En­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to wear batik

ONE COM­MU­NITY IS STAND­ING UP TO DE­FEND TRA­DI­TIONAL BATIK

The Jakarta Post - SPEAK! - - News - For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact re­ma­ja­batik_in­done­sia@ya­hoo.com

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.”

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