Reading Circle: Timur (English)
Eight readers from Eastern Indonesia read and shared their readings, and they were as follows:
Read the work of Jemmy Piran titled “Perempuan Bermata Gurita” (Women with Octopus Eyes)
According to Deasy, Jemmy Piran has succeeded in conveying the message of the novel “Perempuan Bermata Gurita.” Because it felt like having a sensory experience. I could taste the rancid smell of sea, the salt water, and the touch of shells. Even when Jemmy tells in detail about the female character who is the incarnation of an octopus.“
Jemmy conveys issues, such as women being objectified by coastal communities in this book. Jemmy also reminds us of the Medusa myth, who was cursed at once by many people. Deasy also expresses his interest in Jemmy’s depiction of other characters, such as the book’s gorgeous female characters. Men lust for these ladies, but in the midst of the novel, Jemmy turns the character upside down. Despite her beauty, the woman was despised as she was considered to be a curse.
Eko reads a book by Emil Amir entitled Sala Dewi, which means “not a woman”. This book is highly relevant to the things that are happening in the east right now. The book tells about customs, forests, and a land symbolized as a mother. This story is very close to reality in the East, such as locality, truth, violence, destruction and everything is complexly woven in the plot and flow of the story.”
Land is our mother, where we live.
Give birth only once a year.
It is within our custom to harvest the results.
More than that, it is against nature.
Scraping is destructive.
The tide teaches us not to be greedy in cultivating the land.
Learn from the old forest.
Recorded in black soil.
Eko also talked about a palm tree that men are not allowed to touch. For the Moluccans, especially in villages whose livelihoods are as mayang farmers, this palm tree is a mother. The tree will not abort Mayang water. Only women are allowed to hold the Mayang or the palm tree. He also stated that Papuans and Maluku people believe that the forest is the mother, the forest is the woman. Certain tribes are opposed to technological advancements such as road construction and internet access. They believe that when outsiders enter and touch the forest, the forest will be damaged and even destroyed. Her virginity will be lost, which may bring bad luck to areas in her close surroundings.
In addition, Eko also added a little explanation about women written in this book. One of them is how widows are always a byword in society and have bad connotations that lead to exclusion or neglect in society. Women (widows) are always faulted for something. It was as if the widow became a curse after a bad incident occurred, and blame was placed on her. Even when she was on the verge of death, this woman was marginalized.
Read a book by Felix K. Nesi titled Orang Oetimu. Ilda begins reading this novel by expressing her attraction with the paragraph on page 79 that discusses Sergeant Ipi’s identity. No matter how good he was or how productive he was, Sergeant Ipi was still Portuguese. He’s not your Oeti people. This novel, according to Ilda, is about violence, whether physical or psychological. How the Portuguese invaded the area and perpetrated violence against the Easterners is depicted in this novel. Not to mention the Indonesians who came with the intention of helping, yet there was a reason for their presence. Physical violence was also perpetrated by the TNI on behalf of Indonesia.
Church authorities were also involved in the violence. Felix describes the priests regarding their sexual activities, even the practice of big capitalism is carried out in the name of education. There are also gender issues, such as the practice of sexual violence and how Sergeant Ipi was abused during his circumcision.
According to Ilda, this novel can be read quickly because of the fast rhythm. While exploring forms, Ilda finds literary journalism in this novel, but the style is more journalistic. However, the side effect of this form of writing, the storage becomes more conical. It’s like a journal written as events unfolded.
Jemmy Piran reads a collection of short stories by Deasy Tirayoh. Jemmy took intervals in reading the thirteen short stories from Deasy Tirayoh’s book. This short story, he claims, has an ordinary theme yet extraordinary revelation. With only 3 or 4 short stories depicting stories from the East, it begs the question of why the author does not focus solely on the East. The theme is not too strong and the issues raised have not been fully explored.
In addition, Jemmy argues that the diction does not correspond to the theme raised in the book’s short story.
Felix K. Nesi
Eko Saputra Poceratu’s book titled “Hari Minggu Ramai Sekali” (Crowded Sunday) was read by Felix K. Nesi. There are 21 poems about Maluku and Papua’s lives. The short stories in this book depict small communities and social inequity, including social problems with government intervention.
In this short story, Eko focuses on lower class people, such as those who are unable to find work and the violence they experienced, as well as a church that has been turned into a business district. According to Felix, Eko tells a story about what happened in Maluku and Papua through this book. Eko also writes about things that are taken for granted, but have a significant impact. That is exactly what Eko wrote in his book,
The poem “Grass and Cows” is Felix’s favorite. He reflects on his reading of this poem by stating that the lives of the villagers are trapped in the lives of modern people, yet they are not connected to their past lives.
Felix also mentioned that the Ambonese Malay language used in this writing was straightforward. Furthermore, Felix considers the poem’s themes to be rather too diverse.
Felix ends his reading with a comment about the book’s theme of social inequality. He recognizes that city dwellers or modern people live well, but that their deaths are not peaceful, being chased by agendas, old on the road. The person then considers one, or even a few, things that might help them relax, such as turning to poetry or art. And then that person comes to the village, seeking culture, such as weaving, for example. People in the village, on the other hand, sing every day. There’s a song every time they weave, and there’s a song every time they mow the lawn. And the people of the village’s only concern: is what they will eat tomorrow.
Gody read the book by Ilda Karwayu and gave the title for this reading, “Walking with Ilda, Close Eyes, Open Mind”.According to Gody, Ilda’s poetry book mentions the word body 30 times, such as: tangled threads in your body, tangled wires in your body, and the body of a wall clock in your own house.
In this book, Gody sees this female character as a seahorse that hits a coral reef when she has to go to school. Puan notices things at school that she doesn’t seem to like, but she perseveres until she discovers herself as a female poet.
Gody also added that we are too busy peeling onions, to the point that we forget to peel sentences. It’s difficult to find good books in schools that are able to attract children’s attention. It’s not wrong if a child attends school but is unable to pique their interest in reading. In this case, Gody as a teacher cannot blame the child. Ultimately, Gody mentioned two poems that interest him, namely “When You Have to Get Up In the Morning” and “Bullying”
In this reading, Emil reads a book by Erni Aladjai titled “Haniyah dan Ala di Rumah Teteruga” (Haniyah and Ala at the Teteruga House). In this novel, Emil mentions the theme of violence is revealed through the parable of hot water spilled on the ground. There are four different types of violence that are discussed in this novel.
First, educational violence by educators or bullying by classmates due to their differing physical conditions. According to Emil, Erni’s harsh criticism stems from the fact that schools use harsh methods to educate students without knowing whether or not these methods are effective.
Second, violence perpetrated by women against women themselves, this section focuses on infidelity. What is highlighted in general is the woman who became involved in an affair. While in reality, it is the man who conceals his status that creates the opportunity for it. It is this notion that women (pelakor) must be destroyed is what draws Erni’s attention.
The third, is violence against people who are considered non-religious. The villagers consider one of the characters in this book to be dangerous. Villagers, according to Emil, have a tendency to form prejudices without first checking the facts.
Fourth, there is broader violence, specifically in relation to colonialism. The clove tree in this novel was exploited by the colonizers. In fact, there was a Clove Marketing Support Agency (BPPC) during the New Order era that monopolized the clove trade. In her story, Erni also criticized the cloves.
According to Emil, Erni is able to assemble her work in a language that is simple and easy to understand, as well as unique. It’s like a grandmother telling a story to her grandson. Reading this book will not be difficult for children.
Emil also added, if the violence in this novel does not find a common thread, the violence will become fragmented. Emil also suggested that Teteruga’s house could be used as a stepping stone to unravel the violence that Erni mentioned in her novel.
Gody Usnaat’s book of poetry titled Mama Menganyam Noken was read by Erni Aladjai. Erni mentions there is a therapeutic effect she felt when reading a poem from Gody, as it gives a feeling of happiness. Almost all of Gody’s poems are gentle and lighthearted.
When Erni saw Gody’s poems, she realised that the theme that was being explored was the relationship between humans and nature, as well as the Papuan people and their land. This can be found in a number of metaphors conveyed through his poems, such as sago, areca nut, matoa tree, and cassowary.
There is a particular poem read by Erni that describes something organic which is taken from Papuan elements. Erni discovered many everyday Papuan languages embedded in almost all of Gody’s poems. This very eastern vocabulary reaches the same level as Indonesian in Gody’s poems. According to Erni, the poetic structure is both aesthetic and political.
Erni also revealed the poet’s response to one’s Indonesianness towards Papua and its land. There are those who try to criticize the poet for not paying attention to the education system, environmental exploitation, and land and hamlets that have changed since the construction began. Erni saw the anxiety of a Papuan child who was being bombarded by modern things. There was restlessness in someone who grew up in the land and went through such changes.
There are witty poems, one of which is poetry that interprets that the poet lacks access to information. Upon reading this, Erni reflected on similar conditions in her hometown. To get information, she had to go up the hill to look for a signal.