Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Pitung, Si. Si Pitung (?-?) was a bandit and local strongman criminal in Batavia, in Java; his years of greatest activity were in 1892 and 1893. He was a jago, one of the legendary rural bandits of colonial Java who played (or was perceived to play) the role of the Robin Hood for the native Javans and who resisted the colonial Dutch. Si Pitung is the best known and most legendary of the jago, and even today his grave is (reportedly) regarded as a powerful, magical place. Si Pitung became the hero of a wide range of Indonesian ballads, short stories, plays, and movies from the late 1920s to the 1940s.
The fictional Si Pitung is variously portrayed as a romantic Robin Hood-style Gentleman Bandit, an anti-Dutch Lupin, a cultural hero of the orang Betawi (the original inhabitants of Jakarta), or as an anti-Dutch, nationalist resistance leader. Si Pitung robs the houses of wealthy landowners and gives the money back to the poor. He is full of charming bravado and is an accomplished thief and bandit, having escaped from prison several times. He is an active womanizer. And he and his followers are thought to use magical weapons and to possess Superhuman magical powers.
* I'm including the Si Pitung stories, ballads, plays, and movies in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because of their historical importance. For over sixty years Si Pitung was an important figure in Indonesian culture, both during his lifetime and after it. He was a figure out of folklore, a bandit and leader of bandits but someone who strenuously resisted the colonial Dutch. His fictional persona became even more influential, as the ballads and short stories and plays and movies spread the word about him to people who hadn't heard of him. Always his resistance to the occupying Dutch was stressed. He become an icon, an archetype of the Indigenous Indonesians, a fictional hero whose stories were based on things he'd done in real life, the model of wish-fulfillment masculinity and power.
Table of Contents / Annotations / Blog / Books / Patreon / Twitter / Contact me