Rabu, 21 Oktober 2015

The Village journalist and Mother
Mother called me early in the morning from the village.

“Son, what did you do to appear on TV?”
I was surprised. Why did mother’s voice sound so different? She spoke cautiously with aslow voice. I was not up yet, still dazed having just roused from sleep.

I breathed slightly, trying to recall events from the past few days. Rippling water sounds from the Aquaponic in the garden steadily woke me.

It was a TV show, where my name was amongst 35 candidates for Liputan 6 Awards SCTV 2015.*

Hmm, maybe because mother usually sees negative news and corruptors on TV compared to good news. I told her that she had just heard happy news.

After a lengthy explanation, bla...bla...bla…, she finally understood. She had heard gossip from her neighbours about her son appearing on TV. Goodness...

“That’s good son…,” she said, proudly. She asked about her grandchildren, my two children. As usual, she ended the conversation with advice so that I would be patient, thankful and always say my prayers.

After hanging up the telephone, I imagined mother’s smile. She would look much older now, after having had a slight stroke and it was difficult for her to walk properly.

Fortunately, father was still well enough to care for her. As the eldest living uncertainly? in the city, I had been unable to visit her often. I do not recall ever making her proud, like those Indonesian sinetron ͒ , although as her son I would want to be filial and care for her.

My thoughts strayed in the living room, pondering over whether I was qualified enough to be chosen as a candidate for an award from one of the oldest TV stations in Indonesia?

Since a year ago, I had travelled to villages and rural areas of Indonesia and there were many champions of life* I met on the journey. There were stories that were as heroic as those portrayed in the best-selling novel Laskar Pelangi by Andrea Hirata.

There were many locals who inspired and life warriors who strove to fight tirelessly against biased development in communities and local villages. One NGO facilitator who even forego to bathe for days, working tirelessly in a barren and dangerous village; a youth who worked polishing precious stones and contributed half of his earnings to his mosque’s youth movement and in Karang Taruna, a young boy had sworn he would build a village office better than the one he had been thrown out from because of his muddied feet (Today, he is an exemplary head village in Banten).

These are the stories not covered by the media. Yet, there are many qualified warriors that deserve to be chosen for the award, and I am a nobody compared to them.

My work has not finished, like the extract from Chairil Anwar’s poem, “belum berarti apa-apa”. (does not have any meaning yet)

I had set up Tribune Institute with several friends, including H. Nur Iskandar so that more youths in West Kalimantan could write and use information wisely. We believed that quality information could contribute towards a better community livelihood in West Kalimantan.

Later in 2011, I established Mata Enggang with my friends, Budi Miank, Endi Djenggoet, Bas Andreas G, because I did not wish to see my old dreams die. We started work on structural journalism in villages so that the community would not be left out due to insufficient information.

Hence, like my mother, traumatised by seeing daily negative occurrences in the media we often forget that there are many good experiences in our country. It is akin to those grandfathers we see walking dizzily after learning of a variety of illnesses.

As such, the award event by this private TV station, is one of a positive. This reminded me of a writing on a T-shirt worn by a friend: “Inilah Negeri Paling Bodoh yang aku Bela*”.

Anyways, this is part of a work and devotion that is still unfinished; let nature runs its course with the blessings of God, definitely.

This is the list of chosen candidates for the Liputan 6 Award, SCTV:

Saya sangat senang atas kunjungan anda ke situs pribadi saya, semoga saya bisa membantu anda sesuai dengan keterampilan yang saya miliki.

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ALEXANDER MERING
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Jakarta, Indonesia