The case of reading and preserving Indonesian literature – books


In March 2016, a study by Central Connecticut State University (CCTU) titled “Most Literate Nation in the World” ranked Indonesia 60th among the most literate countries out of 61 countries on the list, above Botswana. and below Thailand, member of ASEAN. . A survey conducted by UNESCO in 2012 indicates that only one in 1,000 people in Indonesia has an interest in reading. It might sound pretty skinny, but what if we ask the question: How many of the 0.1% read books written by an Indonesian author?

In most developed countries, especially English speaking countries, high school students learn to read books, are exposed to the works of English literary greats like Mark Twain and Shakespeare, and encouraged to enjoy and have fun reading literature. . However, in Indonesia this practice is rare or not practiced at all. Yes, we are taught the history of Indonesian literature and the periods that divide literary styles in Indonesia, but we are not given time to read in class and we are not properly taught to read and appreciate the works of our own people.

To find out if Indonesians know their own literature, the Aksaranesia campaign (Aku Suka Sastra Indonesia; I Love Indonesian Literature) conducted a survey by asking basic questions about well-known Indonesian literary works. The team specifically targeted the younger generation in the 15-25 age group during Car Free Day in Jakarta and at two universities in Jakarta.

Based on these surveys and questionnaires, he revealed that young Indonesians are not quite familiar with Indonesian literature. None of the respondents got a perfect score, and most do not even know some of the names of the writers mentioned. Even a simple question like “name three Indonesian books” was difficult to answer. On top of that, it was easier for them to answer questions about books in English.

(Also Read: 12 Indonesian Books To Add To Your Reading List)

Didn’t our editors provide readers with premium reading options? Should we partly blame the writers for this? In 2015, when Indonesia became the guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest book fair, Dewi “Dee” Lestari was invited to represent the Indonesian literary circle. Germany, ranked 8th in the aforementioned CCTU study, has received translations of Indonesian works, including from Andrea Hirata, Ayu Utami and iconic figure Pramoedya Ananta Toer, which has gained worldwide attention. since the 1970s. Such accolades should be sufficient proof of the quality of Indonesian writers.

Aksaranesia Campaign then interviewed Reza Pahlevi, the author of the book (To live and an Internet celebrity, and asked her for her opinion on preserving Indonesian literature. He said: “Once you’ve written on online blogging platforms, there’s really no problem if you want to send your script to an editor. It allows your creation to be preserved in physical form. In addition, we will have even more original Indonesian writers, which allows us to compete with other writers in the world.

Literature is an art form of language, with words as tools. Indonesians are well known for their high level of appreciation for all art forms, but the most basic art form in literature has started to be sidelined. But has Indonesian literature really been left behind? This brings us to the next question: is it too late to catch up? (kes)


Theo Kalangi, born in Manado on July 1, 1992. Exposed himself to literature at the age of 7, a bet he made to live abroad in Germany for about 4 years deepens his love for literature of his country. He is currently pursuing his major public relations studies in Jakarta.

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