How Indonesia Got Our Freedom: Bambu Runcing

I can remember vividly how my Elementary School teachers used to say this:

“Indonesia berhasil memperoleh kemerdekaannya karena kekuatan dan keberanian para pendahulu kita”

(Indonesia won its independence through the strength and valor of our ancestors)

Well, I dont have problems there. Then it goes on.

Jepang sebenarnya akan memberikan kemerdekaan untuk kita. Tapi kita memilih untuk memerdekakan diri

(The Japanese would have given us our independence, but we chose to claim it ourselves)

Now comes the drama part.

Silih berganti, para penjajah berdatangan dengan senapan dan meriam mereka

(One after another, the invaders came with their guns and cannons)

And it goes on to this terrible, terrible, terrible statement.

Kita merebut kemerdekaan kita dari mereka, dengan hanya bermodalkan bambu runcing melawan senapan-senapan dan meriam-meriam mereka

(We snatched back our freedom from them, with mere bambu runcing in our hands against those guns and cannons of theirs)

Now what is this exquisite bambu runcing?

Here’s a picture of one.

Made of bamboo sticks, sharpened. And of course, with the famous panji merah putih (red and white standards) with it.


I am not at all against the fact on how useful these things were. We poked a lot of those Dutch with these. Well, I do wonder how in the dramatizations our teachers love to only mention the bamboo. While a lot of us actually used swords, spears, and other non-bamboo. Oh, guns too, in fact. Teuku Umar, for instance, stole a hell lot of guns from the Dutch and used them to fight. And we can see many pictures of our national heroes and heroines in our history books holding things such as keris, rencong, badik, and more (check pics of Pangeran Diponegoro, Kapiten Pattimura, etc).

It was not debatable, however, that our heroes were outpowered by fire superiority by real far. Thus, we had so much trouble and fighting the Dutch was definitely not that easy.

But take a look of a picture of our independence day.

Any bamboos?

Boys and girls, no doubt that our past heroes used a lot of stuff including bambu runcing to try fight off the dutch and other invaders of our lands.

But in the end, it were scholars and pens and intelectual movements that brought us to where we are now. Therefore, kids, stop brawling and study well.

Just a final note. If bambu runcing were really the backbone of our resistance forces, thank God it wasnt CHINA who attacked us.

They’ll nom nom our bambu runcings.