Purba Negoro celebrates Indonesia's national independence day.
Our nation's birthday, 17th August, has just passed - a brief respite in our work-a-day lives. The Day of Proclamation, however, is not solely time for grandeur, pomp and ceremony, celebration and light-hearted games.
Chairil Anwar of the Angkatan Empatpuluh Lima:
"Better destruction than slavery
Better extermination than oppression.
The hour of death can be an hour of new birth:
To be alive, you have to taste living."
from Anwar's "Dipo Negoro".
It is also a time for Reevaluation - the Responsibility of the Revolutionary. I am alluding to Ananta Toer's speech where he stated the "Revolution is not complete". The Requisite need for all the "Re"' suffixes that come as the Responsibility of Revolutionaries.
Warning: extreme cheesiness follows:
We can't spell Revolution, without U or Rev-u. Yes, I see Tivo too and also 'involuter' (do I win?)- but let's not distract.
We should pause to "Re-vu (tm)" as we commemorate our Heroes that gave their life, sometimes in reckless suicidal bravery, that we may be free of the Colonial yoke and celebrate their sacred gift of Freedom.
"Review, Retrospection and Reciprocation"
Indonesia has come far since casting off its' Dutch shackles, and although much has been accomplished and is being done: true - much remains to do.
But let us not allow ourselves to be dismissive of the many positives that outweigh the negatives. One of many examples - the Dutch left only one or two universities in all the 300 years of occupation - one of many examples of total contempt for we natives (other include their masterpieces of Colonialism: de Beers, the Boer nations and Apartheid).
Compare the British schools of India built with an ethos of the potential for betterment within any individual, if given opportunity. Indonesia, in recognition of the vast potential of the Rakyat, has hundreds - and many are centres of excellence.
My auntie told me of her common childhood poverty under Dutch rule - the parents often went hungry at dinner, and divided one chicken egg among ten children to eat. Meals were two per day if lucky. Work intermittent. All banks, shops and middle-scale employers either Dutch or Chinese. Nil native.
Thankfully such poverty and economic racism is incomprehensible to our own children today, is a distant memory - sadly it remains a tragic reality for 30 million or more of our Rakyat.
So let us be true to the original spirit of Revolution and ask how we may serve or sacrifice for the Greater Good.
Questions for Reflection
How can we: Revitalize and Reinvigorate the optimism, the creative energy, the essential pan-class Pribumi Solidarity and the authentic passionate spirit of the Revolution in current and future generations?
How do we right the many lingering injustices of Colonialism particularly redistribution of disproportionate ill-gained wealth, property and privilege from hostile insular minorities to the needy majority Rakyat?
How to reapply ourselves to Pancasila and Gotong Royong?
Have we paid off our own guilty conscience to the Poor through hand-out rather than hand-up?
Have we betrayed our inner dignity and magnificent culture to the vulgar trappings of the petty urban bourgeoisie- the temporary and the facile: vanity, materialism, consumerism, coveting of mere trinkets and baubles?
Have we served ourselves, the Rakyat and our Nation for the benefit of the Rakyat?
I hope all readers please share their thoughts or suggestions or else of their reflections for Rakyat and Revolution.
Hidup Rakyat! Hidup Wong Cilik! Hidup Merdekanya!
Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!