Taking the Pledge

(This post was made in dedication for a Youth Empowerment themed blog, run by me and a couple of my friends. Visit the blog here at youthmakethingshappen.blogspot.com. Spread the word! Oh and this is my 80 post, wheeee! :D)

Sumpah Pemuda:
Kami putra dan putri Indonesia, mengaku bertumpah darah satu, tanah air Indonesia
Kami putra dan putri Indonesia, mengaku berbangsa yang satu, bangsa Indonesia.

Kami putra dan putri Indonesia, menjunjung tinggi bahasa persatuan, bahasa Indonesia.
I stood, back straight, on the grassy field within the dark green Columbus Hall of Santa Laurensia School that housed the Junior and Senior High classes. It was the morning of the 28th in this chilly October, the time of year when rain would frequent our area. The junior high school classes, from 7th until 9th grade, were lined up on the field as we progressed through our flag ceremony.

A ceremony for what you ask? Well, today wasn’t just any ordinary date. It was October 28 2011. 83 years ago, on this exact date, was the day that some call “the birth of Indonesia”. Not the date of Independence, but rather, the day we banded together and united in national spirit.

Historically, Indonesia did not gain independence until seventeen years later on August 17, 1945. The road to independence wasn’t smooth. And the revelations and ideas produced on this day was the spark that lit fire in the hearts of Indonesians who decided to strive for freedom from the colonial reign of foreign nations.

In the year 1928, the second Youth Congress (Kongres Pemuda) was held in Indonesia, joined by Youth organizations all over the country. In the Youth Congress the Youths would discuss many issues, from the economy to education to general welfare.

Can you imagine how the number of Youths that came together, sat down, and pitched ideas and dreamed of a better future of their country, were responsible for shaping the flourishing country Indonesia has become now?

A few famous items produced on that day were the national anthem Indonesia Raya and the inspiring text that opened this essay the Sumpah Pemuda or Youth Pledge. This Pledge, written from the minds of great Youth, has become as sort of reminder of Youthful potential, a guideline that drives the spirit of young Indonesians.

The message stated is clear: that 1) the ‘sons and daughters’ — the young people, the next generation — of Indonesia, acknowledged Indonesia as their homeland, 2) acknowledged Indonesia as their nation, the people within it despite the differences, their family, and 3) upheld it’s language of unity, bahasa Indonesia which has always been part of Indonesian’s unique culture. All 3 points of the pledges show how dedicated the Youths of that time were in defending and fighting for their beloved nation.

A sort of pulse-racing adrenaline ran through my veins when the pledge was read during the ceremony. I thought of how the past accomplishments the pledge writers must’ve made history and how their nationalism and drive was sort of over-shadowing the Youths of today. And deep inside, I had this burning, unquenchable desire to show that we – us kids – are capable of doing something great. Something life-changing.

We live in a world that is plagued with apathy. It’s undeniable that this modern, competing world has little room for mediocrity. Not many of us get a chance of success, leading to this modern day belief of not to try. As George Zinavoy once said in the movie, The Art of Getting By:
“It’s more like we’re living in a dying time, you know. I mean, you’ve got global warming, wars, terrorism, tsunamis. We’re definitely on the downhill side so what are we looking towards? What’s the point?”

It is hard living in a world that makes you feel like trying isn’t even worth it. It’s even harder when you’re not even given a chance.

It’s easy to see why the adults of today have almost zero trust in kids. We haven’t really done much to show our worth. We barely have the will to go to school, we’d rather sleep all day and party all night. In extreme cases we’d rebel, drop out of school and do drugs and have sex.

But those stereotypes aren’t true. They most certainly don’t apply to most of us. I for one, am tired of being underestimated. And luckily, Youths have stepped up their game, and the Youth empowerment front is definitely on the move. Question is: will you play your part?

Trust, me this ‘dying world’ needs each and every one of us kids, to open up the path to a better future. So take the pledge and feel empowered!

--Karin Novelia, Done With Being 'So Ordinary'


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