I used to think that we were just opening child-friendly libraries …

[Bahasa Indonesia]

PSX_20180218_180619Hard to digest that it has been more than eight years since I started accompanying the Rainbow Reading Gardens (Taman Bacaan Pelangi, TBP) in its journey. Each year, I set aside time to visit our* libraries. For me, personally, those visits are crucial. They serve as a reminder of why I am doing all these.

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Dulu saya berpikir kami sekadar membuka perpustakaan ramah anak …

[English]

PSX_20180218_180619Tak terasa, sudah delapan tahun lebih saya mengiringi Taman Bacaan Pelangi bertumbuh. Setiap tahun, saya selalu menyempatkan diri untuk mengunjungi perpustakaan kami*. Bagi saya pribadi, kunjungan-kunjungan tersebut penting. Mereka mengingatkan saya kembali kenapa saya melakukan semua ini.

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To my sister on her birthday

[English below]

Hari ini, kakak saya berulang tahun.

Ketika bulan lalu kamantara mengadakan acara, kami diminta merespon skenario ini: Bayangkan bila semua sudah melanjutkan perjalanan dan kita tinggal sendiri di bumi. Kita diberi kekuatan untuk membawa kembali lima orang. Siapa saja dan kenapa? Orang pertama yang saya tulis adalah kakak saya ini.

Kenapa? Pikir saya, kalau ada Andien, saya pasti tenang. Dia akan tahu mesti melakukan apa. Dia selalu bisa berimbang dalam membebaskan dan merengkuh. Dia akan tahu maunya saya apa; tapi akan memberi ruang bagi kegalauan dan keunikan saya.

Saya juga tahu dari hati terdalam, dia selalu menyayangi saya apa ada saya dan menjaga. Aman dan nyaman rasanya. Berlaku dua arah. Masih banyak lagi yang bisa saya katakan untuk menjawab kenapa.

Sejujurnya, tidak ada kata yang bisa mengungkapkan betapa berharganya dia bagi saya; betapa bersyukurnya saya bahwa dia ada dalam hidup saya.

Hari ini kakak saya berulang tahun. Selamat ulang tahun, Andien. Semoga sehat dan bahagia selalu. Dijaga baik-baik oleh Tuhan yang Maha Pengasih, Maha Penyayang.

Semoga saya bisa menjadi adik yang lebih baik lagi.

—–

Today is my sister’s birthday.

When last month kamantara held an event, we were asked to respond to the following scenario: Imagine everyone else have continued their journey away from earth. You are alone on earth. You have been given to bring five people back to earth to help rebuild the earth. Whom would you bring back and why? My sister was the first person that came to mind.

Why? I thought, “If she is around, I would be at peace. She would know what to do. She can always balance between freeing and embracing. She would know what I want/need. She would provide space for all my uncertainties and uniqueness.

I also know deep in my heart that she would always love me as I am and care for me. It feels safe. It feels comfortable. And it works both ways — me to her.”

There are many more words I can say to respond to why. In all honestly, however, there is no word to express how precious she is to me; how grateful I am to have her in my life.

Today is her birthday. Happy birthday, Andien. May health and happiness be ever yours. Well cared for by God, The Compassionate, The Merciful.

May I be an even better sister to you.

Schools of the future

By BEN OKRI

In the future, centres of learning will teach at least one thing we do not teach today: the art of self-discovery. There is nothing more fundamental in education. We turn out students from our universities who know how to give answers, but not how to ask questions.

Our students do not come in contact with the centres of wisdom in our culture. They leave universities with skills for the workplace, but with no knowledge of how to live, or what living is for. They are not taught how to see. They are not taught how to listen. They are not taught the great art of obedience, and how it precedes self-mastery.
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