Prophecies, primbon: signs of anxiety. Traumatic changes to life in Java at the end of the 19th century, for instance, encouraged the circulation of the 'Jayabaya prophecy', Jangka Jayabaya.
Semut ireng anak-anak sapi
Kebo bongkang nyabrang kali bengawan
JAVANESE of all generations from Central and East Java know this verse. It is intoned with reverence by blue-bloods and performed by street buskers. I memorized it too when I was 14, and now at the age of 80 I can still remember parts of it—even though, old as I am, I don’t know what it means. Many interpretations have been published. But who is to say that interp...
Subscribe to read this entire article.
Unlimited access on Tempo website and mobile
Tempo Media App on Android and iPhone
Podcasts, video documentaries and newsletters
Archives of all news from Tempo Magazine since 1971 and Koran Tempo since the first edition in 2001
Propechy Ranggawarsita Serat Kalatidha Max Havelaar Sidelines