NONTON BARENG and other stories
NONTON BARENG is a recent Indonesian term that consists of two words, very difficult to translate in other languages, such as English, German as well as Dutch. “Nonton” actualy means “anschauen”, “to look at (a performance or a dance etc)” anyway it means an activity (or rather passivity) in which one is “looking at” something. “Bareng” is originally a Javanese word meaning “together”.
Recenty NONTON BARENG is especially used for looking at the various national and especially international soccer competitions where one can enjoy the competition in resto’s or other public places.
Lately in Jakarta a film is getting much attention namely the film made after a book “Habibie & Ainun”. Habibie was the third President of the Rep. of Indonsia. The more precise information you might be able to find in the Wikipedia.
Since my husband and I have both been studying at the RWTH Aachen in (West) Germany together with Rudy Habibie during the 1956 – 1960 era, we had the honour to be invited for “nonton bareng” to see the film.
The cinema where the invitation took place was at the newly inaugurated “Epicentrum” Building in the Kuningan area of Jakarta. The picture below shows us in the Main Hall of the building, decorated in IMLEK style.
By the way…. the film is now in its 5th week and has reached more than four million onlookers. I liked the film and although I knew the whole story in its reality, I have to admit that my vision was blurred at the end of the show.
Looking back at the time that we studied in Aachen, it was as a matter of fact like living in a big family. There were about thirty or fourty of us Indonesian youngsters. Among them 3 girls, 2 of the three studying chemistry (“Bayek” and me) and one studied architecture. We were all naive idealist: studying to go home after finishing and serve our country……
I made my Diplom Chemikerin and we went home. Since I had my training at a Technische Hochschule where emphasis in the chemical education was laid on the technical aspects of chemistry, I was clasified as “Insinyur Kimia”. Therefore I looked for a job at the Departemen Industri Dasar (Ministry for Basic Industries) and worked at a Rayon Project. But this was hard work with tight working hours, whilst I had a baby that needed attention, I sought for a job with more flexibility and freedom.
Fortunately I found that, and that was teaching at the Chemical Department of the Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FIPIA) of the University of Indonesia. I was to teach Physical Chemistry, the subject that I indeed loved and had good marks for when in Aachen.
When I think back at that era 1960 until 1964 in Indonesia …. I shake my head….. “Tsk,tsk,tsk”…it was tough… the economy was down… For instance: if we like to have a chicken dish on our table, I had to find an old shirt in my husband’s cupboard to exchange it for a (live) chicken with some of the traders that walked around, My monthly salary when converted to US$ of that time was not more than US$ 8.00,- (Eight US Dollars only}.
And there was a political mess…. In my opinion President Soekarno was driven in a corner by various foreign as well as domestic forces and tried to stabilize the state with a “NASAKOM” concept, meaning the unity of the nationalist, religious and communist ideologies in one STATE Ideology…….
I remember a small happening that in fact saved my life…. On one of the weekly staff meetings with our Faculty Head (Dekan) I was present somewhat early and we waited for the Dekan who was Professor Siwabessy. I saw a small stack of A5 paper sheets, placed in the center of the table. I took a few of them and looked what it was about. It seemed to be forms to be filled in, just in case you were interested to become a member of the communist party: the Partai Komunis Indonesia. My fingers kept one sheet, whilst my mind was figuring out whether this could help to bring an end to our daily sufferings….
I grabbed in my bag with the intention to fill the form with my name and particulars, but I could not find anything like a ballpoint pen . Thank God, the Dekan came in and the meeting started, after which I forgot about the whole form…… Otherwise it could be so that I would not be here working on my small laptop, and my children were to live year to year under a stigma …. Yes that were times …..
However we have overcome the very hard times and now we belong to the MANULA (Manusia Lanjut Umur) that is some of us have left us already. leaving us enjoying the Manula days.