An old highschool friend posted a clip in Facebook last week, highlighting sites and buildings in Bandung in the olden days and how they look like now. Thankfully, a lot of the buildings are still there, although most are looking worse for wear. Graceful historic buildings are now crowded by the busy roads and traffic, suffocated by the street sellers and billboards. I’m a big fan of ‘old town’ – whenever I travel to any city, I am always drawn to explore the historic heart of the city. Well, unfortunately for Bandung, the heart has been modified and heavily made up – its original beauty is nearly gone. Of course I can be trapped into thinking that the good old days were full of laughter, peace, tree-lined avenues and art-deco buildings – I suppose the Bandung that we have today is the consequence of the freedom and development that we have enjoyed since 1945. I just wish Bandungers would appreciate more of what they have – gracious buildings, beautiful sceneries, tree-lined streets, cooler climate and stop ransacking the city.
I’m listening to my Wieteke van Dort’s CD again tonight – her exaggerated Javanese-Dutch accent brings me to the olden days – where life was simpler, of older ladies in kebaya encim and kain samping, of the cool and misty Bandung in the mornings. Naturally, I wasn’t around in 1930’s or in 1940’s, but I can reminisce to a simpler period of my life: of my grandma with her chinese white top and black pants, of me playing with my younger brother with the girl who lived next door, or me accompanying my mum to the wet market nearby, and discovering the pleasant sensation of burying my arm in a sack of mungbeans.
I don’t have the button to pause or rewind time unfortunately, and if I had it, would I really? Perhaps I would, maybe I would rewind back to my childhood, relive the joy and then fast forward to the present time. Or, I could return to my last trip before my younger brother passed away and just gave him a hug and tell him to take care of himself and not to work too hard. It’s a one-way street unfortunately – he has made his exit, whilst I’m still travelling on the highway …
So I can only reminisce and enjoy some nostalgic moments tonight to the old Dutch/Indonesian songs by Wieteke van Dort.
“Hallo! Bandoeng!” “Ja moeder hier ben ik!”
“Dag liefste jongen”, zegt zij met een snik
“Hallo, hallo! Hoe gaat het oude vrouw?”
Dan zegt ze alleen: “Ik verlang zo erg naar jou!”