Keeping Rice Grain, A Cultural View
I spent my childhood in Kampong Taddagae, a rice production area in Bone, South Sulawesi. My grandpa was a farmer, and the thirteen of his sons and daughters naturally followed him, becomes farmers. The main plant that we are cultivating is paddy, and sometimes we grow corn and soybean. According to our ancient talks, rice was first planted in the forestry area, as we called “ladang” or “huma” in bahasa Indonesia. Of course this cultivation system is natural, clean from chemical fertilisers, pesticides, and it was rain watered.
I remember we had a small tree house, called “bola” (in bahasa Bugis), in the mid of the forest, that my uncle spent most of his life there. He had not married yet until he died. Surrounding the “bola”, there was some “duku” (Lansium domesticum) , nutmeg, coconut, pecan/hazelnut, and some local fruits tree, that I never found it in other places I’d visited. Our “ladang” is just 5 minutes walking from the house.
In the beginning of dry season, when the paddy tassels full of grain, make it looks like bowing to earth, and the paddy stem and leaves getting yellow or brownish, we harvest the paddy with a traditional cutter, called “ani-ani”. I tried this small cutter when I got experiment in my undergraduate in IPB, and at that moment, I could feel the difficulty and the pain of my uncles and aunties’ back bone, when they harvested our paddy. Since that time, I ‘m really appreciate all the farmer for their effortful daily work in preparing our edible rice.
Harvested paddy then be brought to the Kampong, where Bugineese people build their traditional housing. Before put the paddy in “rakkiang”, the warehouse of Bugineese located just under the roof of the traditional house, it is dried under the sun for one or three days. Drying length time depends on the climate. Drying system differs among the villages. Sometimes, a compound of harvested paddy kept bound, and put on the plastic mat, then place it under the sun. In other places, it is hanged out on the trunks, that they installed in the rice field. I also found this method when I visited paddy area in Nagano, Japan.
All the harvested paddy is divided into three parts, one is for family consume, second for selling, and the rest for next growing season as a seed. The first and second parts are brought to someone who have rice milling in the Kampong, and pay a small amount of money or sometimes they pay with rice.
For keeping the rice grain until the next growing season, the paddy is tied up in a compound, and lift it to the rakkiang. It is a traditional paddy storage in Bugeneese house. We also put other grains there, such as the corn, soybean, pumpkin, and so on. Sometimes, we also hide our precious things in some corner. And, interestingly, the bride is also hidden in rakkiang, as one of ritual in the Bugeneese’s traditional wedding.