Primitive Mystical Beliefs, & Mbah Maridjan

Oct 27th, 2010, in Featured, News, by

Jusuf Kalla chides the residents of the slopes of Mt Merapi for believing in Javanese superstition, instead of trusting the government and science.

At the eruption of Mount Merapi on 26th October about 28 people died, likely due to their unwillingness to obey official warnings about the imminent eruption of the smouldering volcano, and leave the area.

Former vice president and now head of the Indonesian Red Cross/Palang Merah Indonesia said of the loss of life

People should obey the government’s rules. Don’t trust in local beliefs and superstitions, or your own experiences.

Mbah Maridjan

Mbah Maridjan

Kalla was likely referring to the people’s belief that so long as the “gatekeeper” of Mount Merapi, Mbah Maridjan, remained on the mountain’s slopes, there could be no danger, as Mbah Maridjan was believed to have special, mysterious knowledge of the condition of the volcano.

Mbah Maridjan, who had refused to leave his beloved volcano, died with his neighbours. Kalla went on tempo

They were wrong; the people’s beliefs were wrong.

The 28 people who lost their lives were killed by bursts of hot air released by the volcano late on Tuesday, with many of them having been found in or around the mystical figure’s house in the village of Kinahredjo, close to the volcano’s crater.


36 Comments on “Primitive Mystical Beliefs, & Mbah Maridjan”

  1. realest says:

    I am about to write a bunch of philosophical crap but decided halfway that i would replace them with satire instead coz it’s pointless. so here goes –

    geoff Says: I would suggest that educating people out of poverty and into real jobs that enable the creation and distribution of wealth will be more valuable than a hundred lessons in denying mountain spirits.

    Unless you’ve a teaching degree, being an English Language teacher in a foreign country and charging those folks twice the regular fare because of your color is not a “real” job. This comment is pretty irrelevant but i just feel like expressing outloud.

    camion Says: The comparison was not declared,but relevent,regardless if only one person was killed or a million ,via the numerous phoney beliefs.Education needs to be improved.

    Many of those killed resulted from their reluctance to choose life quickly over their wealth (aka cows and goats) out of simple greed while most wounded are a result of scientists’ incompetence in calculating the safety radius.

    BrotherMouzone Says: Hopefully the Sultan will have the sense to make the next gatekeeper a professor of volcanology and save us going through this all again next year… and the year after that… and the year after that… and the year after that…

    As much as most of the Sultan HBs are respected for their benevolence, they’re utmostly regarded as a mythical figure who are believed to hold the safety of Yogyakarta taking part in centuries-old pacts with various territorial deities. So we could all expect the next gatekeeper and the next and the next to be more ‘spiritual’ than scientific. If they wanted safety, they wouldn’t bequeath(or even create) such titles in the first place.

    Ross Says: Oya, I’ve elsewhere suggested our esteemed legislators might like to cancel their ridiculous overseas trips and devote the money thus saved to helping the above unfortunates.

    Yeah …. and they could hold meetings in my front yard. I’ll be sure to charge them a reasonable price on accounts of this site’s recommendation. hahahaha

  2. geoff says:

    @ realest – I’m not interested in teaching people English. I am talking about educating people in technologies and skills that will enable them to look after themselves, to set up their own businesses, to export their products, to employ others… in short to begin transitioning Indonesia’s economy from one that depends on aid and delivers only a minimal life-style to the majority of its population, leaving many in poverty, into one that grows and ultimately becomes self-sustaining. If you consider that irrelevant, I’m think you are mistaken.

  3. realest says:

    @geoff: sorry i meant my comment was irrelevant, not yours. at our current education (even literacy) level, it’s pretty impossible to utilize the vast human resources available in indonesia. we would be lucky enough just to keep the competent ones around with the level of pay they’re getting.

  4. ET says:

    camion said

    The Early Warning devices had been vandalised & left unrepaired.Many people obviously never learn from past mistakes in the decisions they make that end up killing far too many innocent people. A bigger stick is needed for some to come into line if by chance that that could ever happen.

    Are you referring to the tongkat londo of yore?

  5. camion says:

    Would you settle for “SCHOOLBOY” :-)))

  6. camion says:

    Pardon me !! Attn: Geoff 🙂

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