Friday, July 24, 2020

MANAGEMENT OF CHANGE IN ASIA & EUROPE: Case studies of Essen (Germany) and Sawahlunto (Indonesia)




WEBINAR "MANAGEMENT OF CHANGE IN ASIA & EUROPE: 

Case studies of Essen (Germany) and Sawahlunto (Indonesia)"

Thursday, July 30, 2020

15.00 Western Indonesia Time or 10.00 Central European Summer Time.

On 6 July 2019 was officially inscription of Sawahlunto in the UNESCO World Heritage List. To commemorate the anniversary, Pan-Sumatra Network for Heritage Conservation (Pansumnet) supported by several stakeholders organize a webinar about management of former coal mining sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Zollverein, Essen, Germany, that has been in the list since 2001 will share experiences and lessons learned as presenters, and heritage experts from Sawahlunto as discussants.

What can Sawahlunto learn from Zollverein that has been on the list for almost two decades?

What are the dynamics of heritage management in Asia and Europe?

How can both sites learn from each other?

If you are interested, please register via this link:  http://tiny.cc/Sawahlunto-Zollverein


Friday, July 03, 2020

PANSUMNET: SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL

During 1997-2005 I lived in Sumatra Island, a population of 80 million, Indonesia. I traveled from end to end, to most of the villages, from Aceh to Lampung. This island has a very rich culture: customs, languages, foods, traditions, architecture, countless. Since I couldn't find any heritage organizations, I started to look for local contacts who were active in preserving local culture. After a year or two, there were about 14 organizations in Sumatra who got to know each other and shared similar passions for cultural heritage. All of us agreed to unite ourselves in a network called Pan-Sumatra Network for Heritage Conservation (Pansumnet). We organized training and gathering periodically to exchange experiences and mostly to encourage each other to keep going despite challenges and limitations. 

Anno 2020 Pansumnet survives and keeps its Whatsapp Group actively. We have also a monthly discussion with speakers from various islands. This is a network of individuals who work on grassroots, voluntarily, year after year, no plan, no subsidy, just keep going. It is an example of people's power who are aware of their cultural heritage in the middle of rapid development. Sometimes I wonder how to empower these voluntary movements so they can work and achieve more effectively?

What I have learned from Pansumnet is that this kind of regional network works best for a vast archipelago like Indonesia. It is manageable geographically and culturally. Other islands such as Kalimantan and Sulawesi should have their own networks. Java can manage itself without a regional network since every big city has a strong position in every way. 

The challenge is to find individuals who are willing to start the movements. The young generation who live outside Java has an acute problem of inferiority. They have learned that most initiatives come from Java, by the Javanese, or at least by those who have lived and studied in Java. Lack of leadership. This is a latent challenge for Indonesia that needs to be addressed. Decentralization is a good start but empowerment needs more. Distribution of quality of higher education, for example. Distribution of high-level job opportunities so graduates do not need to migrate to Java especially Jakarta. No brain drain. These could be the first steps to combat inferiority and to keep good leaders locally. 
















Friday, June 12, 2020

HISTORIC URBAN LANDSCAPE (HUL)

Raising awareness and increase the capacity of all stakeholders in cultural heritage management is a long term effort. There are many colleagues and friends who have been dedicating their time, energy, and resources to do that. They are my inspirations.

One of the efforts is to raise awareness and to increase capacity about Historic Urban Landscape (HUL).  Heritage is not a dead monument, it has a soul and that soul rooted in its context, surrounding, and people around it.

In Indonesia, we have taken small steps to introduce the concept of HUL in Muntok and Banjarmasin. We were simply facilitators, the local authorities and communities were the main actors.

During this COVID19 pandemic, we keep continuing to disseminate the efforts through webinars and distribution of the reports. They are free to download.





Friday, May 29, 2020

DUA PAHLAWAN PELESTARIAN AMSTERDAM

Ada dua orang yang saya jadikan panutan dalam hal pelestarian bangunan dan kawasan bersejarah di Amsterdam: Paul Morel dan AndrĂ© van Stigt. Paul Morel adalah manajer proyek di Stadsherstel Amsterdam (the City Restoration Company of Amsterdam), sedangkan AndrĂ© van Stigt seorang arsitek spesialis konservasi yang mewarisi biro arsitek dari ayahnya, Bureau J. van Stigt. 

Keduanya bekerjasama pertamakali 38 tahun yang lalu menyelamatkan sebuah gereja bernama De Posthoornkerk . Setelah itu diikuti oleh proyek-proyek lain sampai mencapai 7 buah, semua dalam skala relatif besar dan signifikan dalam revitalisasi sebuah kawasan. Ketujuh proyek kerjasama itu adalah:
  1. Posthoornkerk
  2. NedPho-Koepel 
  3. De Hallen (Hal 17)
  4. Vondelkerk
  5. Pakhuis de Zwijger
  6. Haarlemmerpoort
  7. Muiderkerk
Dua orang ini sama-sama mempunyai idealisme memelihara identitas dan sejarah Kota Amsterdam melalui bangunan dan kawasan bersejarah. Idealisme itu didukung bukan hanya oleh pengetahuan dan pengalaman yang mumpuni, tetapi juga oleh kepedulian pada komunitas lokal dengan segala dinamikanya seperti lapangan kerja, kohesi sosial, dan kehidupan budaya yang dinamis. 

Salahsatu prinsip yang saya petik dari keduanya adalah sebuah bangunan dilestarikan untuk fungsi baru yang sesuai. Jadi bukan melestarikan bangunan untuk fungsi baru. Prinsip ini diterjemahkan dalam ketujuh proyek di atas dan hasilnya memang terlihat nyata. Semua proyek itu bisa menghidupi dirinya sendiri, berkelanjutan dalam jangka panjang. Proses pelestarian yang baik dan benar direncanakan dan dihitung agar memberi keuntungan finansial dan memberi manfaat yang sebesar-besarnya untuk masyarakat sekitar. Keuntungan finansial sangat penting untuk menjaga keberlanjutan proyek agar jangan sampai menjadi proyek yang mati di tengah jalan atau hanya ramai pada saat permulaan saja. Selain itu, keuntungan finansial juga memungkinkan untuk memberi penghargaan yang sesuai kepada semua ahli dan staf yang terlibat dalam proyek. Usaha pelestarian adalah kerja profesional yang ada standar dan aturan mainnya.

Setiap proyek di atas ada tautan websitenya jika ingin melihat gambar atau membaca lebih jauh. 

(Sumber: Stadsherstel Amsterdam, Bureau van Stigt).

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

15 TAHUN DI BELANDA : INTEGRASI


Menjadi migran memperkaya wawasan dan pengalaman, tetapi juga menuntut penyesuaian lahir batin. Jika diibaratkan komputer, maka harus di-reset, diprogram kembali agar sesuai dengan sikon lokal. Nyaris semua hal terasa baru dan tidak menjadi sesuatu yang otomatis lagi sebagaimana di daerah asal kita. Bahkan hal sehari-hari pun seperti sosialisasi dengan tetangga atau menghadiri pertemuan menjadi tantangan tersendiri untuk memahami apa yang diharapkan dari perilaku dan pembicaraan kita. Apalagi semua interaksi dilakukan dalam bahasa asing, dalam kasus saya dalam Bahasa Belanda, yang pasti tidak sefasih penutur bahasa ibu.



Dalam hal pertemanan dan sosialisasi informal, mental kita relatif lebih rileks untuk berhadapan dengan situasi dan orang baru. Kalaupun ada hal-hal yang kaku atau salah, bisa dihadapi dengan humor. Bukan berarti mendapat teman baru mudah di Belanda. Mereka umumnya baik dan ramah tetapi makna teman berbeda dengan Indonesia. Makna teman di Belanda kira-kira sama dengan sahabat baik di Indonesia. Jadi tidak mudah untuk menjadi teman bagi orang Belanda dan sebaliknya. Tetapi kalau mau menjadi kenalan, tidak masalah. Teman di tingkat basa-basi begitu kira-kira. Selama 15 tahun di Belanda saya mendapat banyak kenalan. Teman? Beberapa.



Dalam situasi yang formal seperti lingkungan pekerjaan, penyesuaian diri lebih menantang. Di awal-awal saya semangat sekali melamar pekerjaan ke sana ke mari. Saya pikir saya punya latar belakang pendidikan dan pengalaman yang sesuai dengan posisi yang saya lamar. Di Indonesia saya nyaris tidak pernah harus melamar pekerjaan, jadi tidak punya dokumen  riwayat hidup yang lengkap. Di Belanda, selain harus belajar membuat riwayat hidup dan surat lamaran, juga meraba-raba dalam rimba lapangan pekerjaan yang tersedia. Posisi yang menarik banyak, tetapi kendala bahasa cukup mengerikan. Kedua, saya sangat polos berpikir bahwa saya memahami ruang lingkup deskripsi pekerjaannya. Untuk konteks Indonesia mungkin benar, tetapi untuk konteks Belanda sebenarnya saya tidak tahu apa-apa. Saya sering mendapat surat penolakan yang mengatakan bahwa kualifikasi saya terlalu tinggi untuk posisi yang dilamar. Saya belum pernah mendengar alasan begini di Indonesia. Jadi pendidikan tinggi ada sisi negatifnya juga di Belanda karena sulit melamar untuk posisi-posisi manajemen menengah ke bawah seperti asisten misalnya. 

Lama-kelamaan saya belajar dari sekeliling saya untuk mencari pekerjaan melalui uitzendbureau, biro tenaga kerja. Betul saja, minggu ini melamar, dua minggu kemudian sudah bisa mulai bekerja. Posisinya di bawah kualifikasi pendidikan dan pengalaman saya, tetapi sebagai tahap awal integrasi ke lapangan pekerjaan di Belanda sudah cukup baik dan menjanjikan. 

Dalam hal berinteraksi, hal yang menyenangkan adalah sifat egalitarian orang Belanda, terlepas dari latar belakang dan posisi, umumnya kita diperlakukan secara setara.  Gengsi-gengsian juga relatif  kurang berlaku di sini. Beberapa pejabat tinggi seperti walikota, menteri sampai perdana menteri naik sepeda ke kantor. Penampilan dalam hal pakaian juga jauh lebih simpel dibanding Indonesia. Pegawai pemerintah boleh pakai jeans ke kantor. Filosofi di belakang ini semua adalah sifat orang Belanda yang "nuchter" artinya seadanya sesuai akal sehat dan keperluan, tidak mengada-ada. Sifat ini diterapkan dimana-mana, termasuk dalam pembuatan kebijakan dan penerapannya. Misalnya mengutamakan pejalan kaki, pengendara sepeda, kendaraan umum, baru kemudian mobil. Itu kan kebijakan yang manusiawi dan logis, tidak mengada-ada.



Thursday, May 07, 2020

15 TAHUN DI BELANDA: BAHASA

Ketika saya menunggu dikeluarkannya izin tinggal sementara oleh Kedubes Belanda di Jakarta tahun 2004, saya mengambil kursus Bahasa Belanda selama tiga bulan. Lumayan untuk berkenalan dengan tata bahasa dasarnya. Ketika sampai di Belanda, menunggu sekitar setengah tahun untuk mulai kursus Bahasa Belanda sebagai bagian dari kursus berintegrasi dengan masyarakat Belanda (inburgering cursus). Jadi yang dipelajari bukan hanya bahasa tapi juga soal-soal lain yang esensial kehidupan sehari-hari seperti sejarah, kesehatan, tata cara berinteraksi, dan lain-lain. Tahun 2005 ini kursus wajib untuk imigran dan semua biaya ditanggung pemerintah. 

Belajar sebuah bahasa yang baru pada umur 40 tahun lain rasanya dengan belajar bahasa ketika masih umur 20 tahunan. Dibutuhkan enerji ekstra untuk menghafalkan kata-kata yang baru. Untungnya saya tinggal di negara penutur Bahasa Belanda jadi proses belajarnya relatif cepat. 

Mevrouw Loek dengan Dian
Selain kursus resmi di CEC (Cultureel Educatief Centrum-Pusat Pendidikan Kebudayaan) , saya mendaftar ke Gilde Amsterdam untuk latihan percakapan dengan sukarelawan penutur asli Bahasa Belanda. Sukarelawan yang ditunjuk untuk membantu saya namanya Loek Smeet, seorang biolog yang sudah pensiun mengajar dan tinggalnya dekat rumah saya. Prinsipnya memang anak didik dan guru harus tinggal berdekatan agar mudah bertemu. Maka kami janjian pertama kali bertemu di taman bermain Ganzenhoef, Amsterdam. Saya jadi bisa sekalian mengasuh anak yang waktu itu umurnya tiga tahun. Saya kira saya mengerti hari dan jam janji melalui telepon itu, ternyata saya salah mengerti. Untung pertemuan berikutnya berjalan lancar. Mevrouw Loek tidak berbahasa Inggris sama sekali sekalipun saya setengah mati susahnya mencari kata-kata Bahasa Belanda. Ini guru bahasa yang bagus. Program Gilde Amsterdam berjalan sekitar satu tahun tapi pertemanan kami berjalan terus sampai sekarang, 15 tahun kemudian. Tahun ini Mevrouw Loek genap berusia 80 tahun. 

Hal lain yang saya lakukan adalah melamar magang di kantor Pemkot Amsterdam bagian Tenggara (Amsterdam Stadsdeel Zuidoost). Ketika itu saya sudah tinggal sekitar 11 bulan di Belanda, sudah bisa bicara dalam Bahasa Belanda sedikit-sedikit. Tugas saya adalah meng-update database para migran wajib kursus integrasi. Bekerja di lembaga yang asli Belanda, bukan lembaga internasional, mengekspos saya pada Bahasa Belanda secara intensif.

Di rumah saya juga meminta suami untuk berbahasa Belanda dengan saya. Jawaban saya belepotan tidak apa-apa, yang penting latihan.

Tahun 2006 saya lulus kursus integrasi dn kursus bahasa dengan baik. Ijazahnya ditandatangani oleh Walikota Amsterdam yang saya kagumi waktu itu, Job Cohen, jadi saya senang sekali. Sesudah tahap awal ini dilalui, kehidupan yang sesungguhnya di luar sana sudah menunggu. Mencari kerja dan berintegrasi dengan kehidupan lokal. 

Sekarang, 15 tahun kemudian, Bahasa Belanda saya masih jauh dari sempurna tetapi saya sudah merasa nyaman memanfaatkannya untuk pekerjaan (mengikuti pertemuan, menulis surat, dan lain-lain) dan untuk membaca buku-buku serta arsip tentang Belanda maupun tentang Indonesia. Sebagai pekerja di bidang heritage asal Indonesia, banyak sekali manfaatnya memahami Bahasa Belanda. Kadang-kadang saya merasa overwhelmed dengan begitu banyaknya arsip tentang Indonesia. Seandainya saja, seandainya saja semua informasi itu bisa disebarluaskan juga di Indonesia. 


Dian dan saya di Volendam

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

15 TAHUN DI BELANDA: PEKERJAAN

Pada musim dingin 2005 saya pindah secara permanen ke Belanda karena pernikahan. Tetapi sebetulnya affair saya dengan Belanda sudah dimulai sejak tahun 1999 ketika muncul artikel di koran de Volkskrant edisi Sabtu, 23 Januari tentang Badan Warisan Sumatra (BWS). Artikel dua halaman penuh dengan alamat email saya sehingga membuka pintu persahabatan dengan beberapa orang Belanda yang secara pribadi mempunyai ketertarikan pada Medan dan Indonesia. Sejak itu saya diundang secara regular oleh beberapa institusi di Belanda, diantaranya NAi dan ICOMOS. Kalau saya bepergian ke belahan dunia lain yang melewati Eropa, saya juga selalu transit di Belanda.

Tiba di  Bandara Schiphol, Belanda, tahun 2005
Keluarga di Belanda, 2020

Sebagai orang Indonesia yang minat dan bekerja di bidang heritage, Belanda adalah surga karena arsip tentang Indonesia banyak di sini. Tapi sebelum bisa baca arsip, belajar Bahasa Belanda dulu. Jadi tahun pertama dan kedua saya kursus Bahasa Belanda dan kursus berintegrasi dengan masyarakat Belanda (inburgering cursus). Tahun 2006 kursus ini sifatnya wajib dan seluruh biaya ditanggung pemerintah. Pada saat yang sama saya juga melamar untuk magang di Pemkot Amsterdam bagian Tenggara namanya Stadsdeel Zuidoost sebagai asisten yang membantu-bantu memelihara basis data para imigran yang wajib kursus integrasi. Bahasa Belanda masih belepotannya minta ampun tapi belajar bahasa sambil menyelam langsung ke dalam kolam begini adalah cara yang cepat dan efektif. 

Cara lain untuk berintegrasi dengan cepat dengan masyarakat Belanda yang saya lakukan adalah melakukan pekerjaan sampingan, beberapa jam saja setiap minggunya, tetapi saya bisa mempraktekkan Bahasa Belanda, belajar tentang kontrak kerja, dan dapat uang saku. Pekerjaan sampingan yang pernah saya lakukan misalnya mengisi kodepos di komputer Post NL pada periode Natal dan Tahun Baru. Musim dingin, bekerja mulai jam 06.00 pagi dan lokasinya di ujung kota bagian Barat Amsterdam. Kalau berangkat masih gelap dan sepi sekali. Pekerjaan sampingan lain adalah membersihkan kantor pada sore hari setelah jam kantor. Kalau yang ini dekat rumah dan bisa naik sepeda sekitar seperempat jam. Saya dididik berdisiplin oleh dua orang tua dengan latar belakang militer jadi membersihkan kantor bukan hal yang sulit. Yang sebenarnya lebih perlu latihan adalah menurunkan ego diri sendiri. Pekerjaan terakhir saya di Indonesia adalah konsultan UNDP Jakarta untuk urusan Kota Berkelanjutan, tinggal di Jakarta sambil menunggu izin tinggal keluar dari Kedubes Belanda. Betapa kontrasnya antara membersihkan toilet kantor dan konsultan lembaga internasional. Pekerjaan sampingan lain yang saya lakukan adalah bekerja di katering untuk rumah sakit mempersiapkan makanan untuk para pasien. Semua pekerjaan sampingan ini sangat berharga untuk belajar rendah hati dan berintegrasi dengan masyarakat Belanda.

Ketika Bahasa Belanda saya sudah agak lancar, saya melamar kerja kantoran jadi asisten di sebuah perusahaan farmasi internasional. Tahun 2007 mencari pekerjaan kantor masih gampang. Hari ini melamar, dua minggu kemudian sudah bisa mulai kerja. Ini juga sebetulnya pekerjaan sampingan tapi kontraknya lebih permanen dan pekerjaannya lebih rutin. Saya masih punya sisa tenaga dan enerji untuk minat saya yang sesungguhnya, yaitu heritage.

Kalau minat dan semangat di bidang heritage saya salurkan dengan memikirkan apa yang saya bisa pelajari dari gerakan pelestarian di Belanda yang akan bermanfaat di Indonesia. Ide pertama saya membuat usulan kerjasama di bidang pendidikan warisan budaya (heritage education). Itu masih tahun 2007 ketika semua rasanya masih mudah. Proposal diajukan kepada jejaring saya di Belanda, tidak lama kemudian saya dikabari bahwa Kemendikbud Belanda bersedia mendanai untuk kerjasama dengan Indonesia selama dua tahun, 2008-2010. 

Setelah itu usulan demi usulan berjalan terus satu persatu. Saya menyadari bahwa gerakan heritage di Indonesia memerlukan banyak inspirasi, termasuk dari Belanda. Bukan untuk di copy paste, tetapi untuk gagasan bagaimana mencari manfaat dan adaptasinya sesuai konteks lokal Indonesia. Informasi detail mengenai usulan-usulan kerjasama antara Indonesia dan Belanda yang pernah dan masih berjalan sampai saat ini bisa dilihat melalui website saya : https://www.heritage-hands-on.org/

Antara tahun 2006-2007 saya mendapat kesempatan untuk mengikuti fellow program bernama Stepping Stones yang diadakan oleh Kemendikbud Belanda untuk beberapa migran yang bekerja di bidang heritage. Setiap peserta mendapat mentor dari institusi heritage dan boleh bertanya apa saja. Program yang bagus tapi akan lebih bagus lagi kalau seusai program disalurkan ke berbagai lembaga yang terlibat. Mencari pekerjaan di bidang heritage untuk migran relatif sulit karena heritage berkaitan dengan konteks lokal dari segi sejarah, dan peraturannya. Mungkin ada satu atau dua kekecualian, tetapi belum pernah ada lamaran yang berhasil diterima oleh lembaga heritage di Belanda.  

Salahsatu angkatan mahasiswa yang saya ajar di Amsterdam
Di samping itu saya juga melamar sebagai dosen tamu untuk bidang heritage management di Reinwardt Academie, Amsterdam. Saya mengajar antara tahun 2007 hingga tahun 2017. Saya sangat senang belajar bersama-sama dengan para mahasiswa S2 asal berbagai negara. Mereka muda, semangat dan kreatif. 

Sumber: www.entoen.nu
Di sela-sela pekerjaan kantor dan proyek kerjasama Indonesia-Belanda, saya juga sesekali diminta menjadi penterjemah. Salahsatu dokumen penting yang saya terjemahkan adalah Kanon Sejarah Belanda. Ini adalah 50 peristiwa penting dalam perjalanan Belanda sebagai sebuah bangsa. Saya menerjemahkannya ke dalam Bahasa Indonesia karena banyak migran asal Indonesia di Belanda. Ini hasilnya : https://www.entoen.nu/id/

Pada periode 2019-2020 saya diminta menjadi anggota Dewan Kebudayaan Belanda untuk Komisi Koleksi Kolonial. Tugas komisi ini untuk merumuskan usulan kepada Menteri Dikbud Belanda tentang kebijakan Belanda mengenai koleksi museum yang berasal dari negara-negara bekas jajahan, termasuk Indonesia.

Selain itu pada tahun 2019 saya merasakan kebutuhan untuk memikirkan apa yang masih menjadi kerisauan saya dari situasi gerakan heritage di Indonesia. Jawabannya adalah nasib para aktivis heritage. Generasi muda yang idealis, semangat dan berdedikasi untuk melestarikan warisan budaya bangsa namun harus bertahan hidup dengan cara masing-masing, tanpa bisa mengandalkan penghargaan nominal sebagai pekerja heritage. Saya ingin belajar bagaimana mengatasi situasi ini. Universitas Leiden bersedia untuk mengakomodasi kegelisahan saya. Sekarang masih dalam tahap pengembangan gagasan penelitian S3. Jalan masih panjang dan saya yakin akan berliku, akan saya jalani saja semampunya.  

Dalam perjalanan 15 tahun tinggal di Belanda dan berusaha menyalurkan minat saya di bidang heritage khususnya kerjasama kedua negara antara Belanda dan Indonesia, saya fokus pada peningkatan kapasitas untuk penggiat dan peminat heritage di Indonesia. Jika kapasitas pelaku heritage di Indonesia meningkat, pengetahun maupun pengalaman, maka pengambilan keputusan juga akan membaik. Memperkenalkan ide-ide baru tidak selalu mudah karena perubahan dalam sistem heritage membutuhkan penyesuaian dari banyak pihak, dan juga membutuhkan waktu. Saya percaya setiap bibit yang baik akan tumbuh dengan baik sekalipun dalam waktu yang lama. Yang paling penting adalah memelihara niat baiknya itu. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

22TH ANNIVERSARY OF SUMATRA HERITAGE TRUST


It was an honor to meet again with my seniors who introduced me to heritage about three decades ago.

And so glad to see my junior colleagues took over the leadership to ensure that the heritage movement keeps going.

Heritage movement in Indonesia is never been easy. As my senior said, heritage is about politics. But we have achieved certain things together all these years.

Congratulations Sumatra Heritage Trust! Keep the spirit high, as always!



Monday, April 13, 2020

HUTAN PERANGKO

Saya selalu menyukai alam terbuka tetapi bekerja dengan tangan di alam terbuka baru saya lakukan setelah tinggal di Belanda.

Pertama, di sepetak kebun di depan apartemen di Amsterdam. Saya menanam bahan-bahan sayuran sup (wortel, seledri, bawang daun), bunga dan buah stroberi. Ini saya lakukan terutama untuk memberi contoh pada anak saya, Dian, bahwa wortel asalnya dari tanah, bukan dari supermarket. Setelah Dian agak besar, kegiatan berkebun ini berhenti, terutama karena stroberi dimakan keong terus. 

Kedua, sekarang saya sering menjadi sukarelawan merawat hutan lindung di propinsi paling utara di Belanda. Di hutan lindung itu ada binatang dan pohon-pohon lokal yang dilindungi sebagai ciri khas warisan alam setempat. Hutan lindung berukuran relatif kecil ini di Belanda dinamakan "postzegel bosjes" atau "hutan perangko" karena memang bentuknya petak  dan relatif kecil seperti perangko. Hutan perangko ini penting dalam ekosistem keseluruhan karena secara akumulatif menjadi paru-paru hijau yang efektif dan juga menjaid habitat berbagai tanaman dan hewan yang dilindungi. 

Pada awalnya saya kaku dan tidak terlalu paham bagaimana memelihara hutan lindung. Tetapi setelah beberapa bulan, saya makin menghargai hutan lindung yang saya pelihara. Hutan lindung ini juga menjadi alasan yang positif untuk bertemu dengan orang-orang lokal yang mempunyai banyak pengetahuan dan pengalaman. Saya selalu menikmati belajar dari orang-orang lapangan ini. Contohnya adalah penjual bibit tanaman di Wilheminaoord yang bercerita kenapa beliau tidak setuju dengan nominasi Wilheminaoord sebagai Situs Pusaka Dunia. Atau seorang ahli ekologi spesialis sejarah lansekap lokal yang tiba-tiba muncul datang bertandang dan menceritakan sejarah dan manka setiap kontur lahan dan pohon. Atau para petani di sekitar hutan lindung yang lahannya luas-luas dengan pengolahan intensif berbasis mesin yang efisiennya bukan main dibandingkan para petani di Indonesia. Mereka semua adalah guru saya. 

Satu lagi, di musim menjaga jarak 1,5 meter untuk mencegah penyebaran virus Corona seperti sekarang, bekerja di hutan lindung sangat nyaman dan menyenangkan karena tidak ada orang lain. Lengan dan punggung saya juga sekarang terbiasa dengan kerja lapangan membuka jalur jalan, membersihkan parit, mengangkut batang pohon, atau membungkuk menggunting tanaman-tanaman liar yang seperti tidak habis-habisnya. 




Thursday, April 09, 2020

DAMPAK PSIKIS CORONAVIRUS


Ketika banyak waktu di rumah untuk bekerja dan belajar,  seharusnya kita menjadi makin produktif. Tetapi ketika kabar datang satu per satu tentang kepergian teman-teman di Indonesia akibat serangan virus Corona, sulit berkonsentrasi jadinya.
Saya mulai bertanya apakah ada artinya riset doktoral tentang profesionalisme organisasi heritage di Indonesia yang sedang saya lakukan?
Ketika kita dihadapkan pada kematian, tiba-tiba kita dipaksa berkontemplasi tentang esensi kehidupan. Apa yang sebenarnya esensial dalam sisa umur kita?
Di tengah buyarnya konsentrasi, seorang pembimbing membantu saya untuk kembali memikirkan apa yang sebenarnya saya cari melalui penelitian saya.
Jika ada satu hal yang ingin saya temukan jawaban sebelum hidup saya berakhir, maka saya ingin belajar memahami bagaimana caranya agar organisasi pelestarian (heritage socities) di Indonesia bisa bekerja profesional.
Bagaimana caranya agar teman-teman di Indonesia yang begitu berdedikasi luar biasa bisa bekerja penuh waktu dengan tenang karena mempunyai penghasilan memadai.
Bagaimana caranya agar teman-teman dihargai sebagai tenaga profesional yang telah menimba begitu banyak ilmu dan pengalaman secara otodidak selama ini.
Jika organisasi pelestarian  bisa bekerja profesional, maka mereka bisa berkontribusi lebih banyak  dan lebih baik lagi untuk pelestarian warisan budaya dan alam di Indonesia. Amin.




Wednesday, March 18, 2020

THE MAGIC OF BEING YOUNG

On Thursday 12 March, I was invited by TU Delft and ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology) to be part of the experts' panel on the campus of TU Delft. Both universities have cooperation called Shared Heritage Lab with two case studies: the city of Bandung and Semarang.

Students from both universities presented their ideas on how to deal with Semarang, the capital of Central Java which is working hard to save its old part and coping with new development plus environmental problems. Together with other panel members, we listened to marathon presentations of the students. Methods, approaches, technics, ideas, values, and hopes were shared and convinced.

What fascinating me was the spirits and enthusiasm of the students. They are young and innocents, not afraid of lateral thinking, and out of the box approaches. These qualities are infectious and positive for a veteran like me who has been following the heritage dynamics of the city for more than 20 years. I have new hope for Semarang. That was exactly what I was looking for from the event.

Well, keep the spirits high all the students and don't let anything you down when you go to the real world.


                                                                  (Picture: Mo Smit)








Thursday, February 13, 2020

WATER AND CULTURE



I was invited to share my thoughts during the International Symposium on Water and Culture in Tokyo, 3-4 February 2020. The subtitle of the symposium was Learning from Water Heritage to Innovate Regional Development. 

Basically, this was a platform to create a dialogue between experts in water and heritage. Speakers from all corners of the world gathered to share their knowledge and experience about water and culture.

I have chosen to talk about traditional water management of Indonesia with case studies of Subak (Bali), Aia Adat (West Sumatra) and Pranoto Wongso (Java). Those are irrigation systems based on local wisdom and tradition that have been surviving for many generations. 

Traditional knowledge as the sum of local solutions and techniques, which include farming practices, models of water management, everyday habits, artifacts and even behavior and spiritual values. 

The Symposium contributed to creating a new horizon of water discussion leading to the advancement of water dialogue process of Asia Pacific Water Summit in 2020, the 9th World Water Forum, Global Platform on DRR, and the 4th UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters and UN High-Level Meeting on Water in 2021, and the UN-Water Decade’s Mid-Term Review in 2023.

Below are some pictures of the Symposium taken by the organizer.









Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A DREAM

I have entered the new year of 2020 with a dream. Confirmation of a dream that has been in my whole system for years: how to transform heritage societies in Indonesia to become professional organizations?

Professional in the sense that cultural heritage is recognized as a profession united in an association, with code ethics and remuneration standard. Cultural heritage professionals would be able to work fulltime officially as independent experts or attached to institutions with peace of mind to know that he or she has no worry about steady and proper income.

After more than three decades of the cultural heritage movement in Indonesia, it is time to recognize the roles and importance of heritage societies; the pioneers, the volunteers, the followers and anyone who stand up to save Indonesian heritage.

During one of the modules as the pre-PhD student at the Leiden University last week, I shared my dream to find out how to make heritage societies in Indonesia as professional entities. This dream keeps me going all these years, and will give energy to move on.




Thursday, January 09, 2020

PLANTATION HERITAGE





The theme of plantation doesn’t receive much attention as deserved from the industrial heritage professionals and researchers in Indonesia specifically and in Asia generally. But for Medan, the theme of the plantation is very relevant and urgent. Medan is the capital of North Sumatra Province, Indonesia, a city of about 2, 5 million inhabitants. The city is a multicultural society with influences from India, China, Europe, Java, Malay, Aceh, Batak, and other ethnicities. 

This multiculturalism due to the fact that in the colonial era the Dutch-Indies government has imported labors from outside to open plantations. The local ethnics, Batak and Malays, have refused to cooperate with the colonial government, enforced the authorities to attract the Indians and Chinese overseas especially from the Malacca Straits to come to Medan.

The tobacco was introduced in 1863 by the Dutch and soon it took over the world market together with the Cuban cigars. There were 120 thousand hectares tobacco planted in Medan in the 19th century by 170 plantation companies. The famous commodity was called Deli Tobacco because the Medan area was in the hand of the Deli Sultanate. Deli Tobacco has given a huge impulse for the development of Medan with imposing buildings and gardens.  Besides tobacco, Medan has also produced tea, palm products, and rubber. Tobacco and rubber productions were so successful that they were called the Wonders of Deli.

Most of the plantations were stagnant during the Japanese occupation 1942-1945 and then nationalized after the Independence of Indonesia (1945). Most of the plantation companies are now under the management of the state-owned companies called PTPN (Perusahaan Terbatas Perkebunan Nusantara).

The plantation industry in Medan now focuses more on palm products. Nevertheless, the leftover of the glorious period of Deli Tobacco, rubber and other commodities are still vivid and relatively intact. This legacy that was promoted during the Festival of Plantation Industrial Heritage, 8-11 November 2019 in Medan, by the Indonesian Plantation Museum (Musperin).

Musperin was established about two years ago in the location of the former office of the Association of Rubber Plantations in East Coast of Sumatra. The museum aims as information and public education center about plantations. The Festival was one of the methods to achieve the aims.

The Festival was organized in collaborations with the state-owned companies of PTPN, universities, government agencies, Sumatra Heritage Trust, Urban Sketchers Medan, and many other communities.

During five days, there was an exhibition about plantation commodities (tea, tobacco, rubber, cacao, cane, coffee and palm). For children, there were various competitions such as sketches, coloring, drawing, and storytelling. For adults, there were heritage trails, talk shows, gathering for heritage societies and a national seminar. 

(Adapted from ANIH Newsletter 3rd Edition, December 2019)


Monday, September 30, 2019

A LONG BREATH FOR INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE

The industry is one of the most exciting fields in cultural heritage to look at, especially in Asia, where industrial heritage is not widely known yet. The industry associates more with economic development but not yet with social and cultural development. This should be changed considering that the industry becomes one of the development backbones of Asia. Assets and potentials are tremendous. Interests and enthusiasm, especially from young professionals are huge. Everybody is hungry and thirsty for knowledge and examples from the field!

Those are my personal motivation why I dedicate my attention in the last few years to industrial heritage in Asia and in Indonesia specifically. It is with pleasure to be part of the ANIH (Asian Network for Industrial Heritage) with its newly launched website. Through this website, we can see we do our best to promote the industrial heritage of Asia for larger public. 

In 2020, ANIH will hold its Third Forum in Sawahlunto, Indonesia. For the first time, the Advisory Committee of ANIH consists of 15 experts,  will meet there as well. Surely, it will take a long time and a lot of effort to raise awareness about industrial heritage in Asia but something has to start somewhere. 




Tuesday, September 17, 2019

WHEN CULTURE IS YOURS?

A while ago I visited an exhibition with a theme Things That Matters in the Tropen Museum, Amsterdam.  In the exhibition, there were several angles were exposed: what we wear, when we feel at home, how climate changes our culture, our happy memories from home, how we create new life, the meaning of language, beliefs, fighting for our ideals, and celebrations. 

One of the topics in the exhibition is about claiming a culture. When can we say that culture belongs to us? These are the words quoted from the Tropen Museum:

Sharing or stealing?
Is it acceptable to take over things over from a culture that’s not your own? And who gets to decide? In the last few years, there’s been much debate about issues like these, particularly on social media. This debate focuses on cultural appropriation: the co-option of elements from another culture for one’s own purposes or profit. Things like symbols, clothing, hairstyles, dance, music or language, for example.

Obviously, culture is always in flux and serves as a rich source of inspiration for new creations. But if that’s done without any acknowledgment or respect, people can be offended. That’s particularly true within the context of unequal power relations; when the appropriating group is in the majority and therefore more powerful than the group whose cultural expressions are being used. Things That Matter offers dozens of examples that sparked controversy.



I came back to these thoughts often when I visit Indonesian restaurants in the Netherlands with creativity and innovation in the culinary field. Sometimes, I hardly recognize a drink or a dish anymore because it is a bit too far from the origins. I love creativity and innovation, don't get me wrong. What I think we should do is to put an appropriate label into our creations so it becomes clear that a drink or a dish is inspired by Indonesian kitchen. It is not an Indonesian kitchen but INSPIRED BY. 

A small example I saw in the Hague this week. A poster about Surabaya Sate. Surabaya Sate? There is no Surabaya Sate in Indonesia. The closest famous place for sate with Surabaya is Madura. We will not feel anything odd about this Surabaya Sate unless we are indigenous Indonesians. 

The same feeling applies to everyone in this world, I guess. When parts of your culture are borrowed by others, you are deeper touched than the rest of the world. It is not necessarily negative. Exchanging and borrowing other's cultures is part of transnationalism. 

Indonesia and the Netherlands share histories and undoubtedly share many culture's elements in many facets of life. I often count that there is no day passes without Indonesian elements in the Netherlands: tangible (persons, books, buildings, etc.) or intangibles (languages, stories, documentaries, etc.) I am sure the same things happen on the other side. Try to look closely and you discover that the Netherlands has influences in the daily life of Indonesians.  

So the question of when culture is ours in the context of Indonesia and the Netherlands is naturally happening and unavoidable. We only need to be more careful when putting a label when it is adapted from other cultures. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

THE BEATLES AND HUMAN CAPITAL

When I had an idea to establish Sumatra Heritage Trust (BWS) in Medan, there was hardly anyone with appropriate skills available on the grass-root level. People who were familiar with the idea of cultural heritage, in this case, historical buildings, were mostly lecturers at the local universities. We need representatives from the private sector (for financial and facilities sources) and community (as volunteers for implementation of plans and programs). That was a general idea when I looked for who was in town that I could approach to set up the organization. Medan specifically and Sumatra generally are too precious to be left alone for their cultural heritage assets without local guardians.

It took me about a year to finally gather necessary numbers of the Founders of Sumatra Heritage Trust. A promising formation of 4 entrepreneurs, 2 lecturers, and 2 community representatives. 

The next homework was to educate local youngsters to be cultural heritage professionals. We recruited students and fresh graduates as volunteers and sent them to uncountable conferences, internships, and programs mostly in Indonesia, the neighboring countries and the rest of the world. Penang Heritage Society has been a good counterpart for BWS by providing internship opportunities. ICOMOS Australia and some other organizations have hosted capacity building programs as well. The farthest opportunity came from Newfoundland, Canada, for an expert exchange program. 

Some volunteers took initiatives to study formally in cultural heritage from various angles, mostly the tangible one (historical buildings or landscape). Fast forward 20 years later, in 2019, there are several masters and doctoral graduates in Medan specifically and in Sumatra generally. They did it all themselves so we couldn't take any credits for the achievements. It is only a huge difference from the 1990s when no single graduates available in the profession. 

All of them, all of us, are human capital in the cultural heritage sector. It takes a very long process to keep education, formally and informally, ongoing. 

If I look back, I think human capital is the most crucial step that needs to be maintained all the time in any period of time by any leaders of the organization.  

On 15 August 2019, all the hard work to create the human capital harvested the fruit. The new generation took over the leadership of BWS. A new Executive Director supported by a promising team with a convincing set of programs. If you ever in a position of a (co) founder, you know how it feels to have a leadership estafet. It is a huge relief when you know that a system works and sustained when the founders have left. 

These young leaders of BWS are the local heroes. Taking care of cultural heritage in Medan feels almost like a suicidal attempt when nobody is being paid, while tasks and job responsibilities are very demanding and time-consuming. If we don't believe in what we do, we will not have survived this long. 

Congratulations the new leaders of BWS! As the Beatles said, it is a long and winding road.....be strong and never give up. 





Friday, August 02, 2019

X FACTORS OF HERITAGE CONSERVATION

Every time I was in the middle of discussions, trainings and any other events in Indonesia, I was often reminded about the presence of X Factors in heritage conservation.

The first X Factor is a superstitious idea about old (read: historical) buildings. The superstitious idea is mostly about ghosts that are believed to occupy rooms and buildings. I never encountered any scientific references about how to deal with the superstitious ideas in heritage conservation. The issue about ghosts might be considered not scientific, that is why. 

No matter how superstitious it is, the issue exists and as a professional, I have to deal with it. I have witnessed how this superstitious state of mind has affected the decision-making process in an adaptive reuse process of historical buildings. Layers of history are demolished and polished to be completely new features to invite visitors who are otherwise will not come to the historical buildings. It hurts and sad actually to see that the layers of history have disappeared in the name of fears for ghosts. 

It hurts and sad because the whole concept of conservation went in the wrong direction. Instead of keeping heritage values, it destroys them. Yes, the buildings look new and sterile, but what is the lesson learned from them?

The comfort I could try to say to myself is that at least the building is conserved for the time being and that is already an achievement for the Indonesian situation. What we need is assisting in having the right mindset what conservation is all about. A matter of time.

The fears of ghost prevent the Indonesians to reuse historic buildings as residences as well. Most adaptive reuse ideas are a cafe, co-working space, shop, and museum. Anything that is in operation during the day and early evening. I hardly see reuse as residences while I thought most if not all historical buildings are in prime locations, that would be perfect for young professionals to go to their offices without too much burden of traffic jams.  Besides, how many cafes and museums we will make in a certain square meter?

I dream practice of the Stadsherstel model (city restoration model) in Indonesia where adaptive reuse as a means to address current and future needs. This way conservation can save a unique cityscape but also actively use for contemporary life. Residences in walking distance to work in most city centers in Indonesia are very scarce so why not create ones? It is still unthinkable for the Indonesians to live for example in the Kota Lama of Semarang of Kota Tua of Jakarta. Too many ghosts are around.

There are few adaptive reuses as hotels and guesthouses already on the way. Most guests of those accommodations are foreigners. The Indonesians prefer new buildings as accommodations.

I think until adaptive reuse and revitalization initiative can transform a dead area into a lively live and workspace, it will still be very challenging to be sustainable in the long run. Revitalization might last for a few years and then dim again before return to the same old dead quiet area. It is exactly like a life cycle of many malls in Indonesia. 

The second X-Factor is "premanism". Premanism is from the word "preman" or further back from the Dutch word "vrij man". It means literally a jobless man who consoles himself (this is not sexist but so far they are always male) as a strong powerful mafia asking contributions from innocent people. These jobless people act as mafia claiming themselves as representatives from a police department or local government to mess up with anyone trying to save historic buildings. They sell window and door frames, woods and anything valuables from the buildings. 

No, I don't mention which cities have premans. In general, it can happen anywhere in Indonesia. 

I have experienced myself how to deal with premanism in a refurbishment project of a historic site. When the project was launched, all of sudden I saw some premans around to claim that the refurbishment was their job! I was furious with this low attitude and have chased them away from the site. I think I was lucky that they went away without asking for any money and hurting me. It could be different, you never know. 

The premanism issue is again not scientific and hardly found in any conservation guides. Believe me, it happens in many cities in Indonesia or even in Asian cities. It would be useful if conservation experts exchange experiences on how to deal with this barrier. We can not leave a faith of historic buildings in the hands of a few jobless men, they are too precious for the future of society.  



Monday, July 29, 2019

INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE IN ASIA

The Asian Network for Industrial Heritage (ANIH) has gathered in Chiayi, Taiwan, 30 June-5 July 2019. The theme was the history of railways heritage. I presented a paper titled "RAILWAYS HERITAGE OF INDONESIA: Celebrating Mobility in the Archipelago" and my junior colleague from Sumatra Heritage Trust, Shindi Indira presented a paper about railways history in Sumatra. 

I tried to bring the ANIH 2020 to Indonesia and I tried to convince all other members of ANIH. Indonesia is relatively left behind in the field of industrial heritage compared to Europe or other Asian countries like Taiwan. It is very challenging to raise awareness about the importance of industrial heritage conservation in Indonesia, moreover about the proper practice of its conservation and adaptive reuse. That is why I was and am motivated to bring the Asian network in 2020 with the hope that it will wake up the Indonesian authorities about how industrial heritage assets might contribute to the country's development.

Sawahlunto could be an attractive venue for ANIH 2020. The local government has a financial commitment already as a host, the former coal mining site has just put in the World Heritage List of UNESCO and it is in Sumatra (I support decentralization for anywhere outside Java!). Sawahlunto can be connected to railways heritage (Mak Itam locomotive), water and heritage (Emma Haven, the local port in West Sumatra) and relation to the Indarung I, the cement factory from the Dutch Indies period. I really need to sit down to formulate the whole program and to mobilize resources before the end of 2019. 

Another result of the ANIH 2019, I brought Shindi Indira with me. A young colleague from Medan whom I knew for about 20 years. This was part of the regeneration that is always becoming my priority. Shindi became a keynote speaker in the Field School program in Chiayi mostly for students. It was an icebreaker for her and she has done it very well. I was and am so proud of her. I took her to the Ten Drums Cultural Park as well to see how the former sugar factory is transformed beautifully into a creative cultural hub to revitalize the traditional music instrument drum in Tainan, Taiwan. We have accompanied by Theresa Tseng, an economics professor who has a mission to bridge dream and reality, money and heritage, accountant and artists. Three of us have come to an idea to organize a field school for Indonesian students to come to the Ten Drums Cultural Park early 2020.








Tuesday, June 25, 2019

THE FUTURE OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT IS HERITAGE MANAGEMENT IN THE FUTURE

That long title is the motto of the conference that I attended between 11-14 June 2019 at the University of Amsterdam in the frame of the ICOMOS UNIVERSITY FORUM.

It was organized by the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures at Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden, and the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture, in collaboration with ICOMOS International, ICOMOS Netherlands, and the City of Amsterdam.


It has been enlightening and inspiring 4 days of discussions and workshops with new angles of heritage practices. One of the workshops I have joined was about creating a museum for data that has been sent to a star planet. It was called "data crematorium". Or thinking about what we will do with former nuclear plants and the space shuttle. We also discussed a lot about cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. Heritage has never been so advanced before this conference for me. That is why I liked this conference a lot after avoiding conferences for years because I hardly learn new issues anymore. I think heritage and the future can lift up image heritage being nostalgic and out of date. (Picture: the organizer).