Saturday, March 10, 2012

Home Sick Remedy (My nation, my pride and my identity)

I have lived abroad almost all my life moving from one place to another, i grasped several languages along the way, interacted with foreign cultures, traveled across its territory and met new faces along the way. It gave me a realization about the vast and diverse world we live in and how it would probably take a life time to immerse oneself with such overwhelming diversity which shapes our world. I have always fancied travelling, this is likely to be a result of a traveling lifestyle which i benefit from my parents line of work im pretty proud to say that my parents work for the government in the areas of diplomacy, my father is a career diplomat representing my country in foreign countries."To represent and to work for the benefit and the well being of the nation" is the cliche'd definition of my parents line of work but i would shamefully admit that i know quite little of my country of origin, i consider myself an international citizen instead of rightfully Indonesian. But given a short time of my stay in my homeland i can attest to a country which is distinctly unique, diverse and enchanting a country which i call my home Indonesia: a vast archipelago composing of 17.504 islands sandwiched between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific strategically located between Africa and India to the west; Australia to the south and the American continent in the west lastly the Asian continent to the North, 33 provinces, fourth largest population in the world and 706 different ethnic languages and home to 5 different religions united by a single lingual identity of "Bahasa Indonesia".
This diversity might be overwhelming to some but Indonesia is unified under the principal national emblem illustrated above with a bold sign saying "Bhineka Tunggal Ika" which means Unity in Diversity  in Sanskrit under the 5 guiding principles  principles of the belief in god, humanitarian principles, National unity, democratic Government and justice and equality for all its citizens. I also forgot to mention the foreign immigrants from India, China and the Arab world that adds to the complexity of the Indonesian culture; one would look like Indian, Arabian and Chinese by facial characteristics yet they identify themselves as Indonesian's something i also witnessed during my time in the United States. For me what i miss from all this diversity could be summed up through one really unique thing: Indonesian Cuisine! a combination of indigenous cuisine which varies from region to region and fusion of all the provincial influences mixed along with foreign influence mostly Chinese, Indian and influences brought through colonialization of Portuguese, Dutch and the Japanese. From rice dishes, noodles, curry's, Frikkadel's and chili based cuisines (not for your average eater) Indonesia manages to assimilate them all! going though all the different cuisines is an adventure itself, i daresay it would take a lifetime to sample all the different cuisines distributed around the large Archipelago!
People always assume that Indonesia is an Islamic country given the majority Muslim population but in reality it is "not an Islamic country" like many people believe: we have Christians, Muslims, Hindu, Buddhist and Confucianism with equal representation in the ministry of religious affairs. Despite religious conflicts in the past it is safe to assume that Indonesia has managed to put the past behind showing a larger and greater degree of tolerance to its citizens by providing religious  freedom protected by the constitution although religion still plays a large part of your social identity, It still has religious fundamentalist who seeks to nullify this religious diversity by establishing a Muslim autocratic state under the Sharia law by using violence but the government have taken greater effort to suppress and root out these factions which threatens national unity and these factions are slowly loosing support as more and more Indonesian's are getting educated.
Similar to the United States its a functioning democracy with elected executive and legislative bodies, despite the years of oppression under the Soeharto regime the country has progressed to a modern democracy. While i have to admit the country still have major flaws: laden with corruption of dirty government officials, unequal income distribution, separatist states and law manipulation it is showing a lot of progress throughout the year receiving positive feedback from foreign investors by an economic growth averaging 6.4-6.8% yearly. Poverty is still existent and the gap between wealthy Indonesians and poor Indonesians is still so vast. Among the Modern glamorous shopping malls, foreign brand chains, palatial estates and tall modern skyscrapers slums still exist throughout the cities with people doing all that they can to scratch a living in here lies the irony that some people are some well off while others are so desperately poor. 
Indonesia still has a long way to go but the outlook is positive and i do believe that my country will fair better in the future, im writing this as a reminder of my home that seems so far away and a remedy of my occasional longings to return to my country of origin. I will definitively come back! after i attained my higher education in the States and being able to contribute something worthwhile for my country upon my return so until then.. wait for me Indonesia!

No comments:

Post a Comment