I never met this gentleman before. Despite this fact, I think I have to publish him for one reason, Monang Naipospos is the person any one must see today if you are looking for a champion in Batak culture, tradition, philosophy, way of life and its language. Why? Becuase he is not only inherit the batak culture from his parent, but live with it in the most genuine form it could be today. Besides that, Monang is a Parmalim believer, the original Batak religion which devote Batak Great King Sisingamangaraja as one of their prophets.
Monang Naipospos holding a hasapi, traditional Batak music instrument with background of a ruma batak, traditional Batak house. (photo by Aryono Huboyo Dati)
Monang Naipospos and one of his close friends (Photo reproduced from http://www.tanobatak.wordpress.com/)
Monang Naipsospos when met with his blogger friends in Jakarta. Sitting (from left to right) Monang Naipospos, Charlie Sianipar, Merdi Sihombing (ulos designer) and Suhunan Situmorang. Behind are Vicky Sianipar, a batak singer and Siallagan (a Batak traditional sculptor from Ambarita Samosir)/ Photo: reproduced from http://www.tanobatak.blogpress.com/
I get to know Monang when visiting his personal blog http://www.tanobatak.wordpress.com/ Tano Batak is Batak language for batak land. He started blogging Batak culture last year and in a very short while has managed to draw a lot of visitors some of them even as far as from the US and European countries. Although most of them are Bataks, but quite a number of his visitors are not Batak descendants. Monang blog is considered as the most updated and reliable site for Batak culture today. His blogs number of hits and the background of the visitors which most of them are well educated and professional Bataks will speak for it self how his blog gained this status.
This recoqnition perhaps is also due to the facts that Monang is the most prominent Parmalim scholar who is also internet savvy especially in blogging. For long the Parmalim is considered a secluded society which even stranger to most of Bataks. Parmalim, which means “holy people” is an old religion which has long been forgotten by the state of Indonesia although they are part of the most die hard group of Indoensian people who resisted Dutch colonial without compromise.
Huta Tinggi village in Laguboti district of Toba Samosir Regency is the holy city of Parmalim where around 1,000 Parmalim family and their King Priest Raja Ihutan Marnangkok Naipospos live. The Parmalims believe in Mulajadi na Bolon, The Supreme Creator. Across Indonesia the Parmalims number around 5,000 families. They eschew usury and consumption of various meats, including pork. They also take good care of the environment. When cutting down a tree, the falling tree must not hit any seedlings. When they dig up tubers and roots, they must avoid damaging any buds or sprouts.
According to prominent poet and author Sitor Situmorang in his book Toba Na Sae, the Parmalim was founded by Guru Somalaing Pardede in the 1890s during the period of resistance against Dutch colonization. Guru Somalaing was an advisor and chief aide to Batak King Si Singamangaraja XII. In the eyes of the Parmalims, Sisingamaraja was a prophet who uncompromisingly and persistently oppose and fought against the Dutch colonial government in Batak land. However it is the most irony for the Parmalim as their religion is not recoqnized by Indonesian government until today. This has lead to a very long marginalization of the whole Parmalim believer in Indonesian social, political, economy, legal and cultural landscape.
Monang who is the younger brother of Raja Marnangkok Naipospos the King Chief of Parmalim, lives with his his wife, three sons and two daughters in Huta Tinggi. Monang is now trying to change the stigma Parmalim have suffered for long in the country they fought for by using internet to reach a bigger and borderless audience. His writing skills in Bahasa Indonesia is very good. And when he write Batak language even most Batak today will need a Batak language dictionary to understand as he uses the genuine Batak vocabularies which most of them are no longer in use by Bataks nowadays. I must say that his writings especially in Bataks are the most refine one I can find today.
I believe the road is still "thousands miles" away for Monang to gain his cause; a formal recoqnition of Parmalim by Indonesian legal system. But I will wish him and all his Parmalim fellow well.
And may the Debata Mulajadi Nabolon bless them.