[EF #46] Indonesian Literature

My interest in language began to rise when I finally decided to choose Language class in the final year of my high school. My compulsory subjects were Indonesian Language and Literature, Malay Literature, English Language and Literature, German Language, History and Social Culture.

At that time, I felt so happy because I don’t have to deal with numbers anymore. Believe me, my lack of math skill is unquestionable. So, yes.. I like letters and words better than numbers.

Being a language student meant that it was a must for me to read (or at least getting myself familiar with) works of classic Indonesian literature. Out of many books that we have to read, I remember reading/learning books as listed below:

Azab dan Sengsara – Merari Siregar

Belenggu – Armijn Pane

Siti Nurbaya – Marah Roesli

Sengsara Membawa Nikmat – Tulis Sutan Sati

Salah Asuhan – Abdul Muis

Kemarau – A.A Navis

Dian Tak Kunjung Padam, Anak Perawan di Sarang Penyamun – ST Alisjahbana

Tenggelamnya Kapal van der Wijk, Di Bawah Lindungan Ka‘bah- Hamka

Dari Ave Maria ke Jalan Lain ke Roma – Idrus


Those were like really, really, really classic and if I may be honest here.. I remember very little what most of the books are about. I guess things were easily forgotten if I were to be told to read certain books (out of my interest, that is). Anyway, I found myself reading more books from authors in the era of 80’s. In general, I enjoy reading Remy Sylado’s work and Y.B Mangunwijaya’s. More interestingly are Remy Sylado’s works.


I admire the fact how he can write stories that combine with true-historical events. I have to admit that I’m not a collector or big fans, but one of Sylado’s book that caught my interest is 9 Oktober 1740. My initial motive to read the book was simply because it’s quite thin, just around 198 pages. Now don’t even think that I remember the plots, characters and everything, okay. Mind you that I read the book when I was in high school and I have short-term memory (not like short-term memory Dory-like though!).

So the point is, that book has opened my eyes of one of historical event in Jakarta and how everything happened in that day effected Chinese population in Jakarta. It was from that date of 9 October until 22 October 1740 in the port of Batavia, ethnic Chinese were massacred. Historians have estimated that there were at least 10.000 Chinese were massacred; just 600 to 3.000 believed to have survived. I have never known this tragic event and reading the book have helped me to dig more information of what really happened on that day.

I learned so much by reading books and there’s a reason why I took picture of some of the books that I have. If any of you out there are interested in reading the books, then I’ll be happy to make a swap book, I’m just a call away :) After all, what good is a book when you don’t read it, right! Oh, that last word reminds me that I still have to finish reading novels that I bought months ago 😀

Jakarta, 27.08.16

6 thoughts on “[EF #46] Indonesian Literature

  1. Vita

    Reading this makes me realise that although I claim myself to be an avid reader, I never read any those listed as Indonesian literature must-read
    I remember reading Idrus’ book in ur list but yeah already forgot what it as about…

    1. arbiyanti Post author

      Well, the books were used to be must-read, but now they are literally just filling up my cabinet. Can’t really put them away for good though I can’t seem to remember what most of the books were about..

    1. arbiyanti Post author

      Hallo Pak KK! I haven’t visited your blog for a while. Any good books that you can recommend me lately?

  2. mhilal

    I haven’t read those classical novels in your list yet. So far, only Atheis by achdiyat k mihardja and di bawah lindungan ka’bah by hamka that i have read…. :)

    1. arbiyanti Post author

      Hallo Pak Hilal.. those books were like the ‘kitab’ of my Indonesian literature subject (back when i was in high school!). But what do you know.. after years gone by, I can hardly remember what they were about…

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