English Corner

The New Order Story [6] Hoegeng with His Hawaiian Seniors

Kamis, 25 Februari 2021, 06:09 WIB
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The New Order Story [6] Hoegeng with His Hawaiian Seniors
Hoeging and Hawaiian Seniors (Photo: TVRI)

Pepih Nugraha

Penulis senior

Hoegeng Imam Santoso was a police general who during the New Order era held the most prestigious position in the National Police, namely the National Police Chief. He held the post between 1968 and 1971.

However, in the 1970s to early 1980s, people got to know Hoegeng better because of his Pacific Ocean Rhythm (Irama Lautan Teduh) on TVRI with the music group The Hawaiian Seniors.

Its name is also Lautan Teduh (Pacific Ocean) which is in the east of Indonesia, continues to the east until you find Hawaii, an island which is now part of the 51st state of the United States. Well, on this island that is close to the beach and the sun, the music of Pacific Ocean Rhythm comes from.

Imagine your body swinging on a swing of nets tied to two coconut trees on the shores of Kahalu'u, Kauna'oa, or Punalu'u beaches in Hawaii. Don't be on the already noisy Waikiki beach. Then the breezy winds guessed with the sun shining brightly overhead. Guaranteed you will fall asleep.

In addition to this, that's when the notes of the Hawaiian Guitar strings sound like that of the harp, but the strings keep rubbing against them using a "metal ring" as the string sounds. Similar to the zither in India, at least a whirring sound it produces.

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Well, in those years you didn't need to travel to Hawaii just to listen to that beautiful Hawaiian guitar, just watch TVRI, which regularly performed The Hawaiin Seniors led by Hoegeng.

The founding of this music group was initiated by Soejoso Karsono (Mas Jos), an Air Force officer (formerly known as Air Force), who founded the recording company Irama in 1951. Mas Jos is the founder of Radio Elshinta, who together with Hoegeng love that cool Hawaiian music.

Historically, Hoegeng and Mas Jos together with The Hawaiian Seniors first appeared in 1968 on TVRI through the program "Irama Lautan Teduh". You know that year the television had not been colored like it is now, mostly black and white (BW), maybe only the super-rich people who already had a colored television in that year.

In addition to Mas Yos who is the vocalist and Hoegeng who also holds the ukulele, there is also George de Fretes who is a master of Hawaiian guitar, Rooselani Hoegeng who is none other than Hoegeng's wife who occasionally becomes vocals, Mang Udel who also holds the ukulele, Bram Titaley the vocalist whose voice is "screeching" "and Ferry Berhitoe who played acoustic guitar. If I remember correctly, Bram Titaley is the grandfather of singer Harvey Malaiholo.

Hoegeng is a music-loving police general, hence he is known in foreign media as "The Singing General". If you want to add, as "The Singing General" he lived in an era when "The Smiling General" was at the peak of his power.

Unexpectedly, Mr. Hoegeng and his The Hawaiian Seniors had to say goodbye (roughly expelled) from TVRI, which is owned by the government for good. Especially after Pak Hoegeng signed "Petisi 50", a petition that critically questioned General Suharto's leadership as President of the Republic of Indonesia.

His name is also "Petisi 50", signed by 50 figures, Hoegeng one of them. There are the names AM Fatwa and HR Dharsono in it, which I will also share later.

In an instant, Hoegeng disappeared from viewers' eyes for no apparent reason, as was common during the New Order era. The ruler's reason that emerged later was because The Hawaiian Seniors was considered not to reflect original Indonesian music.

Hasn't that music teacher been on the air for 12 years? How can you suddenly say that it doesn't reflect authentic Indonesian music? Yes, this is a ridiculous excuse, but that is the stupid argument that comes out for public consumption.

It is useless for Hoegeng to argue that pop music or dangdut does not originate in Indonesia and is not prohibited on TVRI. Why is Hawaiian music banned?

Until his death on July 14, 2004 at the age of 82 years, General Hoegeng would not have received a clear answer, in essence wipe out.

"The Singing General" in the end understood the bad character of "The Smiling General" who had appointed him as the National Police Chief. It's just that in the eyes of Soeharto, the "Smiling General", Hoegeng is ungrateful for signing the "cursed petition".

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