Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Touch of Rural Tradition

Couple of days ago, I went with my family to my mother’s hometown: Liwutung in Southeast Minahasa. It takes about 2 hours by car. In some parts, the road condition is not so good that it needs an extra attention from the driver, especially if he is not so familiar to drive through this area. Moreover, when it comes to pass a route called ‘Gunung Potong’ (Gunung means mountain & Potong means cut, so it’s literally taking a shortcut through a mountain), everyone who drive his car / motorcycle should be more careful since on the left side of the road along Gunung Potong is a steep gorge. Yet, the natural setting of pine tree forest that covers the area is, I think, worth the trip.

We supposed to go there on Sunday, January 29th to join the festive of Christmas & New Year’s Wrap-Up Tradition but unexpectedly, we received bad news on Thursday that my uncle is dead. So, we went there to attend the funeral ceremony.

We started our trip at 08.55 and arrived there before 11.00. Hereby, I’d like to share about some interesting facts I learned about their tradition when someone is dead.

  • Since most of the villagers are farmers so on the funeral day, none of them will go to work in the field because they, voluntarily, have to attend the funeral ceremony.
  • Weeping time usually lasts for three days. For example, my uncle died on Thursday and was buried on Saturday (if we count it, it is actually two days only)
  • There are some small social groups within the villagers which are scheduled to bring foods (rice, vegetables, and fish/meat) to help the family to feed the guests / close families who come to visit during the weeping time. For example, my uncle died on Thursday afternoon, so the first group (each group consists of about ten members / families) will cook at their own houses and will bring the foods to the family for dinner (of the family and the guests). When there is no enough room / space, considering the size of the house, the closest neighbor provides a space in his house where they can put the food, and the guests / close family or relatives can have their dinner there.
  • On the following day, the second group will bring foods for lunch, then the third group will bring theirs for dinner. So it goes until the funeral day, which is on the third day.
  • The family, relatives, and guests, usually put on their black attire. Specifically for the family, each of them is given a small white towel because they will need it when they cry..
  • Every time a close family, relative, or neighbor enter the room, together with the family they will usually stand beside the coffin and wail while uttering their last memory with the person before s/he died.
  • Local government, church in which the family is affiliated, relatives, neighbors, and other related groups will each give a kind of donation or we call it here diakonia to the family. When the funeral ceremony is over, the  in-charge person will read the names of the givers and the amount of money they gave.
  • A man will hit a small iron bell by using an iron stick as a sign that the funeral service is about to be started.
  • There are six men who will be assigned to carry the coffin on their shoulders, from the house to the cemetery site. White shirts will be provided for them to wear. Another man will walk in front of them carrying a black flag which is just a symbol of condolence.
  • After the funeral, in the evening there will be a third night service held and then all the guests will join the family and other relatives for dinner.
  • Here, they hold service at the third night, the fortieth night, and one year commemoration after the death.

My heart was moved observing their tradition and how their social and emotional ties become so helpful to ease the burden of the family members who are in grief. Back in Tomohon, hmmmm…in some villages, such funeral tradition is still alive though with some differences here and there. But in some ‘towny’-villages which are close to downtown, we can hardly see that. Hope I could write about that in different post.

Good bye, my beloved in peace..

Categories: Funeral, Minahasa, North Sulawesi, Social LIfe, Tradition | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Preserving Old Minahasan Words

Wait a minute! Uh..oh…! I was alarmed when my husband said that word! It’s an old Minahasan word stands for brush like in toothbrush, etc. I remember my childhood when I heard such old language is so developed now! That word is bundur. To my surprise, I couldn’t even find that word, as we mean it, on google search! No, there is one actually, but it’s not explaining the meaning.

So, thanks to my husband, I got an idea of writing a new post dealing with our old Minahasan words. I hope it would be useful someday. Just to clarify, what I’m going to list here is only for the old words which I am familiar with, and I am not going to talk about our tribal language of Tombulu’ because even though I live in Tombulu’ region in Minahasa, I just understand it a little bit when the old people talk..but to speak in Tombulu’…hmmmm… sadly I can’t..

Some of our old Minahasan words are derived from foreign language like Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and Japan. No wonder, since those four countries were ever be a part of our history. I will put the initial of those four countries: P, S, D, and J in brackets to refer to where each word is originated, except for words which are rooted from genuine Minahasa.

So here we go..

Bundur /’bundur/ : brush

Capéo /t∫apéo/ : hat {P: chapéu}

Kadéra /kadéra/ : chair {P: cadeira}

Pastiu /pastiu/ : bored, annoying {P: fastio}

Tésta /tésta/ : forehead {P: testa}

Milu /milu/ : corn {P: milho}

Tuturuga /tuturuga/ : tortoise {P: tartaruga}

Gergantang /g∂rgantang/ : throat {S & P: garganta}

Lengso /lèngso/ : handkerchief {P: lenyo}

Kodomo /kodomo/ : son {J: kodomo}

Bèha /bèha/ : bra {D: beha}

Besuk /b∂suk/ : visiting someone at the hospital {D: bezoeken}

Blek /blèk/ : can container {D: blik}

Brur /brur/ : brother {D: broer}

Goros /goros/ : big {D: groot}

Hanskun /hanskun/ : glove {D: handschoen}

Huk /huk/ : corner {D: hoek}

Eis /èis/ : ice {D: ijs}

Kekerlak /k∂k∂rlak/ : cockroach {D: kakkerlak}

Klar /klar/ : finish {D: klaar}

Knop /knop/ : button {D:knoop}

Kulkas /kulkas/: refrigerator {D: koelkast}

Korting /korting/ : discount {D: korting}

Korsleteng /korslètèng/ : electric problem {D: kortsluiting}

Kran /kran/ : faucet {D: kraan}

Lat /lat/ : late {D: laat}

Ledeng /lèdèng/ : water pipe {D: leiding}

Moi /moi/ : good, nice {D: mooi}

Oma /oma/ : grandmother {D: oma}

Opa /opa/ : grandfather {D: opa}

Oranye /oraηe/ : orange {D: oranje}

Pars /pars/ : purple {D: paars}

Panekuk /pan∂kuk/ : pancake {D: pannekoek}

Pus /pus/ : cat {D: poes}

Rem /rèm/ : brake {D: rem}

Servet /s∂rvèt/ : napkin {D: servet}

Slot /slot/ : lock {D: slot}

Spir /spir/ : muscle {D: spier}

Strom /strom/ : electric {D: stroom}

Suak /suak/ : weak, exhausted {D: zwak}

Sus /s∂s/ : sister {D: zus}

Portuguese & Spanish words are reconfirmed through

Dutch words are copied from “Wat & Hoe, Indonesisch” by Indonesisch: Instituut Indonesische Cursussen – Leiden

I will continue to edit this posting especially when I remember, hear, or think of any old words that Minahasan people used to speak so often in the past. Today, I remember these words below. There is no information about the authenticity of these words (like the list above), so it would be interesting if you find any words below closely related to your language..whether in its form, spelling, or meaning.

Raho /ra:ho/ : sit or stand close to a fireplace in order to get warm

Bongko /bongko/ : hunchbacked

Dodika /dodika/ : square fireplace made of wood & filled with ashes on which we cook our meals by using firewood

Tolu /tolu/ : cone-shaped hat used by local farmers when working in their fields

Gofela /gofèla/ or Rongit /rongit/ : mosquito

Tusa /tusa’/ : cat

Totofore /totoforè/ : trembling or shaking

Cokodidi /tjokodidi/ : act of being very active in one’s action

Sampuraga /sampuraga/ : doing something carelessly

Kokehe /kokèhè/ : cough

Korotey /korotèy/ : color black

edited on Jan 29th, 2012

Sayonara /sayonara/ : Good Bye (J: Sayonara)

Kabubu /kabubu/ : moldy

Toroa /toroa’/, Burako /burako/, & Purakpak /purakpak/ : bungling

Fororo /fororo/: crumple or crease

edited on Feb 10th, 2012


Categories: English | 4 Comments

Simply Recalling Old Photos

“You’ll never know that you love a thing until its gone!” More or less, that’s what I’m feeling right now as I pick these old pictures from my computer. I’m talking about the flowers as well as a Nikon D80 camera, which used to be my unexpected-gift ever,  a couple of years ago..

The flowers are gone and so is the camera..there is a story behind it, which I think is unnecessary to share here.. and the fact is I feel so sad remembering that I was once going everywhere with that camera..

But I learn something that I lost the camera for a greater gift in my life: a at least, it’s worth-it.. I could try to save money & try to get another one someday..hope soon, of course..

Loosing something special is preferable than loosing someone special 😉 I believe I could get a better camera soon & will use it to its maximum function: keep capturing the beauty of this nature, universe, people around me, and could be anything…anywhere…anytime..

So, below are some flowers I took at my house yard couple of years ago. I’m just trying to cherish them, the camera, and that old time of my passion in photography!

Categories: Camera, English, Flowers, Indonesia, Minahasa, North Sulawesi, Photos, Reflection | 4 Comments

The Beast inside the Beauty

Born and raised in a volcanic area of Tomohon (25km away from Manado & about 600m above sea level), I am used to see the sunrise emerges from Mount Mahawu (1311m) & set down over Mount Lokon (1580m). Yes, we are situated between both active volcanoes!

Mount Mahawu, this pic was taken from behind Rindam location (now it's a temporary Major Office of Tomohon)

Mount Lokon, a look from Sunge street in Kakaskasen III, you can see a small amount of smoke from its crater on the ramp. The rest are clouds in the sky:) Paddy fields here grow well all year round.

We experienced the biggest eruption of Mount Lokon on October 1991 where a Swiss vulcanologist named Viviane Clavel was reported missing and never been found. All who lived in Kinilow & in some other villages which are really closed to the volcano were evacuated to Rindam (in Kakaskasen III).

The activity of Mount Lokon has become more intense lately. It often erupts since July 2011 to December 2011. In this new year, we had its first eruption last night (January 6th, 2011) at about 10 or 11 p.m! But we were unable to see the eruption because it was raining (thank goodness – if not, the wind might blow the ash throughout the village and affect our health). It was a minor eruption so there was no evacuation.

Unlike another volcanoes, Lokon has its crater on the ramp not on the top / peak. It contains of volcanic ash and materials.

Mount Lokon, a look from above (I took this pic from the plane, on our way to Bali on July 2009)

On the other hand, Mahawu has its last eruption quite long long time ago, but it is reportedly still active until now. It contains of cold lava…

Below are some old pictures of Mount Lokon:

I took these photos when I worked at Lokon Boutique Resort. You can see the beautiful Marygold flowers and another flowers which I don’t know the name 🙂 I like the slight line of cloud on its foot / slope.

Lokon at Night. A view from 'Bukit Inspirasi (Inspirational Hill) Tomohon. It's quite cold up here..

Categories: Indonesia, Manado, Minahasa, New Year, North Sulawesi, Photos, Tourism, Volcanoes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Christmas & New Year Celebration: Wrap-Up Tradition or ‘kuncikan’

Celebrating Christmas and New Year is a common thing we celebrate every year. But have you ever heard of a tradition to wrap-up those two big celebrations? We have that kind of tradition here in Minahasa. I am talking about a dominant tribe in North Sulawesi – Indonesia.

In Minahasa and some other places around Manado & Bitung,  we celebrate Christmas on December 25th & 26th (we call it the 1st & 2nd part of Christmas celebration). So is with New Year, it’s celebrated on January 1st & 2nd. Normally, we visit our relatives, friends, and neighbors on those dates. In some other places, they do not have any further celebration afterward. But for Minahasan people, it’s a little bit different.

The fact is, we have a unique tradition called kuncikan. Kuncikan is an Indonesian word (kunci: key, kuncikan: to lock / to end up / to wrap up) . The meaning of that word is not so familiar to the rest of Indonesian people since it’s just mostly used by Minahasan people to refer to the closing celebration of Christmas and New Year. Though in some areas they celebrate it every Sunday during the month of January, but generally, we celebrate it by the 4th Sunday or the last Sunday of January.

There is no official date for kuncikan. In some places, they hold kuncikan tradition every Sunday in January by riding on ‘bendi’, which is traditional two-wheeled carriage pulled by a horse, and visiting relatives & friends. It’s quite interesting since the main road traffic is dominated by bendi and along the roadside people are watching the passing bendis.

When I was a little child, I used to join the kuncikan celebration by riding on a truck, packed with other children in the village, and brought some rotten eggs. Wondering what those rotten eggs were for? Well, we call it our ‘war equipment’. This is how it works: on that day, children would collect as many rotten eggs as possible & spare a sum of money to pay for their ride on the truck for a back-and-fourth route. It used to be a harvesting day for truck drivers! There could be around 20 children in one truck and a single back-and-fourth route last in about 20 minutes. It was just a short route to some neighbor villages.

The riding started in the afternoon, some times around 2p.m. When the truck started to move, we started to sing joyous songs until we passed some other trucks from different direction (of course, the same purpose trucks for children to enjoy this fun thing), aaannnnddd…let the rotten eggs war begin!! Don’t try to imagine the smell on our heads & clothes when we got home after that!!

There is another unique way to celebrate kuncikan. In Manado, kuncikan is celebrated through a figura carnival. That’s quite fun to watch since you can see people put on weird-looking attire and make-up on their faces. An old lady in High School uniform, a grown-up man in Elementary School uniform, female wearing male’s attire and vice versa, any humorous idea they could think of will be performed on that carnival.

Figura carnival has been an annual tradition in Manado. Allegedly, it’s a Portuguese tradition that has been adapted in accordance with the local culture here.

I will post some pictures of kuncikan tradition soon after I have my pocket-camera repaired..(hope I could).

Categories: Camera, Carnival, Celebration, Christmas, English, Humors, Indonesia, Minahasa, New Year, North Sulawesi, Tradition, Transportation | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Happy New Year 2012

Time is quickly ticking away. Happiness and sadness, laugh and tears, success & failures, gain and lost, and countless of ups and downs have colored up our life in the freshly past year of 2011.  Of those bright & dark colors, can you see what your ‘painting of life’ is like? Or maybe it’s just a part of an unfinished puzzle that yet to be solved in 2012?  Focusing on one dominant color could be annoying but observing from a considerable distance might give you a big picture of it. Whatever it looks like, it must be your most precious painting ever, much more valuable than any most expensive painting in the world.

There might be quite a lot of things we have been through that make us today.  If we look back, we might find so many unpleasing things happened either to or through us. But what could we do? We could not switch the time back and fix them out or do something about those things. Life must go on no matter what. As for me, I want to have a better ‘painting’ this year and am willing to learn from my mistakes in the past. I want to start every single day with a great determination to change, be a better person, & think of doing things differently in order to achieve my goals.

Should things go wrong unexpectedly, I know there is always Someone I can run to who will bring me back to the peace state of mind. Hereby, I want to say Happy New Year everybody! Dreams to fulfill, gifts to unwrap, days to unveil, all of those passions, it’s all ours to unleash accordingly. Like I quoted in my other blog, I would like to encourage you to not bring your potentials to the tomb because I believe that each and every one of us have been equipped with many talents and gifts to explore. Let’s cherish our gifts, before the twilight comes our way…

It’s another year to go through. Many uncertain things lays ahead but hope this song could strengthen us to live every single day in a full surrender to our Maker, the One who holds our tomorrow.

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow (Tak Ku Tau Kan Hari Esok)

I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what lies ahead.

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

Every step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden’s getting lighter,
Every cloud is silver-lined.
There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.

I don’t know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood.


Categories: English, Lyrics, New Year | Tags: | 7 Comments

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