Cerita Anda

Halaman ini kami sediakan untuk menampilkan cerita pendek, puisi, atau tulisan yang dipilih setiap bulan berikut terjemahannya dalam bahasa Inggris.

Bagi Anda yang memiliki kemampuan menulis dalam dua bahasa, kami sangat menghargai jika Anda dapat mengirimkan karya tulis berikut terjemahannya dan, kami mohon kesediaan Anda untuk membantu rekan-rekan penulis lainnya dalam menerjemahkan tulisan bahasa Indonesia ini ke dalam bahasa Inggris. Silahkan menghubungi kami di dalangpublishing@gmail.com

Mohon mengikuti ketentuan batasan jumlah kata berikut ini:

Cerita pendek – 3000 kata.
Puisi/ Syair – 500 kata per-puisi/syair – Untuk naskah puisi, mohon mengirimkan 5 buah karya Anda dalam masing-masing halaman tersendiri.
Tulisan – 2000 kata.

Mohon mengikuti panduan di halaman Panduan Penulis sehubungan dengan syarat dan ketentuan pengiriman naskah tulisan.


Mengenang Padewakkang

Andi Batara Al Isra lahir di Ujung Pandang, 9 Januari 1994. Sedang pusing kuliah antropologi di University of Auckland, Selandia Baru, melalui beasiswa pendidikan Indonesia LPDP. Karyanya berupa cerpen dan puisi telah diterbitkan di berbagai majalah dan surat kabar, seperti Fajar dan Berita Pagi, juga pernah dimuat dalam beberapa buku antologi bersama. Selain itu, tulisannya pernah menjuarai beberapa lomba penulisan tingkat nasional dan memperoleh penghargaan, seperti cerpennya yang berjudul Keranda Puang mendapatkan penghargaan FLP Awards 2017 sebagai Cerpen Terpuji. Batara juga telah menerbitkan dua buah buku puisi tunggal, yakni Di Seberang Gelombang (Penerbit Shofia, 2019) dan Gersik dalam Matriks (diterbitkan secara mandiri dalam bentuk buku digital, 2020). Cerpen Mengenang Padewakkang yang dimuat pada laman Dalang Publishing ini merupakan karya pertamanya yang diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa asing. Bergelut di Forum Lingkar Pena, Yayasan Antropos Indonesia, Wijen Projects, dan Perpustakaan Antropologi FISIP Unhas. Batara juga mengelola laman www.bacabata.com, sebuah laman yang terbuka bagi siapa saja untuk mengirimkan dan menerbitkan tulisan. Sila kunjungi Facebook Andi Batara Al Isra atau Twitter dan Instagram @bataraisra. Bersurat di aali598@aucklanduni.ac.nz.

 

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mengenang Padewakkang

 

ARNHEM Land, Australia, Desember 1945

Sudah bertahun-tahun Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing menatap kosong kaki langit. Di tangannya ada pipa tembakau dari kayu yang sejak lama tak pernah lagi mengepul. Dia menunggu kapal-kapal dari Makassar kembali menanam sauh seperti dulu. Setelah angin tenggara yang bertiup antara akhir Maret hingga April, membawa layar padewakkang, kapal dagang milik orang Makassar, ke utara puluhan tahun silam, tak ada lagi yang tersisa selain kenangan. Kepergian mereka seperti kehilangan sebagian dari diri sendiri.

Burarrwanga, lelaki berambut putih dan berkulit gelap itu, adalah pemimpin kelompok suku Yolngu, penduduk pribumi kawasan ini. Meski keriput, meski tubuhnya terlihat rapuh dihantam angin pantai dan gurun, harapannya tidak pernah pupus. Lama sekali, setiap tahun, ketika baarramirri, angin dari arah barat laut, tiba antara Desember dan Januari, sepanjang pantai ini penuh orang dan kapal yang tertambat. Ada yang mengangkat keranjang, ada yang menyelam mencari teripang, dan ada yang mengasapi hasil buruan tersebut. Bayangan tentang masa indah itu tidak pernah hilang dari ingatan Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing. Dia akan terus menunggu Daeng Gassing bersama para pelaut Makassar lainnya datang dari seberang lautan dengan membawa beras, emas, dan tembakau. Memang sudah sejak ratusan tahun lalu, orang Makassar kerap datang ke Arnhem Land, membangun hubungan baik yang saling menguntungkan dengan penduduk asli di sana, termasuk leluhur Burarrwanga. Hubungan baik tersebut berjalan hingga kini.

“Mungkin mereka ditelan ular petir di tengah lautan,” kata Marika, istri Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing.

“Jangan bilang sembarangan. Ular petir hanya menyerang orang jahat yang berlayar. Orang baik seperti mereka tidak akan ditenggelamkan.”

“Sudahlah, Burarrwanga, masih ada pohon asam yang dulu mereka tanam. Kau bisa istirahat di bawahnya,” lanjut Marika.

“Sudah lama nama itu tidak kudengar. Terakhir kali kau memanggilku seperti itu saat mereka masih di sini kan?”

“Ya, orang-orang, bahkan para orang kulit putih sekarang lebih mengenalmu dengan Dayn Gatjing ketimbang nama lahirmu.”

Sambil menghela napas, Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing mengingat kembali apa yang telah dilakukan orang-orang berkulit putih itu pada hidupnya. Kapal-kapal padewakkang milik orang Makassar sudah tiada, diusir oleh Persemakmuran Australia engan alasan-alasan yang tidak masuk akal. Sekarang, yang berseliweran hanyalah kapal-kapal mereka, menguasai lautan dan menguras hasilnya tanpa ampun, terutama teripang. Orang Yolngu tidak mendapatkan apa-apa. Mereka tidak dilibatkan dalam pasar. Persemakmuran Australia mengambil semuanya.

Ingatan Burarrwanga lalu terbang ke masa puluhan tahun silam. Masa ketika pantai-pantai Arnhem Land masih dipenuhi layar padewakkang orang Makassar.

***

Siang yang terik di bulan Januari 1905 seolah matahari berlipat ganda di tanah ini. Meski begitu, beberapa awak kapal serta orang-orang Yolngu bertelanjang dada dan kaki tetap sibuk mengangkat keranjang bambu berisi puluhan teripang yang baru saja ditangkap dari dasar laut. Teripang-teripang tersebut akan dibawa ke sebuah tempat pengasapan di mana Daeng Gassing, seorang pemimpin kapal asal Makassar, duduk mencatat jumlah pikul yang hari ini berhasil dikumpulkan.

Di sebelahnya, Burarrwanga duduk mengawasi anggota kelompoknya yang ikut membantu kegiatan tersebut. Di tangannya terdapat pipa kayu berisi tembakau pemberian bapaknya, yang jauh di masa lalu adalah juga pemberian seorang pelayar asal Makassar. Hampir setiap pria dewasa di kelompoknya memiliki benda ini. Mereka menyebutnya pipa Makassar sebab orang Makassarlah yang membawa benda ini dari seberang lautan.

“Tembakau yang saya simpan sejak setahun lalu kau ke sini sudah habis. Sekarang kau bawa lagi,” ucap Burarrwanga sambil asap keluar dari hidungnya.

“Itu yang leluhur kita selalu lakukan sejak ratusan tahun lalu. Sudah kebiasaan bukan? Setiap tahun, kami, orang-orang Makassar, bawakan kalian barang dan sebagai gantinya, kalian sebagai penduduk asli di sini bantu kami kumpulkan teripang,” kata Daeng Gassing sambil mencatat angka-angka yang kurang dimengerti oleh Burarrwanga. Orang-orang di Arnhem Land tidak begitu mengerti tulisan. Mereka tidak punya aksara. Jika ingin merawat ingatan, mereka menggambar atau mengukir kayu serta batu.

“Kami tidak akan merasa sebaik ini jika di masa lalu, orang-orangmu tidak ke tanah ini mengumpulkan teripang. Kalian bisa ambil itu semua, kami tidak memakannya,” kata Burarrwanga sambil sedikit tertawa.

“Rasanya memang tidak enak. Tidak ada orang Makassar yang makan hewan aneh ini. Kami jual ke Tiongkok. Harganya mahal. Pantaimu menghasilkan banyak sekali teripang dengan mutu bagus,” sambung Daeng Gassing.

“Kau tahu, aku berharap suatu hari aku bisa mengunjungi kampung halamanmu. Pasti tempat itu sangat makmur dan maju. Banyak kapal dan rumah besar, kan?” tanya Burarrwanga.

“Kalau tanah itu sangat makmur, kami tidak mungkin ke sini mencari teripang. Di sana banyak masalah, terutama setelah orang Belanda menguasai Makassar. Namun di sisi lain, kami senang bisa ke sini, leluhur kami pun pasti senang,” jawab Daeng Gassing.

Apa yang lelaki Makassar itu mungkin tidak sadari adalah bahwa selama ratusan tahun, leluhurnya telah membawa perubahan besar bagi kehidupan di Arnhem Land. Mereka memberikan beras, logam, tembakau, minuman keras dan barang-barang lain yang tidak pernah dilihat orang Arnhem Land sebelumnya. Tanah ini sudah seperti bagian dari mereka. Bahkan di masa lalu, desas-desus pernah menyebar bahwa Arnhem Land adalah bagian kekuasaan Kerajaan Gowa. Itu pula alasan mengapa orang Makassar memiliki nama khusus bagi tanah ini. Mereka menyebutnya Maregeq.

Di tengah percakapan itu, Marika yang sedang hamil besar tiba-tiba mendatangi mereka berdua. Dia berlari-lari kecil dengan napas tersengal-sengal.

“Orang Persemakmuran… ada orang Persemakmuran Australia … saya lihat mereka … bawa pistol … senapan … ke sini.”

Mendengar itu, Daeng Gassing dan Burarrwanga langsung meminta orang-orangnya menyiapkan senjata. Orang Makassar menyelipkan badik dan parang di balik sarung, sementara orang Yolngu menyiapkan tombak dan panah. Mereka tidak ingin kekerasan. Hanya saja, karena orang-orang Persemakmuran Australia membawa senjata, segala kemungkinan harus dipersiapkan.

“Anda terlalu jauh dari kampung halaman dan sudah terlalu banyak mengambil teripang di tanah orang. Anggap saja ini peringatan.” Kata seorang polisi Persemakmuran Australia begitu dia berhadapan dengan Daeng Gassing.

“Kapal-kapal saya terdaftar di syahbandar Port Bowen. Apa yang perlu diperingatkan?”

“Lihat,” polisi itu mengeluarkan selembar kertas, “saya ditugaskan mengawasi kalian karena meracuni orang-orang asli sini. Kalian mengajarkan mereka mabuk!”

“Hei, apa urusanmu menganggu kesenangan kami?” Burarrwanga angkat suara. Dia tidak senang melihat orang Persemakmuran Australia mencampuri kehidupan orang-orangnya.

“Itu yang sering dikatakan para penjahat. Dengar, tanpa sadar, kalian dirusak oleh orang-orang ini yang entah datang dari mana,” polisi itu menatap Burarrwanga sambil tangannya menunjuk Daeng Gassing.

“Bukan kau yang memerintah di sini!” Dengan geram, Burarrwanga sekonyong-konyongnya berusaha meninju polisi yang berada di depannya. Sedikit meleset, tetapi polisi itu kehilangan keseimbangan dan jatuh ke belakang.

Begitu tersungkur, polisi itu tiba-tiba melepaskan tembakan peringatan ke angkasa. Orang-orang di sekitarnya menutup telinga. Kini, orang-orang Makassar dan Yolngu menghunus senjata tajam, siap menyerbu pasukan polisi berkulit putih. Namun, Daeng Gassing memberikan isyarat agar menahan serangan.

“Karena ini hanyalah peringatan, kami akan pergi. Kami sebenarnya tidak ingin ada pertumpahan darah. Tapi, sebelum itu, pukulan harus dibalas dengan pukulan…” Debuk! Bogem mentah mendarat di wajah Burarrwanga.

Polisi Australia berambut pirang itu pergi membawa pasukannya begitu saja setelah menghantam tulang pipi Burarrwanga.

Orang-orang kini mengeremuni Burarrwanga. Beberapa yang lain hendak melawan balik dan mengejar polisi Persemakmuran Australia, tetapi Burarrwanga yang setengah sadar memberikan isyarat agar menyudahi persoalan ini. Pukulan polisi itu terlampau keras. Kepala Burarrwanga berkunang-kunang, seperti ada banyak kanguru yang melompat-lompat di sekelilingnya. Pandangannya semakin kabur, dia tidak lagi melihat wajah Daeng Gassing dengan jelas. Semuanya berubah hitam. Dia pingsan.

***

Dua tahun setelah peristiwa peringatan pada 1905, tiba waktu dimana orang Makassar harus benar-benar hengkang dari Arnhem Land sebab Persemakmuran Australia yang telah mengeluarkan larangan pelayaran bagi orang Makassar untuk memasuki wilayah Australia. Berita itu merupakan kabar buruk. Lebih buruk dari badai yang sering menghantam padewakkang saat melintasi lautan. Bagaimana tidak, mencari teripang sampai ke tanah jauh adalah kebiasaan yang sudah dilakukan turun-temurun sejak pertengahan 1600. Leluhur Daeng Gassing yang berlayar lebih dulu ke Arnhem Land ketimbang orang berkulit putih yang datang belakangan bersama ribuan tahanan dan senapan.

Mata Burarrwanga belum lepas dari lidah api unggun yang menjilat sunyi. Menit-menit berlalu, belasan orang yang duduk mengelilingi penerang itu tak mengeluarkan suara sama sekali. Yang terdengar hanya debur ombak menyapu pasir, decit papan kapal yang digoyang arus, dan ranting patah yang dilahap api. Mereka bingung, marah, sekaligus sedih, sebab esok hari, setelah padewakkang pergi, mereka mungkin tidak akan pernah bertemu lagi.

Burarrwanga mengais-ngais api dengan ranting. Dilihatnya sisa bakaran yang telah jadi abu, persis harapan orang-orangnya. Dia menghela napas lalu mengembuskannya kuat-kuat. Dia terlampau pusing. Banyak hal jumpalitan di kepalanya seperti kanguru yang biasa dia buru di padang sabana. Dia memikirkan nasib orang-orang dan keturunannya kelak jika dia bersama istri dan anaknya memutuskan ikut ke Makassar bersama para pelayar yang telah dia kenal bahkan sejak dia mulai bisa mengingat.

Persis di hadapannya, di sebelah kobar api yang menari-nari, dia melihat wajah murung Daeng Gassing. Burarrwanga heran, harusnya lelaki berkumis tebal dan berambut panjang itu tidak perlu terlalu sedih sebab Daeng Gassing akan kembali ke Makassar beserta belasan awak kapal yang rindu melihat nyiur pelepah.

“Kau yakin mau tinggalkan Arnhem Land?” Daeng Gassing memecah sunyi.

“Saya harus. Orang Persemakmuran Australia telah mengambil semuanya, tidak ada lagi yang bisa saya pertahankan. Kami tidak bisa hidup tanpa kalian,” jawab Burarrwanga sambil tangannya melempar ranting ke dalam api.

“Tapi orang-orangmu? Kau mau biarkan mereka?”

“Para tetua akan memilih pemimpin suku yang baru setelah saya pergi. Ini kesempatan terakhir saya seberangi gelombang dan melihat ada apa di balik kaki langit. Aku ingin kehidupan yang lebih baik bagi istri dan anakku.

Mereka bersitatap. Bara seolah berpindah dari arang ke mata dua orang yang sudah seperti saudara itu. Daeng Gassing tidak ingin Burarrwanga meninggalkan orang-orangnya begitu saja. Namun dia bisa apa. Dia tidak berhak menghalangi mimpi seseorang.

“Kemarin saya bertemu seorang ibu, dia menangis sambil terduduk dan memukul-mukul pasir begitu tahu kita akan pergi,” kata Marika.

Daeng Gassing masih tertunduk. Tangannya memegang sejenis gelas dari bambu berisi ballo, minuman keras khas Makassar yang terbuat dari nira enau atau kelapa, yang jauh-jauh dia bawa dari Makassar. Tak lama berselang, dia bangkit lalu menyerahkan gelas itu pada Burarrwanga. “Ini malam terakhir kita bersenang-senang. Di sana masih banyak, habiskan saja,” tawar Daeng Gassing yang disambut oleh Burarrwanga dengan senang hati.

“Saya, sebenarnya, tidak mau pergi. Bagaimana pun, di sini saya lahir. Di sini pula saya harus mati,” Marika kembali bersuara dengan sirih pinang di mulutnya. Pernyataannya membuat orang-orang di sekeliling api unggun itu kaget.

“Hanya kau dan anak kita yang tidak bisa saya tinggalkan. Saya rela melepaskan apa pun, tapi kalian? Saya tidak bisa.” Burarrwanga sambil menggelengkan kepala.

Malam masih pekat. Orang-orang mulai beradu mulut. Setelah Marika mengeluarkan pendapat, anggota kelompok lain mulai ikut bicara. Sebagian besar mereka tidak sepakat jika Burarrwanga pergi. Kepergian orang Makassar sudah cukup menyakitkan. Jika pemimpin kelompok yang beberapa tahun lalu berjasa atas keberaniannya terhadap pasukan Persemakmuran Australia juga pergi, mereka betul-betul kehilangan harapan.

Adu mulut tersebut berakhir dengan ketidak sepakatan antara Burarrwanga dengan orang-orangnya, termasuk Marika. Burarrwanga masih keras kepala. Dia masih ngotot akan membawa Marika ke Makassar meski Marika sendiri tidak ingin ikut dan anggota kelompok lain sudah mencegahnya. Burarrwanga lalu sekonyong-konyongnya meninggalkan api unggun dan menuju gubuknya untuk tidur. Dia sudah sangat mengantuk.

***

Dalam mimpinya, Burarrwanga bangkit dan menoleh ke sana kemari. Jantungnya berdebar. Dia mencari Daeng Gassing dan orang-orang Makassar yang lain. Burarrwanga tak melihat satu pun dari mereka. Dia gugup. Harusnya hari ini, dia, Marika, dan anak semata wayangnya ikut ke Makassar.

Hari mulai sedikit terang. Dari kejauhan, matahari mulai menyingsing sedikit demi sedikit meski bintang kejora seperti enggan pergi. Jangan-jangan, padewakkang telah berlayar meninggalkannya? Pikir Burarrwanga. Dia curiga sebab semalam, dalam ingatannya, Daeng Gassing dan beberapa orang Yolngu tidak sepakat jika dia harus ikut ke Makassar. Burarrwanga lantas mencari orang-orangnya. Dia kesal. Dia merasa dikhianati.

Burarrwanga mulai heran. Dia belum mendapat satu pun anggota kelompoknya bahkan di gubuk-gubuk yang mereka dirikan. Ke mana mereka? Diculik orang Persemakmuran Australia? Batin Burarrwanga.

“Tidak, mereka tidak diculik,” teriak seseorang dari kejauhan.

Mendengar suara itu, Burarrwanga membalikkan badan. Namun tak ada siapa-siapa. Seseorang jelas-jelas bersuara dan mendengar suara batinnya. Dia menoleh ke sekitar, hanya seekor kanguru yang menatapnya dari atas bukit karang.

“Kau tersesat?”

Burarrwanga kembali menoleh ke depan dan didapatnya seekor kanguru tepat di hadapan wajahnya. Dia berteriak lalu tersungkur. Burarrwanga menoleh ke arah bukit tempat kanguru itu awalnya terlihat, tetapi ia sudah tak ada. Entah bagaimana kanguru itu berpindah secepat kilat ke hadapannya. Yang lebih aneh lagi, kanguru itu bisa bicara. Burarrwanga mulai bertanya-tanya, apakah semua ini nyata atau hanya sekadar mimpi belaka sebab tidak mungkin ada kanguru yang bisa bicara.

“Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing, kau mau tinggalkan orang-orangmu begitu saja?”

“Dari mana kau tahu nama saya? Dayn Gatjing? Nama saya hanya Burarrwanga!”

“Oh, kau akan tahu nanti. Tidak lama lagi.”

Kanguru itu lantas mengubah wujudnya dengan cara yang sukar dipercaya. Ia menjadi seorang wanita berkulit kuning. Mirip seperti kulit orang-orang Makassar yang lebih terang dari kulit orang-orang Yolngu. Wanita itu melayang. Lalu dengan sekali lambaian, bukit-bukit rata dengan tanah. Sungai mengalir ke angkasa lalu jatuh sebagai hujan yang lembut. Matahari yang sudah setengah naik tiba-tiba tenggelam lagi. Malam datang dan bintang-bintang muncul kembali. Di langit, mereka berputar mengelilingi Burarrwanga. Benda-benda indah lainnya muncul seperti lukisan. Warna malam tidak hanya hitam, paduan kabut merah, hijau, biru, kuning, dan warna-warna lain yang belum pernah Burarrwanga lihat sebelumnya seolah ditumpahkan begitu saja. Burarrwanga takjub melihat pemandangan itu.

“Kau… kau Baiyini, leluhur pertama orang Yolngu?”

“Aku adalah apa yang kau pikirkan, Dayn Gatjing. Aku melukis semua ini, lalu mengirimnya ke alam tempat kalian hidup.”

“Kau … Mimi, roh pelukis? Bukan, kau… Barnumbirr, roh penciptaan!” Burarrwanga hendak sujud tetapi sosok gaib itu menyuruhnya untuk bangun.

“Tegarlah, dan kembalilah ke orang-orangmu. Kau hanya tersesat. Kau takut tanah ini mengecewakanmu lebih jauh. Tapi apa kau lupa? Orang-orang sebelummu bertahan sejak ribuan tahun, bahkan sebelum padewakkang orang Makassar datang dan sebelum para orang kulit putih menembakkan senapan kali pertama. Kalian akan baik-baik saja puluhan hingga ratusan tahun ke depan. Tinggallah di tanah ini, kenanglah yang pergi.”

Burarrwanga terbangun menangis masih mendengar petuah sosok itu. Kini dia mengerti. Dia tadi berada di wongar, alam mimpi. Alam tempat roh leluhur hidup dan menciptakan dunia. Tidak sembarang orang bisa ke sana. Menurut cerita para tetua, hanya mereka yang terpilih oleh roh leluhur saja yang bisa mendapat petunjuk melalui mimpi dan membuka gerbang ke wongar untuk melihat wujud asli para pencipta. Dia mendapat penglihatan dan telah diberkati.

***

Abu dan sisa-sisa unggun semalam masih teronggok di pesisir. Air telah pasang. Orang-orang sibuk mengangkat barang dan keranjang terakhir berisi teripang kering ke atas padewakkang. Angin tenggara sudah bertiup kencang. Para awak kapal mulai menyiapkan layar. Sauh akan dilepas, tetapi Daeng Gassing masih berdiri di tepian.

“Tiba-tiba sekali kau putuskan tidak pergi. Kau dapat mimpi?”

“Ya, aku berada di wongar dan bertemu kanguru. Sulit kujelaskan, tapi leluhur menyuruhku tetap di sini.”

Hal itu memang sangat sulit dimengerti oleh Daeng Gassing. Seseorang yang semalam sangat bersikeras untuk pergi dari tanah ini dan ikut berlayar, kini berubah pikiran hanya dengan alasan diberi petunjuk oleh seekor kanguru dalam mimpi.

Namun itu kepercayaan Burarrwanga. Entah dia bertemu leluhur atau apa di alam sana, Daeng Gassing tidak mau memikirkannya lebih jauh. Dia lega Burarrwanga batal meninggalkan kampung dan orang-orangnya. Yang Daeng Gassing yakini, Burarrwanga harus terus berjuang merebut kembali hak-hak atas tanah leluhurnya dari orang-orang Persemakmuran Australia.

“Oh iya, bisakah saya mengambil namamu? Akan saya taruh di belakang nama saya. Burarrwanga Daeng Gassing, atau dengan penyebutan orang Yolngu, Dayn Gatjing. Ya, Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing!”

“Tanda persaudaraan?”

“Saya akan mewariskan nama-nama Makassar dan menceritakan kisah kalian kepada anak saya, kepada cucu saya, kepada cucu dari cucu saya. Panggil saya Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing!”

“Tentu. Kita mungkin akan bertemu kembali suatu hari ketika musim baarra tiba dan angin mamirri bertiup,” Daeng Gassing kurang yakin dengan istilah Yolngu yang dia pakai.

“Hahaha, baarramirri, musim ketika angin bertiup dari arah barat laut.” Burarrwanga melambaikan tangan terakhir kali, diikuti oleh orang-orang Yolngu. Mata mereka terpaku pada layar padewakkang hingga tidak terlihat lagi di kaki langit.

*****

Remembering Padewakkang

Penulis pemenang penghargaan Junaedi Setiyono, yang lahir di Kebumen pada 16 Desember 1965, menyelesaikan pendidikannya dari sekolah dasar sampai sarjana di Purworejo. Pada 2013 dia memperoleh beasiswa untuk bimbingan disertasinya di Ohio State University Amerika Serikat selama empat bulan. Dia menyelesaikan doktornya dalam bidang Pendidikan Bahasa di Universitas Negeri Semarang pada 2016.

Setiyono pernah bekerja menjadi guru Bahasa Inggris di SMA, dan sejak 1997 menjadi salah seorang pengajar di almamaternya yaitu di Program Studi Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris, Universitas Muhammadiyah Purworejo.

Setiyono mula-mula menulis cerita pendek yang dimuat di koran dan majalah, yang terbit di Purworejo, Yogyakarta, dan Jakarta. Cerita pendeknya beberapa kali memenangi sayembara menulis cerita pendek. Pada 2006 naskah novelnya berjudul Glonggong memenangi Sayembara Menulis Novel Dewan Kesenian Jakarta, dan setelah diterbitkan Serambi, 2007, novel tersebut menjadi Finalis Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2008. Novelnya yang kedua, Arumdalu, (Serambi, 2010) masuk sepuluh besar Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2010. Pada 2012, naskah novelnya yang ketiga, Dasamuka, kembali memenangi Sayembara Menulis Novel Dewan Kesenian Jakarta, dan kemudian diterbitkan oleh Penerbit Ombak pada 2017. Pada tahun yang sama, novel tersebut diterjemahkan ke dalam Bahasa Inggris oleh Maya Denisa Saputra dan diterbitkan oleh Dalang Publishing di California, USA. Novel ini pemenang Penghargaan Sastra 2020 dari KEMDIKBUD.

Di samping mengerjakan novel sejarah berikutnya, Setiyono juga mengerjakan penelitian tentang pengajaran bahasa Inggris yang dapat mendukung pengajaran bahasa Indonesia di Indonesia.

Setiyono dapat dihubungi lewat alamat surelnya: junaedi.setiyono@yahoo.co.id

*****

 

 

Remembering Padewakkang

 

ARNHEM Land, Australia, December 1945

Holding a wooden tobacco pipe that had not been lit for a long time, Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing stared at the horizon. He waited for the merchant ships from Makassar, which used to cast their anchor here. Decades ago, the southeast winds that blew in March and April had blown the padewakkang sails northward. Their departure had been like losing a part of himself.

However, Burarrwanga, the dark-skinned, gray-haired chief of the Yolngu tribe the natives who lived in the region — had never lost hope that once again, just like a long time ago, the baarramirri, the northwestern winds that blew in December and January, would bring back the padewakkang vessels to moor in these waters. People would once again crowd the coastal area, filling their baskets with the teripang, sea cucumbers, they had gathered. Some of them smoked their catch. The image of such a beautiful time was ingrained in Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing’s memory. He kept waiting for Daeng Gassing and the other Makassar sailors, who came from the other side of ocean and brought rice, gold, and tobacco. Some hundred years ago, the Makassaran people had first come to Arnhem Land. The good relationship they established with Burarrwanga’s ancestors and the natives of Arnhem Land had been maintained all this time.

“Perhaps they were swallowed by the thunder snake in the middle of the ocean,” said Marika, Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing’s wife.

“Don’t talk nonsense. The thunder snake only attacks the wicked men at sea. Good men, like the Makassar sailors, wouldn’t be sunk.”

“Never mind, Burarrwanga,” Marika said. “There is still that tamarind tree they planted. You can take a rest under it.”

“I haven’t heard you call me by that name for a long time. The last time you used it was when they were here, right?”

“Yes, everyone, even the white men, now know you better as Dayn Gatjing than by your birth name.”

With a heavy sigh, Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing recalled what the white men had done to his life. The padewakkangs were gone. They had been banned forty years ago by the Australian Commonwealth for irrational reasons. Now, only the white men sailed back and forth, ruling the ocean and exploiting its wealth, especially the teripangs. The Yolngu people were no longer involved in any of the trading and did not receive anything the Australian Commonwealth took everything.

Burarrwanga would never forget the days when the coastal area of Arnhem Land was crowded by padewakkangs, merchant vessels owned by Makassaran people.

***

It was quite hot during the month of January in 1905. It was as if the sun’s heat was multiplying. Despite the conditions, bare-chested, barefooted ship crews and Yolngu people continued to lift bamboo baskets filled with just-harvested teripangs from the seabed. These sea cucumbers were taken to a smoking place where Daeng Gassing, captain of one of the docked Makassaran trade vessels, sat taking notes of how many pikuls of teripangs were collected that day. Each pikul weighed about 133 pounds.

Sitting next to Daeng Gassing, Burarrwanga smoked his pipe and watched members of his tribe working with the Makassarans. The pipe was a gift from his father, who in turn had received it as a gift from a Makassaran sailor quite a long time ago. Almost all of the adult males in Burarrwanga’s tribe owned such a pipe. They called it pipa Makassar because the Makassaran sailors were the ones who brought these pipes to them from the other side of the ocean.

“I’ve used the tobacco you gave me when you came a year ago.” Burarrwanga exhaled smoke through his nostrils. “But now you’ve brought me more again.”

“This is a custom our people have upheld over hundreds of years,” Daeng Gassing said while making notes Burarrwanga could not decipher. The Yolngu were illiterate. When they wanted to remember something, they drew or carved pictures on wood or stone. “Every year, we Makassaran merchants bring you certain items. In return, your people help us gather the teripangs.”

“We wouldn’t be doing so well if your men didn’t come here to gather teripangs.” Burarrwanga grinned. “You can take all of them. We don’t eat them.”

“Teripangs actually taste pretty bad,” Daeng Gassing agreed. “No one in Makassar eats these strange animals, either. We sell them in China, where sea cucumbers are expensive. Your teripangs are good quality.”

“I hope that one day I can visit your home. I am sure your native village is prosperous and developed.” Burarrwanga sighed before asking, “Are there a lot of ships and big houses?”

“If were prosperous back home, we’d unlikely be here looking for teripangs.” Daeng Gassing paused a moment before continuing. “There are many problems back home especially after the Dutch took control over Makassar. On the other hand, we are happy to come here. I’m sure this is also making our ancestors happy.”

The Makassaran sea captain most likely did not fully realize the enormity of the great changes the Makassarans had brought to the lives of Arnhem Land’s natives over the centuries. Along with bringing them rice, metal, tobacco, and liquor, the Makassar merchants also brought other goods that the people of Arnhem Land had never seen before. Arnhem Land became a part of the Makassar sailors’ homeland. They called this land Maregeq because of an old rumor that said Arnhem Land was a part of the Gowa Kingdom.

During Burarrwanga and Daeng Gassing’s conversation, Marika, who was more than six months pregnant, suddenly came running towards them. “The Commonwealth men …,” she panted, stumbling towards them. “I saw them … they’re carrying guns ….” Marika stood in front of her husband and the captain, shaking and gasping for breath.

Daeng Gassing and Burarrwanga quickly alerted their men. The Makassaran sailors grabbed their machetes and axes while the Yolngu men prepared their spears and arrows. They didn’t like violence, but if the Commonwealth men came armed, they had to be prepared for every possibility.

Soon, an Australian Commonwealth constable stood in front of Daeng Gassing. “You have strayed too far from your homeland, and you’re harvesting too many teripangs in an area which is not yours. Consider this a warning.”

“My ships have been registered by the harbormaster of Port Bowen,” Daeng Gassing retorted. “What are you warning me for?”

“Look at this.” The constable took out a piece of paper. “I have orders to watch all of you Makassarans because you’re a bad influence on these natives. You’re causing them to become drunkards.”

“Hey, this is not your business, is it?” Burarrwanga raised his voice. He didn’t like the Australian Commonwealth interfering with their lives. “Why do you bother us?”

“Listen.” The constable shot Burarrwanga a sharp look, then continued while pointing at Daeng Gassing, “These men — only God knows where they came from — will get you in trouble.”

“You have no say here!” Burarrwanga suddenly swung at the constable. His punch was a bit off target, but the constable lost his balance and fell backward. He drew his pistol and fired a warning shot into the sky.

Startled, those around Burarrwanga covered their ears.

Both the Makassaran and Yolngu men reached for their weapons, ready to attack the group of white-skinned constables. But Daeng Gassing signaled to hold off the attack.

“Because this is only a warning, we will leave,” said the constable. “We don’t want any violence here, but one punch deserves another.” The blond constable landed a well-aimed punch on Burarrwanga’s cheek and left.

People crowded around the dazed Burarrwanga. Some of them made ready to chase the constable, but Burarrwanga signaled them to stop. The constable’s punch made Burarrwanga see stars and many kangaroos jumping around him. Everything turned blurry then became dark. He fainted.

***

Two years after the incident in 1905, the Australian Commonwealth banned Makassar ships from entering Australian territory. This was worse than the storms that frequently hit the padewakkangs while crossing the ocean. Makassaran fishermen had come to harvest teripangs off the Arnhem Land coast since the mid-1600s. The olive-skinned ancestors of Daeng Gassing had sailed to Arnhem Land much earlier than any of the white-skinned Commonwealth men who arrived on these shores with thousands of prisoners and rifles.

On the night before the padewakkangs lifted anchor from Arnhem Land for the final time, Burarrwanga sat staring at the flames of the fire that absorbed the silence. Time passed, as a dozen men sat around the fire without uttering a word. The only sounds that broke the silence were the breaking waves sweeping the sand, the creaking boards of ships swaying in the water, and the crackling of broken branches being swallowed by the flames. The men gathered around the fire were confused, angry, and sad. It was unlikely that after the padewakkangs set sail the next day, they would ever see each other again.

Burarrwanga raked the fire with a branch. For a moment he rested his eyes on the pile of ashes in the fire pit. It occurred to him that the ashes resembled their hopes. Burarrwanga sighed, then blew onto the smoldering branches until he became dizzy. Suddenly, many thoughts somersaulted inside his head. It was as if the kangaroos he used to hunt in the savanna had jumped into his head. He could leave with the sailors, whom he’d known for as long as his memory could serve him. He contemplated the fate of his tribe and his descendants if he decided to move to Makassar with his family.

Across the fire, Burarrwanga saw Daeng Gassing’s gloomy face lit by the dancing flames. Burarrwanga wondered why the man with the thick moustache and long hair looked sad. Afterall, he and his crew were about to go home. Burarrwanga had spoken his thoughts.

“Are you sure you want to leave Arnhem Land?” Daeng Gassing’s voice broke the silence.

“I have to.” Burarrwanga threw some branches into the flames. “The Australian Commonwealth men have taken everything. There is nothing left that I am able to protect. We cannot live without you and your men.”

“But what about your tribe? You will just leave everyone?”

“The elders will choose a new chief after I’m gone. This is the last opportunity for me to cross the ocean and see something behind the horizon. I want to have a better life for my wife and son.”

The two men stared at one another. The heat of the fire seemed to move into the eyes of the two men who had become like brothers.

Daeng Gassing didn’t want Burarrwanga to abandon his tribe, but there was nothing he could do. He had no right to keep Burarrwanga from pursuing his dream.

Marika rose and broke into their thoughts. “Yesterday, I met a mother. When I told her that we were leaving, the woman dropped to the ground, crying. She punched the sand repeatedly while begging me to stay.”

Daeng Gassing bowed his head. He held a bamboo mug containing ballo, an alcoholic drink from Makassar made from coconut flower sap. He rose and handed the mug to Burarrwanga. “Tonight is the last time to have fun together. There is still plenty of ballo where this came from. Drink up!”

Burarrwanga happily accepted the mug.

“I don’t want to go,” Marika said between chews on the roll of betel leaves in her mouth. “I was born here, and I want to die here too.” Her words surprised everyone sitting around the fire.

“I can’t leave you and our son,” Burarrwanga said. “I am ready to leave everything, but not you.” Burarrwanga shook his head. “No that I cannot do.”

It was a dark and gloomy night. People started arguing. After Marika stated her preferences openly, other people started joining in the discussion. Most of them did not want Burarrwanga to leave for Makassar. The departure of the Makassaran men already hurt them. If Burarrwanga, their chief, who protected their land with his bravery against the Australian Commonwealth forces, was gone too, they would be totally lost.

Arguing bitterly, Burarrwanga, his people, and Marika could not reach an agreement. Burarrwanga stubbornly held on to his opinion. He intended to take Marika and their son with him to Makassar, even if Marika herself didn’t want to accompany her husband and even though his council of elders had already forbidden him to do so. Suddenly, Burarrwanga felt very sleepy. He abruptly rose and, leaving the fire, headed for his hut. He needed to get some sleep.

The discussion ended without any solution.

***

That night, in Burarrwanga’s dream, he rose and looked around. His heart pounding, he searched nervously for Daeng Gassing and the other Makassaran men. Burarrwanga didn’t see any of them. He, his wife, and his only child were supposed to leave for Makassar that day.

The sky began to brighten. In the distance, the sun started to rise gradually, while the morning star seemed reluctant to leave. Did the padewakkangs sail without me? Burarrwanga wondered. He suspected that Daeng Gassing and his crew had betrayed him, but Burarrwanga had considered those men to be his friends. He remembered that Daeng Gassing and some of the Yolngu men hadn’t agreed with his decision to follow Daeng Gassing to Makassar. Irritated and feeling deceived, Burarrwanga looked for his tribe’s men.

He was astonished not to find anyone. Even the hut they had built was empty. Where are they? Had they been kidnapped by the Australian Commonwealth men?

“No, they haven’t been kidnapped,” came a shout from afar.

Burarrwanga looked around anxiously, but there was no one. He had clearly heard someone shouting, someone responding to his inner dialogue. Burarrwanga looked around again. A kangaroo sitting on top of a dead coral rock, was the only living creature around.

“Are you lost?”

Burarrwanga fastened his eyes on the dead coral rock again, but the kangaroo had vanished. How strange, Burarrwanga thought, a talking kangaroo. He began to wonder if what was happening was real or if he was dreaming. It was impossible for a kangaroo to talk!

“Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing, are you simply going to abandon your tribe?” The kangaroo again appeared on the dead coral rock.

“Who told you that my name is Dayn Gatjing?” Burarrwanga shouted, rubbing his eyes. “My name is just Burarrwanga!”

“Oh, you will find out, soon. Just wait a moment.” The kangaroo then turned into an olive-skinned woman.

Burarrwanga could hardly believe his own eyes. The woman’s skin color resembled that of the Makassaran people, lighter than the skin of the Yolngu people. The woman floated through the air. With a wave of her hand, the hills became as flat as the plains. Rivers flowed to the sky and then fell as soft rain. The sun, which had already risen halfway into the sky, suddenly sunk again. Night came, and stars emerged and circled in the sky around Burarrwanga. Other beautiful things appeared like paintings. The night was not just black. It was a hazy combination of red, green, blue, yellow, and other colors Burarrwanga had never seen before. The colors seem to spill around him. Burarrwanga was astonished seeing such a scene.

“You …” Burarrwanga stammered, “are you Baiyini, the First Being of the Yolngu people?”

“I am whoever you think I am, Dayn Gatjing. These are all my paintings. I send them to the world you live in.”

“You … are you Mimi, the painter’s spirit? No, you … you are Barnumbirr, the spirit of creation.” Burarrwanga knelt, but the mysterious creature asked him to rise.

“Take heart and return to your people,” said the spirit. “You are only lost. You are afraid that this land will continue to disappoint you. But you must remember that your ancestors stood firm for thousands of years. They were here long before the Makassaran merchants moored their padewakkangs here and long before the white-skinned people fired their first gunshot here. You will be all right for decades, even centuries to come. Just stay here and remember those who have to depart.”

Burarrwanga woke up crying. He could still hear the apparition’s advice. Now he understood. He had visited a wongar, the dream place where the Yolngu’s ancestral spirits lived and created this world. Not just anyone could visit there. According to the elders, only the chosen ones were given guidance in a dream and could enter the gate to wongar to see the creators in their real form. Burarrwanga had just received such guidance and, therefore, had been blessed.

***

The ashes of the previous night’s fire were still piled on the beach. The tide was already high. Crew hands were busy carrying the last baskets containing dried teripang onto the padewakkangs. The southeast wind started to pick up. The ship crews began preparing the sails. The anchors would soon be lifted. But Daeng Gassing still stood on the beach.

“You decided not to go quite suddenly,” he said to Burarrwanga. “Did you have a dream?”

“Yes, I was in a wongar and met a kangaroo. It is difficult to explain. In short, my tribe’s ancestors asked me to stay here.”

Daeng Gassing could not understand Burarrwanga’s behavior. How could someone who only the night before was so eager to leave this land and sail to Makassar change his mind just because of a dream — a dream about a kangaroo that had advised him to stay?

But that was Burarrwanga’s belief. Whether or not he met his ancestor or whoever in a mystical world, Daeng Gassing didn’t want to pursue it further. He was relieved that Burarrwanga had changed his mind about leaving his homeland and his people. The only thing that Daeng Gassing wanted to ensure was that Burarrwanga would keep fighting to get back his homeland’s rights from the Australian Commonwealth people.

“By the way, may I take your name and add it to the end of my real name?” asked Burarrwanga. “My new name would then become Burarrwanga Daeng Gassing or, using the Yolngu pronunciation, Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing!”

“Is it a sign of brotherhood?” Daeng Gassing asked.

“I will pass down the Makassaran name and tell the story about you to my son, my grandson, the grandson of my grandson. Call me Burarrwanga Dayn Gatjing!”

“Of course. We will possibly meet again one day, when the baarra season comes and the mamirri blows.” Daeng Gassing was not sure if he had used the proper Yolngu terms.

“Hah!” Burarrwanga laughed. “It’s baarramirri, the season when the wind blows from the northwest.” Burarrwanga raised his hand and waved goodbye for the last time. The Yolngu people around him followed his gesture. Everyone’s eyes remained glued to the padewakkang sails until they vanished in the horizon.

 

 

 

 *****

 

 

Choose Site Version
English   Indonesian