Leadership in Public Arenas

Leadership among the Timpaus Banggai is not elaborated with much refinement. That is because this version of pasisir culture developed as a branch within the larger Banggai cultural domain. The most important cultural heirlooms and the legitimizing power that these symbols represented were in the possession of the ruler of Banggai. Local chiefs owed their positions to the goodwill of the ruler and paid tributes to him and his court. During the early years at Timpaus, the old people said, the male head of the strongest bilateral kin group represented them all. However, there was never any nobility among the Timpaus Banggai. During Dutch rule, villages were defined and village headmen appointed, but this development had little significance at Timpaus.

Administratively, Timpaus belongs to Labobo Bangkurung subdistrict (kecamatan) of Banggai regency (kabupaten) in the province of Middle Sulawesi. To represent the villages and people (not cultural or ethnic group members) of Timpaus, one headman (kepala desa) is elected locally for Kassuary and one for Timpaus village. The camat, the head of the kecamatan at Mansalean Island, formally appoints the headmen to their positions. The village headmen are chosen by criteria of social background (respected family), modern attitudes, educational level, and perceived rhetorical skills. They are supposed to discuss local issues and inform the kepala lingkungan or neighborhood leaders about relevant political decisions from above. In Timpaus village these officials are all recruited among the Timpaus Banggai; they are all men, but in principle women could be elected and appointed.

Temporary leadership is common and task directed. Thus there may be leaders for communal work, either men or women according to the task involved. These leaders have little authority, but are responsible for the organization of the work or task in hand. Temporary leaders are usually chosen because of seniority and/or skill.

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