Jadi teringat setahun yang lalu…..waktu aku pulang dari site visit ke Bali dalam rangkaian acara ASEAN logics 2007 yang benar2 membuka mataku…..Kami semua disuruh untuk membuat sebuah POsition Paper. Paper ini merupakan hasil refleksi selama kita berada di Bali. Apa yang kita lihat dan rasakan, kami tuangkan dalam sebuah paper 3 halaman yang singkat tapi bermakna. Dari sini aku sadar, betapa indahnya perbedaan jika kita bisa menyikapinya. Here’s my position paper :
Theme : Bridging The Differences in Cultures and Beliefs
By : Novi Kumala Sari – Indonesia
THE BEAUTY OF DIFFERENCES
Living in a country that has so many differences actually opens my eyes wider that differences could be beautiful. I live in Indonesia, a country whose Government legalized five religions : Islam, Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, and Buddha. This is not an easy thing to tolerate because not everybody understands that differences are not something to fight about. Differences are something that we should accept and respect. Nevertheless, there were many conflicts happened in my country regarding to this religion differences.
The race in Maluku had been started since a long time ago. They raced to gain the upper hand in the religion, economics, and politic of the Maluku region. Both Moslems and Christians raced to be the most superpower population in the region. It happened because there are the mind-set of the people there that they think their religion is much better and more superpower than the other religion. They don’t know how to respect other religion .
The similar riots also happened in other region, such as Ambon. The caused of the riots was not only the religion differences, but also the differences in cultures and ethnical groups.
Bali : A Great Example
I am not saying that all parts of Indonesia suffered this riots regarding the differences in our cultures and beliefs. I am thankful that I have been chosen to delegate my country to participate the ASEAN Logics program, especially discussing this topic about bridging the differences in cultures and beliefs. This program opened my eyes and my heart wider that differences could be a beautiful thing if we know how to handle it. The way to handle it is by accepting and respecting those differences.
I am so grateful that I came to Bali and be able to feel the beauty of the differences in Bali. People with different religion and culture can live hand in hand. I can feel the way they respect each other. There were even a Hindu follower can sing a Moslem song. It was so beautiful to see people love each other. I can say that Bali is a very great example to learn that differences are not the barrier to make peace. .
I went there with the other 10 participants from all over ASEAN countries and four facilitators. We were planned to stay at the Ashram Gandhi Puri, the Hindu centre that welcomes students to learn more about Hinduism. I will explain more about Ashram Gandhi Puri later on.
Before we arrived at The Ashram Gandhi Puri, we went to the several famous tourist sites in Bali. First we went to Garuda Wishnu Kencana (GWK). This is a place where a
biggest and highest statue in the world will be placed. The statue is divided into three parts, Garuda –The Bird which becomes the Indonesian symbol, Wishnu- The Protector God, and Kencana- The God’s transportation. The artist who made this statue is I Made Nuarte. The project has not been completed yet because the three parts has not bee united in one place. However, by the time it is completed, it will be even higher than the Liberty statue in The USA.
Our next destination was The Kuta Ground Zero. This is the place where the Bali bomb happened. They built the monument that has the names of the victims of the Bali Bomb. There are about 400 people died, and most of them are Australians.
We arrived at the Ashram Gandhi Puri at the afternoon after traveling a long journey from Denpasar ( the capital city of Bali). Ashram Gandhi Puri is located in Klungkung Village, about 2 hours from Denpasar. The beauty started here. The people in Ashram welcome us with a Hindu ritual even though none of us are Hindu. Acting like a good guest, we followed all the welcoming ritual. At the first night of our stay, the people in Ashram made us a welcoming and opening ceremony. They also performed some traditional Balinese traditional dances. They also have some guests from Japan. which means that they were so open to other culture. We were so lucky to get a chance to see the peaceful life in Ashram Gandhi Puri.
The next day was even more beautiful. We were able to see how so many various religions in Bali can live hand in hand together in peace.
The journey started when we visited a Hindu temple called Goa Lawah Temple. It is one of the biggest Hindu temple in Bali. When we were there, we got the chance to try to practice the Hindu prayer. It is so good to be able to learn other’s religion way of praying. There’s nothing wrong about it. It is just about learning and knowing other religion’s way of praying. I t doesn’t mean that we lose our faith to our own religion.
We also went to the Vihara, the Buddhist Temple. This Vihara was already officially launched. Before that, the Buddhist community did not really have a place to gather. It proves that Bali is also concerned to the minority religion, such as Buddha. Again, all of us, the ASEAN Logics participants tried to practice Buddhist prayer. There were something interesting when we went to the Buddhist Temple. There were a pray to predict our future. This is very contradictive with my religion because my religion (Islam) says that we cannot predict the future and we cannot believe in any kind of prediction. In order to respect the Buddhist, I did try the prediction prayer and found something very shocking about it. The prediction said that I have my future-husband-to-be already set. All I have to do is wait for him.
Our next destination is The Kemah Injil Church.. It was the Protestant Christian Church. The Christian community there shared a lot about the Christian life in Klungkung Village. They said that they can get along together with the majority religion (Hindu), and even with the Moslem community.
Our last destination is the Nurul Huda Mosque. This is the oldest mosque in Klungkung Village. We met the Ustadz (the Moslem Priest) and he told us about how the Moslem can live together with the other religion.
The point of this religious temples is we can understand each other’s religion, accept them as part of our life, and respect them. This is a very good example where in Bali, especially in Klungkung, people with different religion can live together and hand in hand.
At the next day, we spent the whole day doing outdoor activities with the Ashram people. We also went to their traditional market, swam in their river, got along with the people there. We played soccer with them. The girls played the traditional games also. We came from different religions and different countries. We even speak the same language. Those differences didn’t not become the barrier for us to get along and understand each other.
From this site visit, I understand that differences will always exist. There is nothing we can do to combat the differences, including the differences in cultures and believe. What we have to do is just accept the and make it part of our life. By the time people can accept these differences, this world will be a heavenly place to live.
I always believe that every big thing starts from a little step. It would be a hard thing to do to make a more peaceful world by our own. What we can do is to start with the community around us.
For me, I will start with the organization that I’m involved in. The organization is called American Field Service. Every year, we host students from other countries to stay in Indonesia. This is a great opportunity to explain to them about the differences in our country and ho we can cope with it. I can make a gathering or cultural night showing that Indonesia has so many differences in cultures and believes but we can get along with that. The good example is what I have seen in Klungkung, Bali.
This may sound very simple, but I always believe that something simple can lead you to a BIG SHOT.