Preserving local culture

Monday, October 12, 2009
By nias

Nias, an island to the west of Sumatra, is known as home to a living megalithic culture with its iconic hombo batu (stone jumping) tradition portrayed in an Rp 1,000 banknote in the early 1990s.

Sorake beach and Lagundri bay are famous among the world’s best surfing locations.

It also has traditional villages like Hilisimaetano, Botohilitano and Bawomataluo where we can capture the daily life of the villagers including local dances, megalithic artifacts, traditional houses with their ornaments and, of course, hombo batu.

The beauty and exoticism of Nias, however, has barely been heard of since the tsunami struck the region in December 2004, followed by a strong earthquake three months later. Some people translate NIAS as meaning “Nasib Ini Amat Sial” (This is Bad Luck).

The Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Board (BRR) for Nias (and Aceh) was established to carry out recovery programs following the disasters. It rebuilt the main road, linking from Gunung Sitoli in North Nias to Teluk Dalam in South Nias, making the road journey easier and faster than before.

Although the recovery projects are still on the way, the tourism sector remains untouched, as the government seems to be not serious about developing Nias as one of the country’s top travel destinations.

The government relies on the private sector like the hotels and travel agents to promote the region, while the private sector themselves tend to wait for the government to make a move.

Now, the Nias people are struggling to preserve their rich culture by using their own traditional ways, for instance, by charging Rp 100,000 per jump, to make hombo batu a tourist attraction. (Jakarta Post, 27 September 2009)

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Kalender Berita

October 2009