(A story crazily creatively re-invented about the origin of the name ‘Bangka’ in ‘Pulau Bangka’; told at a storytelling contest in Jakarta by a student, an icon of our English for Teenagers Program, Indra Cipta Putra Mandiri)
Our ancestors are people who dare to travel vast seas and oceans in search of new life and hope. Now I’m going to tell you some of them. I’m going to deliver the story in such a modification, way, and manner that you will not only get to know these great figures but also put a smile on your face enjoying the story in a fun version that I devise:
It’s been over a month now since these sailors led by Captain Bakagum set sail. They are beginning to run out of food and water supply. And there’s no sign yet of a piece of land to stop at. It’s a good thing that they can still eat the fish that they manage to catch from the open sea.
These sailors are surely no pirates of the Caribbean because they mean no harm to others and in fact do only good. But they are no less brave, and their sailing adventures are no less exciting.
They encounter storms and rough seas. They face big tides and short survival supply. These all challenges they can always overcome. Even the old man and the sea wouldn’t have been real close friends, and the first could’ve easily failed the latter.
In the midst of this, unexpected things DO happen, still. But even so, unanticipated occurrences may just bring their own consequences that men would finally accept and be grateful for. They call this ‘silver lining in every cloud’, ‘blessing in disguise’, and ‘the bright side of things.’
And so there is this one crew member, Sailor Bauntung, who has devoted all his life to serving the ship, the crew, and of course Captain Bakagum. He’s been in every adventure; he’s been loyal; he’s been true. But this time he’s not that lucky.
Holding his stomach, he slowly and weakly approaches the captain and utters: “I think I’m sick.” The captain replies: “You’re sick OF this all long-taking journey?” Sailor Bauntung says: “No, Sir. I’m really sick: as in ill, not feeling well?” The captain replies: “Oh, I’m sorry. You don’t look that sick to me.” The sailor says: “It’s my stomach, Sir. It’s really aching. It must’ve been the too much raw fish that I ate.”
Continuing, the captain responds: “How many times have I told you not to eat too much raw fish? You’re not Japanese. You’re Malay.” The sailor replies: “I know, Sir. I’m sorry. I promise it won’t happen again.” The captain says: “I believe you; I believe you. I just don’t believe myself that I believe you. Now go take some rest. I’ll see to it that some sort of medication be given to you.” The sailor replies: “Thank you, Sir.”
Sailor Bauntung has known Captain Bakagum the way he has befriended changing weathers, storms, and rough seas. And he knows that while these changing weathers, storms, and rough seas have been hardest, his captain has always been greatest. He looks straight, strict, and serious all right, but he’s been best. And he plays with words. He doesn’t always mean what he says. Sailor Bauntung knows that he can’t be offended this way.
So off to the cabin Sailor Bauntung goes. He is relieved from all the work that he usually does in order that he can recover quickly and fully. For the first time he must rest longer than he has before. And somehow he thinks that he won’t like it very much, being used to work and all.
Meanwhile, outside, another crew member, Sailor Basorak is heard crying out loud: “I see land! I see a piece of land! There, look!”, pointing at what apparently looks like a small black dot from afar. The captain is notifed. Sure enough it’s a piece of land now looking clearer and bigger as they approach nearer. They all cheer up, but are aware of their lying-sick friend in the cabin.
The captain orders a crew member to check on Sailor Bauntung, and he gets back reporting that the ache is getting worse. The stomach pain doesn’t stop. Sailor Bauntung poos and vomits. He’s getting weaker, excreting the liquids from inside his body.
The captain tells the crew to reach the land as soon as possible, hoping that they can find a medication or someone to cure their sick friend. But, sadly, upon stopping at the land, having lost lots of liquids and got weaker, Sailor Bauntung passes away. Everyone is saddened by this.
The captain urges that the first thing to do should be to bury their devoted, now deceased friend. And this they do. Having found a good spot, they begin digging the ground. But to their amazement, every time they dig, they find this black grainy sand that they know to be…”Tin; this is tin,” cries Sailor Basorak: “this means wealth; this makes money, bro!”
Sailor Basorak doesn’t realize that out of surprise and excitement he exclaims using an intimate, informal address term of ‘bro’ that he’s never got to use before. Later they find out that the word ‘money’ is ‘wang’ in the local language, and ‘bro’ is ‘ka’’. So, combined, it’s ‘wang, ka’’. The latter utterance therefore translates into the local language as “Ini buli jadi wang, ka’.” Fun and interesting enough, it happens that ‘wangka’ in the local language is ‘timah’. And it’s ‘tin’ in English.
Out of respect for their beloved deceased friend, Sailor Bauntung, Captain Bakagum delivers a special funeral speech: “Dear all crew members, my men, we are letting our brother, Sailor Bauntung go forever. We know that he lived his life and even dies to mean us good. He even leads us to fortune. I think this makes a hero out of him. So let’s all pray: May you, our brother, sailor Bauntung rest in peace, amen and live at ease in the hearts of these men.”
That night still another crew member, Sailor Balagu is seen singing a song, wishing to live another day with their beloved deceased friend, Sailor Bauntung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOmYAH1J3QE&feature=related. It is so touching that everyone hearing aboard the ship weeps their silent tears.
The following day and from that time on, Captain Bakagum and his crew members, the sailors decide to settle down and name the island after their discovery ‘wang, ka’ from ‘money, bro!’, and thus ‘wangka’. The first sound ‘w’ is then appropriated to suit the local tongue of ‘b’, making the island read ‘bangka.’ Until now, Bangka is known for its tin mining, which serves a major source of income for many Bangkanese, this increasing their welfare dramatically. God knows whether or not they remember Sailor Bauntung every time they mine the land for the tin.