Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Pledge To Be One

Participants of the first Youth Congress. Click on the photo for source.

On Oct. 28, 1928, Indonesian youths pledged that they had one land, one nation and one language, Indonesia. Fast forward 82 years later, do we still keep the pledge?

Sometime I take taxi to go home because it is already too late to take the bus. During the ride, I usually make small conversations with the driver, such as where had he been today, how was the traffic, etc. Usually, the drivers will ask,"Where do you come from?"

I'll say,"I'm an Indonesian," every now and then.

I often get that question from other people I meet. While it seems harmless, the question somehow intrigues me. Why would an Indonesian question another Indonesian's ethnicity? I could be dark-skinned and curly-haired like a Papuan, or white-skinned with slanted eyes like a Chinese Indonesian, but I would still be an Indonesian anyway.

In 1908, the Indonesian youths pledged to be one because there was something that unite them: the oppression of Dutch colonials. After the independence, what will unite us? Natural disasters like earthquake, tsunami and volcano eruption? I certainly hope not.

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