Why Indonesian Don’t Like To Read Much
Republic of Indonesia is large nation of islands on the equator. 200-million people are the members of it. But, only few of them enjoy reading. Most of them, although they’re able, don’t like to read much. This phenomenon is caused by many factors.
The custom of Indonesian is listening and watching. The teaching of values is done by traditional play (puppet-show, kethoprak, ludruk, wayang wong, etc.), and tales. Only few tribes from many in Indonesia have got written-literatures. They are usually the ruin of great ancient kingdom. The literatures were limited in the palace and only nobles (usually men, not women) were able to read them. Common people couldn’t get closer to the written-literatures. They know the contents of it by listening tales or watching traditional play. It has happened for centuries and rooted so deep that almost can’t be change.
Until this 3rd millennium, the way of thinking of Indonesian is pragmatic that people don’t see the use of reading. If something doesn’t give any profit immediately, it is useless for the most of Indonesian. Profit for them is material profit such as car, house, a lot of money, land, prosperity. People haven’t thought of spiritual profit, emotional profit, or intellectual profit. Whereas, we can’t get material profit by reading, but we well get spiritual, emotional, or intellectual profit.
It is reasonable because the prosperity is still bad. Especially the poor and the marginal people which are majority of Indonesian prefer to buy food than books. This is the formula, when a nation thinks of stomach no more, it will think of art, science, philosophy theory, and another else. So, because most of Indonesian people still think of their stomach, they work hard to earn money and use it not to buy books, but a plate of rice and a glass of water.
Because most of Indonesian work hard almost all day long in order to get enough money to live (with family), they almost don’t have enough spare time. If they have, they will use it to get simple recreation such us watching TV (sinetron), listening music, and so on as long as they don’t need to think to enjoy. While, people need to think a little bit when they read. When we read novel, we think (imagine) the story described in it. When we read science or philosophy theory, we’ll think hard to understand. And, thinking needs time. That is way reading needs time. So, people don’t read because they don’t have time.
They prefer simple recreation than reading to spend the time. They don’t have desire to develop and deepen their knowledge. It is because the education system is bad. The education system makes students just memorize something, not to criticize it. People can criticize something if they understand something. They will understand something if they read. Indonesian doesn’t want to develop and deepen their knowledge because they are educated to memorize, not to criticize.
They are reasons why Indonesian doesn’t like to read much. They link each other like evil-chain. If we, Indonesian, don’t want to be left behind by other shout east Asia nations, we have to broke the chain. We must have good education system, education system that makes students need books to develop and deepen their knowledge. And, there must be libraries to support it.