Muara Aman, The Gold and Historical City
I grew up in Muara Aman, Lebong Utara, Lebong Regency, so, Muara Aman is also my hometown where I spent my childhood till senior high school. Actually, it is a hard for me to write about this city since I do not have enough resources to write about it. Well, it is OK to say that Muara Aman is city, isn’t it? Since Muara Aman has become the capital city of Lebong Regency, a new regency in Bengkulu Province. Lebong Regency has five sub-regencies; they are Lebong Atas, Lebong Selatan, Lebong Tengah, Lebong Utara, Rimbo Pengadang
Muara Aman is the place where I took my basic education, Elementary School (SD Negeri 27 Lebong Utara), Junior High School (SMP Negeri 1 Lebong Utara), and Senior High School (SMA Negeri 1 Lebong Utara). Many people consider that a remote place, like Muara Aman that is far from the capital city of the province, is not so good in its education. But, I think this opinion is not totally correct. Many students who graduated from this area can survive and compete with other students in higher education or university. So, it is one of the capitals that should be considered by the government.
Muara Aman is in Lebong Sub-Regency. Muara Aman means peaceful river mouth. It is because it has a river mouth between Air Aman River and Air Kotok River in Lebong Donok. It is a kelurahan which has traditional market as the down town, but now the market is moved to Dusun Muara Aman at the bus station. In Muara Aman, where I lived at Jalan Veteran No. 71 Pasar Muara Aman, we can find some public service like BRI, BPD Bengkulu, Bank Bukopin, Police station, some shops as the market, jewelry shops, etc. Some of government facilities are scattered around Pasar Muara Aman, Dusun Muara Aman, Paya Embik, Embong Panjang, etc.
Muara Aman was, actually, famous for its gold mining, although some areas are still producing gold. There are some places that can be visited in Muara Aman or Lebong to see its legend in the past. For instance, in Lebong Tambang, for about 3 Km from Pasar Muara Aman, we can see “Lobang Kacamata” (The Glasses Holes). This is an old mining left by the Japanese colonialism. We can also find some traditional mining in this area, but you should be careful there are many holes left by the gold miner without any sign.
Besides gold mining, we can also see some historical building that was left by English/Japanese/Dutch colonial buildings (I am not so sure who owned for it). There are some sites that can be visited around there, but they are not managed by the government yet. When I was in Elementary School (SD Negeri 27 Pasar Muara Aman) my sport teacher, Mr. Davis, ever took us to some historical building or the ruin of colonial history around Ladang Palembang and Kaler. The building was built by big square-shaped stone but I don’t know what it was? Maybe the historian can do some research about it.
Muara Aman or Lebong in general has a very beautiful scenery. We can see Air Putih Valley the river that lies in the way to go Tambang Sawah and ketenong is very beautiful. It has hot spring water where we can boiled egg there. Whenever you visited this place, you should be careful about the hot water more than 100 c. We can swim here too in another site of this river. In lebaran day this place is always crowded with local visitors or from other regency.
There is also something interesting about Muara Aman related to its language, Rejang Language. Since Bengkulu was the only one place in Indonesia that was colonialized by Englishman, there are many English words that still exist in Rejang Language. We can find some English here, for example, kabad /kabed/ the word for cupboard /kΛbəd/; blankit /blaŋkit/ the word for blanket /blæŋkit/; pakit /pakit/ the word for pocket /pΛkit/. This is an interesting thing for the linguist. I have ever done a small research about it.
Final word, Lebong has many capital or potency to be explored by the government. However, it needs a hard job because it is still lack of human resource to develop this regency. The society should be open to the new comer and develop this regency. The government should have good strategies in developing this place. Try to compare with other places that have the same character, for example, Sawahlunto Municipality in West Sumatra. Sawahlunto is also a mining city that has become the tourism spot now.
With love for Muara Aman, the peaceful city.
For all of my friends,
Solo, 26 October 2008