William Hamilton

Amygda Land, 6 February 1930

We are finally here. In an isolated land where no one could ever hurt us. Sartika and I have agreed to start anew whatever challenges we need to encounter. This land will be our home now. We are only here for a week but as far as I have seen, this land is vacant. I will perpetually observe this place while building a proper house for Sartika. She is carrying our first child, thus I must hurry to establish everything she needs. It seems that this place has been abandoned by its inhabitants. Lucky we are, some of the buildings here are in good condition. At least for now, we have a place with a roof to sleep in. 

When we were in the boat, without any destination to reach, Sartika looked sad. But, she was trying to be strong and humored me. I can’t be more grateful to have her in my life. I know we are meant to be from the first time we met. It sounds impossible, but it is real. I cannot live without her. I hope she feels this, too. I believe every hard work will be paid off. Sooner or later. It is not easy for us to be here. We have to fight the whole village for our love. The love we both deserve. The love we never got from any other human beings before, including our families. 

I know it feels like I’m selfish by doing this. I’m betraying my family. But, every time I’m thinking about family, the same question revolves: What is family? I had a family that didn’t feel like one. Now, I even wonder. Should I change my family name? I don’t belong to Hamilton’s family anymore. Well, I have never belonged to them. I am not them. I am not English. I’m purely Indonesian who got stolen by some irresponsible English-American people. Why did they do this to me? Why for years have they never told me, my biological parents? Don’t I deserve to know the truth? Just remembering this makes me so mad. Excruciatingly mad. Since I was a kid, I always felt different. My skin, obviously, does not resemble them. And they even deny it. Always come with excuses. Telling me that our family has Indian descent as Mum is American. But I never once heard her family talk about Indian descent. They are deceitful and do not deserve me. 

Of course, I’m grateful for the education they provided me. I could obtain knowledge about psychology and it was an absolute precious life investment. But it doesn’t instantly make their sin wash away. It doesn’t approve of what they did to me. For years I have been in the unknown. I did not know who I was for sure. I was confused about my own identity. What they did to me was unforgivable. Ever. 

Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Only Sartika understands me, accepts me, for who I really am. She shows me how to love and be loved. Even when it was actually hard for her as she was also wounded badly. She is the most amazing woman I have ever met in my life. With her, I can be at peace. I can find what I really want: a real family. Our romantic relationship may not be that long, only six months to be exact, but I feel it is like I have known her forever. The first time we met, I knew I would be falling for her. I was looking for objects to capture and there she was with her braid hair, picking vegetables and fruit in a corner of the crowd. It was crowded, but she stood out, being a spotlight. Her dark brown hair matched her eyes. Her smile shone as bright as the sun that day. She did not know I was observing her all along. She did not know I was stalking her just to know where her home was. Of course, I told her later when I had the nerve to introduce myself and ask her for a cup of tea. She didn’t mind that I was stalking her. She told me she was flattered. 

Little did I know, behind her beauty tucked an endless misery. The first time we got together, she warned me about her condition. She was very honest about her family. Her mother was ‘Nyai’. I hate to use this word, actually. What a vile society to put someone in that position! Her life had been like a living hell since she was born and her father left them to Europe and never came back. She was only with her mother ever since, surviving those evils who called them names. She never wanted to tell me more about her mother’s family as she never really knew them, never met them even. The only thing she knew was that her mother’s family lived far away from Batavia. Her mother made sure she would never know about her past life. What mattered most was just her. 

 

Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It makes me guilty to take Sartika away from her mother. But, Sartika convinced me it is better this way rather than trying to live with her mother together. I believe she loves her mother so much although she was very hard on her, giving so much pressure for her to be an ideal woman, a perfect being. I understand how hard it must have been for her mother to get through all the judgment and hardships throughout her life raising Sartika alone. But I think it is for Sartika’s sake. If not, she would have left Sartika alone or worse, making her disappear from this life. When I first met Sartika’s mother, Kartika, I could see her pain through her glimmering eyes. She could show me the extremely cold exterior, but I could see her melting interior. She tried so hard to hate me when she knew I was raised by outlanders. I think it was not easy for her to sympathize with me when I told her I was adopted (or presumably stolen). And I did not push her to understand where I came from. Nor trying so hard to prove anything. It was her right to dislike me. If I were her, I would have done the same thing. 

Everything is complex in this complicated time. My initial purpose of escape was merely to find my biological family in the East Indies. But for two years, I did not get any closer to any clues. Frankly, it was such an impulse to sail there. I was deeply mad with my parents and tried to hurt them by getting away. Now, I’m distracted. I think I have to make peace with it. It’s impossible to find my family without any direction. I did not know anything about them, just wanted to see what happened in that land. The land I was born in. Now, the most important thing is to take care of Sartika and our baby. And of course to make this land a better place to live. I have bought resources for us living here for months. I’m sure it’s not going to be enough, so I will sail back and forth to East Indies or England to stock. I have arranged everything we need. I have observed this island for months prior to our arrival. I have arranged a few friends who were also interested in living here. They will come in the next couple of months. When I have to travel, Sartika will not be alone. 

Even later, I think I would like to invite Kartika to live with us here. In a place where there is no judgment. A place where we can rule ourselves. I’m going to bring as many people as I can to this land. People who feel they don’t belong in their current society. People who want a fresh new start. A fresh new life. I think I can manage to bring more people from East-Indies or from my hometown to help me build this beautiful and rich island. People here have only one duty: to make their lives better than they used to. 

I hope this journal can be useful for anyone who wishes to understand the history of Amygda Land. To understand the purpose of this land.

Sincerely, 

William Hamilton