“Java is the green, temple-studded loadstone of Indonesia, a rough oblong of land swimming on its side under the equator, and held in place by a pair of huge urban anchors at either end of its muddy northern littoral – Jakarta in the west, Surabaya in the east.”
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.
“A rice cooker will be thought to be an egret”
Sri Mapanji Jayabaya (or possible bad translation thereof)
The title is mostly full of shit but I thought it sounded kinda sticky and hence might catch a few of you opposable thumb primates out there. If you do, however have something to say from the perspective of the 7th story of Supermall, a speck of dust amongst Sutos floorboards or the exact amount of copper sold from HTC on any given day, feel free to divulge.
After doing not too much for a bit too long, as well as receiving little or no decent work offers back in Australia, I came upon the end of the year and wondered; well what what the hell is supposed to happen next. I’d applied for work as an unexperienced ESL teacher in Australia and abroad, threw in a few applications to work with Refugees in various locations within Australia and even one as case manager at one of our ever so efficient, fair and fantastic offshore processing centres, but no real bites on the line. Nothing was happening really, except for a bunch of travel photos from the past 3 years ending up on brother’s cafe walls. I’d also joined a dating site for the first time, for somewhat unknown reasons, and went on a grand number of two dates in three or four months. Woohoo, what an effervescent, dynamic life. To be honest though, I didn’t mind it, after having been on the road and traveling to random places across the globe for the past three years.
Just before Christmas I suddenly received 3 different offers and went from no mans land to having to make fairly large decisions in a heartbeat (or a few days anyway). Phnom Penh, Surabaya or Sydney? One paid a better rate, another had the best rate but the most expensive place to live, two had languages that I already spoke to some degree, one had a lot of traffic and yet easy ways out of the city by land or air, one had a sense of charm if not mystique purely by the fact that I knew nothing much about it, one paid my airfare, one was right on the beach.