|Equator monument 1982|
|Equator monument 2019|
In the eighties access to this city was by air once a week on Friday by Merpati Nusantara from Kuching.The other alternative was by road from Kuching to Serian, Tebakang to Tebedu our last frontier before crossing into Indonesia. No official crossing point existed however anyone intending to venture further has to report to our police and Immigration Officer in Tebedu. Then proceed on foot through jungle track and earthen road to reached the Entekong on the Indonesian border.All travelers must report to the Indonesian military border post for registration.Bear in mind at that time border operations were carried out by both armies to hunt Paraku communists along the common border.
My most recent visit to Pontianak was on 15 August 2019 which coincided with the National Day of Indonesia on 17 August 2019, Before this recent visit my second visit Pontianak was in 2003 for a Search & Rescue meeting..What a surprise Pontianak had undergone a drastic change. Shopping malls, and starred hotels can boost tourism which was negligible in the seventies and eighties. Further more with the opening of overland travel it is now possible to drive from Kota Kinabalu to Pontianak.
Before my departure I visioned the city of Pontianak to be somewhat like our own Kuching the capital of Sarawak.Unfortunately that was not the case as they have much catching up to do. The ground condition in the city areas were not conducive for the construction of any structure beyond 4 floors high. .The new Supadio airport was impressive Decades ago there existed no supermarkets or shopping malls.This transformation now put them at par with Kuching. In the eighties only the Kapuas Permai Hotel can be proud to have an Olympic size swimming pool. An alternative public pool was located at Tetraria which is now just a memory. PresentlytThere are a number of good hotels to cater for tourists.
|Present Hotel Kapuas|
Legend has it that Pontianak was founded on 23 October 1771 by Syarif Abdurrahman Al Khadrie of Arab decent.He sailed up the river Kapuas and upon reaching the confluence of the rivers Kapuas and Landak he decided to establish his sultanate. It was said that evil spirits roamed the location. Syarif Abdurrahman Al Khadrie ordered his men to fire a canon ball and at the break of dawn directed them to locate the canon ball.At the spot where the canon ball was recovered he ordered the construction of the 'masjid' of timber that stood the test of time till this present day. Similarly like Masjid Jamek Kuala Lumpur which is located at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers, Masjid Keraton Pontinnak is located at the confluence of the Landak and Kapuas Rivers.
There are events of significance to me.The ceremony at the Hero's Memorial (Makam Pahlawan) is one and others are Ramadhan and the Eid Celebrations. Indonesian independence day is celebrated on 17 August each year with a solemn ceremony at the 'Makam Pahlawan' that will simultaneously commence at 0000 hrs 17 August throughout the republic. Of interest, the regional military commander (Pangdam) will declare the number of TNI soldiers,vigilante and villagers (including unknown soldiers) from West Kalimantan who died fighting for independence. .Candles are lighted on each standard size tombstone with a combat helmet on each grave.What a beautiful sight it was.Tears swell in my eyes while the buglers sounded the 'last post', that echoed throughout the cemetery, as the numbers of the dead were cited.Graves were segregated according to the various religion. This ceremony was something I have never experience before. Follow up to this in the morning the parade and the raising of the national flag took place. What a big difference as compared to our celebration. At the parade iveterans were given front seating what an honour.
|Tomb of civilian combatant|
|Log Canon used before|
|Present day concrete canon|
It was known that,Lampung, and of course Pontianak are the only two provincwere the most memorable.es that carried on with this tradition.My three Hari Raya in Pontianak the most memorable.