Watatita: A Tribute to Indonesia’s Unsung Heroes
Indonesia celebrates National Heroes Day every Nov. 10. It commemorates the 1945 Battle of Surabaya where pro-independence Indonesian soldiers bravely fought the British and Dutch troops.
I am personally pleased that the tradition still lives on until today. The efforts and struggles of our heroes are something that Indonesians need to look up to.
In the old days, with lacking technology and weaponry, our heroes fought with anything they had. They were only fueled by spirit and hope. Yet these days, Indonesians have become so spoiled.
Many of us let ourselves colonized by outside influences. Some of us work only to fulfill our own individual needs, not caring about the others.
You don’t have to fight for the country to be a hero. Maintaining what you have achieved in your life is even heroic in itself.
R.A. Kartini fought for women empowerment and gender equality. Somehow it disappoints me when I see women today dressed inappropriately and acted disrespectful and stupid. It’s clear they don’t appreciate the efforts made by those who fought for women to be seen as equal to men.
My grandfather was a police chief who worked in several cities in Central and East Java. I never knew him; he passed away when I was born.
I heard stories of what kind of person he was. And although I have never met him, I admire him for being a disciplined and hardworking policeman. Indeed, he is one of the heroes in my book.
A lot of people see those who fought for the independence as heroes. It’s true, but remember that heroes are everyday people, too.
Batik artists who earn little income to keep traditional textiles alive are also heroes. These people don’t expect much in return, but they help maintain our cultural existence.
Teachers are heroes, too. These unsung heroes have to work day in and out to ensure their students learn what is necessary to become a decent human being. Not an easy task, of course.
Everyone can be a hero as long as they contribute to something. You don’t have to fight for your country to become a hero. You can be a hero by just keeping the spirit of this country alive.
So, who are your heroes?