A Koin Child

anak koin

Have you ever visited Buru Island? Buru is an island as part of Maluku Province in Indonesia. It is well-known since the island was the site of political prisoners in 1960s-1970s under Soeharto regime. Pramoedya Ananta Toer was one of the political prisoners who experienced living in this island. He was known as the writer of Buru Quartet. Until now, we can still meet some people who used to be political prisoners in Waeapo and some other places in Buru. These people decided to stay in Buru even though the Government had released them in 1970s. Buildings and huts set as prisons have been ruined and been placed by housings. But we can find a memorial statue of the killing warder by political prisoners in Waeapo. For the historical record, political prisoners have pioneered education for indigenous people of Buru.

People in Buru have horrific experience particularly as the violent conflict with the religious background broke in 2000. The violent conflict was triggered in Ambon Island and spread to other islands in Maluku Province. The violent conflict has given the changes in society; advanced education has been in the recovery process and harmonious living of society has been growing until today. I believe that the people of Buru and new inhabitants have strong bond as social capital among communities even they have different religions and races.

Although ever having experience in the conflict, people in Buru are very warm and kind to everyone who makes a visit in the Cajuput Island. Visiting Buru gives interesting experience. Find people with their culture will open our minds and sometimes give many perspectives on certain things like the way of other people’s thinking. Learning other cultures is usually less important that enjoying the resorts as we make trips to new places. There is a local culture in Buru that is unique, i.e. Anak Koin or Koin Child.

Anak Koin is a child who was chosen by a local indigenous community to maintain the local custom as part of local culture. Not only that, he was also obliged to keep the heirlooms owned by the indigenous community. This child is still found in remote areas of Buru Island. This child must be a boy and selected for generations. He is not allowed to get modern education or use modern tools. Living in simple and traditional ways is embedded in the child. It is heard once that there was an Anak Koin being disobedient by attending school in his kampong. Can we imagine if we were chosen as Anak Koin?

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