As I told you for most Indonesians, both statistically [or nominally] Muslims and practicing Muslims, and in many cases for Indonesian non-Muslims too, circumcision is a very important tradition. Of course you probably know that for Muslims it is a must.
In terms of tradition, for most Javanese boys, 11-12 years old is the time for the circumcision. I do not know much about other ethnic groups' traditions for the time the boy to be circumcised. But I know about the Sundanese, the second largest ethnic group in Indonesia [after the Javanese]. The Sundanese boys are circumcised younger than the Javanese boys, at about 5-6 years old.
For the boys, it's the happiest time because they think that they'll soon be "big boys". Parents give their newly-circumcised sons a party on the day the boys are circumcised. Their relatives, friends and, neighbors come to the party with presents or gifts for the boy. For the poorer families or the orphan boys, there's a collective circumcision ceremony and of course a collective but modest party that follows. Young boys regularly ask their parents repeatedly about the day they will be circumcised. They hope it will soon come so they can be big boys and get many presents.
Because of this tradition, boys in Indonesia are used to seeing a circumcised penis. To see an uncircumcised penis make us feel a little uncomfortable. I heard about this when I was very young. My friend told me that he saw a boy's penis uncircumcised. It was so strange for him to see that.
As I told you, I was circumcised when I reached 12 years old of age. My father told an experienced paramedic from the Indonesian Army Hospital that I needed to be circumcised. The paramedic had already circumcised my elder brother two years earlier. He also came and did the same to all my younger brothers. My father heard of the paramedic from his friend who had three sons.
Just like all my brothers I was circumcised in the morning. I was ready at 06.30 in the morning. After having breakfast, I waited for the paramedic in our living room. I played and chatted with my brothers, my parents and uncles and aunts who were invited to come all encouraged me. They did not need to do that for me because I was not afraid of being circumcised. I knew that my brother had been circumcised, and also most of my friends at school and in the neighborhood. I had seen their circumcised penis's myself.
When the paramedic came into the house he greeted my parents and everyone else in the living room, including me. After a short while he asked me if I was ready? Then we went to my bedroom. All the other people stayed out of the room. He asked me to take off my shorts while he prepared all his "instruments" [a little sharp knife, antibiotics, a suture to sew, etc.].
I was not embarrassed as I wanted it to be over quickly. He held my penis while he talked with me just to encourage me. I felt my penis go harder sometimes. He told me that a hard penis was no good for cutting so he waited for a few seconds until my penis got softer or smaller. He injected my penis to deaden the pain. He pulled my foreskin away from my penis and cut off the surplus skin. I had a few sutures and it was bandaged.
When it was done he went out from my bedroom to tell my parents and the people outside my bedroom. That day we had just a small party for me. I got some presents from my relatives who did not come.
My two nephews were circumcised at 11 and 12 years of age. One was done by free-hand method and the other by the forceps guided method. As for my eldest son, he was circumcised at 11 years of age and the younger one at 8 years of age. Both of them were done by the Gomco Clamp and I am pleased to say it was a completely bloodless procedure. At the moment I am expecting another baby (schedule for April next year) and if it is a boy then I am planning to circumcise him straight away (in Indonesia Moslem girls are circumcised at birth but not boys, so I might make a new family tradition).
Childhood circumcisions come out very well and like most of the Indonesian boys, they are very happy to be circumcised because they feel they are an adult afterwards and they look the same as most of their friends.
Sifon is traditional circumcision or a part of traditional circumcision in Southern East Timor Indonesia. It is symbolic ceremony of adulthood of men, after 20 years old of age, generally 25. Traditional circumcision (including sifon) is done as marriage preparation. The circumcision is done by a traditional circumciser.
This traditional circumcision has a cooling period. In this period, the men who is just circumcised has to sex with three or four women who are not his wife.
(Prof. Dr. Masri Singarimbun, Seks, Gatra Weekly, September 9, 1995)
I was fortunate to be in Indonesia for six months several years back. The majority are of the Moslem faith and the boys I encountered all looked forward to being circumcised. I attend the circumcision of a 15 year old boy, who was very glad to finally be circumcised. Most boys were done when they were around 6 -12 years of age. This boy invited many of his (already circumcised) friends to attend his circumcision and was very happy to finally be done.
Some years back I had an email conversation with a man who was also from Indonesia. He said the circ rate there was practically 100%, and while it had in the past been a religious thing it was now more of a cultural practice, in that it is not limited to those actively practicing the Muslim religion, or any other. His was done about the age of 14, and he was a bit embarrassed that it had not been done sooner, as most boys were done a little younger. The delay was caused by his family, who wanted to do him and a cousin at the same time to save expenses (not expense of the surgery, but expense of the accompanying celebration). He said there is usually a celebration even for the non-religious; in his case it consisted of the whole family going out for a nice dinner. Also he felt the delay made him feel like a wimp. He was in fact a little scared before the operation, but said there was really nothing to it and he was ashamed to himself that he had been scared, and happy afterward that he had gone through it and did not feel like a wimp anymore.
If I understood him correctly, some boys just decide when they are ready for it and can walk into a doctor's office off the street and get it done.
A mother in Indonesia claims a genie circumcised her 10-month-old son while she was cooking breakfast. It's not known if Riyan Abdullah experienced any complications as a result of the operation, which allegedly took place near the town of Tasikmalaya onJava.
"When I heard Riyan crying, I went straight to his bedroom and couldn't believe what my eyes," Riyan's mother, identified only as Ineng, told Antara news agency. The family immediately suspected it was the work of a genie, belief in which is widespread in Indonesia. They summoned a local paranormal to the house who confirmed their suspicions, said Antara.
© Associated Press
Story filed: 08:41 Thursday 20th February 2003
I wanted to mention to you the movie Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale. Its a documentary about the life of anthropologist Tobias Schneebaum and is much better than the title makes it sound. Its of interest to the list because a cruise stop in Indonesia shows boys being lined up for ritual circumcision, Tobias commenting on it, and one being performed (forceps method), with tourists and the film crew looking on and taping. The cruise line is not mentioned, but should appear in the films "Special Thanks" credits.
House of Circumcision
Please let me introduce myself, my name is Fajar Harguna, at the present I'm the Manager of House of Circumcision of Indonesia (Rumah Sunatan), that was established in 2005. Our clinic is specialist to provide circumcision, and we provide many methods from conventional until the newest one, such as electro-cauter, conventional (surgery), gomco, smartklamp, taraklamp, sunathrone, ismailklamp, etc. We also have a unique concept about circumcision clinic, that boys always feel comfortable without scared, parents will also feel safe because the operators have to be doctors (not paramedics) . Our House of Circumcision just looks like a kindergarten and playground rather than "a clinic", but using medical standard operation procedure. However, Rumah Sunatan is not necessary only doing circumcision, but also circumcision trainings, free consultation, free mass-circumcision for poor people, etc. In July 2007 we did for 1200 poor-boys incorporated with government istitutions and we deliver 100 doctors and 100 assistants/ paramedics.
Click on any thumbnail below for a larger image.
Above images provided courtesy of Rumah Sunatan, House of Circumcision, Indonesia.
So far we have 3 branches in 3 different provinces which are : East Java (Surabaya), Central Java (Semarang) and West Java (Depok).
HOUSE OF CIRCUMCISION INDONESIA
(Rumah Sunatan Indonesia)
Jl. Gugus Depan No. 18
Phone: +62 21 70331232, 70331233,
Fax: +62 21 85913421
E-mail : email@example.com
Web : www.rumahsunatan.com
and the Law