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To Know More about The Palm Oil Ambassador (Part 2): The Option to be an Engineer

To Know More about The Palm Oil Ambassador (Part 2): The Option to be an Engineer

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – After leaving his village where he was born in Village of Payung to evacuate in Lau Diski next to Kutacane, District of Southeast Aceh, one year later precisely in 1948, things got better. His parents took him to get education at Sekolah Rakyat (SR 2), Berastagi. Bangun graduated in 1954.

His mother and siblings taught lesson in life hard. When he and his siblings were in young age, his mother told them to breed animals to get additional fund in school. Everything was hard still. When they got home from school, they had to cut off bushes in many fields to breed animals. When Bangun did mistake, his mother got angry. His hard times when he was in young age forced Bangun to live independently.

Small Derom Bangun wanted to be an engineer. He badly wanted to get an engineering title before his name and could establish a factory. His mother wanted him to be a doctor but his will to be an engineer was stronger. Bangun loves an engineer as profession for it relates with machine. Soon his idea got realized and became a chemical engineer.

Ever since he was a small boy, he loved palm oil (tree). Bangun once saw a seed of fresh fruit bunch on the ground next to a way. He picked it up, stabbed with his nail. The seed delivered oil and it was good smell. He loved and used to do it.

His idea to be an engineer and his love for palm oil changed his way of life. Then he always did something to with palm oil sector.

Many years ago, there was no junior high schools in Berastagi but only in Kabanjahe – the capital city of District of Karo about 11 kilometers to the southern of Berastagi.

In 1954, Derom was registered to get school in SMP Negeri I Kabanjahe by his father. Thanks to his father who told him that education is good for his future. Derom Bangun was motivated to study diligently. He was determined to learn English to be able to speak English fluently.

For SMP Negeri I Kabanjahe was far enough from his home, he had to wake up at 5 a.m. to get shower, breakfast, and to get bus at 6.15 a.m to Kabanjahe together with other students. Derom graduated his junior high school in 1957.

In 1957, his parents moved to Medan and registered him to SMA Negeri 1 Medan City. At the time, it was a favorite senior high school in North Sumatera Province. His father wanted to get him the best education for Bangun’s future.

In his senior high school, he got more knowledge about English from his teacher who were fluently speaking it. He also learnt other languages, such as, German. His mastery on other languages, particularly English, really helped him to study in ITB (Institut Teknologi Bandung). At the time, his lecturers were from other countries, delivering materials in English. His capability in English was one modal to get his career at Socfindo – the company which the shares belong to Belgium company. It really helped Bangun to get connection in international level.

Still in his senior high school, Derom should ride a bike from Sub district of Padang Bulan to Jalan Seram (SMA Negeri I), City of Medan. He had to pass through a railway (now it is Jalan Nusantara). Bangun should stop at the railway bar, waited for the train to pass through. When he stopped there, he saw railroad car within palm oil writings in black and Socfin in white color. It was transported to Belawan Port, City of Medan. At the time, he was impressed with the writings and assumed that Socfin was a bonafide plantation company.

Socfin, at the time, was a foreign investment company from Belgium within agribusiness sector, which was palm oil and rubber plantations. The plantation cultivation was in North Sumatera and Aceh Province (now it is Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam).

When foreign companies were in nationalization era, Socfin was managed by the Government of Indonesia. Then a new organization was established. It was in 1963 to 1968. At this period, Socfin was becoming PPN (Perusahaan Perkebunan Negara)  ex Socfin.

In 1968, foreign companies which were nationalized should be returned to their owners, including Socfin. Then Socfin changed to be Socfindo. Socfindo or Socfin Indonesia was part Socfin Group (Belgium) and was a joint venture between Socfin Group and the Government of Indonesia as the minor shareholder.

Bangun never forgot his idea to be an engineer. He diligently studied and graduated from SMA Negeri 1 Medan in 1960.

In 1960, he got tests to study in ITB (Institut Teknologi Bandung) in Medan. He failed to get his department, which was machine engineering and electro. His excited will made him get into chemical engineering department. He graduated his study and got chemical engineer title in 1966. He went back to Medan to get work. (to be continued)

By: Maruli Pardamean/Author and Palm Oil Plantation Practitioner