Remembered Saidi with Bissu Tradition

Penulis kala bersama Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi (alm). (foto: adicahyadi/palontaraq)

Writer of Bissu, Etta Adil with Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi (almarhum). (foto: adicahyadi/palontaraq)

A time of two journalists, a local media journalist and another National TV journalist came to me at the Pangkep District Government Public Relations Office. They expressed his confusion after interviewing a cultural figure Pangkep, about Bissu Communities in Pangkep with Saidi as leader of Bissu. “Why? what does he say? “- I asked. Simultaneously they replied that the interview was done for two hours and none of the expression of the cultural figure that can be understood.

I then listened carefully to the recording of his interview. I concluded that it was natural-as natural as most of the people who talked to him-if they did not understand the expression of the cultural figure. The one he meant was none other than Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi, supreme leader of Bissu Dewatae ‘community in Segeri-Pangkep.

As a Puang Matoa Bissu, Saidi not only often steal attention when performing maggiri dance art attraction along with other bissu. Generally what is delivered or discussed by Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi invite attention and click amazed, including both journalists earlier. The journalist’s friends, though they do not understand what the speakers say, but at least they are aware that what Puang Matoa Bissu expressed is full of local wisdom, rare cultural knowledge and an impressive bizarre philosophy of past life.

By recording the ‘magic puran’ Puang Matowa Bissu, these two friends I consider have contributed to document the ancestral library. In it we hear a lot of impressive bugis advices in the ancient bugis language, ‘Basa Ugi Galigo’, it’s just a special learning needs to help understand what it recorded.

Puang Matowa Bissu Saidi semasa hidupnya. (foto: rudiamrullah/palontaraq)

Puang Matowa Bissu Saidi during his lifetime. (foto: rudiamrullah/palontaraq)

Mengantar Puang Matoa Saidi ke Peristirahatan Terakhirnya. (foto: ist/palontaraq)

Take Puang Matoa of Bissu, Saidi, to His final resting place.(foto: ist/palontaraq)

As a Bissu with his transvestite male tradition, for many lay people it is usually difficult to believe that this menial appearance with this rough and bearded face becomes so lebay and graceful as maggiri, accompanying the tradition music of palappasa. It was both gentle and terrifying watching her stick a dagger into her arm, torso, and neck.

What is typical of this Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi  is his ‘pamoro’ (anger typical), he does not give a tolerance room to be refuted by other bissu, especially if it concerns the completeness of traditional ceremonies, such as mattemmu taung, mappalili, and so forth. Beyond that, Saidi seems to be a polite, well-mannered, smiling, and highly respectful man.

Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi (alm) dalam suatu acara adat kala masih hidup. (foto: ra/palontaraq)

Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi (almarhum) in a traditional event when still alive. (foto: ra/palontaraq)

One of the advantages of the Bissu community is the fact that they have their own language to communicate with the gods, their ancestors and each other. The language is sometimes referred to as Basa Ugi Galigo or Basa torilangi ‘(Languages of celestial people). This language is sometimes mixed with the language bugis market in everyday communication. Indeed, the existence of bissu as a common thread of traditional continuity and ancient Bugis tradition that still exist in bugis soil until today.

Bissu in traditional ceremonies is not stand alone, but becomes part of the culture or tradition that applies to the community supporters. That is why, Bissu sometimes also position themselves as sanro ‘or pinati, bridal make-up, oracle (reading the signs of life of someone who came to him), or as a traditional event organizer for the cultural arts activities of government or people who have a celebration.

Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi saat dirawat di Infection Centre RS Wahidin Sudirohusodo, Makassar. (foto: ist/palontaraq)

Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi when treated at Infection Center Wahidin Sudirohusodo Hospital, in Makassar. (foto: ist/palontaraq)

Though a modest life with the local wisdom of the past, Saidi, who may be said to be a rare creature from the past has crossed the world in contact with the contemporary world of Robert Wilson’s landing theater. As a bissu who can read La Galigo, Saidi is involved as a sure reader of Galigo in Galigo theater performances around the world in the Netherlands, Italy, America, Singapore, France and other world countries.

In each contemporary theatrical performances involving Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi as the narrator La Galigo, always get standing aplaus as a form of extraordinary appreciation of the international art community. While within the country itself, especially in his own village, is more positioned as sanro ‘if there is no busyness or invitation performances from the local government.

Differences bissu with waria most of the science, language and supernatural powers, besides how to look and dress of course. Every transvestite who has become a bissu is believed to have the ability to make contact with the past and also the future. According to Saidi, to be a bissu there must be a spiritual call and this can not be engineered, let alone to lie. As a Puang Matowa, he will be gestured to the presence of a transvestite who will come intern to his home.

The Bissu also get some kind of grace to know the torilangi bases, even though no one taught them. Puang Lolo Bissu, Puang Upe admitted getting guidance to bissu since the age of 13 years. From the very beginning he was aware of the abnormality he was experiencing, and he tried to get fully into the territory. That’s why Puang Upe came to the senior bissu-bissu at that time, including Puang Matoa Sanro Seke ‘.

Penulis menjelaskan tentang Bissu dan Kehidupan Adat yang dijalaninya dalam rekaman "Dunia yang Tersembunyi" TV3 Malaysia. (foto: ist/palontaraq)

The author of Bissu, Etta Adil, describes the Bissu and Indigenous Life he lived on in the recording of “Hidden World” on TV3 Malaysia. (foto: ist/palontaraq)

Transvestites who will be inducted into bissu, said Saidi, are required to fast (appuasa) for a week to forty days, then vow (mattinja ‘) to undergo the procession irebba. A new transvestite is categorized as worthy of being completely bissu based on the assessment of matoa puang or lolo puang. However, before being actually accepted as a bissu, he must undergo an irebba (sleeping) procession (laid) performed in the front attic on “Arajang Balls” (Heritage House).

This irebba procession, said Puang Matoa Saidi, can take place usually 3-7 days. After that was bathed, dikafani, and laid on the basis of the day dipinazarkan. Above it hung a jug filled with water and during disemayamkan, candidate Bissu considered and treated like the dead. On the day drenched, the jar is broken until the water is watered over the head which is undergoing the procession of irebba. After passing through the sacred ceremony an official transvestite became Bissu. Since then a Bissu is required to appear graceful (Bugis: malebbi), apply politely, maintain attitude, behavior and speech he said.

Menjelaskan tentang Bissu kepada Wartawan

Author of Books about Bissu, Etta Adil,  explains about Bissu to Local Journalists in Taraweang, Mooch House of Puang Matoa Bissu Saidi. (foto: ist/palontaraq)

In the Bissu cultural community he leads, the resignation provisions are not very clear. The bond only occurs on the irracial sacredness which is a spiritual contract with the gods. Saidi said, not a few Bissu who violate the provisions of the gods then woe. For example, when doing immoral actions. Bissu can survive until now because it has a social function that is well recorded in the memory of the community.

Since the days of ancient Bugis until now there are still some Bugis people who believe bissu can connect with the ancestors and grant all desire desires or petition. But there is no longer any government concern for their survival. No more heirlooms are the source of life throughout the year. In Segeri, Saidi said, the heirlooms had already switched ownership and become tambak by those who claimed it as a land of inheritance.

So I can explain. please i’m waiting your respond and input. Tabe’ Mariki. (*)

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