Phew! Europeesche beschaving! Marco Kartodikromo’s Student Hidjo

All Things Books / Review

About Student Hidjo,
Written by Hendrik M. J. Maier, and was originally published in CSEAS Journal, Southeast Asian Studies,
Jun 01, 1996

On the last page of Student Hidjo (Student Green, 1919) everything is in apparent stability and peace. Tata tentrem, its author, Marco Kartodikromo, would have called it in his journalistic work:

Two years have passed.
Green is married to Dame Violet, and he is living happily as the district-attorney in Djarak.
Wardojo is the Regent in Djarak, replacing his daddy, and he too is living in peace in the
regency, with Dame Blue.
Walter returned from his leave and is the assistant-resident in Djarak and he has a wife, Betje ;
and schoolteacher Miss Jet Roos is married to Administrator Boeren, the close friend of Willem
Walter and they have their homes in Djarak.
[Doea tahoen jang telah laloe.
Hidjo telah kawin dengan R. A. Woengoe, dan hidoep senang mendjadi Djaksa di Djarak.
Wardojo soedah djadi Regent di Djarak, mengganti Papanja, poen dia hidoep roekoen didalam
kabopaten dengan R. A. Biroe.
Walter soedah kernbali dari verlof mendjadi Assistent Resident di Djarak dan telah mempoenja
istri, jaitoe : Betje, dan Onderwijzeres nonah Jet Roos telah berkawin dengan Administrateur
Boeren sobat karibnja Willem Walter dan sarna bertempat tinggal di Djarak]

Evidently, happiness and peace are reserved for the Javanese protagonists only. The Dutch are described as merely having their homes in Djarak; we could wonder how peaceful and happy these homes will be beyond the novel’s last page, and for how long the stability and peace which these last words of Student Hidjo evoke will be retained. After all, tensions were brewing in the land of Java in the second decade of the 20th century, the years Student Hidjo was written and the tale’s finale is cast.

Read the full article here.