Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fading Nationalism

Every year, the Indonesian people celebrate our country's Independence Day on 17 August.

During that day, the Red and White national flag are all over the country, at office buildings, factories, schools, houses, and public places.

Besides, people participate in various competitions like Sports, Krupuk/Cracker eating contest, Sack Race or Climb a greasy Pole.

In this connection, I read an article written by Desi Anwar on The Jakarta Globe (below) which assume that people do not seem to have such kind of spirit and energy anymore in celebrating Indonesia's 67th anniversary last 17 August.

As an example, Desi said that her friend who lead the flag-raising ceremony at her office told her that the company had to entice its staffs with Door-Prizes consisting of iPads and other gadgets to make them come and stand in the sun and salute the Red and White Flag.

Is this a sign of fading nationalism ? I really don't know.

Happy reading.

Writer's Block: Independence Spirit 
Desi Anwar | August 18, 2012

There’s a red and white flag flying on my front gate. That’s about the extent of my participation in celebrating Independence Day. Unless you’re still at school or work at an office or institution that holds a flag-raising ceremony, the day feels like any other weekend. And it being the fasting month and the beginning of the holiday traffic, one might as well postpone or cancel this year’s celebration altogether, as I don’t think anyone is really up for a sack race, a krupuk eating contest or a climb up a greasy pole.

After all, the spirit and energy just doesn’t seem to be there. A friend of mine who has to lead the flag-raising ceremony at her office says the company had to entice the staff with door prizes consisting of iPads and other gadgets to get them to come and stand in the sun and salute the Red and White.

Maybe we’re all just a bit tired of this same old routine, year after year, and talking about the same things and griping about the same old problems. What does independence mean, what is the country all about and why is everything still a mess, etc.

For the older generation who experienced the predemocracy era (and that includes me), beneath the momentary pride of seeing the flag being raised runs a cynicism that is a constant feature since the authoritarian New Order regime. That Indonesia has never been truly free from oppression, first by the Dutch, then the Japanese, and then by our fellow countrymen.

Read more ..........................

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Eid Ul Fitr 2012

After one month of dawn-to-sunset Fasting during the entire month of Ramadhan, on Sunday, 19 August 2012, Moslems in Indonesia celebrated the Eid Ul Fitr.

According to Wikipedia, Eid is an Arabic word meaning "Festivity", while Fitr means "Breaking the Fast".

In Indonesia, Eid Ul Fitr is known as Hari Raya Idul Fitri or Lebaran and celebrated for two to three days. Many people of Indonesian big cities return to their hometown to celebrate the festive. For which purpose, most employers provide special bonus and long holidays to their workers. Some employers even provide free transportation v.v for their workers.

This year, many workers spend holidays from 17 August (our Independence Day) to 26 August.

Before the festive, we Moslems voluntarily paid financial contribution known as the Zakat i.e. an Arabic word that means "that which purifies" or "alms". The amount of Zakat depends on the financial capability of the Moslem concerned.

The Eid festive began with Moslems performing Eid Prayer and listened to Sermon in mosques from 7 am until around 8 am. Afterwards, we shook hands with each other, apologize and forgive each other.

After that we went to visit our parents and other elderly people like uncles, aunts, employers, etc.

Considering that many citizens of Jakarta went home to their hometown, citizens who stay in the city, including me, enjoyed traffic-jam-free streets.

In this connection, I would like to wish my fellow Moslems a Happy Hari Raya Idul Fitri, and apologize for any mistake that I may have made. God Bless Us All.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bullying of Students in Jakarta

One of the hottest topics in the Indonesian mass media today is the story about the alleged bullying of four new students of the Don Bosco Senior High School in South Jakarta, by 18 of their senior students.

According to The Jakarta Globe, the Jakarta Police have questioned nine of the senior students, seven of which have been named as Suspects.

The Spokesman of the Jakarta Police Sr Comm Rikwanto was quoted as saying that the Police will determine whether to place those students in a detention center or let them stay free but must report regularly to the Police.

He further stated that the bullying was done outside the school compound and after the school's new students orientation program i.e on 24 July 2012.

Meanwhile, the Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said that the school would not be sanctioned if the bullying was not done at the school.

I hope that this alleged bullying case would be processed very soon, in this case the students' young ages and the fact that this is the first time they bullied should be taken into consideration.
I also hope that all schools would adopt a strict anti-bullying policy which punish any students who bullied fellow students by ousting them from the school.

Nevertheless, I am very surprised at the very high profile reporting of this alleged bullying case, considering that high school students in Jakarta have been fighting among themselves in the streets quite often for so many years, and until now the authority still can't prevent them, and news reporters do not seem to be interested to write about them.