Bad Luck Amulet

Magic paper inclosed within a deer skin.

Haikal Kulit Kijang (Empowered Deer Skin)
Magic paper inclosed within a deer skin.

We’ve written a number of articles about amulets (jimat) that are in common use in Indonesia. Recently we wrote about the Haikal Kulit Kijang, or “Empowered Deer Skin.” After talking with an Indonesian acquaintance of ours about that deer skin, he told us that people should be extremely cautious about becoming involved with these objects, because these amulets may bring curses, instead of protection and good luck. This is his story….

Deer Skin Amulet This shows the paper with the Arabic writing which is believed to be empowered by spirits.

Deer Skin Amulet
This shows the paper with the Arabic writing which is believed to be empowered by spirits.

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Deceptive Amulet

A number of years ago I saw a small boy in my neighborhood who was wearing an amulet necklace. The necklace had a small piece of bamboo fastened to it and the ends of the bamboo was sewn shut (just like the Haikal Kulit Kijang we wrote about not too long ago). I asked the boy if I could see the necklace, but he didn’t want me to. I then insisted that he show it to me, so the boy finally gave it to me. I then broke open the small piece of bamboo that was fastened to the necklace, and inside was a piece of paper rolled up, about 4 inches square. The paper had a sentence written on it in the Indonesian language which said something like: “You will die on November 2, 2004.

From what we were told, the shaman / witch doctor (dukun; orang pintar; orang pandai) that prepared and gave the boy that necklace must have made a deal with the evil spirits. It’s assumed that this shaman would occasionally be required to place a curse on people, and sacrifice someone from time to time, so his spiritual powers would continual to work.

Adventure Gone Wrong

Yesterday there were 2 Canadians who had taken a bus from Medan (North Sumatra) and were headed to Jakarta. They were using the Lonely Planet travel guide for their journey—no personal guide or translator. They got halfway through Jambi and realized this was not the adventure they had imagined.

At a bus stop in Sarolangun, a friend of mine saw them, and though he doesn’t know English, he realized that they were quite distressed, not being able to communicate with anyone. He then called me on his cell phone and let me talk to the hapless travelers.

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Independence Monument

(Monumen Kemerdekaan)

Proklamasi Kemerdekaan (Proclamation of Independence)

In the City of Jambi, on the street Jl. R. Mattaher, directly in front of the building named “Gedung Balai Wanita,” there is a monument that was erected in memory of Indonesia’s independence from all foreign colonial authorities (specifically the Dutch).

The location of the monument can be found with this link.

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The Grave of Pakubuwono III

Chet & Phyllis at the assumed grave of Pakubuwono III

Chet & Phyllis at the assumed grave of
Pakubuwono III

In the Village of Lubuk Landai

One site to see in the Village of Lubuk Landai is the grave of Pakubuwono III. The tombstone gives him the title of: “Rajo Bumi Tanah Sepenggal Sri Pangeran Mangkubuwono” (The King of the Earth in Tanah Sepenggal, the Honorable Prince Mangkubuwono).

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Pempek

Plate of various types of pempek.

Plate of various types of pempek. This plate of pempek was served at Chet Swearingen’s Birthday Party.

Pempek is a very moist and doughy “fishcake,” which is made from ground fish, water, salt, and tapioca. The dough is boiled in hot water or steamed until hardened, then stored to be fried just before serving. As seen in the picture at the right, pempek can be made into a variety of shapes and sizes, similar to how pasta can be formed into a variety of shapes.

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Short Cut on Road Between the Cities of Jambi and Muara Bulian

A car that lost control and went up into the brush.

A car that lost control and went up into the brush.

We were informed of a “short-cut” between the cities of Jambi and Muara Bulian that would cut down the driving distance by 10 kilometers. During a recent trip to Sarolangun we had the opportunity to verify that information, and we found that the different route was only 4.2 km (2.6 miles) shorter.

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An Icon in The City of Sarolangun

Ikan Keloso (or Kelisa) This is a 15' long fish monument that is located at the entrance leading to the government offices in Sarolangun (Kantor Bupati)

Ikan Keloso (or Kelisa)
This is a 15′ long fish monument that is located at the entrance leading to the government offices in Sarolangun (Kantor Bupati)

While visiting the City of Sarolangun we had the opportunity to meet in the home of the Sekretaris Daerah (Sekda) Kabupaten Sarolangun, Bapak (Mr.) H. Thabroni Rozali. This man invited us to the Kantor Bupati (Bupati’s office) the next morning, where he introduced us to eight men who were kepala adat & ketua adat (cultural experts), as well as the heads of various government agencies.

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