Minggu, 14 Maret 2010


“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare said in a very famous phrase. He implied that a name meant nothing in comparison to intrinsic value. He meant there is not any necessary correlation between a name and its meaning, but in Indonesia names are important. There is a hope, a living spirit within them.

Bonek, is a name for a group of supporters of the Persebaya soccer club, whose official name is the Surabaya’s Supporters Foundation (YSS).

Wise words inspire people belong to a group, the name beams and reflects the spirit of a person, group or team.

Bonek or Bondo Nekat means to be ready to do something no matter what and how. The terminology of
the words dates back to 1987 when Dahlan Iskan, a director of the Jawa Pos, a daily newspaper from East Java, mobilized supporters using 300 buses for Persebaya during the final round of the National Soccer League. The result of the game was that Persebaya lost to PSIS and Persebaya supporters looted and destroyed everything encountered in Jakarta.

I believe this name was chosen and imprinted on the character of the people of Surabaya, who are brave, die hard and love the people and the nation.

Surabayans already proved their courage during the struggle of Indonesia’s independence. The Heroes Day, November 10, is a momento mori of Surabayans, The bonek men, a brave people from East Java.

But right now, the spirit of bonek, inspired by the spirit of fallen heroes and the character of Surabayans has gradually changed into a different and grave path. Previously the spirit represented a brave and fair attitude and openness, but then changed into terror, a nightmare for everybody, even for East Javanese.

The previous visit to Bandung in West Java by bonek mania created terror from Surabaya to Bandung and of course bonek mania harvested contra terrors on the way back to Surabaya.

I am a Persebaya’s supporter living in Bandung. I have loved Persebaya since my childhood. My memory of
Persebaya makes me proud of the old days of Persebaya, one of the best football clubs we have in Indonesia. I still remember the glory days of Persebaya and the previous good things about bonek mania still color my mind.

I need to say to that in regard to bonek mania, we need to address the problems accordingly. I believe three specific matters are responsible for changing faithful supporters into angry, looting hooligans.

First, the immaturity of supporters, as most football fans are teenagers. Second, the psychology of the crowd can influence people to act in strange ways. The last one is weak control from an organization, I mean the seniors chosen to lead bonek top-down.

We should not let the same thing happen again, three bonek passed away and hundreds were injured on the way to Bandung and back home.

I consider them victims of a wrong situation. The problems we have noticed but neglected. No more supporters should die because of fanaticism and a love of football. If you are part of bonek mania, you should consider the bereaved families.

Bonek mania should be seen as an economy-driving power potential, not as a potential for havoc and terror. Enough is enough Cak (brother).

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