Toponym Series: The Origin of the Names of the Beach Cities in Sulawesi

    Ever crossed in my mind before about the name of places in some areas of Indonesia that is just so unique that some of them don’t even sound like a language that I know at all. As an example, two years ago I was planning to go to the most south of the islands in Sulawesi, Taka Bonerate. I had to repeat the name a few times to get myself familiar and let it smoothly came out from my mouth whenever I mentioned it.

    Then, I heard of names like Bau Bau, Wangi Wangi, Buton, Asgats, Timika, and many more. Just open up the map and we will find many interesting names of the cities across Indonesia. Could it be because they had run out of names or it was because of a certain incident that happened at the time when the place or island was found? Or was it named after someone who had done something heroic and they used his or her name to honour the person? Sometimes, I can’t avoid. I am triggered to ask the locals, “Is there any meaning or any story behind the names?”

    Balai Pustaka

    As I am writing this article, a book titled “Asal Usul Nama-Nama Kota Pantai di Sulawesi” (The Origin of the Names of the Beach Cities in Sulawesi) will be published by Balai Pustaka – the oldest publisher in Indonesia which belongs to the government and has been around since year 1900s. Yeap, Balai Pustaka was already there before the Deutsche Colonial time, during, and even after – until now. It was an exciting thing for me to get a chance to visit Balai Pustaka office last week. In fact, the office isn’t a boring place like some of us might think.

    There is a cafe that is used as a co-working space as well. There are rooms full of books that are no longer available in the market anymore. We also can see magazines and books which copies with Deutsche influences still intact, and also old magazines with advertisements that is really interesting – which I think those are good references for communication students. One day, this place will be one of the attractions in Jakarta. There are no other places like this!

    Serial Toponim: Asal Usul Nama-Nama Kota Pantai di Sulawesi

    About the Book

    The new book “Asal Usul Nama-Nama Kota Pantai di Sulawesi” that I mentioned earlier is rewritten based on one book titled “Sejarah Toponim Kota Pantai di Sulawesi”. The new book content is more balance between graphics and text – 70% text and the remaining 30% is illustrations, as opposed to the original reference which 90% is text content. It is rewritten with a different approach to make it be more appealing to children which is the target market.

    The book is written in Indonesia language and will be printed in full colour. The words used are also simple as its intended group ages. Even it is targetted for young children, as an adult, I don’t mind to read the book, too. Sometimes when I want to read something light and not text heavy about a particular topic, I will check out children book section in the book store or library to see if I can find any books related to it. Who’s here admit that you do that too sometimes?

    About the Aims

    Through this book, the author and publisher hope that it will attract young children to learn more about history. We can’t deny the importance of history in one nation. Without it, our nation won’t be as we are now today. Another thing is to keep the literacy skill which involves reading and writing, strong from generation to generation. It is one of the most important skills when it comes to our personal growth, culture and development. As we may also notice that the reading interest in our society, especially in our younger generation, has been declining hard in the past few years. Can you imagine what will happen if this keeps on going?

    ” to keep the literacy skill which involves reading and writing, strong from generation to generation. “

    Reading and book can be two horror things for some people. Often, people who love to read are labelled as “smart” people or worst as nerds or bookworms. Unless the books they choose to read are not interesting, else probably it is those assumptions and labelling that make people lose interest in reading. To me, books are one of the sources of information and I am enriched by reading. However, it still doesn’t determine one whether they are “smart”, nerd, or a bookworm. On top of that, don’t forget that reading and writing are the basic and the beginning of any other things.

    • • •

    Back to Taka Bonerate story earlier. That time I was curious so I started to search for more information about it and found out that the name was actually given by the late King Bone who reigned in that area at that time. But some people also say that the name was given by Bugis people. In Bugis language, Taka Bonerate means the coral atoll over the sands, which simply explains what Taka Bonerate is all about – Taka Bonerate has the 3rd largest atoll in the world.

    And now I wonder why my parents named me Tracy. Have you ever thought of yours?

    Tracy Chong
    Tracy Chong
    I love nature and I wish to swim with whales one day. If I am not exploring and working in front of my laptop, most likely I will spend the day trying out new recipes or spending time with family or friends.

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