‘Anggadi tupa, anggadi tupa! The coconuts are coming! The coconuts are coming!’ Suddenly the coconuts appear through the gaps in the reef. The dark wet shapes float and roll in the whitewash of the waves as they are eventually cast ashore.
Set in the coastal regions of West Papua in eastern Indonesia, this story of the Ambai people and their relationship with nature is told through the friendship of four underwater creatures: Andevavait, the amphibious tidepool blenny; Bohurai, the toadfish; Anggereai, the striped crab and Raukahi, the octopus. When the environment is threatened, the harmony of the creatures that inhabit it is also disrupted. Can the Ambai people stay true to their local wisdom and traditional beliefs in the face of destructive and divisive influences, and protect the balance of nature?
In this contemporary fable, Papuan author John Waromi, a member of the Ambai tribe, sheds light on the struggle of Papuans to preserve their ancestral traditions and language, revealing the necessity for man to understand his place in creation. He takes us into a coastal ecosystem where humans, animals and plants must co-exist to maintain the harmonious balance of nature. We witness the dreadful threat of dynamite bomb-fishing upon the underwater environment, and its effect upon all living creatures who depend upon it for survival in this remote part of Indonesia.
About the author
John Waromi was born in 1960 in West Papua, Indonesia. After studying law at Cenderawasih University, he moved to Jakarta and joined Indonesia’s most famous dramatic troupe, Rendra’s Bengkel Teater. As an actor he performed throughout Indonesia as well as touring New York, Japan and Korea. John was invited to the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, followed closely by an invitation to the Balinale International Film Festival, also in Bali, and the Northern Territory Writers Festival, in Darwin, Australia. He now lives and writes in his home province.
Series Contemporary Indonesian Classics