Friday, 16 November 2007

Why I Prefer Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk than Saman

A new friend from Shelfari asked me about the book “Saman” from Ayu Utami. What do I think about that book? Wow, I read that book long time ago…1998. As I need to peek back to my diary I thought I do need time to answer that. But temporarily I did answer that I prefer A. Tohari’s book “Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk”. Why?

Actually when I read Saman nine years ago, I compared it to the book of Father Mangunwijaya “Burung-burung Manyar”. I like Ida Ayu Utami’s popular daily language. I wrote in my diary that her way of writing it is just the way I write my diary. That’s perhaps why I like Saman. I read it in less than six hours (meaning six hours with other activities) so perhaps I do need more time to chew it up before making any comment. Yet, I won’t have much time to reread the book. I even forgot if I have read the sequel “Larung” or not (I think I do have the book somewhere in my bookshelves).

There were some notes in my old diary about Saman. First, I was impressed by her research. I was a bit confused by her way of narrating that sometimes travel in the time space, and I thought that the case Marsinah was not in 1993. I checked this one out and was surprised to get that the case was already five years away (that time). Now we are still facing new problem like Munir…how we never grew up!

Then, I underline Saman’s words “Money has its power”. Yes, without the power of money, Saman will get stuck (or even death). Only with the network and money from Yasmin and Cok that Saman reached New York.

Being only a fragment of a novel, the content touched a lot of problems that were hot during that time. It covered subjects from the NGO’s activity and rebellion, the anti Chinese sentiment, to the corruption, collusion, and nepotism.
Reading Saman also opened my eyes (who was very Catholic that I kept myself virgin to my wedding day) about the possibility of the general condition of free sex or other misbehavior in youngsters' lives. Ayu was one or two years after me in the senior high school. I remembered this eccentric girl from the language class. Now, we are facing the existence of porn video produced by and for the high school students here. This is a new reality in Indonesia. We need to stop this kind of globalization coming into this country. Yet, I’m not the supporter of the ratification of anti-pornographic law. I think we do have good law on censorship, the problem is in the implementation. Should we censor all the traditional clothes or the mini skirts? I think man should first educate their mind than trying to change girl’s way of clothing! (But, I am a conservative type in clothing…he..he…he…)

A blogger has also commented on Saman (I thought she is a Moslem Malaysian), and talked a bit about Ayu’s religious back ground. I do not think that Catholic is more permissive to this kind of conduct. I think what Ayu meant is that sex should never be a taboo as the example from the Bible. Human became aware of their sexuality after they conduct their first sin, their act that disobeyed the Lord’s command.

May be this is how Saman is different with Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk. The way Ayu wrote her story (perhaps) made people think that it is normal to have that kind of life. While Srintil tried hard to evade her fate as a Ronggeng. Yet bad luck can sometimes be an eternal friend especially for those poor and marginal people.

Actually I was waiting for a serial like Saman from Leila S. Chudori. She was my favorite writer and I missed her fiction after her study in Canada. She came back and became a brilliant journalist, but I missed her fiction stories. She was always good in describing psychological problem and human character. She recently produced a TV serial “Dunia Tanpa Koma” (“The World Without a Comma”). I like the story (I’ve got to admit I did not see the whole series…TV serial is not my kind of leisure activity) but it seemed to be running very slow. As a bookworm I prefer to read the book (if any) than seeing that film. I can imagine Raya or her boyfriends as I wished, and I can imagine their gestures and body languages better than being given in an obvious but slow screening.

I am glad that Tony gave me this question because I can write some notes here. And I am also getting more information in preparing this post. I never know that there is an uncensored novel of Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk (published since 2003). So I’ll search for the new version or the English version published by the Lontar Foundation.

More references:


nita said...

saya tersentuh membaca komentar mba tentang kebebasan sex di sastra indonesia. karena saya pikir hanya saya sendiri yang mengalami konflik batin ketika membaca karya sastra negeri saya sendiri yang justru bercerita seolah-olah dengan nilai-nilai yang berbeda... saya sadar, jaman sekarang hal tersebut memang sudah mulai ramai.. tapi bukan berarti kita juga ambil bagian dalam me"ramai"kan hal tersebut. Jangan sampai ketika karya tersebut dibaca oleh jiwa2 muda yang baru mencari jati diri, masih mengenali nilai2 masyarakat, masih memilih apa yang terbaik untuk dirinya, malah terperngaruh oleh opini orang dewasa.
sebelumnya saya minta maaf, tempat komentar ini jadi lahan curhat, sy harap kemaklumannya untuk seorang gadis dewasa muda

Retty N. Hakim said...

Tidak apa-apa mbak Nita. Saya justru berterima kasih sudah menjadi tempat curhat...tujuan menulis blog sebenarnya kan untuk mendapatkan komunikasi.

Sastra memang merupakan sebuah cara lain untuk dokumentasi zaman. Keadaan yang dahulu zaman Siti Nurbaya sudah berbeda dengan zaman penulisan Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk, dan sudah berubah lagi pada saat penulisan Saman. Dampak negatif sastra juga sebenarnya lebih kecil daripada dampak siaran televisi yang lebih luas skala penontonnya. Apalagi orang-orang yang suka membaca biasanya jauh lebih kritis daripada orang yang hanya suka menonton.

Sebenarnya saya dan Ayu Utami kemungkinan hanya usia satu atau dua tahun, tapi bisa jadi antara kami sudah ada lompatan generasi sehingga cara kami memandang kebebasan seks dan cara penyampaiannya jadi berbeda. Novel Saman ini termasuk satu loncatan dalam sastra Indonesia, dimana seorang penulis wanita bisa terbuka dalam mengutarakan hal-hal yang biasanya dipandang tabu.

Sebagai pembaca saya hanya ikut memberikan kesan saya. Saya sendiri tidak setuju kalau isi buku ini dikatakan vulgar atau terlalu mengumbar seks. La Rose dan Nh. Dini termasuk penulis wanita yang tulisannya juga termasuk kategori terbuka (dalam pandangan saya).

Mungkin perbedaan impresi yang timbul terjadi karena penulis Saman mengambil posisi narator sebagai salah satu tokoh dalam kisah itu. Kalau tidak salah, sebagai Shakuntala.

Tulisan di blog ini sebenarnya memang mencoba memancing diskusi yang seimbang. Jadi, silahkan memberikan curhat-curhatnya hehehe.....