Rabu, 22 Mei 2013

The Sunda Kingdoms of West Java


West Java Kingdom
Kerajaan di Barat Jawa / Sunda
Penelusuran Sejarah antara Legenda dan Fakta
Oleh: Herwig Zahorka


"Sebuah cerita dari jatuhnya beberapa kerajaan , dari pohon-pohon keramat , dari kebrutalan perang, dari kapal-kapal perang yang tenggelam, dari roh para awak kapal, dan dari heningnya kuburan pada lereng sebuah gunung api tropis" Oleh: Herwig Zahorka

Herwig Zahorka: Imparting knowledge
“I’ve chosen to spend my retirement in Indonesia, because I love Indonesia’s culture, its beautiful tropical rainforests and biodiversity as well as its communities, and most of all, because my wife is Indonesian,” said German-born mapping expert Herwig Zahorka.

Zahorka was born in Wallern Boehmerwald, Germany in 1932, and at the pinnacle of his career served as director of forestry for the German province of Wiesbaden, Hassen.

Since retiring in 1995, he has lived in a cozy home in the Puri Mas housing complex, Bogor, with Zahara Zahorka, his wife from Padang, West Sumatra, and two children, Vera Alexandra, 16, and Reza Romano, 25.

Zahorka, a very friendly man, beamed with pleasure when The Jakarta Post visited his residence, showing of his two favorite rooms: the living room and his study. A cabinet in the living room upstairs contains Dayak traditional handicrafts, and other such gifts he received from former East Kalimantan governor Wahab Syahrani in 1976.

In a corner of his neatly arranged study is a German flag along with the picture of a building in Wiesbaden. As Zahorka passionately related the history of the building where his ancestors had once lived, his tone of voice and gaze indicated a deep emotional connection that remains with his homeland, which is why he takes a vacation to Germany nearly every year.

Zahorka visited Indonesia for the first time in 1976, when he was assigned as an expert with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) to conduct a forest mapping project in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Living among people in the interior regions of both islands, he took the opportunity to conduct a number of archeological, cultural and ethno-botanical studies.

While serving as director of forestry, he made several official visits to various countries including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan and a number of African states. However, after a long and illustrious career, and having seen the world, Herwig decided in 1995 to spend his retirement in Indonesia.

He now fills his time writing books dealing with archeology, culture and ethno-botany, and contributing to journals on conservation-related sciences. Sometimes he goes biking near historic places in Bogor with relics of the Pajajaran kingdom. He also often visits the Bogor Botanical Garden, where he has good friends working as researchers.

His four books published in German and English are Expeditionen durch Indonesian (Expeditions through Indonesia), written in 1986, Tropischer Regenwald Okologische und Soziale Funktionen (Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Social Functions) published in 2002 and Die Erschliessungsfronten auf Borneo, (Kalimantan) 1937 bis Heute (The Urbanization of Borneo, 1937 to the Present), published in 2003. Sunda Kingdoms of West Java, on the history of Tarumanegara to Pakuan Pajajaran kingdoms, was written in 2007.

“In writing Sunda Kingdoms of West Java, I was considerably assisted by Vera Alexandra and Reza Romano, who have untiringly become translators for my works, and my son Reza has so far accompanied me in my travels to different regions in Indonesia,” said Zahorka.

As a prolific writer, he has also published 225 articles and journals on culture, archeology, ethno-biology and ecology in Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and the US. His books and journals are supported by the results of years of research in Kalimantan, Sumatra, Java and East Nusa Tenggara.

His article on woven fabric from East Nusa Tenggara was contributed to the National Museum, while his ethno-botanical research papers were published in the magazine of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

For Zahara, her husband’s activity is wonderful because he is always happy as he sits and writes on his computer. Although Zahorka expects no profits from the sale of his books, he feels satisfied to distribute some of the volumes to his friends and to continue writing.

“I like writing and wish to impart my knowledge to the world, which is my pride no matter how much money I spend. To me, science is very important and everybody needs to share some knowledge,” he said.

Indonesia, endowed with abundant natural wealth, unique cultural diversity and gorgeous tropical rainforests, has become an endless inspiration for Zahorka to explore through his texts, which explains why he continues to write up to the present.


Tidak ada komentar: