Description of Figure/Doll

Ceramic doll from Indonesia. She is wearing a gold headpiece with sequins and other bright décor. She has a long red velvet shirt (kebaya) with gold trim and sequin buttons. Her long skirt is made with batik. Batik is important identity to the Indonesian culture. The intricate patterns on the cloth are made with a wax-resistant dyeing technique. Her earrings and bracelets are gold.

Indonesia

Location: Asia

Capital:

Main language: Bahasa Indonesia, English, Dutch

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah

Figure/Doll

Construction: ceramic, batik

Height in Centimeters: 15

Height in Inches: 6

The Independence Day Celebration: Freedom from The Netherlands

Reading Level: 7.70

The rooster sounded kongkorongok (cock-a-doodle-doo) a couple times before Srimurniasih stirred. She was sleeping on her kasur, a thin mattress made from cotton seeds.  A strong, thick coffee smell met her nose.  Srimurniasih, whose name means beautiful true love, was nicknamed Sri by her family.  The temptation to crawl back under her samping (a thin blanket with colorful patterns) was great.  However, she dared not do it because her bapa (father) would not approve.  Sri’s bapa was a farmer and did not have much education.  Bapa, however, insisted that all his children go to school and learn as much as they could.  He always said that he wanted a bright future for his children. He did not want any of his children doing backbreaking labor like him.  With this idea planted strongly in her mind, Sri put on her red and white uniform and joined the rest of her family in the kitchen.

A flurry of activities filled the kitchen by the time Sri sat on her bamboo chair.  Emak (mother) had her youngest baby in a karembong on her back and was stirring chicken porridge on the open-fire stove.  Karembong is a sash worn over the shoulders and across the body that is normally used to carry little children around.  Bapa had finished his meal and was enjoying his last drop of strong coffee.  Mbak Yani, Sri’s oldest sister was feeding her two-year-old sister, and before the toddler could drop another spoon on the floor, her older brother Mas Bambang slammed the door while carrying a bucket full of water from the outside well pump.  Sri never called her older sister or brother by their given names, she always used the preposition Mbak for older sister and Mas for older brother.  It was the custom of people in East Java to use those terms to show respect to older people.

Sri looked around the table and was confused to see that neither her older brother nor her older sister wore their school uniforms.  On school days Mbak Yani, a senior in high school, normally wore a white shirt and gray skirt, and Mas Bambang wore a white shirt and short blue pants since he would not enter high school until next year.  Then it dawned on Sri that it was August 17th, Indonesia Independence Day and her family would go to their little town square to celebrate. 

A lot of people crowded the town square by the time Sri’s family arrived in mid-morning. There were games for all ages.  For little children, they had a funny game whereby kerupuk (crispy chips made of flour flavored with fish or shrimp) were attached to a long string and each of the kerupuk was tied with strings of different lengths to the main string.  The children would have their hands tied on their back and were supposed to eat the kerupuk using their mouths only.  It was so fun to watch, you could see some children tiptoeing and some squatting so they could finish eating their kerupuk first.

Another fun game was lomba karung (gunny sack race).  In this game, people were supposed to run using a gunny sack.  One can’t really run when having both legs in a gunny sack, so the children have to hop or jump to reach the finish lines.  Some players fell sideways and others did somersaults in an attempt to move fast.  The most hilarious game is called panjat pinang.  Pinang is a kind of Asian palm tree.  This tree has a long, tall smooth trunk with branches and leaves on the top, similar to coconut trees.  For this game, people hang various attractive gifts on the three top branches and spread thick oil all over the pinang trunk so the trunk’s surface is very slippery.  The players then climb the slippery trunk to get the gifts – the higher the gift, the more valuable it is.  All of the players fell time after time; nobody could reach even the lowest branches.  Finally someone had a brilliant idea, instead of climbing the tree individually, they formed a group and stood on each other’s shoulders.  That was called gotong royong (teamwork).

Sri lay down on her bed that night feeling satisfied.  Next to her lay Nawang Wulan, the puppet doll that she received from winning the lomba karung first place.  Wulan is so pretty with her batik skirt, colorful silk shirt and gold head piece.  It reminded Sri how she wanted to look when she grows up.

by Katarina Beversdorf


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