Saving the old while embracing the new!

Culture is not static nor should it be stagnant.  With that being said, I’m sure the conflict and struggle over cultural norms between two generations have existed since Cain and Abraham.  The struggle over customs, culture and even the preservation of property is no different for nations as it is for families.   I still recall the driver Leslie and I had in Rome, Italy telling us that there was a battle between the youth who want a more modernized city and the elders who want to keep every ancient relic standing to remind and connect them to the days of the Roman Empire.   Indonesia is facing similar struggles trying to balance the need to modernize infrastructure and procedures without losing it’s language, customs and culture. Indonesia is made up of 8000 habitable islands (out of 17,000) with 350 ethnic groups speaking over 700 different languages.   Given the diversity of so many different people, the Dutch Colonial Government decided to make “Bahasa Indonesian” (derived from Malay) the official single language.  They felt this would make it easier to govern so many different people.  It back fired on them, because it united the people as one nation, who in turn revolted against their oppressors and gained their freedom. It would be nice to say that the people of Indonesia lived happily ever after as one people and one language.  But the truth is that they were never one people and they speak multiple languages, but now, for better or worse, they are one nation.  Now in the sake for a more efficiently ran government and to unify the more than 250 million Indonesians, the country wants the school system to start integrating Bahasa Indonesian into the Science and Social Studies curricula.  To make room for this change, the new curriculum, which begins July 2013, calls for the removal of individual Science and Social Studies classes.  To fill the void of 2 lost classes, the new curriculum calls for more time spent in religion class.  Indonesia has only 5 religions that are recognized: Islam, Catholicism, Protestant, Hinduism, Buddhism.   Every adult citizen must choose from one of these and have it marked on their permanent record (identification).   Every person that spoke on this subject seemed to feel that, although Muslims are the dominant population, all religions get along in Indonesia.  My cohort teacher, Jonathan, who is of Jewish faith, wanted to know if there was room for Judaism or at least how do people feel about Jewish people or their faith?   I do not recall a direct or definitive answer that addressed his questions. Although the changes may be stressful for teachers all of the changes aren’t doom and gloom.  The infusion of different cultures is inevitable and children are the easiest to embrace (or influence).  Therefore, I want to leave you with a few examples of the old and new cultural lessons.


Filed under Culture

2 responses to “Saving the old while embracing the new!

  1. COOL,, those garry and laura.. salsa dance..

  2. Annette

    Interesting commentary, Rodney. I can’t wait to see what happens in future years in this country and in our world. I agree that the youth are the ones most likely to change and to accept outside influences. Great photos.

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