"In a Revolution"

In One Nation, Indonesia

In Anthropology on November 9, 2008 at 1:57 pm

sumpahpemudaOctober, 28th is a historical day for Indonesia because 80 years ago, the Indonesia young generations had declared a pledge known as The Sumpah Pemuda (Youth Pledge). In Indonesia, earlier generations believed that the Pledge is important to strengthen Indonesian unity. Today, I’ll just talk about one statement of The Youth Pledge: “We, the sons and daughters of Indonesia, acknowledge one nation, the nation of Indonesia.”


The Sumpah Pemuda (Youth Pledge) Text

What’s The Meaning of Nation?
The meaning of nation based on the Indonesia Language Dictionary is a group of the people that has the same descent, origin, and government. The next question is: “What’s the difference between the nation and the state?” The state is the sovereign authority in a populated territory. The conclusion of the difference is Indonesia as a state is a “colonial heritage” (product of colonial legacy). Indonesia’s territory, administration, and legal system is derived from the former Dutch East Indies (albeit with numerous modifications). The Indonesia nation is a new one, and was not created by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In Anderson’s opinion, Indonesia is an ‘imagined community of communities’ and not a single ‘imagined community’. Unlike monoracial and monocultural nations like Japan or Saudi Arabia, there is a lot of heterogeneity and diversity within our “nation state”.
Let me apply the nation state concept to Indonesia!

The Indonesia Language
The Indonesia language is from indo and nesia, a bridgegroom language that has many relatives. It means that Indonesia language was created in Melayu language, as a part of Austronesia language, from the ethnic groups, nations, and races that had come and gone to this country.
The Indonesia language is influenced by the regional languages it is derived from. For example, an expression from the “Bahasa Menunjukkan Bangsa” book teaches that the Indonesia language’s ‘child’ is the Melayu franca language and her ‘cousin’ is the regional languages. For the example the Javan phrase Lengser keprabon – now a part of Bahasa Indonesia – must be understood in the context of the Java political system. So, the foreign speaker can understand the meaning of “lengser keprabon” only after appreciating Javanese culture and history.
As for the claim that “all the Indonesian use Indonesia language,” there is the fact that the Chinese use market Melayu language as their communication. The newspapers and literature of the 18th century used the market Melayu language, written by the Indonesian-born Chinese. It can be told that Indonesia was created by the Chinese merchants and their children. They acted as links between the cultures of Bandung, Banjarmasin, Medan, Makasar, etc. This culture also was used by the natives for the unity. Unfortunately, the wealthy and innovative Chinese who built the culture were not respected, but hated for their success, and were often despised and discriminated against.

Dangdut Music
Most Indonesians like dangdut music. I think it can be used to unite the Indonesian because it can be accepted by all of Indonesian easily. Like classical music, dangdut is difficult to master, especially the ‘cengkok’ (the song intonation).
This music is derived from Melayu music in 1940’s. In evolution this music had been influenced by India music (the using of tabla) and Arabic music (in cengkok and harmonization). The name of dangdut is from the India drum, Tabelar. The Tabelar has a unique sound, similar to ‘dut’.
There are four Veda traditions in India classic music: (1) Reg Veda, with three intonations. (2) Yayur Veda, five intonations. (3) Sama Veda, seven intonations, and (4) Atharva Veda. Based on these books, Vedic Music born that was a background of the India classic music. From the Vadic Music emerged the Tabelar drum that influences today’s Indonesian music. Dangdut was influenced by local music as well too, such as campur sari (Java’s version of dangdut), Parahyangan dangdut (Sunda’s version), or Poco-poco dangdut (Ambon’s version).
The Melayu-style orchestra (still often used by a dangdut group) uses accustic guitar, accordion, tambourine, and the gambus (an Arabian instrument, similar to the harmonium), flute, and gong. Modern dangdut, grew in 1970’s and was influenced by western culture, like electric guitar, percussion, trumpet, saxophone, oboe, etc.: the mandolin is the most important western instrument used. Rock music (particularly the guitar) influenced dangdut too. The influence of many kinds of music and the using of local instruments cause dangdut can be accepted by most of Indonesia.

Puskesmas is a society health center that built by the government. The Puskesmas can be a place to unite the heterogeneity and diversity because this place is for all society.
Puskesmas has a working program that involve societal elements. UKBM (Upaya Kesehatan Berbasis Masyarakat) is a health effort based on society program. It is developed by Puskesmas to invite every society elements from the all ages, education, occupation, culture, and religion background to participate in increasing public health. The activities of UKBM are:
The PKK (Pembinaan Kesejahteraan Keluarga) women or the other women organizations to develop Posyandu (Pos Pelayanan Terpadu) and Polindes (Pondok Bersalin Desa). The main point of this activity is to help the mothers bear and care for the village children.
Adolescence organizations to develop the SBH (Saka Bakti Husada) in boy scouts sphere, Santi Husada, and Poskestren (Pos Kesehatan Pesantren) in Pesantren sphere (the Islam school of Koranic studies for young people). The main point of this activity is to invite the younger generations to involve in public health.
The worker groups to develop the UKK (Upaya Kesehatan Kerja). This activity is designed to improve the health of workers.
The old men were tied to Posbindu lansia (Pos Pembinaan Terpadu Lansia). It can help the retirees to stay productive in their old age.
What Are The Conclusions?
The Youth Pledge day can remember us that Indonesia is a nation not only a state. The Anderson’s nation state concept shows that Indonesia can be enlivened just by acknowledging the heterogeneity and diversity. This concept can’t be limited by the doctrines of nationalism. Don’t use nationalism as a tool to eliminate the local histories and cultures of Indonesia!

Written by Catherine Maname Uli

Edited by Mr. Alvin, teacher of EF-Pluit




  1. Alif Danya Munsyi. 2005. Bahasa Menunjukkan Bangsa. Jakarta: KPG.
  2. Indonesia: Bangsa Sebuah “Imagined Communities”. 2007. Available from the URL: http://www.wikimu.com/News/DisplayNews.aspx?id=2745.
  3. Kacamatamu dan Kacamataku: Menguji Teori Secara Pragmatis. Available from the URL: http://kunci.or.id/esai/nws/09/martin_teori.htm.
  4. Pendekatan Silang Budaya sebagai Pencitraan Budaya IndonesiaMelalui Pengajaran BIPA. Available from the URL: www.ialf.edu/kipbipa/papers/ArifBudiWurianto.doc.
  5. Dangdut. Available from the URL: http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dangdut
  6. Ternyata Dangdut dari India. 2008. Available from the URL: http://jemaridewa.blogspot.com/2008/01/ternyata-dangdut-asalnya-dari-india.html.
  7. Trihono. 2002. ARRIME Pedoman Manajemen Puskesmas. Jakarta: Departemen Kesehatan.
  1. I dont truly know what you talking about right here. This cant be the only way to think about this can it? It appears like you understand a lot, so why not explore it more? Make it more accessible to everyone else who might not agree with you? Youd get a lot more individuals behind this should you just stopped making common statements.

  2. Ok, thanks for the critics and suggestions for me. I will try to make the better articles in the next session. 🙂

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