'Kecoa', by Yudi, Yaddie, Eri, & Arief (Balai Pustaka, 1998).
Like Ayam Majapahit (featured in Inside Indonesia, July-September 1998), Kecoa was also a first place winner in the 1997 Comic Competition held by the Director General of the Ministry for Education and Culture. Like the other winners, these comics are very difficult to find.
Kecoa is a story of heroism in the face of extreme personal fear, which takes place toward the end of the Japanese occupation (1942-45). Kecoa is the nickname given to a young farmer because of his intense fear of cockroaches (kecoa) in a place overrun by them. Kecoa, however, rises to the occasion and bravely faces Japanese cruelty and internal treachery from within the ranks of the local militia. This frame shows the excitement among the militia when they hear on 17 August 1945 that independence has been proclaimed. The cry is 'Merdeka!', 'Freedom!'.
Dr Laine Berman teaches at Deakin University, Melbourne. A photocopy is available from her for AU$12 (including postage): Aust & Internat Studs, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood Vic 3125, Australia, fax +61-3-9244 6755.