Artikel: Lain-lain - Makepung (Karapan/Balapan Kerbau)




[navigasi.net] Lain-lain - Makepung (Karapan/Balapan Kerbau)
A rider with his buffalos making turn in Makepung arena.

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English translation by M461C






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[navigasi.net] Lain-lain - Makepung (Karapan/Balapan Kerbau)
A lot of people and also buffalos participating in this race or just watching the race.
When we hear the word “Bull Racing” perhaps we will be reminded to Madura island which famous for its Cow Racing. Turns out “Buffalo Racing” is also quite popular among Balinese especially in Western region and known as “Makepung”. It is understandable the reason why Balinese chooses to race Buffalo over Cow, because Shiva God (one of the Hindu God) used to ride a cow so that it consider a sacred animal for Hindu believers.

In Bali, especially in Western region around a city called Negara, this Makepung is a traditional event which held couple of times in a year. Strangely, this event is not so popular for Balinese in other region.

I went to Kaliakah village, around 5kms from Negara city to witness this event. It was a pre-qualification for the main event to win the Governor Trophy. During the event, they will divide participants from all villages into 2 groups, the Nothern with red uniform and the Southern with green uniform.

One day before the event, the Makepung arena has packed with racers from all over village together with their best buffalos. I have never seen so many buffalos gathered in one place as I did in this Makepung arena. Those buffalos are raised and receiving the treatment just like an ‘athlete’. People say, those buffalos were fed with special ingredients so they can have more power and energy during the race. Turns out ‘doping’ is allowed here

[navigasi.net] Lain-lain - Makepung (Karapan/Balapan Kerbau)
Pair of buffalo after being decorated, ready to race.

For richer team, they can afford transporting these buffalos on trucks, for the less fortunate team, they have to walk with their buffalo for many kilometers from their village, the carriage for racing were pulled by a motorbike. At night, the situation around the arena was look like a ‘Night Market’, we can find many foods, stage performance, loud music performance and of course, like any other Night Market, you will find alcohol drinks.

Before dawn, the owner of those buffalos will perform some particular rituals and also decorating their buffalos with bright colors. Each team naming themselves with a very unique and exotic names such as Wiro Sableng, Juwita Malam and so on.

Like any other Balinese, most of the event will have to be started with ritual and “sajen” and so does this Makepung. You will see people will place their “sajen” in many places such as in a ‘deadly turn’ and especially in “Start” and “Finish” line.

[navigasi.net] Lain-lain - Makepung (Karapan/Balapan Kerbau)
A rider during the race try to go as fast as he can.

I always have a respect to a cultural event organized in different places, ethnics or nations, but in this Makepung event, as an animal lover, I feel a bit disturbed. Although all buffalos are treated like an athlete, but during the race the rider will push their buffalo into their limit and event look a bit sadistic to me. The rider whipped the buffalo with a stick. It’s not just an ordinary stick because they put many nails in that stick and whipped it as strong as they can which is caused a terrible wounds in that buffalo. Some of Dutch tourists closed their eyes and even leave the arena before it was finished, perhaps because they could not stand looking how those buffalos were tortured.

I personally would like to suggest to the Makepung organizer or whatever animal-race event organizer to apply a strict rules on how the participant should treat the animals. Like any other race, there always be a winner and a loser. But in this Makepung the “Bad Loser” has the best applause from the audience.

Perhaps those buffalos manage to make those sadistic riders fall down to the ground.


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