Watching “Tari Kipas Pakarena” ala Gowa – South Sulawesi

Finally! I had the chance to watch in live, the fan dance (Tari Kipas) Pakarena. This traditional dance is originally come from Gowa, South Sulawesi. It is said that the dance is showing how graceful, polite and obedient South Sulawesi women are. Because the dance, despite of its fast beat and loud gamelan (the traditional music instruments), the ladies keep dancing calmly. Their faces are full of polite smile and even a little shy. Sometimes they tap their paper fans, close and open, with a single stroke. Showing that they, although calm and graceful, can be strict and straight to the point as well.

Tarian asal Sulawesi Selatan, sungguh gemulai meski musiknya berapi-api. Filosofi yang sangat dalam.
Tarian asal Sulawesi Selatan, sungguh gemulai meski musiknya berapi-api. Filosofi yang sangat dalam.

While watching it, I remember the words of my boyfriend. As you readers might know from my previous posts, my boyfriend is a Makassarese, the main tribe of South Sulawesi. The Makassareses are well-known as tough and strict people. But they’re not rude (kasar) as some Indonesians might accused: “Orang Makassar itu kasar, seperti namanya.” (means: Makassareses are rude, like the name). Most people, even Indonesians, almost likely misunderstood their toughness as rudeness. Well, yeah, they speak loudly, indeed. Their accents are quite “harsh” compared to Javanese–the main ethnic of Indonesia.

Their loudness is similar to Batak or Tapanuli ethnic of Northern Sumatra. Even so, they have this culture’s philosophy of Siri’ Na Pacce. Meaning that they rather die than to bear embarrassment. I will post another entry of this philosophy of Buginese-Makassarese later.

Now, back to the fan dance (Tari Kipas) Pakarena. My boyfriend said, if I wanted to know more about the character of Makassarese, especially the women, I should see this fan dance. Observe their gracefulness while dancing. In ancient time, Makassarese women are warriors, like their men. Each one of them usually bring a traditional blade called “badik”. This badik is the symbol of their dignity. (read more about badik here at, please use google translation if you don’t speak bahasa Indonesia. 🙂 )

So, don’t mess with Makassarese women. Do not mock them, nor put them in shame. They can be patience, but if the embarrassment is unbearable for her and her family, she will start to retrieve her badik (the blade) and stab you, and leave you bled to death. Sometimes, they don’t even need blade. Mock them and hurt their feelings, and you’d die instantly due to weird supernatural “attack”. And if that happens, even the authorities won’t do much. It means, the rule is simple, don’t hurt Makassarese.

In other hand, Makassarese are really reliable and amazing people. They have such a top notch logical point of views. Their sense of moral is splendid. And they don’t trust people easily, even with their own people. But once they trust you, and like you, they would die for you. And my boyfriend? Oh, of course.. He’s the best of all men I’ve ever known. His coldness, logical thinking and his genius are only few things that made me fall in love with him. 😉

Anyways, enjoy the fan dance. Sorry for the poor camera quality. I recorded it with my smartphone Lenovo S880.

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