“Deepest Regrets And Widest Apology”

Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola from the University of Indonesia in Jakarta is now paying the price for words said during the trial of Nazril Irham aka Ariel which insulted the Dayak community.  Expressing his “deepest regrets and widest apology”, Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola now has to source for some rather unusual things to make good his regrets and apology.

The Words That Insulted The Dayak Community

In what appears to be a case of self inflicted collateral damage, Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola, a professor in sociology, opened himself to legal action when he said during the trial of Ariel over the Peterporn sex videos case that among the Dayaks in Kalimantan, premarital sex was commonly practised. 

This big message statement drew choruses of angry protests from the Dayaks in Kalimantan.  These offended Dayaks basically condemned what Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola said as untrue and insulting.

Tuty Datau, a provincial legislative council member and a Dayak said: “What Professor Thamrin said is very insulting to us as Dayak women in Central Kalimantan. In the Dayak custom, such unbecoming attitudes are not allowed and violators face customary fines.”

The Trial

And so Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola found himself in the uncomfortable role as an accused in a court of law.  Last weekend, Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola made the journey to Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan to attend the customary court hearing his case at the Betang Tingang Ngaderang hall. 

During the trial, thousands of Dayaks descended onto the customary court to send a big message to Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola of their displeasure over his remarks.  Police reportedly deployed up to 20 officers to escort Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola during his stay in Palangkaraya, and a further 300 officers were assigned to guard the Betang Tingang Ngaderang hall.  Anticipating a huge turnout, some 3,000 chairs were set up in the grounds surrounding the Bentang Tingang Ngaderang hall, which itself has a seating capacity of only 112 people.

The Verdict

The customary court found Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola guilty as charged.  And the court led by Lewis K.D.R., head of the council of judges then imposed a rather unusual sentence.  Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola is ordered to:

1.   make restitution to the Dayaks by giving them musical gongs weighing 500 kilograms;
2.  pay the cost of the court proceedings amounting to Rp 77.78 million ($8,500);
3.  apologize to the Dayak community, and
4.  revoke his testimony concerning the offending statement.

In a message that is pleasing to Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola, Lewis K.D.R. said: “The verdict is binding and final so that there are no longer any claims acting in the name of the Dayak community against Thamrin Tamagola.”

The Apology

After the verdict was announced, Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola delivered a message of apology, saying: “I hereby express my deepest regrets and my widest apology to the Dayak community as well as the Dayak customary council because I have made a mistake and insulted the Dayak community and its customs.”

Commenting on Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola’s apology, Lewis K.D.R. said that “local people welcome his good intentions and apology.”

Prof Thamrin Amal Tamagola also agreed to revoke his “insulting” statements. And no doubt he is now busy searching to buy 500 kilograms of musical gongs for the Dayak community as ordered by the customary court.

Think About It

What is the meaning of making restitution by giving 500 kilograms of gongs?  What message did the customary court send by imposing this rather unusual penalty for insulting the Dayak community?  How did Pro Thamrin Amal Tamagola, a professor of sociology, come to make this mistake concerning the Dayak community?

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