Actually I was conducting some kind of small research for deciding what topic would be provided on this post. The plan, originally, is that I sent a message via SMS or WhatsApp which would contain a question:
“Let’s say that you have to choose between love story or friendship story, what will you choose?”
I was considering doing so because I have prepared two posts in relation to the 7th theme of English Friday Challenge: “Snap and Tell a Story”. But it may be prohibited to post more than one on one challenge (I don’t know), so I think I would take the safest path, on the other words, I have to choose one for my entry this week.
Besides, I don’t have any confidence in conducting that kind of research. I’m afraid that people will see me as weird if I send everyone the message :haha. Therefore, the research was cancelled.
But it didn’t empty-responded. The only one respondent of my small, cancelled research was my friend in Batu, Malang. She said, “Because I’m being mellow now, I choose love, oops.”
Your wish is my command, respondent. And here is the snapshot: “Yet Still, Forget Me Not.”
This photo was taken in Buitenzorg, or with the French name, Sans Souci. The name means free of worries. And it is, since every Gouvernour-Generaal preferred living here than in Batavia. Even the President of Indonesia resides in that palace now, the palace with gold dome. Maybe because the climate here is so pleasant and mild, compared to that in Batavia, which is too hot and too humid.
Ah, Bogor. One can feel so peaceful here. I love Bogor.
I think all of you must have known that Buitenzorg is the old name of Bogor. And I also think that all of you must have known the monument from which the photo took its fragment. Yep, the Olivia Mariamne (not Marianne) Raffles (nee Devenish)’s folly, erected by her very husband, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.
The first moment I saw the monument, which was in late 2013, I got stunned. “Am I seeing a monument of true love, grief, and loneliness?” I think. That Byzantium-style monument stood there, undisturbed with time, although it’s kind of dirty because of lack of cleaning.
But it hasn’t missed it’s mysterious aura. It’s like Olivia is standing there, too, waiting for any visitor who aware with her presence, to listen to her story about her and Sir Thomas, from the very first day they stepped in Weltevreden until she passed away in November 26th, 1814, shortly before Raffles had to give his power back to the Netherlands as a result of Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 (commonly known as The Convention of London).
She may tell you stories about her days in Batavia, stories about her workaholic husband, about his book, The History of Java, that she herself never read. And if you’re lucky enough, she may tell you how sad her husband when she passed away, and how glad she was when she saw him erected the monument with the poem he created:
Oh, thou whom ne’er my constant heart,
one moment hath forgot.
Tho’ fate severe hath bid us part,
Yet still, forget me not.
“Beautifully written,” I said.
“Oh my, thank you, little boy,” she smiled.
Oh, before I forgot, one wise advice, don’t ask her to tell stories about how Batavia women dress at her time. She may get fussy in that topic, she will talk in such a high spirit, and the talk will be long enough that you may have to be warned by the officer there when the visiting time is going to be over :haha.
But I assure you that the time when you two talk will be one of the greatest.
Why does the place so interesting? Well, for me, because it’s holding a lot of traces from the past. Traces about love, husband’s grief, and stories about the days of the beautiful couple, the Lieutenant-Governor of British Java (soon the Founder of Singapore) and his First Lady, in their pleasant, lovely, memorable old days. It’s not those kinds of things that I could be deliberately overlook, don’t you think? :hehe.
Fiuh. That’s my entry. What about the other one, the post about friendship story?
Oh, that one. It is still in my draft now. Maybe if I have enough courage to do similar survey and the result turned out to be “friendship”, I’ll be gladly publish it :hihi.
For those of you who want to know about Olivia Mariamne, you may read D.T. van der Wall’s essay on this topic: The Influence of Olivia Mariamne Raffles on European Society in Java (1812-1814).