Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Smong - an unheeded tale

While visiting Banda Aceh over Chinese New Year, we (my family and I) were taken on board a 2,600 ton floating power plant that the force of the 2004 Tsunami pushed 5 km inland, crushing everything in its path.

The power plant is too heavy to be shipped back to sea, so the Indonesian Government just converted into a museum.

One exhibit was a 200 year old poem by the people of Simeulue Island about Smong;

Enggel mon sao curito (Listen to this story)
Inang maso semonan (Of a time long ago)
Manoknop sao fano (a village was drowned)
Uwi lah da sesewan (So the story goes)
Unen ne alek linon (Preceded by a quake)
Fesang bakat ne mali (Then a wave so high)
Manoknop sao hampong (all the land was engulfed)
Tibo-tibo mawi (all of a sudden)
Anga linon ne mali (If the quake is strong)
uwek suruik sahuli (and the sea ebbs)
Maheya mihawali (at once seek)
Fano me singa tenggi (your place on higher grounds )
Ede smong kahanne (That is Smong)
Turiang da nenekta (History of our ancestors)
Miredem teher ere (Remember this always)
Pesan dan navi da (the message and it advice)

Right after the 9 point earthquake struck, the people of Banda Aceh, went about saving people from collapsed buildings. Those near the seashore scrambled to find buckets and bags to collect the fish left high and dry as the tide ebbed quickly.

Our guide, who lost all her family members to the Tsunami told us, nobody knew what a Tsunami was. The word was alien to them. When the sea came in, it claimed over 120,000 lives.

Our guide, said sadly.... we have been warned, but we did not listen.

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