Observing the condition of our nation these days, as an elderly, in my more than 81 years age, sometimes I feel like I can only do nothing but thinking, remembering my past.

In 1947, I was still on Grade 2 of Junior High School (SMP). One of the teachers gave lesson about the origin of colonialism. I can still remember that in economy, investment was needed (at that time, I had no idea what “investment” was). If in a country, the investment was saturated, there will be possibility to expand to other countries, through peaceful way, or war, if needed. That was why the Dutch in the early 17th century established the trade company VOC. Although it was a trade company, VOC was mandated by Dutch Government with some rights such as: (a) allowed to have army; (b) allowed to build a fort in occupied area; (c) to negotiate with local authority in the name of Dutch Government, and through this VOC, the Dutch colonized us for 350 years.

That was a glimpse of what my teacher told me which I still faintly remember. So with only one Trade Company, the Dutch succeeded colonizing. Nowadays, how many foreign investment entities are there in Indonesia? Sometimes I think, is it not a new way of “colonialism”? My friend mocked me as an old minded person who thinks without understanding the change or era! Is that true? I cannot answer. Look, my friend said next, our leader these days invited foreign investment to increase our prosperity. In all sectors, either agriculture, forestry, marine, mining, or other sectors, we are going to be modern later. “Don’t you see that fact?” Again, I cannot answer. I keep on thinking, can’t I really answer? It is normal when we are thinking; our mind wanders elsewhere, jumping randomly. If I criticize the existence of foreign capital, another friend mocked me as if I suffered “xenophobia”. Again I am reluctant to answer.

In the past, in the decade of 1980s, a high level aristocrat said, “The dispatch of TKI/TKW is the export of income maker service!” That time, I had anticipated the bad effect of TKI/TKW dispatch, and I wrote it in print media (I forgot the newspaper), that the statement reflected human trafficking practice, or new era slavery. Now people are talking about it, because lately seen on the news that many TKI/TKW were treated badly (death penalty, harassed, abused). The trend of sending workers abroad was triggered by the fact that they were thrown away from the living facilities in their villages. In the decade of 1980s, I had screamed: “Stop sending TKI/TKW, and conduct Agriculture Reformation (Reforma Agraria).” But I realized that I was just “ordinary person”, neither aristocrat and nor conglomerate. So of course my voice was ignored, and disappeared by the passing wind.

If I look back and think, there were many other issues I had warned for a long time. Not only about agriculture, but other aspects, such as education, ethic, credit, etc. many negative impacts of all of them, is now becoming real.

In this condition, I remember a song I have memorized since I was in SMP, “Ibu Pertiwi” or “Motherland” song that consisted of two verses.

Verse I:
“Oh, look at motherland, sad and stew
Your tears are welled, your diamond and gold you recalled
Forest, mountain, rice field, and the ocean, savings wealth
Now motherland is in pain, weeping and praying”

Yes, forest, mountain, rice field, and the ocean that are part of our rich natural resources are now being robbed by foreign capital power. “Motherland is in pain!” Why? Because aware of not, our leaders (or not leaders but the ruling elite) these days, have denied the dream of 1945 proclamation. Morality is declining sharply. Corruption is reigning.

Once again I think. What can be done? The right answer should be from the new generations that are smart. Their task is hard, harder than historic task done by the pioneers of this nation and the warriors in 1945. In the past, their task was only fighting colonialism, warred against Japan, England, and Dutch. The new generations’ task, as said by Bung Karno, was “fighting their own nation”. Not in physical context, but fighting the mentality of betrayal. Straightening us back to the dream of independence proclamation 1945! New generations should stick to their promises reflected on the second verse of the song “Ibu Pertiwi”.

“Oh, Mother, Motherland, we come to devote
Look at your sons and daughters, pleasing you Mother
Oh Mother we still love, your faithful sons
Keeping the inheritance, to homeland”

I can only pray. May the new generations be able to keep their promises like what I think.

Because thinking is just like “daydreaming”, our mind wanders everywhere without direction. Especially when we think while lying. Suddenly, a little bit different issue might come to mind, because I remember the questions often asked by my friends, what is my opinion regarding the latest trend about “customary law”. Well I haven’t had the chance to think about the answer, when I woke up, it was already morning. So it turned out that I overslept. Because of that, I will tell you about this in other time.

Writer: Gunawan Wiradi
Source: Sajogyo Institute