Encouraging people to wear batik
ONE COMMUNITY IS STANDING UP TO DEFEND TRADITIONAL BATIK
No one is exactly sure why batik has a bad rep among the nation’s young. Some say it’s because people today are too distracted to focus on culture. However, members of the Indonesian Youth Batik Community (KRBI)
Launched in October 2009, in the same month that Indonesia started observing Batik Day, the KRBI wants to increase the enthusiasm among young people for this masterpiece of Indonesia’s cultural heritage.
“Batik is not ‘old’,” says KRBI founder and President Bachtiar Effendi. “Young adults are free to have different types of
views. If they think batik is old, then they can make one to their own taste and motifs.”
The KRBI has gone all out as forces with designers from famous batik centers such as Cirebon and Pekalongan, Central Java, and Yogyakarta, to promote the movement.
Through events, workshops, jamborees and other actions, the KRBI wants to promote batik among its members.
To share the experience of making batik, the foundation has contacted institutions such as Bina Nusantara and Tarumanegara Universities, as well as high schools, to reach students.
However, as fun as making batik is, the resources needed can be pricey, Bachtiar says. “It’s like hitting a brick wall in the middle of sprinting to have offered our proposals to the government asking for capital help, but it never comes through.”
Bachtiar added that he often had tears in his eyes when KRBI staged events for street children, many of who showed great potential.
“I remember it very well. There’s questions from these street kids. ‘Can I become a businessman in the batik industry,’ or ‘I want to work as a batik designer,’” Bacthiar said. “It’s just sad that the government doesn’t see it the way we see it. If it’s impossible to give capital help, just support us, for example with textile and fabric for our young learners.”
While the KRBI faces challenges, the foundation continues to spread corporate social responsibility (CSR) promote culture.
They also have an ambassador in the form of 24-year-old pop singer Indah Dewi Pertiwi. “She volunteered to do so. She has done a lot for this community since joining us and of course she receives no paycheck. Indonesia Youth Batik owes her much,” Bachtiar said. “It’s our job to inject the virus of creativity into each young adults through batik, so they can wear it as a sign of pride and lifestyle in this modern era.”