I'm not a formal person and I don't think I have to prove my love of my country by attending a formal ceremony for the independence, I know that I love Indonesia through and through and that's it, period. But on August 17th morning a friend of mine, Okky, dragged me from my morning drowsiness to a football field where the islanders having a formal ceremony celebrating the independence. My last upacara bendera was back in school time years ago and I still remember precisely the one time that I was scolded by a teacher because I didn't sing the national anthem.
Students waiting for the ceremony to be started
When we arrived at the field, many students, elementary, junior high and high school already gathered forming rows and lines. The ceremony was running late because some the government officials were still not arrived. It's really quite unfair for the students who waited under the bright clear sky and burning sun while the officials sitting on chairs and covered by the roof protecting them from the heat. So much for equality and freedom.
While we wandered around, a lot of people staring curiously at us, especially at me. The facts that both of us wearing shorts instead of trousers (well the elementary students wore shorts :D), my appereance resembling a Japanese tourist and Okky who annoyingly (if not funny) pronounced herself to everyone as my 'guide' gave a logical reason why they're doing so.
Local students at Pramuka island
When the ceremony finally began, silence spreads through. The only sound I could hear was the elementary students next to me teasing friends and laughing silently. When the flag was raised, the national anthem was sung, but only by a small number of people including me and Okky.
After the flag raising and the national anthem I decided to leave the ceremony, Okky followed. Her stunt that day was not over as she 'greeted' every children we met along the way who didn't go to the ceremony, "Why didn't you go? You should go". And of course it freaked out every single of them, I know I would.
It was the 63rd commemoration of Indonesia independence. where we are free from any foreign military forces but, do we enjoy the true freedom? Soekarno, our first President, said this 42 years ago:
"we have only scratched the surface".It was a long time ago and yet it sounds so contemporary today.