Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sitor's Restless Two Worlds

Following his release from prison, Sitor underwent a spiritual purification. The 'Lost Child' has returned.

THE winds from the lake blew across the village of Harianboho. That afternoon, with a trembling feeling, Sitor Situmorang was facing his native village, a small valley at the foot of Mount Pusuk Buhit, on the west side of Lake Toba. It had been 13 years since the prominent poet left the village of his birth in the Samosir region of North Sumatra.

It was 1976. Sitor, who had just left Salemba Prison in Jakarta, was asked to return home. He was obliged to take part in a traditional ceremony in his village. His oldest brother who was 80 at the time was to perform saurmatua, a rite to welcome the stages of growing old in the Batak community. "The whole Situmorang clan must attend, including you," a family member in his village requested.

Sitor did not have the heart to reject the call to return home. He was, as he admitted, homesick for his village. He was last home in 1963, a few months before his father died. When he arrived in Harianboho he was greeted by the whole Situmorang clan. "For them, regardless of what happened in Jakarta, I was still a member of the clan," he said.

As a result of a deliberation among the Situmorang elders, Sitor was "forced" to undergo the rumatondi ceremony. This is a form of initiation, a ritual which cleanses the tondi (spirit) within the realm of the clan. According to the customary law elders, before he could participate in his older brother's ceremony, he had to be purified first. This is because Sitor had been defiled by the New Order prison. "Once again, it was not possible for me to refuse,"
recalled Sitor.

Rumatondi began with a presentation of offerings at the home of a customary law elder. Sitor reported to the guardian angel that occupies the house, and then asked for blessing in the former room of his father which became a place of worship for the family. Following this ritual, he and his escorts walked toward a tomb located in the grounds, in which the bones of his ancestors are kept.

This procession is the climax of the ceremony. The door of the tomb is opened. Sitor "met with his grandfather," Raja Lintong, whose skeleton was taken out of the tomb. A woman wearing traditional clothes handed a porcelain plate with the skull of his ancestor and oranges for cleansing purposes.

During this ritual, a small incident occurred. A male relative of Sitor-who happened to be a doctor-saw that the lower and upper jaws of the skull did not fit. Without saying anything, the doctor attempted to rectify the positions of the jaws. "At that point, the sorcerer who led the ceremony became angry," explained Sitor. The sorcerer accused the doctor of being "disrespectful" because according to tradition the skull cannot be touched by male hands.

Fortunately, the small incident could be resolved without reducing the solemnity of the ritual. Sitor, who had nothing to do with the incident, then held the plate with the skull and the oranges up to shoulder level. "For me, the ceremony was so beautiful and moving," he said.

Sitor recounted that at that time he had just been freed after spending eight years in prison. This "explosive" man was imprisoned in Jakarta from 1967 to 1975 with prison number 5051. After that, he was under house arrest for a year and restricted to the city for another year.

Born October 2, 1924, Sitor was the fifth son of Ompu babiat. Raja Usu alias Sitor Situmorang spent his childhood in Harianboho. His native village is very isolated, and is surrounded by old traditions and ancestral culture. His father was a customary law elder of the Situmorang clan.

For 18 generations, Sitor's ancestors controlled a small mountainous region in North Sumatra. The territory of the clan which his father headed consisted of three valleys slanting from hills as high as 2,000 meters toward a beautiful lake. The area stretched from the west side of Lake Toba to South Aceh in the north and to Barus in the west.

The duties of a customary law elder include acting as a judge as well as registrar of history. He also has to maintain and update genealogical chronicles as well as resolve land issues. His father acted as judge to solve all kinds of problems from village to village. Often his father would have to stay overnight in one village before continuing his journey on foot to the next village. As a young child, Sitor often accompanied his father.

Sitor recalls that the period during 1924-1930 was one filled with ancestral traditions. He experienced many traditional rituals performed by his ancestors. For Sitor, the most memorable one occurred in 1929. His clan organized a large ceremony: placing ancestral skeletons-scattered in a number of abandoned graveyards, the result of fighting against the Dutch-in a final resting place.

The ceremony was held in an old deserted village, located in the middle of a forest in the mountains. Representatives of various clans came and gathered. Sitor came with his father's entourage. He climbed the mountain and crossed a large field and wide forest before reaching the location.

Sitor's childhood was highlighted by a series of Batak ritual experiences as part of his life in Harianboho. "I am full of experience," he said. "I followed tradition not because I was forced to."

However, when he was 6 years old, he became less involved in ancestral rituals. Little Sitor was sent away to a Dutch boarding school. Although it was a Christian school, he was not forced to become a Christian. He was only required to speak Dutch in class as well as outside.

Since he went away to school, he was cut off from his past. He was "cleansed" from his ancestral beliefs. As a young journalist, Sitor had the opportunity to travel to many places, within the country as well as abroad. He eventually chose to live abroad, especially in Paris, which he considers his second
village after Harianboho.

Sitor seemed like a lost child. His spirit was too restless to stay in his native village. He also longed for another world in Europe, which at one time provided him a home. Only his physical body returned to his family and his village, but his spirit remained in Europe.

In his book Si Anak Hilang (The Lost Child), Sitor wrote about a child who returns home from Europe. The child is greeted warmly by his mother, and calmly by his father. The child does not have much to say. But when at night he goes to the lakeside where he was brought up, it is as if the sound of the waves know: his spirit does not want to stay in his native village.

At the end of 2001, Sitor returned to his village again. At the time, he and his second wife, Barbara Brouwer, attended Mangohal Holi, a ceremony which excavated ancestral skeletons and which were then reburied in a beautiful tomb. What was interesting, Sitor "improvised" the ceremony by reading a poem in front of his ancestors' skeletons. After the ceremony, he read poems in the
vicinity of Harianboho, on the hills, on the lakeside, and in the fields.

So, is it true that Sitor has been uprooted from his ancestral traditions? According to Sitor, he is no longer able to fully perform the traditional rituals that he used to perform as a child in his village. His spiritual area also has "shifted." "In general, in the last 10 years, I have returned to natural mysticism," he said. T

his is reflected in his poems during the period 1980-2005. For instance, in his poem Mendaki Merapi Menatap Borobudur-Dialog Senja (Climbing Merapi and Viewing Borobudur-A Sunset Dialog), Sitor wrote:

On the slope of a valley
I face the sunset
The crater of Merapi

Part of a pilgrimage
Sufi without path

Free from nostalgia
In longing for nostalgia

Free from time and place
Touched by the rustling of the mountain wind
(By.Nurdin Kalim)


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Poet Sitor Situmorang: The Passion of the Sound and the Wanderer

IN his early eighties, Sitor Situmorang is still writing poems. Two volumes of his books containing more than 600 of his poems-written between 1948 and 2005-were published recently. The volumes comprise the complete collection of Sitor's poems. Sitor's poetic portraits, tossed about in the midst of both his Batak ancestors' land and cities of the world, are evident in the books. He is known as the 'Lost Child' who has never been able to stay put, a restless wanderer. Tempo looks at Sitor's 'travel poems' and reviews his sketches.
I am old and gray-haired
On the way to being decrepit, yet I wander still
And Lo, I am in London finally
For what reason would I be summoned here?

THAT is an excerpt from the poem, The Rain in London Town. It was written in the year 1989. It was drizzling when Sitor and a girl passed Trafalgar Square. The girl suddenly pointed to a church. "Sitor, I was baptized there." Then Sitor's mind wandered, recalling his own baptism at a church in a rural hamlet by Lake Toba, at the foot of Mount Pusuk Buhit.

We never knew how it happened exactly, whether it was true, as in the poem, that the girl then quietly began to sing: "Sitor, whom the gods love, die young!" However, what we quickly capture in reading the poem is a bit of romantic feeling, some pathos, a tune of Eros. Sitor has never been able to stay in one place. Yet, his fantasy flies off, tossed between the continents.

This year, Sitor turns 82. Next year, he will be invited to visit Holland to commemorate the centennial of Sisingamaraja's death. Sisingamangaraja died on June 17, 1907, during a battle against the Dutch. Sitor is expected to officiate at the opening of this rare event. He himself is one of the sources on the history of Sisingamangaraja. Sitor's father, Ompu Babiat, was a local chieftain who was a close friend of Sisingamangaraja, and who was also the former bodyguard of Singamangaraja XII.

His visit to Holland with regards to Sisingamangaraja seems to reflect the paradox of his wandering. "I have been spoilt by my travels." That afternoon, somewhere in Kemang, he told a story. During his childhood, he would go along on his father's long journey into the forest. It was a long and tiring journey to reach the sarcophagus which held the skulls of his family's ancestors, trailing behind his father's entourage. They crossed plains, going up and down the hills, over sharp slopes looking down over a rapidly flowing river, a mossy uprooted tree, seemingly serving as a stepping stone.

"I went through the entire ancient Batak religious ritual, which is no longer performed today," he said. Sitor is known for his new use of the sonnet and the quatrain forms. He is regarded as a poet who dares to find materials from other places, yet is capable of creating local sayings with a particular rhythm. His experience of "having been brought up by nature" has somewhat made him sensitive to rhythm.

Although he no longer adheres to this ancient traditional belief, his childhood experience has hovered in his subconscious, and every so often emerges when he is traveling, such as to Europe.

It can be observed from his two newly published books by Komunitas Bambu Publishing, which comprise 605 of his poems written between 1948 and 2005. The editor is J.J. Rizal, a graduate of the University of Indonesia's (UI) History Department, who has been jealously studying Sitor's works. He practically took the H.B. Jassin documentary Center apart, digging up discolored file folders, searching from either the old newspapers or such magazines as Siasat and Zenith and seeking out Sitor's fellow writers. He eagerly collected Sitor's poems that were not well-documented, either the published or the unpublished ones. He was able to get himself poems which had once been rejected by some magazines.

Subsequently, he presents us the collection of poems, chronologically, in order to enable us to successively examine the creative phases of the wandering Sitor.

Reading the two books, which can be said to be the most complete books on Sitor's poems, is like a flashback of this poet's long journey. Sitor is a seeker. He is the experienced adventurer who gives us his brief impressions on every corner of the world that have been intermittently expressed either 'calmly' or anxiously. Reading his best poems could make us drown in his travels.

"There are colors, tones and rhythms within a language," said Sitor when revealing his creative process. A literary critic had once unveiled that what lies in Sitor's poems are not banal interpretations of things, but some event that touched his inner feeling. The quote by Sitor above emphasizes an issue that such a strong flash of experience is capable of stimulating his sense to sounds in language. Sitor is truly a "sound wanderer."
Birds are again flocking in the dusk
The sky across on the southeast of the sea gleamed
Tis an omen that a season has spinned
Seeds are sprouting amidst the fallen leaves and the words

Sitor traveled to Europe for the first time when he was 26 years of age. He was, by that time, an experienced journalist. He was granted a scholarship from Sticusa (Stichting Culturele Samenwarking) for three months in order to understand European culture. He boarded a Dutch ship, Olden Barneveldt, and sailed for three weeks from Tanjung Priok Port to Rotterdam, which passed by Colombo and Port Said. He then took the train to Amsterdam shortly after he arrived at Rotterdam.

"I was provided a room by Harian Merdeka journalist Rinto Alwi in Amsterdam," Sitor recalled. During his first days, he was escorted by Rinto to meet Indonesian people living in Holland. One of them was the renowned dancer Djojana. Raden Djojana was a celebrated Javanese nobleman. Sitor had watched his dance performances several times. He was somewhat impressed by their encounter and the poem was dedicated on his behalf.

"After two weeks of my arrival, I feel as if I took a cultural sauna bath," he said. He felt like swallowing everything. He actively watched theater and dance performances, attended museums and painting exhibitions as well. He had a desire to grasp and to fathom the secret of the European mind.
Once the man is released
He will walk along the traces
Before knowing where
The earth has aged
A ship floats without a Compass

He lived in Holland for a year and a half. He wanted to live in Paris for the remaining six months. Nazir Datuk Pamoentjak was the Indonesian Ambassador to France in Paris at that time. "He knew what I wanted," he said. In Paris, he was employed by the Indonesian embassy as a staffer. "I organized a column concerning cultural matters in the embassy's bulletin."

When Sitor resided in Paris, the art performances and movies were mostly inspired by humans' struggle against themselves, namely sensuality, bitterness and monotonous life. "It was existentialism which penetrated the arts," he recollected. Sitor remembered how enthusiastic he was at that time to find the published reviews after watching the performances. "The next day, there were always reviews published in the newspapers." During this very period, his distinguished poems were born i.e. Silence et Solitude, The Tale of Two Cities, Orang Asing, Nocturne, Place St. Suplice, Pont Neuf, Paris, La Ronde and also the series regarding the name of the months: Paris Janvier, Paris-Avril, Paris-Juillet, Paris-Novembre.

It has been three years. The cities must be abandoned. However, the way Sitor reflects on quays, cafes, old chapels, bridges, bells and his hotels has somewhat formed the basis of his next adventures. When Sitor visited Federico Garcia Lorca's country years later, he wrote:
I am Zigana-on which I lie
In the shade of a sponge tree
Having sex with lust
-yet it tempted me-
when the bell echoes

SITOR'S poems when he traveled to China and Russia are considered as having sharp differences compared to the Paris poems. Many critics evaluated that his power of poetics and symbolism had declined. When Pamusuk Eneste published Sitor's poems collection entitled Bunga Di Atas Batu (Si Anak Hilang) in 1989, all poems involving his experience in China were not included. The said unpublished poems now can be read in the books edited by J.J. Rizal.

For example, the poem Lumumba (inspired by Patrick Lumumba, the Congolese leader who was assassinated) is also attached in the books. It was once rejected by H.B. Jassin for publication in the Sastra magazine, until Sitor later sent it to Harian Rakjat newspaper and was made public there.

M. Balfas, who was at the time Jassin's co-editor, had once written, after he re-read the poem several times, that there shouldn't be any anxiety concerning the poem. A poem of Sitor addressed to his daughter entitled Surat dari Tiongkok untuk Retni, is indeed fascinating. He wrote: When you're grown up Ret,/ reminisce Yenan! It's the flower season! I see girls your age being blissful, everywhere.

The poem begins with a description of a journey that reminds Sitor of his childhood.
In the Canton-Peking express train, I memorize
Thirty years earlier, gazing at the scenery of China
I recall my father saying:
-staring from the hillsides-
"Son, look at the mist over the valley!
Life is there! Peace is there!

Sitor's trip to China was the period when he actively joined political activities. The visit was made possible by the upcoming Congress of Asian-African Writers. "In 1962, I led a delegation of authors to the Asian-African Conference in Tokyo," said Sitor. The group consisted of, among others, Rivai Apin and Utuy Tatang Sontani. From Tokyo they were bound for Hong Kong. Then, from HongKong, they left for Beijing. "We rode on a train for three days and three nights."

They were in China for two weeks. The delegation of authors from all over the world had arrived. "All traces of people's struggle against Chiang Kai Sek could still be observed in 1962," Sitor said. Sitor remembered the great fireworks party that was held in the Tiananmen Square. Later on, the leaders of the delegation were summoned to the Palace gates to meet Deng Xiaoping. "I managed to shake hands with Deng."

Then, they were invited to dinner. "I once read about the emperors' feasts, then I imagined that I had tasted the food as well," he said. Sitor confirmed that he admires Chinese history, whether or not it is connected with the Communists. "I study Chinese history by borrowing the perspective of Sukarno," said Sitor who at that time wrote an essay entitled Marhaenisme adalah suatu humanisme.

He felt like reporting the entire meetings with the delegations. He, for example, wrote a poem on a gorgeous girl of Cuba named Zoila. On Irene a pair of plastic chopsticks/ On Liza, sweet girl of Macao, a dream-they are the names of the girls written in the poem Impresi Tembok Tiongkok.

Despite his concern when he was in China, it was not, according to Sitor, the same reaction as when he visited Soviet territory. By 1968, Sitor was invited by the Uzbekistan Authors Association. He traveled to Central Asian cities like, among others, Fegana.

"I have not enough knowledge regarding Central Asia," he said. This is in contrast with his knowledge on China. Consequently, when Sitor arrived at Samarkand, he astonished all with the existence of the ancient observatory there. "I was surprised." Thus he wrote "…Ulukbek stood observing the stars in the sky/Scrutinizing the epoch to come, upon the hill…"

In 1989, his mind returned to his experience of traveling in Central Asia. He brought into mind a feast in Tashkent: "…Vodka, fruits mounted up/ Heaped within the pots/ Wine poured into the goblets/ we sang indeed in tumult/ As the remnant of Kubilai Khan's soldiers…"

SITOR felt that the critic who could comprehend his works was the late Subagio Sastrowardoyo. In 1976, Subagio wrote a literary essay entitled Manusia Terasing di Balik Simbolisme Sitor Situmorang. In the essay, Subagio proved that Sitor was affected by French Symbolism. However, Subagio concluded that, in fact, without taking notice of French Symbolism Sitor would finally reach the same objective as French Symbolism.

Anther critic within Sitor's 'consideration' is Maria Heinschke, a researcher at Hamburg University who authored a book entitled Sitor: Penyair Modern Mencari Persaudaraan Baru. Maria concluded that in the 1950s Sitor was the utmost poet whose consciousness to modernism had come into being as well as having expressed himself in being an heir to world culture. According to Heinschke, the creating of a work of art must be confronted to any and all matters involving life. The limitation in life must be the very axis to finding an orientation.

An artist must not return to the so-called tradition as well as syncretism and eclecticism. Those are matters that do not have any dramatic tension between human beings and their surroundings.

Sitor was imprisoned in 1967 for eight-odd years. After being released from the penitentiary, many critics considered that his poems returned to their initial forms written during the 1950s. In 1982, he published an anthology of his poems entitled Angin Danau. Subagio Sastrowardoyo, in his book review of the anthology in Tempo, evaluated that although Sitor was still a wanderer who cannot have a distinct place, his poems written in the 1980s had no longer an inwardly tense drama like senses of loneliness, fruitlessness and despair.

However, as for Subagio, his passion to sound has not faded away. It can be seen from the poem Weimar. It goes like this: A Million of pine trees/ the earth's fragrance scattered/ on its clean bosom/ Sniffed I contently…Goethe is but a memory/ in an unreachable century/ Schiller has deceased/ Tis a flower season remains…

It is interesting to note that we should we pay close attention to Sitor's poems having themes on Christian matters. According to Sitor, many people had considered that such poems signaled Sitor's return to the church. The reason for this is that he has long been known by his criticism of Protestantism that it has abolished the ancient religion. From the J.J. Rizal books, we can compare Sitor's complete poems of the period namely, for example, Kisah Kias Kristus, Hukum Pilatus, Pesan Ruth Pada Tiap Perawan, Khotbah Baptisan Paskah, those which were written in the early 1980s.

Subagio Sastrowardoyo himself, when comparing Sitor's Christian-themed poems written between the 1950s and the 1980s, believed that many of the 1980s poems were only immediate responses to the popular events in the Christian world. He only repeated his old ideas. In fact, Subagio added, Sitor tended to be moralistic and conveyed such cliches as "Forgive your fellows" or "Love your fellows." There is a sense that Sitor approached religion formally and officially.

"Those were only a youngster's notes," said Sitor that midday. According to Sitor, the Christian experience has no longer occurred to him anymore. "It is wrong to connect the poems as if they were my faith," he added. We may recall that in the 1950s Sitor was anxious with religion's ceremonies and thus wrote:
Will one speak in a hushed night
When snow falls and the birds are white
Every now and then this heart to submit
Within the grasp of a sincere prayer

O God, we have no day to meet again
In a prayer with many your followers
I bear love herewith before the muted beloved
Life separates not from judgment day

There goes the well-known poem Cathedrale de Chatres. During 1995, Sitor revisited the cathedral and wrote Chartres Revisited.
Will there be a mystical light of a colored glass
Through which the window's rays pour back into the mind's eye
as it was 45 years past?
When together with my love, I age
She has long gone, departed, I also
Suffered from cataract as the effect of old age

"I've been a devotee to mysticism for 10 years," he firmly said. Sitor then gave a detailed explanation about nature as a symbol. When listening to Sitor telling stories, we remember a part of his stories which are contained in his autobiography, Sitor Situmorang Penyair Danau Toba, when he was left by his father's group in their journey into a forest: "…I 'vanished' into a world of tale. I became a small creature whose body I possessed through his ears…"

"My poems on mounts Merapi, Bromo, the Parangtritis Coast, Balige, Mount Sibayak, the Borobudur Temple, the Legian, Tanah Karo mountains, are part of this natural mysticism," he said. The poems, according to him, are basically questioning the covert nature of things. "Hence, I seriously understand Mbah Maridjan," he laughed. "If only Subagio is still alive, I wonder what would have been his opinion on my newest poems," he said.

Would Subagio still regard Sitor as approaching religion formally and officially?

In his old age, Sitor still keenly visits his memorable cities, the valley of his roots as well as his best friends. The last poem of this anthology compiled by J.J. Rizal was written in Holland in 2005. It is entitled Amir Pasaribu at 90 Years.

Amir Pasaribu is a distinguished Indonesian composer who was born at Siborong-borong. He was Sitor's senior colleague in the cultural discussion group of Gelanggang which was pioneered by the board of editors of Siasat magazine. This was Sitor's second poem dedicated to Amir. In October 1961, he wrote a poem for the man who once lectured in Suriname entitled Alkimiah Zaman. What makes something perennial? Thus Sitor queries this time. Yet the poem is his reflection in terms of endurance: his never-ending desire to preserve the arts:
Upon the echoes of life's blissful laughter
Long may you live in submission and
on the flood of tears of experience
Please accept my regards…

(By.Seno Joko Suyono, Kurie Suditomo/ Tempo Magazine, July 2006).


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kisah Pohon Enau

Pohon Enau dalam bahasa Indonesia disebut pohon aren, dan sugar palm atau gomuti palm dalam bahasa Inggris. Di Sumatera, tumbuhan ini dikenal dengan berbagai sebutan, di antaranya ‘nau, hanau, peluluk, biluluk, kabung, juk atau ijuk, dan bagot’. Tumbuhan ini dapat tumbuh dengan baik dan mampu mendatangkan hasil yang melimpah pada daerah-daerah yang tanahnya subur, terutama pada daerah berketinggian antara 500-800 meter di atas permukaan laut, misalnya di Tanah Karo Sumatera Utara.

Tumbuhan enau atau aren dapat menghasilkan banyak hal, yang menjadikannya populer sebagai tanaman serba-guna, setelah tumbuhan kelapa. Salah satunya adalah tuak(nira). Selain sebagai minuman sehari-hari, tuak memiliki fungsi yang sangat penting dalam kehidupan sosial-budaya bagi sebagian masyarakat Batak di Sumatera Utara, terutama yang tinggal di daerah dataran tinggi.

Dalam tradisi orang Batak, tuak juga digunakan pada upacara-upacara tertentu, seperti upacara manuan ompu-ompu dan manulangi. Pada upacara manuan ompu-ompu, tuak digunakan untuk menyiram beberapa jenis tanaman yang ditanam di atas tambak orang-orang yang sudah bercucu meninggal dunia.

Sementara dalam upacara manulangi, tuak merupakan salah satu jenis bahan sesaji yang mutlak dipersembahkan kepada arwah seseorang yang telah meninggal dunia oleh anak-cucunya. Pertanyaannya adalah kenapa tuak(nira) memiliki fungsi yang amat penting dalam kehidupan sosial-budaya orang Batak?

Menurut cerita, pohon enau merupakan jelmaan dari seorang gadis bernama Beru Sibou. Peristiwa penjelmaan gadis itu diceritakan dalam sebuah cerita rakyat yang sangat terkenal di kalangan masyarakat Tanah Karo, Sumatera Utara. Cerita itu mengisahkan tentang kesetiaan si Beru kepada abangnya, Tare Iluh. Ia tidak tega melihat penderitaan abangnya yang sedang dipasung oleh penduduk suatu negeri. Oleh karena itu, ia mencoba untuk menolongnya. Apa yang menyebabkan Abangnya, Tare Iluh, dipasung oleh penduduk negeri itu? Bagaimana cara Beru Siboau menolong abangnya?

Alkisah, pada zaman dahulu kala di sebuah desa yang terletak di Tanah Karo, Sumatera Utara, hiduplah sepasang suami-istri bersama dua orang anaknya yang masih kecil. Yang pertama seorang laki-laki bernama Tare Iluh, sedangkan yang kedua seorang perempuan bernama Beru Sibou. Keluarga kecil itu tampak hidup rukun dan bahagia.

Namun, kebahagiaan itu tidak berlangsung lama, karena sang suami sebagai kepala rumah tangga meninggal dunia, setelah menderita sakit beberapa lama. Sepeninggal suaminya, sang istri-lah yang harus bekerja keras, membanting tulang setiap hari untuk menghidupi kedua anaknya yang masih kecil. Oleh karena setiap hari bekerja keras, wanita itu pun jatuh sakit dan akhirnya meninggal dunia. Si Tare dan adik perempuannya yang masih kecil itu, kini menjadi anak yatim piatu. Untungnya, orang tua mereka masih memiliki sanak-saudara dekat. Maka sejak itu, si Tare dan adiknya diasuh oleh bibinya, adik dari ayah mereka.

Waktu terus berjalan. Si Tare Iluh tumbuh menjadi pemuda yang gagah, sedangkan adiknya, Beru Sibou, tumbuh menjadi gadis remaja yang cantik. Sebagai seorang pemuda, tentunya Si Tare Iluh sudah mulai berpikiran dewasa. Oleh karena itu, ia memutuskan pergi merantau untuk mencari uang dari hasil keringatnya sendiri, karena ia tidak ingin terus-menerus menjadi beban bagi orang tua asuhnya.
“Adikku, Beru!” demikian si Tare Iluh memanggil adiknya.
“Ada apa, Bang!” jawab Beru.

“Kita sudah lama diasuh dan dihidupi oleh bibi. Kita sekarang sudah dewasa. Aku sebagai anak laki-laki merasa berkewajiban untuk membantu bibi mencari nafkah. Aku ingin pergi merantau untuk mengubah nasib kita. Bagaimana pendapat Adik?” tanya Tare Iluh kepada adiknya.
“Tapi, bagaimana dengan aku, Bang?” Beru balik bertanya.

“Adikku! Kamu di sini saja menemani bibi. Jika aku sudah berhasil mendapat uang yang banyak, aku akan segera kembali menemani adik di sini,” bujuk Tare kepada adiknya.

“Baiklah, Bang! Tapi, Abang jangan lupa segera kembali kalau sudah berhasil,” kata Beru mengizinkan abangnya, meskipun dengan berat hati.
“Tentu, Adikku!” kata Tare dengan penuh keyakinan.

Keesokan harinya, setelah berpamitan kepada bibi dan adiknya, si Tare Iluh berangkat untuk merantau ke negeri orang. Sepeninggal abangnya, Beru Sibou sangat sedih. Ia merasa telah kehilangan segala-segalanya. Abangnya, Tare Iluh, sebagai saudara satu-satunya yang sejak kecil tidak pernah berpisah pun meninggalkannya. Gadis itu hanya bisa berharap agar abangnya segera kembali dan membawa uang yang banyak.

Sudah berminggu-minggu, berbulan-bulan, bahkan bertahun-tahun ia menunggu abangnya, tapi tak kunjung datang jua. Tidak ada kabar tentang keadaan abangnya. Ia tidak tahu apa yang dilakukannya di perantauan. Sementara itu, Tare Iluh di perantauan bukannya mencari pekerjaan yang layak, melainkan berjudi. Ia beranggapan bahwa dengan memenangkan perjudian, ia akan mendapat banyak uang tanpa harus bekerja keras. Tetapi sayangnya, si Tare Iluh hanya sekali menang dalam perjudian itu, yaitu ketika pertama kali main judi. Setelah itu, ia terus mengalami kekalahan, sehingga uang yang sudah sempat terkumpul pada akhirnya habis dijadikan sebagai taruhan. Oleh karena terus berharap bisa menang dalam perjudian, maka ia pun meminjam uang kepada penduduk setempat untuk uang taruhan. Tetapi, lagi-lagi ia mengalami kekalahan.

Tak terasa, hutangnya pun semakin menumpuk dan ia tidak dapat melunasinya. Akibatnya, si Tare Iluh pun dipasung oleh penduduk setempat. Suatu hari, kabar buruk itu sampai ke telinga si Beru Sibou. Ia sangat sedih dan prihatin mendengar keadaan abangnya yang sangat menderita di negeri orang. Dengan bekal secukupnya, ia pun pergi mencari abangnya, meskipun ia tidak tahu di mana negeri itu berada. Sudah berhari-hari si Beru Sibou berjalan kaki tanpa arah dan tujuan dengan menyusuri hutan belantara dan menyebrangi sungai, namun belum juga menemukan abangnya. Suatu ketika, si Beru Sibou bertemu dengan seor ang kakek tua.

“Selamat sore, Kek!”
“Sore, Cucuku!” Ada yang bisa kakek bantu?”
“Iya, Kek! Apakah kakek pernah bertemu dengan abang saya?”
“Siapa nama abangmu?”
“Tare Iluh, Kek!”

“Tare Iluh…? Maaf, Cucuku! Kakek tidak pernah bertemu dengannya. Tapi, sepertinya Kakek pernah mendengar namanya. Kalau tidak salah, ia adalah pemuda yang gemar berjudi.”

“Benar, Kek! Saya juga pernah mendengar kabar itu, bahkan ia sekarang dipasung oleh penduduk tempat ia berada sekarang.
Apakah kakek tahu di mana negeri itu?

“Maaf, Cucuku! Kakek juga tidak tahu di mana letak negeri itu. Tapi kalau boleh, Kakek ingin menyarankan sesuatu.”
“Apakah saran Kakek itu?”

“Panjatlah sebuah pohon yang tinggi. Setelah sampai di puncak, bernyanyilah sambil memanggil nama abangmu. Barangkali ia bisa mendengarnya. Setelah menyampaikan sarannya, sang Kakek pun segera pergi. Sementara si Beru Sibou, tanpa berpikir panjang lagi, ia segera mencari pohon yang tinggi kemudian memanjatnya hingga ke puncak. Sesampainya di puncak, si Beru Sibou segera bernyanyi dan memanggil-manggil abangnya sambil menangis. Ia juga memohon kepada penduduk negeri yang memasung abangnya agar sudi melepaskannya.

Sudah berjam-jam si Beru Sibou bernyanyi dan berteriak di puncak pohon, namun tak seorang pun yang mendengarnya. Tapi, hal itu tidak membuatnya putus asa. Ia terus bernyanyi dan berteriak hingga kehabisan tenaga. Akhirnya, ia pun segera mengangkat kedua tangannya dan berdoa kepada Tuhan Yang Mahakuasa.

“Ya, Tuhan! Tolonglah hambamu ini. Aku bersedia melunasi semua hutang abangku dan merelakan air mata, rambut dan seluruh anggota tubuhku dimanfaatkan untuk kepentingan penduduk negeri yang memasung abangku.”

Baru saja kalimat permohonan itu lepas dari mulut si Beru Sibou, tiba-tiba angin bertiup kencang, langit menjadi mendung, hujan deras pun turun dengan lebatnya diikuti suara guntur yang menggelegar. Sesaat kemudian, tubuh si Beru Sibou tiba-tiba menjelma menjadi pohon enau. Air matanya menjelma menjadi tuak atau nira yang berguna sebagai minuman. Rambutnya menjelma menjadi ijuk yang dapat dimanfaatkan untuk atap rumah. Tubuhnya menjelma menjadi pohon enau yang dapat menghasilkan buah kolang-kaling untuk dimanfaatkan sebagai bahan makanan atau minuman.

Demikianlah cerita “Kisah Pohon Enau” dari daerah Sumatera Utara. Hingga kini, masyarakat Tanah Karo meyakini bahwa pohon enau adalah penjelmaan si Beru Sibou. Untuk mengenang peristiwa tersebut, penduduk Tanah Karo pada jaman dahulu setiap ingin menyadap nira, mereka menyanyikan lagu enau.

Cerita di atas termasuk ke dalam cerita rakyat teladan yang mengandung pesan-pesan moral. Di antara pesan moral yang dapat dipetik dari cerita di atas adalah memupuk sifat tenggang rasa dan menjunjung tinggi persaudaraan, serta akibat buruk dari suka bermain judi. sifat tenggang rasa. Sifat ini tercermin pada sifat Beru Sibou yang sangat menjunjung tinggi tenggang rasa dan persaudaraan. Ia rela mengorbankan seluruh jiwa dan raganya dengan menjelma menjadi pohon yang dapat dimanfaatkan orang-orang yang telah memasung abangnya. Hal ini dilakukannya demi membebaskan abangnya dari hukuman pasung yang telah menimpa abangnya tersebut. Sifat tenggang rasa dan persaudaran yang tinggi ini patut untuk dijadikan suri teladan dalam kehidupan sehari-hari.


Monday, June 23, 2008


Bilang-bilang (Karo)

Maka io ari kute bilang-bilang nu buluh minak enda
Si mula-mula tubuh ni babo taneh mekapal enda
Ni teruh langit si mingko-ingko enda
Lako nisurati mama anak Simbiring mergana enda
Nuri-nuriken pengindo la mehuli
Maka la mehuli ningku
Aku nibuang-buang anakberu-seninaku
I taneh Sukapiring ndade
Aminna muang pe ia
Labo erkite-kiteken utang kupasang
Erkite-kiteken aku la beluh nimbang-nimbangi ukurna enda
Dalanna muang seninaku
Edim perban aku liah kal ka aku ndube erjudi
Kutaktaki kusipati dungari terang.
Kutera dengnga maka mehuli ndia, maka mehuli, mama,
Di bagi enda utangku picetna, mama
Bage ka me nina anak Sembiring mergana
Ngataken kata man anak Karo-Karo mergana
Sitegu kudante ngkahe
Bageme nina anak Karo-Karo mergana ngataken kata.
E maka ngkahe seh pe jahe kuda
La ka nge dat kudana ndade
I je maka naktak iluh anak Simbiring mergana.
I ja kin pe teridah liahku nate anak Simbiring mergana
Di kalak ngkahe tandang lako ncari
Di mama anak Simbiring mergana tandang lako sirang ras anak nipupus
Tangar kin begu si enggo mate:
Enda kucibalken belo
Dat kal kudaku enda
Nina anak Simbiring mergana.
Maka anak Ginting mergana ngataken kata
Man mama anak Simbiring mergana:
Tegu kuda ena nangkeng
Nina anak Ginting mergana.
La ne tertegu nangkeng, utangku belang nina.
1. This is a lament written on oil bamboo,
2. that originally grew on this thick earth
3. under the wide-stretched sky
4. to be written by the son of the Sembiring clan
5. to tell about his ill fate.
6. Ill-fated, I say,
7. because I have been expelled by my people
8. in the district of Sukapiring.
9. The reason that they expelled me
10. was not because of my debts,
11. but because I was unable to weigh their thoughts
12. that’s why they expelled me,
13. and because I had no luck in gambling.
14. I thought about it, I weighted it, now it is clear
15. "How can it become good, uncle”
16. When I am pressured by my gambling debts?”
17. said the son of the Sembiring clan,
18. to the son of the Karo-Karo clan.
19. "Let’s bring our horses downstream",
20. said the son of the Karo-Karo clan.
21. So we went down, and the horses reached the downstream country
22. but then the horses disappeared.
23. There the son of the Sembiring clan shed his tears,
24. wherever I go, I will be ill-fated, thought the son of the Sembiring clan,
25. other people go downstream in order to earn a living
26. but I go in order to become separated from my children.
27. “Listen, you ancestor spirits:”
28. “Here is my betel offering.”
29. I got my horses back,
30. said the son of the Sembiring clan.
31. So the son of the Ginting clan said
32. to the son of the Sembiring clan:
33. "Bring your horses back to the highlands",
34. said the son of the Ginting clan.
35. "I can’t bring them back to the highlands, because my debts are too many" I said.
(by.Uli Kozok)




Poda ni suman-suman ni na tarsulei malungun ma inon,
Ale amang na mamasai e,
ulang amang nagoran na patidakkon hadatuon,
amang na mamasai e,
bisara guro-guro do i,
amang na marholong ni atei e.
I ma amang lottik ni solpah
Pinartali ni etet
Marangrang pe gan buluh
So dong na marsigeisi ia
Adong na marsigeisi padugur-dugur bulung.
I ma borit ni jolma
Na girah tading maetek
Mapingor pe gan ulu
So dong na maniseisi ia
Adong maniseisi palungun-lungun uhur do hassa
Alo amang na mamasai e.
Ai ma nian nini uhurhu
Ase husuratkon bani buluh parlilian ni parbotoanta on
Atek ijon do hassa jolma juppahan ajar
Sadia saganupan amang na sahutahon
Na rukkon inang na sahutahon.
Mattagang gattar bolak do saganupanna
Na ulang tarpalit tardais borit ni pinangindouhu
Ao amang na mamasai e.
Tongon do nini uhurhu homani
Alo amang na marholong ni atei e.
Birei-birei ni solpah
Ratting ni pangulhulan
Bilei do hape jolma
Na hurang paruhuran
Alo amang na mamasai e.
Sebe amang na tarturi-turihon sombuni saganupan
Husulhon namin hasang hasang pe lang marbuah
Alo amang na mamasai e.
Husuba namin lajang-lajang pe lang marubah
Atek na mahua ma jolma na rukkon halak saganupan
Alo amang na mamasai e
Suman-suman ni buluh parlilian ma use
Alo amang na mamasai e.
Ulang ham inang na ransah bani buluh parlajaran ni dakdanak
Dainang parbotoan ne bani bonang badiri pe
Ulang maransah i do inang hasoman hundul na rukkon jongjong
Alo inang parbotoan ne age barang sanrotap bonang badiri
Na ulang do tarolol laho alo parbotoan ne sali
Na ulang do jolma dainang makkatahon na marayoh
Boti inang so dong boi huparombohon badanku bani amang na sahutahon
Na rukkon bani inang na sahutahon
Atek na mahua ma jolma na rukkon halak gonupan
Alo amang na mamasai e
Loppou ma nassa sibar sule nassa adangan boritni lang pinindou
Alo inang na marholong ni atei e
Ai ma dainang nabaen borikkononmu i bagas paruhuranmu
Alo botokku e.
Marliot ma bokbokan hian-kian
Marliok pinarbuah sapadang
Marlingot ma panonggur hian-kian
Marlingot-lingot dolok singgalang
Alo parbotoan ne ama dainang.
Ase ulang ho maransah marpodah bani akkula badanku
Atek ra tolap podahmu inang parba.
(by. Uli Kozok)


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Asal Mula Danau Silosung dan Sipinggan

Alkisah, pada zaman dahulu di daerah Silahan, Tapanuli Utara, hiduplah sepasang suami-istri yang memiliki dua orang anak laki-laki. Yang sulung bernama Datu Dalu, sedangkan yang bungsu bernama Sangmaima. Ayah mereka adalah seorang ahli pengobatan dan jago silat. Sang Ayah ingin kedua anaknya itu mewarisi keahlian yang dimilikinya. Oleh karena itu, ia sangat tekun mengajari mereka cara meramu obat dan bermain silat sejak masih kecil, hingga akhirnya mereka tumbuh menjadi pemuda yang gagah dan pandai mengobati berbagai macam penyakit.

Pada suatu hari, ayah dan ibu mereka pergi ke hutan untuk mencari tumbuhan obat-obatan. Akan tetapi saat hari sudah menjelang sore, sepasang suami-istri itu belum juga kembali. Akhirnya, Datu Dalu dan adiknya memutuskan untuk mencari kedua orang tua mereka. Sesampainya di hutan, mereka menemukan kedua orang tua mereka telah tewas diterkam harimau.

Dengan sekuat tenaga, kedua abang-adik itu membopong orang tua mereka pulang ke rumah. Usai acara penguburan, ketika hendak membagi harta warisan yang ditinggalkan oleh orang tua mereka, keduanya baru menyadari bahwa orang tua mereka tidak memiliki harta benda, kecuali sebuah tombak pusaka. Menurut adat yang berlaku di daerah itu, apabila orang tua meninggal, maka tombak pusaka jatuh kepada anak sulung. Sesuai hukum adat tersebut, tombak pusaka itu diberikan kepada Datu Dalu, sebagai anak sulung.

Pada suatu hari, Sangmaima ingin meminjam tombak pusaka itu untuk berburu babi di hutan. Ia pun meminta ijin kepada abangnya.
“Bang, bolehkah aku pinjam tombak pusaka itu?”
“Untuk keperluan apa, Dik?”
“Aku ingin berburu babi hutan.”
“Aku bersedia meminjamkan tombak itu, asalkan kamu sanggup menjaganya jangan sampai hilang.”
“Baiklah, Bang! Aku akan merawat dan menjaganya dengan baik.”

Setelah itu, berangkatlah Sangmaima ke hutan. Sesampainya di hutan, ia pun melihat seekor babi hutan yang sedang berjalan melintas di depannya. Tanpa berpikir panjang, dilemparkannya tombak pusaka itu ke arah binatang itu. “Duggg…!!!” Tombak pusaka itu tepat mengenai lambungnya. Sangmaima pun sangat senang, karena dikiranya babi hutan itu sudah roboh. Namun, apa yang terjadi? Ternyata babi hutan itu melarikan diri masuk ke dalam semak-semak.

“Wah, celaka! Tombak itu terbawa lari, aku harus mengambilnya kembali,” gumam Sangmaima dengan perasaan cemas.

Ia pun segera mengejar babi hutan itu, namun pengejarannya sia-sia. Ia hanya menemukan gagang tombaknya di semak-semak. Sementara mata tombaknya masih melekat pada lambung babi hutan yang melarikan diri itu. Sangmaima mulai panik.

“Waduh, gawat! Abangku pasti akan marah kepadaku jika mengetahui hal ini,” gumam Sangmaima.

Namun, babi hutan itu sudah melarikan diri masuk ke dalam hutan. Akhirnya, ia pun memutuskan untuk kembali ke rumah dan memberitahukan hal itu kepada Abangnya.

“Maaf, Bang! Aku tidak berhasil menjaga tombak pusaka milik Abang. Tombak itu terbawa lari oleh babi hutan,” lapor Sangmaima.

“Aku tidak mau tahu itu! Yang jelas kamu harus mengembalikan tombok itu, apa pun caranya,” kata Datu Dalu kepada adiknya dengan nada kesal.”
Baiklah, Bang! Hari ini juga aku akan mencarinya,” jawab Sangmaima.
“Sudah, jangan banyak bicara! Cepat berangkat!” perintah Datu Dalu.

Saat itu pula Sangmaima kembali ke hutan untuk mencari babi hutan itu. Pencariannya kali ini ia lakukan dengan sangat hati-hati. Ia menelesuri jejak kaki babi hutan itu hingga ke tengah hutan. Sesampainya di tengah hutan, ia menemukan sebuah lubang besar yang mirip seperti gua. Dengan hati-hati, ia menyurusi lubang itu sampai ke dalam. Alangkah terkejutnya Sangmaima, ternyata di dalam lubang itu ia menemukan sebuah istana yang sangat megah.
“Aduhai, indah sekali tempat ini,” ucap Sangmaima dengan takjub.
“Tapi, siapa pula pemilik istana ini?” tanyanya dalam hati.

Oleh karena penasaran, ia pun memberanikan diri masuk lebih dalam lagi. Tak jauh di depannya, terlihat seorang wanita cantik sedang tergeletak merintih kesakitan di atas pembaringannya. Ia kemudian menghampirinya, dan tampaklah sebuah mata tombak menempel di perut wanita cantik itu. “Sepertinya mata tombak itu milik Abangku,” kata Sangmaima dalam hati. Setelah itu, ia pun menyapa wanita cantik itu.
“Hai, gadis cantik! Siapa kamu?” tanya Sangmaima.
“Aku seorang putri raja yang berkuasa di istana ini.”
“Kenapa mata tombak itu berada di perutmu?”
“Sebenarnya babi hutan yang kamu tombak itu adalah penjelmaanku.”
“Maafkan aku, Putri! Sungguh aku tidak tahu hal itu.”
“Tidak apalah, Tuan! Semuanya sudah terlanjur. Kini aku hanya berharap Tuan bisa menyembuhkan lukaku.”

Berbekal ilmu pengobatan yang diperoleh dari ayahnya ketika masih hidup, Sangmaima mampu mengobati luka wanita itu dengan mudahnya. Setelah wanita itu sembuh dari sakitnya, ia pun berpamitan untuk mengembalikan mata tombak itu kepada abangnya.

Abangnya sangat gembira, karena tombak pusaka kesayangannya telah kembali ke tangannya. Untuk mewujudkan kegembiraan itu, ia pun mengadakan selamatan, yaitu pesta adat secara besar-besaran. Namun sayangnya, ia tidak mengundang adiknya, Sangmaima, dalam pesta tersebut. Hal itu membuat adiknya merasa tersinggung, sehingga adiknya memutuskan untuk mengadakan pesta sendiri di rumahnya dalam waktu yang bersamaan. Untuk memeriahkan pestanya, ia mengadakan pertunjukan dengan mendatangkan seorang wanita yang dihiasi dengan berbagai bulu burung, sehingga menyerupai seekor burung Ernga. Pada saat pesta dilangsungkan, banyak orang yang datang untuk melihat pertunjukkan itu.

Sementara itu, pesta yang dilangsungkan di rumah Datu Dalu sangat sepi oleh pengunjung. Setelah mengetahui adiknya juga melaksanakan pesta dan sangat ramai pengunjungnya, ia pun bermaksud meminjam pertunjukan itu untuk memikat para tamu agar mau datang ke pestanya.
“Adikku! Bolehkah aku pinjam pertunjukanmu itu?”

“Aku tidak keberatan meminjamkan pertunjukan ini, asalkan Abang bisa menjaga wanita burung Ernga ini jangan sampai hilang.”
“Baiklah, Adikku! Aku akan menjaganya dengan baik.”

Setelah pestanya selesai, Sangmaima segera mengantar wanita burung Ernga itu ke rumah abangnya, lalu berpamitan pulang. Namun, ia tidak langsung pulang ke rumahnya, melainkan menyelinap dan bersembunyi di langit-langit rumah abangnya. Ia bermaksud menemui wanita burung Ernga itu secara sembunyi-sembunyi pada saat pesta abangnya selesai.

Waktu yang ditunggu-tunggu pun tiba. Pada malam harinya, Sangmaima berhasil menemui wanita itu dan berkata:

Hai, Wanita burung Ernga! Besok pagi-pagi sekali kau harus pergi dari sini tanpa sepengetahuan abangku, sehingga ia mengira kamu hilang.”
“Baiklah, Tuan!” jawab wanita itu.
Keesokan harinya, Datu Dalu sangat terkejut.

Wanita burung Ernga sudah tidak di kamarnya. Ia pun mulai cemas, karena tidak berhasil menjaga wanita burung Ernga itu. “Aduh, Gawat! Adikku pasti akan marah jika mengetahui hal ini,” gumam Datu Dalu. Namun, belum ia mencarinya, tiba-tiba adiknya sudah berada di depan rumahnya.
“Bang! Aku datang ingin membawa pulang wanita burung Ernga itu.
Di mana dia?” tanya Sangmaima pura-pura tidak tahu.
“Maaf Adikku! Aku telah lalai, tidak bisa menjaganya. Tiba-tiba saja dia menghilang dari kamarnya,” jawab Datu Dalu gugup.
“Abang harus menemukan burung itu,” seru Sangmaima.
“Dik! Bagaimana jika aku ganti dengan uang?” Datu Dalu menawarkan.

Sangmaima tidak bersedia menerima ganti rugi dengan bentuk apapun. Akhirnya pertengkaran pun terjadi, dan perkelahian antara adik dan abang itu tidak terelakkan lagi. Keduanya pun saling menyerang satu sama lain dengan jurus yang sama, sehingga perkelahian itu tampak seimbang, tidak ada yang kalah dan menang.

Datu Dalu kemudian mengambil lesung lalu dilemparkan ke arah adiknya. Namun sang Adik berhasil menghindar, sehingga lesung itu melayang tinggi dan jatuh di kampung Sangmaima. Tanpa diduga, tempat jatuhnya lesung itu tiba-tiba berubah menjadi sebuah danau. Oleh masyarakat setempat, danau tersebut diberi nama Danau Si Losung.

Sementara itu, Sangmaima ingin membalas serangan abangnya. Ia pun mengambil piring lalu dilemparkan ke arah abangnya. Datu Dalu pun berhasil menghindar dari lemparan adiknya, sehingga piring itu jatuh di kampung Datu Dalu yang pada akhirnya juga menjadi sebuah danau yang disebut dengan Danau Si Pinggan.

Demikianlah cerita tentang asal-mula terjadinya Danau Si Losung dan Danau Si Pinggan di daerah Silahan, Kecamatan Lintong Ni Huta, Kabupaten Tapanuli Utara.

Cerita di atas termasuk ke dalam cerita rakyat teladan yang mengandung pesan-pesan moral. Ada dua pesan moral yang dapat diambil sebagai pelajaran, yaitu agar tidak bersifat curang dan egois.
- sifat curang. Sifat ini tercermin pada sifat Sangmaima yang telah menipu abangnya dengan menyuruh wanita burung Ernga pergi dari rumah abangnya secara sembunyi-sembunyi, sehingga abangnya mengira wanita burung Ernga itu hilang. Dengan demikian, abangnya akan merasa bersalah kepadanya.
- sifat egois. Sifat ini tercermin pada perilaku Sangmaima yang tidak mau memaafkan abangnya dan tidak bersedia menerima ganti rugi dalam bentuk apapun dari abangnya.
note: Ernga - kumbang hijau yang menyerupai burung, yang sangat nyaring suaranya ketika menjerit pada waktu maghrib.(sumber:


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sitor Situmorang remembers his Batak childhood

Wind and Water of Lake Toba

Wind and Water of this lake,
remembering I still hear,
their tales in silence,
tales over thousands of years,
about the past and,
the future,
wishing to understand,
what childhood meant,
whispers of conscience,
of endless time,
in the sinking seconds,
spell-bound melting away,
Water-weeds sway,
At the very bottom,

(The latest poem written on April, 1 by Sitor Situmorang. Temporary translation, by Kunang Helmi).

Sitor Situmorang who was born on Oct. 24, 1924, in Harianboho, Samosir, North Sumatra, is a poet, writer and journalist.

Sitor said last week that he had left the shores of his home on the northwest shores of Lake Toba as a young boy by boat to continue his education. His parents had to come to the dock to hear the latest news of their son from the captain of the boat that plied across the waters from the school and their family house.

One of Sitor's close friends in Paris is the almost 100-year-old painter from Medan, Salim, who has lived in Europe, based mainly in Paris, since around 1918. Here talking to Salim in Neuilly, Sitor could hardly get a word in. But Salim still can recite one of Sitor's poems by heart. A poem that Sitor admitted to having almost forgotten.

However, what Sitor has not forgotten is his attachment to the Batak country, and his childhood, steeped in Batak myths and way of life, starting in the third decade of last century: "What I long for is an even more comprehensive exhibition of all things Batak!

This here in Paris -- and I mean only the special show, 'North of Sumatra, the Batak', may be the essence of Batak culture, but to me, it represents only fragments of my memory," Sitor said. "I can reconstruct so many things in my remembrance, but what can bring back the essence of my life spent there and childhood? The smells, the conversations, the laughter and the sorrows -- perhaps that is why I began to write poetry.

"Photos and artifacts are but the beautiful, tangible, material proof of something which has fast disappeared; in fact into many museums, collections and memories. "How can people hope to re-construct the past glory and chagrins of the Batak people? And I am not criticizing this show at all, but it is a question of different perspectives!

Sitor said that in the past 40 years it had been the official policy of the Indonesian government to preserve cultural artifacts, yet so many material artifacts had disappeared from around Lake Toba.

These artifacts are not to be found in Indonesia, not even in private collections.(Jakarta Post)


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Keterkaitan Uli Kozok dengan Sastra Batak

Dr. Ulrich Kozok (Hildesheim, Niedersachsen, Jerman, 26 Mei 1959) adalah seorang peneliti bahasa, budaya dan sastra Batak. Uli Kozok lahir di Hildesheim dan bersekolah di kota Norden, negara bagian Niedersachsen, di sebelah barat laut Jerman. Kozok menikah dengan seorang wanita suku Melayu dan dikaruniai dua anak.

Keinginan untuk melihat dunia, mempertemukan Uli Kozok dengan Indonesia. Selepas menamatkan sekolah menengah atas, Ketua Departemen Bahasa Indonesia Universitas Hawaii di Honolulu, Amerika Serikat, ini awalnya hanya ingin mengunjungi kerabatnya di Australia.

“Di peta saya lihat Indonesia, saya putuskan singgah di negara ini,” ujar Uli yang cintanya pada Indonesia berawal dari kebetulan. Saat mengunjungi Medan tahun 1981, teman seperjalanan Uli sakit. Dia menunda pergi ke Australia dan memutuskan tinggal sementara di Medan. Selama itu Uli mengisi waktu dengan belajar bahasa dan budaya setempat. Sekembalinya dari Indonesia, Uli yang saat itu belajar arkeologi di Universitas Hamburg menghadiri simposium tentang kebudayaan dan bahasa di Sumatera Utara yang dihadiri pakar dari Jerman dan negara lain. Sejak itu ia tertarik mempelajari budaya dan bahasa Batak.

“Menemani teman seperjalanan yang sakit, itu kebetulan saya yang pertama. Awalnya saya tertarik bahasa Karo, kemudian saya belajar bahasa Toba, Angkola-Mandailing, dan Pakpak. Lalu, saya putuskan untuk belajar pada Jurusan Bahasa dan Budaya Austronesia,” ujarnya. Guru pertama Uli, Profesor Reiner Carle, filolog yang ahli bahasa Batak. Secara kebetulan Uli mendapat beasiswa Pemerintah Jerman, DAAD (Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst) tahun 1983-1985 untuk menjadi mahasiswa tamu di jurusan Sastra Daerah Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU).

Saat itu Uli menilai kondisi perkuliahan Jurusan Sastra Daerah USU sangat memprihatinkan. “Praktis saya enggak dapat apa-apa selama belajar. Banyak mahasiswa dan dosen yang kurang paham naskah Batak,” katanya. Menurut Uli, kelangkaan sumber naskah Batak di Medan dan kota lain di Sumut yang menyebabkan kondisi tersebut. “Koleksi naskah Batak di Jerman hampir 600, di Belanda jumlahnya ribuan, sedangkan di Indonesia mungkin hanya 200-an,” kata Uli.

Bahasa dan budaya Karo, yang menjadi awal ketertarikan Uli, dia teruskan dengan meneliti bilangbilang, puisi percintaan masyarakat Karo yang ditulis pada bambu. Ada sekitar 125 naskah dari sekitar 20 koleksi bilangbilang di seluruh dunia. Ia terjemahkan puisi itu dalam bahasa Jerman dan dianalisis dalam kaitan fungsi aksara pada masyarakat Karo. “Bilangbilang itu ditulis bukan untuk dibaca karena sangat kecil hurufnya. Tetapi, hampir semua masyarakat Karo yang mengerti tentang bilangbilang pasti tahu apa yang tertulis di dalamnya,” ujar Uli.

Disertasi tentang bilangbilang mengantar Uli meraih gelar Master Artium di Universitas Hamburg tahun 1989. Pada tahun itu pula ia menikahi teman kuliah semasa di USU, Febrina Marisa.

Huruf Batak di komputer

Uli melanjutkan studi doktoral dengan tema sama, puisi percintaan pada masyarakat Batak. Kali ini tak hanya bilangbilang dari Karo, tetapi ditambah andung dari Mandailing. Masa saat ia mengambil studi doktoral ini, menurut Uli, adalah masa paling sengsara dalam hidupnya. “Saya tidak punya pekerjaan, sementara harus menghidupi istri dan membiayai kuliah doktoral,” katanya.

Pada saat itulah ibu angkatnya, Hildegard Peters, memperkenalkan Uli dengan Pater Matthaus, pastor yang juga kolektor lukisan. Ibu angkatnya adalah pelukis, yang karyanya dibeli Pater Matthaus. “Salah satu karya ibu angkat itu lukisan saya saat masih kecil. Sebelum bertemu Pater Matthaus, saya dapat surat dari beliau. Dalam surat itu disertakan uang 500 DM." Uang itu digunakan Uli menyambung hidup selama menekuni naskah Batak di perpustakaan KITLV Universitas Leiden, Belanda. Ia kadang terpaksa menumpang makan kepada mahasiswa asal Indonesia, Ema Nababan. Gelar doktor diraihnya tahun 1993.

Setahun kemudian surat lamaran Uli untuk mengajar Bahasa Indonesia di Universitas Auckland, Selandia Baru, diterima. Itu pun kebetulan karena dosen utamanya, seorang Belanda, langsung menerima dia sebagai asisten. Tahun 1998 Uli bertemu Michael Everson, ahli linguistik sekaligus desainer jenis huruf (font) untuk komputer dan media digital. Michael meminta Uli membuat software agar aksara Batak bisa ditulis dalam sebuah komputer. Ia lalu meneliti berbagai naskah dan pustaka Batak.

Dari empat jenis aksara Batak, yakni Mandailing, Toba, Pakpak, dan Karo, ia lalu membuat varian yang paling umum dari keempatnya. Dengan software itu, orang yang tak mengerti aksara Batak bisa menulis menggunakan huruf Batak di komputer. Penelusuran yang ia lakukan dari sejarah dan penyebaran aksara Batak mempertemukan Uli dengan naskah tua Melayu yang ditulis dengan huruf dari rumpun yang sama, surat (huruf) Pascapalawa. Surat Pascapalawa atau dikenal sebagai aksara Kawi ada hampir di seluruh Sumatera, mulai dari Lampung, Rejang-Lebong, Kerinci, Minangkabau, hingga Mandailing.

Lebih lanjut, penelusuran ini mempertemukannya dengan Kitab Undang-undang Tanjung Tanah, naskah Melayu tertua. Naskah ini ditemukan Petrus Voorhoeve, pegawai bahasa zaman Belanda pada 1941. Naskah Melayu tertua itu sempat menghilang puluhan tahun sebelum ditemukan kembali tahun 2002. Naskah itu sempat mengalami masa perang Belanda-Jepang, perang revolusi merebut kemerdekaan, sampai gempa bumi. Namun, kondisinya tetap seperti yang digambarkan Voorhoeve ketika Uli menemukannya di Kabupaten Kerinci, Provinsi Jambi.

“Waktu itu saya sedang meneliti paleografi aksara surat di Sumatera,” tutur Uli dalam dialog dengan peserta Ekspedisi Pamalayu di Kanagarian Siguntur Kecamatan Sitiung, Kabupaten Dharmasraya, Sumatera Barat, akhir Desember 2007. Ia mengungkapkan, penulis naskah Tanjung Tanah adalah Dipati Kuja Ali, petinggi Kerajaan Malayu. Penulisan naskah itu diperkirakan saat Adityawarman memerintah Kerajaan Malayu atau sekitar abad XIV.

Nama Perkampungan

Secara umum, naskah Tanjung Tanah berisi undang-undang yang mengatur kehidupan sehari-hari warga Kerinci serta denda yang dijatuhkan kepada pelanggar. Ukuran denda masa itu bervariasi, mulai dari kupang, mas, tahil, hingga kati.

Tanjung Tanah adalah nama sebuah perkampungan di Kerinci. Ditunjang dengan hawa yang memadai, sebab Tanjung Tanah terletak 800 meter di atas permukaan laut, naskah ini bertahan hingga ratusan tahun. “Waktu itu, tahun 2002, saya sudah menduga naskah ini dibuat sekitar abad XIV,” katanya. Sebagian besar pakar aksara dan sejarawan yang ditemui Uli meragukan pendapatnya. Mereka berprinsip tak ada naskah sebelum abad XV. Setahun setelah naskah ditemukan, ia kembali mendatangi pemilik naskah. Ia bermaksud meminta sedikit sampel kertas naskah untuk diuji di laboratorium.

Dari pemeriksaan di Rafter Radiocarbon Laboratory, Wellington, Selandia Baru, diperkirakan naskah itu berusia lebih dari 600 tahun. Voorhoeve pun menduga naskah ini ditulis sebelum agama Islam sampai ke pelosok Melayu.

“Saya memperkirakan naskah ditulis pada masa kejayaan Adityawarman, sekitar tahun 1345-1377,” ujarnya.

Aksara yang digunakan dalam naskah Tanjung Tanah juga unik karena tak menggunakan aksara Palawa, tetapi Pascapalawa. Dari penelitian Tokyo Restoration & Conservation Center, Oktober 2004, diperkirakan Sumatera sudah memproduksi kertas berbahan baku batang pohon Daluang (Broussonetia papyrifera Vent). (oleh: Khaerudin & Agnes/Kompas)


Perlu Revitalisasi Sastra Batak

Medan, Kompas - Sastra tutur Batak semakin tenggelam dan tidak banyak lagi dikenal. Banyak karya sastra tutur yang nyaris hilang karena tidak ada lagi penutur dan peminat.

Upaya revitalisasi diperlukan untuk mempertahankan keberadaan sastra tutur Batak. "Barangkali hanya ada beberapa bentuk sastra tutur Batak Toba yang masih eksis, seperti umpama, umpasa, dan tarombo. Lainnya sudah hampir hilang," kata staf Pusat Pengkajian dan Dokumentasi Kebudayaan Batak Manguji Nababan, Kamis (12/10).

Umpama adalah sastra tutur berupa pantun, begitu juga umpasa yang berisi doa dan pengharapan. Tarombo adalah kisah tentang silsilah atau tambo yang menerangkan asal-usul manusia.

Umpama dan umpasa masih bisa bertahan karena sering digunakan dalam pesta-pesta adat Batak Toba, sedangkan tarombo masih eksis karena masyarakat Batak sangat peduli dengan asal-usulnya.

Namun, sebagian besar sastra tutur Batak mulai tenggelam.Sastra tutur tonggo-tonggo hanya eksis di kalangan masyarakat Parmalim. Sastra tutur huling-hulingan atau hutinsa, torsa-torsa, sitomponen, sigeokgeok, tutur parhataan, dan poda, bagaikan hidup segan mati tak mau.

Bahkan, sastra tutur andung, nyanyian sendu untuk orang meninggal, sudah hilang. "Andung dilarang karena dianggap sebagai produk animisme," kata Nababan. Hanya andung-andung, turunan andung berupa pelipur lara, yang masih bisa bertahan.

Sastra tutur Batak Karo juga bernasib sama. Seniman Pulumun Ginting yang mempelajari sastra tutur Karo mengatakan, banyak orang Karo yang tidak tahu cerita rakyat atau sastra tutur lainnya. "Saya pernah menceritakan kisah yang dituturkan dalam iringan alat musik, mereka bertanya dari mana saya mendapat cerita itu," katanya. (fro/Kompas 2006)


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ndang agoan

Ndang agoan naso parmas, ndang agoan horbo naso parhorbo.

Pesan: Yang tidak punya emas takkan akan kehilangan emas, yang tidak punya kerbau takkan kehilangan kerbau.