Review: Berkaca dari "Manusia Indonesia" (Reflecting from "Indonesian being", by Mochtar Lubis)
Taken from ANBTI (Translated by Shirley)
This book is based on Mochtar Lubis's lecture at Institute Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Art Institute), on April 6, 1977. It describes six innate characters of Indonesian. The first one is being hypocrite. The second is not responsible for own action. Third, having feudal behaviors. Fourth, still believe in superstition. Fifth, artistic. Sixth, weak in nature and characters. In Indonesia, Mochtar Lubis is known as an author and a journalist. Since Japan colonialism era, he was already involved in information sector. He was one of the founders of ANTARA, who once built and lead Indonesia Raya daily (which was banned later on). He built a literature magazine, called Horizon, together with his friends. During Soekarno era, he was being sent to jail for almost 9 years and was released in 1966. He received several acknowledgments for his works.
The six characters in this book seem to dishonor own country, yet it was meant as a mirror of acts. Although all of Mochtar Lubis's descriptions is subjective and unrepresentative, there are truth and observation behind it. S.T. Sularto stated in Kompas, when Mochtar Lubis was asked to reflect "Indonesian being" in 1982, he firmly said that there were no changes. It was getting worse. If only the question was being asked again by the time Mochtar Lubis had already gone (he passed away on July 2nd, 2004), maybe he would've cried in his after-life. Indonesia is not a country of midgets. Indonesia is not weak. Indonesia is a country that hasn't truly shown its fang to the world. Hopefully, in the future, Indonesian being would become a great nation that stands tall amongst the other nations. Although it has already become a reality today, we can't deny the fact that there are still people who don't feel the same way.
You can read this ebook in Bahasa Indonesia.