The Inspiring Baduy

Paul Mc Cartney in his famaous song “Ebony and Ivory” tells us that there is bad and good in everyone, that we learn to live, to give each other what we need to survive. The Baduy, do really learn from us in their survival of tremendous flux of “bad” magnetic cultural field from outside of the Baduy Villages. And we do learn also that there’s something “bad” that the Baduy strictly adhere to. Such as, the taboo for modern education.

But, the good of Baduy need to be preserved. The Baduy community has been managing its social order and conformity for a long time period, no crimes, no social problems. They are able to be self-dependent economically and they guard the virgin rain forest to such an extent that the modern civilization would not have thought of. The Pu’uns, the leaders of the Baduy havebeen bringing their leadership so powerful and effective.

In terms of economic prosperity the Baduy has reached a level that other Indonesian villagers must learn about. The Baduy Village may become an economic development model for other similar villagers.

The homogeneity of all member attitudes that conform with the ethical teaching of Sunda Wiwitan is also something of bold notion, adding to its characteristic of the Baduy, the People of Kanekes. Along the way, human history is filled with the scenes of wars, racial and religious hatred. Nowadays, these are the very problems of the global politic.

Nowadays, these problems are still persist and contagious. Just take a look at issues in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Indonesia bombing terrorist attack. It’s definitely a two contrast ambient of human landscape, between the Baduy and the rest of the world. The Baduy Villages is a place where a landscape painting of solitude peace that awaits you.

Although the late rocker of John Lennon imagined that if there were no religion the war wouldn’t have had existed, the Baduy people apply this imagination into their realm. The Baduy have in fact been veiled their spiritual world from outside and at the same time they reject any offers from religious mission to convert.

The community is an artifact of socio-religious survival success which is only a remnant population in the region. The geo-region that has been predominated by exported religious teaching from India and Middle East. It is clear that a peaceful society of Baduy Villages do not belong to any religion that are recognized officially by the Indonesian government. Technically, they have no religion. The Late John Lennon should have visited this community.

Seba Baduy, What Do They Do?

Seba Baduy has been a tradition of Kanekes from the highland of Banten. The tradition spans from the beginning of the 15th century until now. It passes the Sultanate of Banten, the Dutch colonialist and now the Republic of Indonesia.

It sounds like a mass rally in modern democracy. The Baduy have their effective way to  conduct a rally regularly without vandalism. It’s so wonderful, despite the fact that they do not go to school even a day!

Every year they come in the group, nowadays about 1.800 people, to the capital city of Serang, 50 miles a way from the Kanekes village. They are to meet the Ruler of Banten around the month of April or May when they end the Kawalu Fest. They bring with them all kind of fruits, vegetables, and rice to be presented as gifts to the Ruler.

Kawalu Fest lasts for almost three months during which the Kanekes villagers doing fasting from morning to evening and the village is closed. So if you are not the Baduy, you must not enter their land during this Kawalu Fest.

When we asked the leader of Kanekes why they still did such an old and odds tradition, he answered in a rather simplistic way that it was ‘Amanat Buyut’ that they had to uphold until the end of time, even when there was only a tree in place of the Ruler of Banten. Amanat Buyut in English literary could mean ‘Ancestor Messages.’ There are some Amanat Buyut that the Baduy still upholds until to day. These also make the Baduy live ‘exclusively’ in their 5.000-hectare village land. (Suhada, 2004).

On every occasion of this Seba Baduy, which is ceremonially received by the Ruler of Banten, the leaders of Baduy speak out the villager’s hope and propose some pieces of advice that the Ruler of Banten should apply in his governance of the people.

It sounds like a mass rally in the modern democracy. The Baduy have their effective way to conduct a mass rally regularly without vandalism for centuries. Some Indonesia mass-organization group must learn from the Baduy how to conduct the rally in a civilized way. The Baduy has been doing this for 500 years!

It’s so wonderful, despite the fact that they do not go to school even a day!

And this year on May 14th, 2016 Orang Kanekes will march 50 miles away from their village, barefoot, to conduct their yearly chorus of mass-demo and will send the Ruler of Banten, now Governor of the Banten Province, messages, and advices of what should be done in creating Clean, Transparent and Good Governance.

A Gift from Rumah Dunia

Author: Mauliediyaa Yassin
Translated by Rifki Luthfi

The Smart Criticism On The Verge of Social Trust Crisis.

Banten seemed to have an empty space, which at any time was filled by sudden laughters that exploded in front of a drama show. It was not talking about the spreading cubical rice plants along the villages. It was not talking about amazing estate guarded by knight horse, right in front of the gate. Neither was it talking about the gigantic malls which were now becoming the center of gravity of urban entertainment in the cities. This was about a sudden laughter exploded amongst the crisis of social trust. An explosion upon social and political humidity.

On Saturday night (March 05, 2016) Rumah Dunia was celebrating its return of the day. It presented a drama show directed by Peri Sandi Huizche, an artist who came from Bandung and lived in Serang, Banten. Rumah Dunia’s volunteers became the drama players. They were essayists, journalists, poets who magically played roles of various characters in the drama and entertained playfully the audience who temporarily forgot the burden of eroding air of trust, surrounding the cities’ atmosphere in Banten.

The Mental Dapur Show

The Mental Dapur play represented the ever rising social and political problems in Banten Province. Perhaps, Mental Dapur was also the way the director concerned about the Province’s eroding atmosphere. From the political point of view, there were itchy affairs corroding the local political stance.

On social perspective, the citizen had been on the verge of losing its perpetual balance of their traditional, religious ways of life. Clearly, all these matters expressed in naked dialogues each players spelled out and sang out loud on every music they performed at each beginning of the scenes. This was the interesting part of the performance. Peri Sandi Huizche, the director, was not drained to express his concerns wrapped artistically on his comedy play genre.

Mental Dapur was divided into three scenes. On each scene, it involved ‘Bawang’, ‘Main Cupang’ and ‘Daging’ . The three fragments described exhaustively the portrayal of Banten people’s social life, which characterized by hanky-panky business intertwined with public governance affairs played by those who gripped the political power.

One dialogue spelled by a player reminded the audience of the thing that just happened last month. This was about a government officer who had just come home from the jail. Being a corrupt officer, he was not punished socially. On the contrary, the people welcome him as if he were a hero.

In the play, such a scornful utterance shouted out. The utterance was just about how nice to be in jail. It was about how the hero applauded joyfully by the people. It was about the hero who was ironically crowned as the father of education. And it was also about everything in the past that concerned most to the rest of the people.

The crazy proposal

On the other scene, the two characters happened to be married. At the end of the scene, they conversed about the middle and lower class’ life, about how they struggled to fulfill their daily needs. The husband was shaky. He presumed that their would-be life was gloomy unless he jumped into the political flows and begun to stub other or deceitfully made a friend. Meanwhile, the wife just wanted to live simple but happily.

Then the husband proposed a weird option. He asked his wife to go abroad to work as house assistant so that she could send him money. He added he would be agreeable if she wanted to make easy money by selling her body to the red light. The wife rejected the crazy proposal. She was standing still and firm on the ground and believed that living in her own land was the happiest ever although the air she breathed were full of absurdity, full of the dust which creep on its ignorant belly. Moreover, she lived with husband and children though the life was hard.

The ending scene pointed just a sharp criticism that hit just on the heart of the problem. It sent message that it would be so naive not to move on while daily needs unfulfilled. These crazy notion, of course, often spread by each characters

Is it a trivial happy ending?

Summing it up, Mental Dapur show was a smart criticism on the verge of the social trust crisis of the people of Banten and it was a critical view upon the peoples’ self. The show rose a big theme that created the air of happiness amongst the audience till the last minute of play. The trembling Ciloang filled with laughters echoed a sign of hope of re-birthing happiness despite the fact that the trust were corroding. The simple room where the show happened gave new birth of happiness.

Additional performance on the celebration of the 14th Rumah Dunia birth day was the Battle Stand-up Commedy Endang Rumana and Dedi Setiawan, who were grown-up at Rumah Dunia. (MY)

*) Mental Dapur – The Kitchen Mentality.

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Just Like The Baduy

It is so much different between reading Midnight Child by Salman Rushdie, a novel and The Journal of Asian Studies, a book of academic papers compilation on Asia. When reading the Midnight Child, although I do not know so many strange words , I still keep enjoying the reading; sentence by sentence, page by page, fulfilling my curiosity of the suspense the novel successfully built and the rhythms of the language Rushdie spells out.  On the contrary, reading a paragraph on an academic paper I feel as if it were hundred pages. It makes me feel bored and discouraged. Not only that, reading an academic paper forces me to use extra energy trying to comprehend a word or a sentence from my narrow sight frame of reference. It requires more intensive focus. It needs preliminary knowledge of the subject of the paper.

Dragged unexpectedly by the life’s destiny and the unavoidable need of penny, I had to provide a service of translating English into Indonesian when I was a senior high student. Unfortunately, the text I translated mostly of type academic paper. These papers were the must-read journal or book for colleges’ student that found herself not fairly good in English. They spoke and read only Indonesia, just like the Baduy of Indonesia. Although I had no frame of reference about the subject at first, soon I gained the pattern of the language I read and managed to grasp the contextual meaning after cogitating on the matters.

I am now a veteran of the translator. Dragged unexpectedly by the life’s destiny and the unavoidable need of penny, I have to learn to read the academic paper again and to share what I think of it on the blog and other social Medias. As such, not only  will I read many of them but also I have to write something about them somewhere, somehow.

Society Creates Perception of Happiness

Diminishing Theory

When it comes to individual happiness, it relates to too many things. Everyone in her life seeks happiness. Yet, especially to young people, happiness is narrowly perceived as something enjoyable. As long as it fulfills her physical contentment, then she is happy. But happiness is not sustained long enough. As the physical contentment is diminishing, happiness is decreasing until such a time that the happiness is gone and need a brand-new happiness. The physical needs and contentment are ranging from the lowest to the highest. Not only has the physical contentment needed to be fulfilled, but also the social property of the need has to be shown up. Besides she needs to dine, she also needs to give her properties value of dining: Which restaurant she must dine so as to get her social need of a higher class recognized by others. The cycle will be getting on and on. The farther the seeking journey to happiness, the harder the way can be stepped on. The seeker of the happiness will never find it as long as she does not know what it really is. To be a happy individual, one must understand what happiness is and what external force affects it.

The society where someone grows affects her happiness. Happiness is someone’s perception of how her life gives enjoyment, comfort, well-being and pleasure. This perception of mind to the reality has been growing day by day since she was born. The first social encounter was her house where she interacted with the father, the mother, and the brothers. They taught how she perceived things. When the mother praised her, she felt the enjoyment. When the father hugs and kissed her, she perceived the comfortable air. Opening the house door, she encountered a broader world of community. In the school, she learned that it is such an enjoyable moment when she knew that she had a better score in Math than her friends had. Put simply, happiness as Veenhoven (1996) in (David, Susan, Boniwell et. Al., 2012) stated, is the degree to which individual judges their life favorably.

What sociologist said

(Berger, 1963), a noted sociologist, stated that a society used various means to controls its member and no social entity would exist without social control. It means the whole things in individual life is partly affected and controlled by a society. In real life, the most common phenomenon is the language someone uses as a mother language. She uses a language where she was grown for the first years to grasp speech ability. American will speak English whereas Indonesian will speak Bahasa Indonesia. Adding to the language, the decent manner as how she must interact with the rest of social members is also prescribed by social control. In some culture such as Balinese in Indonesia, it will be considered not polite to have eye contact while communicating with elders. For Balinese, to assign “you” while communicating with the father is not allowed as it is common in English speaking culture.

In a sense of happiness, the same formula is applicable that a society creates the perception of happiness in someone mind. As a member in a society, one is expected to accord with its norms and values that are generally accepted by the society. One has to follow; otherwise there will be a punishment. Punishment is perceived as a factor affect man’s well-being negatively. As such, society predetermines what kind of happiness someone shall possess. The objective is to make a sustainable society. Its equilibrium will be shifted if the members of a society frequently break the rules.

To sustain equilibrium in a society, whether it is just a small group, a school, a town or a Nations, social control is set and demanded that all members uphold. These social controls are reflected in the form of norms and values and formally in the form of written laws. Someone who seeks happiness in her life is constrained by the reality of what her social circumstances provide. In that way, someone is forced to adjust her goals and strategies in pursuing economic well-being to the real surrounding constrains. In getting a higher education, which may be perceived as fulfilling the happiness, one has limited choice to what kind of institution she will attend because the institutions are already there the society established. To create entrepreneurial activities as a pursuit of economic welfares, again, one has to consider so many factors that will affect the course. These affecting factors are already there in a society.

From the ancient human history, up to now in the modern age, social control directs the social sustainability. It exists by the mean of controlling its members (Berger, 1963). The world current issue of social sustainability, if the world is viewed as a big social group, is terrorism. Terrorism deviates man from a very basic human value, not to kill innocent people for any reason. It endangers the society sustainability, either at the specific nation or at the broader region on Earth. The world’s social control is to get rid any form of terrorism. If the global community takes no action again terrorism, then the world will not sustain.

Media roles

Another aspect of society that affects someone is that it affects minds subliminally. The way someone thinks, belief and absorbs values are determined by the society in a way that she does not even realized. One believes that helping other is a good value because the society tells her that. She thinks that traveling to the beach or to the mountain is something respectable because her friends tell her so or the media subliminally shows and persuade her. Nowadays, it is the media that direct unconsciously the society’s mind. Unconsciously enough, the media direct the mind to the rights and wrongs of phenomena. If the media says that the pure water is healthy, then the audience believes it without skeptical curiosity in mind. It is taken for granted. The inflow of the information from the media to a modern man is in such abundant manner, varies from garbage one to useful one.

Back to the story of happiness that someone is always pursuing, it is clear that society affects someone happiness. Happiness is concerned with physical, economic well-being and minds state of a person. The physical, economic well-being perceived by someone through the lesson from her society. She perceived to wear Guess brand as fulfilling her enjoyment by learning from other. Whereas other thinks that it does not necessarily to wear Guess to fulfill the enjoyment. He thinks that clean and fashionable wear is just enough regardless of the brand.

The latter is a man who looks at the outside of the windows. He is not trapped and entangled inside his society that teach him so. In the beginning paragraph, it is stated that society affects someone happiness partly. The society is not such a deterministic machine. It is the individual who decide what to be. Being a man, he is determined by a society and at the same time he determines the society.

Bibliography

Berger, P. L. (1963). Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective. Garden City, New York: Doubleday-Anchor.

David, Susan, Ilona Boniwell, and Amanda Conley Ayers, eds. Oxford handbook of happiness. Oxford University Press, 2012.

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I must make writing a habit.

In making a path that someday I write an academic writing, to day I must write. In English, I make writing a habit. I have to be prepared to embark on a journey toward steadfast productivity as a scholarly writer. Another reason for me to make writing a habit from day one: Producing scholarship inherently defines me as a scholar, just as enabling student learning defines me as a teacher.

It is often difficult to effectively mentor students if I cannot be a model of current scholarly work or include novice researchers in the various phases of producing scientific papers or articles. The most effective teachers and mentors are consummate scholars. So I must start writing today.

It is fundamental and crucial to my success that I decide to write — forging a commitment to become prolific. At the outset, I must control my schedules, block chunks of time for writing, and commit to a daily writing regimen. Because I want to become a prolific academic, then I must weave the act of writing into the fabric of my identity and the nuance of my daily life. Writing must be something I do because it is my inner sanctum to who I am.

To accomplish this full integration of writing and being, I need to experience a major cognitive and emotional shift in the way I see myself. It is time to start the act of writing as a soulful and meaning-generating activity. Like sleeping, eating, preparing for class, or taking care of my children, scholarship is something I need to do daily—eventually, without much premeditation or planning.

When writing every day is simply assumed, when it has taken up residence in my unconscious daily scheduling, I know that this transforming shift in perspective has occurred. Then I find my scholarship become more joy than burden.

Learning to write by using writing to learn.

Budi Dharma, an Indonesian novelist told that he wrote Olenka without outline or plan. The writing was just flowing as he wrote and it digressed. Yet his work was awarded best Indonesian novel in 1984. I read the novel and I liked it. Although every chapter seemed to be pivoted, disconnected and discontinued, reading them altogether I could feel the beauty of it. I wondered, how can it be?

For me, it is very difficult to express my feeling,  emotion or  belief in writing. Of course, I can’t be compared to Budi Dharma. In my process of learning to write I have been trying to write in fuzzy manner, but only to find my writing a “mess and rubbish.” However, this kind of processing style in writing that you just write whatever you have in mind may be one of the suggested technique in learning to write in the first phase.

By using writing to learn, the technique can also be adapted in learning to write various kind of writing; from journalistic report, academic paper or journal  to just a blog post. By writing to learn, I mean we write and write and write. We bring also measurement to this process to gauge our learning improvement and development, such as counting words per hour. I myself count to about 300 words an hour to write this post. Not so bad, is it?

Find any idea that catching your immediate interest, make it a little bit specific and write it. Let your imagination rambling on and on. I might be too vague to use the word “imagination.” To be precise, I mean the facts you find and the idea or opinion you build. When it has taken up residence in your unconsciousness, using writing to learn to write will lead you to be a good writer.