The Centhini Story
the Javanese journey of life
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Publication Year: 2006
'The Centhini Story, The Javanese Journey of Life' is a book based on an 18th century manuscript capturing the essence of Javanese thinking and philosophy.
Indonesia is the largest country in South-East Asia, yet in many ways little is known about this vast country. Java is Indonesia's most populous island with approximately two-thirds of country's inhabitants, represent a large part of this country.
Our aim with the launch of 'The Centhini Story' is to unlock some of this mystery to a broader audience. The writing however is only one means of communication and we believe that the over 11,000 photographs taken to complement the writing of the book have role in reaching an even broader audience.
Stories from the Serat Centhini
Understanding the Javanese journey of life
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Publication Year: 2013
This book is based on 'The Centhini Story', the condensed, English-language translation of the original 12-volume 'Serat Centhini', one of Indonesia's oldest surviving manuscripts, dating back to 1814. It tells of the flight and reunion of three royal children from the Kingdom of Giri when their father went to war.
Tales of place origins like 'How the Progo River got its name', of moral lessons like 'The case of the diamond beads' and 'The three evil monarchs', and stories that teach the Javanese art of love like 'Secrets of sex play' and 'Secrets to the heart of a woman' are threaded into this rich tapestry of Javanese culture, legends and mysticism.
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About the Author : Dr. Soewito Santoso
Bapak Dr. Soewito Santoso is the main author of The Centhini Story : the Javanese Journey of Life. Pak Wito as we have known him was born in Gamolan, Karanganom, Klaten in Central Java Indonesia. After graduating from University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Arts he started on a career in teaching before moving to the Institute of Teacher Training in Malang, East Java. In 1964 he moved to Canberra, Australia, to lecture at the Australian National University’s (“ANU”) Faculty of Oriental Studies and later known also as The Faculty of Asian Studies, while writing his doctoral thesis. He obtained his Ph.D degree in 1969, and stayed at ANU as Senior Lecturer until 1987.
Pak Wito passed away several months after the initial launch of The Centhini Story in Singapore. Pak Wito initially hesitant to participate in the project, understanding massive task to condense an epic script of some 3,500 pages to one-tenth of its length, but he also understood that a gap needed to be filled. If to be successful The Centhini Story needed to attract the curiosity of the common reader yet provide enough to entice academics to embark on further study of the original Serat Centhini text. This very large project was to be Pak Wito’s final work.
Pak Wito has succeeded in preserving one of Indonesia’s great text, and its great stories. His legacy and blessing are unconsciously passed to us and will live on within The Centhini Story. His contribution will be preserved and serve as a continued reminder and learning for younger generations, encouraging them to respect heritage and tradition.
About the Co-Author : Kestity Pringgoharjono
Kestity Pringgoharjono has always felt the need to foster a deeper understanding of Indonesia’s culture. She set up Preserve Indonesia in 2003 with the aim of preserving Indonesian culture for future generations of Indonesians and promoting the country’s unique culture to the international audience. This interest resulted in the idea and then subsequent project to publish The Centhini Story. Kestity has since then continued to pursue a journey in the arts and culture. This has seen her collaborating with various partners across different continents to build bridges for understanding, through various arts and culture programs.
Kestity was Executive Director of Lontar Foundation from 2011 to 2014. Kestity was awarded received by her alumni, a Fakultas Ekonomi Universitas Indonesia’s – The University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Economics’ - alumni award in 2014, and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta’s Australian Alumni Award in 2011, both for her contribution and achievements in the Arts and Culture. She is currently a board member of PathFinders, a Hong Kong based humanitarian organization helping migrant women and vulnerable children.
About the Photographer : Fendi Siregar
Fendi Siregar is a lecturer at the Faculty of Art, Film and Television of the Jakarta Institute of Art. A professional photographer since the age of 20, his talent has won him numerous awards in national and international photo competition. Fendi spent two years traversing Java to capture the many places mentioned in The Centhini Story. His stunning photographs bring the journeys of the many characters in The Centhini Story to life and showcase the beautiful and magnificent land of Java and its people.
Enthralled by the journey of the characters in The Centhini Story, Fendi continued on his personal journey around Java, often with his students and fellow photographers to delve deeper into the locations and its people referenced in The Centhini Story.