Adventurers, you must have gained a lot of knowledge about Indonesia from traveling with us for the past couple of months right? Indonesia has a lot of beautiful natural scenery and diverse culture to explore, but Indonesia is unique not only because of its nature and resources but also because of its people. Do you know that there is a word to describe Indonesians that cannot be translated in English? That work is “cerdikiawan” it means someone who works, study, develop, and finding solutions on multiple ideas and acts on them. Cerdikiawans are the ones who are not afraid to voice their opinions regardless of the trials ahead. Our history is filled with people who are voicing their opinions to build a better nation.
So in the light of that, this Indonesian Day event will not just expose you to the beauty of Indonesia, but also to some of the brilliant minds in Indonesia’s youth. For the next month, we will share the stories and opinions of people around us on several matters like dances, fashion, makeup, cinematography, sustainability, and theater.
This week’s article is based on an interview we had with Samara Jetta, one of the Indonesian students participating in this year’s Indonesian Day events. We talked about Indonesia’s dances and literature. There is one quote in Indonesian literature that Samara’s adore, which is:
I.N.D.O.N.E.S.I.A: “Setiap huruf berloncatan mencari jodoh membentuk kata; setiap kata meliuk, melesat, dan mungkin saling bertabrakan dan rebutan mendapatkan jodoh untuk membentuk daya puitik. Setiap huruf mempunyai ruh, mempunyai nyawa, dan memilih kehidupannya sendiri.”
– Leila S. Chudori, Pulang
As someone who was once in a “sanggar tari” or generally known as a traditional dance studio, Samara had a lot of insights about the characteristics of traditional dances by its cultural contexts. She has a view that most people nowadays categorize dances based on different aspects , like putting more emphasis towards geographical reference; it has more depths that are beyond what it seems. Traditional dances were influenced not only geographically but also culturally and spiritually tied with the ethnography and historical past of the people who created them. As an instance, we shall see “Kinang Kilaras” and “Bajidor Kahot”; despite coming from the same island that is West Java, and tells an overall an alike inspirations that is a spirit of group of ladies in achieving their dreams, it entails different grasps of persona. In this line of thoughts, traditional dances should not be merely understood through textbooks and treated as the matter of culture which traditional dancers are expected to be responsible for its conservation, but through a conscious mind of curiosity that triggers your own definition of cultural appreciation.
Nevertheless, we can not expect everyone to have the same level of nationalism, as she believed that the notion of nationalism and how it means to be nationalistic differs per person. In regards to questions of the connections between Indonesian arts and cultures with nationalism, Samara stated that Nationalism is not an inherent thing, it is highly dependent upon the environment which serves different kinds and levels of cultural exposures by the opportunity to acquire the knowledge; it is something that someone needs to work on. She believes that nationalism is a spark of feelings that you get from the sense of identity, which in the future evokes an action that influences the whole body of discourse towards how you describe your motherland. For Samara, arts and culture are the medium for not only to develop her nationalistic sense but to look and discover what can she actually take from the word I.N.D.O.N.E.S.I.A. as an Indonesian. On its end, it grows the loves not from the word nationalistic but towards what it actually is for being Indonesian
So fellow travelers, lets find out own means of being nationalistic! There is a lot more to know about Indonesia other than the facts we see each week. We invite you to not only see the performance from Indonesia, but also be curious to learn their backgrounds and meaning because it will make you appreciate them a thousand times more.
Article by Amanda Hendra & Samara Jetta