Bagong, An Innocent Puppet Character

Every character in Punakawan puppet show has their own different meanings of philosophy. One of them is Bagong. Ki Lurah Bagong is one of the fiction members of Punakawan and he is also the youngest among all according to the story. Bagong is basically the adopted child of Semar. Bagong is known as the innocent character and in Banyumas, Bagong is known as Bawor. His characteristics is an entertainer to the viewers. The physical look is so funny and unique.


The Philosophy Behind The Innocent Character of Bagong

His body is round with thick lips and his eyes are so big. Many people will laugh once they see Bagong just from the appearance. However, Bagong has the main weapon on his hand which is Kudi. This is the weapon that can cut and slice the hard things. One side of this blade is sharp with the curved shape with big base. Bagong is described as the character who always talks alone to himself even everybody doesn’t understand what he is talking about at that time. However, his characteristic is so pure and innocent compared to his 2 older brothers, Gareng and Petruk.

Unfortunately, he lacks of attitude especially for those who are older from him. Bagong is not the real child of Semar where Semar was the disgyise of Batara Ismaya that landed on the world along with Batara Antaga or Togog, his brother. They got an order to take care of their little brother named Batara Guru. One day, Semar and Togog hoped so the God for giving them somone to accompany their journey. The wish was granted with one question about who was the real friend of human.

At that time, Togog answered passion or desire while Semar answered shadow. God created a friend of Togog from passion who was the little human named Bilung and Semar was given a friend with round and big body named Bagong. According to the story, Bagong is Semar’s shadow. However, there is another story that said if Semar was the grandchild of Batara Ismaya and he got the boss named Resi Manumanasa. At that time, Manumanasa did “moksa” and Semar was so lonely and asked to Manumanasa a friend.

Manumanasa said that the true friend of human is shadow. From those different stories, it can be concluded that Bagong was just the shadow of Semar. Even though the version is different, all stories pointed to one thing, Semar is shadow. Meanwhile, every region has its own story about the origin of Bagong. All things depend on the ancestors. It is the same like myth and story happened in East Java that said that Semar only got two children, Bagong and Sarangaja. In the story, Bagong was already had a child named Besut.

No wonder every shadow puppet in East Java sometimes makes Bagong as the main story in Punakawan. The philosophy behind the innocent Bagong can be used as the guidelines in life. In the hard difficult situation, you need to be patient. No need to rush in making the best decision because you need to think of the advantage and also the loss you can get especially about job. When you are patient, you can get the positive energy and win at the end.


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