Tjilik Riwut, My Father
This internet site is written based on diary and documentation of my father, Tjilik Riwut
Talking about my father is sometimes unique since my father often did unexpected things. Once I by myself accompanied my father weakly lying on a hospital. That day was August 16, 1987, a day before he passed away, I did not expect that my father asked me to sing together his favorite song entitled. He counted one...two...and on three both of us sang together. In his weak condition, my father sang loudly and with high spirit. On the other hand, I sang in low voice near to whispering since I was ashamed if the nurse heard us. My almost unheard voice made my father angry and asked me to sing louder. I said to myself that I did not want my father scolded me so I sang as loud as possible. My father unexpectedly sang louder than me. Then...as previously in my worries, some nurses came and stared sharply at us and their face showed their amazement. Ha ha ha I was so ashamed. I stopped immediately, but my father kept singing. "Mohing Asang" song is popular among the Ot Danum Dayak and my father loved singing the song. In brief, it's his favorite song. From his diary, I found out that when he performed the government mission as ROPRI (Rombongan Oetoesan Pemerintah Repoeblik Indonesia/Delegate from the Republic of Indonesia) in entering the inland of Kalimantan from Yogyakarta in 1946, for raising up his own fighting spirit or mampatekang hambaruaa, he kept singing the song without pause and with loud voice when he was in a deep jungle. From his note, I found out that Mohing Asang is a war song and an order from the war commander. The song is in Ot Danum language and Siang-Murung dialect. If the commander sounded the salentak seven times and "Mohing Asang" was heard, the battle is ready to be executed.
Now Mohing Asang, the spirit burner and my father's favorite song is the part of regional pop album Manggatang Utus. Who knows if the new generation these days needs the spirit for battle of their own mampatekang hambaruan in their effort of attaining and holding the personal identity as a Dayak who acts locally and think globally. Hopefully.
Singing with my father in people's party stage in Kuala Kapuas, Central Kalimantan - 1962
After singing, my father looked sharp at me and said, "Nila, I think my time is coming. When it happens, you can't cry, Nila. Can you do that?" I was silent and had my head low. Once again my father asked me the same question. Slowly I said, "I can". My response made my father smile. I was startled because I was dragged to make promise to my father. For a Dayak, a promise is everything. Breaking it means embarrassing oneself. That's what my father said each time I said my promise.
Again, in one page of my father's diary, I found a story of my father's past experience. Once, because of fatigue my father had a very high fever until he lost conscience. It happened deep in the jungle during revolution era.
On the same page, he expressed his feeling encountering the Dutch during the colonial time:”The sufferance that never happened before in my life. Always being enemy's fugitive, I should always be prudent so that we could escape from the raid. The situation on the tip of enemy's bayonet made us in uncertain living place. Also uncertain resting place. Sometimes earth is our bed; sometimes wet grass is our mattress, cool mildew as the blanket, sky as the roof, gigantic woods as the wall, roots as the pillow, moon and star as the lamp. Random time for meal and drinks, caught in the rain, under the hot sun, getting wet, in brief, numerous kind experiences that we should pass. Nevertheless, the lifting spirit burned hard for the achievement of the holy mission. It's the reason that might cause our spirit in our soul "never perish by the heat, never be rotten because of the rain" . What my father wrote for me is an advice that no matter hard the obstacle barricades, all can be overcome as long as the spirit is never dead.
One more thing. My father is really fanatic with number 17. It is the date of Independence Day of Republic of Indonesia on 17 August 1945.
Number 17 really unifies with him that most of my father's life was filled with the number.
Below listed some data on number 17.
The oath of faith from 142 Dayak tribes from Kalimantan's inland to Republic of Indonesia at Gedung Agung Yogyakarta represented by Tjilik Riwut, occurred on 17 December 1946.
The first parachute troop jump in the history of Indonesian Armed Forces from Major Tjilik Riwut in Sambi village, Pangkalan Bun, happened on 17 October 1947. The historical day was declared as the Day of The Special Unit of Indonesian Air Force (Paskhas).
Pahandut village that later becoming the city of Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan province, is the 17th village, as the order from Kahayan river.
Central Kalimantan with Tjilik Riwut as the first governor is the 17th province in Indonesia.
Central Kalimantan was founded during the 17th Cabinet.
The laying down of the corner stone for Palangka Raya city was on 17 July
On the handling over of Palangka Raya Charter to the Central Government on 15 December 1958, first governor of Central Kalimantan Tjilik Riwut promised that on 17 August 1959, Palangka Raya, still a wild jungle after its cornerstone laid, would be ready as the capital of a province. It means that the people in Central Kalimantan determined to work hard together, trying to build all the infrastructure and facilities, roads, offices, houses, airport and other supporting elements to be ready for the future development. The determination was like a whip burning up the spirit of Central Kalimantan community. Ignoring the fatigue, they worked in togetherness to prepare all necessary infrastructure and facility so that on 17 August 1959, the city of Palangka Raya was all prepared as a capital of a province.
When assuming the post as the governor of Central Kalimantan, Tjilik Riwut's telephone number is 17 and the plate number of his official vehicle is KH 17.
The construction of the first Catholic church in Palangka Raya reflects the number 17-8-1945, where the building is an octagon.
Tjilik Riwut ended his career as governor of Central Kalimantan on 17 February 1967.
Commemoration of Tjilik Riwut's steps in the battle in Central Kalimantan and the signature of memorial stone in the hermitage of Tjilik Riwut in Bukit Batu by Governor of Central Kalimantan was postponed because of the flood and was executed later on 17
Complete name of my mother is Clementine Suparti consists of 17 letters.
Then... on 17 August 1987 at 04.45 Indonesia Central Time (WITA) in Banjarmasin, my father returned to the Almighty and he was buried in Sanaman Lampang Hero's cemetery in Palangka Raya.
Everything was on the 17, it might be arranged. However, beyond human capability, my father passed away exactly on his favorite number or date, on 17 August.
On my father's burial I saw my mother and my four siblings, Enon, Hawun, Ida and Kletus were in tears. I wasn't likewise. I fulfilled my promise to my father, although when the coffin was slowly lowered to the earth, my vision was blurred and when I regained my consciousness I was already in Doris Sylvanus Hospital in Palangka Raya accompanied by my uncle Tiel Djelau. I was thankful that I fulfilled my "not crying" promise.
Thank you Lord for all the good memories with him.
Family Picture, Year 1975.
Data Source: facebook: Nila Riwut full.