In Memoriam a grand lady in Kuningan: Ibu Utje Suganda


Joty ter Kulve schreef een memoriam over een kennis, die twee weken geleden overleed


Ibu HJH Ch. Hamid Utje Suganda, Bupati of Kuningan, has passed away.
And we all are mourning. Her beloved husband Aang Suganda, her five children, grandchildren, her friends, the people of Kuningan: we all miss her so much al-ready. Our fond memories of her will make her live on forever in all our hearts.
utjesugandaIbu Utje was an example to all of us. She touched so many lives, she planted so many seeds and those seeds became strong Waringin trees. Just like the seeds she planted in the hearts of Willem and me and in our families.
Thank you Ibu Utje for everything you gave us. When my brother, she called him Pak Willem, spoke about you he always said ‘I have never in my life met a woman like Utje. She is a combination of Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King. Mother Theresa and Margaret Thatcher’. Full of energy from morning till late in the even-ing, always generous, caring and bubbling of ideas and enthusiasm.
I remember that when her husband became the first democratic chosen Bupati of Kuningan in 2003, Ibu Utje’s first aim was to make Kuningan the cleanest town of Indonesia. So every Saturday she personally gave the good example: she ‘sapud’ (swept) the streets of Kuningan. And within no time the citizens of Kuningan cleaned the streets every Saturday.
It was no surprise to Willem and I that President Yudhoyono presented Aang Suganda several Awards. An award for his fight for the environment and a second Award for Pak Aung’s endeavors for the family planning project ‘dua anak cukup’.
But when her husband had been elected twice and therefore was no longer eligible, Ibu Utje thought that they had not finished their task in Kuningan and that she had to take over the baton. So with the blessings of her husband, family and many citi-zens she decided to enter the elections for the next Bupati of Kuningan.

And of course she deservedly won the election, strongly supported by the women in the region Kuningan and all the people that recognized her strength, her wits and her fairness. Utje Suganda became the first female Bupati of Kuningan and indeed she brought the province several steps further. But how terribly sad that her wish of finishing the tasks of Pak Aang and herself was so abruptly crossed out by her sudden death.
It does not surprise me at all that the decease of Ibu Utje Suganda became national news. Her dedication and activities for the environment, education, health and so-cial service got known far beyond the borders of Kuningan. She was not just an ex-ample for the emancipation of women worldwide, she breathed, she lived emanci-pation and she had the courage and insight to fight for change when she believed her nation and the world needed change to be able to match the hour and chal-lenges of the 21st century.
Dear Ibu Utje, I could write a book about you, about Linggarjati, the Gedung Perundingan as the museum of the Linggarjati Conference, the place where the Founding Fathers Soekarno, Hatta and Syahrir got de facto their freedom from the Dutch in November 1946. An independence that you, Ibu Utje, proved to be well deserved.
Your vision for our two countries, your strong believe that ‘unity in diversity’ is the key to Freedom and Peace, will help us and the world to find that peace. Especially these days I think of your visits to Willem in France and my home in the Nether-lands, precious moments that I always will remember, as well as our visits to your always open house.
Joty ter Kulve-van Os, the Netherlands, 7 April 2016
Willem van Os (demise in France)
[My brother Willem and I got to know and love the Suganda family, as The Linggarjati Conference Museum (Perundingan) was accommodated in the house of our youth, built by our father in the 1930’s. When we founded the foundation ‘Friends of Linggarjati’ in 2002, Pak Aang Suganda was Bupati of Kuningan and he and Ibu Utje always supported and maintained the museum].

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