The Birth of Pancasila: Why and How She Failed in Indonesia

Sixty six years ago, our first president Soekarno gave a speech about the birth of Pancasila. Among its long but inspiring lines, I found few messages that gave me a new meaning of Pancasila:

Once Indonesia is independent, our fight must continue, but the nature will be different. Later, we, together as a united country, must keep on fighting to actualize our goals as written in Pancasila. ~ Soekarno, June 1st, 1945. (read the complete speech here).

I’m not an expert in history, but after reading the whole speech, I see a reason why Pancasila was formulated months before our independence. It is similar to people who plan to be married or have kids. You don’t get married and have kids without a purpose, right? Surely there’s an image that you have been preparing before, on what kind of family you’re going to raise, the basic values, and so on.

The same applies to Pancasila. It was meant to be a guide on “what kind of society we want to build after we declare ourselves as a new independent nation of Indonesia.” Sadly, sixty-six years, tenths of theories, and thirty-two years of new order later, reality proved that we have deviated from that noble purpose.

We were supposed to be “just and civilized” (according to the second principle of Pancasila), but how often do we leave our maid at home with only a pack of mie goreng while we were having dinner in a fancy restaurant? We were supposed to become united (as written in the third principle), but we no longer hold each other hands before recognizing each other’s  background. We misunderstood the term “unity” with pushing everyone to think, act, and shine the same color as we do.

We were supposed to be a nation who prioritize on deliberation and discussion, but our voice were lost and ignored by the representatives who demand a new office building. And what kind of social justice do we have? A man got killed because he can not pay his credit card debt, a singer was put to prison because his laptop was stolen and his private videos was distributed, and the street has become a jungle where everyone is cursing at each other.

We may have the freedom and independence on our back. But we don’t have what it takes to fight. We don’t have the tools, the weapon. It’s like having and unlimited internet access, a BlackBerry, and a Twitter/Facebook account, but zero knowledge about Google and what all those facilities can do to increase your personal qualities. You end up sending spam even to someone who already put “NO SPAM PLEASE” as her status.

So happy birthday, Pancasila. You were born with a purpose, just like the rest of us. On this day, I wish that we all got reminded on how to make your dream come true.

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