The narrative of war in Makassar: its ambiguities and contradictions

Ivie Carbon Esteban, (2010) The narrative of war in Makassar: its ambiguities and contradictions. SARI: Jurnal Alam dan Tamadun Melayu, 28 (1). pp. 129-149. ISSN 0127-2721


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This article explores the ambiguities and contradictions of a prose narrative depicting a war in Indonesia. Generally known among the Makassarese as Sinrilikna Kappalak Tallumbatua or The Three Ships, the text used in the analysis is its 1993 published version in both Makassarese and Bahasa Indonesia. For the Makassarese, the Sinrilikna Kappalak Tallumbatua (SKT) is their version of the Makassar War (1666-1669) launched by Gowa against the Vereegnigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC). This claim presupposes that there is another text and that the Makassarese have the right to insist their own version of the war. I argue that the SKT is not a historical text of the Makassar War, but a literary artifact of narrative fragments about the kingdom of Gowa and its 16th ruler, Sultan Hasanuddin. These fragments are products of selective memory because tradition dictates what is worth recollecting from the past and historical imagination shapes how greatness and heroism are deconstructed to preserve unity among peoples who come from the same lineage of “white blood”. Because the past is so remote, the narrator or composer of the SKT uses fragmentary recollection as a device in reconstructing the events and characters associated with the kingdom of Gowa and the Makassar War. The narrative of such recollection results in ambiguities and contradictions when “new” knowledge intervenes through contemporarization and historical allusion

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Ambiguities; contradictions; Sinrilikna Kappalak Tallumbatua; fragmentary recollection; selective memory; historical imagination; Makassar War; kingdom of Gowa; Sultan Hasanuddin
Journal:International Journal of the Malay World and Civilisation (Formerly SARI)
ID Code:2437
Deposited By: Ms. Nor Ilya Othman
Deposited On:02 Aug 2011 03:35
Last Modified:14 Dec 2016 06:31

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