Monday, 10 August 2009

The Spirit of Ting Ting Jahe

For a long time, I didn’t eat this candy: Ting Ting Jahe. Actually, about a year ago, I eat this candy when I acrossed Madura strait by ferry. But the candy was not the original Ting Ting Jahe—it was not my childhood candy. I saved the piece of paper wrapping around the candy.

I never had a dream to meet and eat this memorable candy again that morning. It was in Malang, in an environmental education workshop held by British Council, when Ibu Stien Matakupan brought this candy and offered me. Along with Pak Suryo Wardhoyo, I enjoyed eating this candy that morning. What a nice surprise!

Enjoying that candy, I had a little discussion with Ibu Stien and Pak Suryo about this candy. I showed them the wrapping of another Ting Ting Jahe saved on my wallet, and I tried to compare it with the “original” one.
The original Ting Ting Jahe has a register at the National Agency of Drug and Food Control Republic of Indonesia. In the package, it is written: “FOR INDONESIAN MARKET ONLY”. From this text, I believe that this candy is an export commodity. I had found the real answer when I browsed internet yesterday, and I found this candy sold in Yes, it is this Ting Ting Jahe, produced by PT Sindu Amritha Pasuruan.

From another source, I got one more important information about this candy. According to John Joseph Stockdale, an English traveler, on his book, Island of Java, it is mentioned that on 1778 the Dutchman sent this candy to Europe—about five thousand kilogram! European people like this candy so much.

Most important thing of this candy is about four different languages written on its package: Indonesian, Arabic, Javanese, and Dutch. For me, this mean that this candy is a kind of symbol of a peaceful multicultural heritage of our long-historical interaction between various ethnic groups in Nusantara. It seems to be a product of our local wisdom.

I am so impressed with the fact that this herbal candy could survive until now. I hope our people could give good appreciation for this bonbon—and maybe the spirit of its history and survival.

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