I have visited Surabaya, Indonesia, every summer since 2005 for our collaboration with the Institute of Technology Surabaya. I made my fourth visit in August 2008.
The city is decorated with red and white cloth, which is the same as Indonesian national flag, at the beginning of August. This is because August 17 is Indonesian Independence Day. Although Japan had ruled Indonesia instead of the Netherland after the beginning of the Pacific War, Japan declared its surrender on August 15, 1945, and Indonesia declared its independence two days later.
However, the Netherland, as well as the United Kingdom, which supported the Netherland, arrived in Indonesia to colonize it again. The first big battle of the Indonesian War of Independence happened at last in Surabaya on November 10, 1945.
The city of Surabaya is called Heroic City for the memory of this battle. The official name of the Institute of Technology Surabaya is "Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (November 10 Institute of Technology)."
The photographs on this page were taken at November 10 Museum, which was an exhibition of the Indepedence War, in Surabaya. Since the museum was unfortunately closed when we visited, monuments and statues around the museum are shown here.
The wall on both sides of the statue shows relief illustrating the process of the independence. The relief (left) illustrates the Japanese occupation. The board (right) explains as follows:
Kidungan means Javanese poem recitation. It indicates that Cak Durasim is a reciter who sang a song criticizing Japan. The phrase in the balloon is "Pegupon omahe doro, melok nipon tambah soro."
It is a Javanese sentence meaning "Pegupon is a house of pegions, Japan adds more troubles." According to a friend of mine, Dr. Agus Zainal Arifin of the Institute of Technology Surabaya, told that the latter part gives a real meaning, and the former part just rhythms with the latter.The Japanese Kempetai arrested Indonesian people who sang the song. Dr. Agus said to me that he had been scolded by his aunt for singing this song, even in 1970's.