Saturday, April 23, 2011

Images of Bangsawan and Utusan in the thirties and forties

Well, I've yet to come up with pictures of the Javanese community in the Orange Grove/Dunearn Road area during the pre-War era, where Mak grew up in. 
My 'dig' into the nocturnal Bangsawan world of Tok Mat Semawi at Wayang Satu and his day job at Utusan in the thirties and forties only produced selected images which are listed below.

1.  Tok Mat must have had some theatrical blood flowing in his vein to take up the directorial role at the Bangsawan stage at Wayang Satu.  The Javanese too must have found it easy to migrate from the traditional  'wayang wong' (People's Play, as opposed to shadow or puppet play) to the modern opera which made its way from Italy through Persia.  The Bangsawan was supposed to be entertainment for the nobility, but it appealed to audiences from different walks of life.  Its financiers and actors too were comprised of Peranakan Indians, Arabs and Nyonyas.  Hence the assorted titles, such as Jula Juli Bintang Tiga, Nyai Dasima and The Merchant of Bagdad. 
2. Sandiwara Dardanella, which manifested European influences in its prop and costume.

3. Roekiah, a popular Prima Donna.

4.  An elaborate set, costume and cast.

5.  The facade of the Utusan office at Cecil St.

6.  The editorial staff of Utusan celebrated its birth in 1939.

7.  Utusan Melayu in Jawi script then.
8.  A group photo of those who had given their sweat, blood and tears to see Utusan became a reality on 31st May 1939.
9.  A poster of a Bangsawan performance by Nyonya artistes in Penang.


Ummie said...

The first time I was in Kendal in early 90s, I could not believe My eyes.
There were still singers & performers, going around 'pendalaman kampung', looking for those willing to pay to see their show, wearing like what your 1st pix shown.

BaitiBadarudin said...

Wow, they still had 'wayang wong' then!
My late uncle at Ijok/Bukit Badong had a pentas 'ketoprak' in his yard in the 70s but it was gone after they built a brick and mortar house in the '90s.
We should catch up, there's so much to talk about.
Have a great weekend, Ummie.

sri tribuana said...


terima kasih masuk ke blog saya. Sudah saya link blog ini ke blog saya. Nice meeting you.

BaitiBadarudin said...

Salam ST,
Terima kasih kembali.