Revealing a Benefactor story at Tjong A Fie Mansion

Sumatra Money Museum and Tjong A Fie’s House are only three blocks away and pass a large intersection which separates Pemuda Street where the museum is located and Jenderal Ahmad Yani Street where the house is located.

Security: “Hey, brother. Why do you capture photos of this building?”, his left hand is on his waist, his right hand hold a T-stick.

Me: “Oh, that’s sir….The building is nice, really classic“, bent down as a sorry.

Security: “Oh yeah, that’s great … I didn’t realize it“. Saying while standing on my right side led to the same building.

Me: “Sure, Sir….You who has worked here for a long time, just realized that” while holding a laugh in my chest.

I thought he will take my camera and erased the picture in it…. Apparently no, hahaha.

—-****—-

That house gate is so small and I had a little bit passed it. I turned and slowly walked toward it.

My bad habit: silence for a long time in the courtyard and even didn’t blink.

Young staffs who on duty at ticket desk were watching me from terrace. They were glad to get a guest. Some time later, I realized that they were waiting me.

Staff: “Sir, you can keep your backpack here. The house is spacious, you will be tired“.

Me: “Thank you honey Ms, I put it here….Is it safe?”.

Staff: “I’ll take care, Sir….You don’t need to worry”.

Me: “Take care of my heart too….Thanks Ms”.

OK….Let’s start to entering Tjong A Fie Mansion.

A multicultural figure from Guangdong.

Do you know about Tjong A Fie?….He is a Chinese descent resident who in his life became a rich trader and became an important figure in Medan because of his generosity in building Medan city in his era. He worked hand in hand with Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah to develop city economy. At that time, Deli was famous worldwide with its high-quality tobacco, and even Deli was dubbed as Dollar Landsh (Dollar Land).

The beauty of his 120-year-old house is truly eye-catching. Has four guest rooms with different concepts to receive guests from different communities.

The yellow dominant living room is for receiving guests from Deli Sultanate as Malay community.
Chinese descent guests are welcome here.
This room is to receive guests from Dutch government.

I was fortunate to meet two visitors from Aceh who used a tour guide services. Seeing me when visiting it alone, Mr. Syaiful smiled and waved to me and then invited me to join with them. “Come on, brother, come here!“, he lightly said. How lucky is my fate.

Tjong A Fie was so rich, many of his home furnishings were imported from Europe such as safes, ceramic decorations or ovens in his kitchen.

The dining table was ever used to entertain Deli Sultanate family in Chinese New Year celebration.

Next exploration showed photos of the entire Tjong A Fie family, which consist from 21 family members. The photo was taken during his 60th birthday celebration in early 20th century.

A bed made from classic carving woods with white mosquito nets.

An orange kitchen wall with three wood-burning stoves next to a separate room with two flour stone-grinders and one rolling pin with similar material.

A hall which contains a row of family history photos.

In other side, I found a Tjong A Fie family tree, some photos of important buildings in the city which were built with his funds (such as Gang Bengkok Old Mosque, Sipirok Old Mosque and even Al Mashun Grand Mosque in downtown), as well as a photo of Kesawan Bank Commissioner which was founded by Tjong A Fie.

A high windows with a dominant number make the house so spacious.

Tour guide said that during President Soeharto era, the state acquired Tjong A Fie’s plantation and merged into state’s plantation ownership i.e PT. Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN).

End of my visitation in Tjong A Fie Mansion. His house gate is seen from 2nd floor.

See the Tjong A Fie Mansion situation here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYmGn_g4FW4

10 Tourist Attractions in Medan

I’ve never given brain a slightest chance to think long. Riding a motorcycle taxi, I sayid “sayonara” to Amplas Terminal which seems unwilling to be left behind by visitor who are willing to take time to know about it.

15 minutes later, I already alighted at Medan’s main destination. They are:

1. Maimun Palace

The palace whose name means “blessing” has served for nearly 130 years in representing a greatness of Deli Sultanate. This palace was constructed as a sign of kingdom’s capital shifting from Labuhan to Medan.

Yellow is a distinctive Malay color that symbolizes wisdom.

Redeem an entrance ticket worth USD 0.37, I explored every corner of the palace and continued to admire every detail of the fusion of Indian, Middle Eastern and European architecture. Five hectares of palace area makes anyone freely enjoy beauty of the palace from various points of view.

Next destination is only 2 minutes by walking, which is:

2. Al Mashun Grand Mosque

Located in west of palace, this octagonal sacred building majestically stands in passing time. This fenomenal creation by Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam implies that he prioritizes grandeur of the mosque rather than the palace where he lives.

Its marble was directly imported from Italy.

Right on Dzuhur prayer time, I took time to mingle with local people to taste the coolness of this 110 years old mosque. The grandeur of mosque is a marker of prosperity of Deli Sultanate in its time.

Don’t leave an area around the palace and mosque because there is still one more place which is believed to be a relic of Deli Sultanate, namely:

3. Sri Deli Park

Stepping for about 100 meters to north of mosque, I was arriving in the park. To absorbed its historical value, I tried to imagine being a Sultan’s son who was relaxing in afternoon then taking a bath in the trapezoid pool which is located in the middle of park.

Park which can reduce city’s heat.

This park was as a closing exploration to remember the glory of Malay under the leadership of Sri Paduka Tuanku Sultan (the title of Sultan Deli).

4. Tirtanadi Water Tower

Continuing to walk to north, within 800 meters I found a giant water tank which is owned by PDAM (stands for Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum) Tirtanadi in North Sumatra Province. This giant water tank has long been a tourist landmark for the city.

Don’t look at its old face but look at its role.

Who would think that this red and white water tank was made by Netherlands Colonialism at beginning of 20th century. According to the meaning of its Sanskrit name, Tirtanadi has a vital role in supplying clean water needs of townspeople since it was first built until now.

Do you know the meaning of “Tirtanadi” word?….Yups, Tirta means water and Nadi means life.

5. Museum Uang Sumatera (Money Museum of Sumatra)

Let’s take more step!….

About 300 meters at west of Tirtanadi Water Tower, I found a various forms of money collection from several eras in a museum which its establishment was initiated by a money collector named Saparudin Barus.

Even money from Deli Sultanate era was still well preserved.

This museum doesn’t have an entrance ticket. It’s just that museum will give souvenirs in the form of 2 old coins with a hole in the middle and is valued for about USD 0.74.

6. Tjong A Fie Mansion

This time, I stopped at another important destination in Medan. This is a house which is owned by rich trader of Chinese descent who had a major role in city development. This benefactor is Tjong A Fie. And the remain aside from his greatness name is her house where he lives.

Every room in Tjong A Fie’s house has a special function that fascinates me.

I was willing to pay an entrance ticket for USD 2.6. But that value paid off once I understood about its story that explaining each side of the house and traced Tjong A Fie’s career in growing his business and build Medan.

7. Madras Village

There was no authentic reason which I could explain why I had to visit Madras Village. One simple reason, it was a domino effect because I stayed at Dazhong Backpacker Hostel in the center of Madras Village.

Mingling with Indian descent citizens.

Madras is taken from the name of an area in South India which is the ancestors origin of Indian Tamil descent residents.

8. Waroenk Nenek

After meeting up with my friend in city, the darkness persuaded me to return to hotel. But the hunger that was unstoppable, made me to looking for dinner before I actually arrived at hotel.

Bonus destination.

Then I arrived at a restaurant with its slogan “Semua Ada” at Patimura Street. One portion of fried catfish with sambal which was served by beautiful waitress in hijab became the most beautiful gift that night.

9. Merdeka Walk

Fresh after dinner made me canceling to back to hotel. I was adding to one destination again by visiting the city’s culinary and entertainment center which is usualli called eMWe.

Drizzle started to fall when I arrived.

Created in 2005 and able to accommodate 700 visitors at one time making this place as a favorite destination when weekend arrives. Especially for young people who want to relax after working hard all week.

10. Medan Hall.

It’s still one area with Merdeka Walk which occupies at one side of Merdeka Square. This hall will be the center of Medan square in the future after revitalization which is being designed by city government.

At 21:00 hours, the hall still had visitors.

Availability of parks around the hall makes this place very crowded with activities variety from just gathering with family, sports or activities of several young communities.

That was a quick visit in Medan that made me want to back there again.

Menguak Kisah Sang Dermawan di Tjong A Fie Mansion

Museum Uang Sumatera dan Rumah Tjong A Fie hanya berjarak tiga blok dan melewati satu perempatan besar yang memisahkan Jalan Pemuda dimana museum terletak dan Jalan Jend. Ahmad Yani dimana rumah itu berada.

Security: “Hei, Bang. Foto-foto apa, Kau?”, tangan kiri parkir di pinggang, tangan kanan mengepal tongkat-T.

Aku: “Oh, itu pak….Gedungnya bagus, klasik banget”, sedikit membungkuk  menanda maaf.

Security: “Oh iya, bagus ya….Ga nyadar saya”. Berucap sambil berdiri disisi kananku mengarah ke bangunan yang sama.

Aku: “Tuh kan, pak….Bapak sudah lama kerja disini aja baru nyadar”, sambil menahan bahak di dada.

Kirain mau merampas gambarku lalu menghapusnya….Ternyata, Hahaha!

—-****—-

Gerbang rumah itu begitu kecil dan sempat sedikit terlewat olehku. Berbalik badan lalu berjalan pelan mendekatinya.

Kebiasaan buruk: terdiam lama sekali di pelataran bahkan sepertinya tak berkedip.

Para staff muda penjaga meja tiket terus memperhatikanku dari teras. Senang mereka mendapatkan tamu kembali. Beberapa waktu kemudian aku sadar sedang dinanti mereka.

Staff: “Bang, tas ranselnya boleh kok dititip di sini. Rumahnya luas loh, nanti Abang capek”.

Aku: “Terimakasih Dinda Non, Saya taruh disini….Aman kan ya?”.

Staff: “Saya yang jaga, Bang….Ga perlu khawatir”.

Aku: “Jaga juga dong hatiku….Thanks ya Non”.

OK….Mari mulai memasuki Tjong A Fie Mansion.

Tokoh multikultural asal Guangdong

Tahu Tjong A Fie?….Beliau adalah warga Medan keturunan Tionghoa yang dalam perjalanan hidupnya menjadi seorang saudagar kaya raya dan menjadi tokoh penting di Medan karena kedermawanannya dalam membangun kota Medan pada masanya. Dia bahu membahu bersama Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah membangun perekonomian. Kala itu Deli mendunia dan terkenal akan tembakaunya yang berkualitas tinggi bahkan Deli dijuluki sebagai Dollar Landsh atau Tanah Dolar.

Keelokan kediaman berusia 120 tahun miliknya sungguh memikat mata. Memiliki empat ruang tamu dengan konsep berbeda dan untuk menerima tamu dari kalangan berbeda pula.

Ruang tamu dominan kuning untuk menerima tamu dari Kesultanan Deli yang asli Melayu.
Tamu keturunan Tionghoa diterima disini.
Nah ini untuk menerima tamu dari pemerintah Belanda.

Aku beruntung bertemu dengan dua pengunjung dari Aceh yang menggunakan jasa tour guide. Melihatku berkunjung sendirian, Pak Syaiful tersenyum sembari melambaikan tangan lalu mengajakku untuk bergabung.  “Ayolah dik, ikut sini biar ramai”, ujarnya ringan. Beruntung sekali nasibku ini.

Saking kayanya, banyak perabot rumah tangga miliknya yang diimpor dari Eropa seperti lemari besi, hiasan keramik atau oven yang berada di dapurnya.

Meja makan yang pernah digunakan untuk menjamu keluarga Sultan Deli dalam perayaan tahun baru China (Imlek).

Eksplorasi berikutnya mempertontonkan foto keseluruhan keluarga Tjong A Fie yang terhitung berjumlah 21 anggota keluarga. Foto itu tampak diambil pada saat perayaan ulang tahunnya yang ke-60 di awal abad-20.

Tempat tidur berbahan kayu ukir klasik dengan kelambu putih.

Dinding dapur berwarna oranye dengan tiga lubang tungku berbahan bakar kayu bersebelahan dengan ruang terpisah dengan dua buah penggiling tepung berbahan batu dan satu buah rolling pin dengan bahan yang sama.

Aula berisi deretan foto perjalanan keluarga.

Disisi lain, aku menemukan family tree keluarga Tjong A Fie, beberapa foto bangunan penting kota yang dibangun atas bantuan dana darinya (seperti Masjid lama Gang Bengkok, Masjid lama di Sipirok bahkan Masjid Raya Al Mashun), juga foto komisaris Bank Kesawan yang didirikan oleh Tjong A Fie.

Jendela yang tinggi dengan jumlah dominan menjadikan rumah begitu luas.

Tour guide bertutur bahwa pada masa orde baru, negara mengakuisisi perkebunan Tjong A Fie dan dileburkan ke dalam kepemilikan PT. Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN).

Akhir petualangan di Tjong A Fie Mansion. Gerbang rumahnya dilihat dari lantai 2.

10 Destinasi Medan: Sebentar yang Merindukan.

Aku tak pernah memberi kesempatan sedikitpun terhadap otak untuk berfikir panjang. Menunggang ojek online, aku mengucap sayonara pada Terminal Amplas yang sepertinya tak rela ditinggal pengunjung yang sudi meluangkan waktu untuk mengenalnya.

15 menit kemudian, aku sudah hinggap di destinasi utama kota Medan. Tak lain lagi dialah:

1. Istana Maimun

Istana yang namanya bermakna “Berkah” ini telah berjasa selama hampir 130 tahun merepresentasikan agungnya Kesultanan Deli. Dibangunnya istana ini sekaligus sebagai penanda berpindahnya ibukota kerajaan dari Labuhan ke Medan.

Kuning adalah warna khas Melayu yang melambangkan kebijaksanaan.

Menebus tiket masuk bernilai Rp. 5.000, aku menjelajah setiap sudut istana dan terus mengagumi setiap detail perpaduan arsitektur India, Timur Tengah dan Eropa. Lima hektar area istana membuat siapa saja leluasa menikmati keindahan istana dari berbagai sisi pandang.

Destinasi berikutnya hanya berjeda 2 menit dengan berjalan kaki, yaitu:

2. Masjid Raya Al Mashun

Terletak di barat istana, bangunan suci bersegi delapan ini berdiri megah tak bergeming melintas masa. Karya fenomelal milik Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam ini menyiratkan bahwa beliau lebih mengutamakan keagungan masjid dibanding istana tempat tinggalnya.

Marmernya didatangkan langsung dari Italia

Tepat waktu Dzuhur, aku menyempatkan diri berbaur dengan masyarakat Medan untuk mencicipi sejuknya hawa masjid tua berusia 110 tahun tersebut. Kemegahan masjid merupakan penanda kemakmuran Kesultanan Deli di masanya.

Jangan beranjak dulu dari area sekitar istana dan masjid karena masih ada satu tempat lagi yang diyakini sebagai peninggalan Kesultanan Deli, yaitu:

3. Taman Sri Deli

Melangkah 100 meter ke utara masjid, aku telah hadir di pusat taman.  Untuk meresapi nilai sejarahnya, aku mencoba membayangkan menjadi putra Sultan yang sedang bersantai di sore hari kemudian membasuh badan di kolam trapesium yang terletak di tengah taman.

Taman yang mampu meredam panas kota.

Taman ini menjadi penutup eksplorasi mengenang kejayaan Melayu dibawah pimpinan Sri Paduka Tuanku Sultan (gelar Sultan Deli).

4. Menara Air Tirtanadi

Terus berjalan mengambil arah utara, dalam 800 meter aku menemukan tandon air raksasa milik PDAM Tirtanadi Provinsi Sumatera Utara. Penampung air raksasa ini telah lama menjadi wisata landmark kota.

Jangan lihat wajah tuanya tapi lihat perannya.

Siapa sangka toren belang merah putih ini adalah buatan Belanda  di permulaan abad 20. Sesuai makna nama Sansekertanya, Tirtanadi memiliki peranan vital dalam mensuplai kebutuhan air bersih warga kota sejak pertama kali dibangun hingga kini.

Tahu kan arti kata Tirtanadi?….Yups, Tirta berarti air dan Nadi bermakna kehidupan.

5. Museum Uang Sumatera

Ayo melangkah lagi !….Tanggung nih.

Sekitar 300 meter di barat Tirtanadi Tower, aku menemukan koleksi berbagai rupa uang dari berbagai zaman dalam sebuah museum yang pendiriannya diinisiasi oleh seorang kolektor uang bernama Saparudin Barus.

Bahkan uang dari zaman Kesultanan Deli pun masih tersimpan dengan baik

Museum ini tidak bertiket masuk. Hanya saja mereka akan memberikan souvenir berupa 2 uang koin dengan lubang ditengah dan dihargai Rp. 10.000.

6. Tjong A Fie Mansion

Kali ini, aku singgah di destinasi penting lain kota Medan. Ini adalah rumah saudagar kaya raya keturunan Tiongkok yang mempunyai peran besar dalam pembangunan kota. Sang dermawan ini bernama Tjong A Fie. Dan yang tersisa selain dari kebesaran namanya adalah rumah tempat tinggal beliau.

Setiap ruang dalam rumah Tjong A Fie memiliki fungsi khusus yang membuatku terkagum.

Aku rela membayar tiket masuk seharga Rp. 35.000. Tetapi nilai itu terbayar lunas begitu memahami cerita tempoe doeloe yang membahas setiap sisi rumah dan menapak tilas kiprah Tjong A Fie dalam membesarkan bisnis dan membangun Medan.

7. Kampung Madras

Tak ada alasan shahih yang bisa kujelaskan mengapa aku harus mengunjugi Kampung Madras. Satu alasan sederhana saja, itu adalah efek domino karena aku menginap di Dazhong Backpacker’s Hostel yang berada di pusat Kampung Madras.

Berbaur dengan warga keturunan India!

Madras diambil dari nama sebuah daerah di India Selatan yang merupakan asal nenek moyang warga Medan keturunan India Tamil.

8. Waroenk Nenek

Selesai bertemu teman dekat di Medan, gelapnya hari membujuk untuk kembali ke hotel.  Tetapi badai lapar yang tak terbendung , membuatku terpaksa mencari makan malam sebelum aku benar-benar sampai di hotel.

Destinasi bonus.

Hinggaplah langkah di sebuah rumah makan bermoto “Semua Ada”  di bilangan Jalan Patimura. Seporsi pecel lele yang disuguhkan oleh dara-dara cantik berhijab menjadi hadiah terindah malam itu.

9. Merdeka Walk

Segarnya badan setelah makan malam membuatku urung kembali ke hotel. Aku menambah kembali koleksi dengan mengunjungi pusat kuliner dan hiburan kota yang biasa dipanggil eMWe.

Gerimis mulai turun ketika aku tiba.

Dibuat pada 2005 dan mampu menampung 700 pengunjung dalam satu waktu menjadikan tempat ini sebagai destinasi favorit saat weekend tiba. Terutama buat anak-anak muda yang ingin melepas penat setelah berkerja padat sepanjang minggu

10. Pendopo Kota Medan

Masih satu area dengan Merdeka Walk yang menempati salah satu sisi Lapangan Merdeka. Pendopo ini akan menjadi pusat alun-alun kota Medan di masa depan pasca revitalisasi yang sedang dirancang oleh pemerintah kota.

Jam 21:00 pun pendopi masih kedatangan pengunjung.

Ketersediaan taman di sekitar pendopo menjadikan tempat ini ramai akan berbagai aktivitas dari sekedar berkumpul bersama keluarga, berolah raga ataupun aktivitas beberapa komunitas muda Medan.

Itulah kunjungan kilat di Medan yang membuatku rindu untuk kembali.