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Surabaya /\ Suroboyo and the Jayabhaya prophecies.

What’s in a name?

One story behind the etymology of the name Surabaya involves a fusing of the Javanese words Suro & Boyo, referring to a shark and crocodile respectively. The myth states something along the lines of there being a shark called Sura (or Suro) and a crocodile called Baya (or Boyo) who were actually great friends but who were also both greedy and never liked sharing their food. Hence they inevitably ended up fighting each other, the setting of their last fight also becoming the later location of Surabaya. A more interesting and detailed account of this tale can be found here.

The folklore itself actually comes from the Jongko Joyoboyo or Jayabhaya prophecy, Jayabhaya being a revered King of the Hindu Javanese Kingdom of Kediri which existed in Eastern Java from the 11th to 13th century. Sri Mapanji Jayabaya’s reign was considered in many ways to be the golden age of Old Javanese literature. Jayabhaya (or Ratu Joyoboyo in Javanese) was particularly well known for his prophecies and being an oracle of sorts. Here are a few of them that have become true ~

  • One day there will be a cart without a horse (these days they call it a car).
  • There will be a boat flying in the sky (they call it an airplane).
  • The earth will shrink (and thus the internet was born, as well as boats in the sky).
  • The Javanese will be ruled by whites for 3 centuries and by yellow dwarfs for the life span of a maize plant prior to the return of the Ratu Adil (Indonesian: King of Justice, Javanese: King or Queen) whose name must contain at least one syllable of the Javanese Noto Nogoro (witness the play of history from The Netherlands East Indies > Japanese occupation during WWII > Independence > SoekarNO > SoeharTO > Susilo Bambang YudhoyoNO). According to some opinions; BJ Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Sukarnoputri cannot be entered into the prophecy as they could not survive & lead Indonesia through one full term and also did not possess the suffix ‘NO’ or ‘TO’ in their name. Further speculation emerges that the prophecy is now still focused on the ‘NO’, having moved away from the ‘TO’ after Soeharto, and that the emergence of ‘GO’ and ‘RO’ is still to come, as is the true Ratu Adil / next Satrio Piningit (hidden Knight/hidden Ksatria) who will finally come to bring glory to Indonesia and usher in the dawn of a new golden age.  This must make for fascinating political debate where the potential worthiness of future leaders can be ascribed, at least somewhat, to the last letters of their names.
  • Women will dress in men’s clothes.
  • Many people will become fixated on money.
  • People will forget their roots.
  • Many will behave strangely.
  • Men will loose their courage.
  • Women will be unfaithful to their husbands.
  • Rains will fall in the wrong season.
  • The farmers will be controlled.
  • Many people will have lots of money yet, be unhappy in their lives.

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Books to read

In no particular order:

  • Postcards from the grave; Emir Suljagic.
  • The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804–1999;  Misha Glennym.

Misha also wrote an interesting article I accidentally found concerning Western attitudes to the Balkans. Written during the height of the Serbian-Kosovo conflict, old now but worth the read. I wonder whether attitudes have changed.

  • The Master and Margarita; Mikhail Bulgakov.
  • Bridge on the Drina; Ivo Andrić.
  • Kafka on the Shore; Haruki Murakami.
  • The Cyclist Conspiracy; Svetislav Basara.

…and a bunch of other shit I can’t remember. If you have a cool suggestion lemme know.

Books I’ve read whilst on the road

Visual Bookshelf.

Peregrination

Etymology: 1528, from O.Fr. peregrination  (12c.), from L. peregrinationem  (nom. peregrinatio ) “a journey,” from peregrinatus,  pp. of peregrinari  “to journey or travel abroad,” from peregrinus  “from foreign parts, foreigner,” from peregre  “abroad,” properly “that found outside Roman territory,” from per-  (q.v.) + agri,  loc. of ager  “field, territory, land, country”.
peregrination. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary.

“Would the departed never nowhere nohow reappear?

Ever he would wander, selfcompelled, to the extreme limit of his cometary orbit, beyond the fixed stars and variable suns and telescopic planets, astronomical waifs and strays, to the extreme boundary of space, passing from land to land, among peoples, amid events. Somewhere imperceptibly he would hear and somehow reluctantly, suncompelled, obey the summons of recall. Whence, disappearing from the constellation of the Northern Crown he would somehow reappear reborn above delta in the constellation of Cassiopeia and after incalculable eons of peregrination return an estranged avenger, a wreaker of justice on malefactors, a dark crusader, a sleeper awakened, with financial resources (by supposition) surpassing those of Rothschild or the silver king.”

→ James Joyce, “Ithaca” from Ulysses

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