Last Sunday, I went to Tobucil with my friend. Before, we had some kind of business in Riau Street. Then, we went to Aceh Street on foot. We passed Maluku Park. My friend said that this place looked spooky. She is right. That is how I felt when I once visited this park before.
In Maluku Park or Mollukenpark or Molluken Park, I met a statue of priest H. O. Verbraak, S. J. He was a Netherlands East Indies army chaplain who had duty in Aceh from 1873 until 1907. He was known as a good person, a peacemaker, and a helper.
The story tells that in 1918 a plane which took the pastor fell down near Maluku Park. The government of Netherlands East Indies then built his statue in 1922 to remind his merits. That’s all I know.
For me, Maluku Park looked a little bit eerie and quiet. Maybe because of the old trees. Should I enter the park? I was all alone that day and it was a cloudy day.
I stepped on Saparua Street and entered this park, anyway. I was welcomed by three persons: a little girl who was crying, a little boy who was sitting on the bench, and a mother who was calming down the little girl. They wore the old and faded clothes and they looked so dirty. Who were they? I wanted to ask but something said, “Let it.” So, I continued this little adventure.
Then I felt something disgusted when I took some pictures of the park. There was rubbish everywhere. This park looked ignored. Whereas, we could do so many activities here, such as picnic, taking photograph, painting, writing, reading, even children could running free.
I could not stand with such situation, so I walked away. And I found a pool with a fountain in the middle. But there was just … should I call it water? The dirty water, perhaps? It was not a fountain anymore, after all. Even people used the fence around the pool as a clothesline. The people were, maybe, the three persons whom I met when I entered this place.
Then I found a couple. The students. A boy and a girl. I didn’t know what they did. Maybe they were in love. Or … I had heard something bad also: people used this park as a prostitution place in the night.
However, it’s not far away from the street. A few meters from where I was standing, the cars come and gone. There are few steps more to reach the gate. I was going to leave Maluku Park.
Yeah! Finally, I backed to the “civilization”. But I guessed I had missed one thing very important. I entered this park to meet “somebody”. The host: Verbraak statue. He stood in the corner of the park. I wondered why did he face the street and not the park?
In my opinion, the statue did not want to see his “house” like that. It was dirty. I guessed, for Verbraak statue, watching the cars that come and gone is more interested than watching the rubbish that just stayed.
“Bye, Mijnheer Verbraak,” I waved him. “Really hope there’ll be no more rubbish around when I revisit you.”
Later days, I have heard that there is an urban legend from the statue. It moves, the neck turns and the closed book that he hold is opened. I do not know whether it’s true or not. Well, maybe you want to prove it by yourself. [photo by Rie]