Thursday, January 3, 2019

Laskar Pelangi movie buff Must Visit Places

‘The story covers the struggles they and their two teachers face in keeping the Muhammadiyah Elementary School on Belitong Island, Sumatra, up and running, as a tin mining company circles their fecund land. The students each have individually interesting backgrounds, providing prisms for real insights into the diversity of Indonesia. Take, for instance, the child genius Lintang, who cycles 80 kilometres a day for the chance to study: “Lintang’s family was like the epitome of poverty for Malay and Indonesian traditional fishermen. They carried that misery in their hearts from generation to generation. They swallowed the bitterness of empty expectations for the future and their doubts about their children’s education.” Then there is the singer Mahar, who since the second grade has “worked after school as a coolie, grating coconuts at a Chinese produce stall.’ – Travelfish (

With that in mind, my movie-adventure-trip to Belitung begins - The Land of Laskar Pelangi (roll montage, queue music). A place where movie-hunters should make a point to visit, with Garuda flying to Belitung from Singapore makes it even easier. For me, it is more of curiosity, especially of Museum Kata Andrea Hirata (Andrea Hirata's Museum of Words). Of Laskar Pelangi. Of Andrea Hirata himself.

Laskar Pelangi Beach or Tanjung Tinggi Beach
Located in Sijuk District, approximately 45mins to an hour from Tanjung Pandang is the Tanjung Tinggi Beach. Famous for the smooth large oddly size granite boulders, on a pristine beach with powdery sand is where one of the Laskar Pelangi scene was shot. Tanjung Tinggi Beach; now goes by Laskar Pelangi Beach is a place where the locals hangs-out on a weekend. Stalls selling snacks, coconut drinks and beach toy to lure the kids are seen scattered along the coastline.

On a calm sunny day, the water is crystal clear with sun rays piercing from the clouds that sometimes shading the clear blue sky. Often you seen shots taken here reenacting scene of Laskar Pelangi, it is either that the starfish floating shots (no, didn’t do any as the current was too strong on that day for us).

SD Muhammadiyah or Muhammadiyah Elementary School
Another iconic site made famous by the LaskarPelangi book and movie is the replica of SD Muhammadiyah or Muhammadiyah Elementary School. This is where most of the scene centered on, where the teachers are devoted to inspire, teach and guide students from tin mining families who've come to study at the poorest village school on the island of Belitung, while having to brave 80km round trip by bicycle.

The replica of SD Muhammadiyah was set to looks as real as possible, ensuring each detail are accounted for. Stepping into the classroom creates a sense of childhood in almost all visitors where you can easily see the ‘pupil and teacher scene being acted out (dramatically)’. At times, you can see locals kid coming over with kaolin clay covered on their body, depicting the kids from mining family from the movie. And if you are lucky, you can have a picture of them or perhaps even with them.

About 100km from Tanjung Pandan City, rented car or tour arrangement would probably be the best mode of transportation for the drive can be up to 2 hours max.

Museum Kata Andrea Hirata or Andrea Hirata Museum of Words
Once known as Billiton; one of the top producer of tin and tin mining in the world, has now waned due to the decline in tin commodity that hit the world. This was during the time where many of the countries around South East Asia were impacted, Malaysia included.

This happens to be the most looked-forward place if you are in Belitung; for those that the appreciate museum, the those who love of art and those that got bitten by the travel bug. The book Laskar Pelangi or ‘The Rainbow Troop’ has achieved a worldwide success that a Museum of Words was erected for Andrea Hirata himself. Having produced a few sequels namely Sang Pemimpi, Edensor and Maryamah Karpov: Mimpi-mimpi Lintang, and his success in putting and highlighting Belitung in the map, aside from the fact the Laskar Pelangi book was translated to more than 20 languages and is being read around the world, this Museum of Words is the best (and yummies) icing on the cake.

The book not only introduce us to Belitung, but also the poverty, the desire to learn, the hope and dream. And that everyone can excel, given the right attention, guidance and encouragement. Nothing is impossible. From the word of Andrea Hirata – Bermimpilah kerna Tuhan akan memeluk mimpi-mimpimu (Dream for God will embrace you dreams).

The museum was the first and only Museum on Literature in Indonesia and was officially opened to the public in 2012.

Fam ‘Getaways’ Trip to Belitung Island is made possible by MTN Getaways.

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