Cendana Saga: The Divorce Battle of Bambang vs Halimah

The top news on Indonesia newspapers are about the critical condition of the former Indonesian president, Soeharto. One day it says he is getting better and the next says his lungs filled with liquid. Despite all his past deeds, I feel sorry for him. He’s practically alive because of all the beeping machines. When the first news of his failing appeared, my initial reaction is: well, there’s going to be another court call for him. No wonder he is getting “ill”. But looking at him bounded by all of those tubes, I remember my recently deceased aunt. She was ill for a long time and the suffering must be unbearable, although to her credit, she hardly showed any sign of pain. Poor old man.

His presidential was one of the strongest in the world. He crafted a dynasty of his own, notoriously christened as ‘Cendana’ (from the street where he and his whole family lives). Not unlike The Borgia or Medici story who deserved to be made into HBO mini-series, it has its own fair share of scandal from illegitimate children, affaire de coeur and all unimaginable monetary misdeed and crimes ever existed in civilization. However, recent press craze (other than the ill Soeharto) is about the chaotic divorce process between Soeharto oldest son, Bambang Trihatmodjo from his wife of twenty seven years, Halimah. Unlike the quick and relatively quite divorce of Bambang’s sibling, Tommy Soeharto with his wife; this one is being monitored closely by every angry housewives all over Indonesia archipelago.

The ‘angry housewives’ situation emerges because of the third party, the Camilla of Cendana, is a relatively famous singer named Mayangsari. A fair skinned ‘younger’ Javanese woman, forever trying to climb into music stardom. Apparently she doesn’t have to work very hard for stardom. It came to her lap from the immense publicity of her intimate pictures with the Prince of Cendana. The avalanche from that moment on has been unstoppable. The next thing we know is that she has successfully “married” (married under the law of religion or ‘kawin siri’) and was pregnant with baby girl before public could even say ‘slut singer’.

May became the month when you couldn’t click the local channel without seeing Mayangsari brimmingly proud face. Much like the public addiction to news about Sarkozy snogging his latest smoldering flame in France, this scandalous affair becomes even hotter when Halimah and two of her children came to Mayangsari’s ill-gotten fancy mansion and rammed their car into the gate. The son reportedly punched Bambang on his face when he came out from the mansion to calmed his other family down. Mayangsari was said to hid behind a fridge (must be quite a fridge) while according to an eye (ear?) witness, various thesaurus version of ‘slut’ was shrieked to her direction. The press went mad. And so was the public.

The divorce is a fierce battle of Mordor and stealing as many headlines as Soeharto’s critical condition. I guess if the wealth comes from the Forbes’s 33rd richest man in Indonesia, both side just want to win plenty. I am a bit concern, tou’, about how much of Bambang’s wealth actually still subsist after one Jaguar, one BMW, one Mercedes-Benz, three manors in Jakarta and another one rumored to be in Mayangsari’s hometown; each worthed about few million dollars. I mean, if you think about it, 200 million dollars is not much if you have to spend it building manors all over Java island plus the divorce settlement. No wonder the old man got ill.

Oh well, just so you know.


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Hello! I’m Eve Tedja

I have been a professional writer for four years.


During that time, I have worked as a permanent contributor for Let’s eat! Magazine, Hello Bali, epicure, and published my articles in several other magazines like Venture, Panorama, Bravacasa, and Bali & Beyond.


Words, sentences, stories... these are my passion. I love to take new challenges in writing for various format and media. I create contents for websites, blogs, and communication materials. I’ve also worked as a copywriter, translator, coffee book editor, social media coordinator, media consultant, and even writing for a specialty coffee packaging.


Interior design, travel, environment, culinary, culture, history, and social issues are some of the themes that I have worked with in the past. I love getting involves with individuals, companies, organizations, and communities with stories to tell.


I am available for assignment worldwide. Reach me at eve(dot)tedja(at)gmail(dot)com.

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