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Selamatan for Dasamuka

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Indonesian article by Gemah Rahardjo. Translated into English by Retna Ariastuti

 

Saturday, May 20, 2017, was a happy day for Dalang Publishing. After a year of hard work, the time had arrived to welcome our new title, Maya Denisa Saputra’s English language translation of Dasamuka by Junaedi Setiyono.

The Selamatan was held at the Highlands Recreation Center in San Mateo, California. We were honored by the presence of Bapak Hanggiro Setiabudi, Bapak F. Bernard Loesi, and Ibu Riena Sarjono, all from the Indonesian Consulate in San Francisco. Among the other guests were Sylvia Tiwon, professor of South and Southeast Asian Studies at University of California, Berkeley; Virginia Shih, librarian of the SOEA Library at UC Berkeley; and Cynthia Rider, librarian of the Main Burlingame Public Library in Burlingame, California.

A Selamatan is a traditional Javanese dinner that is held to welcome anything new, as well as to give thanks to and ask the blessings from anyone who had anything to do with bringing about the new entity.

It is customary to serve nasi tumpeng – a yellow cone-shaped rice dish symbolic of a mountain of fortune (hence the gold color) along with side dishes that represent the bounty of the land, the sea, the skies, and creations by man. It is an ancient Indonesian belief that Gods reside on top of the mountain, and it is customary to serve the top of the cone /tumpeng to the guest of honor.

On behalf of Bapak Ardi Hermawan, the Consul General of the Indonesian Consulate in San Francisco, Bapak Hanggiro Setiabudi offered the opening remarks at the Selamatan, during which he acknowledged and praised Dalang’s efforts to bring Indonesian literature to America.

Ibu Lian then presented him with copies of the original and English language translation of Dasamuka.

Endorsements from academia in Indonesia as well as the United States can be found on the book’s back cover and in its title section of the Our Books page of Dalang’s website, www.dalangpublishing.com

During the Selamatan, we also introduced Retna Ariastuti, “Tuti,” Dalang’s new team member who plans to take hold of Dalang’s reins in the future.

 

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After Ibu Lian presented the tumpeng to Pak Hanggiro, everyone enjoyed the traditional Indonesian dinner of yellow coconut rice, spicy beef stew, tumeric spiced fried chicken, shrimp and eggs with chili sauce, spiced fried tempe and dried fish, and a mixed-vegetable and shredded coconut salad. Hot tea, Kue Pepe (sweet rice cake), and Lapis Surabaya (Indonesian layered pound cake) were offered for dessert. Keroncong music was played in the background during the dinner.

 

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A PowerPoint presentation with visuals of historical figures and local settings mentioned in Dasamuka, followed by a short reading from the English translation by Ibu Lian, ended the Selamatan.

With the launching of our ninth book and Tuti’s joining of our forces, Dalang Publishing has been recharged with new energy to continue the pursuit of our mission to bring Indonesian literature to the Western Hemisphere. As Ibu Lian said, “Another accomplishment completed, many others await.”

 

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