Friday, August 07, 2009

Rendra and The Students

There is something between Rendra and the university students.

In my undergraduate days, I learnt development economics from Todaro's Economic Development and Rendra's Potret Pembangunan Dalam Puisi. Todaro's provided me with methodology and numbers in analyzing development; but it was from Rendra's that I learnt how poverty, unemployment, inequality, and corrupt institutions really mean to people's life.

And the power of hope. Sajak Joki Tobing Untuk Widuri, for example.

But I had to wait until one cold raining evening of another long day in 1998 in Depok to see before my eyes the most subversive poet that Indonesia has ever had read his poems.

He was still officially banned from the University, a state university as it is, because he was considered enemy of the state --so much for the power of poetry and the irony of dictatorship guarded by thousands of soldiers and terror. But somehow friends at KMUI were able to smuggle him in to stage before hundreds of students on one of Suharto last days.

There, Rendra read his own Sajak Kenalan Lamamu. It was astounding beyond words. Magical. And on those days, bloody relevant --as if it confirmed that what we did those days were indeed worth doing.

I thank Rendra for that. Hat off.

1 comment:

  1. no s***. I was there also, light drizzle back then. I thought he read "Sajak Pertemuan Mahasiswa " back then...