ARNOUD H. KLOKKE (1920-2017).
These two experiences brought him to Indonesia, as a missionary doctor. This was in 1949, when the Dutch government had still not acknowledged Indonesia's 1945 declaration of independence. He entered Indonesia as a Dutch civil servant, but after the formal recognition of independence in December 1949, he was automatically enlisted in the Indonesian civil service. He had prepared himself well. He had followed extra courses in Tropical Medicine, taken lessons in Indonesian with Dr. Eringa, and had visited the curator of the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden--most probably Simon Kooijman--, who advised him to buy a good camera to make photographs for documentation. He was first sent to Jakarta. There he was told that he would be stationed in Barimba, Kuala Kapuas, Central Kalimantan, as head of a small hospital with 60 beds, that had been set up by the Swiss Basler Mission in 1931 but was transferred to the Indonesian civil service after independence. He would also become responsible for more than ten policlinic aid posts along the Kapuas and Kahayan rivers that were supplied by that hospital.
From the start he wanted to adapt to the life of the people among whom he was working. He refused to be put in a 'modern' house with a bathroom. Instead, he quickly found himself a house on poles and began to use the bathhouses on the riverside, like all other people. He also learnt to use a prau (longboat) and how to plant rice (PI. 1). In 1952 he was adopted by two Ngaju Dayak families in Pangkoh (lower Kahayan) according to the adat ritual hatundi daha. This ritual, including the drinking of toddy mixed with a drop of each other's blood taken from the shoulder, creates kinship between non-related persons. He remained in contact with these families, later also with the younger generations through e-mail and through visits by those who studied in Europe. A month before he died, his 'younger brother' Matal called him, because he had the feeling he was not well.
In 1949 most of the inland of Kalimantan Tengah was already in Indonesian hands and guarded by the Indonesian national army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia). Klokke established good contacts with the leader, Hasan Bakri, whom he provided with medicines and bandages, for which he received a surat penghargaan (letter of appreciation). It was still an area of tension then. One day a dead woman was lying in his garden with a knife in her breast and a paper with the writing: 'Andjing Belanda' (Dutch dog), as she was thought to have been a Dutch spy. Also, a Dutch gunboat once entered the Anjir Serapat, a canal that led from Banjarmasin to the Murung river. The wounded were brought to the hospital in Kuala Kapuas. Klokke felt tension that night and realized that this event could easily trigger hatred for the Dutch and bring him and two Swiss nurses in danger. Nothing happened, however, probably, he later thought, due to the good name of the doctors and nurses who had preceded him. To break tension, he had a sports field made behind the hospital for the student nurses: the men played soccer and the women badminton.
His first visit to one of the upriver policlinics was to that in Dadahup, a few hours by boat from Kuala Kapuas. Later he said that this visit was of crucial importance to him. He and other staff were invited to stay in the house of the village head. This was packed with people who all wanted to talk with him. However, all communication was in the Ngaju Dayak language. He then decided to learn that language. Within half a year he could express himself well and half a year later, when he was on his third upriver tour to the inland Ot Danum region, he wrote his diary in Ngaju Dayak, which had by then become his second language. Now and then he kept dreaming in that language, even though he had had to leave the country in 1959.
When a second doctor came to run the hospital, Klokke was entrusted with the national anti-yaws campaign to be carried out in the entire Kahayan and Kapuas region, where a prevalence of over 20% had been recorded (PI. 4). The task involved travelling for months: on the lower reaches of the rivers in a motorboat (PI. 3); further upriver, when the depth of the river became too shallow, by prau with an outboard motor or only with paddles; and in the higher located areas, where the river bed had become rocky and created multiple rapids, with a prau moved forward by a wooden pole. Because travelling was in general by river, on one of his upriver travels he also bought his own prau (PI 2). In the uplands it was sometimes necessary to walk to reach distant villages or to move across the watershed from one river to another. A photograph (Klokke 2012: 28) shows him with his team walking on a twelve-hour trip through the jungle, from Sungei Hanyu at the upper Kapuas to Kuala Kuron on the Kahayan, equipped with backpacks of medicines. Besides traveling to upriver areas, he was also sent to Pulau Laut, an island to the East of Banjarmasin, where an outbreak of smallpox had been reported.
In 1954 he was seconded for research at the national headquarters of the anti-yaws campaign in Yogyakarta. This research led to his PhD degree at Gadjah Mada University in 1956. He was the second PhD student to graduate from this first state university in Indonesia, established in 1949. A photograph shows him at his defense sitting opposite the PhD committee including Prof. Sardjito, rector, Prof. Sardadi, dean, and Prof. M. Soetopo, his supervisor (PI. 5), who had all been involved in the struggle for Indonesian independence. In 1955 Klokke returned to Kalimantan. He had in the meantime married Ada Coster, whom he had met in Surabaya, where she was working as a doctor in the Mardi Santoso hospital. They were blessed with four children, the first born in Kuala Kapuas and the second in Banjarmasin, where they had moved and began to work from around 1957.
Travelling in Kalimantan not only meant medical work. It also provided insight into the cultural context of the community. In village houses, where Klokke stayed the night, he listened to the reciting of ritual hymns sung by women, plaiting their mats in the night by the light of an oil lamp. He heard tales of the heroes Sangumang and Bapa Paloi, which a crew member narrated in the darkness on the forward deck of the motor boat. He admired the artistically shaped designs carved on bamboo tubes or plaited in rattan objects. When people got to know that he was interested in such cultural objects, he received them as gifts, next to the more common food gifts, such as fish and chicken. Already in the 1950s he gave part of these ramo helo (objects from earlier times) to the Museum Gajah (Museum Nasional) in Jakarta and to the National Museum of Ethnology (Museum Volkenkunde) in Leiden.
His work in Indonesia came to an end in 1959 due to the confrontation between the Netherlands and Indonesia over Western New Guinea. After a brief period in the Netherlands, the family moved to India in 1962, where Klokke became a doctor and lecturer at two Christian Medical Colleges and Hospitals, first at that in Ludhiana (Punjab) and then at that in Vellore (Tamil Nadu). In 1966 the family returned to the Netherlands where Klokke held positions at two Dutch university hospitals, in Leiden and Utrecht, before becoming the professor of Dermatology at Groningen University in 1975, a position which he held until his retirement in 1984.
From 1970 Klokke and his wife began to translate into Dutch the Ngaju Dayak folk stories he had heard on his boat tours to the Kalimantan interior, as recorded by Munte Saha from his grandmother (1976, 1988). After his retirement he translated into English more documents on the Ngaju Dayak culture: a text on traditional medicine written in the 1930s by Salilah, the first Ngaju Dayak ethnographer (1998), and texts on fishing, hunting and headhunting by Numan Kunum and Ison Birim, both from Tumbang Lahang, originally written for H. Scharer (2004). He also published on a bamboo tube with ritual and mythical depictions (1993), on the myth of the mining (a mythical fish trap) in two versions (1994) and on the motifs and stories depicted on plaited mats (2006, 2012a-b), as told to him by Marintje Bahoei, a famous plaitress from Marapit. (2) His last publication (2012c) describes his journeys to the upland river areas of Kalimantan Tengah on the basis of his original diary in Ngaju Dayak and a selection of the c. 500 photographs which he made during the early 1950s. (3)
He died on 20 April 2017, five years after his wife had passed away, in their house in Epse, which had functioned as "the Embassy of Kalimantan Tengah in the Netherlands" (4) for thirty years.
Select bibliography focused on Kalimantan
1956 Yaws in the households of Tjawas (Central Java): an epidemiologic study from the Treponematoses Control Program in Indonesia. Jogjakarta: Universitas Gadjah Mada University (PhD thesis). (Reprint Jakarta: Kementerian Kesehatan, 1971).
1976 [with A. Klokke-Coster and M. Saha], De slimme en de domme: Ngadju Dajakse volksverhalen. 's-Gravenhage: Nijhoff. (Verhandelingen Koninklijke Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde X] (The smart and the stupid: Ngaju Dayak folk tales)
1988 [With an introduction by Marijke J. Klokke], Ngaju Dayak dierverhalen: orale literatuur uit Midden-Kalimantan. Dordrecht: Foris. (KITLV, Werkdocumenten 2) (Ngaju Dayak animal stories: oral literature from Central Kalimantan)
1993 Description of a bamboo tube (solep) from Central Borneo (Kalimantan) depicting Ngaju Dayak religious iconography, Serawak Museum Journal 44(65 New Series): 61-68 (5 pls).
1994 Oorsprongsmythen en afbeeldingen van de Ngaju Dayak mining, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Indonesia 150(1): 66-109. (Origin myths and depictions of the Ngaju Dayak mihing).
1998 [ed. and transl., with a preface by Anne Schiller], Traditional medicine among the Ngaju Dayak in Central Kalimantan: the 1935 writings of a former Ngaju Dayak priest. Phillips, Maine: Borneo Research Council. (Borneo Research Council Monograph Series 3).
2004 [ed. and transl.], Fishing, hunting and headhunting in the former culture of the Ngaju Dayak in Central Kalimantan: notes from the manuscripts of the Ngaju Dayak authors Numan Kunum and Ison Birim, from the legacy of Dr. H. Schaerer, with a recent additional chapter on hunting by Katuah Mia. Phillips, Maine: Borneo Research Council. (Borneo Research Council Monograph Series 8).
2006 Mihing festivities depicted on a rattan mat with explanations of the Ngaju Dayak plaitress in Marapit (upper Kapuas) Kalimantan: Ngaju Dayak iconography relational to oral epics, The Sarawak Museum Journal 62(83 New Series): 33-43.
2012a Ngaju Dayak plaited iconography and oral epics, In: Bernard Sellato (ed.), Plaited arts from the Borneo Rainforest, pp. 344-348. Jakarta: Lontar Foundation.
2012b Plaited motifs of the Ngaju Dayak, In: Bernard Sellato (ed.), Plaited arts from the Borneo Rainforest, pp. 358-363. Jakarta: Lontar Foundation.
2012c [With a contribution by Marko Mahin], Langs de rivieren van Midden-Kalimantan: cultured erfgoed van de Ngaju en Ot Danum Dayak = Along the rivers of Central Kalimantan: cultural heritage of the Ngaju and Ot Danum Dayak. [S.I.]: Museum Volkenkunde/National Museum of Ethnology and C. Zwartenkot Art Books.
(1) This obituary has been prepared by his daughter Marijke Klokke on the basis of his own published and unpublished writings.
(2) Some of his mats entered the collection of Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden, two are in the collection of the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum in Cologne, Germany, and ten were donated to DPN GERDAYAK (Dewan Pimpinan Nasional Gerakan Pemuda Dayak Indonesia) to be kept in the Huma Betang Eka Tingang Nganderang in Palangkaraya.
(3) These photographs will be donated to Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden, that published his last book.
(4) Quoted from Marko Mahin (oral communication).
(Marijke Klokke, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies)
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|Publication:||Borneo Research Bulletin|
|Article Type:||In memoriam|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2017|
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