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[Short Story] Fireflies Party | Jawa Pos | Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fireflies Party

by Ilham Q Moehiddin

translated by Jonas Chapman (Canada)

Ilust_Pesta Kunang-Kunang_Jawa Pos 


NO was tomb here. Only a cavity in a giant Willow tree, trunk upright in the middle of the village. Cavities are caused by lightning blow and often filled with fireflies were partying after the bodies placed, makes it look like a party on New Year’s Eve lanterns.

When the old Willow was found in the northern woods, Ama (father) Huga amazed with its size. Then he set up house 500 meters from the tree. In the first three years, the people come together, then took up a house there. The houses are now surrounded the giant old Willow. Ama Huga astonished at the old Willow was never lost even before his death. He wanted a cavity in the old Willow into his grave and the grave of every person who later died in the village that he calls this Lere’Ea. People obeyed. Because trees absorb Willow stench around him, the tree was also sucking the stench of death from the bodies of the dead.

Funeral tree is an effective solution that does not run out village land for the grave. Cemeteries aren’t cumbersome and inefficient.Willow trees alive and growing giant, as the final home for the dead.


Intina worried about the attitude of some men aren’t attention to the special things that he keeps on Mori. They fascinated to him. Liked she heave black hair,thick eyebrows on the oval face, or solid body. Mori married Intina in 12 years ago, and he still Mori wife until one day the man she loved was home.

“Stop waiting for Mori,” one of them tried to convince Intina. But he answered them with a slamming door. How he needed to do to destroy the hopes of every man in this village.

Intina may fool for still maintaining missed. Mori went when Waipode have eight months old. On the last morning she looked at her husband, was dawn when Mori kissed her daughter forehead, then Mori shut the door from the outside. Intina waiting in each of the next morning, hoping Mori reveals the door and smiled at them both. Small Waipode never smell his father’s body is now a teenager.

Waipode didn’t ask his father. Of course to difficult misses something he had never meet. Mori is a problem of his mother and it was not for Waipode. Mori is not the first time he saw when his eyes began to open.


One night, before he was 13 years, Waipode suddenly get fever. Four days later,the fever rises and nobody Lere’Ea shaman can suppress. They give up so easily, such as shaman beginners learn stirring potions. On the sixth day, Waipode had opened her eyes, before seizures and silent.

Mysterious diseased and sudden death was a shock every person in Lere’Ea. Intina cleaning her daughter body and wrapped it in a clean cloth. Such manners here, it’s Waipode dead body will go into cavity the giant Willow.

From wooden chair on the porch of his house, Intina not move until the night comes. She eyes show cavity that had filled the fireflies. He fainted due to fatigue and woke in his bed on the third night, when the rowdy village.

Fireflies party at the Willow cavity, casting a silvery glow as the emergence of two hands flailing. People are horrified when two hands were gripping the grass, crawling, like trying to drag him-self out of the cavity. Body covered in soil plain girl who surrounded fireflies. People are increasingly rowdy. For the first time they saw the dead rise from the cavity Willow.

Standing on confusion, the girl asked. “Where’s my mother? Where Intina, my mother?”

Yes. The girl’s name and acknowledge Intina as his mother.

“I’m Waipode, his daughter.”

People choked. She was admitted as Waipode, Intina daughter, who died three days ago. Intina removing the sheath and hurried over to —whoever he is— as he sheathed body began to be plain that the eyes of every man’s attention in the crowd.

All the men presented there, except Kalai. The doll maker at living the end of the Lere’Ea village, suddenly ill and fell asleep under the influence of drugs. He did not know the noise that just happened here.


In Lere’Ea no one can make as good a wooden doll. Kalai poured all his feelings when making the dolls. Sculpt female dolls as high as one meter of living. The female doll only. On weekends, his old wagon it creaky to road up the rocky village to the town, to the store where he usually left the doll for sale.

There’s always a doll that is not salable. On some models, for some reason do not want to buy. Maybe they don’t like in shape. The dolls are not sold that he brought back and lined up on a shelf in the living room of his house, as a marker to no longer make such a model. Raw material stuffed it increasingly difficult to get. Willow tree in the middle of the village is difficult to be climbed to a branch of the straight.

Yes. Wicker Willow is a secret advantage Kalai sculptured dolls. Willow wood is heated first before he chisels into head, body,arms and legs for her dolls. Soft wood Texture to make the blade Kalai agile dancing all over the wood.

Willow as it grows to Kalai. Willow’s death smoked aroma of corpsesin their sockets, have to fertilize and cultivate new tree limbs.

But Kalai not make a doll when the girl out of the cavity Willow. He also did not exist among many men who feel lucky to catch the girl’s body. Because sick make Kalai must meet Lere’Ea shaman to buy potions. The effects of the potion made him feel tired and sleepy. He slept all day and did not know anything had happened in the village after dusk.

The shamans in Lere’Ea confirmed that girls who out of the Willow cavity that is Waipode, Intina daughter. The odd thing is they are difficult to explain. The willows have turned Waipode in three days after his death. Waipode out in such a big girl, 10 years older than the teenage girl Intina inserted into the tree cavity.

Intina not want to go about it. The girl came back to life in any form, if he does Waipode, then Intina will admit it. It feels weird, but their can lives as before. As before the death of her daughter went and returned.


Waipode like Kalai made dolls. Dolls and handsome young man, are two things that can always create a story for a mature girl. “I like your dolls,”said Waipode.

Kalai smile. “I heard, you make noise the whole village. What happens on the other side there? So the gods let you go home?” Kalai kidding.

Waipode laugh. “On the other side is more quiet. There was no one to fight for theland. There was no such incident experienced by Adenar families banned prayer and expelled from Laibatara (house of worship). Sheol is more tolerant than the world of the living.”

Kalai was stunned to hear the words Waipode.

“This for you,” Kalai offered Waipode a newly doll he made finished. Waipode nodded happily. The doll has not been colored.

It was just a little conversation. But Waipode is always there if the young man working moment. Intimacy they make other youths jealous. Waipode have chosen, and Kalai it’s a lucky young man.


Kalai realize that strange things often happen at his house late at night. His workshop is a mess when he left, always neatly next morning. Utensils arranged on the same spot. Sharpener timber garbage disappear without trace. All over the house clean. As there is a mysterious hand that has helped clean up the mess.

When Kalai asleep, the homemade doll moves. Yes. Wooden dolls that live on and off the display rack in the middle of the house. They explore each room, acting like a young girl who was busy tidying the house. They return all the objects into place, cooking porridge and coffee heats for Kalai before they go back into place before dawn.

However, the dolls start talk about Waipode. The presence of the girl is a serious problem for them.

Giant Willow in the middle of the village store incongruity since it began to be used as a tomb tree. Trees not only absorb thescent of death, but also save the souls of the dead girl in the adult sap vessels. The spirits that dwell there and wait for the new body. They accidentally life by the love that poured out when he Kalai sculpting dolls.

They hate have often the young man admired Waipode. It only took a little reason for a death plan.


It’s no coincidence when a small collision Kalai get the wheels off and overthrow the old wagon with passengers. Waipode already dead when Kalai issuing his body from the crush of the wagon.

Intina feeling devastated over Waipode back to the death for the second time. He is waiting for a miracle that never came in the thirdday after the body of Waipode he put in Willow cavity. Her daughter is not alive anymore. There was no light silvery, except fireflies crowd still partying.

However, Kalai has a way of overcoming grief. On the third day, when Intina hope Waipode out of the cavity of Willow, Kalai has completed one wooden doll.

One doll that closely resembles Waipode. The dolls are made Kalai crazy. Dolls who live at the end of the night and silence come back before dawn. The dolls are often celebrate passion of Fireflies, ask Kalai enter the ten other doll into the fire, and made the young man swears no longer sculpt doll. (*)

Ubud, October 2013

Twitter: @IlhamQM


*) The idea of this short story from tree-holebaby burial tradition in Tana Toraja and the tree-burial traditions in Trunyan, Bali.

**) In the Indonesian version, these stories was publication for first time in the Jawa Pos newspaper, issue on Sunday, April 27th, 2014.

German-Indonesian Film Award Winner 2003



 Quiero Ser

Der Peruckenmacher

Ein Einfacher Auftrag





Gregors Grobte Erfindung


 Kamar Mandi

Dapupu Project


Violance Against Fruits

Diantara Masa Lalu dan Masa Sekarang

Mass Grave


Loud Me Loud

Geothe Institute Jakarta


Loud Me Loud

Loud Me Loud. Sutradara: Bayu Sulistyo S.

Bayu Sulistyo S (Sutradara), Indonesia, 2002, Animasi, Digital AV, Berwarna, 26’ 49”.

Bercerita tentang Muki, perjaka tulen yang senang berjoget diiringi musik keras kesukaannya yang bertetangga dengan Jowee yang cinta damai dan pemuja ketenangan. Apa yang kemudian dilakukan Jowee, dan bagaimana aksi balas dendam Muki?

Penghargaan : Special Mention Kuldesak Award & People’s Choice Konfiden Award FFVII 2002.



Ketok. Sutradara: Maria Clementine Wulia

Maria Clementine Wulia (Sutradara), Indonesia, 2002, Dokumenter, Eksperimental, DV, Berwarna, 5’ 35”.

Menggambarkan kesaksian sepasang suami-istri tentang ketukan misterius di pintu rumah mereka… atau?

Penghargaan: Best Film SET Award & Best Technical Achievement Kuldesak Award FFVII 2002.


Mass Grave

Mass Grave. Sutradara: Lexy Junior Rambadeta

Lexy Junior Rambadeta (Sutradara), Indonesia, 2002, Dokumenter, DV, Berwarna, 26’.

Setelah diktator Soeharto dijatuhkan pada 21 Mei 1998, rakyat Indonesia mulai berani mempertanyakan kembali sejarah bangsanya. Salah satu peristiwa kejam yang ditutup-tutupi adalah pembantaian massal terhadap lebih dari 500 ribu rakyat Indonesia tahun 1965-1968 yang diorganisasikan oleh militer di bawah perintah diktator tersebut. Pada tanggal 16 November 2000, beberapa orang tua yang merupakan keluarga dari korban pembantaian 1965-1968 tersebut, menggali sebidang tanah perkebunan di hutan di pinggiran Kabupaten Wonosobo, Jawa Tengah. Mereka, dengan bantuan beberapa dokter forensik, menemukan 26 kerangka manusia yang ditimbun bertumpuk-tumpuk menjadi satu. Beberapa keluarga korban berhasil mengindentifikasi tulang-belulang yang ditemukan sebagai keluarga yang mereka cari. Ibu Sri Muhayati misalnya, mengenali tulang ayahnya yang dibunuh tentara pada 1966. Keluarga lainnya juga mengenali identitas keluarga mereka. Empat bulan setelah pemugaran kuburan massal di tengah hutan wilayah Wonosobo tersebut, keluarga korban ingin melakukan pemakaman kembali yang layak untuk kerangka-kerangka keluarga mereka. Seorang teman mereka bernama Pak Irawan berbaik hati menyumbangkan sebagian tanahnya di Desa Kaloran, Kabupaten Temanggung, Jawa Tengah, untuk tempat penguburan. Namun, rencana pemakaman kembali tersebut digagalkan oleh sekelompok orang. Peristiwa ini tidak dipublikasikan dengan jujur dan terbuka oleh media massa.

Penghargaan : Best Documentary SET Award FFVII 2002.


Diantara Masa Lalu dan Masa Sekarang

Diantara Masa Lalu dan Masa Sekarang. Sutradara: Eddie Cahyono

Eddie Cahyono (Sutradara), Indonesia, 2001, DV, Berwarna, 12’.

Film ini bercerita tentang semangat perjuangan yang tidak pernah luntur dari seorang anak bangsa yang berjuang untuk kemerdekaan bangsa Indonesia. Keprihatinan dalam melihat kenyataan bangsa Indonesia pada saat ini, dimana segala cita-cita pada masa perjuangan telah dikotori oleh keserakahan manusia. Film ini juga menyentuh kesadaran sosial tentang pentingnya penghormatan terhadap semangat perjuangan yang tidak pernah luntur.

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Violance Against Fruits

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Santai saja, nikmati pembantaian Diospyros Kaki di depan mata Anda. Terinspirasi oleh kerusuhan Mei 1998.

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Mayar adalah seorang penduduk urban di Jakarta Selatan. Pada tanggal 15 sampai 18 Agustus ia pulang ke kampungnya, Yogyakarta, untuk menengok ibunya. Banyak hal yang terjadi dikampungnya ketika ia pulang, sampai pada akhirnya ia memutuskan untuk menetap di Jakarta Selatan. 

Penghargaan : Best Art Director & Director of Photography SET Award FFVII 2002, Jakarta.


Dapupu Project

Dapupu Project. Sutradara: Wahyu Aditya

Wahyu Aditya (Sutradara), Indonesia, 2000, Animasi Komputer, Berwarna, 3’

Menceritakan sebuah robot burung unta yang diburu oleh robot seniman.

Penghargaan : Best Film Animation Film Festival 2001, Best Animation Film SET Award FFVII 2001.


Kamar Mandi

Kamar Mandi. Sutradara: Rusli

Rusli (Sutradara), Indonesia, 1999, Fiksi, Betacam, Hitam-Putih, 10’ 11”.

Keluarga… Ayah… Ibu… Anak… Satu hari… Di kamar mandi…

Penghargaan : Best Independen Short Film Garin Nugroho Award & Best Short Film Director Kuldesak Award in 1st Indonesia Independent Film-Video Festival (FFVII) 1999.


Gregors Grobte Erfindung

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Dari hari ke hari neneknya Gregor makin susah berjalan. Teman-teman wanitanya mendesak dia untuk pindah ke panti jompo… Tetapi Gregor menyayangi neneknya dan ia adalah seorang penemu yang jenius: ketika ia menyadari, bahwa neneknya bisa berjalan di air tanpa rasa sakit, ia punya ide yang hebat…

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Schwarzfahrer. Sutradara: Pepe Danquart

Pepe Danquart (Sutradara), Jerman, 1992, Dialog Jerman, Kurzspielfilm, Komedi, Hitam-Putih, 35mm, 12’.

Ia seorang kulit hitam dalam perjalanan dengan sebuah trem, duduk di tempat pilihannya: hal ini membuat meledaknya kebencian ras seorang nenek Jerman. Namun orang kulit hitam itu tahu bagaimana harus bereaksi.

Penghargaan / Anerkennung : Best Short Film Berlinale 1993, First Audience Award Hamburg Short Film Festival NO BUDGET 1993, Best Short Film in Melbourne 1993, New York 1994, Oscar Best Short Film, 1st Prize, 11th International Odense Film Festival 1995 and many others.



Quest. Sutradara: Thomas Stellmach

Thomas Stellmach (Sutradara), Jerman, 1996, Tanpa Dialog, Film Animasi, Berwarna, 35mm, 11’.

Sebuah figur dari pasir menunggalkan dunia pasir, tempat ia tinggal, untuk mencari air. Ia berkelana ke dunia-dunia lain dari kertas, batu dan besi, selalu mengikuti titik-titik air. Pada akhirnya figur pasir ini berhasil mencapai air… dengan cara tragis. 

Penghargaan / Anerkennung : 1997 Oscar for Best Short Animation Film, Cartoon-d’Or-Preis 1996, Friedrich-Wilhelm Murnau Preis Best Shortfilm 1996, etc. (about 50).



Kleingeld. Sutradara: Marc Andreas Bochert

Marc Andreas Bochert (Sutradara), Jerman, 1999, Dialog Jerman, Kurzspielfilm, Drama Sosial, Berwarna, 35mm, 15’ 32”.

Film karya Bochert mengisahkan tentang hubungan yang luar biasa antara seorang pengemis dengan seorang pengusaha. Suatu hari si pengemis berdiri membisu di trotoar diantara sebuah bangunan kantor dan tempat parkir. Dengan sebuah gelas kertas ia meminta-minta uang. Berawal dari sebuah sumbangan dari seorang berdasi yang kemudian menjadi kebiasaan setiap hari. Keadaannya menjadi rumit ketika suatu hari si pengemis mulai mencuci mobil sang pengusaha… Kisah dari Berlin tahun 90-an yang diceritakan secara tragis, lucu dan profesional.

Penghargaan / Anerkennung : Oscar Student 1999, Deutscher Kurzfilmpreis in Silber 1999, Oscar Nomination for Best Short Film 1999.



Balance. Sutradara: Wolfgang & Christoph Lauenstein

Wolfgang & Christoph Lauenstein (Sutradara), Jerman, 1989, Tanpa Dialog, Film Animasi, Berwarna, 35mm, 7’ 20”.

Lima figur bergerak di atas sebuah plat. Hal ini hanya bisa dilakukan apabila ada keseimbangan, dengan cara keseimbangan semua orang/figur dibagi merata. Permainan dimulai, dimana keseimbangan terus-terusan terancam, dan ketergantungan satu figur dengan yang lainnya menjadi jelas terlihat.

Penghargaan / Anerkennung : Best Short Animation Film Oscar 1990.


Ein Einfacher Auftrag

Ein Einfacher Auftrag. Sutradara: Raymond Boy

Raymond Boy (Sutradara), Jerman, 1996, Dialog Bahasa Jerman, Kurzpielfilm, Komedi, Berwarna, 35mm, 10’ 50”.

Fee Marie, yang sudah sejak bertahun-tahun berhasil memenuhi keinginan-keinginan orang, harus mengunjungi seorang tukang tembok Jakob Brumme di gubuknya yang reot dan memenuhi 3 keinginannya. Sebuah pekerjaan yang mudah, kelihatannya.

Penghargaan / Anerkennung : International Short Film Festival Hamburg 1996, “Premiere-Preis” / Oscar Student 1997.


Der Peruckenmacher

Der Peruckenmacher. Sutradara: Steffen Schoffler

Steffen Schoffler (Sutradara), Jerman, 1999, Dialog Bahasa Inggris, Film Animasi, Fantasi, Berwarna, 35mm, 15’.

Kisah seorang pria yang menutupi dirinya sendiri rapat-rapat di Landon yang tercemar pest pada jaman abad pertengahan untuk menghindar dari infeksi. Ketika seorang gadis kecil yang sakit meminta pertolongannya, dunianya seakan mau runtuh.

Penghargaan / Annerkennung : Jury Etudiant, Prix de la mise en scene – Vendome 2000, 2001 Oscar Nomination for Best Short (Animation) Film.


Quiero Ser

Quiero Ser. Sutradara: Florian Gallenberger

Florian Gallenberger (Sutradara), Jerman, 1999, 35mm, Berwarna, Dialog Bahasa Spanyol, Fiksi, 34’.

Dua orang kakak beradik yatim piatu berjuang hidup di jalan-jalan kota Mexico. Impian akan masa depan yang lebih baik membuat mereka mampu menyisihkan setiap peso yang mereka dapat untuk ditabung. Tetapi ketika si kakak jatuh cinta, maka semua uang tabungannya dipakai untuk pacaran dengan sang gadis, perbuatannya ini memyebabkan si adik sakit hati. 25 tahun kemudian secara tak sengaja mereka bertemu kembali…

Penghargaan / Anerkennung : (terseleksi)

Academy Award (Oscar) 2001/Student Academy Award, First Steps Award 2001, GWFF – Award for Best Film for Graduation 1999, Prize UNICEF Bilbao, Film Prize from The City of Munich, Best Jury Jeune Best Shortfilm, Best Actors Vendome, Audience Award & Horizont Award Aspen, Best Directing & Audience Award Poitiers, Internationales Festival der Filmhochschulen Munchen, Best Actors & Audience Award Giffoni, Grand Prix Lodz. FBW Pradikat Obesonders Wertvollo. ***

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