Taman Mini – Sidelines – magz.tempo.co
I’ve by no means been to lovely Indonesia within the miniature park, generally known as Taman Mini. Let me right this. In my complete life, I’ve solely been there as soon as, at evening, to attend a marriage reception. I lastly noticed a part of Taman Mini up shut. This was in 2016, practically 20 years after the collapse of the New Order.
In 1971, when the “park” was constructed, I vowed by no means to go there whereas the New Order was in energy …
The development of Taman Mini had been accompanied by protests – a sequence of protests that have been stopped by violence. College students and another residents felt that this bold plan was an enormous waste of nationwide funds (Rp 10.5 billion within the early Seventies) for one thing that had no clear profit for individuals in distant areas, however which needed to be constructed because it was the thought of the president’s spouse, and subsequently couldn’t be refused. The protests have been brutally stopped. The forces semi-secretly attacked college students who joined the opposition. Some have been hacked, some have been shot and a few have been arrested, together with Arief Budiman.
The protests failed. The development of Taman Mini went easily.
True, since then the park has happy thousands and thousands of individuals. However I nonetheless did not need to go. I could not assist however see it as monumental kitsch. Kitsch: one thing that claims to be “basic” however is in truth the product of dangerous style.
At Taman Mini, this “tradition” product is admittedly dangerous: that evening, leaving the marriage reception, I went to the “Central Java” pavilion. I noticed a line of Borobudur: awkward and cramped in a slender courtyard – an pointless affix. The entire construct was attempting arduous to look unique, being tremendous Javanese, however felt shrunken and faux. In the meantime, a walkway just like the one at Fairytale Palace at Disneyland had been in-built shiny orange. Kitsch of the world unite. And like different tasteless merchandise – TV cleaning soap operas for instance – it might attraction to lots of people, nevertheless it’s principally empty glitter.
Kitsch, sure, additionally a cliché. The idea behind constructing Taman Mini was the repetition of frozen range. It was a continuation of how Dutch rulers seen the variety of the “Dutch East Indies”. With the colonial gaze, with the need to dominate successfully, the inhabitants of the archipelago has organized itself into secure ethnic items.
There was the divide and impera impetus on this building. However it was additionally a part of the rationalism of the paperwork. To control is to manage, and to manage is to create “manageable” objects. The leaders make classes, taxonomies, “classifications” from present variations. In classification, there’s abstraction. In abstraction, range or concrete ‘distinction’ is reworked into neat packaging – with out battle or hybridity, with out mutation.
And we’ve got perpetuated the previous cliché that Indonesia is a nation made up of “ethnicities”. However I do not know (and also you in all probability do not know both) when this understanding of “ethnicity” started, how “ethnicity” is shaped, what the phrase means, the place “ethnicity” derives from. identify and from whom.
I used to be very impressed with the analysis of Daniel Perret of the French College of the Far East which was printed in e-book kind in Indonesian translation as Kolonialism and Etnisitas: Batak and Melayu di Sumatra Timur Laut (Colonialism and Ethnicity: Batak and Malay in Northeast Sumatra) (Jakarta 2010).
Perret discusses the time period “Batak”. Within the 18th century, British officers and authors referred to as “Batak” a “nation”. A century later the Dutch time period used was’volk“. However even this idea was deemed inadequate to summarize the fact of plurality; subsequently the plural phrase ‘volken‘took place. The phrases “the Karo individuals” didn’t replicate the plurality on the bottom both: behind this kind of coherent unity hid “a range of ethnic teams from varied areas”. Thus, the “Batak” ethnic group was in truth “the Batak ethnic group”. It was even debated whether or not the “Batak faith” was one.
As Perret reveals, that is in all probability why the time period “Batak” doesn’t exist in pre-colonial literature. the Pustaha Kembaren and Pustaha Ginting which have been printed within the late Twenties didn’t point out the phrase “Batak” or “Karo”. Solely the names of Marga (clans) are talked about. Within the Toba and Simalungun texts, the phrase “Batak” can’t be discovered. An anthropologist who visited the Lake Toba highlands within the early twentieth century famous that the entire inhabitants of “Batak Lands” “all the time referred to themselves by the identify of their tribal designation.” The time period “Batak” was used to consult with everybody from different “tribes”, with out exception.
However now we’re forgetting that. We wish issues to be easy. Land administration, mass media and the census ignore the complexities of identification. Individuals need issues to be sensible. Thus, the that means of “Batak” was simplified, synonymous with “non-Malay”, “non-Acehnais” … and so forth. Perret, by deconstructing this, reveals identification as a course of; its that means nonetheless requires a keep. There is no such thing as a definition that works ceaselessly, there isn’t any base character ‘Batak’, or ‘Aceh’ or ‘Java’ … We by no means perceive ‘Batak’ in differance.
However Taman Mini would not perceive this. The variations are symbolized by one thing fastened: the homes. In keeping with the desires of the individuals who constructed the park, the identities needed to be clear. If essential, ignoring the others: the to jog the type home represents central Java, whereas ignoring the homes of Kudus; the gadang-stye Minangkabau home makes us overlook that there’s Mentawai in West Sumatra. Taman Mini displays the concept life is simply the established order – as if in each phenomenon, each distinction, there’s solely the everlasting.
However we all know that the established order is simply false stability. The climate is altering. The “new order” has collapsed. Taman Mini has turn out to be commonplace. Although the kitsch and cliché proceed, and we – following our personal dangerous tastes – nonetheless see nationwide range set just like the flags of Taman Mini.