"Rimpang's Stories", Polewali Mandar_, RHIZOMATIC ARCHIPELAGO
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Motangga: Flying Fish Egg Fishermen

English | Indonesia

It has happened that I met this man when I failed to meet the cleric who is also a boatman and motangga fishermen or flying fish eggs fishermen, Mr. Anwar Amiludin.

From our chat on how to hunt for flying fish eggs, to sacred places in the sea that often take victims. Motangga becomes a tradition here, usually in the fifth to eighth months of the east wind.

Mr. Anwar explained, from the beginning, before leaving, doing rituals (kuliwa), his fishing gear was also prayed for. There are two kinds of fishing gear for flying fish: buaro (bubu) which is covered with coconut leaves, and epeq-epeq (bamboo with coconut leaves where the spine is removed, to lay the eggs. Usually, they put fragrances on it / baqdoq oil. Buaro, before putting it into the water, it is smoked with incense (burning incense) and prayed for.

Flying fish here are called mara’dia fish (king fish) or tuing tuing. They say, cats don’t want it. He also said, use a spell so that the fish will lay a lot of eggs (for stimulating). It is a mandatory spell. He laughed when he wanted to tell the spell [to me]. At first, he didn’t want to, but then he said it in Mandar. Translated by the young man [who accompanied us]: ‘The bushy fur,’ while laughing. Indeed, what’s interesting about this motangga, from the story of Ridwan (Instagram @ridwanmandar), fishermen usually use porn spells.

Photo: Accessed from Instagram Ipeh Nur, @ipehnurberesyit
Photo: Accessed from Instagram Ipeh Nur, @ipehnurberesyit
Photo: Accessed from Instagram Ipeh Nur, @ipehnurberesyit

Mr. Anwar also explained a little about astrology (for navigation). The science of paternal inheritance, he said. Basic knowledge of the fishermen. So, a sign, for example, of a house star (boyang kepang): ‘strong wind will come’, etc.

There are restrictions/taboos when going to sea too (become a belief till now): may not spit, may not mention four-legged animals (unless it is symbolized), etc.

There are also restrictions on going to sea on Friday. There have been many missing fishermen incidents because they break it.

He also said, [don’t] pass the sacred place which is usually passed by motangga often. There is a place that is believed to be the most sacred, taka bakka: it only looks like sand in the middle of the sea, there are large stones +/- 5m2, and taka bassi (Makassar Strait). [There] usually the fishermen are missing. If you go there, read the prayer.

When I asked, “What do you know about that location …?”, He said: now there is GPS. He said, GPS barely used in 2018. Previously, they used a compass (then he was showing me the compass). Wow!

And lots more chat about his fishing experience. Super!


IPEH NUR menetap dan bekerja di Yogyakarta. Dia lulus dari Jurusan Seni Grafis, Institut Seni Indonesia. Kebanyakan karyanya merupakan ilustrasi hitam putih di atas kertas. Ipeh juga berkarya dengan menggunakan teknik dan media lain, macam sablon, etsa, mural, dan patung dari resin. Ipeh mengikuti berbagai pameran kelompok, antara lain 80 nan Ampuh, Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta (2019), Waktu dan Ingatan Tak Pernah Diam, IVAA, Yogyakarta, Pressing Matters, Framer Framed, Amsterdam (2018), Beyond Masculinity, Ark Galerie, Yogyakarta (2017), dan The 1st Jogja Miniprint Biennale, Museum Bank Indonesia Yogyakarta dan Mien Gallery, Yogyakarta (2014). Di tahun 2018, Ipeh mengadakan dua kali pameran tunggal masing-masing berjudul Salimah di REDBASE dan Banda di Kedai Kebun Forum.

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