Weeks Earlier than Deadly Descent, Indonesia Submarine Crew Sang Unwitting Farewell

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Beneath deck on their submarine, Indonesian sailors crowded round a crewman with a guitar and crooned a pop tune known as “Until We Meet Once more.”

Weeks later, the identical sailors vanished deep beneath the Pacific Ocean whereas descending for a torpedo drill, setting off a frantic worldwide search. Indonesian army officers mentioned on Sunday, 4 days after the vessel disappeared, that it had damaged into three items a whole bunch of meters beneath the floor, leaving no survivors among the many 53 crew members.

Now, the video of the submariners singing is resonating throughout Indonesian social media, in a nation the place many individuals are jaded by a gentle stream of dangerous information: devastating earthquakes, erupting volcanoes and sinking ferries.

“If land is just not the place you might be destined to return to, there’s a place for you in heaven,” members of the band Endank Soekamti, who composed the tune, wrote on Instagram beneath a clip of the sailors’ efficiency.

The clip went viral after the Indonesian Navy launched it on Monday. Lt. Col. Djawara Whimbo, a spokesman for the Indonesian army, mentioned in an interview on Tuesday that the video had been recorded final month to honor the outgoing commander of the navy’s submarine fleet.

The video has hit a nerve on-line, partly as a result of the tune — which describes a reluctant goodbye — sounds particularly poignant within the wake of the accident.

Some social media customers speculated that the sailors had a “hunch” in regards to the looming accident and have been singing about their very own destiny. Colonel Whimbo mentioned that was a mirrored image of “cocoklogi,” an Indonesian phrase that describes trying again at folks’s lives to search out clues to clarify seemingly random occasions.

Folks within the Muslim-majority nation, from distant villagers to senior politicians, usually depend on religion and superstition to know present occasions. A succession of Indonesian presidents have paid their respects to the spirit world, consulting with seers or accumulating what they believed have been magic tokens, for instance.

Within the years after the 2004 tsunami that killed 230,000 folks in Indonesia and elsewhere, many Indonesians blamed the catastrophe on then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, saying that he carried the shadow of cosmic misfortune.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a former spokesman for Indonesia’s catastrophe administration company, instructed The New York Occasions in 2018 that he made some extent of incorporating native knowledge and conventional beliefs whereas speaking the science of disasters.

“The cultural method works higher than simply science and know-how,” Mr. Sutopo mentioned. “If folks suppose that it’s punishment from God, it makes it simpler for them to get well.”

The newest diaster struck final week, when a 44-year-old submarine, the Nanggala, disappeared earlier than daybreak throughout coaching workouts north of the Indonesian island of Bali. Search crews from the USA, India, Malaysia, Australia and Singapore later helped the Indonesian Navy hunt for the vessel within the Bali Sea.

For a number of days, naval consultants apprehensive that the sub would possibly run out of oxygen. Then the navy confirmed over the weekend that it had fractured and sank to a deep seabed.

Among the many gadgets a remote-controlled submersible discovered on the crash web site was a tattered orange escape go well with.

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia expressed his condolences to the households of the fallen sailors on Monday, calling them “the nation’s greatest sons” and noting that the federal government would pay for his or her kids’s schooling via school.

“Could the spirits of the golden shark warriors get one of the best place along side Almighty God,” he mentioned.

The tune the sailors sang final month, “Until We Meet Once more,” occurs to have a posh again story.

The musician Erix Soekamti mentioned that he and his bandmates wrote it about six years in the past on a distant island east of Bali, as a tribute to the native folks that they had met over the course of a monthlong recording session.

The tune’s lyrics could be interpreted as fatalistic:

Starting will finish

Rise will set

Ups will meet downs

The tune was meant to convey optimism, Mr. Soekamti mentioned, nevertheless it has slowly turn into related to loss, misfortune and dying.

Just a few years in the past, he mentioned, the gang at an Indonesian soccer recreation sang it after a goalie for one of many groups died throughout a earlier match. “Then it turned a loser tune,” he mentioned. “Now, when a group loses, that tune might be sung.”

“Until We Meet Once more” has been coated by different musicians; a melancholic model by the Indonesian singer Tami Aulia has been considered greater than 9 million occasions on YouTube.

However Mr. Soekamti mentioned his band now avoids taking part in it and just lately declined to incorporate it on an upcoming stay album.

“I’m unhappy,” he mentioned, “and, in a means, afraid.”

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