China seeks to put Tomb of King Boni in Nanjing on UNESCO list

CHINA is seeking the Brunei government’s help in turning the tomb of Sultan Abdul Majid Hassan in Nanjing into a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Yu Qing, the vice governor of Yuhuatai district in Nanjing, said China is in the process of applying for the Tomb of King Boni to become a World Heritage Site.

Sultan Abdul Majid Hassan is believed to have ruled Brunei before his passing in Nanjing in the 15th century.

“We are hoping that our Brunei counterparts can give their support and assistance for us to achieve this goal,” she said during Brunei Ambassador to China Datin Paduka Magdalene Teo’s visit to the park yesterday.

Yu said the municipal government in Nanjing in May set up a research centre and a team of experts on China and Brunei historical and cultural relations. The Chinese delegation visited Brunei earlier this month.

She added that the park has an exhibition hall illustrating China and Brunei relations. “We need more photos and materials from Brunei for us to showcase Brunei to visitors here and attract them (Chinese nationals) to visit this historical place,” she said.

After its upgrade with the latest exhibits and materials from Brunei in the next few months, the exhibition hall and the park — which is currently closed for renovation — is expected to reopen in June next year.

The exhibition will showcase Brunei-China ties through the use of “modern technology”.

The park, located at the southern foothills of Tortoise Mountain in Yuhuatai district, signifies the historical relations between China and Brunei since 1408.

The municipal government has high hopes that the site will be accepted as a World Heritage Site before marking the 610th anniversary of historical relations between Brunei and China.

“We are also hoping that His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, will visit the tomb himself before the 610th anniversary to signify the milestones of the countries’ relations,” said the vice governor.

Yu said His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and HRH Princess Hjh Masna visited the tomb in 1993 and 2006 respectively.

An investment worth $23 million yuan ($4.79 million), the park covers an area of eight hectares since the tomb was discovered in 1958 with restoration and maintenance works being done throughout the years.

ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) Secretary General Yang Xiuping said efficient communication between government agencies in China and Brunei is needed to achieve the goal of making the tomb a World Heritage Site.

“We have limited time in our hands before we reach the 610th anniversary, so we need to have a clear roadmap to achieve our objectives.

“The research centre can also provide a detailed list of the materials they need from Brunei to ease the whole process,” she said.

Nanjing and Bandar Seri Begawan became sister cities in 2011 to mark the 20th anniversary of Brunei and China bilateral relations.

The Brunei Times

Tue, 25 October 2016


Pictures: BT/Rozan Yunos


Royal revolution as Indonesian sultan taps female heir

yk sultan
Olivia Rondonuwu

COURIERS in elaborate outfits danced to the gentle tinkling of Javanese music as the Sultan of Yogyakarta looked on, a scene that has played out in much the same way for centuries in the tiny Indonesian kingdom.

But the recent ceremony to mark the 70th birthday of Hamengku Buwono X, Indonesia’s last sultan with real political power, had one key difference from previous celebrations — many of his relatives refused to attend.

A bitter feud has erupted at the heart of the kingdom on Java island, after the Muslim ruler signalled he wants his eldest daughter to become the sultanate’s first female monarch after he leaves the throne.

Indonesia is home to numerous small kingdoms. But while other provinces now elect political rulers and their sultans are largely ceremonial figures, Yogyakarta’s sultan serves as both royal leader and governor of the city and its surrounding areas.

Jakarta allowed the Yogyakarta royal family to keep power as the central government was grateful for the sultanate’s support for independence in 1945 after a long period of Dutch colonial rule.

The sultan still maintains many of the trappings of Javanese royal rule in the kingdom, which has a history stretching back to the 16th century.

His main residence is a traditional Javanese palace complex, known as a Kraton, and important events are celebrated with much pomp and circumstance.

But the sultan’s push to make the eldest of his five daughters — he has no sons — the first female monarch of Yogyakarta has transformed him into an unlikely champion for gender equality, and threatens to overturn hundreds of years of tradition in the Muslim, conservative sultanate.

It has sparked a furious row with his family, who say he is breaking rules laid down to govern the sultanate, amid speculation that his brothers were jockeying to fill his position.

“A female sultan is an impossibility,” the sultan’s cousin, Kanjeng Raden Tumenggung Jatiningrat, told AFP.

“One symbol in this palace is a rooster — so if we have a queen should we change it to a hen?”

The rooster is a symbol of bravery.

He added that a female ruler could not oversee rituals in the mosque or other ceremonies that have traditionally been led by men.

Hamengku Buwono, who has been on the throne 27 years, last year set in motion the process for his daughter to become monarch by giving her the title “Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Mangkubumi.”

While he has not confirmed publicly that she is the crown princess, in Javanese culture — where much is conveyed through symbolism rather than anything said out loud — the signs are clear.

The title Mangkubumi, which translates from Indonesian as “the one who holds the Earth”, was the same one given to the sultan when he was made crown prince several decades ago.

She was also entrusted with the task of “attempting to bring safety, happiness and prosperity to the world”, another indication she would succeed her father.

And the sultan made small changes to his own lengthy royal title — removing a word normally only used by men and tweaking another — to make it gender-neutral, opening the door for a woman to take over.

The sultan has defended the move, saying there is nothing stopping him from making changes in his kingdom and he has to adapt as Indonesia modernises.

“The Yogyakarta palace doesn’t have a hereditary tradition that can’t be changed, and all ruling sultans can introduce changes,” he told local media.

Still, many disagree with him, from his relatives to local Muslim groups.

“The king should maintain the tradition as it was originally, because this is an Islamic kingdom,” said Abdurrahman, from local hardline group Islamic Jihad Front, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

But it is not the first time there has been a female monarch in diverse Indonesia – nowadays Muslim-majority, but which has had Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms over the centuries and is home to about 300 different ethnic groups.

Queens at times ruled over the ancient Majapahit empire, which covered large parts of what is now Indonesia from the late 13th to the early 16th centuries, as they did in Aceh, on western Sumatra island, when it was an independent sultanate.

And the sultan’s approximately four million subjects in Yogyakarta and the surrounding area, who view him as a demi-God, have had only a muted a reaction, with most preferring to keep out of royal affairs.

Nevertheless the row looks unlikely to be resolved any time soon, and it cast a long shadow over the recent celebration, which marked the anniversary of the sultan’s coronation as well as his birthday.

The solemn melodies from the “gamelans” — a traditional Indonesian instrumental ensemble, made up of bronze percussion instruments — were a million miles from the seething tensions swirling around the royal succession.

“About 90 per cent of the family don’t respect him anymore,” raged Gusti Bendoro Pangeran Haryo Prabukusumo, a step-brother of the ruler who snubbed the event.

Wed, 29 June 2016


Sultans of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat

HB Keraton-Jogja

Keraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat


Keraton originally means as the place for the ratu (queens) to stay, came from the words of: ka + ratu + an = keraton. It is also translated as a palace. The term Keraton is a palace with several meanings; religious, philosophy, and also cultural. Keraton is rich with its hidden meanings and significance, which is important not just for the internal community but also to the city development of Yogyakarta. Whilst the name of Ngayogyakarta was taken from the area of Yogyakarta, with more comprehensive meaning of Yogya (Goodness) + Karta (Properous) and also Ngayu (Goodness) + Bagya (Happiness) + Karya (Inovative).

 The elements of Keraton, including the ornaments, the buildings, decorations, also the colors and plants have their own hidden story. All of their stories seems to encourage about the importance of doing good deeds in the world and will carry on until the life after death to the people also the visitors. The philosophy mostly adapted from Islam religion with the mix of Hinduism, and progressing until now.

1746 – 1749: Conflict Between Brothers

 The birth of Keraton begun with the battle of Prince Mangkubumi to win back the Mataram Kingdom that has been surrendered by his step brother, Prince Pakubuwono II to the Dutch Colony, with personal interest. The two brother were in the same Kingdom of Mataram. The Mataram Kingdom was originally concluded both the city of Yogyakarta and Surakarta (Solo).

 It took more or less 9 years for Sultan Hamengkubuwono I to restore the Mataram dynasty that was temporarily handed by his older brother, Sunan Pakubuwono 2nd to the Dutch East Indies.


Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, who then went by the name Raden Mas Sujono, went to Sukowati.


On December 1749, Raden Mas Sujono was crowned as the first sultan of Sunan Kabanaran.

 The reason Pakubuwono 2nd gave their land to the Dutch East Indies was to reassure that his heir will become sultan. On December 15 1749, the Dutch East Indies crowned Pakubuwono the 3rd as the succcessor to balance the recently crowned Pakubuwono I.

 Pakubuwono 2nd died in December 20, 1749.

1755: The Giyanti Agreement & the Birth of Keraton Yogyakarta

 With all of the conflicts and tension that happened between the two Keraton of Yogyakarta and Surakata, Dutch Colony then tried to separate the two Kingdom with “Giyanti Agreement” that stated, the Mataram Kingdom will be divided by two regions, the Sunanate of Surakarta which under the authority of Prince Pakubuwono II, and the Sunanate of Yogyakarta which under the authority of Prince Mangkubumi then later became the first Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono, the first “Sultan” (ruler) of Keraton Yogyakarta.

1755 – 1756

The First Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono and The Construction of Keraton Yogyakarta


Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I

Original Name: Bendara Raden Mas Sujono/ Prince Mangkubumi
Date of Birth: 7 August 1717
Crowned: 13 February 1755
Died: 24 March 1792

 After Prince Mangkubumi was crowned as the first Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono as the ruler of Sunanate Yogyakarta, he decided to build a royal palace by his own desire. Sultan Hamengkubuwono I was the architect of the Keraton Surakarta. His residence in Jogjakarta was his private residence; the design was an application of his philosophies

 Keraton was built on forest, the concept was adapted the Hinduism belief which communicates the relation between God with all of his creation. Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I believe that our level as human is the same with other living creature. Therefore, it is important to treat the others equally as God sees us all the same way. Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono was also a Muslim. He added philosophies of Islam into the royal palace.

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubowo I Facts:

  • Had wives in total of 25

  • The total of his children is 32

1792 – 1921: The Successors of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono

 The era of two centuries after the the First Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono was considered as the era of stabilisation. There were not many significant changes happening at that time. Keraton Yogyakarta was still in good condition, with the system that was built by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono 1 and continued since. Although, each of the successors has their own little stories.


Sultan Hamengkubuwono II                            Sultan Hamengkubuwono III

Original Name: Gusti Raden Mas Sundoro                        Original Name: Gusti Raden Mas Surojo
 Date of Birth: 7 March 1750                                                    Date of Birth: 20 February 1769
 Crowned: 2 April 1792                                                               Crowned: 12 June 1812
 Died: 3 January 1828                                                                  Died: 3 November 1814

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono II Facts:        Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono III Facts:

Had wives in total of 28                                                              Had wives in total of 25
The total of his children is 80                                                  The total of his children is 32
Hamengkubuwono IV
Hamengkubuwono V
Hamengkubuwono VI
Hamengkubuwono VII

1921 – 1939

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII, the Father of New Development


Hamengkubuwono VIII

 The era of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII was known as the era of new development. This was known based on the new added elements at Keraton Yogyakarta by on the 20th Century. He implemented many of his designs with the use of symbols that has the components of 8 (eight). The elements that were designed by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII are also shown in the section of                                                                                .

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII’s contributions to Keraton Yogyakarta were significant. According to the history, the era of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII was the time when the Dutch East Indies was trying to take to the whole Yogyakarta for their own purpose, by built fort with missiles that were aiming to Keraton Yogyakarta. However, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII was smart enough to manipulate them and develop the royal palace using the social funding so that the Dutch East Indies could not take it.

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII Facts:

  • Had wives in total of 8

  • The total of his children is 41

1940 – 1988

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, the One Who Experienced 5 Periods


Hamengkubuwono IX

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX was named as the phenomenal Sultan of Keraton Yogyakarta. He experienced the 5 Periods: 1) The time when Dutch East Indies were invading Indonesia, 2) The British Occupation and the Java War, 3) Japanese Occupation in Indonesia, 4) The revolution period when Indonesia fought to reach their independence, 5) The time when Indonesia proclaimed themselves as an independent country in 1945.

 Under the authority of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, Keraton Yogyakarta then decided to be a part of Republic of Indonesia. Keraton Yogyakarta was very significant to Indonesia at that time, chosen as the location for the coronation of the first Indonesian President in 1945. Hamengkubuwono IX was also officiated as the second Vise-President of Indonesian between 1973 – 1978.

 He went to Leiden, Netherlands and pursued his study. His father (Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII) sent him there in order to learn the true education and meet the real ‘Dutch People’ with the hope that Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX will return home and could finally be free from the Dutch East Indies.

 Because of his magnificent achievements during his reign, he held the title of  “Ngarsa Dalem Sampeyan Dalem Ingkang Sinuwun Kangjeng Sultan Hamengkubuwana Senapati-ing-Ngalaga Abdurrahman Sayidin Panatagama Khalifatullah ingkang Jumeneng Kaping Sanga ing Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat”. There is also a museum dedicated to Sri Sultan Hamengkubowono IX in order to remember his contributions for Keraton Yogyakarta and also Indonesia.

The Hamengkubuwono 9 museum was built because to commemorate the sultan’s tremendous efforts of uniting the Kraton with Indonesia. The construction of the museum was initiated by Jogjakarta local authorities with Murwanto/ Tri Martini.

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX Facts:

  • had wives in total of 5

  • The total of his children is 22

1986 – Present

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, The Current Sultan


Hamengkubowono X

 Nowadays, the family tree of Sultan Hamengkubuwono is currently hold by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono the 10th. He is also officiate as a Governor of Yogyakarta, from 1998 until present.

 One of the events that is still debatable in the area of Keraton Yogyakarta is the problem regarding to the next successor of Hamengkubuwono, as Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono does not have a Son.

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X Facts:

  • He has one wife

  • The total of his daughters is 5

  • Therefore, he does not have a Son who could possibly his successor. Because of this matter, there are still some discussions about the controversial news of having his daugther as the successor.


Prince Mangkubumi’s war against Dutch colonial

On the Succession and Development Project in Yogyakarta Sultanate

HBX fam

Sultan of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono (HB) X with his spouse, daughters and sons-in-law.

Cally Colbron


THE current Sultan of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono (HB) X is the father of five daughters and no sons. The Sultanate has customarily been inherited through the male line. Following that tradition, it was widely assumed that at the end of the current Sultan’s reign the Sultanate would pass to his half-brother. Since the position of Sultan is automatically granted the office of Governor of Yogyakarta Province, this would also mean the Sultan’s half-brother would assume this position.

The privilege of government office without elections is unique to Yogyakarta. It is also a relatively new phenomenon. The current Sultan’s father, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono (HB) IX, held the position of Governor of Yogyakarta from the period of Indonesian independence until the time of his death in 1988. However, he had not been entitled to the position by law. The linking of the Yogyakarta governorship to the position of Sultan as an inherited position became national law in 2012.

Gender equality?

On 30 April this year, Sultan HB X issued a royal proclamation indicating that the position of Sultan could be held by a female. The proclamation also altered the official titles of the Sultan. It removed the Islamic designation ‘Khalifatullah’ (Caliph), a title that can only be held by a male, and replaced the Javanese male designation ‘Buwono’ (loosely translated as ‘universe’) to the gender neutral ‘Bawono’. On 5 May the Sultan issued another decree to change the name of his eldest daughter Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Pembayun (GKR), giving her a new title designating her as the crown princess.

Media coverage and commentary from outside Yogyakarta has widely described both the decree and the proclamation as wins for gender equality. Some have suggested that the dispensing of ‘Khalifatullah’ from the official title is a step that not only paves the way for a female Sultan, but also strengthens values of religious diversity within Yogyakarta, since it weakens the identification of the Sultanate with Islam.

Media commentary within Yogyakarta has centred on expert opinions that the changes are illegal under the terms of the 2012 Yogyakarta Special Region Law (Law No. 13/2012). The 2012 law, by linking the governorship to the Sultan, made the position of governor no longer subject to elections. The 2012 law mentions the position of wife of the Sultan, leading some to argue that this indicates unequivocally that the position of Sultan must be held by a male. After 2012, Sultan HB X lobbied the provincial parliament unsuccessfully to remove the paragraph containing mention of the wife of the Sultan but the stipulation remains. The 2012 law also granted the vice governorship to the Pakualam, head of a small duchy called Kadipaten Pakualaman within Yogyakarta Province. Kadipaten Pakualaman was originally created by British colonial powers with land taken from the Sultanate of Yogyakarta as part of colonial Britain’s divide and conquer approach to maintaining control over the local populace.

Among the Yogyakarta public, the proposed changes were met with suspicion. Banners popped up throughout Yogyakarta urging a return to the ‘rules’ of the Kraton. Suspicions were aired on social media and other casual commentary as to the motivations behind the changes. Anti-development sentiment has also grown, due to the Sultan’s role in politics and control of land in the region.

Reclaiming land

Yogyakarta has enjoyed a degree of autonomy and ‘special’ status since the colonial era. After independence, that ‘special status’ was entrenched in national law in recognition of the extraordinary role that both the then Sultan (HB IX) and then Pakualam (VII) played in supporting the independence movement. The Sultan and Pakualam retained ownership of land belonging to the Sultanate and Pakualaman, rather than it being taken over by the new state. Traditional ‘royal’ land remained in use by local communities and a great deal was used for public works projects in the manner of public land. These projects were perceived as benefiting the community at large, and ranged from using land for the establishment of a public university to engineering projects.

In 1984, Sri Sultan HB IX adopted the 1960 Basic Agrarian Law (BAL) in Yogyakarta, a move that saw the ownership of all remaining crown land or royal land (owned by the Sultan or Pakualam) being transferred to the Republic of Indonesia. Prior to this, Sri Sultan HB IX had embarked on a range of public works on crown land and the BAL had little effect on this practice. The adoption of the 1960 BAL came after Sri Sultan HB IX’s withdrawal from national politics in 1978, a move precipitated by then President Suharto’s withdrawal of support. From that time until his death in 1988, Sri Sultan HB IX remained Governor of Yogyakarta. Tensions between HB IX and Suharto then transferred to the current Sultan, who was denied appointment as the governor of Yogyakarta until Suharto fell and the position was won by election in 1998.

The 2012 Yogyakarta Special Region Law, which linked the governorship to the Sultanate, was perceived as recognising Yogyakarta’s unique status as the cultural epicenter of Java. It received broad support from a vast majority of Yogyakartans. This law came in the wake of mass protest against a proposition from then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that would see regular democratic elections for the position of governor and vice governor of Yogyakarta. Rhetoric surrounding the debate took on a Jakarta versus Yogyakarta aspect.

A component of the law that received limited attention until now is the clause that cancelled the BAL and returned to the colonial era Sultan Grond (SG) and Pakualaman Grond (PAG)..This meant that large tracts of land within Yogyakarta were reclassified as crown land, owned by the Sultan or Pakualam. In the wake of the 2012 law an unprecedented mapping project was initiated, aimed at recording all land ‘belonging’ to the Sultan and Pakualam under SG and PAG. Locals who have had their land ownership paperwork amended as part of the mapping exercise began posting photographs of amendments on social media in the wake of the royal proclamation, linking the mapping initiative and the changes to succession.

In a pattern that began before 2012, various sites throughout Yogyakarta have been claimed by the Sultan and Pakualam under the legitimacy of SG and PAG and earmarked for large-scale commercial projects. Local communities who use these sites have been resisting eviction from land and controversy has plagued each project. The legal legitimacy of SG and PAG rests in the 2012 law, since prior to this the 1960 BAL (recognised in Yogyakarta in 1984) had voided the SG and PAG and meant the Sultan and Pakualam had no ownership rights.

The anti-development movement

Resistance to land claims based on SG and PAG and the struggles against dispossession have been going on for several years in various parts of Yogyakarta. One such dispute in Kulon Progo district has seen farmers clash with authorities over an attempted dispossession to make way for an iron sand mining project in collaboration with an Australian mining company. The resistance has been fierce and spanned a number of years, becoming known as the ‘bertani atau mati’ (farm or die) movement – a play on the independence era slogan of ‘merdeka atau mati’ (independence or die). While these farmers have gained positive attention outside Indonesia, within Yogyakarta media portrayals have depicted them as an opportunistic fringe group, until recently. In fact, many within Yogyakarta accepted the official narrative that such organised resistance was the work of preman (organised criminals) or thugs aiming to milk compensation money from the government. That opinion has changed over time, particularly after the recent royal decree and proclamation.

Yogyakarta has also seen a growing anti-development movement, focused on resistance to urban development. The Jogja Ora Didol movement (Javanese for ‘Jogja is not for sale’) has protested with street art resisting what is seen as unfettered and inequitable development. At the same time, spontaneous expressions of protest and resistance to the rampant building of hotels, apartment blocks and shopping malls has been on the increase in local neighbourhoods.

Throughout Yogyakarta, banners expressing opposition to commercial development projects can be seen in virtually every area. Nonetheless, until now only a minority of activists have drawn attention to the nexus between rampant development and the Sultan and Pakualam’s roles as political office holders, landowners and developers. The royal decree appears to have been a trigger which has brought this previously taboo topic out into the open for discussion by the broader Yogyakarta public.

Suing the Sultan

In an unprecedented move, residents of Kulon Progo facing eviction to make way for another development project, the grand scale international airport, launched legal action against the Sultan for his approval of this project. In this case, there is also uncertainty about land rights. The BAL meant that use of the land by local people was protected, whereas reversion to PAG and SG means land rights within these areas are now uncertain. If the Kulon Progo project proceeds, the implication is that PAG and SG takes precedence.

The residents resisting the Kulon Progo airport project are being represented by a local legal aid organisation famed for advocating social justice. Public opinion on the airport project has shifted, and protesters who were viewed with suspicion just months ago are fast becoming a symbol for all Yogyakartans fed up with rampant development, an attitude sharpened since the royal decree and proclamation. The Kulon Progo court case against the Sultan was successful, and a temporary stay on work has been granted. The court decision in favour of residents coincided with the removal of many banners advocating a return to the ‘rules’ of the Kraton. The Sultan has declared his intention to appeal the case and locals still live in uncertainty.

Although the Sultan’s half-brothers have protested the changes to succession, protest from within the royal family has mostly been muted, and it is difficult to imagine protest from those quarters uniting with communities resisting land possessions, given that many members of the Sultan’s extended family have benefited from property development in Yogyakarta. In the view of many locals, succession staying within the immediate family, rather than going to one of the Sultan’s half-brothers as has traditionally been the case, has undermined one of the checks and balances on the power of the Sultanate. The Sultan has defended the changes to succession by saying that the impetus came in messages from God.

Cally Colbron ( has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Monash University and has been living in Yogyakarta with her family.