Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Why Indonesia Matters, and Why Pancasila Matters

For me, it matters as I was born here, grew up here, and most of all because I am Indonesian. Kennedy said, “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country!”

Actually I was raised up to contribute something for my country. In the church we are always taught to serve our obligation to our country (Matthew 22:21). An obligation to our country is not limited to pay taxes, but also to help build it the right way.

Yet, I’ve got the mental blocked to enter the politic. But as one of my father’s friend said, “Even as a home maker you are already in the politic, as a citizen you are already serving the politic!” I remember him, Pak Kartono, a minister from Sukarno era (if I’m not mistaken). He was such a good Muslim, but he could share the happiness of Christmas by visiting us on Christmas day. My parents would pay them a visit in the end of the fasting month (hari raya Idul Fitri).

A call to Prayer, an article in the Time Magazine written by Hannah Beech, is not wrong. There is a fundamental change in the nation. More friends are not willing to bless us “Merry Christmas”, because they were taught that it means they celebrate Christmas too. So it is not only the matter of women clothing! I’ve got a lot of friends who use jilbab but still very moderate in their way of thinking.

I missed something from Indonesia, something I’ve been bragging to my pen pals; the unity in diversity. I used to give them lecture of how tolerate we, Indonesian, are. May be the vision came because I always stay in Jakarta, the melting pot of Indonesian culture.

I grew up in Kebayoran. Behind my house there is a small musholla with the speaker near to my bedroom. I used to hear the call for prayer, I used to hear the call for “saur” (the breakfast before a fasting day). I even did my thesis on my last year of architectural study with the morning sermon of Ramadhan. So I knew how lonely it would be for Indonesian Muslims who had to do their Ramadhan fasting in a non Muslim country.

Raden Ajeng Kartini mentioned in one of her letters, that while all religions were founded on the same basis; which is to love and to help each other, she would stick to her religion. She was born as a Muslim, and she did question a lot of critical questions but she was always devoted to her religion.

Not long ago, one of the children I teach in an English course asked me: ”Miss, why don’t you become Islam? You’ll be saved forever!” A remark from an innocent child made me think deeply. Is it really come from a seven year old girl, or she got it from her school or family?

Indonesia is now facing a lot of problems. Economically we are struggling. The hard struggle made people envy those who have money. Unfortunately, being a Chinese descendant will make people automatically think you are rich. Furthermore, the education is also lack of good educators. Because a teacher is a hero without any reward (Pahlawan tanpa tanda jasa), it is really difficult to find a real good and competent teacher.

I thought Pak Harto was also a leader with forwarded vision, he was only blinded by the feeling of being a sultan from the Indonesian Archipelago (as remarked by Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew).

Yet, Hannah Beck is wrong about "recycling an old ideology tainted by its association with a former dictator". She should try to know Pancasila before stating this remark.

Pancasila is the five (panca) basic foundations (sila) of this country. It came from deep reflections of our nation’s founding fathers. It is something remarkable if we can have it implemented in our daily lives.

The first sila is to believe in God the Almighty. All religions believe in God, the One and the Only Creator of the world. There was time when they added the obligation to do the shari’ah for muslims in this first foundation. But later on, we came back to the basic Pancasila. I think it is a must for everybody who acknowledged themselves as having a religion, to try to practice all the good deed they got from the religion.

The second sila is the humanity

The third sila is the unity of Indonesians. As a multiracial and multiethnic country with different religious background, the Indonesian “Unity in Diversities” lies here.

The fourth sila is the people power represented in the legislatives.

The fifth sila is the social justice to all Indonesians.

If all of Indonesian leaders follow Pancasila by heart, there will peace in Indonesia. Basically all Indonesian loves living in harmonious life, but the economical drives, the political drives make us torn apart.

Suharto realized the golden rules in Indonesian basic philosophical thinking, imposed it on educating Indonesians. Anything overly imposed will have no good result, especially when the leader himself did not follow it.

So sticking to Pancasila is really matters, and practicing it is the way we solve our problems. Not by preaching Pancasila, but by implementing it on all sectors. Then, Indonesia will really be something in the eyes of other countries.

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