FLASH BACK: Sam Ratulangie, the final curtain…….

FWT Homepage Translator

I do not remember the exact date, it might have been in late January or early February 1949 that my father was released on the basis of “House Arrest”. But where was his house…… he had none…. As he left Jakarta in late 1944 his house was at Van Heutz Boulevard 21. Now the streets name is Jalan Teuku Umar 21 and there were other tenants now, I heard that General Pangabean or his family now lives there. After moving to Makasar, Serui and Yogyakarta there was  no place for my father and his family to live an orderly life as a family together in Jakarta.  His good friend Ir. Rassad who lived at Van Heutz Plein (Taman Cut Meutia) offered him, my mother and my little sister a room, whilst my sisters and I since a few years ago had a room at a ruko (rumah toko) that was at the office of a weekly by the name of  “Mimbar Indonesia”. This was on the Tjikini street. Indeed not far from where Ir. Rasad’s house was.

Milly and I went to school as orderly schoolchildren, teenagers by then. Whilst Zus studied diligently AND worked at the US Information Service Library all very orderly as being of a “regular” family. I have no idea where we had the resources from to be able to have food and stay alive at all.  It had always been in my life that NEVER there was money a plenty but we could stay alive and study and apparently this was good, as all my classmates were living the same way as I did. The Indonesian schools were stationed in garages, porches etc and the teachers were students and the fees were extremely low as it has to be at a level payable by non-working parents. Reflecting and comparing it with the current situation in education in Indonesia I can say that by then education was SHARING KNOWLEDGE in contrary to now, education is SELLING KNOWLEDGE at the highest possible price. YES it was a HARD but GOOD time…. Suddenly I was told that at last we could have a place where we could be together….. all six of us: my father, my mother ,my sisters and me! All together in a three room “appartment” at a “pavilyun” at Nieuwe Tamarinde Laan 10A. (Don’t forget the “A”, because the main house a stately building was occupied by Fam. F. Laoh. He was a widower living with hs sister who did the household. Now the streets name is Jalan Sam Ratulangie and the old house nr 10 doesnot exist anymore. Please note that my eldest brother was “diseberang” (which means “on the other side)….. since the Japanese occupation he had no contact with my father, maybe he sided with his mother, who was during the invasion by the Japanese,  in a concentration camp in the Tjideng area that was a camp where the Japanese concentrated all Dutch families (all their women and children), whilst the men were in another camp.  My brother later went to Holland and studied there, in the beginning on a “Malino Beurs” (A scholarship by the Negara Indonesia Timur, NIT) and when this was stopped due to the transformation of the NIT, he was very disappointed and also disappointed in the Republic of Indonesia as well since he could not get a scholarship from the RI.

Visit to
At the PASAR GAMBIR 1939

Above is a picture showing a family visit to the “Pasar Gambir” , an annual fair in Batavia at that time. My brother was  around 18 years old and had just graduated the Hogere Burger School (HBS) of the Carpentier Alting Stichting (CAS). This was the elite school where most if not all of the Dutch colonialists children were educated. The building was located on the (what now is) Jalan MerdekaTimur and is now used by the Komando Daerah Militer (a military office), as far as I can remember.  Being in such a surrounding as  the CAS school must have had great influence upon his mental disposition. My eldest sister told me that he had a hard  time when in the papers mention was made that my father was indicted of corruption of an amount of  f. 100,- (a very small value). This indiction was politically motivated because it became apparent to the colonialists that Ratu Langie had become too vocal in the Volksraad (where Ratu Langie was a member since 1928) I think I have failed to  have mentioned, in this series of postings, that my (half) brother Oddy  and sister Zus were of an earlier marriage of my father. Their mother’s girls name was Suze Houtman, daughter of  a very wealthy family of the Netherlands East Indies. The “Houtman” family name could be traced to Cornelis Houtman who is well known in history, and is related to the monopoly in spice trade in the Netherlands East Indie (NEI). In fact Suze’s father was also a holder of this monopoly in colonial times. As a child Suze was living in a house located at the “Koningsplein” now Medan Merdeka. That specific house is now the official residence of the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia at Merdeka Barat.

Zus Ratulangie (right)
Zus Ratulangie (right) (1938?)

Above is a picture of my eldest sister Zus Ratulangie (daughter of Sam Ratulangie) and Evie Supit (daughter of Kajes Supit-Ratulangie, Sam’s elder sister). Tracing back Zus and Oddy’s great-great-great grandfather’s family name of Cornelis de Houtman I found this interesting (schoolbook) picture:

Cornelis Houtman
Cornelis Houtman’s arrival at Banten (1611) (click the pcture  for more information in the Dutch language)

It is a very interesting genealogical line for Oddy and Zus therefore. BUT I am deviating of my main subject and want to come back at describing our situation in the beginning of 1949. Being a person under house arrest gave SAM RATULANGIE at least a possibility to be together with his family and that seemed to be the most important thing to him. Occasionally he paid visits to nearby living relatives to share the latest family happenings. As it was in that time Jakarta living quarters were mostly restricted to the Menteng area eventually the Greater Tanah Abang Area and the Meester Cornelis.  Areas that at that time were mostly reachable through walking or by using the “becak”. It was also possible for him to attend a family picnic to the Jakarta sea side Cilincing.

Picnic to Cilincing
Attending his last picnic to Cilincing
Chatting with his nephew
Chatting with his nephew: Angie Lumanauw on the picnic at Cilincing.

But saying all that, Sam Ratulangie had no intention at all to retire. As was described very well  in the biography by Masjkuri (1978) Sam Ratulangie still had plans to start publishing an Indonesian weekly “Komentar Nasional”, as a continuation of the “Nationale Commentaren” (in Dutch) the publishing of which had to be broken off due to the invasion of the Japanese. In the opinion of Sam Ratulangie the press is an utmostly  important tool to collect information and distributing it to develop a healthy public opinion. Indeed later in 1997 he was given an posthume  award as a “Perintis Pers” in Indonesia. He discussed his plans with a few other people and assisted by his fellow ex-exile Tobing looked to many places for people who eventually were prepared to assist him in realizing his plan. This effort brought him many disappointments according to Tobing, as it seemed Sam Ratulangie was rather out of touch of the change in mentality of the Indonesian community especially as the Dutch troops were still hanging around protecting van Mook and his allies.   On the 29th of June that year Sam Ratulangie  had a meeting with Wolter Saerang concerning a possibility to cooperate with a printing factory  in the Asemka area of Jakarta and prepared for a further meeting on this matter for the next day. However that meeting could  never take place ……

The early morning of 30 June 1949 I woke up and sleepily went to sit on the steps of our porch, as my father came along and asked me: “And… how was it in Bandung, did you win?” The previous days namely I was at Bandung to participate at a swimming competition held by the IPPI (Ikatan Pelajar2 Indonesia) representing our school. ” No, I did not win….” I answered perhaps with a slight tone of disappointment. He came and sat down beside me and put an arm on my shoulder and said: “You know, it is not important that you did not win…. it is important that you could participate and swam well.”  Perhaps to change the subject  I told him: “Ah, last night I had a bad dream…..” “Oh, did you?”and maybe still to comfort me: ” I will arrange it so that tonight you will have a good dream, you’ll dream of flowers, many flowers……” And indeed that night I did not only DREAM of flowers but in reality the whole house was full of flowers. The flowers, mostly white were send by family and friends because my father has passed away on 9 o’clock that morning.

June 30 1949
June 30 1949




3 thoughts on “FLASH BACK: Sam Ratulangie, the final curtain…….”

  1. Thank you so much for writing the Flash Back of Opa Sam… What touch me at teh end was at your last paragraph about your dream.. And with opa Sam last picture and his 4 daughters (including my mom) and oma Chen, which I have never seen it before.

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