“I am the happiest dead soul. My real life begins when I no longer breathe”William Van Kemmen
Author: Risa Saraswati
Publisher: Bukune (2017)
Pages: 216 pages
ISBN: 6022202264, 9786022202264
About The Author
Risa Saraswati was born in Bandung on February 24, 1985. Risa is a singer, writer, as well as a civil servant in the city of Bandung. Risa was born with an advantage that is able to see and interact with invisible creatures. She studied singing since he was in junior high school and started to seriously pursue music since graduating from high school.
Risa Saraswati joined in a band called Homogenic for 7 years. Risa Saraswati as a vocalist, finally broke free and tried to write songs and form a solo project with the name ‘Sarasvati’. She also liked the works of Enid Blyton since childhood and turned to the works of R.L Stine as a teenager. Sarasvati is fronted by Risa Saraswat as vocalist, Egi Anggara as guitarist, Ferry Nurhayat as keyboardist and composer and Yura as pianist.
Starting from writing a diary, writing a friend’s story, until finally writing the stories behind the songs she wrote in a blog. New hobbies that bring good luck until finally the opportunity to write more seriously in a book-shaped work. Initially she was successful with her first novel entitled Danur, followed by subsequent sequences, Maddah and Sunyaruri. After her success, Risa Saraswati now began to film the books she had written. Among Danur which penetrated up to 3 million viewers followed by Danur 2: Maddah which is no less very enthusiastic.
In spite of that all Risa Saraswati is now a vlogger by embracing her siblings who have the advantage of seeing invisible creatures in a project. The fact is that not only Risa Saraswati has these advantages, Risa Saraswati’s cousins have many advantages, it turns out that the excess was obtained from her grandfather. The YouTube project titled #JurnalRisa Saraswati which airs every Thursday (Friday night) and Sunday.
William Van Kemmen is a handsome little boy, especially with the violin who always accompanied him. However, in his heart he felt lonely. All because of the transfer of his family to the Dutch East Indies. Now his eyes are blank because of sadness, no one wants to be friends with him.
After death greets, then he feels happy. Finally he befriended Peter the bad boy, the arrogant Hendrick, the sensitive Hans, Janshen the toothless, until Risa the human child who could see ghosts.
This is the story about him, the story that William has been holding tightly.
This story is set in the city of Bandoeng around the early 40s (where Indonesia is still referred to as the Dutch East Indies). We like being invited to flashback to see Bandung first. Imagining Dutch buildings like the one on Jalan Braga is still commonly seen in the city of Bandung. Where schools, shopping places, and streets are still full of Netherlanders. Where the indigenous people are still referred to as inlanders (the terms inlander, londo, nyai, jongos at that time were still commonly referred to and pinned to indigenous people).
Reading this novel, reminds me of the novel “Earth Man”. At a time when this nation was still living as a colonized nation and often experienced discrimination and lived in poverty. Important positions in government, trade, education are still controlled by the Dutch. Generally they see disgust and disdain, the natives are lowly, uneducated, and poor. At which time figures such as H.O.S Tjokroaminoto, dr. Soetomo, Ki Hajar Dewantara, Douwes Dekker – even Sukarno and M. Hatta – lived and fought for his people (if there were no people like him who were smart and brave, maybe this nation would not be independent in 1945 and could even still be a colony ). Truly we who live in this period should be grateful for being independent and able to stand on equal footing with the nation in its position as humans.
The story begins with the move of the Van Kemmen family to the Dutch East Indies from The Hague. William came from a distinguished family, his father was a soldier and had a fairly successful business. His mother is a descendant of respected people as well but has a bad character. He is a person who likes luxury, likes to show off, spoiled, and wants to win alone. Luckily she is beautiful so the husband is bent on her knee and obey all her wishes.
Unlike his parents, William is a figure who has never distinguished the Netherlands and inlanders. He is sensitive and he is lonely. He longed for affection, but he didn’t get it from his parents. His only best friend was the violin given by his grandfather.
There was compassion for William, who was confined by his own family, especially the mother. William’s presence from the beginning was not wanted by his mother, according to her William was present too early so that she could not enjoy her life. His mother’s cold attitude and strange look at him made their relationship tenuous. Whereas his father could not do much. William grew up feeling unwanted and lonely. Even until the end of his life he still felt lonely. I wish I could help him …
Good people who have stopped in their lives such as Toto, his caregiver at home, and Ms. Dietje always leave because his mother does not like them. What a mother who does not deserve to be an example!
Reading novels by Risa Saraswati, especially those that tell her little friends who are of Dutch descent open my view of the Japanese occupation period in Indonesia (although only a little is told at the end of the story). It turned out that those days were terrible times for the Dutch people who lived in Indonesia. Many Dutch people were victims of the cruelty of Japanese troops who invaded the Dutch East Indies at that time.
The advantage of this novel is that the theme is very good and can be an inspiration even add to the knowledge of history. The language used is easily understood by readers so that even teenagers have no difficulty in understanding it. In this novel tells the story of the pain of being a Dutch child in ancient