Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday, 7th November 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada
Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity)
What does it mean ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’?
“It means that we may drink different drinks but the same result, that is: drunk,” comments I Nyoman Mabuk Lagi (I Nyoman You are Drunk Again).
I Nyoman has been in the warung since noon. He has changed his sitting position many times. First he drank coffee, and then palm toddy before he drank arak. That’s why probably he gets drunk.
“Well, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika means that the Garuda (our national mascot) has many feathers but has one head only,” comments I Wayan Polo Kejokan (I Wayan Stupid Idiot).
“That what happen when you are just a graduate of a pre school in your village,” comments one of the members.
“It is just like our Legislative members….they go to different countries for holiday using people’s money..no matter how strong the protests against them are,” adds I Nyoman.
He is talking about the legislative members who go to different countries for ‘comparison study’ which is just actually an alibi to be able to go overseas for holiday using people’s money. They can not speak Indonesia well let alone English. They might just nod when the guide explain them something. They depend much on the guides from the travel agents that they are more like ducks walking here and there following their masters. And when they return to Indonesia, they will talk bullshit about developed countries.
“If that’s the best they can do, why don’t we just ask the Indonesian labours who work overseas about what happen to them in the countries where they work,” comes another comment.
“From my point of view, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika means different natural disasters but same sorrow caused,” add I Nyoman.
From tsunami, volcano eruption, flood, hurricane..…the victims are mostly poor people, never a governor nor a minister or mayor.
What do we have is that there is a governor who goes to German while their people are struggling with natural disaster and a minister who goes shopping with their wife while the people struggling against the impact of mount eruption.
“From my point of view, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika means different girls but same pleasure,” comments I Wayan.
I Putu Pancasilais Pesan Clengis (I Putu Five Principles) is frustrated having heard different interpretation of the meaning of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.
“I tell you……. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika means that event though there are different tribes, groups, religions, but we Indonesians should respect one another,” says he.
Everyone laughs loudly.
“You read too much. Look what happens. Many churches are burnt down and thrown with stones, even a priest is stabbed, some Bhinneka Tunggal Ika activists are beaten by FPI (Front of Arrogant Group), a priest of Jagatnatha Temple is insulted by a ‘self-acclaimed Majapahit predecessor’. How can you say things like ‘respect one another’?” interrupts I Nyoman.
“It seems that his spiritual power has gone.”
“ So Bhinneka Tunggal Ika today means that “you can have your own opinion, but mine is the best one.”
That’s why when you dare to protest, let alone you are ‘minority’ people, they will beat you.