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Batu Bini and Batu Laki

South Kalimantan - Indonesia
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The Meratus is a mountainous region located in South Kalimantan province. It lies from the south of the sub-district Tanah Laut to the northern border of the West and the Middle Kalimantan. Its width is approximately a million hectare with 2 mountains at the west of the Meratus. People know these mountains as Batu Bini and Batu Laki (bini means wife, laki is husband, and batu means stone). There is a story related to these two mountains. People believe that they were parts of a ship of a rebellious son, Angui. It is told that Angui and all of his belongings (including his wife) were cursed to a stone by his mother. This stone was torn into two pieces and changed to two stones which looked like a broken ship. This scene is narrated in a folklore known as Batu Bini and Batu Laki. How was it possible that someone could be so rebellious to his mother that forced her to curse her own child? The whole plot is told below.


It was believed that the west region of the Meratus was once flooded. There was only one land free from the water and therefore lived in by a group of people. One of those who lived there was an old widow, Daing Ingsun, with her only child Angui. This poor family depended their life on the forest and the river. Daing Ingsun went for fishing with her son every day to fulfill their needs and collected all kinds of tubers as well. They exchanged some of the tubers with rice.

Since Angui was very young, his mother put him in a jukung that it would be easier for her to take him anywhere. Days by days they lived in a simple life until one day Angui grew to an adult man and his mother was already very old. As an adult, Angui didn‘t only help his mother to fish but also to search for rattans in the forest to be sold. He would clean and tie the rattans tidily before selling them to the traders who visited the village regularly. He always kept his mother‘s words in mind whenever he did his job. His mother always reminded him of doing anything neatly and tidily.

One day, a jung stopped by the harbor. The jung brought lots of stuffs to be exchanged with rattans, damar tree, and candles which were produced by the local villagers. Angui was one of those who intended to exchange their products with salt, rice, or the sugar from the areca palms. Angui didn‘t notice that someone had been paying attention to him from a far. He was in fact the owner of the ship. This man later commanded one of his staff to ask Angui to meet him. “Excuse me young man. I am commanded to ask you to meet my master”, said the man while pointing to his master. Angui took a look at that man and saw he was smiling at him. He was finally convinced and came to see the owner of the ship as was requested. “What‘s your name young man?” asked the man. “people call me Angui Sir” responded him to the owner of the ship. “Listen Angui, I am very interested in your rattans. I can see that they have good quality. They are old enough and dry. They are clean and well tied as well” told the man commending Angui‘s job. Angui bowed down at him and smiled saying “My mother taught me to do so Sir. She was never tired of  reminding me to always do anything neatly and tidily”.

The Angui‘s explanation convinced the man that he was a faithful and diligent person. Without thinking any longer, he invited Angui to come and sail with him.  “Angui, do you want to sail with me?” asked the owner of the ship. Angui was undoubtedly happy for the invitation. “I am pleased about it Sir. But I need to ask permission from my mother”, answered Angui. “Fine. I will wait for you here tomorrow morning. Come and we will sail together”, that man requested. Then Angui went home in a rush to tell his mother about the story.

 “Mother, I met the owner of the ship at the harbor. He invited me to sail together with him. Will you let me go?” explained Agui carefully to his mother as soon as he reached the house. “I want to see you fulfilling your dreams My Son. I don‘t mind to let you go” his mother permitted Angui. “But please come back for me later. You are the only one I have. Please come back” she continued. Angui was so happy to know that his mother agreed to let him reaching his fortune. “Thank you mother. I will always remember your words. Wish me luck” said him hugging her. “Prepare all of your things earlier tomorrow morning son” advised his mother. He responded by nodding happily. Something came across his mind. He remembered the rooster that he had been taking care of since he was a very small kid. “Mother, would you please take care of the rooster for me?” I won‘t take it with me over there will always be something to remind you of me”, he asked his mother. “Sure my son. I will take care of your rooster until you come back here” said the mother.

Angui went to the harbor the next day accompanied by his mother. “Mother, I go now. Take care. I promise I will come back as I reached my fortune” said him to his mother kissing her hand. “Get in to the jung. It will leave soon. Be careful my son. Keep my words in mind” said the mother. The jung did move after a few seconds with Angui in it. Angui could see his old mother waving at him as the jung moved away. He was sad leaving his beloved mother. He loved her so much that he couldn‘t take his eyes from the distance where the old man was standing. “Forgive me for letting you alone Mother. But it is for us to have a better life” said Angui with tears dropping on his cheeks.

Years passed by and Angui worked diligently for the owner of the ship. He never forgot his mother‘s words. He worked neatly and tidily that the boss was very satisfied. He then married Angui to his daughter. The owner of the ship was very old. He passed away soon after the marriage and passed on all of his prosperity to his daughter and son-in law, Angui. People soon knew Angui as a rich tradesman. He remembered his mother amidst his prosperous life and intended to go back to his hometown to pick his mother up. His wife was very happy to know this and supported the plan.  “Kaka, this will be the first time I see my mother in law. Finally I will do my husband, thanks to you” said his wife. “Yes Ading. Please tell the crews to prepare the big jung and all of our needs during the sailing”, responded Angui to his wife. Then, all of the crews worked to prepare the jung and the needs. They also prepared various gifts for Angui‘s mother. And the ship sailed directly as everything was well prepared.

The ship reached the harbor at Angui‘s hometown after several days sailing in the ocean. People admirably looked at the luxurious ship and wondered the person to whom it belonged. Their curiosity was gone soon as Angui and his wife stepped out of the jung.  Some of the people were still familiar with one of the figures. “Hey, isn‘t the man Angui. Look at the mark on his eyelid. It‘s the Angui‘s special mark” uttered an old man. And surely all attention were directed to the man. “Yes, it is” said the other. “He is Diang Ingsun‘s son, Angui. I‘ll go and tell her” continued another villager. But before that man moved an inch, a group of children were already running hurriedly to the old woman‘s house, Angui‘s mother, to tell her about the news. “Angui came home granny. Angui came home” shouted all of the children outside Diang Ingsun‘s house. She came out to the source of the voices full of disbelief of the news. She approached the children, “Tell me the truth, children. Did you say the truth?”, she asked them. “Yes granny”, responded the children together. “Angui‘s jung is at the harbor now” added them. “Alright, I will go there now” said Diang Ingsun weakly for she was now a very old woman. She came into her hut to prepare herself as the children left her and thought, “I am already looked so old. Angui might not recognize me anymore. I am too weak to walk to the harbor”, though her. “Well I will take this jukung rumpung. I will row as fast as I can. Angui might not recognize me, but this jukung will surely remind him of his past. He used to sleep in this when I was fishing”, muttered Angui. She also took Angui‘s rooster with her to convince him later. “This rooster will remind Angui of his words several years before. He asked me to take care of it before he left”.

The old woman rowed to the harbor with a rooster standing on the head of her small boat. Her shouts were heard around the harbor as people saw her presence there, “Diang Ingsun is here. Diang Ingsun is here”. Angui and his wife turned to the noise and saw a small boat standing at the edge of his luxurious ship. “Who is the old woman in the boat, Kaka?”, asked the wife. “I am not sure Adingku”, responded him shortly.

“Angui, my son. This is me, your mother” shouted Diang Ingsun with her weak voice from the boat. ”This is your favorite rooster. I take it just in case you cannot recognize me anymore”, sobbed the old woman. “It is impossible for my rooster to be that old. Don‘t lie old woman”, yelled Angui at his mother. He was looked so nervous and afraid that his wife would figure out the truth. “We used to take this jukung with us for fishing my son. Don‘t you remember?”, assured the mother louder. This raised Angui‘s temper that he shouted harshly to his mother, “Forget the jukung rumpung!” He ordered his crews to move the ship and leave the harbor sooner. “Let‘s get out of here. I am sick of this old woman!”, commanded Angui. His wife felt so sorry for the old man and said to her husband, “Kaka, that‘s fine if she is your real mother. I will happily accept her as my mother in law. We need to thank God that we are still given a chance to meet your mother who gave birth to you and raised you my husband. Get off and hug her”, requested his wife. Angui still stubbornly rejected the old woman as his mother though his wife showed her good intention. “I‘ve told you! My mother is not that old and poor. She is lying!”, Angui opposed.

The luxurious ship left the harbor soon and Angui dragged his wife to go inside and stop looking at the old woman. His heart was hurt for the embarrassment. He failed to think justly and rejected his own mother. Back at the harbor, the old woman still looked surprised and was very sad. Her heart was torn into pieces after being yelled at and rejected by her own child. She couldn‘t stop crying desperately. She prayed, “Dear God. If the owner of that ship is really my son Angui, the one who was in my womb for 9 months and 10 days, please bring damages upon him. I curse him for rejecting me, God!” cursed Diang Ingsun.

The heavy rain with the strong wind fell down as soon as she finished her prayers. The thunders unceasingly rumbled. The wave of the sea raised and moved Angui‘s ship here and there. So strong was the wave that it finally broke the luxurious ship into two pieces. The first one was with the wife and her servants in it, and the other was with Angui and his staff. Angui begged forgiveness from his mother realizing what was happening, “Mother, please forgive me. I am your son. I will never reject you anymore”. His wife also joined him for forgiveness from the old woman. No matter what, the old women ignored their cries and rowed her small boat to leave the harbor.

Angui was terribly sorry for his attitude. Yet, nothing could be done to turn back the time. The disaster was unstoppable and the luxurious ship sank into the deep ocean. When the rain stopped and the water declined, the pieces of the ship appeared to the land. It was already toned. People call the part with Angui‘s wife in it Batu Bini and Batu Laki to refer the another one. It is said that the staff of the ship also appeared later and grew to a tall tree on the top of the Batu Laki mountain. On the other side, people said that Diang Ingsun turned into a black eagle. This eagle was often seen flying around the mountains and stopped on the Batu Laki. The bird would sound when the day was very hot, “Bulik! Bulik! Bulik!”


Jung: a ship
Jukung: a small boat
Kaka: the way a wife address her husband
Ading: the way a husband address to his wife
Bulik: to come back, to go home


The story above delivers important moral messages. The way Angui did his job emphases the patience to do anything neatly and tidily. This is a good attitude to follow. Those who work neatly and tidily will be respected. To reject the past and being proud are two characteristics which are reflected through Angui. He forgot and rejected his past when he fulfilled his dream. He even rejected his own mother since she was old and poor. He was ashamed to have such a mother. This negative attitude prohibited by the Malayans. No one supports this rebellious character. However, there is no perfect person in the world. Everyone has his/her own weaknesses. For this reason, usually Malayans will work hard to try and to do the best to cover their weaknesses. There are several quatrains condemning such negative attitudes. Some are quoted by Tenas Effendy as follows:

Bila kaya, besar kepala,
Bila berpangkat, berobah sifat

And the same theme in:
“Bila terpandang,
hidung pun kembang”

“bila terkenal,
Lupakan asal”

“bila dipuji lupakan diri,
Bila disanjung tak ingat untung”.

The Malayans also condemned such kind of attitude that denied one‘s own mother. This should never be done! For this reason, the elders usually remind the people to avoid the prohibited attitudes that might bring them misfortune, and being rebellious to the parents is one among them. Many of the Malay quatrains reflect this message. Tenas Effendy also quoted many quatrains that condemn the rebellious attitude in one of his book, Ejekan Terhadap Orang Melayu Riau dan Pantangan Orang Melayu Riau” (The Mockery and Prohibition for the Malayans in Riau). One of them is:

 “apa tanda orang durhaka,
terhadap yang baik tak suka”

“kalau suka berbuat durhaka,
kemana pergi akan celaka”

“kalau durhaka ke ibu bapak,
dunia akhirat badan tercampak”


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