The Neglected Junghuhn’s Tomb

JunghuhnFW-photo1What could be the reason that we pay respect to someone’s graveyard ? A hero obviously deserves that. Well, he might not  be exactly a ‘hero’, especially Indonesian hero in its history. In fact, he was a Dutch (originally a German). However he has done a quite significant contribution to Botany and noted to be the first who enchart Java island with details. He was also a doctor, geologist, and excellent drawing artist, to say the least. He is Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn (Mansfeld, German, 26 October 1809 – Lembang, West Java, 24 April 1864).

A short description of who he was can be found on Wikipedia. Here and there through Google, we could find some pictures of his drawing of old Java & Sumatra. Amazing. One of his drawings that I like the most : (on Dieng Plateau)

On 07 April 2012, I had the chance to visit his Tomb at Lembang, the north way part of Bandung. I have pinpointed the location using my old Etrex. The latitude – longitude is S 06°48.463’ – E 107°37.256’ with tolerance of 11 meter; a quite striking difference with my finding previously on Google Earth : S 6° 48’28.29” – E 207° 37’15.87’’. Anyway, its aerial view from Google Earth is quite distinguishable from the surrounding, as the place is quite densely overgrown :


It was long weekend, as 05 April was Easter. I had the thought that the location might be crowded with visitors. As I was going through the main road around the spot, I had to ask people where it was exactly. Later, at the turn from the main road, I found the sign. It was not in its place, saying “Taman Junghuhn”, pointing to nowhere :


Approaching the main entrance, I was surprised there was nobody. Even the gate was chained. I could only stare from the outside before a lady with her baby showed me the way in, which is a narrow alley in the middle of closely-spaced houses :


Some teenagers were sitting around the tomb. They were suprised by our coming (I was with some friends). I got this glimpse that they’re up to something. Apparently, they were sucking the odor of that intoxicating glue (Aica Aibon). Nowhere is the picture of Junghuhn, but a description was still readable :


The tomb is stood still :


The inscription :


I find graffities all around the tomb. People don’t seem to care that this is something deserves respect. The way I see it, the government ignores this place as a potential tourist destination. I think it’s only a matter of time before everything turns out to be even worst :


As I walked around, I learned that Junghugn’s grave was actually 20 meter away at the back of the tomb. How infuriating!! A couple of teenagers were sitting on it 😦


They rushed away as they knew that I took some shots. I was sad, really. There was no inscription around, even on the headstone (actually no such ‘head’). Graffities are all around. To make it even more upsetting, a trash dump is just a few meters away !!

OK. Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch for, say, three and a half century. Was it behind all this ignorance ? That “pride of being Indonesian”, … Should it have anything to do at all with valuing the past ?

The tomb, the grave, and the natural reserve will remain silent. The sprit of Junghuhn might even have gone somewhere else.

About tomsez

It's me. writing in English.

Posted on 08/04/2012, in Cultural and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. A nice essay, Tom. I am deeply interested in your subject matter: the neglected historic site of Junghuhn. You know, in the so-called “West Java Cultural Map”, published recently by West Java Culture and Tourism Bureau, there is no reference to Junghuhn’s tomb in Lembang. What a poor man!

  2. would it be possible to gain sponsorship for Junghuhn’s Tomb – from pharma corporates like biofarma, bayer, or sanbe, (or whoever produce the quinine?) perhaps? or revitalize the place for a better leisure/ retreat/ scientific activity (rather than sniffing aibon)?
    yuk atuh let’s move shall we? what about bandung heritage/ bandung trail/ mahanagari, can we join effort in this?

  3. @Eveline, … Yes I think that’s possible. Only the problem is, there should be an organizing committee for such effort… It’ll sure involve money … and it has to come with the accountability for all expenses. If you know anybody that might give a way for that to be realized, … please let them know the URL. They really have to see the pictures.
    It’s way so different with Bosscha’s Tomb that I wrote afterward.

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