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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Magelang Regency in the News: September 12, 2011

News 1 : Water Shortage


Kenalan village in Borobudur sub district suffered from clean water shortage. The wells in the village located in the Menoreh hill have started to dry in this dry season. The village got water supply twice a day granted by the Magelang Regency government, especially for Wonolelo, Gempal, Semawung and some other hamlets surroundings, whereas the other hamlets in this village have got aids since last July 2011. To avoid a conflict among the village members, they made a consensus that each family will only take no more than 5 water vessels (20 litres each). The view of villagers who strive to get clean water can be seen night and day.

Kenalan village always suffer clean water shortage in the dry season each year . In Wonolelo hamlet, for example, it is because the volume of water in the water springs like Tuk Wates (Wates spring), Tuk Kluwih (Kluwih Spring), Tuk Duwur Kali (Duwur Kali Spring meaning a spring located up in the river), Tuk Kali Kidul (South River Spring) decreases.
(Reference : Suara Merdeka, a regional newspaper in Indonesian published in Semarang, 12 September 2011) 

My notes and Comments:
Although they are facing 'a bit' difficulties that perhaps other people outside would have thought it as living in hard life, those Javanese people almost never complain. They will always look happy. They always see it as "that is just how life is". That is what is called "pasrah sumarah" philosophy in Javanese. Just like the attitude of the victims of Merapi mudflows early 2011 in some villages in Salam, Muntilan, Dukun, Srumbung, Sawangan and other places in the southern part of Magelang Regency.

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News 2 : Fighting Incident

The incident between the members of Kaliabu village of Salaman sub district and Wuwuharjo village of Kajoran sub district end with peace. The distance between the two villages that belong to different sub districts are in fact only about 4 kilometres. Both villages are located in the slope of Mount Sumbing. They involved in a conflict on Wednesday, 7 September 2011,

The conflict arose when the two sides watched a jatilan (folk horse dance performance) in Pandanretno, Kajoran sub district, Magelang Regency. Both the parties had been ready to fight. They held in their hands traditional weapons such as swords, celurit (a traditional weapon like a sickle but smaller), axes, bars of wood, drink bottles and stones. The horizontal conflict had caused casualties on both sides: some people were wounded and some motorcycles were damaged. The head of the resort police (Kapolres : Kepala Polisi Resot) of Magelang Regency then sent 2 platoon of police. The police were succeeded in facilitating dialogs between the two parties. Each parties were represented by 5 members. Both parties agreed to compensate the damage they had caused. 

The incident was in fact not for the first time. Three months ago another incident happened.

(Reference : Suara Merdeka, a regional newspaper in Indonesian published in Semarang, 12 September 2011)

My Notes and Comment:
This such attitude is in fact not very surprising. It is rooted in culture. In the Javanese culture and perhaps also in other ethnic groups in Indonesia, especially in the rural areas, the feeling of unity among each member of the village is strong. To a certain extent, most villagers see themselves as parts of a big body, the members of the whole village, a big family of a certain village. They were bound by solidarity and mutual help among the members.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The City of Magelang


The Geography

Magelang City (Kota Magelang) is located in the province of Central Java. In the governmental system in Indonesia, a kota (that often translated as city) , used to refer to a municipality that is located in the centre of a town. When a municipality develops into an urban centre and becomes a business, entertainment, tourism, industrial or education centre thus needs more attention, then it usually is changed into a Kota (the name Kota is used to replace Kotamadya). A Kota  has its own autonomy. It has its right to govern itself as a local government and also it has its own local house representatives.

Although the official name uses the word kota (city) but in fact Magelang is a relatively small town. It is about 75 km south of Semarang (the capital city of Central Java province) and 43 km north of Yogyakarta. Geographically, Magelang is a plateau that is located approximately 380 meters above sea level, with a slope ranging between 5% -45%. There are steep slopes in the west (along the Progo river ) and in the east (along the Elo river ). To some extent, the existence of the steep slopes is a benefit for Magelang for it makes the rain water run smoothly to the two rivers. However, the centre of the Magelang City - starting from the complex of Military Academy (AKMIL) to the north up to Prof Dr. Suroyo Psychiatric Hospital - is relatively flat. Magelang is classified as a wet area. The rainfall is quite high.

Magelang City ( covers an area of 18.12 square kilometres. As it is located in the middle of the Magelang Regency, all the regions are bordered by the districts of Magelang Regency. In the east side it is bordered by Elo River that separates the city with Tegalrejo sub district, the south side by Mertoyudan sub district, the west side by Progo River that separate the city with Bandongan sub district and in the north side by Secang sub district. The city is divided into three “kecamatan” (sub districts) and 17 “kelurahan” (villages) . Originally there were only two sub districts, but since 2007, the city has been divided into three sub districts. The city did not extend its area, only it added Magelang Tengah (Central Magelang) as a sub district, which covers some villages that formerly became parts of South Magelang and North Magelang sub districts.

The divisions of the three sub districts of the city of Magelang are as follow:

Magelang Utara (North Magelang)
Kelurahan (villages)
1. Kramat Utara (North Kramat)
2. Kramat Selatan (South Kramat)
3. Kedungsari
4. Wates
5. Potrobangsan

2. Magelang Tengah (Central Magelang)
Kelurahan (villages):
1. Magelang
2. Cacaban
3. Kemirirejo
4. Gelangan
5. Panjang
6. Rejowinangun Utara (North Rejowinangun)

3. Magelang Selatan (South Magelang)
Kelurahan (villages)
1. Tidar Utara (North Tidar)
2. Tidar Selatan (South Tidar)
3. Rejowinangun Selatan (South Rejowinangun)
4. Magersari
5. Jurangombo Utara (North Jurangombo)
6. Jurangombo Selatan(South Jurangombo)

Magelang has a fertile agricultural area and one of the most densely populated regions on Java. But along with the progress of urban development, the decline in land cultivation is difficult to be avoided. Magelang City also has disaster-prone areas located in the districts Gelangan, Panjang, Jurangombo, Wates, and Kramat. The villages are located on the steep slope that are prone to landslide. To keep safe from natural disaster such as floods and land slides some areas are prohibited to be used for cultivation and residences. They are:
1. Forest Protection Area, in this case is Tidar Mountain
2. Protection of Local Area along the Progo and Elo River
3. Kyai Langgeng Park, a nature reserve area which is developed to be a tourist attraction
4. Special Protection Area which is located in the Military Institution


The History
(Reference: Wikipedia)
Magelang was established on 11 April 907. Magelang was then known as a village called Mantyasih. Now it is known as 'Meteseh'. The village is located on the west of Progo river near the ex Kedu Residence Office. There are three historical stelae written on a plate of copper in Magelang, namely Poh, Gilikan and Mantyasih. Poh and Mantyasih were written under the rule of King Balitung of Mataram Kingdom. Those stelae mention the village of Mantyasih and Glanggang. They became Meteseh (located near the ex Kedu Residency office and Progo river on the western part of the city Magelang)and Magelang.

Mantyasih stela mentioned the name of King Watukura Dyah Balitung with the date which means Saturday Legi, 11 April 907. Legi is the name of a day used in Javanese calendar that divides one pasaran in 5 days: Pahing, Pon, Wage, Kliwon, Legi. The village Mantyasih was made by the king as tax-free village. It was led by a patih (similar to Prime Minister nowadays). Also, it mentioned Mount Susundara and Mount Wukir Sumbing which is now known as Mount Sindoro and Mount Sumbing.

When Britain colonized Magelang in the eighteen century, Magelang became the seat of the government and was made to the same level as a regency. Mas Ngabehi Danukromo was made as its first government officer  in charge  (Bupati). He was entitled “ Raden Tumenggung Danoeningrat “.  During his administration, he built Alun-Alun (town square), Bupati residence and a mosque and a GBIP church , surrounding the 'alun-alun'. In the later development, Magelang became the capital of Karesidenan Kedu in 1818.

After the Dutch defeated the British, Magelang was made the central of economy because of its strategic location. The Dutch government built drinking water tower (known locally as Menara Air Minum) in 1918 which provides the city with water. And it still functions now. Electricity became available in 1927. The roads were remade using asphalt.

Magelang had been given a status as Gemeente Magelang on April 1, 1906 by the Dutch. Today Magelang is divided into two local governments: Magelang Regency led by a Bupati and the City of Magelang (Kota Magelang) that is led by a Walikota (mayor). In 1984 the Magelang Regency office was moved to Mungkid just a few kilometres from the Borobudur temple.

The city of Magelang has historically been a military post, dating back to the Dutch East Indies colonial era.  Currently,  Magelang city hosts a military landmark: The National Military Academy.


Alun-alun (the small town square) at the centre of the city of Magelang. The water tower was built in 1918 and it still functions now. The water supply for the residents of Magelang was provided by PDAM (Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum), the water utility company that is run by the local government.

Alun-alun (the small town square) at the centre of the city of Magelang, The mountain to the north west is Mount Sumbing

An old building built by the Dutch colonial Government that is now functioned as the city police station or POLRESTA (Polisi Resort Kota) on the south side of the alun-alun.

A shot of a residential neighbourhood in the northern part of the city of Magelang. The mountain to the north west is Mount Sumbing.
Magelang, September 4, 2011