In April of 2014, Indonesian ministry of education and culture announced that they would allocate 11 billion rupiah for the translation of 150 chosen Indonesian works of literature, from Bahasa Indonesia into English and German, to be presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany, October 2015. The government initiative has the potential to bring good news for the Indonesian people and to the world as a whole, as it heralds the inclusion of Indonesian literature into the international literary community, giving the world a chance to enjoy Indonesian literature.
The act of translating is not merely the process of converting one language into another—it is the process of exposing ideas, cultures, history and interpretation, for the benefit of all mankind. Indonesia should not only be notorious for its corruption, human rights issues, and environmental destruction, but respected and understood—domestically and internationally—for its writers, literature, and culture. Translating Indonesian literature is a process that finds itself within an ever-pressing sense of (global) urgency. The ASEAN Economic Community, scheduled for implementation in 2015, brings with it competition alongside opportunity, diffusion alongside integration, giving efforts of translating Indonesian works a new economic imperative. All that considered, Indonesia’s literature not only has the right to be translated; it deserves to be translated, so that not only can Indonesian literature secure a place for itself within the ASEAN market, but so that it can complement and even outshine other foreign works of literature, as a contribution to humanity.
Dirgantara Reksa Ginanjar, Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia
How does one cope in the 21st century amid the rising tide of individual, societal, national, and global upheavals? It may feel at times that one is facing a world not unlike the one painted by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings, where Sauron’s shadow slowly engulfs the entire land. One can feel overwhelmed upon hearing of news of terrorism, climate change, moral degradation, to name a few. Perhaps literature, which has sometimes been perceived as visionary, can reveal a way out of these. It is in this light that I propose that one turn to The Lord of the Rings, which maps out a way to navigate such troubling times. The paper will explore five key essentials that allow the mission to triumph in the novel: 1. The Power of the Small (how humility alone can withstand greed), 2. The Gift of Fellowship (how one can reach the end only with the help of others), 3. The Wisdom of Gandalf (how wisdom from a sage/prophet is essential to one’s journey), 4. Knowing one’s mission (how knowing one’s mission can help one stay on the path), and 5. Possessing the Lothlorien Within (how inner strength and inspiration can sustain one’s journey). The paper will explore how these essentials are fleshed out in the novel and what their implications are for the reader who may turn to the book as a road map for the modern times.
Cris Barbra Pe, De La Salle University, Philippines