I am a machine, conditioned by the past, present, and the mays and ifs of the future
I respond with every change and continuity, both publicly and privately
A bomb exploded amongst those who look like me
And I am automatically in charge of killing the enemy
And yet, I lack the ability to critically evaluate, to delve into the heart of the problem, and dig deep
I am scared of the grimes that may possibly stick to my skin
I am scared of the pupils that stare deep into my core
And the souls behind of those eyes that prejudicially determines the color of my soul
I am unmoving
Reluctant to take a bite into the perceived poison apple
Reluctant to submerge my hand in the toxic ground
Reluctant to breathe in the polluted air
Even so, I find myself in an interrogation room
With whom I respect, ogling my intentions and beliefs
I produce a high-pitched declaration
I want to go home
They push back, before banging the table
I spin the film roll, uncovering a memory
One, which I romanticized for years on
One, which left me with the conviction to return
One, which made me an albatross
I hear the tune slowly carrying me to the field
The flag rises up on the pole, gently
My mind sways
I try to picture the men and women, who fought before me
Who secured my independence and freedom
Whose blood consequently allowed me to arrange these words
I try to picture the mothers and fathers who witnessed the demise of their babies
I try to picture the bodies, which burned
I try to picture the blood-stained weapons
I finally answer
I want to fight for my nation
Though my life is less poetic and dramatic when placed side-by-side with the prose above, it continues to be one of the few reasons behind the newly earned labels that decorate my forehead.
Dreamer. Fool. Blind.
They stamp me as callow, as they did to my peers in industrialized countries when they, themselves, pitched an ostentatious idea. But, unlike the friends that come from developed countries, I am spat on for defending my country. They hope that by turning twenty, I could, perhaps, clear the wool from my eyes and abandon my folly. Maybe they are nearing the docks, which would mark the arrival of change, especially when I take on their trait of blaming the government for all that is bad in Indonesia.
Opening statement: The Indonesian government is corrupt. I am not angered by the financial loss we face or the deteriorating infrastructure that we endure daily. I am not disappointed in the way the government abandoned its next generation and neglected the underprivileged. Instead, I spit on them for the government's corruption of the people's love for the country. (I am a brat for plainly blaming the government and generalizing their impact on the nation), but I cry over and over again for the result of the crimes that they committed, as it has left the nation with nothing but qualm.
Even so, the optimistic Millennial inside me whispers, ever so softly, that skepticism is never enough reason for neglect. Instead, it is much-needed fuel to revive the dying flame. While, I do not see myself at the stakes or hanging from a noose, I do have a clear mental image of millions of Indonesians, especially the young, who take reign and say, "I want to build Indonesia." I say, Indonesian Millennials will not retrieve, instead we will contribute to our country, despite the endless nags from our elders. We are resilient of the government's sins and crimes.
Can't you see it, on the horizon, children showing off their ability to speak Bahasa Indonesia, fluently?
With regards to Millennials:
Throughout this series, we have learned a range of predisposed labels on Millennials, be it narcissism; lack of civic duty; increasing spirituality and declining involvement in organized religion; optimistic; and loss of commitment. The truth is we are also more socially aware than Generation X and nicer. We exhibit a higher trust on the government, in addition to being obliged to contribute back to the nation. However, Millennials are most prevalent in industrialized countries. Perhaps it is sheer wishful thinking, but I do want to live in an Indonesian society where emerging adults are not afraid of declaring their love for the country or wanting to learn multiple ethnic languages.
*Author owns rights to all photos