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  • Alyssa Rosvita

The Tragic Love Story of Pierre Tendean and Rukmini



Love works in mysterious ways. Love often leads us to learn hard lessons, all through meeting one person. In our life, there will be that one person whose presence will completely change the course of our life. This might be the case for Pierre Tendean and Rukmini, a beautiful love that ended so tragically that it became one of Indonesia’s most historical love stories.


The year was 1965, and Pierre, a second-grade lieutenant, was stationed in Medan, assigned as the platoon commander of combat battalion 2, in Bukit Barisan Military Command II. During his off hours, Pierre and his friends would frequently pay a visit to the home of one of Medan's most important figures, Chaimin. Chaimin also happens to be the father of Rukmini.

Many accounts claim that Pierre was especially popular with the women around him, however, being the gentleman that he is, he always turned down any offers of love given to him. He said it himself: he would never take advantage of his good looks to accept love that was not genuine. This was the case until Pierre’s friends introduced him to Rukmini, a soft-spoken girl with a bright mind and a chivalrous attitude. It was not long until their close friendship blossomed into a beautiful connection.


However, their daily meetups had to be cut short after the completion of Pierre’s duties. Pierre had to return to Jakarta, or travel elsewhere to fulfill his other military obligations. During their time apart, Pierre and Rukmini would utilize letter writing to communicate, ensuring both of them were up to date with each other's lives. Their letters were filled with promises of commitment to marriage as well as Pierre’s requests for blessings from Rukmini’s parents.


However, Pierre and Rukmini’s love was not only hindered by distance but also by their differences in faith. At first, Rukmini’s parents did not approve of their relationship, as her family had quite an important and religious background. This, however, did not stop the couple from pursuing their love for each other.


Pierre’s commitment to marrying Rukmini could be seen in his efforts to gain extra income for their wedding. He took an extra job as a nighttime truck driver in the construction project of Monumen Nasional. Pierre was also actively searching for a house, for them to build their family after marriage.


Their story seemed to be smooth sailing, until night fell on the 30th of September 1965. A tragic event we are all familiar with took the lives of Pierre and six other high-ranking military generals. Of course, this forced Rukmini to let go of her marriage plans with Pierre, and let go of the love of her life. The 31st of July 1965 marks Pierre and Rukmini’s final meeting before death separates the two forever.


If the event that occurred on September 30, 1965, did not occur, Pierre and Rukmini would have had a long 58 years of marriage. But, as we all know, life has its own way of forcing unexpected and painful things to happen to us.


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