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What’s your nationalism?

Journal 9

‘Do not ask what your country has given you. But ask what you have given to your country’.

One of my favorite quote of all times. It’s a statement of nationalism. I do not know about other country, but in Indonesia (yes… I’m an Indonesian), this spirit may have been long gone. I don’t have the statistic diagram to describe or prove it, but it shows a lot in the newspaper and, even worse, in my surrounding. Most in my surroundings are just simple things. For me nationalism is not just about fighting for your country, but being proud as one also taking care of it. In the history of Indonesia, many heroes and heroins died defending this country. Well, we are not living in those era anymore, but we still have to fight. Soekarno, my first president and the only man that I am able to call as politician, once said that once we have our freedom, it’s not the foreign but the domestic issues that we have to face.

Okay.. that’s too heavy. How about this, how many times have you blamed the government about flood? If you have the answer, then answer this: have you littered today? :).

I attended a seminar about mining regulation a week ago. I wasn’t late, but sitting in the front row or line has always been my favorite (aside to avoid getting sleepy, I just like to see the speaker’s faces) since elementary school. After the opening speech from the committee chief, there was a foreigner that has been working for almost 2 decades in the mining industry. His presentation was about Indonesian government, local and central, and how the regulation keeps on changing. In order to have a mine site, several permission must be obtained. Those permissions not only come from ESDM (Energy and Mineral Resource Department) but also Forestry Department. Because most of qualified minerals are hidden below the conservatory forests. In reality, it took more than 3 months to obtain forestry department permit for big name companies. But it took less than a week for an unknown company. There are several comparison pictures of ‘after mining activity’ between those companies. The forest is becoming a forest again in big name company after mining activity. Meanwhile the forest in unknown company after mining activity is becoming a desert. Those companies that didn’t do reforestation somehow still survive and obtaining permit for land expansion. My question was: why?

Well, it will be too naive of me if I put corruption and one’s party or organization or even self importance aside. Being Indonesian attendee that had to listen issues in my own country from a foreigner but none of my countrymen wanted to fix the already broken roots get me all the headache and leave myself with another one question: what happen to nationalism?

I can go on and on and on about my own country’s distinctive bureaucracy, but that won’t solve anything. It jut going to make feel more angry to those Indonesian. Criticizing without knowing what you criticize is even worst and most Indonesian has that tendency about it lately. Even the smallest thing basically counts on your nationalism. You don’t need to be or create an NGO to get the system, but creating a community that delivers nationalism also counts.

As Soekarno also said: a thousand head to think is not better than one young man trying to act in order to make a change. So, what have you done to your country?

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