When I asked good ol friend Heru to get me the original copy of the book Laskar Pelangi in Bahasa Indonesia, I was not quite aware of what I was in for. As any good friend would, he dutifully sent the book via registered post from Jakarta ( thanks dude, I owe you one! ).
The book is a masterpiece. Andrea Hirata, the author not just touched millions of readers throughout nusantara, but pulled onto their heartstrings to the plight of these dirt poor remote kids whose spirit to learn was higher than any mountain we can think of. I was one of those readers who cried, laughed, sighed and everything else with the book. The teacher characters in the book made me realise how tiny is my contribution to the industry, compared to my compatriots who braved the challenges of going into these remote places to teach remote and poor rural children who really, really want to learn. The kids depicted in Laskar Pelangi walked miles out of their kampungs just to attend ‘sekolah pondok’ full of holes on the roof that each time it rains, they had to stop classes.
It has since been made into a movie…
But I have not watched it. However, I do enjoy the soundtrack from the movie itself. Indonesians are damn talented people. They produce good books, good movies and good songs. Just not good politics, which is a pity.