Thursday, 22 April 2010

My celebration of Kartini Day (2010)

Yesterday, April 21, is a Kartini day for Indonesians. There were a lot of ways to celebrate the day. I used to celebrate it with my children (when they were in the kindergarten) by using traditional clothes. People might say that this kind of celebration was degrading the meaning of Kartini Day by making it a mere traditional fashion show, but I'm not totally agree on that. For me, those traditional clothes should help those children to get closer to the richness of Indonesian cultures, and to remind them to all our heroes and heroine. Kartini, Cut Nyak Dien (in the Indonesian wikipedia), Dewi Sartika, Christina Martha Tiahahu (in the Indonesian Wikipedia) are among those brave women who showed us how women can also have leading fighting spirit. Yet, there are also those who thought that wearing Kebaya is the only way to celebrate Kartini Day. This is actually not the real meaning of Kartini Day.

Some said that Kartini was not showing up her fighting spirit by accepting the arranged marriage with a man who already have three wives. Yet, her courage to ask her father's permission to have higher education was something brace enough for a Javanese girl at her time (I have written about Kartini before-in bahasa Indonesia, showing how writing out our thoughts could really be powerful).

On other occasion our kindergarten students were also celebrating Kartini Day by making it a fashion show that show various kind of occupation. We have doctors, nurse, soldiers, businessman/woman, pilot, etc. My eldest son once took the clothes of a journalist. It was easy to prepare, but he did not win any prize in the fashion show.

Kartini is always a special figure to me. I read her letters since I was still in highschool. She talked about tradition, and also about religions outside her own religion. It is something that perhaps could be considered as taboo in her era.

Kartini is always a special figure to me. I read her letters since I was still in highschool. She talked about tradition, and also about religions outside her own religion. It is something that perhaps could be considered as taboo in her era.

I've got several invitations on this special day, and some are very interesting but I've chosen to go to the one held in Times Bookstore in Karawaci, a discussion with a topic "New Paradigm vs. Kartini Day". I was first attracted to the place where the book reading and discussion would take place. It's nearer to me than other invitations which located mostly in Jakarta. Then in the promotion letter I've read that this outlet is the biggest Times Bookstore in the region. I thought,"It's bigger than those in Singapore? No kidding..." When I was teenage I used to frequently visited Singapore, and I loved Times Bookstores over there. When I had the chance to visit some big cities in Europe I was looking for that kind of bookshop but I didn't find it. I knew that Times are opening their branches in Jakarta, but I thought they were made just like other book stores in Jakarta. Then, I saw a small Times store on Antasari street. It looks really inviting. I usually went passing it when I traveled from my house to my parents' house. Every time we were passing it, I said to my children, "One day I'm going there..." But the traffic and my tight schedule never allowed me to step in that store. So, an invitation to a book discussion in the biggest Times Bookstore in this region was really tempting. I could kill two birds with one stone.

Then, the author that we were going to meet was Ayu Utami. And to my surprise, we were going to talk about her book "Saman", a book that was published in Indonesia a decade ago, precisely eleven years ago...This book has a special meaning to me, as I’ve read it while having my first born. Then, I did say that I don’t really like it, yet it was an interesting novel to read. Actually I was following the media coverage on that book (from the printed media that I used to read). It raised comments even from the well known Pramudya Ananta Toer.

Being raised in a conventional Catholic family I think it was the religious aspect that tied me to the way I perceived Ayu Utami’s literature way in presenting Saman. It is important for me to have a chance to hear from the author herself the in-depth analysis of her book.

Another important factor that brought me to that event is my curiosity towards the new ASEAN Secretariat Women’s Wing. What is that? What is it going to do with the movement for Indonesian women and children? If I had time, I would love to attend their other discussion which was held several days before. I had all those information through my e-news from the museum section of the Indonesian Heritage Society.

So, I left my three boys at home (and canceled their Mandarin language course). An act that would make my mother frowned, and would probably prohibited in the United States too…Leaving three boys under 12 years old by themselves at home! Yet, I enjoyed the discussion, made my exploration in that cozy and the great bookstore. I've also met a French lady which gave me a chance to practice my language. It reminded me that I was surprised to see a picture of Kartini in the book "Lettres de Raden Adjeng Kartini, Java en 1900", where she was reciting "le Petit Chaperon Rouge" for her Javanese students. So, Kartini was probably able to speak Dutch and French as well.

I was enjoying the whole event and the location when I suddenly realized that I should be heading home. Then, I was stranded in the traffic jam as the Serpong street was flooded. Luckily I also have a great neighbour whom I called to help me to provide dinner for my sons. That was an awesome experience for a Kartini Day. It was something really different from my usual experience to spend the whole Kartini day with my kids. I'll write more about this event in another post.

1 comment:

hardiansyah said...

smoga hari kartini di tahun ini akan lebih membuat wanita bangkit lagi dari penindasan, seperti TKW