Savu & Rai Jua News - Oct '05

DVD release

An 80 minute video of film, still images and songs recorded on Savu in 2004 has recently been released. The songs are subtitled in Savunese and English, with sections on the Savunese alphabet and Djingi tii Eu, the Savunese tradition. >> More info

"Postcard of the Savu Islands"

Illiteracy rates highest in Eastern Savu

A recent survey claims that 52% of 10-24 year olds in Eastern Savu (Hawoe Dimu) are illiterate. The survey was conducted by the Kupang Regency Department of Education & Culture and the Outside School Education Department (PLS). It identified over two thousand illiterates in Eastern Savu, aged between 10 & 35 years.

Part of the problem is that tutors spend a great deal of time and effort walking long distances to reach their students, who are mostly exhausted having arrived from their farms. Another part of the problem is that lessons are conducted in Indonesian, a language few in the area have mastered or even speak. This only creates a more complex learning environment for many Savunese. Even more insideous is the religious overtone that is imposed by religious figures, who look down on those who still embrace the traditional Savunese culture,
Djingi tii Eu.

The survey also found that 309 children under the age of 6 had no access to early childhood learning. Just 36 children in Eastern Savu were attending kindergarden. The head of the Kupang Regency Department of Education & Culture, Drs. John Manulangga, M.Ed. criticised the Kupang Regional Government under Ibrahim Medah for not allocating sufficient funds for educational programs on the Savu Islands. In B'o D'ae (Bodae) Village, the kindergarten is run by two volunteers, Ina Kudji (Grace Manno) and Ama Beni (Anky Lay). They have no experience in teaching and absolutely no materials. The modest one room kindergarden was built by a foundation on property donated by a local, Ama Hale (Benyamin Bessie).

Ama Beni Ina Kudji Ama Hale

Ir. Marthen Dira Thome, from the Outside School Education Department, said that, evidently, the Kupang Regional Government under Ibrahim Medah has not allocated funds (sharing funding) for the educational programs for the Islands of Savu. "The provincial goverment has handed one billion rupiah to the regional government to fund the Outside School Education. But, the regional government is acting nonchalantly, allocating no funds for this particular area of Savu Islands."


Crisis goes from bad to worse

As if times were not tough enough for the Savunese, their seaweed farmers have now reported crop failures right across Savu and Rai Jua. The seaweed has apparently been attacked by a pest.

Seaweed farmers at Ma Tiki (Matiki) Beach

Farmers have asked for help from the government, who say they will consider the matter seriously. However, as usual, the government is neglecting its duty to lend a hand to the Savunese in their hour of need. The government has already failed to respond to the rise in malnutrition and other outbreaks caused by the drought, despite claiming to be monitoring the situation. Recent reports from Rai Jua paint a desparate picture of wells drying up, palm trees dying and food running out.

Basic infrastructure is ignored by the government. The roads are not properly maintained and there is dissatisfaction with PLN, the government-owned company responsible for providing electricity on the Savu Islands. Electricity has not been properly installed into people's homes and safety information is not given to the people. The government seems to be oblivious to the problems.


Former Governor criticises government inaction

The former governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Mr Ben Mboi, has criticised the government's failure to act. He ridiculed them for apparently thinking that "just because the Governor can enjoy his meals, the people also have meals; or with health, just because the Governor and the Head of the Region are healthy, the people must also be healthy". He said: "The government talks too much about poverty, while doing nothing about it. They need to get out of the office and meet the people, but not from behind tinted windows, in air conditioning cars." He strongly urged the government to become actively involved by going out and seeing the reality of the crisis first hand, rather than just sitting back in their offices waiting for reports to cross their desk. "How else can the government see how poor the people really are? Relying on data is not enough", he said, "because data can be misrepresented". "Building a prosperous society requires a government that is close to the people and concerned for their needs. He lamented that the government is currently very distant to the people it is supposed to serve. Planning and development seems to be driven by private interests rather than the needs of the broader community.


New air service

A new air service is planned for the Kupang/Savu route. Trans Nusa Air is owned by the owner of Toko Piet, a store in Kupang. The airstrip on Savu is to be extended in anticipation of the larger aircraft.


A new Savunese motocrosser

Continuing a family tradition in the sport of motocross, Rey Ratu Kore has been declared the region's new representative, having recently won the Suzuki Motocross. Former Savunese motocrossers, Pieter Here Wila and his uncles, Juang and Dios Ratu Kore, each gained provincial recognition for their racing skills. Now, Rey Ratu Kore is competing against motocrossers from other provinces. However, the competition is tough. In a race against Balinese motocrossers, Rey found himself trailing far behind.


Illegal fishing vessels seized

The Navy has seized three vessels for illegaly fishing the Savu Sea. According to authorities, the vessels have only been licensed to fish in the waters around Bali. Nine people have been arrested, including six Thai nationals. The three vessels have been impounded in Kupang's Tenau harbour, along with about 50 crew.

Authorities have not released the names of the accused. However, the names of the vessels are Kapal motor Patra Jaya, -Bima Kawan Setia I and -Samudra Tuna Nusantara 03. Altogether, they were carrying over 100 tons of catch.

The Navy Commander, Colonel Ary Atmaja, stressed that the three vessels had clearly violated their fishing license rules. The Navy is investigating the matter further and will hand the matter to Kupang's District Court.

The three illegal fishing boats tied to the Navy vessel in Kupang


Police brutality in Ende

A Savunese man, living in Ende, claims he was ill-treated by police, following a minor traffic accident involving the wife of Ende's Chief of Police. Police Chief Bernabas Wangge admits to having physically hit Rubenson Riwu Tude, however denies the allegation of ill-treatment. Tude was admitted to hospital with head and facial bruising. His story was corroborated by a string of university student organisations, who issued the following statement concerning the incident:

"On Friday the 16th of September at around 9pm Central Indonesia Time, Rubenson Riwu Tude was riding a motor cycle in Kelimutu Street, near Ganyo Road. At this time, the wife of the police chief, Mrs. Bernabas Wangge, drove by with her child and driver. For no apparent reason, the wife of the Ende police chief said to Tude: "Do you want to live or die?" The victim then approached the wife of the Ende police chief and apologised while touching her shoulder, as well as her driver's shoulder. After he politely apologised, the driver demanded that Tude stay right where he was and wait. An hour later, two police cars arrived with uniformed police, who then took Tude to the house of police chief Bernabas Wangge. When they arrived, Tude was abused by numerous policemen including the police chief himself. As a result of the abuse, Tude suffered bruising to the head, eyes, cheeks and nose."

Tude's older brother came to his rescue, embracing his brother in an attempt to shield him from further abuse. When the abuse was over, Tude was taken home. However, Tude was in such a bad way that they then decided to take him to hospital, afterwhich the matter was reported to the police office.

Three important issues were emphasised in the statement. Firstly, the brutal treatment of Rubenson Riwu Tude was inhumane. Secondly, the action was inappropriate considering the duty and responsibility of policemen as stated in the constitution. Thirdly, the kidnapping and torture of Rubenson Riwu Tude involved the use of police facilities to fulfil private interests.

Although Mrs Bernabas Wangge was reported to have been using her husband's office vehicle (government property) for her private needs, her husband denied that his office car had been inappropriately used by his wife and daughter. He defended the allegation, saying that other people use their office vehicles for their own needs, while he uses his own personal car for official purposes.


Two students injured in traffic accident

Two Savunese students living in Kupang were injured when a car collided with their motorcyle, sending them flying through the air. The two Senior High School students, Niken Lay and Citra Dub'u (Dubu), were on their way to Oepoi Sports Stadium, where they were to attent a school activity. Apparently, they were in a rush and crossed the intersection without noticing two cars travelling at high speed. The second car almost added to the drama, screeching to a halt just before the two students, who had ended up in the gutter. Both were rushed to Bayangkara Army Hospital, for emergency care. Niken Lay suffered facial injuries and a severe gash to the head. Her sports uniform was said to be bathed in blood. Citra Dub'u suffered abbrasions to the hands and feet, as well as facial swelling. The driver of the car accompanied the girls to the hospital. Citra Dub'u said she does not remember how they ended up in the gutter.


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