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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kretek: The Culture and Heritage of Indonesia's Clove Cigarettes


Mark Hanusz (Author)

Carried on the warm breezes of a sultry tropic night, the scent of kretek - Indonesia's indigenous clove cigarette - is the aromatic soul of a nation, the fragrant embodiment of all things Indonesian.
Bringing together tobacco from the New World and spices from the Old, kretek is a product of extraordinary historical circumstances, but its home is Indonesia, where the lingering traces of its distinctive aroma are an ever-present part of everyday life.

Featuring a magnificent selection of specially-commissioned photographs and an equally fascinating collection of rare maps, paintings, prints and other archival images, Kretek: The Culture and Heritage of Indonesia's Clove Cigarettes tells the remarkable story of kretek from its origins as a remedy for asthma to its ascendancy as a cultural icon.

Product Details
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Equinox Publishing (March 21, 2000)
Language: English

The Culture and Heritage of Indonesia's Clove Cigarettes

Rokok is cigarettes, kretek is clove flavored, so rokok kretek means clove flavored cigarettes or clove cigarettes. For many millions Javanese and Indonesians, kretek is enjoyable companion, tasteful, it gives a feeling of relief & relaxation and its price is nothing compare to the comfort given.
Clove tree In restaurants, pubs, bars, discotheques, public buildings and in many other places outdoor, the sweet smoke from kretek are smelt. This is a common sight, but nowadays, many sites are divided to smoking and non smoking areas. Some air conditioned buildings even declared as non smoking.

Brief history

Rokok kretek was invented by a man from the town of Kudus, 50 km eastward of Semarang in the early nineties AD. The man Noto Semito was from a long time suffering from cough and asthma. Desperate to cure his illness, he rolled tobacco mix with crushed cloves in dried corn leaves - this is the original kretek cigarettes.
The rokok klobot (klobot is dried corn leaves). After smoking these kretek he was cured and become healthier. He began to manufacture his new kretek cigarettes with trade mark of BAL TIGA (three balls). He actively marketed the kretek every where, through radio, touring vans with music and dancers, even by air dropping promotion leaflets.
He become a very successful business man, a billionaire. His steps was followed by many others and soon kretek industry was mushrooming also in other cities. The fate of Noto Semito, The Father of Kretek, ended tragically, he was bankrupt in 1953, crashed by his invented kretek vast industry.

The Present Day

The kretek follows 'modernization' in cigarettes industry. The new filter kretek are major products, the contents of crushed cloves are smaller, changed with clove essence. The crushed cloves are kept to maintain the voice of burning kretek - crakling : tek, tek, tek, from here comes the name of kretek.
The leaders of kretek nowadays are Djambu Bol, Sukun, Nojorono, Djarum (in Kudus and Central Java), Bentoel (in Malang), Gudang Garam (in Kediri) and Sampoerna (in Surabaya). There are also smaller manufacturers, such as Menara (in Solo), Pompa (in Semarang), etc. More than 95% of local smokers prefer kretek than rokok putih or white cigarettes - non clove cigarettes.
No one denies that kretek industry brings a huge sum of tax to the state purse and millions of people depend their income to this chains of business, starting from the tobacco and clove farmers, workers at the factories, sellers in many shops and stalls, truckers, involved in this industry and it's worth to note - their families.

Tobacco Connoisseur

The kretek factories absorb a lot of tabacco. The buyers - mainly the kretek producers, they hire several connoisseurs, experts of tobacco, to secure the quality of their products. They are very well paid. No doubt of their specific expertise. Only by smelling the wet tobacco leaves or dried cut tobacco leaves, high qualified connoisseur should know precisely the origin of the tobacco. It is from Wonosobo , Magelang or Boyolali (Central java) or from Besuki (East Java), and knows the harvest year of every tobacco tested. The testing is important as prices differs from region to region.

Where to Buy

Most tobacco stores carry clove cigarettes. Try the local mall, Some convenience stores carry them, but not the major chains. You will have much better luck finding clove cigarettes at family-owned and operated convenience stores, especially stores owned by recent immigrants to the United States (since they tend to have more knowledge of clove cigarettes). But due to the high taxes of cigarettes people like to look for altervative sources. The best place to get your clove cigarettes without have to pay these high taxes is the internet. You can search the internet and you will find lots of websites selling clove cigarettes. One of the most trusted website that sells clove cigarettes is myKretek.com - The Original Indonesian Clove Cigarettes Online Store .With a long history in the clove cigarettes business and over 6 years of online experience, myKretek.com not only offers genuine products at competitive prices they also guarantee that all of their products are freshly supplied to the customers for their full satisfaction.

http://www.cafemarly.com/2009/08/culture-and-heritage-of-indonesias.html

Kisah di Balik Buku Kretek

Saya memang belum membaca bukunya, tetapi membaca sekelumit latar belakangnya saja sudah memberikan rasa kagum. Bagaimana tidak, walaupun Mark Hanusz adalah seorang warga Amerika Serikat tetapi totalitasnya untuk membuat buku tentang rokok kretek yang merupakan kekayaan lokal Indonesia, sangatlah luar biasa. Sudah bisa ditebak bahwa buku berjudul Kretek: The Culture and Heritage of Indonesia’s Clove Cigarettes adalah buku yang berkualitas baik substansi maupun desainnya.
Rasanya tidak berlebihan bila saya membagikan rasa kagum ini pada orang lain melalui cuplikan aritkel yang ditulis oleh BI Purwanti, litbang Harian Kompas. Mudah-mudahan bermanfaat.

Dari saham ke buku
Awalnya adalah tahun 1998, ketika Indonesia dihantam krisis ekonomi. Saat itu Mark Hanusz telah bekerja di Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) selama tujuh tahun dan dua tahun ditugaskan di Jakarta menangani penjualan saham. Krisis mengakibatkan perdagangan saham sepi, tak ada orang mau menjual atau membeli saham. Alih-alih kembali ke tanah airnya, Mark Hanusz memutuskan tetap tinggal di Indonesia. Ia pun lalu melakukan riset tentang keretek dan menuliskannya dalam bentuk buku.

Kenapa Kretek
“Sudah sejak lama saya ingin sekali menulis buku. Saya kira itu keinginan semua orang. It’s human nature,” ceritanya. Ia pun memulai riset tentang rokok keretek yang membawanya ke berbagai tempat di Indonesia bahkan hingga ke Belanda, terutama Tropen Museum di Amsterdam dan Leiden. “Waktu itu banyak bisnis mati di sini, tetapi industri rokok tidak. Ia justru paling laku. Dan keretek itu tidak ada di AS, tidak ada di Eropa, atau negeri-negeri lain. Hanya ada di sini, khas Indonesia,” papar laki-laki kelahiran 26 Juli 1976 ini.

Totality or Crazy?
Totalitas menulis buku dibuktikan Mark Hanusz dengan bekerja full-time dari pagi hingga malam sejak konsep hingga akhir penulisan selama 18 bulan. Ia mendatangi keluarga Nitisemito, pelopor industri rokok keretek Indonesia, untuk menuliskan sejarah awal produksi massal keretek di Kudus, Jawa Tengah. Selain itu, ia juga berkeliling ke 60 perusahaan rokok yang ada di Jawa Tengah dan Jawa Timur serta pergi ke Sulawesi untuk meneliti cengkeh yang digunakan di dalam produksi keretek. “Saya pegang semua pekerjaan saat itu, wawancara, mencari foto-foto, menulis, mengedit, dan membiayai semua proses hingga penerbitan. Tidak ada sponsor, tidak ada penerbit. I was crazy at that time,” urainya lagi.

Cikal Bakal Equinox Publishing
Penerbitan buku tentang keretek itulah yang menjadi awal mula berdirinya Equinox Publishing. Buku berjudul Kretek: The Culture and Heritage of Indonesia’s Clove Cigarettes diluncurkan pada 21 Maret 2000 di Jakarta yang dimeriahkan dengan peragaan pembuatan rokok kelobot, rokok dengan pembungkus daun jagung, dan sekaligus sebagai pengumuman tidak resmi tentang Equinox. “Sebetulnya saya tidak pandai menulis. Ada dua buku lagi yang saya tulis bersama teman setelah Kretek, tetapi tidak sebagus Kretek. Namun, saya kira saya lebih pandai mengelola bisnis buku daripada menulis buku,” jelas Mark Hanusz dengan lugas.
(Sumber foto: Equinox Publshing. Sumber artikel: Harian Kompas).

Saya tidak tahu pasti, tetapi kata orang banyak kekayaan lokal Indonesia yang pada akhirnya menjadi hak milik bangsa lain, hanya karena Indonesia kurang peduli dan tidak segera mematenkannya. Melalui buku tentang kretek yang ditulis Mark Hanusz, dunia tahu bahwa rokok kretek adalah asli rokoknya Indonesia. Mudah-mudahan, karena seluruh buku yang diterbitkan oleh Equinox Publishing dipasarkan secara internasional melalui distributor dunia dan institusi akademik.

Written by anto niappa
June 2, 2008 at 12:51 pm

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