Conducted on: 03-06-2017
Published on: 30-06-2017
Written by: Ingrid Bremmers
Photographer: Teresa Cancola
“The government and the villagers are ready to change and to be changed.”
The King of the village. The Bapa Raja. A man that when he smiles to you, gives you a feeling of trust. A feeling that he gives us whenever we have a meeting with him or when he just says ‘good morning’ to us. His name, Ch. Seipattiratu. Thirty-three-years-old and born and raised in Kaibobo. When he was younger he never imagined himself to be the King of the village. He actually wanted to become a lawyer. This plan was not realized when he went to study agricultural studies in Ambon. Where he graduated in 2009 before coming back to Kaibobo. Kaibobo at that time did have a Bapa Raja, but a Bapa Raja that was never there. So when Seipattiratu came back to the village after the studies he felt he needed to do something.
In 2011 he was elected. But there was no inauguration until 2014 since the head of the Maluku Regency did not have time. And why he was elected according to him? Because he is still young and he can contribute a lot to the villagers. He is also elected because he has experience as an activist, he worked in an organization and he grew up in the village. The latter being a must for somebody to ever become the King of the village.
When we asked him if he has seen any changes in the village he smiled. It seemed like he was proud of himself. Proud of what he had achieved. His facial expression changed really quickly when he found out we wanted a serious answer. After that he summed up four reasons why for him the village has changed since he came into power. First of all, the characteristic of the villagers has changed. They are not drunk anymore and the loud music during the night has vanished. Secondly, the structure of the village has changed. There are fences and the animals are not walking blocking your way anymore. Even though, when we are walking around the village we have to stop at an intersection, we have to look both ways before crossing otherwise we might hit a chicken or a pig. Something that makes life in Kaibobo beautiful since it is something totally unique to us. Something that makes the lifestyle even more interesting and lovely to visit. Thirdly, the traditional characteristics are changing. The Kaibobo language is coming back again and they start to care for other traditions again. Think about the dancing and the singing that can be found in the video (see link on this website).
And last but not least, the program of open-mindedness is really helping out in the village. After centuries of isolation “the government and the villagers are ready to change and to be changed.” A time of development will come. Something that has already started with the coming of the road after seventy-two years of independence of Indonesia. “They (the villagers) are experiencing freedom.” This feeling of freedom for the villagers makes his happiness a ten on a scale from one to ten.