Monday, October 19, 2015

Indonesian Bathroom in 1970ies "The begining of modernity" by Budi Pradono

Indonesian Bathroom in 1970ies "The begining of modernity" 

Background
Indonesia is a tropical territory and the most unique archipelago in the world and has become a politically independent state since the beginning of the 20th century. It consists of 17,508 islands and about 6,000 of them inhabited by a population of around 250 million people. In this archipelago, 70 % of Indonesia consist of water. These character make Indonesia abundant with water and never felt deprived.
History has recorded that in the 7th century in Nusantara (name known before famous as Indonesia) has emerged a strong ancient kingdom in sea trade and respected by the world, named Sriwijaya. It has opened the ideology of Hindu and Buddhist influences of the Pallava dynasty in India through the island of Sumatra.
Furthermore sea trade brought Islam to color, from the Middle East through Southeast Asia, entering the island of Sumatra and Java and other islands in the 13th century and 14th then gradually Islam being the religion of the majority in Indonesia.
Europeans later attended in 1512 on the island of Maluku through Portuguese traders, followed by English. In the end, the Dutch came in 1602 established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and became the first multinational corporation and the strongest on the continent of Europe who have monopolized the spice trade in Nusantara.

Water Culture
Hundreds of years of memories and collective experience makes Indonesian has been very close to the water culture that forms the way of life on the archipelago geographical reality, ideology and even lifestyle in cleaning the body and excrete feces.
One example is a tropical climate, which brings its own character to the Indonesian people who do not live in four seasons. The sun shines all year round, abundant water and fertile land supported by the typical concept of man in Asia are trying to always create a synergy with nature.
As we know, the geographical location of the four seasons make the Europeans are trying to conquer nature -- to protect the main ideas fierce weather, such as extreme cold season, and break free from mysticism, perhaps even religion -- with man as the center of the universe via enlightenment project who pioneered by the philosopher Renee Descartes that states I think therefore I am, Cogito Ergo Sum in the 14th century.
On the other hand, the Indonesian people who have Asian philosophy that close to nature and feel always fill their lives with luck it causes misfortune and irony. Because unpreparedness to deal with disasters, Indonesia is often affected by natural disasters due to geographical conditions are very fragile, namely in the area of ring of fire, in the belt of the most active volcanoes in the world. Potential earthquakes, floods and tsunamis are unavoidable disaster.
Meanwhile, water culture remains embedded in the daily life of Indonesian society, especially how religion is also an important influence. Islam requires people to pray five times a day (sholat) - almost 90% of Indonesia's population is Muslim and they purify theirself  with water (wudlu) before prayer.
The Year of 1970, bathing and modernity
The concept of cleaning  the body and defecated also forms and equipment in the bathroom could not be separated in different conditions of mutual influence, especially during Indonesia's transition into a modern nation.
The influence of colonialism (brought by Netherlands and Japan), the policy of political regime of Soeharto in the making of public housing (flats) and the sociological structure of society continues to grow and these can be checked with a very clear at the beginning of 1970. Especially how water culture influences the transformation in the middle-lower and upper class and how things are going in the form of communal and non-communal society.

Rural and Communal Bathing
In rural Indonesia, there is a tradition of communal bathing and defecation as a public space activity, to meet each other in a river as human sociological existence.  Each dynamics of life is discussed in the open space, even political and economic dimensions.  These phenomenon during the process of modernization in the 1970s are still going to occur even when the urbanized villages to cities. The tradition of bathing in the village was brought to the city. We can meet the lifestyle of urban lower middle class in the Ciliwung River in Jakarta.
At the same time, the Chinese also experience even until now. And Indonesia in the future has been able to distinguish which should be public and the private space in a matter of sharing a bathroom.

Private Bathroom and Colonialism
Japanese and Dutch colonialism greatly influence the coming of modernity that promotes hygiene in the virtue of cleaning the body and defecated as a private activity.  Japan introduced a squat toilet and have replaced the traditional toilet in the river, plung – lap toilet ( In Javanesse language  means a simple building of bamboo usually built alongside the river and the fish is ready to eat under the river). While the Netherlands introduces the seat  toilet.  In the 1970s, when the world oil boom gave the capital for development of Indonesia, Suharto’s regime quickly build public bathrooms through a squat toilet and installed in each public flats and introduces the style of Dutch’s seat toilet. In the previous period, Singapore split from Malaysia in 1965 and the labor party led by Lee Kuan Yeuw started eliminating behavioral of defecation in river by introducing squat toilet.
Indeed, since the time of the VOC (Dutch) and the tradition of Javanese culture in the strata of the middle class society who influenced colonial culture, the main house are always separated by services house, which is a bathroom with a squat toilet and sitting toilet can be found there.
Despite major changes in the use of the seat and squat toilet, Indonesian people also have experienced the clash of culture because it used to bathe in the river, but the good news is the issue of modernism became popular. Especially for those who are educated in Europe and America has returned to Indonesia.  Education boomed. In the 1970s, when America has the slogan "American Dreams", in Indonesia also familiar terms like "Indonesian Dreams" happened, such as forms bathroom into a new lifestyle, music, food, style of dress, new literature and art into a trend. Meanwhile, television and radio and other electronic equipment has become the indication of the beginning of media globalization in Indonesia.

Wet Toilet Transformation
Rapid modernizations by nomeans always go well, of course there are obstacles. People face a new adjustment and adaptation behavior in Asia, especially Indonesia. Cleanliness in cleansing the body with bath closely related to the climate, geography and religious obligations such as Islam requires its own attitude.
The key is the acceptance of a cultural transformation to modernity in a distinctive manner adapted to the local character. The late 1970s, Japanese introduced Jet Shower culturally suited to the culture of water close to the people in Indonesia and neighboring countries of Southeast Asia.
Exceptions occur in Singapore, which is very limited availability of water that is helped by Malaysia. Singapore seeks to limit water by finding water sensor technology. So if a resident of Singapore requires water then simply adapted to the fundamental needs with water sensor technology. The term wet toilet (because of abundant water) and dry toilet (because of the limited availability of water) ended up being two terms that have two poles cultural perspectives are complementary and dependent certain conditions in the Southeast Asian region.
In the 1970s, some Indonesian architects are trying to build a brand-new concept of proximity Indonesia and Asia, for example architect Han Awal who built the concept of wet bathing and dry toilet. Based on the idea that Indonesia is close to nature, then he (Han Anwal) carry various types of plants to the bathroom, provide a bath tub (not only symbol of modernity but also tropicality) which still provides water bucket and water dipper), including also seat toilet at once.
In 1978 The Government established PERUMNAS (National Housing program), which provide a building code for national standard, which were include the wet style bath with dipper include the squat toilet or wet style bath with dipper include seat toilet, especially for the government officer staff, with different strata of their occupation. This regulation it also a not officially said that a preparation for the 2nd Asian Games, which has been held in Jakarta 1979. Later on this standard became officially standard for private developer, which is started to follow the new lifestyle. Nevertheless this point is the started point of Indonesian met modernity. 
In this exhibition, we can see that the process of modern culture meeting with Indonesian culture can be found in the form of a bath, dipper, toilet and also plants in the bathroom. From a long history of hundreds of years that make up Indonesia today, the cultural character of the water culture remains always existed formed geographically, tropical climate and important cultural acculturation since the beginning of the era of modernity, which can be seen since the 1970s.

Budi Pradono









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