As representative of District Nine Five and staff of Tifa Magazine is Roger Neervoort-Tehupuring, also known as Rogero of the rap group MutiaraTEC, travelled to Maluku for the celebration of the 443th anniversary of Ambon City. In this column he shares his experiences and impressions of this journey.
Ambiguous. That’s how I can describe my trip to Ambon. On one hand, for me as Moluccan descendant the first time to my Tanah air. On the other hand, as a representative for District Nine Five who, together with Ambonwhena Aratuaman and Angelo Manuhutu by invitation of Mayor Richard Louhenapessy, a visit to discuss what the possibilities are to make “Visit Ambon 2020” a success.
From the plane you see the island coming to you, the pilot sets the landing and the palm trees at the airport are becoming clearer. Once I land the realization kicks in when I look around and a language is spoken that I understand as my own, this does not feel like a journey abroad. We are received by representatives from the government of the City of Ambon kaka Rico Hayat and uncle Novfy Warella, who instantly say: “Pelan pelan, first we’ll have a cup of tea.” Then we drive towards Ambon city, the Merah Putih bridge that the Mayor has incited is impressive, although it is not allowed, many people stop to take pictures. I am told that in the past you had to go all the way around the bay and that it saves so much time that it’s no longer necessary now. Also, in Ambon city it becomes clear that the vision of the mayor to keep the city clean is well maintained. This seemed to be different in the past, besides my positive feeling no wrong first impression of the capital.
The first thing on the program was the celebration of the 443th anniversary of Ambon City. A celebration on the Lapangan Merdeka square where people were flocked to attend this. During the speech of Mayor Richard Louhenapessy. A lot of music and of course cakalele could not be absent. Our culture and customs are highly valued. During the mayor’s speech it became clear that unity and cooperation between us as Moluccan people is a priority on his agenda. Therefore, it was an honor that of all the people present we were mentioned by name regarding the festivities that will take place in 2020. In the evening we met many of the other invitees and exchanged ideas and contact details in the interest of 2020. This was also evident in later meetings and conversations with the mayor and his wife, together we can fully mobilize, not only for Ambon but for all of Maluku.
I felt honored to be with bung Angelo and Ambonwhena on the fourth row to sit behind Moluccan politicians and stars like Ruth Sahanaya.
Apart from visits to various places on the island, to look at possible locations for our plans, and visits to hotels and resorts, our invitation to the anniversary of the upcoming governor of Maluku Murad Ismail memorable. This was celebrated in the Islamic Centre. We were warmly welcomed by the people there and by the new governor Murad Ismael and his wife. Again, a lot of music where he also seized the chance to let us hear his singing skills. What a voice and charisma. Also, plans for Maluku including planting trees across the province sounds like music in the ears.
The next morning a meeting with Moluccan singer Doddie.
Of course, as a descendant of Tehupuring a visit to kampong Seilale could not be missed, emotionally and liberating for someone who only knows stories and now for the first time walks the ground where his bloodline comes from. Swimming in the sea and the view of the forests that Ambon possesses is priceless.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of time for me to spend days here. But I knew that in advance, there is a lot to see and discuss. This is also demonstrated by the appointment we made in Jakarta together with Nicky The Manuputty at Visicom, the leading company for venues and festivals in Indonesia including most recently the Asian Games and Java Jazz, because that music is going to be a guideline for 2020 is evident from the start. Ambon is not called the “City of Music” for no reason.
With that in mind we were also surprised that during our cooling off period in Bali, because there ought to be a little bit of a holiday feeling, were invited by Glenn Fredly and Nicky Manuputty to come and dine with him and his band. For me personally an eye opener as far as bubur goes, loh katong cuma makan bubur kalo sakit toh. I guess not.
All in all, too much to put into word in one column sufficiently. The conclusion is that we together, the people in Maluku, the Moluccan community in the Netherlands, the Moluccan community in Indonesia, Moluccans in Papua, America, Australia and anywhere in the world together with the people on Ambon, must make Visit Ambon 2020 an unforgettable experience.
Visit Ambon pulang kampong!