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|Merah Putih: The Mighty Indonesian Flag|
|by Farah 'Fairy' Mahdzan (23-Sep-2002) | Readers Say|
I own an Indonesian flag, and while I confess I do not own one of my own country, it does not make me less Malaysian. But yes I do own an Indonesian flag and it would have been an insult had I not accepted the gift from my friend AQ.
It was summer of '97, my first quarter as a college student in the US. I had befriended a nice guy from Jakarta named Arief with whom I sometimes chatted on IRC. Arief, who at the time sported a tongue-stud, prefered to be called AQ (a-kee) and he was a student at the University of Michigan, Lansing. (I know, it's weird, Indonesians pronounce Q as 'kee', not 'kiu', hehe).
Anyway, so I went up from Athens, Ohio to Lansing, Michigan for a few days to just chill with AQ and a few of his friends who attended the same uni. They were all nice people though a bit wacky. I bunked in at AQ's apartment with his female cousin, Dina, if I'm not mistake her name was. I remember a few other cowok friends of AQ's like rather-comel-looking Indra and a cool Batak fellow whose last name was Siregar. I remembered the name Siregar well because the dude was telling me his vision of setting up a website called siregar.com so that he could provide free email to all people whose surname was Siregar. I'm not entirely sure if Mas Siregar actually realized his ambitious dreams. But oh well...
AQ & Fairy (2nd and last right).
Siregar, 2nd from left
One day AQ was spring cleaning the apartment when he found this whole box of Indonesian flags. Maklum, he was the president of PERMIAS, the Indonesian student body at U of Michigan, so he had lots of Indonesian inventory lying around his house. He asked me if I would take one flag as a token of friendship. I gleefully took one of course, and as soon as I got back to Ohio I hung it up in my room. While few friends laughed at my weird sense of patriotism which was they obviously thought was out of place, ignorant ones asked me why I had a red-and-white piece of cloth hanging from my window...
The Indonesian flag is really simple in design. Red (symbol of bravery) and white (sign of holiness). Indonesian school children have it easy! All they needed to draw their national flag was a white piece of paper and a red color pencil. Just draw a horizontal line in the middle of the page and color the upper portion red. Voila! 2 seconds in the drawing process and a flag is drawn. Heck students might as well be blind-folded while they're made to draw the flag for homework since it's so darn easy to do with two eyes open, why not make flag-drawing more challenging! (I remember crying in frustration when I was 8 years old because I couldn't draw the 14-studded star on our Malaysian flag nicely enough. In fact it looked like a squashed orange with pulp coming out from the sides. But that's another story altogether...)
Interestingly the Indonesian flag bears an uncanny resemblance to that of an European country's, Monaco. In fact it's identical! Poland's flag is also similar, the only difference is it's upside down, that is, the red portion is makes the bottom half and the white one makes the upper half.
Then there was this story of how the Dutch (who ruled Indonesia for some 300-years before they granted Independence) raised their flag at a hotel in Surabaya shortly after Indonesia's Merdeka in 1945. One Indonesian youngster felt terribly insulted at the mere sight of the former colonist flag, so he climbed up the flag pole and ripped the blue portion of the Dutch flag instantly converting it to an Indonesian one! (Shh, have you ever seen the Netherlands flag?)
So what became of my Indonesian flag when I finally came home to Malaysia from the US? I no longer hang it up in my room, instead I use to drape and shield one of the most precious things I own: my Yamaha PSR-510 keyboard on which I like to bang and play music.
I apologize if some deem this as being disrespectful or anything, but really I take it as something honorable and symbolic, especially if you take into consideration I am an appreciator of Indonesian music.
(Special thanks to Riga Saleh for helping me with this article)
|WHAT READERS SAY ABOUT Merah Putih: The Mighty Indonesian Flag:|
#14. It's wrong, our flag merah-putih/red-whit e is the banner of the Majapahit Empire, because indonesia is the ancestor of Majapahit. so u can find it until now that Singapore and UMNO flag is red-white also. it is because we are used to be 1 empire we called it nusantara in Oath(Palapa) by Gajah Mada (military leader in Majapahit) that he swear he will conquer of Southeast Asian maritime kingdoms under Majapahit. so we used to be 1 kingdom(indonesia,si ngapore,malaysia, and South Philippines.
Posted by benn on 5-Feb-2012, 04:52 MYT
#13. sing wes merdeka ae
#12. Haha.. this is funny. I'm an Indonesian and my husband is Polish. Everytime I went to Poland and saw one of those upside-down flags, I always felt a sort of insane urge to rip those flags and hang them in the "right" order, red and white.
#11. Hey Christin! What's your FS account, and AQ's and everybody else who went to MU? Kirim ya?? fairy at mahdzan dot com.
#10. Hey Fairy,
#8. "ignorant ones asked me why I had a red-and-white piece of cloth hanging from my window"
#7. wow you even have an indonesian flag... I don't think I own one ^^
#5. NEUVA: Yes thanks for the clarification. Indonesians are a fiercely patriotic lot, indeed.
#4. Hi fairy,
#3. ROSA: Thanks for dropping by. Yes I think you're right, about Aqi going to MSU instead of U of M. My bad!
#2. Hi Fairy.. great site!.. I think you are mistaken here, your friends must have gone to Michigan State University instead of U of Michigan. Since Michigan State U is the one that's located in (east) lansing whereas U of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor
#1. Ah, simplicity. Gotta love it. This is one thing I remember learning from the Indonesian schools. I remember the word "murnih".. Or, it might just be my memory.
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