This Messiah-like Figure Mastered and Promised the Secrets of Utopia to All Papuans (with End Notes Added).
By CELLY AKWAN and BECKY SIMSON
His power has been greater than that of any great heroes and dignitaries of the mythical past. From an ugly old man most people looked down upon, he became a handsome lord and dignitary. He was a creator and created things from nothing. So, he created springs and islands, light like sunshine in his house at night, abundance of food, and a ship complete with its captain and crew. He made Western people wealthy, prosperous, advanced, and powerful. He mastered the secrets of eternal life and resurrections of the dead, and was the only hero and dignitary who had seen the utopian world. Even one of his song poems is so influential that the word irrian it contains has been used to name that huge island in the South Pacific formerly known as New Guinea. He had the power to reward anyone accepting the secrets from the utopia and the power to curse those who rejected his secrets. This unforgettable hero, this powerful dignitary, has lived for centuries in the hearts of generations of Irianese. He has very often been known as Lord of the Utopia.
After he left for the West, the Irianese spread across the island in search of him. They were disappointed because they could not meet him. But he promised to return to them after eight generations since his departure to the West.
So, instead of trying to find Lord of the Utopia, the people have been waiting for his return. They have organized a lot of Utopian movements throughout the centuries to anticipate his return or to make Utopia come true to them. Despite all these efforts, the Lord himself has not returned yet.
How and why did the belief in Lord of the Utopia start? It all started from a mysterious event experienced by an old man.
A Mysterious Pig
The man lived on the plateau of Yamnaibori, a mountain in Biak. He had laid out a garden there, planted a lot of tubers in it, and made a strong fence around it. As soon as the tubers were big enough, he dug as many as he needed for his daily food.
One day, he was startled by a weird incident. A pig had penetrated his garden and eaten his taros. He wanted to find out how it came in. So, he walked along the fence but did not discover a weak or low spot through which the animal could have entered. He was very surprised.
Then, he built a big fire. Its smoke permeated through the whole planting. After that, he returned home.
The next morning, the uncanny event happened again. He examined the fence again for any weak spots but could not find any. But after a closer look, the man noticed something unusual. The pig not only routed out the taros randomly. It had also continued the weed pulling where the owner had ended his work the previous day.
The man thought about how to cope with these strange events. He got an idea. He would be on the watch for the pig and kill it if it came in again.
So, he prepared his lance and went to his garden. He sat there the whole night.
Just before dawn, he heard the champing of a pig. The man sneaked nearer and hurled his lance. Just as the beast was hit, he heard it shout in a human voice: “I stop.” The event shocked the man and made him feel afraid. He regretted having thrown his lance.
As soon as it was daybreak, he looked for the traces of the pig. And what he saw was suprising. Instead of finding the footprints of a pig, he found those of a human being! He did not find his lost spear either.
I want to know what all these events mean, he told himself. So, he followed the footprints and blood splashes from the spear wound. He just kept walking until he arrived at a deep cave. What he saw there was again puzzling: he saw a lot of blood but did not see any person, alive or dead.
Could it be possible that the wounded mysterious pig enter the cave? He wondered. To find out the answer, he entered the cave. And what he soon saw boggled his mind even more. The cave was not dark; it was very bright. So, he kept following a well-marked path.
Then, the path sloped down. The man descended it and when he reached a certain spot, he saw his lance standing there. He examined it, but he did not find any traces of blood; besides, the lance was not broken either. He was confused with the mystery. So, he just stood there, not being sure of whether to continue his search or return.
Then, he was startled by another puzzling event. Just alone in that cave, he heard the roars of laughing and shouting. To find out where they came from, the man looked into every hole and corner of the cave. Suddenly, he heard a voice. It called him and said, “Unreal man. Where are you going and what would you like to take from here?”
But the man was so awe-stricken that he was stunned for several heartbeats and just listened. The voice that seemed to have come from nowhere continued: “Take your spear and walk backwards.”
The man gathered enough courage and sobriety and replied, “I do not know how to walk.”
He did not know that the voice speaking to him was from the snon soroka, the man from the Land of Souls. The man from this land said, “Just do what I said. Otherwise, you will trip and fall.”
He obeyed the commands of the man from the Land of Souls and began to walk backwards. But the entity from the Land of Souls spoke again: “Do you hear these singing and shouting voices?”
“Certainly, I do.”
“Have you recognized any family members?”
“No, the voices sound far away, so I do not recognize them.”
“Would you like to see them at a closer distance?”
“Certainly, I would like to.”
Suddenly, he sensed as if his inner eyes were open. He saw a mass of people in a gigantic village; so huge was it that the roofs of the houses were merged. And what he saw and heard was breathtaking. This village was exceptionally beautiful and it was full of singing and dancing people. Then, he saw his relatives. But he could not recognize other people because they appeared vague to him. Despite his vague view, he could see and hear that men and women were rejoicing together. He was surprised that he could not see a single old man or old women among them: they were all young men and women. When he had witnessed all of those, he was filled with rapture and did not want to leave that place. But the man from the Land of Souls told him, “Your time has not come yet. You are still in envelopment,  still subject to sleep and hunger. This is a Utopia  place.”
Pondering upon the Utopia
After this splendid vision, the man walked backwards. He could not see the misty people anymore; he only heard their voices. While walking backwards, he arrived at the place where his spear stood. He came close to the lance, but he could not seize it. A snake that was lying nearby barred his way. He wanted to walk on as quickly as possible, but he did not know the way anymore. So, he had to make a choice of getting out that made him sad and regretful: he turned around, faced the cave, and walked out of it.
After walking forward, he arrived again at his garden. But the fruits in it had disappeared, except for one pumpkin.
Then, he ascended the top of a mound. He sat on it and pondered upon all things he had seen and heard. His thoughts filled his heart with sadness.
He called the plateau where his garden was located, Yamnaibori, the Mountain Where I Stopped.  The word yamnai was taken from the first word he had heard when he hit the mysterious pig in his garden with his lance. He thought that the mysterious pig was the disguise of a man from the Land of Souls.
He sat there and pondered upon everything he had experienced in and out of the cave. He thought over the phrase “unreal man” that was used to address him in the cave. He also thought over the statement that his time had not come yet because he was attached to the bindings of his life. He thought over all of these and felt deep remorse. He could not enter the Utopia because he had walked forward when leaving the cave. He also felt deep remorse because he had not been able to take the spear along with him.
These thoughts made him lose interest in taking care of his garden. He let the only pumpkin grow and fall apart naturally.
Then, he descended the mound and went to his village. There, he met his fellow-villagers. They were surprised to see his appearance: it did not look tidy. They also noticed that he looked sad and older than he actually was. So, they asked him about what had actually happened to him, but he never replied. Some showed their sympathy, but most had scornful words for him.
Those who pitied him kept saying, “What is going on? Formerly, you were very hard working in your garden and now you sit the whole day and stare and neglect everything, including yourself.”
And then, he told them what had happened. Some believed his words. But when they told his story to other people, some scoffed and spit on the ground.
So, the man became an old man. He did not take care of himself any longer and, as a result, got a skin disease and was called Manarmakeri, the Old Man with Scabies or the Old Man with Scaly Skin. 
These thoughts made the Old Man toss in bed. He thought that The Land of Souls and Heavens  were both perfect. This world is imperfect because there is still night and all people are still in bindings; they are still unreal people. So, he was going to search for the Utopia the living people are yearning for.
How could he make it come true for them? One thing he was sure of: they should not spoil blood and keep pigs anymore. They should not kill snakes either because snakes guarded the way to the Utopian Land of Souls. And if the Utopia appeared, it would last for only three days and nights because he himself walked for three days and nights in darkness before he reached the Utopia place.
To search for the Utopia, the Old Man descended the small hill he had lived on. He went to Sopen, a village at the foot of the hill. There is a creek called the Sopendo on the south coast of Biak, and the village, is located on the banks of the creek.
Sopen and the Mountains
All Biak people have considered the village sacred. It is the source of the Manarmakeri myth. In addition, nearly all myths of the Biak people, their history, and culture originated from this village. The myths of origins and of the princes or lords also came from this place. The lords include heroes and dignitaries. Sopen was at the same time the place for the worship of the “gods.”
There are three mountains behind Sopen. The first is called Yamnaibori, the mountain of rest; the second, Sumbinyabo, the mountain where men kidnapped the princess; and the third, Mansuarbori, the mountain of the cassowary bird or the mountain of love.
Manarmakeri who possessed the “secret” of life and death lived on Yamnaibori. He cultivated woodcarving and other art forms, such as writing poems, for the Irianese, especially the Biak people.
Before he got scabies or kaskado, a skin disease resembling scales of a fish that covered his body, Manarmakeri was called Yawi Nusyado. His mother was Inggimos Mandos and his father was from the clan  of Nusyado. He was a widower and kept a garden of pumpkins and took care of a pig.
The Capture of the Princess
The village chief of Sopen was a prince. One day, his son left his house armed with his bow and arrows. He wanted to shoot fish at the beach.
Near him, he was surprised to notice an unusual sight. A cassowary was fishing in a lagoon. The bird was doing something very unusual in the water. When he felt that enough fish had already swum or drifted into his feathers, he paddled out of the water and shook off the fish on a dry spot of the beach.
Then, at the edge of the lagoon, the large bird put down his fish and put them into a woven basket. The young prince was surprised again to notice that the cassowary was not alone. After putting the fish into the basket, he lifted a child and the basket, put them on his back. Then he returned to Mansuarbori, his dwelling. After watching these amazing events, the young prince returned home. Later, he came to know that the cassowary was the grandfather and the child was his granddaughter.
The child was in fact a beautiful princess and the young prince fell in love with her. He wanted her to become his ladylove.
In the evening, he summoned a meeting between him and a group of fighting men. He gave them an order to capture the princess. “If anyone of you can capture the princess,” he promised, “I’ll ask my sister to marry him.” The men who knew that the sister of the young prince was beautiful accepted his condition and agreed to help him.
The next morning, an army of an age group set forth and placed itself in an ambush. Just at that moment, the princess came, sitting on the back of her grandfather, the cassowary. She was going to fish like she did every day.
Suddenly, the cassowary and his granddaughter were surrounded by the army. While being surrounded, the prince’s men shouted loudly, beat drums and gongs, and blew triton shells – signs that they were trying to seize the princess. But the grandfather was able to escape easily, with his granddaughter on his back, through the army and ran into the forest.
The army returned empty-handedly. Surely none could be offered the marriage with the sister of the young prince.
The next day, another group of men from another age group went out. They lay in ambush to capture the princess, but the grandfather and his granddaughter escaped them, too.
More attempts were made for several days to capture the princess. None succeeded. At last, a lot of men lost the courage to try again.
Suddenly, an old man appeared. He was covered with scabies or scaly skin that made him look very ugly. He was Manarmakeri. The Old Man was walking with a bent back and holding a stick in one hand and a bunch of leaves in the other to drive away flies from his wounds. He requested to the young prince that he be admitted into the army. Those who saw him and listened to his request laughed and ridiculed him.
The army leader asked him, “Can you, an ugly old man, do anything that we, strong men, cannot really do?”
“Come on,” he replied, “just let me try.”
Finally, the men permitted him into the army.
The Old Man was put under a mangrove tree. Then the army, with loud shouts, set out on another pursuit of the princess and her grandfather; the latter ran as fast as he could toward the mangrove tree. Suddenly, Manarmakeri, the ugly old man, appeared from behind the tree, used the curve of his golden rod, and hooked the princess’s neck. The successful capture forced the cassowary to stand. Finally, Manarmakeri grabbed her and gave her to the young prince so that she could become his wife.
Manarmakeri endowed the married couple with riches, glory, and abundance. They became the king and queen who ruled over Biak and Irian.
One of his blessings was revealed through music. To honor the wedding party of the prince and princess, he composed a lot of songs and melodies. Some of them show that Manarmakeri and the Biak people had already crossed Mainland Irian.
One of his song poems expresses adoration of him and mentions the departure of the Biak people to Mainland Irian,[10-12] not to Papua. It also mentions his struggle with the Morning Star and his voyage to the East.
Father Kayan Sanawi, stand up, you are holy./ You cover up the sunlight on Yamnaibori, the mountain of the princess from Biak/ So that we load all your blessings and depart to Irian, the mainland/ Because I have seen the Morning Star  rise and not stay on Kumamba in the East.
Meanwhile, the cassowary had escaped into the forest and was alone and sorrowful. Finally, he got so angry that he called on all his folks and left with them for the island of Yappen. That is why cassowary birds are not found on Biak. But the cassowary bird, previously called Mawis, has ever since that time been called Manswar,  the loving bird, because he had once loved a human being. The top of the mountain where Manswar once lived has been called Manswarbori.
According to the promise, Manarmakeri who had captured the princess would be given the sister of the young prince as his wife. But the prince broke his promise. Instead of giving him his sister, he gave him a pig. His kinsfolk then brought the pig up to his pumpkin garden.
They all gathered there to hold a party. They asked him to borrow his chopping-knife, and he gave it to them.
He himself rowed directly to his clan from the Mandof clan in order to take a plate. He would present it as a counter-gift to the party holders.
After staying overnight at his cousin’s house, he returned home the following morning. He met his kinsfolk again, but he was disappointed at what he discovered. They had already slaughtered the pig and forgotten him: they did not leave almost any single pork for him.
The indifferent Sopen people ate the pork and ill-treated him. They included folks from the Nusyado clan, his own clan, and a village chief having the title of Sengaji Gim. To build a fire, they pulled out the wooden fence of his garden and used it as firewood. They also had snatched all the pumpkin leaves to wrap the pork for broiling it in the broiling pit. His chopping-knife became blunt because they had used it to chop the pig’s skull into two halves. Then, they gave the Old Man a small piece of the pork, but he rejected the offer. He gave it to a grandchild.
He was very angry with them.
“I do not mind your having eaten up my pig,” he said, “but I really cannot stand your deeds. You have already destroyed my garden, used the fence as firewood, and pulled off the leaves of my pumpkins. I am leaving here immediately.”
He then descended the mountain, walked to the beach, got into a small canoe, and headed for the southeastern direction. His departure would prepare him for greater things in the future.
When the people saw that he really went away, the women sang a song to express their contempt.
“Oh, what a pity!” they sang. “It is not anything important that he is mad at. He is just upset by the pig’s bones and pumpkin leaves.”
While rowing to Maudori, a village, he got thirsty and went to land. He did not find any water and, so, decided to create it. While standing at the foot of the rock walls, he called up a spring. The spring is still there and is called the Manarmakeri Water.
After having arrived near Samber, another village, he dived with his golden rod. By using the curve of the rod, he hooked the imanen, a kind of fish, behind its gills.
He took the fish into his canoe and headed for Samber. There he stayed at the house of his cousin who had Padawankan  as his title or name. There he gave the fish he had caught to his cousin. His cousin shared the fish with other people but did not keep a part for his absent wife. When she came home, she smelled the fishy smell and asked about it. Her husband told her what he had done. Because of this, she got angry and said, “Why did you not keep a part of the fish so that I can eat it? The Old Man is going to leave us because you lack love.”
Manarmakeri left his cousin and rowed to Meokwundi. The island had already been inhabited by five clans from Biak: Rumbarak, Koranu, Samfane, Rumpapap, and Rumambor. He arrived in Meokwundi and pulled his canoe onto dry land in Wusyami. That place is called Amoyaundi and is located on the corner of the island on the side where the sun rises. There he planted a budded coconut he had gotten as a gift from Padawankan and then stayed at the Rum Sram,  the secret men’s house, in Sukani.
Struggle with the Morning Star
Manarmakeri asked the inhabitants for a coconut tree in order to tap wine from it, but nobody granted his request. So, he took care of the coconut he had planted. It grew so fast that it became a tree within a month. By using a bamboo knife, Manarmakeri could already cut into the spadices. Then, he hung four bamboo sheaths under the trickling spadices he had already cut into. After the first night, he climbed the tree and took the palm wine and drank it. He did the same thing in the afternoon.
One morning, he climbed again to the top of the coconut tree and discovered that his wine was drunk up. He made a lot of uproar and questioned the people to know who had drunk up his palm wine. Nobody confessed, though.
The next morning, he climbed again to the top of the coconut tree. Like the day before, his palm wine had been drunk up.
He guessed that a thief must have drunk it up. He wanted to spy on the thief.
That day he made a scaffold at the foot of the tree and stayed overnight on it. But until morning, he did not notice a single footstep of a thief. He climbed again to the top of the tree and discovered that the bamboo sheaths were empty again. He got angry for having been fooled by the puzzling disappearance of the wine.
This time, he built the scaffold a little higher against the trunk of the tree and kept watch there the whole night. The following morning, he discovered that his palm wine was gone again.
Then he built his scaffold higher and stayed overnight there. In the morning, his palm-wine sheaths were empty again.
So, he made the scaffold each time higher until it reached the part under the leaves of the coconut tree. He was forced to sleep on the leaf stalks to guard his palm wine.
Before the morning broke, he was startled by some awesome power coming down from the sky. He saw a great light that came from the sky and descended towards him. In that light, the Morning Star came down on top of the coconut tree. The Morning Star wanted to drink the palm wine.
Though Manarmakeri was facing an alien, he was not afraid of him. Suddenly, he seized the star and embraced him while saying, “You there, do you not know any pity? Look at the misery that has become my share. First, you stole the taros from my garden. Then I came here, planted my coconut tree, and again I do not get anything for the work I did. Have you not noticed what I look like? I cannot take care of my own food, do not have any property, and, besides, I am a widower.”
The Morning Star tried to wriggle out of Manarmakeri’s hands, but he held him firmly. So, both wrestled on top of the coconut tree.
Because Kayan Biak  would not let the Morning Star go, the alien said, “Let me go – the dangerous thing for me is coming up.” He meant to say that he had to go back to the heavens because the daybreak he was afraid of was already coming. But Kayan Biak said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me and reveal your secrets to me.”
The Morning Star agreed and began to reveal his secrets to Kayan Biak.
“Would you like to get wealth?”
“ I have already gotten that secret.”
“Would you like to have life of abundance without shortages?”
“I already possess that secret.”
“Then what would you like to have?”
“I would like to have the resurrection of the dead and the arrival of the Utopia.”
“In order to make the resurrection of the dead come true, leave here and take the bintanggur fruits. Cast a spell on them and throw them to Princess Insoraki. She is going to become pregnant and bear a son who will be called Manarbew. This child is going to bring about the dream of resurrection and eternal life.”
After getting the secrets, Kayan Biak released the Morning Star. The latter left and then the sun rose and it was daylight.
The Birth of Manarbew
Manarmakeri returned to the village of Sokani and had a stroke of luck. Insoraki, the daughter of the village chief Rumbarak, was bathing in the sea across from the mares tree, a kind of tree growing near the beach. The Old Man came, picked two bintanggur fruits, and threw them into the sea. They drifted toward the girl and touched her breasts. The girl threw them a few times away, but they kept drifting back and touched her breasts. Then, she got upset and flung them away and said, “Those damned things!”
Soon afterwards, she paddled to land. There, her breasts began to itch so that the nipples turned black like those of a married woman who was expecting a baby. After that, she sensed that she was pregnant.
She returned home and four days later a son was born. She called him Konori.  The child also called Manarbew grew up in four days.
The birth of the child caused a commotion among the villagers. It was an illegal birth. Insoraki’s parents were embarrassed by the unexpected birth. So, they asked their daughter about the man who should be blamed for the illegal birth. But no man could be held responsible for the birth.
Just as one misfortune was not over yet, another misfortune hit the Rumbarak’s family. Manarbew cried endlessly and his endless cry not only bothered Insoraki but also made the family wonder what the boy was crying for. Then, Insoraki and other villagers felt that he was crying for his missing father.
If that was the problem, how could they know the father of the boy? He could be discovered through a dance party.
So, the inhabitants of the Padaido islands and Biak gathered. They consulted among themselves to organize a big dance party. It was through this party that they thought they could find the father of Konori or Manarbew.
As a result of the consensus, Meokbundi, an island, was swarmed with people from various islands. They all wanted to know how the party would end. Would the father then be discovered?
Then Korano  Rumbarak, Insoraki’s father, gave instructions to the whole village. “Go, take up your arrows and bows according to your age groups,” he said. “All of you are going to dance tomorrow.”
The next day, the big dance party was held. First, the children with their bows in their hands were selected to sing and dance. But their efforts did not calm down the crying child. After that, the young men, followed by married men already having two children, and old men at the end did the same thing. But all their efforts failed to stop the crying boy.
On the border of the dancing site, the young mother and her child were sitting. The boy kept crying, “Father, father, father!!” The endless cries of the child were so disturbing that people found it hard to tolerate them.
Then, the aged men were assigned to dance and sing. They appeared on the dancing site and, far behind, Manarmakeri followed them. He was leaning against the stick he was holding in one hand. Another hand was holding a bunch of leaves he used to drive away flies that were swarming around him.
When he appeared, all the participants laughed at him. The men shouted, “Start a song  so that we can respond and sing.” Just as they had spoken this, the old man began: “The coconut leaf coming from the Utopia/ out of the kingdom of the dead.” 
Then, they began the dance. The dancers circled the dancing site and approached the place where Manarbew and his mother were sitting. Just as they were approaching them, Manarbew cried at once, “There is my father, there is my father,” while running toward him. The boy then hugged him.
The discovery of the boy’s father ended in uproar. There was an outburst of noise and excitement among the aged men in the dance group because they had not expected that the Old Man would be the father of the child. Everybody began to scream and rebuke the girl because she had let such a hideous man in her life. The embarrassed parents of the young mother and her son bore the brunt of the tumult. Insoraki’s father gave instructions to prepare the canoes and desert the island. Then, the men cut down the trees and let them drift away in the sea so that Manarmakeri could not make a canoe and follow them. The houses were demolished, fruit trees felled, and drinkable wells filled with sand. After that, they pulled their canoes to the sea.
Insoraki, Manarbew, and Manarmakeri stayed behind on the beach of Meokwundi. They entreated the departing people to let them go along, but they were not permitted to go on board. Every time they gripped a canoe, the rowers beat their fingers. So, the three people stood there and watched the canoes leave one by one.
But Saneraro,  Insoraki’s younger brother, was filled with pity for his sister. He jumped on the beach and stayed behind with her and his brother-in-law. To his sister, he said, “I will stay with you. If we live, then we live together; if we die, then we die together.” Meanwhile, the canoes had left for Krawi Bay on the island of Yappen. People departed in all directions and the Biak people went to the East and West and settled along the coasts.
Miracles for the Family
At the beginning of their marriage, Insoraki was at odds with her husband who was patient and showed understanding. Every time Manarbew complained about anything he needed to his mother, she nagged at the boy’s father. The father would then respond by performing miracles for the family.
One afternoon, Manarbew was hungry and asked his mother for food. She sent him to his father while saying, “Go to your father and ask him for his scaly skin as food.”
Then Manabew entered the dining room, met his father, and told him about his hunger.
“Come along,” his father said. “I am going to let you see something and you are going to eat.”
Then, he brought the boy to his room. Manarbew was surprised to see that the room was filled with various kinds of fruit and food. He was given a banana and ran with it to his mother. At first, she and her brother did not want to believe what they had just seen and heard from the boy; but later, they also went and had a look. The room was indeed full.
Then, both cried.
“Oh, had this happened earlier,” Manarmakeri’s wife said, “our family and relatives would not have departed. Now we are alone.”
When the three of them had eaten and stood up, all the food disappeared. The same thing happened the following day: the room was full, they ate the food, they stood up, and the food disappeared.
Despite the miracles the Old Man had made, Insoraki’s attitude toward him did not change much. She could not stand the bad smell of her husband. She scorned him for his scabies and scaly skin.
Because of his wife attitude, Manarmakeri slept on the front veranda. He tried to respect his wife attitude toward him for three days. On the fourth day, he could no longer stand the loneliness; he wanted both to live a good life as husband and wife. So, he awoke at midnight, approached his wife, and said, “I wish you did not despise me any longer and come near me. I think we can leave and pursue your family someday.”
When it was morning, Manarmakeri got up and said he was going to fish. He took his spear and went to the beach. There, he hurled his fish spear toward a school of fish. Amazingly, the fish swam at the spear so that the shaft became full. After this, he went home.
That night, when his family members gathered in the dining room, another miracle happened. The room was lit by a light as bright as daylight. Then, another miracle happened. Before Insoraki smoked the fish her husband had miraculously caught, she was surprised to see that they had already been smoked without using any fire.
The Fire Baptism
The following morning, Manarmakeri went to the beach again. Manarbew was at home, waiting for him. Suddenly, he shouted to his mother, “Mother, look. Father is coming from there.” But the man his mother saw was not the Old Man. So, she said to his son, “That is not your father. He has a lot scabies and scales on his skin.” In fact, Insoraki was not aware of what had happened to the Old Man. He had rejuvenated himself.
How had that happened? After Manarmakeri left his house, he walked along the beach to Maudiru, Yaunya. Following the instruction of the Morning Star, he built a big fire there and jumped into it. His old skin was burned and he stepped out of the fire. His old skin was then changed into antique plates, bracelets made from shells, necklaces, and other priceless goods. Then, he stood on a stone and looked at himself in the sea surface. A miracle had happened: his skin had turned as white as a European’s. He did not like it and, so, he jumped once more in the fire. He stood there until he was burned into a brown man. He looked at his reflection again and liked his new appearance very much. After that, he put on the Biak loin clothes made from pounded bark of banana trees, stuck a comb in his hair  into which he tied cock’s feathers. Then, he adorned himself with bracelets, armlets, and necklaces. After this, he took colorful leaves, stuck them under the armlets, and looked again in the “mirror” of the stone: it was good this way. Manarmakeri had undergone fire baptism.
Then, he returned home. On his way back, he waved with his hand toward the land. Suddenly, thunderbolts rolled, rumbled, and flashed.
Before he reached home, he walked along the beach and flung his fish-spear once more. Soon he caught plenty of fish.
The fish caught and the fire baptism initiated the life of abundance. From now on, his family would not worry about their future needs. Besides, he wanted to share the life of abundance with other people.
When it was dark at home, he did another miracle. He illuminated it through a miraculous light he had created out of the night.
After the fire baptism, his wife was no longer at odds with him. So, she, her brother, and her son lived a new life with Lord of the Utopia.
Blessings and Curses
Then, he shared his blessings with the inhabitants of Irian. The mainland inhabitants got plenty of sago trees. To the Biak people, he gave them the axe to clear away the forests and cultivate gardens. That is why the Biak people are farmers. To the Sowek  people, he gave the kofya shells to prepare food from mangrove-tree fruits. That is why the Biak people have to struggle hard to provide for themselves.
In order to impart his secrets to the Irianese, Lord of the Utopia needed a canoe. He did not have one; so, he wanted to create one. He drew a boat filled with sailors and all things in it on the sand. Then he said, “If my father and mother were lords,  let this boat appear, go to sea and drift.” After that, he stamped with his heel in the sand. There was the boat, drifting with its crew and captain.
One day, Lord of the Utopia carried out his promise to his wife. To look for his wife’s family, he sailed with his family and brother-in-law to Krawi, Yappen.
After arriving in Krawi, Manarmakeri wanted to sail into the bay and pulled his canoe on the dry ground. Before he could go up and land though, he asked his mother-in-law who had already lived in Krawi to lie on the beach. He wanted her to serve as a roller on which his canoe could be pulled easily to the land. She did not have to worry if she would be rolled to death. Her son-in-law, Lord of the Utopia, had received the secrets of life and death from the Morning Star; so, he would revive her. Not only that. If his mother-in-law served as a roller, her willingness would help turn his boat into a brilliant palace. There, the Utopia would dawn for the people. As a result, they would not know want anymore and old people would change their skin and become young again. The dead would be resurrected and all secrets would be revealed for all people.
Despite the blissfulness promised, the mother-in-law and the crowd gathering on Krawi beach did not believe and welcome him. So, Lord of the Utopia went to the East and sailed up the Mamberamo River until he approached the high mountains there. He wanted to see and put his signs on them. His desire is stated in the following poem:
Listen! Friends of the forefathers:/ Girls! Your scoff at the Sopen River was the cause./ You, women from Biak, for that reason, yes, for that reason, I descended Yamnaibori/ and rowed against the current to Mamberamo, the whirling stream./ I sailed upstream but did not stay there./ I did not stay in the land of Darakya;/ instead, I put a sign of our land Biak out there:/ The sign that just kills. 
After that, he left for Tabi, a coastal area in in the present-day Yos Sudarso Bay, Jayapura. On his way, he called at various islands such as Kumamba, Yamna, and Masi-Masi. He continued sailing to the East until he reached Tabi. He also visited Tabati,  a coastal village near the present-day Jayapura.
After that, Lord of the Utopia went about and sailed again to the West. He traveled about Swanyaburi  and arrived on the island of Numfor. At that time, Numfor did not exist yet. What had been there was an isle located nowadays in front of Pakikri, a village.
Manarbew wanted to play. So, his father threw the stone called Poiru  into the sea. There emerged the island of Poiru, a part of great Numfor. Poiru had white sand where Manarbew could amuse himself. The people living on Poiru were called Numforese and their chief was Fun Kayan.
The Lord Himself  had also created the islands of Aibai, Indi, Rani, and Insumbabi. No people lived on Mananer, the big island of Numfor. It was quiet and uninhabited. The Lord Himself pricked the sand with four sticks and they became the four big clan houses: Rumberpon, Anggradifu, Rumansra, and Rumberpur – all with their inhabitants.
Sailing by boat, he headed for Rwasidori and lay at anchor here. On this island, Lord of the Utopia wanted to perform his miracles and reveal his secrets to all people so that many would be comforted.
So, he asked the inhabitants of Numfor: “What should we do?” Indfadwarni Rumbruren, an old woman, replied: “Our men will make oars, we women will plait mats and barter food on the island of Arwa.”  Through this reply, the people had decided on their destiny: they will have to row and work and roam about everywhere to look for food. The Lord Himself also cursed the island. That is why no sago trees can be found in Numfor nowadays. Besides, venomous snakes began to appear. The people clearly received miseries and suffering because they did not believe in the miraculous power of Lord of the Utopia.
One day, the Numforese who had brought back food from Arwa returned with a sick child. The Lord Himself forbade them to lament and cry because their expression of sadness would not help revive a dead person at all. Unfortunately, the mourners ignored him and sang a dirge when the child died.
While mourning over the dead child, the Lord Himself asked Infadwarni, “When someone dies, will he return alive?” “Whoever dies, will not return,” the old woman replied.
That response made the Lord Himself angry. He took a mat, folded it up, tied it around with a string, and gave it that way to the Numforese. In such a way, they would wrap up the dead who would not be resurrected.
Return after Eight Generations
The people who rejected his blessings did not understand his intentions. So, he became wrathful. To show his wrath, he made an oath and threw a cannon  on the spit of land of Inaryori. 
“I want to go to the West,” he said, “and when the right time comes, I will return to the East.”
The following morning, Lord of the Utopia disappeared in the West. There he brought abundance and eternal life to the peoples so that they became rich and built factories. All of them have been indebted to him for their progress. But after eight generations since his departure, he will return. The Utopia will then dawn in Irian.
After his disappearance, people began to understand the importance of his blessings they had rejected. So, they tried to follow him so that he could reveal his secrets again to them.
In search of Lord of the Utopia, the Numforese and the Biak people scattered themselves to the South and to the West. They inhabited the Raja Ampat  Archipelago and the northern coasts of the Bird’s Head  and the Swanyabruri coasts in the South.
- “I stop” is a translation of the original Biak word, Yamnai.
- The Biak word for “unreal man” is manaibu. This word consists of man (man) and aibu (unreal). The latter is also related to two other Biak words: yenaibu and Sup Aibu. Both refer to the underworld. Yenaibu is the abode of the dead. Their dwelling consists of the inner part of the earth that includes caves, deep wells, trunks and roots of very high and “sacred” trees found on land, and seas with caves on isles that are the “doors” to the world of the dead. Sup Aibu, is the Land of the Dead or the Land of Souls. Therefore, a person experiencing death or living in the Land of the Dead is believed to be manaibu. Symbolically viewed, the inner part of the earth is the source of rejuvenation and eternal life.
- Snon soroka, a Biak phrase, means “the man from the Land of Souls.”
- The Biak word for “envelopment” or “enwrapping” is sasor. Figuratively, it means man cannot experience the ideal reality witnessed by the old man because he is still bound or “enwrapped” by the factual reality that includes hunger, illnesses, old age, and death.
- The Biak word for “Utopia” is Koreri. Dutch government administrators, Protestant missionaries, and cultural anthropologists living and working in the former Netherlands New Guinea later divided into two provinces, Papua in the East and West Papua in the West, do not differ in their opinions about the basic meaning of Koreri. They differ, however, from each other concerning the word form. The root word rer means change of skin as, for example, what a snake does with its old skin. Dr. J.V. de Bruyn, a government administrator, correctly translated rer as “metamorphosis.” According to him, rer refers to “an eternal static condition . . . in which there are no more difficulties, no suffering, illnesses, and death. People remain eternally young and the slave has become the lord.” Rev. J.L. van Hasselt Sr. and his son, Rev. F.J.F. van Hasselt Jr., two Protestant missionaries of the Dutch Reformed Church Missionary and authors of a Numforese Dictionary, agreed with de Bruyn’s definition. Rev. I.S. Kijne, one of the most prominent Protestant missionaries of the Dutch Reformed Church Missionary, and an educator, a musician, and an ethnologist, presumed that Koreri meant somebody or something with a lot of or, a Biak word whose equivalence in English is “miraculous power.” Dr. F.C. Kamma, another Protestant missionary of the Dutch Reformed Church Missionary and a graduate in social sciences from Leiden University in Holland, states that Koreri is a substantive noun formed from rer as the root word. The whole word can be separated into Ko (the inclusive “we”), rer (change), and i (it); so Koreri literally means “we change it”. Kamma who wrote an excellent dissertation on the Koreri myth and its movements simply translated the word as “Utopia”.
- Yamnaibori has the Biak word bori. The latter means “top, plateau, or mountain”.
- Manarmakeri, a Biak word, is formed from two words: manar and armaker. The first means “old man” and the second “scabies or scaly skin”. However, the syllable mak can also mean “star”. So, the name can refer either to “the Old Man with scabies or scaly skin” or “the Old Man from the star”.
- The Land of Souls and Heavens refers to Nanggi, a Biak word. In the Biak world-view, the central power in the universe is called Nanggi: the firmament or the “starry sky”. It is the first layer in the Biak stratification of the universe. Manseren Nanggi, the Lord of Heavens, lived in Nanggi and could be appealed to in times of trouble through a ritual called fan Nanggi, the “feeding of the heavens”, which was led by a shaman.
- The Biak people differentiate between the principal clan they call keret or er and the subclan they call keret kasun, the small clan. The keret or er is preferably an exogamous, patrilineal kinship group from which the principal clan traces its kinship to a traditional subclan of a real ancestor. The subclan could be called a family.
- The colonial name “New Guinea” that formerly included Netherlands New Guinea and Australian New Guinea – now called Papua Nugini – originated from Ortiz de Retez, a Spanish navigator of the sixteenth century. He reached an area near Sarmi, now a coastal town in North Papua, and gave this name because the dark-skinned natives he saw reminded him of the black natives of Guinea in West Africa. The Dutch began to rule over the western half of this huge island in the South Pacific in the 19th century; later, they named the western part Netherlands New Guinea. When Indonesia became independent in 1945, Soekarno, the first president of Indonesia, claimed that Netherlands New Guinea was part of the newly independent country because it was part of the Dutch Indies. The Dutch thought it was not, and kept Netherlands New Guinea as another colony. Political, economic, and military pressures from Indonesia, however, finally forced the Dutch to hand its sovereignty over West Papua, the new name for Netherlands New Guinea, to Indonesia on May 1, 1963. In relation with nationalistic movements in Indonesia for independence from the Dutch, Frans Kaisiepo, an Irianese from Biak who was an official of the Dutch government in Netherlands New Guinea – later, under the Indonesian government, became one of the governors of the former West Irian – introduced the name Irian for the first time in Malino, a recreation resort east of the present-day Ujung Pandang, South Sulawesi, on July 15, 1946, one day before the Malino Conference was held. The conference was initiated by H.J. van Mook, that time governor-general of the Dutch Indies, and was attended by 16 representatives from 15 regions outside Java and Sumatra, parts of the young Republic of Indonesia. The conference was meant to form a federal government consisting of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, and Netherlands New Guinea. The name Irian introduced before the conference later became popular among Indonesian politicians and leaders such as Soekarno and was officially used as West Irian to substitute for the name West Papua in 1963. Then, this new Indonesian province was changed into Irian Jaya; later, this huge and sparsely populated province was split into two separate provinces: Papua and West Papua.
- The word irian has various meanings. In the Biak language, it comes from the word iryan that means “easy, light, pleasant or agreeable; emerging from the sea like an island that one approaches” by canoe. Communities living around Geelvink Bay (now Cendrawasih Bay) said that irian meant “land without the spilling of blood.” For other communities in North Papua and Northern Part of Dutch New Guinea, irian meant the “rising or coming-up land.” The name iryan, irrian, or irian is presumably mentioned in various old Irianese myths.
- During the conflicts between the Dutch and Indonesia concerning the political status of Netherlands New Guinea between early 1950s and early 1960s, some pro-Indonesian Irianese and non-Irianese said that IRIAN was an acronym for Ikut Republik Indonesia Anti Nederland, Follow the Republic of Indonesia Anti the Netherlands. This acronym however is of recent origin and is historically and mythically unsubstantiated.
- The Spanish explorers of the sixteenth century were familiar with Ilha de Papoua, the name they gave to the land and inhabitants of New Guinea. It contains the word “Papoua” later spelled as “Papua” whose meaning is not clear. It could mean “curly hair,” “slaves”, a word related to captured Irianese treated as slaves by the Tidore (Muslim) Sultanate of North Maluku from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, “the land that lies below the Tidore Sultanate, or “goods” which is papus in Biak-Numfor language.
- The real meaning of Kayan Sanawi is obscure. Dr. F.C. Kamma guessed that this Biak phrase means “the Rich Man”, another name of Manarmakeri.
- The Morning Star is also called Makbon, the pig star in the Biak language.
- Manswar, a Biak word, comes from man (bird) and swar (love, have affection to). Manswar therefore means “the bird that loves or has affection to.”
- Padawankan or Padawakan is originally a word that refers to a two-masted ship from the Buginese, a seafaring ethnic group in South Sulawesi. The cultural contacts between the Buginese and Biak seafarers are implied by this word that has been adapted into the Biak language.
- Meokbundi, according to an old spelling, is also called Meoswundi. Meok or meos means “island.” Another name for Meoswundi is Meoskoburi that literally means “the island that we have left behind.”
- Wusyomi means “the sand that has been blown together.”
- A Rum Sram literally means a house (rum) of Islam (Sram). The name refers to mosques the Biak seafarers must have seen and been impressed by during their historical contacts with the Tidorese Sultanate. Actually, it refers to a secret men’s house where young men were initiated into adulthood. The last Rum Sram, however, disappeared when Western Protestant missionaries from Germany and Holland were able to convert the northern coast inhabitants of the former Netherlands New Guinea, especially around the Geelvink Bay.
- Here “I am a widower” means “I have no wife who can work for me.”
- Kayan Biak, a Biak phrase, is another name of Manarmakeri. It probably means the Rich Man from Biak.
- “. . . the resurrection of the dead and the arrival of Utopia” is a translation of the Biak phrase, Koreri syeben.
- Bintanggur, a word from the Indonesian dialect used since the former Netherlands New Guinea, is called maresbon – literally, the fruit (bon) from the mares tree – in the Biak language. It is a kind of inedible, hard, and green fruit that looks like an inverted cone with four or five angles running from top to bottom and is about the size of a young coconut tree. The bintanggur has a shape that alludes to a woman’s breast. The mares tree grows near the sea.
- Manarbew, a Biak word, means the Bringer of Peace.
- Konori is another name of Manarbew. Later, it refers to a believer in Lord of the Utopia who served as the forerunner in the return of Manarmakeri from the West. It contains three Biak words: ko, or, and i. According to Rev. I.S. Kijne, konori probably means somebody or something with a lot of or, miraculous power.
- Korano was a title given to a village chief, especially in the northern part of the former Netherlands New Guinea. Traditionally, it was a title given by the Sultan of Tidore to any Biak man who paid tributes to him. Later, when the Tidore Sultanate lost its power on the northern part of what was later called Netherlands New Guinea, the title was still used by Biak village chiefs.
- “. . . according to your age group” refers to the dancer of an age group who should bring two kinds of female bows, one adult male bow, or the hero’s bow that required extra strength to draw it.
- This kind of song is called kankarem in the Biak language. It is a traditional Biak song usually built on a pentatonic scale that lacks the fourth and seventh tones of the Western diatonic scale.
- The original words of the song in the Biak language sound: “Sarai ramo, ramo, eee – sarai ramo, ramo eee.”
- Saneraro, a Biak word, means the Moved Heart. It refers to Insoraki’s younger brother who showed love or compassion to his sister.
- Traditional Irianese combs were made from a certain kind of bamboo or wood and resembled a fork.
- Sowek is a large village in South Supiori, the part of an island near Biak. With a size of around 700 square kilometers, Supiori is an island smaller than Biak that has a total area of 2,000 square kilometers.
- The word lords refers to free Biak people, people who are not slaves. In the Biak language, a lord is called manseren that literally means the pure, clean, or holy man. When the Biak people became Protestants through the work of missionaries from Germany and Holland, the word has been used in Manseren Yesus, an equivalence of Lord Jesus or Holy Man Jesus. In addition, Koreri has become a synonym of the biblical heaven.
- The last sentence in the poem refers to the sign of property that had killing power.
Tabati is another spelling of Tobati, a coastal village near Jayapura, the capital of the newly established province of Papua.
- Swanyaburi is the Biak name for the Geelvink Bay, a Dutch name. Since 1963, it has been called the Cenderawasih Bay in which the islands of Biak, Supiori, Numfoor, Yappen, Meoswar, Roon, Moor, Mambor, and other smaller islands are located. Cenderawasih, an Indonesian word, means the bird of paradise, a beautiful bird also found in Papua and West Papua.
- Communities living in Yappen and Waropen call the bay Sairera or Sairera Bay.
- Poiru, a Biak word, means, “It emerges.”
- The Biak phrase for the Lord Himself is Manseren Manggundi. It is the name given to Manarmakeri after the fire baptism.
- Arwa or Arami is another Biak name for the island of Yappen.
- The cannon meant is a big stone and is called syade in the Biak language.
- Inaryori means the “princess ascends”.
- Raja Ampat is a phrase from the Indonesian dialect used in the eastern part of Indonesia (North Sulawesi, Maluku, West Papua, and Papua) and means the Four Kings. The name originated from the legend of Gura Besi, the Irianese war hero from Biak. He helped Ciliaci, the Muslim Sultan of Tidore at the end of the fifteenth century, to defeat the sultan’s enemies from Jailolo in North Maluku. As a tribute to his courage and dexterity, he was given Boki Tabai, the sultan’s beautiful daughter, as his wife. Gura Besi and the princess ruled over the island groups located between Halmahera in North Maluku and the western tip of the present-day West Papua. They got four sons who were born from eggs and quickly became adults. The archipelago was then divided among these four princes and as a result the island groups have been called the Raja Ampat Archipelago.
- The Bird’s Head is the name of the western half of West Papua that resembles the head of a bird.
Copyright ©2008. All rights reserved. Published with written permission from the authors.