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RM as a Tech in a Colony

eohlRudolf Mrazek has written a book entitled “Engineers of Happy Land”. I browsed inside the book in Google Books and found a part that mentions Radio Malabar. However, first of all my attention was somehow stumbled on the phrase “Happy Land”. It took me some searches to find why it was called so. It’s here, saying :

Sebagai sebuah bekas koloni, Indonesia tentu pernah dikonstruksi sebagai “Negeri Bahagia” (Happy Land) yang menjadi tempat impian bagi para pelancong dari Belanda yang ingin menghabiskan hari tuanya. Di tempat itulah, mereka dapat menikmati segala keindahan dan kemolekan sebuah bentang alam yang belum pernah dibayangkan sebelumnya. Dengan demikian, ada kenang-kenangan atau souvenir yang dapat dibawa pulang untuk dibagikan kepada anak-cucu sebagai akhir dari kisah hidup mereka yang halus dan mulus.

My translation :

“As it was a colony, Indonesia was thought to be a “happy land”: a dream place for Dutch’s travellers who want to spend their old life. It is in such place that they could enjoy all the beauty and loveliness of a natural landscape they have never imagined before. Thus, that way they could afford to keep recollection or souvenir they carry back home for their children and grandchildren, as the end of their story of impeccable life.”

Then it is not hard to digest why it was “happy land”.

It looks like the book has been regarded to have some significance. A foundation called Yayasan Pustaka Obor Indonesia, has translated the book to Bahasa Indonesia with the title “Engineers of Happy Land: Perkembangan Teknologi dan Nasionalisme di Sebuah Koloni”. Just another one to be in my list, to look for when I go to the bookstore.

Anyway, this is the part that mentions Radio Malabar available from Google Books. I suspect there could be another ones, but this is the only viewable :


While  it  provides an  interesting  description  of  the  interior of  Radio Malabar,  it also has a striking fault. Radio Malabar IS in the south of Bandung. It is nowhere near the Bosscha Telescope. Another mind catching is “Malabar Transmitter Tourist Guidebook”. So, was RM already a tourist destination in 1929 ? I wonder if the book really put the real title of the guidebook at the end of the pages.

The phrase “distance below” is suggesting the author’s own imagination. As he wrote that Radio Malabar is ‘above Bandung’, then it somehow could affords a look-below, … That’s what I could figure of Mrazek’s. If that’s really the case, then it is definitely wrong, and should lead us to suspect the other accounts on Radio Malabar might as well be less credible. However, he is paraphrasing the rest from that guidebook (containing some photographs). That’s emhasizing the importance and realiability of the source. I hope I could trace that guidebook somewhere.

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