Saturday, October 29, 2016

Opinion: The Meaning of Youth Vow Day

Every October, 28th, my brother in law celebrates his birthday. In the same time, all of the Indonesian people celebrate Youth Vow Day. It was exactly in October, 28th 1928, the Youth Vow Day bore. As Indonesian youth, sometimes I ask myself what I have done for Indonesia and what kind of contribution I have done.

The youths in the past strived to make Indonesia be free from the imperialist. They understood really well that they could not make it if they do it alone. Regardless of the diversity of the tribes, cultures, and languages, they kept unite them self because they knew by the unity, they would gain more power and more chance to fight back and get rid the imperialist from the homeland. Therefore, on October 28th, 1928, they vowed that they, Indonesian youths, were from one country, country of Indonesia; one nation, nation of Indonesia; and one language, language of Indonesia. The bahasa version of Youth Vow is shown below.

[Picture Source:]

By the unity, Indonesian youths became stronger to fight back the imperialist. Therefore, the meaning of Youth Vow Day in the past was the struggle to fight back the imperialist by a unity of Indonesian youth. How about the meaning of Youth Vow Day today? 

The meaning of Youth Vow Day according to Jusuf Kalla, The Vice President of Indonesia, is to move forward. He underlined that the world today has so many alterations so if Indonesia only depends on the unity, it will not enough to make Indonesia bigger. "We need to keep the meaning of the unity from Youth Vow, but the youths today should not only think about it but also think to move forward with the unity" [1]. 

While in my opinion, the meaning of Youth Vow Day is similar to the meaning of it in the past which is to strive and fight back the imperialist by the unity. The imperialist that I mean is in the form of new imperialism. As we gradually face the globalization, we may be colonized for the second time by the new type of imperialism. For example, since the beginning of 2016, countries in ASEAN has started the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) program.  

The purpose of the establishment of AEC is to form a huge market and to be one of the largest economies in the world [2]. By the AEC, the trading between ASEAN countries will be easier. AEC also let the people from different countries work in other countries in ASEAN easily. From this point, we can see a disadvantage which may be encountered by Indonesia, if Indonesia is not ready to face the AEC. For example, if so many better workers from other ASEAN countries decide to work in Indonesia, the recent local workers may be replaced by them and Indonesia will have an increase in the number of unemployment people since they are unable to circumvent them. If this thing happens for a long period, Indonesia may undergo the new form of imperialism which the local people will be cornered and unable to overpower the immigrants, then the immigrants begin to control the governance. It may happen if Indonesia is not ready for the human resources.

Therefore as a youth, we can implement the Youth Vow by keeping strive to fight back a new form of potential imperialism by the unity. The Indonesian youths today need to unite by contributing something to Indonesia, to make Indonesia distinguished from other countries in ASEAN or even in the world. We can contribute to the nation by achieving something in an international competition or by doing nonstop learning in the whole life so we will not be left behind from other countries. 

Today are so many examples of Indonesian youths who have lifted the nation dignity in the international arena. Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir successfully brought gold medal from badminton competition in Rio Olympiad 2016; Joey Alexander Sila, a 10-years-old pianist obtained Grand Prix 1st International Festival-Contest of Jazz Improvisation Skill and successfully made Bruno Mars do standing ovation at Grammy Awards; and Irene Kharisman Sukandar was the first Indonesian woman awarded as the Grandmaster (the highest level of chess athlete and was ranked 59th between other woman chess athletes in the world [3].

Totowi/Liliyana, Joey, and Irene are just a few example of excellent Indonesian youths. There are so many youths actively participated in the international competition that I can not mention their names one by one. If they can make it, it means that you do can make it. You just need to see what is the excellence of yourself and then you work hard to hone the skill. I believe you also can be one of them. 

Nonstop learning means that your education doesn't stop until you reach bachelor, master, or Ph.D. degree, but you stay foolish and hungry--just like Steve Jobs said--which by staying foolish and hungry, you will keep learning a new knowledge from whatever and wherever every time. You need to always be still curious about something new because the world changes so fast. If we slowly follow the changes, we may be left behind and controlled by other big countries. If it happens, in the end, our independence will be threatened. 

So, the meaning of Youth Vow Day, in my opinion, is by keeping strive to fight back the new form of potential imperialism by the unity to contribute to Indonesia which can be implemented by achieving something in the international arena or nonstop learning. If we unite to lift our nation dignity by those contributions, I believe we can maintain our independence and will never be colonized for the second times.

[1] Republika. (2016). JK: Makna Sumpah Pemuda Harus Dijaga. [Website].
[2] ASEAN. (n.d.). ASEAN Economic Community. [Website].
[3] Juliawanti, L. (n.d.). 5 Pemuda-Pemudi yang Sukses Bangkitkan Indonesia di Mata Internasional. [Website].


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