Popular Myths & Madura

Oct 3rd, 2008, in IM Posts, Opinion, by

Timdog on popular stereotypes about Madura and the Madurese, and the rumoured sexual prowess of the women.

Neighbours from Hell? Myths and Madura

Madura is the butt of a bad joke. Just mention the place in the company of most Indonesians and you’ll get a laugh. If those Indonesians are young men then the laughter will be accompanied by obscene leering – for let’s spell it out now to save coy insinuations later: Madurese women are reported to have a certain unique sexual talent involving, shall we say, internal contractions of some kind. Generally though, the sniggers will be of snobbish contempt shot through with the unmistakable symptoms of fear.

Madura & the Madurese

Madura is the long, low island that rides off the northeast coast of Java. It is almost as big as Bali, and with a population of 3 million. There is probably no other place in Indonesia with such a strange reputation, nor a people so subjected to negative prejudice – with the exception of the Chinese.

If antipathy towards the Chinese in Indonesia in many ways resembles old-fashioned British class resentment of “the posh bastards” of the upper classes, then the attitude towards the Madurese is unmistakably correspondent to British middle class terror of the “chavs”, the working class poor.

A thumbnail sketch of the Madurese in the eyes of many other Indonesians is something like this:

  • They come from a hot, filthy place.
  • They speak a spectacularly coarse language, riddled with swearwords, which sounds offensive even if you can’t understand it.
  • They know nothing of politeness.
  • They are aggressive, quick to anger, and potentially violent.
  • They are hard-working, but probably not in a good way.
  • They have criminal tendencies.
  • Oh yeah, and that thing about their women…

Transmigrants & Ethnic Cleansing

You don’t need to go to Madura to find Madurese: they form a significant part of the transmigrant populations of the archipelago. With all that aggression and swearing they do not, it is said, make good neighbours.

The most famous example of the difficulties migrant Madurese populations have with other people came in Kalimantan. Between 1996 and 2001 there were a string of violent conflicts between native Dayaks (and also, crucially but to a lesser extent, long-established local Malays) and Madurese transmigrants. The sparks that ignited the outbreaks of killing are shadowy, rumour-riddled, and frankly impossible to verify: reports of Madurese youths attacking or robbing Dayaks, Madurese harassing Malay women, interethnic fist fights at street parties, and so on.

But these flashpoints were irrelevant; the principle complaint of the Dayaks (and Malays) was that the Madurese were “impossible to live with.

And if people are impossible to LIVE with, then there is only one way to respond.

Despite their supposed capacity for ferocity, the Madurese fared badly in Kalimantan. It was less of a “war” than an ethnic cleansing. How many people were killed is disputed. It was certainly in the thousands. There are persistent reports of ritualised cannibalism. The Dayaks are said to have eaten the Madurese.

But ask many Indonesians where their sympathies lie in these events and they may mutter something about “an understandable response to provocation”.

The Historical Explanation

Some stereotypes about different peoples are actually true.

It would take the most deluded of "liberal bed-wetters" to deny that. But so much of the talk about the Madurese is eerily reminiscent of the vicious things that have been said in Europe about Jews and Gypsies that alarm bells start to ring.

If you want to accept the standard image of the Madurese, then surely you need also to conclude that all Gypsies ARE dirty thieves, that all Jews are dirty, GREEDY thieves, and while we’re at it, that all Chinese Indonesians are elitist, money-grubbing snobs with no commitment to the country. Oh, and we might as well concede that all bules are drunken paedophiles at the same time...

There have been many attempts to understand hostility to groups like Jews and Gypsies, “the other” within society. Some of the points are universal: we don’t like people who are identifiably different from ourselves. But much of it is specific.

The principle characteristic of hostility towards the Madurese, no matter how well disguised with contemptuous snobbery, is fear. A quick glance at history may go some way to explain that nervousness.

Madura is dry, with poor limestone soils. No one ever chose to go and live there from elsewhere (except, incidentally, some Chinese refugees from colonial era conflicts on Java). But many people came FROM the place in search of work and a better life - a perfect initial recipe for hostility (there are very close parallels between the Madurese experience and that of Irish migrants to mainland Britain in the 20th Century).

But the distinctive fear perhaps comes from elsewhere: it was not only economic migrants who crossed the Madura Strait, but also rebels.

Madura converted to Islam earlier than most of Java. A date of 1528 is often given, but legends in Sumenep put the first conversions of local rulers some two centuries before that, which, if true, would make it one of the very earliest bastions of Islam in the entire archipelago.

Even before these conversions Madura had proved a troublesome possession for nominal Javanese overlords. Arosbaya, the first leader to unite the entire island in the 15th Century, and others, were somewhat unruly vassals of Majapahit.

But it was Majapahit’s Islamic successors, the Mataram dynasty, who had the most trouble from Madura.

Most celebrated of the Madurese rabble-rousers was Trunajaya in the 17th Century. A Madurese prince, he seized control of the west of the island (theoretically under the rule of Mataram) in 1670s and then led an army of 14,000 rebels across the Strait and into the Javanese heartland.

For a decade this troublesome prince cloaked himself in a shroud of Islamic, mystical and Majapahit associations and rampaged through Mataram, eventually destroying the capital. He was finally killed in Kediri, but he was not the last of the Madurese rebels. Half a century later Cakraningrat IV of West Madura – still supposedly a Mataram vassal – led another attack, and again destroyed the Mataram palace.

On a smaller scale Madurese were often mercenaries and key figures in low level rebellions throughout Javanese history.

This all probably goes a long way to explaining Javanese (and therefore by default, Indonesian) nervousness of Madurese: they are people likely to come surging across the water to upset the balance of things. Attitudes such as this survive long after the memory of the initial events has faded, and it is not as fanciful as it seems to suggest that fear of modern Madurese has a direct link to the rebellions against Mataram.

And as for the alleged rudeness, could it not simply be cultural difference? Javanese culture is typified by (and sometimes mocked for) its obsessive politeness, its emphasis on hierarchy, its multi-layered speech and insistence on correct form. The Madurese are not necessarily rude in comparison to this; they are simply different. But living in such close proximity, awareness of this difference becomes pronounced and extended into hostility.

The Madurese are no ruder than say, the Timorese; it’s just that the Javanese haven’t been living next door to the Timorese for centuries, haven’t had a chance to crystallize that sense of difference into bad-mouthing hostility, and to export it, along with the rest of Java’s cultural dominance, to the entire archipelago.

Perhaps in Kalimantan alleged Madurese bad behaviour was purely incidental at a time of social, economic and political upheaval. In the past the Dayaks have attacked Kalimantan’s Chinese. Maybe if the Madurese hadn’t been there they would have done so again, or perhaps instead of teaming up for a bout of ethnic cleansing, Malays and Dayaks would have turned on each other.

But the Madurese were there, and bizarrely, rather than prompting sympathy, their fate only furthered their ill-repute as “neighbours from hell”.

The Real Madura

So, what is Madura really like? I think it’s a beautiful, peaceful place; drier than Java, but not stark or arid, and with a sharp oceanic clarity to the light that is missing in so much of Indonesia. It’s not dirty either, and it is far from the outpost of Islamic severity that many presume it to be (there is a big difference between places that have traditionally been relatively orthodox, and places that harbour newer pretensions to orthodoxy).

Sumenep, in the far east, is as refined a little town as anywhere in Java with royal courtly traditions and the “softest” Madurese dialect, typified the same linguistic hierarchy as “proper” Javanese.

Clinging to their insistence that the Madurese are horrible, many Javanese will whinge in response to this that “Sumenep is different, they’re ok there, but go to Bangkalan, that’s where they’re really bad…”

Well, I’ve been there too, and to every other town; no one swore at me; no one was rude. If I had to pinpoint one Madurese characteristic it would be a sense of humour rather than aggression.

Madurese people are well aware of their reputation, and often display a wry amusement at it.

On the topic of violence it is true that they all know how to wield a clurit (the trademark Madurese sickle), they say, but in the corn field more often than in battle.

And in a place with a lack of water and pronounced ideas about honour, conflict over women and irrigation were common in the past.

But Indonesia is a nation with a history of violence. Many people know that the Balinese took the national amok during the anti-communist pogroms of 1965-66 to uniquely frenzied levels that shook even the military instigators. But no one claims that the Balinese are a specially bloodthirsty and violent people. They’re not. And neither are the Madurese.

A Madurese friend once said to me that part of his people’s reputation was due to the way they respond when they leave their homeland. Laid-back and good-humoured at home, they are unsettled by the poverty and chaos they find in big cities, and harsh words and aggression are the response.

Perhaps, but I’m not so sure, because I find I like the Madurese outside of Madura too.

In Surabaya there may be a significant number of Madurese thugs and criminals, but some 15% of the city’s population is Madurese (and a disproportionately poor 15% at that) so it’s hardly any wonder. And the Madurese markets and kampungs I’ve wandered through are some of the friendliest, FUNNIEST places.

I’ve not seen too much of the Madurese populations in other cities, though I’ve met sate-hawkers everywhere from Timor to Sumatra. And I did once spend a few hours in the scavengers’ kampung not far from Plaza Senayan, just down the road from the Pizza Man statue in Jakarta. You can’t see it from the road; it’s behind a fence of corrugated aluminium.

There are goats and chickens and mounds of empty plastic bottles, and skyscrapers march away in jagged lines in beyond the fringes of the little village. Poor migrants from all over Java live there.

For a while I chatted with a quiet, dignified man from Cilacap who spoke softly, and respectfully. Then I went and joined a little mob of Madurese youths reclining in the shade. They were rather different from the man from Cilacap: all hearty laughter, back-slapping and jokes. To someone from a culture steeped in formality and control they might have seemed boorish and awful. To me they just seemed like a lot of fun.

On a final note however, before anyone asks, I must make it clear that I know nothing about their women…


39 Comments on “Popular Myths & Madura”

  1. avatar Peter says:

    Wow, I enjoyed the post, Timdog. Very informative!

    I’ve met one Madurese (female) bar owner in Jogja, but I don’t really know any of them personally.

  2. avatar Lairedion says:

    timdog said:

    Perhaps in Kalimantan alleged Madurese bad behaviour was purely incidental at a time of social, economic and political upheaval. In the past the Dayaks have attacked Kalimantan’s Chinese. Maybe if the Madurese hadn’t been there they would have done so again, or perhaps instead of teaming up for a bout of ethnic cleansing, Malays and Dayaks would have turned on each other.

    Reckless speculative statements. This could easily lead to the assumption that perhaps, maybe at the end, the Dayak are the only ones to blame and are the Chinese and Madurese peace-loving people fully respecting the land and culture of local Dayak, right timdog?

    My parents-in-law, who have been living in both Kalbar and Kalteng for over more than twenty years can confirm the uneasy relationship between Madurese transmigrants and local Dayak, caused by Madurese lack of respect for local culture and customs. For instance, Madurese transmigrants tried to to build a mosque on top of Dayak graveyards. Of course none of this justifies the extreme violence and ethnic cleansing but a little more balanced view is much needed here.

    On a final note however, before anyone asks, I must make it clear that I know nothing about their women…

    So we only know half the story about the Madurese. How can anyone miss out on Madurese women who are known for their sexiness. Why is that, timdog? Are you indeed what am I thinking…?

  3. avatar timdog says:

    Glad you enjoyed it Peter…

    Lairedion – surely it would be equally “recklessly speculative” to suggest the opposite too. The events in Kalimantan did happen at a time of extreme upheaval on a national scale; the Dayaks had previously attacked Kalimantan Chinese…
    There was violence of all descriptions all over the country at that time; some of it ethnically/racially motivated (including the obvious and far better-known anti-Chinese violence), some of it not (East Java “witch hunts”, inter-village violence in Sumba).

    Obviously there is much less of a potential for trouble where a migrant population is better “integrated” with a local population, but there are few parallels between Madurese and Chinese populations in terms of culture, behaviour, social status or the nature of migration. Both were subject to violence.
    I would suggest that the ugly business of transmigration as a whole is more the issue rather than such red herrings as whether Dayaks are “inately warlike” or Madurese inately “impossible to live with”… (And do remember that Muslim Kalimantan Malays also took part in the anti-Madurese pogroms and are also reported to have done a bit of canabalism before you whip out your usual hobby horse).

    Anyway, the Kalimantan stuff is not meant to be the main focus of the piece – it’s more the general attitude of other Indonesians, in particular the Javanese, towards Madurese people…

    Are you indeed what am I thinking…?

    No Lairedion, I’m not. Sorry to disappoint. Why? Would you have liked it if I was, big boy? ;-)
    I just happen never to have slept with a Madurese woman; how about you?

  4. avatar berlian biru says:

    Rather than being like the Irish I think the Madurese more resemble the Scots; tough, hardy people, ready with a laugh as quick as a punch, canny with money, hard working whether in legitimate or not so legitimate business but clannish and a tendency to irritate others when through dint of their hard work and sharp elbows they clinb to the top in the societies to which they emigrate. The Javanese are of course like the English; class obsessed with an inbred believe in their God given destiny to rule by exploiting their neighbours. The Sundanese are the Welsh; the people who live on the western end of the main island that no one outside the country has heard of, Sulawesi is like Ireland with charming, loquacious people but divided by religious conflict with a load of crazy protestants in the north.

    And just for the record, I only ever had one Madurese girlfriend, and yes it’s true. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when the mothers teach their daughters that trick!

  5. avatar timdog says:

    yes it’s true

    ;-) Well there we go then…

    berlian, I wasn’t comparing the Madurese character to the Irish; rather I was referring to their experience and reception as immigrants.
    Through the first and middle parts of the 20th Century Ireland was very poor; Irish came in huge numbers to the UK for ecconomic reasons. They worked hard in low-paid jobs and were subject to a good deal of hostility (the “no Irish, no blacks, no dogs” signs above some London pub doorways were not an urban myth). These “micks” were viewed as troublemakers, fight-starters, and possibly criminals who should “go home” – even without adding “the Troubles” and the IRA into the mix…

    This is all largely forgotton these days: the Irish have been replaced in public consciousness by Asians as “the potential terrorists” (though, incidentally, my brother recently took a job in a government department; it took months and months for his deep security check to be processed; his boss told him this was probably because of his surname); the Irish ecconomy is healthier than that of the UK and life there is seen as generally better. And correspondantly another old cliche of the Irish as cheery, ruddy-cheeked leprechauns has replaced that of the criminal toublemakers, comin’ over ‘ere, takin’ our jobs…
    But the past experience of the Irish as migrants, and the reception they recieved from the rest of Britain does have close parallels with the Madurese…

  6. avatar Lairedion says:

    timdog said:

    No Lairedion, I’m not. Sorry to disappoint. Why? Would you have liked it if I was, big boy? ;-)
    I just happen never to have slept with a Madurese woman; how about you?

    I tend to believe you are gay or single, timdog. Because in your comments I never have read references to having a girlfriend, wife or any other form of relationship. Not that it makes you anything less. You made such an outright statement on not knowing anything about Madurese women I was merely thinking: “Do this poor guy timdog know anything on women in general?” But it wouldn’t matter to me if you were gay, unlike many fellow Indo’s I have no problems with gays. I was just curious. :-)

    And no, I never slept with Madurese women. The love of my life is Sundanese, I always had a strong preference of Sundanese and of course Manadonese girls, my own bangsa. Natural-born beauties with light color of skin. Exactly the way I like.

  7. avatar timdog says:

    Lairedion – for the record, I am not gay and not single. I am not married, but I am currently in a longish-term relationship (with a woman).
    I find something slightly distasteful about the idea of spilling personal relationship details all over internet forums (see, for example, the undignified circus of the “dating Indonesian girls” thread).
    And anyway, as the relationship in question is largely tranquil and trouble-free I don’t have anything to talk about…
    And that’s as much as you’re getting out of me on the matter (though I will add, in case you’re busy formulating more theories, she’s not a Muslim! ;-) )…
    I’m touched by your concern for me though ;-)

    Personally I don’t have any particular racial preference when it comes to women; there are ugly and pretty ones everywhere, including Madura. I’ve never noticed anything particularly special in terms of appearance about Madurese women, certainly not in comparison to other Indonesians. They are noticibly more flirtacious though, in a slightly silly, jokey sort of way (rather than in an ingratiating bar-girl sort of way), and seem to become more so the older and uglier they get!
    For me that’s part of the happy sense of humour that I like about the Madurese in general…

  8. avatar Lairedion says:

    timdog,

    Fair enough, I was just being curious. I’m not interested in your personal relationship details and if I was, it’s none of my business. Many commenters here are referring to their martial status. For most Yanks and Aussies (the Oigals, the Andy’s, the Patricks ) here being married to an Indo woman is their connection to Indonesia and the reason to engage in discussions here.

    I must disagree with you on the Dating Indonesian Girls thread. I enjoy reading the various pleas of bules involved in Indo woman relationships, asking for guidance or advice. It’s silly, hilarious, distasteful but entertaining.

    The missus at home told me something interesting. One of her best friends is Madurese, all the time I thought she was Javanese. And oh my God, she’s damn sexy. :oops:

  9. avatar Rob says:

    The sexual prowess of the women in the tag line was just to get us to read the whole piece, wasn’t it?

    You knew that we would be sucked in to reading the whole thing trying to find out what Timdog knows about this legendary skill. But, alas, when we get to the end of the opinion piece we are left to wonder as Timdog has no sexual experience at all with Madurese women and speaking of the legendary sexual skills was nothing more an interest grabber.

    Otherwise, the piece was a good read :D

  10. avatar berlian biru says:

    I take your point about comparing characteristics rather than experience Timdog but I was merely remarking on the striking similarities between the Madurese and the Scots.

    At the risk of dragging the thread off topic (as if it wasn’t already), I wouldn’t overdo the hardships suffered by the Irish in Britain, the “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish’ signs really are a myth, in fact most Irish found a very good life in Britain and were largely welcomed by the tolerant British (as indeed most immigrants to Britain have been, despite the desire to create the idea that Britain, more specifically England, was some sort of hotbed of racism, it never was). Even at the height of the dreadful IRA bombing campaign the vast and overwhelming majority of Irish people were treated with friendship and respect by their British neighbours, trust me I know of what I speak, I have personal experience of those days.

    It would be the very rare individual among ordinary British people that wouldn’t have some Irish ancestry so it’s time for the Irish to drop the MOPE attitude (“Most Oppressed People Ever”) they actually had it pretty good in England, poor Paddy wasn’t always the downtrodden navvy, as often as not he was the doctor, the university professor, the radio presenter, the pop star, the football hero or the millionaire property developer.

    Incidentally the Irish economy is doing dreadfully right now, it’s tanking, the UK economy probably isn’t far behind but I’m afraid the Celtic Tiger is a moth eaten old moggie these days

  11. avatar timdog says:

    ah, Rob, if that’s what kept you reading you can’t blame me… ;-)
    Anyway, the bit above the title that mentions “the rumoured sexual prowess” was the work of Mr Patung (who sure knows how to market a post); my bit starts “Madura is the butt of a bad joke…”
    I thought I should get the thing about the women over and done in the first paragraph to stop the sniggering at the back of the class…
    Anyway, despite being unqualified to comment, I felt sure someone else would be able to do so, and BB obliged…

  12. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Very nice piece, Tim.

  13. avatar Patrick says:

    @ Lairedion – Your assumption that my former wife is my connection to IM is incorrect. My connection to Indonesia is doing business in there for about 1 decade and living in the country for more than 1 year. Please in the future don’t assume you know all. Thanks!

    @ Berlian Biru – If the discrimination of the Irish in Britain is similar to what they received in the USA then the hostility is most felt by those most recently “off the boat”. Their accent and mannerisms would be very obvious to their hosts. Subsequent generations easily assimilate as their physical characteristics and mannerisms would be identical. The only thing that would differentiate them would be religion as most Americans and Brits are Protestant while Irish are overwhelmingly Catholic. I was told that for many years the British openly joked about the Irish (tv, radio etc.,) in a very crass & therefore distasteful way that would raise eyebrows in today’s more diversified cultures enjoyed by Europe and the USA. Is that not true?

  14. avatar jaka says:

    Javanese who happen to live side by side with Madurese at the eastern end of Java (Besuki Residency) always say that the Madurese are hard to tell. Always do ‘bad’ things recurrently, even when they have been told not to do so. That, I think, is where the point is, not the criminal tendency. Keras kepala.

    And, once we have Madurese family as neighbour. We got along well. Maybe because they came from Sumenep, royal family. Ha! Wonder if they came from Bangkalan or Sampang.

    And for secret of madurese women, why not start from “ramuan madura” or “rumput patimah”?

  15. avatar Mr Joss says:

    Have met few women from madura and alot of them do have special talents (akin to a milking machine ) the ones that can’t make a jamu for sex that is in demand by alot of indonesian women.

  16. avatar Tania says:

    My mother is Madurese, so when I go for my annual holiday to Indonesia, I spend at least a month there. And I have to say, I LOVE it there. I can only say that they’re definitely humourous people – I’ve never heard about the rude reputation…. The climate sure is drier (my cousin even once declined a job there because she claimed there was no “angin”), and they’re terribly behind technology-wise. Still, all my Madurese relatives are friendly, funny and easy-going enough for me.

    Only problem is that there are no damn shopping centres.

  17. avatar foolosophy says:

    I’ve been informed that these jamus are cigar like and on sale at eBay!

  18. avatar Berlian Biru says:

    In much the same way as Americans tell Polish jokes, French tell Belgian jokes and Aussies tell New Zealander jokes yes the Irish were often the butt of jokes in England but more often than not by fellow Irishmen who like Jewish comedians in the US made great careers out of sending up the foibles and idiosyncrasies of their own race. It’s hardly unique in the world.

  19. avatar timdog says:

    Tania:

    they’re definitely humourous people

    Yep, as I said, if there’s one characteristic I can pinpoint about Madurese people, it’s a sense of humour…

  20. avatar David says:

    I’ve been informed that these jamus are cigar like and on sale at eBay!

    Yes! Here’s one!

    Black Madura Jamu stick

    And here they are on Ebay!

  21. avatar Geordie says:

    At the risk of dragging the thread off topic (as if it wasn’t already), I wouldn’t overdo the hardships suffered by the Irish in Britain, the “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish’ signs really are a myth, in fact most Irish found a very good life in Britain and were largely welcomed by the tolerant British

    Not quite true, I can’t speak about the pubs but in terms of boarding houses – particularly in the south of Engalnd – the ‘No Balcks, No Irish’ were a fact. Now our family lore is that our surnames were Anglicized in order to help avoid the worst of the discrimination but that’s just hand-me-down family gossip I suppose but the boarding house thing is true.

  22. avatar Berlian Biru says:

    Actually Geordie I’m aware that the sign was usually said to have been hung in boarding houses rather than pubs (no self respecting pub would ever ban Irishmen!) but it still is a myth unfortunately.

    Everyone in Ireland will tell you they were told by their granny who knew a neighbour whose son was best friend with a girl who went out with a lad whose cousin told them that they heard it from a fella who swears he heard someone tell them in a pub that once they saw such a sign but alas there is no actual proof that the signs ever existed. If they did exist where was it that the million and a half Irish emigrants to Britain actually lived?

    In the US they did an academic study of a similar myth; the “NINA” story, that advertisements for jobs in New York in the 18th Century regularly carried the phrase “No Irish Need Apply”. They simply went through job vacancy advertisements in all the New York newspapers of that period, they found not one single example of such ads.

  23. avatar Lairedion says:

    @Patrick

    Why waste comments on me if you can’t stand the heat. ;-)

  24. avatar Purba Negoro says:

    Actually Timdog the reason is actually far simpler than Madurese being bad neighbours.

    “(Dayaks)…are simple and honest and become the prey of the Chinese traders, who cheat and plunder them continually,” wrote naturalist Alfred Wallace in the mid-1800s.

    What happoen is some Madurese thugs stab some Dayak at Dngadut Concert in Ledo in Smabs, Kalimantan Barat- because the Dayak humiliate them for bothering Dayak girls.

    It is because they have transmigrated ine seacrh of the low-skill level work most are only qualified for.
    In the case of Kalimantan it was logging and mining- but most was logging.
    The government has large tracts of land designated plantation, sustainable logging, nature reserve/national park not to be touched.
    I return to this shortly.

    It was yet another case of Chinese greed (wthis is why there is a HCinese pop[ualtion in Kalimanatn) of illegally mining for gold, rubies, diamonds and other precious gems in the tailings of the commercial mines.
    The Chinese using Madurese labourers (who had no idea what the consequence would be- being uneducated) dug up the settling dams, tailing dams and other effluent controls as a mnmeans of sorting through washed tailings, and using water hydraulics for sluice minng- highly environmentally destrcutive- especially for the formerly pristine water systems the Dayak rely on for their water.,

    Then when the leagl reserve of timber run out- the Chiense hire Madurese thugs and other East, Central and West Javanese to fell timber which was in protected Dayak forest- set aside by Central Government.
    Dayak are actually very placid peoples.
    But being animist protest very much at this CHineese illegal logging of their sacred forets.
    The local bureacrats were very coirrupt and do nothing. There is almsot no military in Kalimantan forest area- so they cannot stop armed Madurese thugs in the emply of these Chinese employers.

    So- Dayak finally fed up and embark on head-hunting campaign- the Police lacking a Brimob are powerless and stand aside as Dayak head-hunt maybe 800 Madurese.

    I have not head of Dayak cannibalism- but it is certain they scalp, head-hunt and shrink the “pelt” of victims head to hang on war belt or trophy for Dayak tree-house.

    The Chinese of Kalimantan- eager to avoid the rage of the Dayak- side with teh Dayak to attack tothe Madurese- who are known by the Dayak to be the fiercest and most aggressive of the Javanese.
    Chinese gave water, wine, food and chant for the Dayak to kill the Javanese. BUt actually very few other non Madurese Javanese were killed- as Dayak can see these are often bullied by the Madurese gang boss and thugs.

    Then- within two weeks the Navy must stop sevreal ferries full of Javanese, Madurese, Bugis, Achenese all who are coming to fight the Dayak- mayube over 5000 jihadi included in this.

    Pak Suharto does not need this unnecessary destabilisation playing into the hands of creeping Malaysian border so these many boat are sent back to Madura and Surabaya- and most are detained for cooling off for period of over 6 months.

    If not for the Navy preventing these hot-head from Java and elsewhere- there would have been a civil internal war and the coastal Dayak and all Chinese wiped out in Kalimantan- and everything destroyed.

    Here are some quotes:
    Since the 17th century, Chinese immigrants have mined gold in Sambas. They first came there at the request of the Sultan of Sambas, Aboebakar Tadjoedin I. Once, a dispute among gold miners in the area triggered a civil war.

    The systematic dispossession of the Dayak has generated both a new sense of ethnic solidarity of the Dayak in relation to other ethnic groups in the area and an anger that has increasingly erupted in acts of violence against intruders. The sense of being “Dayak” and having common interests with other Dayak tribes has grown dramatically in the last decade, especially in opposition to Melayu (local Malays who dominate local government positions); Indonesian-born Chinese, who dominate the local economy, or Taiwanese employed as managers by Taiwanese-Indonesian joint ventures in the timber industry; Javanese, who represent much of the workforce of the companies as well as senior officials, civilian and military, in the local government; and the Madurese.

    In 1966- the Borneo Chiense were holding out in Kalimantan- having been expelled from Malaysia- and they want to reutn to exploiting the Malaysians.
    The kill some Dayak- acvut off their penis and stick their mouth.
    The Dayak then go amok.

    According to Suryono, Dayak women preferred Javanese husbands because the latter are industrious. The Dayak, conversely, are stereotyped as lazy. As long as their children follow their Javanese fathers’ traits, the family would be assured of a good future, Suryono claimed.

    “If a Dayak owned a piece of land, they are happy just to see someone work it, for free,” said Suryono. “If it were me, in Java, we would go 50-50. Here no. Even though they know the Javanese will later buy them out, after saving enough.”

    Then the Dayak will open more land near the jungle fringes, he added, thereby becoming displaced in their own land.

    For myself- I like Madurese- they are very good soldier, good worker and hate the Chinese with a healthy patriotism- never afraid to retake their stolen lands from the Chinese predators.

  25. avatar Purba Negoro says:

    That should read Ledo in Sambas District, KalBar

  26. avatar Patrick says:

    @ Berlian Biru – The “No Irish Need Apply” were not found in the newspapers from that period because that were not the types of jobs meant for the Irish at that time you looney English and or Scottish nit wit! LOL! The Irish came here with nothing often but the clothes they wore and were involved in manual labor or fighting for the Union as the civil war was raging and they were fresh boots! (see the NYC draft riots!)The signs were hung up in windows of establishments looking for day laborers or dock workers, grave diggers, warehouse workers etc. My if you only could get to OZ and get the tin man’s brain?

  27. avatar timdog says:

    PN – I find you baffling, and am half-inclined to suspect that you may be a team effort…
    Q: How many people does it take to make a Purba Negoro?
    A: Well, at least two – one who is if not actually British then at least bi-lingual with British English having spent at least part of his childhood in the UK (or possibly Australia, but I think not), and with a very crisp, controlled and distinctive syntax that’s rather fun to read.
    Then there’s another with attrocious spelling, near-perfect English, but a scattering of the kind of errors that indicate a non-first language/non-bilingual speaker – and, crucially, the sloppy, slap-dash prose style of someone who doesn’t possess and master their words in the way the other PN does…

    Odd, but perhaps a team at work would explain the sheer volume of output and the clear evidence of hours on wikipedia behind each post…

    I have not head [sic] of Dayak cannibalism

    It was widely reported.

    Anyway, as I stated early in the thread, the point of the piece has nothing to do with what happened in Kalimantan; it’s about Madurese and the attitudes of others, particularly their Javanese neighbours, towards them.

    And anyway, as I said early on:

    I would suggest that the ugly business of transmigration as a whole is more the issue rather than such red herrings as whether Dayaks are “inately warlike” or Madurese inately “impossible to live with”…

    Which, aside from the usual anti-Chinese stuff, appears also to be what you are saying too…

  28. avatar Patrick says:

    @ Timdoggie – I think ole PN was out with the retired officers cadre having a night on the town prior to his posting (see the time of posting). His inebriation and tiredness explains the errors you see and I don’t think it’s quite the conspiracy to do evil on IM as you have come to believe. PN already admitted awhile back that he did indeed attend school in England, if you can recall?

  29. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Purba Negoro

    Then- within two weeks the Navy must stop sevreal ferries full of Javanese, Madurese, Bugis, Achenese all who are coming to fight the Dayak- mayube over 5000 jihadi included in this.

    This is new for local Kalimantanis like myself.

    From what I know, JI members and some battle hardened Afghan vets were to set sail to avenge their moslem Madurese brothers; and each group was waiting for the other to take the first step. Many jihadis were chickened out with news of corpse multilation and canabalism by the Dayaks.

    If not for the Navy preventing these hot-head from Java and elsewhere- there would have been a civil internal war and the coastal Dayak and all Chinese wiped out in Kalimantan- and everything destroyed.

    Not necessary. It could well be the other way round. The Dayaks were ready to pounce. All Dayak tribes were showing solidarity – the Ibans, Kayans, Kelabits and Punans were trekking into Kalimantan from as far away as Sarawak and Sabah. The local government body stopped them from crossing the border. The most likely scenario was the jihadis being completely wiped out and Kalimantan seeking autonomy.

    In 1966- the Borneo Chiense were holding out in Kalimantan- having been expelled from Malaysia- and they want to reutn to exploiting the Malaysians.
    The kill some Dayak- acvut off their penis and stick their mouth.The Dayak then go amok.

    In Bold – new to me. Corpse multilation is unheard of with the Chinese. The Chinese are cowards and they would rather bribe someone else to do the dirty jobs. Can you give me a link to this?

  30. avatar Abdurahman says:

    I lived side-to-side with madurese communities in surabaya. First look, yeah, they are look like criminals. But if you know them very deep, they will spare his life to save you.

    I think they just need more education. Like other people, they doing crime because they are hungry.

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