Traditional culture is an intermingle of skills, arts, beliefs and customs of a group of people, which has been passing on from one generation to another. It has set attitudes, behavior and value that characterize one group of company, ethnic, region and nation. Indonesia’s ethnic diversity has given birth to many traditional cultures, and its people should utilize such diversity to discover the essentially rich national culture.Patrick Perez, director of Centre Culturel de Francaise, shared his opinion on how French people have successfully preserved their culture should be the paragon to Indonesians.
The followings are the excerpts of the interview:
Q: Do you think French people have successfully conserved the national culture from one generation to another?
A: Despite today’s modernization, French’s traditional culture has been cultivated through the role of education. It has been years that arts and other classical literature classes like drama and dance have significantly contributed to the today’s generation maintaining the value of national culture. Children at school’s age needs to take painting, drawing, music, dancing, literature, cultural study and drama, where they need to take each class for an hour per week. These classes help students appreciate and discover the national culture since early age. Discovering the culture is as much important as learning Math and Science. The implementation of art classes help cultivate generations, particularly the youngsters, not only to appreciate the traditional arts but to discover also the new ones, enriching the national culture . Also in the music, you will find many youngsters listen to classical music despite the fact that outgrowing modern music has blended into today’s modern society.
Q:Do you think such education curriculum can be implemented in Indonesia?
A: Why not. I notice that Indonesian people like the arts of dancing and painting. I found that there are many talented artists here. Implementing more art and traditional cultural classes in formal schools, as well as non-formal courses can be an effective way to discover the Indonesian culture. The government needs to promote the arts, so the nation can invent more artists, particularly in the art theater.
Q: In the art theater?
A: Yes. Indonesia used to produce excellent theatrical movies before 1990, but the quality has been decreasing ever since. You see, that there are many talented actors and actresses out there, but they need to be drilled. They got the skill, but they don’t know where to go. The same thing with the traditional dancer. Indonesian Balinese and Javanese dancers are not only talented, but also lovely. Both Javanese and Balinese dances, as well as other ethnic dances need to be passed onto the next generation. Don’t let such beautiful traditional arts be wiped out from the beautiful archipelago. In French, people like to dance, and the high-spirited youngsters have combined both modern and classical dances. Indonesia should do that as well.
Q: So, do you think that Indonesian young generations have ignored their traditional culture?
A: They don’t ignore it, but many have become ignorant because they think that Indonesian traditional is an old-fashion culture, whilst the modern arts have nourished on many Indonesian youngsters. They should be able to filter the external culture flowing to Indonesia, yet still maintain the traditional culture.
Born on September 24, 1965 in Cambrai, France, Patrick Perez earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Cambrai University and Master’s Degree in Finance from Valenciennes University, in France. He was the director of Centre Culturel Francais (CCF) in Karawachi, Pakistan from 1998-2003. After, he was with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge with CCF from 2003 to 2006. And since October 2006 onward, he has been the director of CCF in Jakarta.