Trowulan locals campaign to preserve Majapahit

The destruction of the remains of the East Javanese Majapahit kingdom due to the thoughtlessness of government officials have galvanised the locals into action. The Jakarta Post features one such group, the Majapahit Gotrah Wilwatikta, and their efforts to document instances of looting.

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photo credit: hunnnterrr

Crusader out to protect the past against those plundering it for profits
The Jakarta Post, 13 February 2009

When it comes to making his point about the damage done to the Majapahit sites, Anis lets the pictures do the talking, showing 16 video recordings and hundreds of photos taken since 2005, which all show people damaging the area and artifacts.

Paidi Jolali, who has a junior high school education and now works in a small shoemaking business in Kedungwali Mojokerto, assembled the collection of videos and photos.

Paidi, while out taking pictures of the looting, was offered a job by an antiques broker to sell statues and bricks from the Majapahit Kingdom. He rejected that opportunity, even though he doesn’t receive a penny for his activities in defense of the site; Anis only gives him money for fuel for his motorcycle.

“One of the private television stations in Indonesia even offered a high price for the videos,” Anis said. “But Paidi and I rejected that offer; we have given these videos free to all television stations that are interested.”


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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