This journey to Kampong Kapitan in Palimbang was cruised on Friday, 12th January 2006. Kampong Kapitan is located near Ampera Bridge, in the edge of Musi River and opposite of the Fort Kutobesak. It is the district of Seberang Ulu I, subdistrict of 10 Ulu.
The last Kapitan Tjina is Tjoa Ham Hin, who likelihood defeated in early 20th century. The Tjoa’s dynasty has been living in the Kampong Kapitan since 17th century. The closest family from the Tjoa’s dynasty lives in the oldest mansion.
It was my destiny that I had an occasion to talk with Tjoa Kok Liem (Kohar) aged 74th years old. He is the rest of Tjoa Ham Hin’s grandson.
I appreciate and special regards to Tjoa’s family, those are Tjoa Kok Liem and Mrs. Dewi as his daughter. They permitted me to taking picture inside the Tjoa’s mansions. Last but no least, I gratitude to Wahyudi, my pal of this journey.
This journey was inspired by Caesar Alexey’s article about Kampong Kapitan in KOMPAS Monday, October 10th, 2005.
GLOOMY HISTORY OF KAMPONG KAPITAN
In the 14th century Ming Dynasty in China restricted the merchants which sailed to southern. They built an state trade institution and Palimbang would be one of the trade quarter. Next, the chinese merchant made to contact and married with Palimbang’s moslem girls.
The main mansions in the Kampong Kapitan consist of three enormous mansions faced the Musi River. The mansion in the center is used for praying house that storing family ash, whereas in the right and left mansions are used for living house.
In the Tjoa’s living house has two kitchen, those are Moslem and Chinese kitchen. Acculturations between Moslem and Chinese are tailed peacefully and serenely.
These mansions in the township have been continued by clan of Kapitan’s descendants, then the township has got the name of kampong Kapitan.
It does not too exaggerate to say that the present family doesn’t better know their great history. They have lost their ancestor’s trails. They don’t know the portraits in their living room. How can it be? It’s gloomy history of their family.
Tjoa Kok Liem told me that they have a kind of “Family Book of Ancestor”. They have been finishing to translate this book from Old Chinese language in to Bahasa Indonesia. Not many people understand the Old Chinese gestures. Hopefully, after the translation, the Tjoa’s dynasty especially has great pieces of Kapitan history. Now the book is still translating in Lampung.
Unfortunately, like many other Kapitan’s family, the properties and gadgets that represent the glorious epoch of their ancestor has been sold probably. Tjoa Kok Liem said that it could be shared or sold by family members, but he did not sure because it was happened when he was a child.
ROLE OF KAPITAN
While the Sultanate of Palimbang was more inferior because overshadowing the VOC’s colonization. VOC promoted a principal person from the Chinese community to oversee his society. His duty was to make the security in his district of duty and to coordinate the Demang (native district’s subordinate), and implement the tax collecting.
Kapitan has officers and guards. They were the native Palimbang and built houses surrounding Kapitan’s mansion.
TJOA HAM HIN: THE LOST & LAST KAPITAN TJINA IN PALIMBANG
Even Tjoa Kok Liem told me many stories of his family, but I think it is still a fragmentary story. Many parts have been lost or unexplained. Let say abut the family tree, the chain of family can not be clarified. It depends on Tjoa Kok Liem’s mindshare.
I [unknown – The first Kapitan Tjina married the daughter of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin I]
VIII Major Tjoa Khie Tjoan
IX Kapitan Tjoa Ham Hin (has three daughters and one son)
X Tjoa Hendrik (has three daughters and one son)
XI Tjoa Kok Liem (has eleven both of daughters and sons)
XII Fery Djadi (first son of Liem
LIFE OF TJOA KOK LIEM: THE CONTINUING DYNASTY
Tjoa Kok Liem is the 11th generation of Tjoa Dynasty. He was born 74 years ago in Palimbang, stay in the old family house of Kapitan Tjoa. His wife has passed away 20 years ago in Lampung.
Since his beloved wife has passed away, he returned to Palimbang. Formerly, he lived in two cities, Jakarta and Lampung.
He said that his daughters and sons went out to other cities. He is proud in reason if they still live in Palimbang, they will be immature. For example his daughter, Dewi, she used to study in a college in Jakarta.
Now, he spent his rest of life in this heritage house and still living in gloomy history until the translation of Family Book finished. His first son, Ferry Djadi has become inheritor of the Mansion of Kapitan.
PRESENT DAY: THE GOVERNMENT’S ATTENTION
End of 2006 year, the regional government in Palimbang made paving way in to Kampong Kapitan about 800 m, from the gate of Gg.Klenteng to the kapitan’s mansion, and continued to small port of Kampong Kapitan in Musi River.
According Tjoa Kok Liem, this year the attention of government to Kampong Kapitan will plan to make small garden in front of the mansion. It will comes the garden back like golden age of Kapitan.
CLICK HERE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHS