Join Date: May 2006
I tend to agree with the points made by Guwaya, in that it is true that people have joined and contribute to this discussion group for various reasons.
One such reason is the gaining of knowledge, be it for whatever purpose.
I doubt that anybody has joined and contributes in any attempt to be seen as "expert". I could perhaps be wrong in this opinion, but if there are reputation seekers amongst us, I would need to ask the question of exactly what base are they building their reputation on? An internet discussion group? If I wanted to build a big fat rep, I'd most certainly go about it in a very different way.
But there is another reason for people to belong to, and contribute to this Forum, and that is simply the motivation to spread knowledge to a wider group of people. In earlier days when the world was full of people who read books and magazines this type of person would have regularly published articles in magazines, and perhaps even produced a book or two. In this day and age of the short attention span and the two minute time grab, perhaps a more efficient way to reach people is through the currently more popular medium of the internet.
The problem of covert dealers who milk our membership for information that in future could be used to the membership's disadvantage is a real one, and one that I believe will soon be rectified. The problem is not dealers, but covert dealers and unethical use of information gained in a devious fashion. Any special interest group will contain people who deal --- car clubs, bicycle clubs, rifle clubs, knitting circles, garden clubs, quilting circles --- etc. etc, etc. When people come together because of a common interest it is inevitable that the people who supply the members of that group will also become a part of the group. These dealers are usually welcomed into the group because they are a source of knowledge and they can assist the membership of the group. Where things go bad is when the dealer begins to use the other members of the group as milk cows. Regrettably, this has been happening here.
The books by Tammens and Kerner have been mentioned.
Again I agree with Guwaya that these books contain flaws.
Martin Kerner's work is easy to criticise on some levels, however, he did make one very major contribution to the study of the keris. This contribution is seldom mentioned, and I believe is very rarely understood by people with an interest in the keris.
Simply because it requires a lot of mental effort for somebody with no understanding of statistics to gain any inkling at all of what Martin Kerner was writing about.
This work is Kerner's statistical analysis of early keris, and I believe that this work is what Martin Kerner will be remembered for.
Ing. Tammens writings also contain flaws, especially in respect of the illogical and utterly incorrect way in which he has used the Javanese tangguh system for his classifications --- as Guwaya has already pointed out.
However, none of us are perfect, and Ing Tammens did provide a very good common reference long before Insiklopedi hit the book stores --- and let us not be of the opinion that Insiklopedi, even though written by a Javanese gentleman and calling upon Javanese resources, is perfect. It is not. There is much incorrect information in this book, and where the information can be accepted as correct, it is correct only as according to one particular school of thought.
Dr. Groneman's writings have also received mention, and it is beyond doubt that his works have very considerable historical value, but again, there are imperfections in his reporting --- which is only to be expected:- we are all human, and mankind does err.
Guwaya mentions the "old books" as the correct and accurate sources for information. I have a very great number of these "old books". Most only date from the period 1900 to 1940. To my way of thinking, this makes them recent books. Not old at all. In these "old books" I find that once again there are variations in opinion, and it seems to me, that often the opinions presented come from a very narrow base of knowledge, even though that base may have been accepted at the time as "traditional".
Then we have the matter of exactly what information one seeks in respect of the keris.
Do we seek names of various types and attributes that will permit a system of classification to be formed?
Do we seek technical knowledge?
Do we seek socio/cultural information?
Exactly what type of information do we seek?
I would suggest that that which is accepted as correct in any of these fields of keris knowledge can be shown to have varied according to time and place, and that no universally acceptable and logically accurate information base has yet been found.
In such an environment, I most humbly suggest that all contributions to the ongoing investigation and discussion of the keris can be considered to have some value.
However, this discourse on motivations for belonging to our discussion group, and motivations in the publication of books is a deviation from the central red vein of this thread.
I have been hoping to see some more opinions in respect of policy changes desired by the membership of this discussion group. Not just comment on those things that some of us may not particularly like, but clearly defined objectives to be achieved by any changes in policy.
Any more input would be most welcome.
How about you, Guwaya?
You are clearly a man with great depth of knowledge in the field of keris study, hence we could be expected to value your opinion.
What would you like to see achieved by any upcoming changes in policy?