Saturday, March 9, 2013

Malin Kundang

A long time ago in the small island that people call "Bali" lived a very, very poor woman.  She lived only with her son, the only child that she had.  Her husband already died a long time before she had a child.  This woman gave her son the name "Ida Bagus Oka", but she always called her son "Oka".  Oka was a kind and brave guy.  He was very appreciative of his mother and always followed what she said.  This family was so poor, the woman's job was only a farm slave, and also her son.  Their salary was just enough to buy food for one day.  They never had new clothes and they always did not know what they would eat for the next day.  The only thing and the only one that had value that this family had was only the ring which the woman was wearing on her ring finger; it was her wedding ring.  The woman did not know what she had to do to make a better life until her son, Oka, said to her, "Meme(*1), if we can not change our life, we will never have a better life, nobody will help and give us a better life, nobody cares about us; we have to do something different by ourselves, to get a better and a good life", and her mother said, "I know my son, but we are poor, we do not have anything, we are just slaves, what can we do, my son?"

Then Oka answered, "Meme, may be we are poor and nothing, but that does not mean we can not do anything, at least we still have one way out, we can go to another island, Meme, we can do much more in other island, we go to Java Island (*2) to find a better and a good life.  I believe that Java will give us luck." Oka's mother said to him, "Oka, I am too old to go sailing far away, but you are still young and brave enough to go.  You go to the dream island (*3) to change our life".  "But Meme", said Oka. "Don't argue with me, my son.  I am your mother, I know what is good to you". After saying that she took of her wedding ring, and said, "This is the only thing that we have, the only thing that your father could give to me, and also the only thing that I can give to you.  Sell it my son, use it to buy a sailboat and supplies and don't waste it".  Oka took that ring, thought for a while then said, "I'll go Meme, and I'll give you a new life".  The day after tomorrow Ida Bagus Oka was ready for a far and dangerous journey.   Only his mother took him to the port, nobody else, nobody cared about his journey.  Before he left her mother said to him, "Oka, you are the only one that I have, I don't have anything else, you are everything to me, so remember my son, I'll always waiting for you and I'll pray for you, goodluck my son.  And I love you".  And Oka said, "Don't worry Meme, I will always belong to you, I'll be back to pick you up".  After saying that, Oka pulled the anchor, opened the screen and began to find a new life.  His mother could only cry to see her son left alone for a long journey, without nobody knowing what would happen to him and when he would come back.  In the ocean Oka had a hard and dangerous sailing.  He had to fight with strong taifun (typhoon), a wild wave, a hard rain and bad weather for a month.  He became dry in the hard rain and bad weather for a month.  He became dry at noon and became freezing in the night, but he made it.  Ida Bagus Oka's sailboat came into the "Perak Port" (*4).  He stepped on Java Island with shout, "Java!, I came here to help my mother's life".

After Oka left from Bali, his mother started with a lonely life.  She did everything by herself, nobody helped and took care of her.  She did not have anybody to talk with.  She was really, really alone in the hard, bad and boring life.  Every morning before she went to work and at night after she came from work she was standing in front of her house and waiting for her son, Ida Bagus Oka.  She had never heard anything about her son, but she still prayed for her son's success.  She was still waiting with a good big hope.  But her mind always had a question with a confusion and not sure answer.  "What is happening with my son?"  She had this question for many many years until the time she could not stand anymore with her confusion, and she decided to find her son.  So, she left her house and went to Java Island.  She also have a nightmare sailing to reach Java Island.  After she came to Java, she began her journey to the middle of Java (*5) to find her son.  She walked many-many miles and days while trying to do everything she could to get some meal.  She stopped in the river to take a bath and drink, and she slept under the tree.  She always asked everybody she met if she could sleep under the tree.  She always asked everybody she met about her son; no one knew or could give her direction to find Ida Bagus Oka; she never gave up.  She was still looking for her son and asking everybody she met.  She never stopped trying.

 At the same time not far from the last place Oka's mother took a rest, lived a very, very rich trader.  He was trading jewelry and goods.  People called him Malin Kundang.  He married with one of the Java King's daughters.  He was living in the castle with a lot of housekeepers. He had a happy and nice life with his pretty wife.  Everybody in his area was afraid of him and followed what he said, but almost everybody did not like him.  He was a stuck up trader.  He was one of the richest people in Java, after the King of Java.  Until one day Malin Kundang went to the market with his charming wife to go shopping, an old and poor lady came to him; she was wearing ripped clothes without shoes.  The old lady said to him, "Are you Oka?".  She was right; after becoming rich Ida Bagus Oka changed his name to Malin Kundang.  Then the old lady said again, "You are my Oka!"  The old and poor lady was Oka's mother, and Oka could recognize that the lady who was talking and standing in front of him was his mother.  Then he said to the lady, "Who are you?"  I have never known you.  I am not your Oka".  The old lady was choked like somebody gave her an electric shock,  to hear that answer.  She had never thought that her son could speak like that to her, but she was still cool.  She touched her son while saying, "Look at me carefully, then you can be aware that I am your mother and you are my son".  Although actually Oka was really aware that the old lady was his mother, he did not want to confess that, because he afraid to be ashamed in front of his wife and his people.  He was ashamed that the rich man like him had a poor mother, and a hobo woman.  So he said, "Don't touch me old lady, How come a rich guy like me could have a poor mother like you?  Go away old lady".  Then he grabbed and threw away her mother's hand.  His mother was so disappointed of him but she could not do anything.  She just could leave while feeling sad, but before she left, she said to Malin Kundang, "I lost everything to give a better life and I did everything to find you a life, but after you succeeded you didn't want me to be your mother anymore, you threw me away like I am a disease.  I can't say anymore about this, but for just so you know, I am happy to see your life now.  Good bye my son, I hope one day you will be aware of what just you said to me!"  Then she left to the south.  Oka did not say anything, he was just seeing her mother left from him.  He still said that that old lady was not his mother when his wife asked him, but inside his heart he felt something strange, because inside his heart he was really sure that that old lady was his mother,  his mother whom he left many-many years ago.

After leaving from Oka, Oka's mother walked many-many miles without herself knowing where she was going or where she had to go.  She felt such a sting inside her heart.  That time she was aware that she did not have anything anymore, she was really alone in the real meaning.  She stopped her walk after she came to the ocean.  She was sitting on the beach quietly.  She did not know what good  her life was anymore.  She just felt the sea and heard the wave. Finally she stood up, looking to the clear and bright sky, then shouted, "Oh God, I know you are fair and I know the power of the mother, I want my son, Ida Bagus Oka, get the price for what he said to me, I curse my son, oh God!"  After she said that she walked to the sea; she walked until nobody could see her anymore.  After the sea ate her everything changed so drastically.  The sea became unfriendly, the wave became so wild, but the change was not only in the sea.  The change also happened in the town where Oka lived.  The sky became dim, the cloud became thin and dark, the lighting was flashing so brightly, the thunder was so loud and a big rain was going down with a strong taifun.  Every person in the town became so scared and confused, why did everything change so fast?  No nice day anymore.  Ida Bagus Oka woke up from his feeling because of the changing, and he felt very strange and scared, he felt so bad inside his heart, but he did not know what was going on to him.  He stood up and went to the window.  He could the hear the bad weather outside and he could see one bright flash, a very bright flash.  Finally he felt a strong and cold wind with a bright flash through to his heart.  Oka could just scream and shout, "Meme forgive me, Meme!", but it was too late already; his mother had already cursed him.  While still shouting in his crying, Oka could feel he was becoming hard and heavy, slow but sure.  Then Ida Bagus Oka became a statue stone.  After that everything became normal again, no bad weather anymore.  The day became so nice and friendly.  The next day everybody in that town knew that Malin Kundang became stone.  They put the Malin Kundang statue in front of his castle.  Also everybody knew that Malin Kundang became stone by his mother's curse, because he did not want to confess his mother anymore.

Hangkoesprono W. Widodo

*1.   "Meme" is a traditional language from Bali Island, that is usually used by children to call their mother.

*2. Java is an island near Bali that is separated by a wild ocean.

*3. It takes one month to reach Java from Bali by sailboat.

*4.  Perak Port is an old sailing port in east Java.

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