When I was a kid, my father used to teach me a lot of things. He love to chat and discuss a simple yet complex things called culture. Just like my grandmother, my father taught me how to appreciate an artwork. We have a lot of famous paintings by a famous painters (of course, they’re only a replica, but we could still appreciate their complication and sophistication). I learned how to write Aksara Jawa (Javanese scripts) from my grandmother, although I was born and live in Jakarta. That said, I grew up with an awareness on a thing called art and culture.
Unfortunately, I was alone on my crush. None of my childhood friends has the same interest. And of course, they considered me as a nerd whenever I talked about my passion. I have a best friend who always mock me whenever I start talking about books, video games, Javanese culture, etc. He said to me that it was weird. I didn’t think that he was meant to be mean, it just he didn’t understand why I love things like that. Well…
Everything changed when I attended college. I don’t know why and when, suddenly culture are everywhere. I mean, people love to talk about it, it has become one of the things that makes you looks cool. Being smart – or I could say looking smart – is needed in college. It’s not stopped in college, it’s on the lifestyle magazine as well. You pick a magazine, say, a fashion magazine. Then you open it randomly, you will have a chance to meet anything related to culture. It could be An Art Exhibition, A Book Launch, A Museum Event, anything. A brand new concept of bookstore are open almost everywhere. Now it’s not only Gramedia and Gunung Agung. We also have QB, Aksara, and Kinokuniya.
It’s lovely to see everyone are putting their effort and money to make all of these things happen. But it’s also funny when you recognize that there are some people who try so hard to like it, but the truth is, they just don’t get it. Like what I said about my best friend earlier. As long as I know him, he never lay his eyes on any books. He never understand – and he don’t want to understand – what is so good about Javanese temples such as Prambanan or Borobudur. He just don’t get it, and I’m okay with it. It’s not like I feel that everyone should understand and love every temple in Java.
But what amusing about them – and him, especially – is that they try so hard to like it, without knowing what is it to like. They just like it because it’s the current trend, because it’s what makes other people look at them as a smart people. It just annoying yet funny sometimes, when I noticed that my best friend have a sudden interest on Tari Serimpi. I mean, what the hell? He used to say that it was lame and stupid (not that he knew Tari Serimpi or any Javanese dance before), but now when everybody start to appreciate the Javanese dance he decide to like it, just like that.
I considered myself lucky, to experience a lot things when I was a kid, to have a wonderful family and parents that teach me a lot of stuff. I always love Aksara Jawa, I will always be passionate about Indonesian temples. About the people who are trying so hard to understand and make themselves look smart, I guess it’s just how these art things got introduced to them. How they actually realize that it might be important to them. I’m just luckier that I know these things earlier, way earlier.