Friday, October 28, 2011

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Not sure why I put these orange Converse for this post. One thing for sure: I need to clean them.

Hello, sweeties! It's Friday, it's my day off and it's the Youth Pledge day. A bit random, eh? Well, since Indonesia consists of dozens of islands, this Youth Pledge day always amazes me. (Brace yourself, people, it's going to be quite a long post.)

I often wonder how Indonesians in the pre Independence day went in their life. With the ocean dividing the islands, how did they interact with each other? How did they get the collective consciousness that they were one nation?

The first guess was because Indonesia was under the Dutch/Portuguese colonial government. The sense of being together in the hellhole brought Indonesian people together and fought the tyranny. But then there was also love story, like the one in my family.

During the Citarum coverage many moons ago, I spent a few nights at my auntie's house. We talked about many things, including my grandmother's family history. I've mentioned here before that my grandmother was half Bugis (her father) and half Sundanese (her mother). 

My grandmother's mother passed away shortly after delivering her. Since my grandmother's father could not take care of her, she was taken in by her maternal grandmother. My auntie said that my grandmother's grandmother was a Moluccan (of Maluku islands) and her name was Melania (Hmm, now I know where I get this dark complexion and curly hair. For those who don't know, well now you do: I have curly hair) (Is it possible that great great grandma Melania is also half Slovenian and related to Melania Trump? Ha!).

So it seemed my ancestors had traveled across our vast archipelago. Located in the eastern Indonesia, Maluku islands consist of many small island. Last year I went to Kei islands, which are only a part of the whole Maluku islands. It took me nine hours to reach Kei islands by airplane. I really couldn't imagine how long it took my great great grandmother to reach Java island.

My grandmother's grandmother probably arrived in Java island in early 1900s and decided to stay in this island after her marriage to my grandmother's grandfather (whose ethnicity I had yet to know, but most likely he's a Sundanese. Dear God, please don't give me more surprises!). 

It was very likely that great great grandma Melania passed the wisdom to her granddaughter, my grandma, that "Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung" (Wherever you go, you must respect the local law), because my grandma often told me about the proverb.

That proverb was probably one of the recipes why Indonesians had this collective consciousness about being one nation, regardless of the ethnics, tribes and religions. You may be living in Aceh, Jakarta, Makassar, or Ambon, but you simply have to respect the local tradition.

Reading the sad news about violence committed under the name of religion sounds a bit off for me, because the respect for other people's rights existed long before the country was established. What is wrong with us today? Why can't we live in peace?

Celebrating the Youth Pledge (One Country, One Nation, One Language) this year, I'd like to remember my great great grandma, all of my ancestors and the people who has placed foundations for Indonesia today. Let's continue the works of our forefather in building our country. Go Indonesia!

And since you've been so kind to read this long post, I want to give you some Weekender info:). Yay!

This Friday (yes, today!), there is a movie screening at Japan Foundation at 4 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.  You can't catch the 4 p.m. screening (sorry, for the late info), but you can run and watch the 6.30 p.m. show. Hurry!

Saturday will see another movie screening, Shocking Blue, at Erasmus Huis Jakarta at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Have a unifying weekend, sweeties!

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