Banda the Dark Forgotten Trail (2017) Script

Nusantara, the largest archipelago on Earth, has long been the point the rest of the world set their eyes on, because of its richness and natural beauty.

A piece of heaven at the equator listed in history as the spark that ignited the clashes of the European nations that made it the Indonesia it is today: colonized, stripped, and looted through political and trade agreements, ultimately leaving a nation and people who never truly enjoy the blessings of the wealth and prosperity of their own homeland.

When most of the world was still shrouded in darkness, spices had already been made one of the inseparable parts of human life.

For centuries, the spice-producing islands were covered with dense fog, and only lived in wild imaginations of storytellers.

Nathaniel's Nutmeg mentioned that those islands have such tantalizing aromas, they could be smelled before they were even visible.

The same aroma whiffed from the Bible and The Koran.

Chinese traders carried the spices hidden at the bottom of silk piles.

Arabian merchants made up stories about cannibals and head-hunter savages.

The rivalry between the Portuguese and the Spaniards in discovering the spice-producing islands brought to the world the greatest diplomatic treaty the world has ever seen.

The world is divided into two parts according to the Treaty of Tordesillas, 1494.

The western part was for Spain, and the eastern part was for Portugal.

Bartolomeu Dias was sailing in circles around Cape Hope in 1488.

Christopher Columbus was actually trying to find his way to the Indies when he got lost and discovered the American continent in 1492.

In 1497, Britain took part in the search for the direct route, but John Cabot only managed to reach North America.

But the Portuguese Vasco da Gama succeeded in arriving at Calicut a year later.

The fall of the spice trade center in India and Malacca to the Portuguese had opened windows of possibility for Europeans to find the spice-producing islands.

Alfonso de Albuquerque ordered two fleets under the leadership of Antonio de Abreu and Francisco SerrĂ£o to conduct further expeditions to the east.

They sailed from Goa, India, to Malacca.

All the way through Madura, Bali, Lombok and Aru, and finally to Banda.

Within the same year, other Portuguese fleets also arrived at Ternate.

The discovery of the spice islands of Banda and Ternate worsened the rivalry between Spain and Portugal.

The feud was resolved with the allocation of territory.

Spanish territory stretched from Mexico westward to the Philippines archipelago.

Portuguese territory stretched from Brazil eastward to the Moluccas, as ruled by the Treaty of Zaragoza.

Less than a century after the arrival of the Portuguese and the Spanish at the Spice Islands, the Dutch and the English arrived and also claimed their power over the place.

This sea line was what later became the pioneer of the world maritime route used to this day, affirming that the spice route was far more important than the silk road.

The end of the Crusades marked the beginning of the most speculative era of exploration ever seen in human history.

Its mysterious existence, the ever-increasing demand, and very expensive price made the spice islands heavily sought after.

Europe intended to break the monopoly of Arab merchants, which had lasted hundreds of years, by discovering the paradise they had imagined.

"After 1500, no spices were owned without bloodshed," as written by the French poet, Voltaire.

The spices, which were more precious than gold, triggered a major world race in discovering new territories.

Almost 500 years before the Apollo 11 landed on the moon, expeditions in search of the spice islands became the single most important journey for mankind.


The eleven islands within the Banda archipelago are:

Banda Api.

Great Banda.

Banda Neira.

Hatta, formerly known as Rosengain.

Ay Island.

Rhun Island.

Syahrir Island, formerly known as Pisang Island.

The last four islands are uninhabited.

They are: Nailaka.



And Batu Kapal Island.

Once upon a time, heaven dropped nutmeg for the people of Banda.

In the most commonly-told legend, there was a prince who was deeply in love with a beautiful princess named Cilu Bintang.

The prince was asked to bring 99 pieces of gold.

However, since he could not find it, he picked up 99 golden-ish fruits that he found in the forest and brought them to the king.

The king got enraged.

He arrested and killed the prince.

Those 99 golden-ish fruits were thrown into the forest and grew as nutmeg trees.

Banda was mentioned in Negarakertagama, which was written in 1365, as Wandan.

This cluster of volcanic islands, formed by a great ancient eruption, was also mentioned in Book 16 and 17 of Babad Tanah Jawi, in a story of a prince who suffered from a terrible dermal condition which could not be healed before he married a Bandanese woman.

Banda became the center of the spice trade, especially nutmeg and cloves at that time.

The people of Banda did not only sell nutmeg and mace for a living.

They were also superior sailors.

They bought cloves from Ternate and sold them in Banda.

The overwhelming trade grew out of control and triggered internal conflicts.

Then came the influence of Ternate and Tidore, which led to the establishment of the so-called Group of Five and Group of Nine.

The group of five were later known as the "Lima group," while the group of nine later was known as the "Siwa group."

HISTORIAN It was the sociological grouping of society that was commonly known in Moluccas.

Interestingly, in Banda, there was a neutral group which had the role of preventing conflict and coordinating those groups.

This neutral group was called Urtatang.

All trade-related issues were resolved in the Urtatang council.

The council also set the equal price of nutmeg on every island, which was agreed upon by all traders, and contributed to the stability of the nutmeg trade in that region.

In trading, the people of Banda never used written agreements.

The deals were sealed with oaths between the seller and the buyer.

Merchants who wanted to buy spices, nutmeg, mace or cloves from Ternate, only needed to raise their hand to the sky and agree before the God Almighty that the seller would sell the nutmeg at the agreed price to the buyer.

Like the cloves in the north, nutmeg and mace were brought around the world thousands of miles away.

Fleets of boats of various types and sizes sailed back and forth, indicating that spices were a highly valuable commodity.

The type of nutmeg grown on Banda is Myristica fragrans, the type with the strongest taste and aroma.

But, based on the shape, there are several types of nutmeg.

Male nutmeg and female nutmeg.

NUTMEG PLANTATION OWNER Male nutmeg trees sometimes produce more fruit than the female trees, but male trees do not always bear fruit the entire season.

So, the Bandanese farmers do not really utilize the male trees, because they think the harvesting times are too far apart.

To avoid direct sunlight, the nutmeg trees in Banda need shade.

Since nutmeg is susceptible to direct sunlight, the nutmeg farmers need to prepare natural shade, such as walnut trees or other larger trees.

Nutmeg is endemic to Banda.

It likes the volcanic soil of Banda.

Actually, the main requirements are volcanic soil and a sea breeze.

Because if we plant it somewhere other than Banda, like on a bigger island that has volcanic soil, too, such as Central Java in the Ungaran area, there is a Banda nutmeg cultivation there, but even though the type of the soil is similar, volcanic soil, the yields are different.

Because Ungaran is far from the sea.

Banda is different.

Banda has a sea breeze and also has volcanic ash in its soil.

That's what makes Banda superior.

There is another location that may be a bit more suitable.

The yield is almost the same: Aceh.

Because it also has sea breeze, the yield is similar, but the quality is still below that of Banda nutmeg.


Why is nutmeg so important and valuable?

Long before electricity and refrigerators were discovered, nutmeg was the only food preservative.

Even Egyptian mummies were preserved with spices, one of which was nutmeg.

Nutmeg serves as a food preservative, aphrodisiac, sedative, and as a status symbol of the rich.

In the days of war and global exploration, nutmeg was useful to preserve food during fights and for the long journeys in search of new continents.

There was a saying that went:

"The masters of nutmeg will rule the world."

None of these nutmeg parts are wasted.

We can process all parts of it.

The outer nutmeg flesh can be used to make syrup, sweets, juices, jams and other snacks or drinks.

The seeds are now widely processed for aromatic oil, one of the ingredients of cosmetics.

Nutmeg is good for the skin, acting as a moisturizer.

Hospitals also need it for medicines, because nutmeg contains myristicin.

That is good for making sedatives.

On the other hand, the mace, which is attached to the nutmeg, is used for food additives, and is needed by large companies for the aroma of their famous soft drink brands.

They use the mace.

So, nutmeg is very functional.

No part is wasted.

Even the leaves can be processed into oil.

That is the advantage of nutmeg over all other trees. It's different.

The leaf, the fruit, the seed, all of it can be processed to make money.

Now, the famous nutmeg which started journeys around the globe is forgotten, leaving only the memories of past glory.

The glory which is followed by the story of a great fall... and the birth of the history of deprivation.

A hidden story of power... and greed.


In the 1500's, people were fighting over this region of Moluccas because of cloves and nutmeg.

Spices became a very important commodity.

The position of Moluccas, including Banda, became important.

Banda was the producer of nutmeg, while Ternate, Tidore and Jailolo were the producers of cloves.

The world market was really located here.

The establishment of sultanates throughout Nusantara was because of spices.

The establishment of a great Dutch and Spanish emporium in Asia was because of spices.

On the one hand, it brought prosperity, but on the other hand, it sparked terrible wars.

The discovery of the Banda Islands by the Portuguese started a new chapter of the spice trade.

European merchants quickly broke the hegemony of the Arab traders who had reaped great profits for centuries.

Huge profits from trading spices attracted traders from many countries to the nutmeg-producing islands.

Nutmeg became one of the most sought after commodities.

For hundreds of years, nutmeg had been a freely-traded commodity.

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, nutmeg trees were not planted in plantations, but were managed together for collective prosperity.

The arrival of Europeans was followed by the abandonment of the bartering system.

Money, as a medium of exchange, began to be used.

The tendency of the Dutch to control and monopolize things made the Bandanese people treat them differently.

They accepted the Chinese, the Persians, the Arabs, the Malaysians, the Indians and the Coromandels as ordinary merchants.

But, they acted differently towards the Portuguese and the Dutch.

Their discontent was sparked by the Europeans' desire to force Bandanese people to sell their nutmeg or cloves only to the Europeans.

The Banda people did not like this.

They did not want that, because they were used to free trade.

When the Dutch began to make a storage building for spices made of fully concrete, they began to protest.

The conflict started in 1609.

Jan Pieterszoon Coen, with his massive fleet, entered Banda.

His base was on the island of Naira.

The first area conquered was the area with the most powerful stronghold.

The first day's attack failed miserably, because he attacked from the front.

At the time of attack, the tide was out.

The sea water in Lontor receded far from the shoreline and it was dry.

They were trapped.

Many Dutch soldiers were killed.

The next day, the Dutch changed their position, attacked from the back.

Then, a great battle happened.

With their more advanced weaponry, they finally conquered Lontor.

After Lontor was conquered, other areas started to panic.

They felt hopeless. That they would also be defeated, too.

The Arabs, Chinese and Malaysians joined with the Bandanese to fight the Dutch.

Then, they agreed to meet and discuss their problems with the Dutch, namely the forced construction of the fort and the forced monopoly of the spices.

The Dutch came to the agreed place.

When they arrived, the people of Banda ambushed them.

Verhoven himself was killed there.

Jan Pieterzoon Coen, one of Verhoven's men, was there.

He witnessed the event.

About 20 Dutch were killed.

Then, Jan Pieterzoon Coen, who was a sergeant at that time, fled to the ship.

When he was appointed as Governor-General, he held a grudge, and determined to destroy the people of Banda.

In the city of Amsterdam, in the area known as the Canal Ring, Grachtengordel, the place of luxury homes, it is impossible to believe it if they say they didn't get any money from the nutmeg trade and slavery.

You can say that the contributions...


...from Banda, or generally, from the Moluccas, were quite large, and the people of Banda became the victims of the VOC's (Dutch East India Company's) policies.

At the time, many Dutch people were educated with the idea that the VOC was a very modern company, and that they were the place to go to develop techniques, such as sailing techniques or world mapping techniques.

For instance, in Amsterdam, the home base of the VOC at the time, there were some world mapping experts, and their works were spread all over the world.

Also, the VOC's ships were very sophisticated.

Most Dutch people only knew about that.

Most of them were less informed about the true nature of the VOC, especially what the VOC did in Banda, which was mass slaughter.

There is a statue of Jan Pieterszoon Coen in his hometown, the city of Hoorn.

There is a group of activists who paint "Genocide" on the statue.

There were 40 community leaders that were arrested and were taken to the fort.

All of the remaining Bandanese people were forced to come to Fort Nassau to witness their executions.

Five of the captives were executed by quartering.

So, there were four horses.

One was tied to the right hand, one was tied to the left hand, one was tied to the right leg and one was tied to the left leg.

Then, they would run in four different directions.

Their bodies were torn apart, and it was seen by Bandanese people.

The rest of the captives were executed by Japanese mercenaries called Shoguns.

These Japanese mercenaries beheaded all of those public figures, who were mostly from rich families in Banda.

After that, there were no more rebellions.

A Dutch historian even wrote that Jan Pieterzoon Coen wrote the history of himself with the blood of Bandanese people.

The enforcement of power and the monopoly of spices by the Europeans were always followed by acts of violence that occurred almost in all regions of the archipelago.

The news about Verhoven's death spread along the trade routes.

This caused anger and was seen as a warning sign for the Dutch armada in other cities and fortresses.

This event can be seen as the Bandanese people's way of protecting themselves from the Dutch's monopolistic attitude.

Bandanese people resented the European settlers because there was a prophecy that said, "One day, the islands will be dominated by cat-eyed people with corn-colored hair."

The vengeful Jan Pieterszoon Coen vowed to conquer the spice islands.

"Do not be discouraged.

Do not show mercy to your opponent.

For God is with us."

The massacre committed by Jan Pieterszoon Coen in 1621 was the first genocide that ever occurred in Nusantara, and also became the beginning of colonization and the slavery.

Of the original 15,000 residents of Banda, only 1,000 people remained.

Most were killed.

Others fled.

And some were taken to Batavia to become slaves.

And to this day, it is hard to find indigenous people in the Banda archipelago.

"When will the time come that will form my happiness?

When will the bell strike the hour?

The moment I will see again the shores of my country, The bosom of my family that I love and bless."

A suicide note from a Frenchman, etched into a panel glass window of a palace previously owned by a governor.

Despairing in isolation on Banda and missing his hometown, he carved the writing with his ring before he finally decided to hang himself on a chandelier, on September 1st,1831.

The Dutch controlled the islands from the fortresses located in almost all strategic regions.

The 12 fortresses in Banda Neira and Banda Besar were Fort Dender, or Fort de Morgenster, Fort Lakui, Fort Salomon, or Fort Kuilenburg, Fort Batavia, Fort Colombo, or Fort de Kop, Fort Ourien, or Fort Storm, Fort Kota, or Fort de Pot, Fort de Post, or Fort Kampung Baru, Fort Belgica, Fort Concordia, Fort Hollandia, and Fort Nassau, which started being built by the Portuguese and was then continued by the Dutch.

The existence of 12 fortresses in Banda showed that at that time, in the 17th and 18th century, Banda was considered very important.

Actually, the islands are small.

If we see the large size of Belgica and Nassau, that signifies that Banda at that time was very important, Importantly, there was competition between the Dutch and the English.

Banda's position in the history of the world...

FORT NASSAU, 1607 the history of world trade at the time, was immense.

The Nassau fortress was named after one part of the House of Orange's name, the house of the queens and kings of the Netherlands, which is actually Orange-Nassau.

Belgica's name was taken from the name of a tribe, Belgae.

The same as the name of Batavia, which was taken from the Batavi tribe...


...who were encountered by the Romans 2,000 years ago.

When the Romans went from Rome to the north, they met those tribes.

Julius Caesar and others wrote that these tribes were people who loved freedom and were willing to fight furiously for independence.

So, for the VOC at the time, Belgica and Batavia were symbols of their pride.

Therefore, they used the name "Belgica" for their fort here.

If we look at the history of slavery in Indonesia, the name of Banda will immediately appear.

Because after the indigenous people of Banda were killed, fled, or sold as slaves in 1621, the production of nutmeg was performed by thousands of slaves that were brought from the Indonesian archipelago and from the abroad.

Banda's position in the history of the world, the history of world trade at the time, was immense.

And the wars between the Netherlands and Britain that occurred several times in the 17th century, were also to see who could control territories, especially oceans, in the world.

The VOC desperately did not want the British to have a position in Banda.

FORT REVENGE 1616 Therefore, even though the Netherlands and Britain were allies in Europe against Spain, in Banda, they desperately tried to drive the British out.

So, the name of Nassau is taken from the House of Orange.

"Belgica" was a sign of pride.

And also, there is another one, Hollandia, which of course was taken from the name of Holland.


And Concordia, it was derived from the word "accordance".

FORT CONCORDIA, 1630 After controlling almost the entire Banda archipelago, the Dutch divided the land into a plantation system called "perk."

A perk was overseen by a landlord known as a perkenier, and run by slaves who were brought from many places.

There were 31 perks on Ay Island, 34 perks in Banda Besar, and three perks in Neira.

One of the largest Nutmeg producers in the Banda archipelago was Rhun Island.

This small island is only three square kilometers in size, but Captain Nathaniel Courthope of Britain willingly fought against the VOC in 1616 in order to keep Rhun, which had been occupied by Britain since 1603.

The Treaty of Westminster then ended the two years of war between Britain and Netherlands, and Rhun was returned to Britain in 1654.

But the VOC did not give up.

Nutmeg was too precious.

The VOC continued their efforts to take Rhun from Britain.

The dispute between the Dutch and the British in Banda ended after the signing of the Breda Treaty on July 31st, 1667, which contained the submission of Rhun Island from Britain to the Netherlands.

In return, the British gained 59 square kilometers Manhattan Island which was then deemed to be sufficient compensation for Rhun Island.

After the British brought nutmeg to Zanzibar, and also after the discovery of cooling machines as a substitute for the preservation process, the glory of nutmeg spice declined, and it never again returned to its golden age.

It was forgotten... and abandoned.

ELDORADO STREET Rhun Island, that was once fought over, now seems to have disappeared from the world map.

Nothing more than just a Neverland that is far from the hustle and bustle of the modern human.

Today, Rhun Island shows that the story of Banda and the nutmeg, that once provoked expeditions around the world, is lost and forgotten.


The Dutch made these Banda islands into a place to exile enemies.

It was because these islands are located in the midst of the Banda Sea.

They are completely isolated.

If someone were exiled here, it would be impossible to flee anywhere.

Also, the islands are small, so they could be easily controlled.

Actually, there were many people who were exiled to Banda.

We can read the list of names on the Parigranti Monument.

Besides Iwa Koesoemasoemantri, Tjipto Mangunkusumo, Sutan Syahrir, and Muhammad Hatta, there were some clerics from Banten, Kalimantan, and even Palembang.

They were all recorded.

In fact, there are many more that are still unknown.

Tjipto Mangunkusumo was a pioneer of Indonesia's independence movement, and Soekarno's mentor.

He, Douwes Dekker and Ki Hajar Dewantara were known as the three founders of the Indische Partij, a political organization that came up with the idea of a government which was managed by the locals, not by the Dutch.

His radicalism caused Tjipto Mangunkusumo to be exiled to Banda Neira in 1928, and he had to spend 11 years there.

Iwa Kusuma Sumantri was exiled to Banda in 1930.

Iwa was a figure who built his nation from many angles.

Indonesisch Vereniging was an organization that Iwa followed when he lived in the Netherlands.

At his suggestion, the organization was renamed

"Perhimpoenan Indonesia," (the Indonesian Association) and he became the chairman at the time.

It is Iwa who changed the word "Declaration" into "Proclamation".

Unlike Hatta, Syahrir was very cheerful.

Syahrir was a pioneer and revolutionary of Indonesian independence.

Along with Hatta, Tjipto and Iwa, they succeeded in shaping the basic concept of a unitary state.

After Indonesian independence, Syahrir became the founder of the The Socialist Party of Indonesia, and was appointed as the first prime minister of Indonesia.

The prominent ones were actually Hatta and Syahrir.

Syahrir was closer with the younger generations, and he was easier to get along with.

Hatta, by contrast, was a bit quiet and very focused on his work.


"Do not expect other nations to appreciate this country if we ourselves like to deceive our fellow countrymen, and to destroy and to steal the wealth of the Mother Earth."

Hatta was a very disciplined person.

People would even judge the time of day by when they saw Hatta came home from the plantation.

They told the time from Hatta.

When Hatta passed them, they knew it was 5:00 p.m.

Here, they built the school.

Then, the Bandanese children were educated, and were taught about history, literacy and geography.

Although his activities were opposed by the colonial government, his attempt to instill nationalism into the souls of Bandanese people never faded.


-Mister. Mister Glasses. -Mister. Mister Glasses.

-Mister. Mister Glasses. -Mister. Mister Glasses.

Hatta and Syahrir were exiled to Banda from 1936 to 1942.

They made the life of the Bandanese people as a study for the formulation of a new entity, later known as Indonesia.


"The rise and fall of this country is heavily dependent on its own people.

As unity and empathy fade, Indonesia is merely a name and a picture of islands on the map."

The birth of this colony society was the seed of today's open Bandanese society.

LET THIS COUNTRY BECOME A COSY HOUSE FOR EVERYONE A society that is made up of various ethnicities, religions, races and nations has a great influence on the formation of a unique culture.

According to Hatta, Banda is the miniature of Indonesia, that consists of various backgrounds.

And according to him, Banda then became one strong united tribe.

This miniature Indonesian idea was applied by Hatta by giving Indonesian names to the villages in Banda Neira.

Syahrir liked young people.

Each had their own football team.

Syahrir had his own football team, and so did Hatta.

Each had their own boat.

Syahrir had his own boat and so did Hatta.

On these islands where colonialism was born, the concept of Indonesian nationalism was born.

There was a story that Hatta painted his boat red and white.

When asked by the Dutch, he said, "Yes when it sails on the sea, the bottom one is blue, then white, and then red.

That's the color of the Dutch flag!"

Hatta's monumental works are the independence of Indonesia, a cooperative-based economy, establishment of the national army, anti-corruption, and the fights for the truth for the nation and its people.

During his exile, Hatta always wrote down his thoughts and struggles on the Sin Tit Po newspaper and Harian Pemandangan.

To express his love to Rahmi, he even wrote the book, The Nature of The Greek Thought, when he was in Digul and Banda, as a dowry.

Throughout the 77 years of his life, Hatta collected 80,000 books.

"I am willing to be imprisoned, as long as there are books.

Because with books, I am free."

To commemorate them, the people of Banda named the island of Rosengain "Hatta Island."

Pisang Island became Syahrir Island.

If we're talking about Indonesia, Banda is Indonesia.

Any kind of tribe lives in Banda.

The type of society in Banda is a society with a high level of hospitality.

Our level of...

TRIBAL LEADER cooperation is also high.

So, in our life, we respect each other, and build mutual tolerance.


Presenting the Banda Islands as an experience today is to present an area rich in historical and cultural value.

A world heritage zone that represents the spirit of centuries of exploration.

My great-grandfather was among the exiles from Banten, Tuban, Jogja and Solo.

While my other great-grandfather who came from China arrived in Banda in 1910, for trading.

If we speak about Banda people today, the tribal context in Banda Naira does not exist anymore.

BANDA INHABITANT/HISTORIAN Because, all of us in Banda Naira today originated from various places in Indonesia, or were exiled by the Dutch colonists to Banda Naira as slaves or prisoners of war to manage the plantations of nutmeg built by the Dutch at that time.

During the Dutch era, the number of Chinese people was the highest.

There were more than 30 families.

Now, there are only seven or eight families left.

Only the elderly people are left.

The younger ones leave for education and don't want to come back.

CHINESE PUBLIC FIGURE Everybody lives outside of Banda.

In the past, there were so many people in Banda. Now, it is less.

This is more than 200 years old, this temple is.

Nobody wants to take care of it anymore.

I need to find ways to do small things to maintain it just to keep it from crumbling.

So, the people of Banda, before the colonial era, before the arrival of the Portuguese and the Dutch, they were already pluralists, because Persians, Arabs, and Chinese had already settled here.

The Chinese were the ones who first came here.

Between 2,000-to-3,000 BC, they had already came to Banda.

They call this land "Wentan." That means Banda.

TEMPLE OF SAN TIEN KONG 17TH CENTURY Their influence is very strong.

Until now, the tradition and religion in Banda is influenced by the Chinese culture.

For example, Chinese banners.

Almost in every old mosque, there are banners that originated from China.

So, they were repaired.

They made banners shaped like fish tails. That is a Chinese influence.

There is Chinese writing they themselves do not understand the meaning of.

In the mihrab, or prayer niche, of mosques, there are also reliefs that show Chinese influence, for instance, dragons.

All of the King's kora-kora boat fleets, which were Lautaka, Selamon, Waer and Rosingin, used dragons as symbols.

Later on came the influence of the Persians and the Arabs.

After Banda was completely empty and had no more residents, the VOC, or the Dutch, brought people from Java, Sumatera, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and other places in Indonesia.

This was what then made Banda as the only place in eastern Indonesia which is multicultural and multi-ethnic.

The people of Banda today are comprised of various ethnic groups.

Whether they were forced to come as slaves, or came as contract laborers, or exiles, there were three kinds of societies that were brought here.

Besides, the indigenous Banda was still about 15 percent of 15,000.

Then, there were mixed marriages between them.

Since these mixed marriages have been going on for so long, hundreds of years, their original identity, their initial identity, has faded.

Then they have a new identity as Bandanese people.

This is what I call the second generation of Bandanese people.

The first generation was up to 1621.

After that came today's generation of Bandanese people.

Today, the strong acculturation can be felt and seen in the cakalele dance.

The cakalele dance itself depicts all of the cultural blends that enter and intersect with Banda Naira itself.

The hat is a war hat used by Portuguese troops.

They lost a war and surrendered to the king.

So, the cakalele troop wears hats that are a combination of both native and Portuguese styles.

Then, the cakalele clothes.

Why are the clothes predominantly red?

The Chinese believe that red is the color of luck.

Yellow is the color inspired by India.

Because in the past, Banda also had contacts with the kingdom of Majapahit.

In the year of...

Until finally, the Princess of Banda married to the last King of Majapahit.

Talking about Bandanese people today, they seem to have forgotten the culture and the pride of the Bandanese people.

Like, some cultural activities from Java, or Sumatra, or Kalimantan, have disappeared.

For example, wood puppet shows have already disappeared.

People can't play the gamelan anymore.

People can't play Javanese musical instruments.

Then, the culture from Sumatra also began to disappear.

People do not play big tambourines anymore, with the attractions that I had seen in the past.

There was also a magic debus show, which people aren't interested in anymore.

They prefer enjoying the nightlife or spending time watching TV or on the Internet to learning about the history and culture of Banda.


FUNKY MAMA For the people of Banda today, the greatness of historical sites, monuments, and historical stories are only seen as the shadows of the past.

LOOK AFTER YOUR CHILDREN'S AND GRAND CHILDREN'S FUTURE I picked them from the tree. I climbed them myself.

Then, I took the good ones for the perk.

I was paid 300 rupiahs...


...for 1,000 pieces of nutmeg.

Now, I make suami and sell it for my children's school fees.

Suami is made from cassava.

I buy one sack, then I peel it, grate it, make it into suami, and sell it.

In the afternoons like this, I steam five or six pieces and I carry them around.

"Suami. Suami."

Although nutmeg remains an important product for which the demand is predicted to increase, the realities of bad post-harvest management, bad mastery of the results, and difficult access, make the Bandanese nutmeg no longer the primary choice.

We are often told by the agricultural agency that the Bandaese nutmeg is unrivaled.

Even compared to Grenadian or Sri Lankan nutmeg, Bandanese nutmeg is the best.

However, it depends how we manage it.

If we used post-harvest management like our parents did, there may not be any problem.

But, it is different now.

The way they are managed after the harvest makes the quality of Bandanese nutmeg decrease a little.

The nutmeg is placed directly on the curing site.

They are dehydrated there.

The process needs a very long time.

The nutmeg farmers today do not have any curing place.

So, they just rely on the sun.

It takes only five days. They assume they are already dried.

Then, they sell it immediately.

Maybe, due to their economic needs, they hastily sell them.

If the nutmeg is not completely dry, we know that fungus can grow on it.

It is the fungi that is the difference between the quality of nutmeg then and now.

If nutmeg is dehydrated through curing or a dry-oven process, it can be dried 95 to 100 percent, to the extent that there is no water content whatsoever.

But if we just put them under the sun for a short time, even though they think they are dried, actually, there is still some water content inside which causes fungi to grow.

That fungi then will produce aflatoxin, a type of poisonous chemical.

And in the market, smoked nutmeg has the longest endurance.

It can reach 20 years and remain intact.

It is not easily wrinkled.

What makes me jealous or hurt is, even if the nutmeg is good and the curing process is also good, the price is not different to the nutmeg that is not dry enough.

That sometimes makes me feel very jealous.

After Japan went away, the Indonesian government took over all of these assets, or plantations, that had been previously managed by the Dutch. Taken over.


So, it's gone.

Until the government authorizes PNP 28, the national plantation company, to manage nutmeg.

Not long before the Reformation Era, Suharto took over the plantations and handed them to the Provincial Government of Moluccas.

Then, the Provincial Government worked with the Banda Heritage Foundation.

But, it did not work, because of its bad management system.

Actually, when the nutmeg plantation was taken over by PT Banda Permai, the joint venture between the Provincial Government and the Banda Heritage Foundation, the land was divided into blocks.

Later, the block owner deposited the nutmegs with the company.

Gradually, the company went bankrupt.

So, with the system, the company actually did not get any profit, because there were big traders in Surabaya who controlled the market.

LETTER OF NOTICE The outcome of the plantation was actually good.

It was actually profitable.

Just like this company. They did not suffer loss.

It was not loss but embezzlement.

FORMER PT. BANDA PERMAI EMPLOYEE They did not suffer any loss. If they had a yield of 1.2 billion rupiahs in a year, even after they paid all the employees, there would still have been so much left.

But, why?

But, the employees were not paid, and there were debts of billions of rupiahs.

So, where did all the crops go?

To nothing.

That must be corruption.

When the harvest was abundant, suddenly the price was dropped.

When we asked the collectors, "How come the price dropped?"

They said, "It is already determined in Surabaya."

Who are these Surabaya people?

How can they just dictate the price?

The price fully depends on the exporter to whom we sell the product.

If the exporter has high price...


...then automatically we give higher price to the farmers as well.

It all depends on the price mechanism from the higher level trader.

Just imagine, although we have so much nutmeg, we only get a little money.

There is no more hope for nutmeg.


I don't even know how to answer.

NUTMEG FARMER We are working hard today so we can live tomorrow.

And we work tomorrow so we can stay alive the next day.

That goes every day for years.

I feel bad for these farmers.

Because, in Banda Besar, about 60 percent to 70 percent of its inhabitants are nutmeg farmers.

Actually, it is up to the farmers who they want to sell their harvest to.

Up to them. It's their harvest.

Despite having a pluralist character, the lives of Bandanese people are not completely free from the terror of intolerance and horizontal conflicts.

In 1999, when a religious conflict hit Moluccas, Banda, built on a multicultural foundation for hundreds of years, also became part of the sad story.

I did not expect at all that this kind of religious conflict would happen in the Moluccas.

And the impact eventually reached Banda.


At that time, there was a party.

There might have been alcoholic drinks.

Then, it caused a fight on Hatta Island and there were casualties.

Then, there was a rumor that someone was killed because of religious reasons.

After that, the chaos escalated in Banda until there were a lot burnings in the city of Naira.

I was sitting with my daughters.

We watched the fire in the city of Naira.

I did not think that the incident would reach our place.

Stones were thrown from all sides.

I finally hid my family in an empty house that I considered safe.

I kept telling them, "Just lock the house from inside. Nothing will happen."

Then, I went back home to retrieve the documents I had left behind.

Suddenly, they were closer, and they surrounded the house.

The doors were broken open and were slammed.

So I panicked.

I jumped out of the window.

I was about to be hacked. But, because it was dark, I could still save myself.

Then, there was another empty house.

Actually, it was not abandoned, but all of the people were outside.

Without them knowing, I hid under the bed.

I could not hide my whole body, because there were some objects under the bed, which were glass objects, such as window glass from buildings.

I had a bad hunch that time.

They were sweeping the area.

People were shouting on the streets, a lot of people, "Find Pongky! Kill him!

He is not Indonesian! He is a Dutchman!

Kill him! Pull out his eyes!

Chop him up into bakasang sauce!"

I thought, "This is it."

But, it turned out that they did not see my legs protruding.

They still searched for me in the next house and still shouted.

Five minutes later, I got out.

Then I found they were doing another sweep.

I hurriedly dug the sand and I lay there buried under the sand, and I covered my face with leaf.

I stayed there until 3:00 a.m.

At 3:00 a.m., it happened to be raining.

I got out of the sand.

Then, I hid behind a school in the plantation area.

That was already in the plantation area.

Until night time.

That night, I wanted to know the condition of my family.

There happened to be a relative of mine who lived in the area.

He was shocked when he saw me.

Then he hugged me.

Then, he whispered to me. He said, that all of my family were butchered, all dead.

Then, my body was shaking. I felt weak and I collapsed.

I asked for three cigarettes.

He then gave me three cigarettes with the matches.

I returned to my hiding place.

Just after walking about 20 meters, I realized that they had really came to that house and attacked it.

I thought, "My family is already butchered.

They are killed. Nobody lives. Then, what's the use of me living?

They might as well kill me now."

My mind was made up at that time.

After that, I went back to my relative's house.

When I reached his house, there were a lot of people.

Then, I yelled at them.

"Hey, who are you looking for?

Looking for me? This is Pongky!"

When they heard me, they immediately surrounded me in the shape of a horseshoe, with me in the middle.

They told me to take off my shirt, I did.

I prayed silently, "If this is it, please, God, forgive me and my family.

I am ready to die."

Right before I closed my eyes, I saw them stepping towards me with their machetes.

Suddenly, I heard this single voice shout.

Apparently, you know, he was the security officer from the army.

He saved me.

He held my hand while aiming his gun at the people who surrounded me.

He shouted, "Nobody come forward!"

That was it. I was saved.

Tracing the dark streets of Banda and nutmeg today is an attempt to retrieve its former glory.

Learning about how the fall occurred as a lesson for better possibilities in the future.

My name is Shafira Boften.

Now, I work at the Baba Lagoon Hotel.

Previously, I went to Ambon to go to college...


...and I came back here in 2014.

I want to do something for Banda.

I actually think that if it is not us, young people, then who?

Because I have so many friends who went for college, but, then they went away instead of coming back here.

I am sure five years in the future, there will be more people in Banda than there are now.

I hope, in the future, the younger generation learns more about our history.

Because it teaches us who we were in the past, how our position is today, and what will happen to us in the future.

So, please learn about who we are.

We will learn and must keep learning.

And, I also wish that the Bandanese culture would resurface again.

It will be revived again, OK?

Because the Bandanese culture shows the identity of Banda in the past, in the present and in the future.


My name is Mita.

My full name is Miryannka Alwi, but people often call me Mita.

DES ALWI'S GRANDDAUGHTER Right now, I'm staying in Banda.

I am helping my family take care of our hotel.

I also own The Colorful Generation Foundation.

We teach children to be creative and to know more about their environment, so they will really realize that we really need trees and we really need the sea.

Banda can be developed as a site for cultural tourism.

The scenery is good.

The marine resources are very good.

But I think more people can go to Banda to see the historical sites.

I hope the visits to Banda can happen more regularly.

I do not want Banda to be a second Bali with hundreds of thousands of people just visiting and walking around, without any understanding about the things that they see.

Because the things that you can see in here, the perkenier houses, the fortresses, the churches, are so unique.

I especially hope cultural tourism can be developed.

Apparently, we have history of greatness, a great culture, and a kind and open society.

Therefore, they have high expectations of Banda in the future.

One of the expectations, they have already realized by themselves, which is to make Banda a World Heritage site.

Banda may go forward to be a modern society.

But, we must stay like this.

We must live within our cultural value system.

We still need to mutually respect one another to maintain this close relationship.

We do not want Banda to be modern and advanced but with a society that is ruined.

The government should no longer build big buildings.

They just need to restore the colonial buildings and use those as offices.

We had two esplanades.

We had two green open areas, Lapangan Raja and Lapangan Cipto.

These two big fields are now gone, no longer being green areas.

They are now filled with the government offices.

That does not show the old city of Naira at all.

There is a school there, prosecutor's office, religious affairs office, and so on.

Nothing is left of the open area.

It used to be an open green space.

There was a statue of William III and people could hang around there.

Then, there is also the sub-district office and the village head's house in the place that used to be an open space.

In the future, they'll want a Banda which maintains its authenticity.

That is still the colonial city of the 17th century.

"A tale for Dien Tamaela."

"I am Pattiradjawane, whom the gods watch over.

The only one.

I am Pattiradjawane, the scraping of the sea.

I bleed the sea.

I am Pattiradjawane.

When I was born, the gods brought me an oar.

I am Pattiradjawane, guarding the nutmeg groves.

I am the fire on the shore.

Whoever comes near must call my name three times.

In the quiet night, seaweed dances to the sound of my tifa drum.

Nutmeg trees become maidens' bodies and live until the morning comes.

Let's dance.

Let's be happy.

Let's forget everything.

But, look out. Don't make me angry.

I'll kill the nut trees.

Stiffen the maidens.

I'll send the gods.

I live in the night. In the day.

In the rhythm of the seaweed and in fire that will roast the island.

I am Pattiradjawane whom the gods watch over.

The only one."

A poem by Chairil Anwar.

"Forgetting the past will only bring the demise of this nation's future."