Senin, 14 November 2011

One of my Writings

Art, Culture and Nation’s Character
by Citra Sandy Anastasia (101 1718 023)
                                                  PSDI – FSR, ISI Yk.

Nation’s character is a nation’s personality that distinguishes one country to another. As an analogy, characteristic of a personal computer, it has a monitor and CPU tower, if it doesn’t have those things, it cannot be called a personal computer. Or a microwave oven, it has to give out waves that create heat, if it doesn’t create heat then it isn’t a microwave oven. So without those quality or characteristic, those things don’t work and worthless. Just like a country, what is a country without a character? Our Nation’s character is Pancasila which was born from the Founding Father who had one vision, one understanding to build this Nation. Pancasila made us different from every other country in this world. Art, culture and characteristic of a nation has very strong link because it gives extra points when it comes to other nations’ appreciation. By the heterogeneous of this country, it made us different from any other country in this world. Our country has countless of different culture. But if we don’t conserve and take the advantage of it, it would be such a great loss. And who knows what this country would become. It would be like a personal computer without a speaker for the sound system, it works, but with no sound to give special effects.

     What is art? If you think deeper over that question, you’ll find that our life is filled with art; the art to socialize, the art to cook, the art to write a literature, the art to say something so that it’s more understandable or interesting to other people, the art to negotiate, even to defend yourself you need to learn the martial art. In another word art is like a technique of doing something.
     Look around you, what do you see? See how the builders built the house you live in now, the place where you peacefully stay, protected against the heat of the sun and the cold of the wind? Is it just a stack of bricks piled together? It is not just that, is it? They’ve learned the technique to build it. They’ve mastered the art of piling bricks together, sticking them together with cement and painted it with such beautiful colors. Do you think a doctor or an ambassador can do it as good as them.

     To be a good citizen, we have to know how to build our nation’s character, just like how the builder built our house. There are so many aspects that can help us build this nation’s character, for example through education and technology. But in this article I would like to talk about how art can be used to build this Nation.
     The question is, “how can art, cultural art in this matter, have the contributive function towards building the nation’s character itself? We are all aware that a great nation is a combination of greatly educated people, high technology and honest legislation, and cultural art doesn’t seem to fit in any of this category.

     Little did we know, art does have a vast impact on how other nations see our beloved country and I will elaborate it in this short article entitled “Art, Culture and Nation’s Character”

Issue: Art’s Contribution to Building the Nation’s Character
      As I’ve mentioned before, in my opinion, art is like a technique mastered to do things in life. And according to, art is the product or the process of deliberately arranging symbolic elements in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions and intellect. It is a way of expressing emotions through music, literature, fine art and performance art. Art is an aesthetical thing; beautiful and made to enjoy. For example a painting or a traditional dance, they are just as attractive as magnet. Most people would link art with culture. Culture itself comes from a habit that a lot of people do that has been done for ages, rooted and grew into a civilization. Culture comes from the word “to cultivate” which means to develop or to grow. So in another word, a cultured country is a developed and grown civilization.

     Indonesia is our country who got its freedom on 17th August 1945. Then the next day after that, the written constitution, Undang-Undang Dasar 1945 (Fundamental Constitutions 1945) was assigned. In the Opening of that constitution was where our principle, Pancasila, stated. Pancasila comes from the Sansekerta language. It literally means “the five seats” or can be analogized as “the five pillars of this Nation”.

     In each pillar, Pancasila has values that are ascribed as the soul, the personality and the vision of Indonesia since it is the pact of crystallized values of the determination of our ancestors to unite this Nation despite the differences which can be found in it. Pancasila is also the basic ideology and philosophy of this beloved country that does not only control the law but also the morality of its people. In this article I want to focus on the third pillar. Our country has lots of different culture, multi-races, languages and thousand of islands. That is why in the third pillar of Pancasila, it says, “Persatuan Indonesia” (Unity of Indonesia).

     A great person is a person who is a well educated, uniquely cultured and has strong character or personality, and so is a great country. The ones who see the greatness of a nation is the other country. I’ve met different people from various countries and when I asked them what they think of Indonesia they’d say “Indonesia is a great country enriched with lots of diverse culture,” “Indonesia has uncountable places to visit, sightsee and experience.” But there was one time when I met two Dutches at Tamansari, Yogyakarta and they said, “We love Indonesia. It’s so green but it’s a shame that they don’t appreciate the historic value of their heritage by gratifying on the walls and writing unnecessary things in inappropriate places,” and I couldn’t agree more with what they’d said. Is it really our culture to destroy our heritages? I hope not.

     The third pillar reflects our supposedly character: “a Nation who loves the country”. We should love the differences in this country. We should love everything about it. We should make those tourists say, “Indonesia is not only a great country but it has great people who adores and appreciate everything it has.” We should make a concept that our country is a country with character of dynamic heterogeneous culture to obtain our purpose to become a developed civilization.

     There are lots of examples of artistic culture we have in this country, for example, in music we have keroncong, dangdut, campur sari etc; in literature we have legends like Malin Kundang, Roro Jonggrang, Tangkuban Parahu etc; in fine arts and crafts we have Kamasan paintings, Batik, Songket, etc; in performance art we have Lenong, Ketoprak, Kecak Dance, Wayang Golek and a lot more to list that it will make this article not a short article anymore but a huge-numbered of pages book. These things characterized us. These things build our image to other nations.

     Remember how Reog Ponorogo was taken by our neighboring country? We got really furious but whatever we did couldn’t undo what happened in the past. Maybe it was our fault in the first place. Our mistake, whether we realized it or not, was ignoring and overlooked at our culture because before it happened we thought anyone couldn’t take over it. We should be proud of all the differences that we have, all the artistic culture that couldn’t be found elsewhere in this world. Don’t let it be claimed by other irresponsible nations who are attracted to take over our country’s culture. We should document what we own. Write books about it or post writing on the blog or other internet websites about it to make a notice to the world, it is ours (with capital letters, bold and italic) and it is part of us.

     We can also start by little things like how Japanese youngsters have what they call “cosplay” or costume player. It has slowly rooted to their modern culture and known by people from all over the world. I used to have a similar thing when I was in the kindergarten. I wore the traditional clothing of the Northen Sumatra, Ulos, on the Kartini’s Day. In fact we should do it more often by holding events to compete the beauty, design and innovation of traditional clothes.

     It’s hard but easy and easy but hard at the same time to use art and our culture to build nation’s character because there would be constraints such as negativity in belief of the society, the lack of interest of the people to have a contribution because of their economic situation and also the fading of our culture because people tend to be more appealed to other Nations’ cultures. But we have to be optimistic and begin first from ourselves, family, friends and then environment, be creative on playing our role as a civilian. Hopefully it will carry on until everyone in this country characterized our Nation in the best way possible.

      Art is like a technique or skill that creates a product and is also a process that influences and affects the senses, emotions or intellect by expressing it through media such as music, literature, fine art and performance art.

    Our Nation’s character can be defined perfectly by our Principle, Pancasila. And to be a strong characterized Nation, we have to reflect back and start using the value of Pancasila as a Standard. The unity of our country is an important basic of character. Even we have heterogeneous culture we should be creative to face the diversity.

    Art can trigger the culture to cultivate the Nation’s character back to its originality and make us realize that we should love our country and be proud of its differences that makes us unique compared to other country.

     Art and culture have very strong link to the Nation’s character. It builds the image of the country. Indonesia can be known by the world where the Wayang Golek, Lenong, Kamasan paintings, keroncong and lots more come from.

     To have a characterized Nation, we should start from ourselves doing little things like write about our artistic culture and post it on a blog. Then lead other people close to us to do similar things and influence people to love and be proud of our art and culture.


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