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Tjenderawasih: A 1950’s Indonesian Children’s Journal in the Library of Southeast Asian Studies in Frankfurt

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Indonesian cultural journals have played a great role in the production of modern Indonesian literature and in the Indonesian publishing scene in general (Kratz 1994). As many authors did not have the financial means to have their works printed in book form, authors of short stories and poetry had only the choice to get published in journals and newspapers. Ulrich Kratz has demonstrated the great importance of journals for the production of modern Indonesian literature in his monumental bibliography of nearly 900 pages. It is not surprising therefore that those cultural journals of nation-wide importance like Horison, Zenith, Mimbar Indonesia, Basis, Pujangga Baru or Medan Sastera, to mention only a few, are comparatively well available in European libraries and collections. Local periodicals like Pawon (Surakarta), Puisi (Magelang), Catatan Kebudayaan (Denpasar) or Genta Budaya (Padang) which often appeared for only a few years are far less represented. Cultural journals for children and young readers are nearly totally absent in Western collections.
The Library of Southeast Asian Studies at Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main acquired in 2011 the collection of books of Prof. Ulrich Kratz, formerly professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Ulrich Kratz was a regular visitor of the Malay world since the early 1970s and acquired many rare titles published locally. His main research interests were literature and culture, so his library consisted of more than 9,000 titles from Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, mainly in Indonesian/Malay.
Among the many periodicals in the collection of Ulrich Kratz is an incomplete set of the first two volumes of the Indonesian childrens’ journal Tjenderawasih: Madjalah Bulanan Anak-Anak (‘Bird of Paradise: Monthly Magazine for Children’), which so far is not listed in the World Cat and thus being unique.

Illustration 1: Front cover of the first volume that was released in September 1951

Its first volume was released in September 1951, and the last available issue is volume 2, Number 7, published in June 1953 (illustration 2). All issues were published by Ganaco, a well-known publishing house in Bandung from the 1950s to the late 1970s. It is not known when the journal ceased its publication.

Illustration 2: Front cover of volume 2 number 1 of Tjenderawasih

The journal describes itself on its back page as a “magazine for our children based on education” (madjalah anak² kita jang berazaskan pendidikan) managed by “experts of education” (ahli² pendidik). Therefore its contents were considered suitable for all classes in Indonesian elementary schools and were adapted to their courses of instruction. What, then, are the contents of Tjenderawasih? We find in it short stories und poetry, inspirational songs, games and riddles, cartoons and illustrations, Hari Raya wishes, reports (e.g. on a soap box derby in Jakarta in 1952) or educational texts on geography (e.g. the Great Chinese Wall, see illustration 3 below) or history (e.g. on Robert Baden Powell and the Boy Scouts movement).

Illustration 3: Tjenderawasih volume 2, number 2, p. 9: Tembok Tiongkok (‘The Great Chinese Wall’)

Short stories, reports, songs and cartoons reflect very well the nationalist spirit of Indonesia in the early 1950s when the country still suffered from the traumata of the Japanese occupation in the Second World War and four years of the Indonesian Revolution 1945-1949. The hilarious cartoon shown below is a good example: Indonesian national schools had to teach the new national language Bahasa Indonesia to native speakers of Javanese, Sundanese, Batak and hundreds of other languages.

Illustration 4: Tjenderawasih volume 2, number 7, p. 23: Politik – Politur

The new language, still being unfamiliar to many, led to funny creations when it came to the formation of new words. Several short stories were written for entertaining its young readership by presenting exotic and adventurous tales like the story of the American Indian girl Mega Putih and the red bear (illustration 5) or the Eskimo boy Ikwa (illustration 6).

Illustration 5: Tjenderawasi volume 2, number 7: p. 5: Mega Putih dan beruang merah (‘Mega Putih and the red bear’)

Illustration 6: Tjenderawasi volume 2, number 2: p. 13: Ikwa Anak Eskimo (‘Ikwa, the Eskimo boy’)

Only occasionally the articles were signed with an author’s name or an indication of the author, e.g. like “Ibu Tjenderawasih”, most likely the editor S. Rukiah herself. The rest remained anonymous.
The editorial staff of Tjenderawasih consisted of several members, by far the most well-known was S. Rukiah (1927-1996). She was one of the most prolific female authors of Indonesian prose literature of the 1950s, her most well-known novel Kedjatuhan dan hati (‘The fall and the heart’) received much acclaimed critics (Rukiah 1950). In 1951 she moved to Bandung to become editor of Tjenderawasih (Rukiah 2011), although the journal’s editiorials were listed only beginning with volume 2, number 2 in December 1952 mentioning her as editor. Later she became member of the communist influenced cultural organization LEKRA and stopped writing after the mass killings of 1965.

As “pedagocial adviser” (penasehat paedagogi) served Sikun Pribadi, who wrote his PhD at Ohio State University in the United States in 1960 and later became professor of educational science at the Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia in Bandung. A permanent member of the editorial staff was Daeng Sutigna (1908-1984), a well-known performer and teacher of Indonesian Angklung music. Sutigna ran courses on Angklung for the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture from 1950 onwards. Further permament members were: 1. A. H. Harahap, author of several reading books for elementary schools together with Oejeng Soewargana, the publisher of Ganaco. Furthermore Harahap wrote a few general introductions on Indonesian geography, e.g. on the island of Madura (Safiudin & Harahap 1956). Haharap was active as author until well into the 1970s, nearly all his works were published by Ganaco; 2. Karnedi, an artist who founded in 1948 the art studio Jiwa Mukti with the well-known painter Barli Sasmitawinata (1921-2007) and Sartono (Mulyadi 2008: 279); 3. E. S. Muljokusumo, a civil servant in the Indonesian Ministry of the Seas and Fishing, who wrote several articles on natural phenomena like the sun, stars, the Indonesian seas and the like; 4. Sudigdo, maybe identical with Muljokusumo; 5. Ibu Suparti, and finally 6. Nn. Rukmini Sudirdjo. On these last three persons no further information was available.

Cartoons were included in the journal on an unregular basis. The magazine was printed partly in colour, but photos and many of the cartoons appeared in black and white. The cartoons were signed with acronyms like “Tosa” for the Si Amin-series (see e.g illustration 7) or “Dana” (Illustration 4). No further information on these cartoonists could be obtained so far. All their cartoons – as well as many other contents in the magazine – show a certain moral or ethics, in particular to strengthen the national spirit among its young readers.

Illustration 7: Tjenderawasi volume 1, number 8, p. 17: Si Amin beladjar merokok (‘Amin learns to smoke’)

A few lines from the anonymous poem Madju dja….lan (‘Way of progress’, volume 1, number 10, 1952, p.3) will illustrate this:

Drap, drap, drap !
Terdengar kaki menderap.
Itulah barisan Sekolah Rakjat
Harapan bangsa, penuh semangat

Beladjar disekolah sungguh-sungguh.
Bekerdja dirumah sungguh-sungguh.
Berbaris dilapangan madju dja…lan !
Itulah anak kemerdekaan …

Drap, drap, drap !
Rhythmic steps can be heard
These are the lines of the People’s School
Hope of the nation, full of spirit.

[They] learn hard in the school.
[They] work hard at home.
[They] line on the square for the way of progress!
These are the children of independence…

Further examples are e.g. a photo series on the celebrations of the national Kartini Day on 21 April 1952 or a report on General Abdul Haris Nasution, the hero of the revolution and one out of only three of Indonesia’s five star generals.

The magazine was published by the Bandung-based publishing house Ganaco, which was active from 1950 onwards until the death of the publisher in 1979. In the 1950s they also had branches in Jakarta and Amsterdam. Its publisher was Oejeng Soewargana (1917-1979; other spellings of his name are Uyeng Suwargana, Oejeng S. Gana, Ujeng S. Wargana or Ujeng Suwargana), a quite well-known figure in the field of education and prolific author of school books and reading books, often co-authored with A. H. Harahap or Amin Singgih (Ensiklopedia 2004, Jilid 15: 170). It is quite interesting to note that Soewargana kept close relations to several high-ranking members of the Indonesian armed forces such as Abdul Haris Nasution and wrote several books on the incidents of 1965, rather from the Orde Baru perspective (Harry Poeze, personal communication), while S. Rukiah as editor of Tjenderawasih was standing on the leftist side.

Ganaco also published in other languages than Indonesian. In the 1950s they produced an English-language magazine Window on the World (see the advertisement in Safiudin & Harahap 1955). In the same period many titles of modern Sundanese literature and on Sundanese language learning came out, but introductory books on member states of the non-aligned movement (e.g. Burma or Saudi-Arabia) were also published.
Tjenderawasih contains no commercial advertisements except those from the publishing house Ganaco itself, although they announced prices for them. Prices ran from 500,- Rupiah (c. 43,- US$) per page, 275,- Rupiah (c. 24 US$) for a half page to 150,- Rupiah (c. 13,- US $) for a quarter page. A yearly subscription of the journal costed 22,50 Rupiah (5,90 US$ in 1951, 1,97 US$ in 1953). Due to its contents and the relatively high subscription rates for Indonesia in the early 1950s the circulation of the magazine was probably limited to young middle and upper class readers of the major urban centres of Java like Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya or Yogyakarta.

References:
Ensiklopedi (2004): Ensiklopedi nasional Indonesia. Jakarta: PT. Delta Pamungkas.
Kratz, Ulrich (1988): A bibliography of Indonesian literature in journals – Bibliografi karya sastra Indonesia dalam majalah. Yogyakarta: Gadjah Mada University Press.
Kratz, Ulrich (1994): La place des revues dans la production littéraire. In: Henri Chambert-Loir (ed.), La littérature indonésienne: une introduction [Cahier d’Archipel 22], pp. 151-158. Paris: Association Archipel.
Mulyadi, Efix [ed.] (2008): The journey of Indonesian painting: the Bentara Budaya Collection. Jakarta: KPG.
Rukiah, S. (1950): Kedjatuhan dan hati. Djakarta: Pudjangga Baru, Special Issue Nov.-Dec. 1950.
Rukiah, S. (2011): The fall and the heart. Jakarta: Lontar Foundation.
Safiudin & Harahap, A. H. (1955): Madura: pulau kerapan [Seri kenallah tanah airmu]. Bandung: Ganaco.
https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daeng_Soetigna [accessed 30 September 2017].

Article by Holger Warnk (Library of Southeast Asian Studies, Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main)

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Symposium “Reframing the Archive: The Reuse of Film and Photographic Images in Postcolonial Southeast Asia”

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1 June 2017, School of Oriental and African Studies, London

This symposium will explore the ways in which colonial and postcolonial film and photographic archives have been rearticulated within a range of Southeast Asian political and aesthetic contexts. How have artists and filmmakers sought to subvert existing power relations through the use of colonial images? To what extent have archival materials and technologies allowed for an investigation into the emancipatory potential of the lens? How have these techniques been utilised by diasporic populations? Though preference will be given to submissions which focus on Southeast Asia, papers that draw comparisons with other postcolonial contexts are also welcome.

The symposium will be accompanied by screenings of two feature-length films by Cambodian filmmakers and a series of short films by emerging filmmakers from Southeast Asia. This programme, we believe, will provide a further opportunity to address the themes raised by the symposium.

The conference and screening programme are organised by Dr Joanna Wolfarth, Dr Fiona Allen, and Annie Jael Kwan independent curator, The Asia Projector.

To submit a paper, please send paper titles, abstracts of c. 500 words and a 2-page CV to reframingthearchive@gmail.com

The deadline for abstracts is 31st January 2017.

For more detailed information, please view the symposium homepage.

 

 

Update from the Changi Digitisation Project, Cambridge

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The Changi project team at Cambridge University Library have recently finished a major conservation challenge, the archives of John Weekley. In a new blog post John Cardwell, Project Archivist, and Emma Nichols, Project Conservator, discuss the content and challenges presented by this important part of the Changi Archive.

John Weekley served as an area commandant in the Changi and Sime Road men’s civilian internment camps for almost the entire three and a half year period of their existence. As a senior member of the camps’ administration, his papers are an invaluable source for understanding their day to day management. Many are notices disseminating information to internees, and those relating to diet, health and hygiene shed significant light upon the medical history of the camps. They record the organisation of medical services through the foundation of a hospital and the appointment of a Chief Medical Officer, a Chief Health Officer, a Medical Reference Committee, and a Fatigues Medical Board responsible for the health and safety the camps’ many workers.

The John Weekley Archive forms one of the ten conservation work packages in the Changi Archive and is by far the largest; consisting of over a thousand leaves of paper, adhered by their left hand edge into several thicker paper folded covers. The papers are all of differing sizes – from A4 to 1 cm strips; weights – from thick paper to very thin transparent paper known as onion skin; and colours – classic white and cream to violent shades of pink, yellow and blue. Though each folder had originally been one solid block of papers, over time, probably through a combination of intent and accident, the leaves had been separated into sections of varying number, adhered together but no longer to the cover. All of the leaves had sustained some kind of damage ranging from tears, losses and skinning, to staining from the adhesive.

To find out more details about the John Weekley Archive and how conservation work was carried out, including photographs documenting the conservation process, please visit John Cardwell’s and Emma Nichols’ article on “The History and Conservation of the John Weekley Changi Archives”.

Digital Humanities for Asian and African Texts – report from a workshop

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On 6 June, 2016, a one-day workshop dedicated to the theme “Digital Humanities for Asian and African Texts” took place at SOAS, London, which was attended by approximately 40 participants from a variety of UK and European institutions.

The first session focused on digitisation projects and the scholarly use of such projects for research and teaching. The first presenter, Erich Kesse (SOAS Library, with Christine Wise) spoke on “Current digital projects at SOAS and future plans for Asian and African texts” and gave an overview of a variety of digitisation projects carried out by SOAS Library, which by now have made approximately 18,000 items available online. He highlighted certain aspects of technical requirements, cataloguing and standards, metadata and coding, funding, commercial partnerships and co-operation with SOAS exhibitions.

Lars Lamaan (SOAS) and Fresco Sam-Sin (Leiden University) presented a paper on “Manchu online study and research environment: from scrum to crowd sourcing” and explained the importance of Manchu sources for historical research and the significance of transliteration, translation and annotation tools in digital manuscript/text collections. Fresco Sam-Sin also demonstrated his digital research and learning platform Manc.hu that is used as a collaborative online classroom for university students.

Almut Hintze (SOAS) followed with a talk on “The multimedia Yasna”, a project that deals with a Zoroastrian ritual of the Parsi community in India in which the oral tradition of memorising texts plays a more important role than the written tradition. The aim of the project is to learn more about the oral texts used in this ritual by recording the performance, editing the recording, transcription and transliteration of texts, creation of metadata and finally provision of online and print editions.

Dmitry Bondarev (SOAS/University of Hamburg) gave an introduction to “Old Kanembu Islamic manuscripts: digital collection, archive, database?”, a project that aims to enable more and better linguistic research into Kanembu Islamic manuscripts found in West Africa, particularly the comparison of different versions of texts.

Jody Butterworth (British Library) presented an overview of the British Library’s “The Endangered Archives Programme: digitising vulnerable material around the world”. The priority of this project is to preserve material that is under threat due to natural disasters or political conflicts – not only manuscripts, but also newspapers, photographs, audio-visual material, family archives etc. – and to make it available online for research. The project has worked with over 290 partners in 80 countries.

The second session emphasized concepts and methods of Digital Humanities for Asian and African Studies. The first speaker in this session, David Beavan (UCL) presented “A Beginners guide to Digital Humanities”, giving an overview of the general steps digitisation, transcription and analysis involved in digitisation projects for scholarly research. He gave advice on project planning, transcription softwares, as well as quantitative methods for analysis.

Nora McGregor (British Library) spoke about “Doing digital research at the British Library with Asian and African Collections” and her involvement in various initiatives of the library’s Digital Research Team which include Big Data creation, Crowdsourcing, PhD placements, Digital Scholarship, training programmes for library staff etc.

Finally, Chris Dillon (UCL) presented a paper on “Community sourcing and non-Latin scripts” in connection with his project Bridge to China, a free online grammar of Mandarin, that was created by community sourcing.

The workshop was a great opportunity to meet people working in various areas of Asian and African Studies who, at the same time, are also engaging with Digital Humanities. The presenters demonstrated how long-standing research traditions can be linked with newly emerging methods and technologies, new perspectives and research practices.

Glimpses of early Siam and Burma (Thailand and Myanmar)

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The Royal Commonwealth Society Library has just created an electronic catalogue for one of its largest and most significant manuscript collections: the papers of the diplomat, colonial administrator and orientalist Henry Burney (1792-1845). Burney was born in Calcutta, the son of a Senior Master of the Calcutta Military School for Orphans. His grandfather was the musicologist Dr Charles Burney and his aunt the novelist Frances Burney. Burney was commissioned into the East India Company’s army in 1808, but transferred to its political service when appointed Military Secretary to the Governor of Penang in 1818. From 1825 he served as Political Agent to the states adjacent to Penang and led several political missions. From the beginning of his career, Burney had displayed a gift for oriental languages, soon mastering Hindustani, and during this time he acquired Siamese and Malay. Burney’s grasp of local politics and languages led to his appointment as Envoy to the Court of Siam, and he travelled to Bangkok in September 1825. By June 1826 he had successfully negotiated a treaty with the King.

In 1827 Burney was posted to the new British province of Tenasserim, which had been acquired during the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826), serving as Deputy Commissioner of Tavoy. Burney immediately began learning Burmese. In 1829, he acted decisively to suppress a rebellion. His diplomatic experience and linguistic skill were further recognised in 1829 with the appointment as the Indian government’s representative to the Burmese Court. Burney arrived at the capital of Ava on 24 April 1830, establishing the first British Residency. Burney’s study of Burmese (with the aid of a tutor) had advanced so rapidly that by April 1832 he was able to communicate directly with the Burmese ministers in their own language. He enjoyed initial success, resolving the problem of banditry on the Arakan and Tenasserim frontiers and a territorial dispute on the Manipur border. He also persuaded the Burmese government to pay the final instalment of the indemnity owed as part of the war’s settlement.

King Bagyidaw appreciated Burney’s efforts to foster good relations, honouring him with a Burmese title inscribed on gold leaf, Mahaz-eyayazanawrahta, accompanied with a badge of office, a nine-stranded salwe. Burney’s position, however, was undermined in 1837 when Bagyidaw was deposed by the Prince of Tharrawaddy, who later became King, and he found it difficult to work with the new regime. Burney was recalled on 8 March 1838 and went on furlough to England. In 1842, he returned to active service with the EIC army, but died at sea in 1845 while travelling to England on medical leave.

The collection preserves important records of Burney’s diplomatic missions: his instructions, travel, correspondence, journals and reports, which include rare insight into the Siamese and Burmese Courts. It also contains examples of traditional texts, such as Siamese kradat phlao and Burmese black parabaiks and palm leaf manuscripts. Burney shared the family’s intellectual curiosity and literary flair, and was fascinated by Siamese and Burmese culture. He researched the two countries’ climate, geography, languages, history, philosophy, religion, astronomy, mathematics and astrology, and collected important translations from original sources. Burney presented papers to learned bodies such as the Royal Asiatic Society and published in the ‘Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal’, the ‘Asiatic Journal’ and the ‘Journal of the Statistical Society.’ During the early 1840s, Burney received permission from the EIC to publish the journal of his mission to Siam and it is possible that he also contemplated writing a pioneering English language history of Burma. With the resumption of his military career, ill health and an early death at the age of 53, however, these plans never came to fruition. The RCS is also fortunate to possess a number of early photograph collections relating to Burma dating from the 1870s (RCS Y3029A-F), which complement the Burney archive.

The Janus catalogue of the Henry Burney Collection, RCMS 65, is now available online via the Janus homepage, a project that provides access to more than 1800 catalogues of archives held throughout Cambridge.

Reported by Dr John Cardwell, Archivist of the Royal Commonwealth Society collections in Cambridge University Library

Photograph showing Thibaw (d. 1916), the last King of Burma 1878-85, and his wife and half-sister Supyalat [RCS Y3029D_1]

Photograph showing Thibaw (d. 1916), the last King of Burma 1878-85, and his wife and half-sister Supyalat [RCS Y3029D_1]

Changi digitisation project at Cambridge University Library

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Cambridge University Library has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Resources Award to conserve, digitise and make freely available online the archives of two WWII civilian internment camps on Singapore – Changi and Sime Road. These form part of the Royal Commonwealth Society’s British Association of Malaysia and Singapore archives. The two-year grant commences in September 2015 and it is planned to launch the records in Cambridge Digital Library in August 2017.

The archives will be of immense interest to the families of internees, academic researchers, students and the general public, since few survivors ever spoke of their traumatic ordeal. The first stage of the project involves the meticulous conservation of the archives.

The archives contain invaluable primary sources for the reconstruction of the lives of Singapore’s civilian internees. They include official records compiled by the camps’ internal administration, which document personal data like an internee’s name, date entered camp, marital status, occupation, age, nationality, and camp address. Other sources shed light upon accommodation, camp discipline, relations with the Japanese authorities, work parties, diet, health and hygiene, recreation and leisure, the delivery of mail, and the repatriation of internees at the end of the war. Newspapers circulated within the male camp, such as the ‘Changi Guardian’, reported upon events, disseminated news of sporting, musical and theatrical societies, and published fiction, poetry and humour. These official records are complemented by the correspondence, diaries and memoirs of individual internees.

More information on the historical background and provenance of the archives can be found on the Cambridge University Library Special Collections webpage.

An article by Peng Han Lim on “Identifying and collecting primary sources of information to reconstruct the daily lives of the civilian internees at Changi Prison and Sime Road Camp 1942-45” is included in the SEALG Newsletter 2013.

End of Empire – Online initiative by NIAS Press

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An online initiative with the title “End of Empire – 100 days in 1945 that changed Asia and the world” by NIAS press was launched recently to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Asia.

The initiative publishes day by day ‘real-time broadcasts’ of what happened in Asia at the end of World War II. The site combines daily events with commentary, photographs, maps, personal accounts and other material plus links to resources found elsewhere.

Aiming to balance the focus on European events in global public discussions and reminiscences of World War II, the project focuses on a brief, 100-day period at the end of the war across a broad sweep of eastern Asia – a time when the Indonesian and Vietnamese revolutions were born, the fragile wartime truce between Communists and Nationalists in China began to fray, and the first steps were made in Japan towards a new democratic order.

The website is part of a radical, multi-faceted project to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war’s end and its immediate aftermath. This is done not just via the website but also in printed and electronic publications plus via social media. Nor does the project simply present existing scholarship. It also actively reaches beyond the academic world to encourage non-academics to come forward with primary source material unknown to historians and often limited to their own private circles.

Here, perhaps, is a model for scholarly publishing and learning that both exploits new technologies and retains traditional standards.

One of the great merits of this website is the way it conveys a sense of the fast pace of events in mid-1945 and their interconnectedness across the region at the time.

Those who may find the website difficult to navigate may want to consult the Facebook page for the project.

The outcome of the initiative is due to appear in published form as End of Empire: 100 Days that Changed Asia and the World edited by David Chandler, Robert Cribb and Li Narangoa.

(reported by Gerald Jackson and Inga-Lill Blomkvist)

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