiling widely. The “winning” texts on wooden boards made by Sulung and the residents were carried by the children of the Pencak Silat group, circling Bangsal. Children of Karang Baru danced the Perisean fight accompanied by Mr. Emy’s flute and Sasak gamelan. The citizens were free to take Ilda’s poetry collection books and The Broy’s comics which were placed near the Shah Bandar. In the waiting room of Shah Bandar the video clip of Madun’s Gambus Music Group produced by Wahid was played on the flat TV on the wall. It took turns with Gelar’s Water Montage series, the video that showed Bangsal Cup advertisement made by Hamdani, and videos of members of the Pasirputih Community in a series of workshops given by Gelar. On the stage, the Qasidah Al Iqro women group sang Mars Pemenang (The March of Pemenang/The March of The Winner) that was written by Wahid Hasyim, the cable television entrepreneur and Muhammad Sibawaihi, a member of Pasirputih, accompanied by a keyboard played by Wahid.
It did not matter what was said in the Deputy Governor of West Nusa Tenggara’s speech about the importance of the tourism sector in North Lombok. People still enjoyed the party. Residents had their own party. The street artists did the demonstration of drawing on a hunk of huge steel, the former dock supporter. It was rusty and had ruined the scenery of Bangsal for a long time. Previously, it had stood firmly in the corner of the port together with the pile of garbage. But the night before, the residents had cleaned up all the trash. Now it was colored as bright as the sun.
On the broad wall of the Shah Bandar office, about five hundred charcoal sketches of citizens of Pemenang’s face painted by Jatul were displayed. The residents gathered around them in amazement. Some took the sketches of their own faces. Some took the sketches of beautiful girls. Some took one, two, and some took many sheets of the sketches of those faces to be taken home with them.
The traders of Bangsal made a small fortune just like in the past. Bangsal became a gathering place for the residents again. May God bless Bangsal.
The Pemenang will made by Ismal and the citizen was read by the Regent, who then took it to the end of the pier to be placed on the gate monument that was newly installed. With shalawat and dance, Zakaria and his Rudat Group accompanied the Regent’s trip towards the end of the pier.
The childhood song in Pemenang was sung by the pre-school and kindergarten children. When they reached a certain verse, the residents joined them in unison to sing it. They were lyrics which were equivalent to the national anthem for the citizens of Pemenang. At each corner, there were small children in black costume from head to toe with a white face of pantomime makeup. Each of them carried a burlap sack as big as their bodies as a party trash container and they went around Bangsal to pick up trash while occasionally doing the pantomime movements. Nash was with them, doing the same thing.
At five o’clock sharp.
Residents flocked towards the east beach. The final round of Bangsal Cup started. Those who had a party still continued their fun, singing, dancing, or snacking. Small children had already been running around the beach to swim and meta keke (look for shells), with their backs facing the three gili, the position of the body that had been like that since a long time ago.
More than five thousand people attended Bangsal Menggawe Folk Festival. It was not the party, but the most important thing for Pemenang City was the participation, the participation which came from the desire of the citizens themselves. That was the thing that was not easily obtained elsewhere. In the background, Mount Rinjani was covered by mist. On the north beach, the sun shone brightly until dusk, as if giving more time for residents to have a party excitedly.
So, what was the difference between the ordinary people and the society who bore the title as artists? There was not any. They were equally citizens who inhabited social location. The thing that distinguished them was only their professions, which were listed as roles. The role of citizens was to raise their dignity of life. The role of the artists was being the committee. May God bless the artists.
Cibubur, May 24, 2016
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