Saturday, August 17, 2013

#IndonesiaIndependenceDay Falling in Love: Separating natural and taught love

Little things recharge my love for Indonesia
Sepiring Indonesia by Eridanie Zulviana (Best of the Best Design JSDA 2012)

Having gone to a national plus school, I endured years of ideological force feeding. From TK (kindergarten) to high school, I slowly advanced the civic ladder, starting from memorizing the Pancasila to political system, to the Soekarno's, the first Indonesian president's, long list of wives (luckily, I am a natural kepo/nosy person). For several weeks, I've been scrambling to find a few friends to attend the National Day Ceremony or Upacara with on August 17, 2013. "That sounds fun, NOT!" one friend said. Another asked if I had smoked any weed last night, while watching history documentaries. Nevertheless, although to set the record straight, it is fun and I have never smoked weed in my entire life, I am still enthusiastic about the National Day events.

Reactions to Forced Ideological Messages

Attending the ceremony under the sun, waiting for someone to faint, singing Indonesia Raya (the national anthem), as well as watching the Paskibra team, were one hell of a huge highlight of the school year. After high school graduation, each year, I'd spent the fateful day, salivating in front of the screen as the televised ceremony from the Presidential Palace repeats itself again and again.

One day, as I was reading another story on love, I stopped myself, thought, and came up with the idea that perhaps, what separates me from those who groan and moan about spending two hours under the sun to commemorate a day that may not even really be the day that Indonesian reached independence, is the experience of naturally coming across this gushy feeling of love, instead of having it force fed down my throat. Of course, I also experienced the latter, but it occurred parallel to the former.

Slowly, through books and the telly, and perhaps, some old man's controversial tale or conspiracy theory, I fell in love with Indonesia. I know that I did it in, what might be, an odd manner, but that's not the point. Instead, what I am having so much difficulty saying is that it blossomed, with a lack of well-thought and planned fertilization. If the force feeding sessions urged a deep seeded hatred, while the movies and books entrance were delayed or the old man died too early, I might not be this miserable at this moment in time. Instead, I would go through the August 17 weekend with nothing but a tiny, meaningless inkling. I might casually peruse the malls, which are often covered in red and white, and maybe even, complain about the color palette. If only life were that simple!

Though I should really start appreciating my misery, as it fuels these flying words and arrange it on the page, it has clearly grown from years of getting to know Indonesia, as my country, instead of being told that it is mine to love and cherish, as well as receiving it at face value. So, who'd like to attend the Independence Day Ceremony with me?

P.S. You're not the only one to realize that the content of this blog has sort of become much more engrossed by short commentaries about life's phenomena, but fingers crossed (I pledge) that it will have the sun at its face soon enough.

*All photographs by yours truly

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