I’ve just recently read one book that, according to a LOT of sites, is one of the essential book you need to read as Indonesian, especially youngster, who wanted to know further about Indonesian in early ages of its democratic era.
Note that I’ve never have a chance to watch the popular movie “Gie” that people had been raving about. So this is my very first encounter of the infamous Soe Hok Gie, the Chinese-heritage Indonesian who lead the student rebellion in 1960’s, a couple of years after Indonesia celebrated their independence from long period of colonialism.
First thing first, let me say that I do NOT adore Gie like everybody else do, nor do I think He’s a good leader.
But I think He’s quite a fascinating character since the beginning. I do adore how he reads TONS of books, watch different kind of movies, which I think built his character a LOT.
His biggest weakness, in my opinion, is how perfectionist he look upon things. How he look on people, how smallest mistake people did really bother him so much, he started hating lots of people.
I do understand how society thought about him as a communist, when Gie has bragged on and on about his resentment to dictatorship, or people who rule and stand out, while whole people in his nation are undernourished and impoverished.
He wanted the “perfect” world, which are: a) all distributed equally and ethnicity solidarity is prioritized, b) no one rules, or if there’s one, he should be flawless (close to God-perfection, I think), and c) people’s voice are heard continuously.
Some of his visions are socialists to the core and I don’t think that’s completely irrational or wrong, either.
I just think that’s too much to ask, specially for country whose foundation is still unstable, affected by too many thoughts but wanted to establish their own ideology.
His critics over people who rule or even have power over him, sometimes frustrated me enough to read.
But Gie, as other human did, also have sweet spots in his tough heart.
I remember in his book, one of last days of his life, he started to feel tingle in his heart while seeing a lot of people along Jakarta’s slum suffer from scarcity, whether from money, place to live, food, or even friends to tag along with. He felt suddenly “heroic”, like he wanted to jump and help this people out, while in his brain he’s calculating whether it was wise and possible enough to bring changes to this world.
That’s a rare condition from person like Gie, who rarely brought his conscience while looking through society. How melancholic Gie that day, made him a “person”, not just walking Casanova with his structured words and broad thoughtful assessment.
Other thing I like about Gie, is how rational He was toward people judgement about him.
I remember, one of the best paragraph he ever written in my opinion, is this (in Bahasa)
“Cinta seorang ibu adalah cinta yang unik. Di satu pihak ia mendidik dan mempersiapkan anaknya menjadi manusia, tapi di pihak lain ia harus merelakan agar anaknya pada suatu hari meninggalkan dia dan pergi dengan orang lain. Ia harus mencintai dengan tanpa pamrih. Tetapi orang-orang tua kadang-kadang tidak mencintai anak-anaknya, tapi dia mencintai dirinya sendiri. Dia memproyeksikan dirinya pada anak-anaknya dan menentukan keinginannya pada proyeksinya ini”
This passage he wrote after 3 rejections from his “lover” with the same single reason.
No family wanted a rebel intruder in their family.
Boys, especially in his unstable age, would be angry all over the place after hearing rejection from family, who don’t even know, or even wanted to know him personally.
But Gie is rational enough, to consider a mother’s heart, instead of only young love that plays mind tricks in both him and his girls.
Although Gie doesn’t believe in things called Love, he did indeed, believe that mother’s love is existed, and beyond everything else, he respected that.
One thing that I do pity him, though, aside from his bad luck of dying so young, is how lonely I felt his whole existence.
Is that because he doesn’t believe there’s higher power above Human power, who always always look after us from Above?
Is that because he always relies on his own, because he couldn’t even afford being dependable to others?