Inundated by Korean and American digital content, most Indonesians forget their roots. Drifted and swept by the worldly trends, they are a lost nation. Museums are never our favorite place to hang out and learn.
But I’m glad there’re some who seem to never forget their roots.
So I recently marathon-watched this YouTube channel. There’s no certain reason to watch the content but maybe just because I’m Javanese. I’ve been so long looking outward and now that I start getting bored to look outside, I turn inside.
I used to be ignorant about the richness of stories in my own land but now that this channel exists, I begin to realize that Java is astoundingly rich with stories, history and myths. It seems every inch of its land contains stories. Every place has its own myths, local mythical heroes, or ancestral deities and astral creatures humans cannot see but they do exist.
As people in Java try to release themselves from their tradition that they see obsolete and irrelevant to the contemporary and modern life, they also lose their being Javanese (“wong Jawa ilang Jawane“). They leave behind their ancestors’ heritage, philosophical lessons, moral values, ethics, and things that they don’t think valuable and turn to foreign, imported sets of belief, ways of life, and so on.
But again as we are drowned in the ocean of imported foreign content, we are reminded of the invaluable wisdom and knowledge that once have been set aside but now serve as the one and only signage that leads us to reach home.
Named “Kisah Tanah Jawa” (roughly translated as “Tales of Javanese Land”), the highly popular and one of the most viewed YouTube channels in Indonesia contains more than just urban legends or ghost stories. It presents metaphysical body of knowledge and also history.
The hosts here are two Javanese young men named Genta and Hao. They look like just a pair of modern young men but they have what is called “sixth sense”. The supranatural sensitivity helps them uncover a lot of stories and legends and history events.
But of course, they’re more like psychics than historians. They don’t gather and tell facts. Their stories are a complex mixture of scientific facts, historical records, and supranatural and metaphysical vision and hence they tell their audience messages behind the vision. But sometimes they keep some knowledge and messages for themselves just because the ancestral spirits, local deities, or unseen creatures don’t allow them to do so.
I saw Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles’s “The History of Java” but that book is a mere collection of geological and anthropological facts meticulously gathered by the late British public officer but what Raffles saw was just our physical appearance. That was what he could study. He didn’t have the apparatus and tools to study even deeper about us Javanese.
And only Javanese themselves can tell the accurate story about themselves. (*/)