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Book Review

22 april 2010 07:07

Panggil Aku Osama

Panggil Aku Osama

Panggil Aku Osama
Mahyudin Al Mudra et al.,
Adicita Karya Nusa, Yogyakarta
1st Edition, May 2002
xxix + 179 pages
0.9 x 19.9 cm

This book by Chaidir contains some perspectives on ideology, politics, economy, social, culture, defense and security either locally, nationally or internationally. As the Head of Riau Legislative with a wide access for information it is reasonable for Chaidir to write such information.

It will not make sense if things happen the other way. It will provoke such prejudice and question as: are the officials inconsiderate to the condition of the citizen (despite writing is closely related to one’s hobby and capability)? Therefore, this book is a must-read, at least to get a picture on the condition of a region (Riau) based on the perspective of those who struggle fot it.

Initially, the book was an anthology of Chaidir essays and columns published in Mentari tabloid, Riau, during 2001. However, in this book, the writings are arranged in such a way that looks like a life journey that Cahidir “desires” which involves reading, speaking, behaving, and devotion to God. This pattern also appears in Chaidir three other books entitled Membaca Ombak, 1001 Sadam, and Berhutang Pada Rakyat.

Related to this, in his writings Chaidir shows that he wants to share information and, sometimes, solution for the above problems, especially in the first, second, and third parts of this book. On the other hand, particularly in figure section, Chaidir intends to take an example from the figures he wrote (one of them is Osama Bin Laden). However, in Panggil Aku Osama Chaidir wants to remind the government officials, especially Riau officials, to be considerate to the problems faced py the people.

Culture and Civilization

In general, culture is manifested in three aspects of life namely idea, behavor and material or artefact. The three aspects are the core of human life. It was because these three aspects that the history of mankind existed since the pre-historic and continues to the historic era. Referring to the three aspects, nowadays the term culture is everywhere.

Why are the three aspects called culture? Because there are values in them. The core of culture are values. Mankind will not create, work and feel on something if there is no value useful for life on that something. In short, the history of human life depends on human ideas in behaving, creating and leaving traces (artefacts). Good idea results in good behavior and good traces, and vice versa. That is what we call civilization.

Does value have to be good to be able to result good culture? For this matter, cultural observers and philosophers have different opinions. However, the majority of cultural observers and philosophers agree that culture is always good, because there lies the adhered values. If culture is not good, then mankind will not adhere its values. For example, the practice of disposing garbage to the dumpster. This activity is done by people because they find the value of health in it.

This is closely related to human basic instinct that all human desire a better quality of life. Thus, culture is never not good, if it is so then it is not culture or civilization, but only custom. An example is corrupting public money.

Referring to the above concept then the title of the article on page 14 of this book is inappropriate because if unusual instant success is considered not good then it is not a culture, it is a bad habit instead.

Based on the above explanation, we often hear the term noble culture. Mankind are expected to keep learning on ideas, behavior and artefact for a better (nobler) life. If mankind cannot learn from them then it is a signal of the vanishing culture of a nation. The only left are habits which keep changing due to instantaneous will of certain cluster (ruler). Faucoult was right when saying that the history of mankind is the history of the rulers, thus human culture is ruler culture.

Cultured Malay

Malay is another ethnic group of the country who possess noble cultural heritage. One of Malay culture is the pantun. Pantun were composed by prominent Malay figures. There are the pantun anthology entitled Gurindam Dua Belas and Tunjuk Ajar Melayu. Malay people consider both as the pride and noble masterpiece because both teach how to live a good life or how to become a civilized people.

Is it enough only by being proud? Certainly not. A work is a work piling up on the table and becomes dusty if not read and practiced. Civilized Malay demands for Malay ethnic groups, especially the rulers, to bring Malay culture to the daily life.

Riau, as one of Malay land, has social problems that require understanding and cooperation. People – ruler cooperation is crucial. Through this book, Chaidir tries to recall Malay ethnic groups in Riau to be considerate to the problems occur, eventhough they have to learn from Osama.

Yusuf Efendi

Translation by Apri Widiastuti (trns/40/04-10)

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