The Jakarta Globe

jakartaglobe

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/archive/read-a-good-book-lately-too-many-indonesians-answer-no/

This article is interesting as it basically says that Indonesia people don’t really read books. There are a few reasons for this, including; for the majority of the working class reading books is a luxury, the oral tradition of telling stories outweighs reading stories, and students are not encouraged to read books for themselves.

In regards to books being a luxury, “It’s no wonder that books are still a luxury product for many people. They struggle to feed their families, much less enjoy books.” Ironically, good books can help people on a path to a better life, yet someone needs to provide books for them. It’s really up to the government of Indonesia to tackle this issue, perhaps it’s even a great opportunity for human rights organisations and charities to step in and make a difference. Actually, some organisations are, through child sponsorship and the like.

Indonesia culture has different values to the Western countries. “Indonesian culture values strong personal relationships with masters of tradition just as much, if not more, than the skills themselves. Without the former, the latter would be pointless. Stories weren’t written for individuals to read alone, but to be discussed, “felt” (“dirasakan”) and “lived out” (“dihayati”) within a community.” It sounds a bit like how the bible was passed on to the next generation before someone started writing it down.  Also, “…the Indonesian education system is designed to make students dependent on the teacher, and hardly encourages a joy of reading.” It’s an interesting environment for publishers to navigate, they have to try and provoke people to read books in a culture that doesn’t encourage solitary activities such as reading.

Yet, there is some positive information. “Still, data from the Indonesian Publisher’s Association’s (Ikapi) shows that there is a demand for Indonesian books, especially children’s and religious titles.” So perhaps there is hope for the future of publishing in Indonesia, especially if some strong programs are instigated to encourage reading.

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