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Jakarta Post

Indonesia’s oldest living person attributes longevity to wholeheartedness

  • Ganug Nugroho Adi

    The Jakarta Post

Sragen, Central Java   /   Sat, September 3, 2016   /  10:41 am
Indonesia’s oldest living person attributes longevity to wholeheartedness Stay healthy – Sodimejo, alias Mbah Gotho, 146, sits in a chair in his living room. ( Nugroho Adi)

Over the past year, Sodimejo, alias Mbah Gotho, 146, a man thought to be the oldest living person in Indonesia, spent most of his time in his living room listening to a wayang program on his radio and smoking.

He looks frail. But for a really old person, Mbah Gotho is physically healthy. He has begun to use a walking stick only in the last year.

“There aren’t any particular foodstuffs that he must avoid. He eats all kinds of food,” said his grandson Suryanto.  “He has also never suffered a severe illness.”

Mbah Gotho attributes his longevity to wholeheartedness.

“Life is only a matter of accepting your destiny wholeheartedly. I have wanted to die for a long time. My wives, children and siblings all have passed away but Gusti Allah [God] has blessed me with a long life. I have to live my life patiently and accept my destiny wholeheartedly,” he told The Jakarta Post at his home in Sragen, Central Java, recently.

According to his resident identity card (KTP), Mbah Gotho, who now lives in Cemeng village, Sambungmacan, Sragen, was born on Dec. 31, 1870. If the data is valid, Mbah Gotho is far older than Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, the world’s oldest living person, who is now 122.

Although his vision and hearing have decreased, Mbah Gotho still can communicate smoothly and clearly. He admits he does not remember his exact year of birth.

One thing he can remember is that he watched the inauguration ceremony of the Gondang sugar factory built in Sragen in 1880. He predicts he was 10 years old at the time because he was still learning how to plow paddy fields.

“Children in my village usually helped their parents plow paddy fields from the age of 10. This is my reason [for predicting my age],” said Mbah Gotho.

Oldest living person – Mbah Gotho might be the world’s oldest living person. His identity card states he was born on Dec. 31, 1870. ( Nugroho Adi)

The question is: Is Mbah Gotho really 146 years old?

Cemeng village head Sriyanto cannot confirm this because he cannot find Mbah Gotho’s birth certificate. To process the issuance of Mbah Gotho’s KTP at the Sambungmacan district office, the Cemeng village office provided an introduction letter based only on his family card.

Sriyanto is certain Mbah Gotho is more than a 100 years old. He said five years ago, a Cemeng resident, known only as Mbah Dipo, died at 112. Before he died, Sriyanto said Mbah Dipo often stated that Mbah Gotho was far older than he was.

“Mbah Dipo once told us that when he was still a child, Mbah Gotho was already married,” said Sriyanto.

Mbah Gotho married four times and has five children, 12 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. His last wife, Rayem, died in 1997. Mbah Gotho now lives with his grandchildren, including Suryanto, and great-grandchildren because all of his wives and children have passed away.

Sragen regent Kusnindar Untung Yani Sukowati has promised to trace Mbah Gotho’s demographic documents as he might be the world’s oldest living person. (ebf)

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