Sunday, February 24, 2008

Identity in Javanese Characters: The Rise of Local Culture

SOLO-Sooner or later Solo will be the host of its own home. On its 263th anniversary, the municipality government of Solo officially announces the use of Javanese Characters for the names of all buildings and advertisement boards.

This new regulation is obligatory. The Javanese characters should be bigger and placed above the Roman characters. According to Joko Widodo, the mayor of Solo, this new regulation will be carried out immediately. He even dares to target all the government and private offices will be using Javanese characters in June 2008. For the beginning, Bank of Indonesia branch office, Tax Office, Diamond restaurant and Solo Grand Mall will be availed as the model. In fact the use of Javanese characters can create an exotic look towards certain buildings.

Although this new regulation seems to be just physically applied, it is actually a good beginning. It will slowly compel the going-modern people of Solo to be accustomed to Javanese culture, which is their origin, wherever they go. Above it all, it must nurture the love towards the city and its culture.

Kiddie Puppet Master: Conquering Modern World Domination

SOLO-Playing puppets, dancing, telling jokes, and performing a story seem just a piece of cake for the children of “Sanggar Sarotama” (Sarotama cultural art club). It can be seen when they perform a collaboration between “wayang kulit” or Javanese shadow puppet and “wayang orang” (a wayang performance in which the characters are played by people) under the title of "Gathotkaca Jedhi" in front of Sriwedari Art and Cultural Park Solo, Saturday (16/2). Those elementary school kids make hundreds of audience sit still on their chairs the whole evening.

Besides that, they are able to naturally perform the jokes of the popular duo-comical-characters in wayang story, Gareng and Petruk. Not only their natural jokes but also their dancing and fighting performance can turn out big applause from the audience.

Amidst the attack of play station gaming, game zone, and cable TV station, some parents, however, are still proud of their children to be “truly Indonesia”.
This kind of performance is planned to be held every Saturday Kliwon (name of day in Javanese almanac) in some different public places in Solo. Moreover, the event must be entertaining, professionally arranged, and the most important is no ticket fee needed. Nowadays, these requirements are needed in order to make the traditional art and culture survive amidst the growth of foreign culture.