Book Review # 3 – Just call me Kartini

Book Title: Panggil Aku Kartini

Writer: Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Genre: Biography and History

Year: 1962 (12th Printed in January 2018)

Published by: Lentera Dipantara

Pages: 291 pages

 

Panggil Aku Kartini Saja (Just Call Me Kartini) is one of a masterpiece which wrote by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Who does not know him? An Indonesian author of novels, essays, stories which was not only talking about the struggle of Indonesia until the independence, the Dutch and Japan colonialism but his writings talked everything about his life, his experiences in the prison and how bad our former Indonesian Government treated him back then.

He got imprisoned several times, he was caught up, he got censored, he got branded as a communist just because of his political criticisms on his writings, although he was very vocal as well against the colonialism, racism and corruption of the Government. But he never stops to write, he never stops to criticize what was wrong with the Government. The man was born on February 6, 1925, in Blora, Java was the toughest and the most intelligent human I ever knew.

Indonesia should be very proud to have him as a great writer as well as one of the witnesses in Indonesia’s history.

Among of his works, that I would like to explore more on this 3rd book review on my blog is a book which revealed who is Kartini and how she could live and ‘survived’ during the Dutch colonialism era.

We definitely saw movies and read all the books and biographies that talked about Kartini, the Indonesian national hero as well as a feminist woman who was fighting for gender equality and women’s rights in Indonesia. As one of a daughter of the Regent of Jepara, made her have had a chance to go to the school, unlike any other Indonesian women.

Kartini - Heroine Pramoedya Ananta Toer- traitor
Source: Pinterest

In this book, Pram, which often called by this nickname, tried to describe the history of Kartini, her family roots, the situation of the Dutch colonialism and the Javanese culture itself. Born as a half-native and half-aristocratic Javanese family with a strong intellectual tradition made her allowed by her family to attend school until she was 12 years old.

Her name was allegedly given by her biological mother, Ngasirah. According to the wayang (Indonesian puppet) tradition, a father only gave names to his sons and there is no name left for girls at that time. And this wayang stories could not be separated from the way of Javanese living and even often became a framework of thinking, moral and psychological patterns.

Furthermore, this book also explained how the Javanese traditional culture was shaped Kartini during her childhood, whereas she had through all customary ceremonies. And for Javanese people at that time, there were very important steps of life that cannot be allowed to pass without an official ceremony, such as; birth, maturity, marriage and death (pg. 53).

As she turned 6 years old, her father gave her privileges as embroidery lessons and occasional appearances in public for special events, she even went to Dutch School. The school such an eye opener for her about the Western culture which far different from hers.

“The girl who entered the school was the biggest betrayal of the Javanese customs and culture at that time.”

In particular, feudal girls and middle-class girls found It most difficult to leave their homes, where ordinary girls had to leave their homes to help their parents to work in a market and rice fields. But she always reminds all Indonesian girls that “We (as girls) have a right not to be stupid!” this quotes who always inspire Indonesian girls and women to prioritize their education above anything else.

Raden Ajeng Kartini, the pioneer for women's rights
Source: Pinterest

Kartini was always very excited to go to school and outside the house, but the discrimination against women did not stop there, Kartini was also received discriminatory treatment in her school which she received even from her teachers, such as the differentiation of her skin colour in her class. But at the age of 12 years, Kartini must enter pingitan (a period of seclusion), this pingitan started when a noblewoman started their menstruation and continued until a nobleman asked to marry her. She felt very down and sad as she cannot continue her school both in Batavia or even in the Netherlands. But she kept and continued to learn by herself. Her father was the only one that she can relay on almost about everything, she always respected him and her ancestors. Her father, Raden Mas (male nobility) Adipati Ario Sosroningrat was one of the 4 Regent in all of Java at that time who were educated in Europe.

The one and only thing she can do to keep herself productive was only by writing letters to her friend, Stella. She shared almost everything that she felt, more about her daily life. She also wrote a letter to Marie Ovink-Soer during her struggle to accept her seclusion, she was protesting the gender inequality in Javanese traditions such as women being forced to marry at a young age and denied from freedom to pursue an education. Hence, she got acquainted with Estell (Stella) Helena Zeehandelaar who eventually became her regular penpal.

She shared an overview to Stella how manners and politeness work in her family. For example, Kartini’s younger siblings cannot walk or run in front of her, except moving by using their knees position. If Kartini passed by her younger brothers and sisters were sitting in chairs, they have to come off the chair, sitting on the floor until their older sister walked away.

Kartini was always very close and had some Dutch friends ever since she was a kid. She was always eager and encourage herself to learn more about the European literature, especially to advance herself to understand more about the Western culture. Not merely because she wanted to be one of them, but she believed to be strong like a Westerner, she must hold what the European also controlled which among of them were science and knowledge. The Dutch language she learned, she used it as a tool to reach the European civilization. Kartini thought that Europe at that time was a reality, a strength, and a big potential that determines the history of mankind itself.

Besides learned the Dutch language, she and her two younger siblings, Kardinah and Rukmini, also learned French and Germany languages through several book writers, such as; Servas de Buijn, Moderne Maagden atau Perawan-perawan Modern wrote by Marcel Provost, a famous French romance author and drama about love and marital conflicts among the French bourgeoisie. Besides, a book about the women’s emancipation from Prevost’s book, Kartini also learned books that had never been abandoned in discussing the history of women’s emancipation, namely De Wapens Neergelegd (Die Wapen Nieder) or Sarungkan Senjata by Bertha von Suttner, a book about the struggle to win social peace in particular and a world peace in general.

Kartini was not only concern in the area of the gender equality for women but also problems of her society. Kartini felt and saw that the struggle for Indonesian women to obtain their freedom was very real.

Unfortunately, she had to cancel her scholarship to continue to study in the Netherlands, because her parents arranged her marriage to Joyodiningrat, the Regent of Rembang who already had three wives and 12 kids. She did that just because she was very respected with her father and also her husband fulfilled her promises to supported her desire to develop the woodcarving industry in Jepara and the school for native women in Rembang.

But all of her dreams came to an end, just because of her death due to complication after giving a birth to her only children, Raden Mas Soesalit. She died at a very young age of 25 years. Since then, all of her struggles to defend and promote a better education for all girls and women in Indonesia has started and she is well-known as a pioneer of women’s emancipation in Indonesia.

Another culture (which involve the customs, traditions and religion) that became the most basic and main problem of Indonesian women nowadays is where the oppression against the Indonesia women. For example, the matter of ‘forced marriage’ and the issue of polygamy which Kartini must undergo, which also comes from the Javanese traditional culture that had existed a long time before the Islam came in Indonesia. Polygamy is one of the links of women’s suffering, since long time ago until today. Kartini was one of the witnesses which the mixed practices have been carried out by her father and her own husband.

After her death, now every 21st of April, we all celebrate Kartini’s Day to commemorate her struggle to defend all Indonesian women who are still struggling to get a better education, to be more equal in front of the men.

In this book, Pramoedya has successfully brought us to Kartini’s world and felt her strong energy and strength which he brings to their loyal readers. He even very well explained all the historical background even before Kartini was born, feudalism experienced by Indonesian people, Kartini’s anxieties, Kartini’s letters and literary works which have completed with Kartini’s paintings, to Kartini’s mental condition and her love.

Book Review #2 – When William Traynor left…

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Book Title: “After You”

Writer: Jojo Moyes

Genre: Romance Comedy

Year: 2016

Published by: Penguin Books

Pages: 407 pages

 

22 Favorite Quotes From Best Selling Books To Keep Your Heart Warm (Part II) | Loud Life
Picture from Pinterest.

 

I think some of you already watched the movie called “Me Before You” with the actors Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke. For me, the movie was very touchy and has successfully made me cry every time I re-watched it or maybe because I am the one who is very whiny with romantic movies.

Well, I won’t talk about the first book and the movie, but I will talk about the second book which titled, “After You”. I bought this book when I had to wait for my next flight from Stockholm to Jakarta last May 2017 and just finished reading the book couple weeks ago. And it always makes me wanted to continue to read it till finished.

waiting for boarding in Arlanda Airport, Stockholm

Moving on and starting over something after broken hearted and deep-loss might be very difficult for some people like Louisa Clark did after William Traynor had passed away. It has been a hard time for Louisa to “just live well” after Will’s death and it showed Lou’s struggle with moving on. It showed how his death affected other characters and how people struggled to relate following such a tragedy. Louisa even has to join and attends Moving On support group, but it doesn’t make her feel much better and forget about Will so easily, moreover when she finally met with a-16-years old girl named, Lily.

Who is Lily? — is becoming an important part of this book. Since she came to Louisa’s life, it has brought a rollercoaster to Louisa’s life, just like Will Traynor did before. Also another and new important person to Louisa’s life, the Ambulance guy, “Sam” also brought new colour of her love life after Will’s death. He is a pretty much very lovely guy and has successfully brought happiness into Louisa’s life changing, and of course, to help her move on after Will’s death.

The family issue also happened in the second sequel to this book, both Lou’s family and Will’s family. After Will’s death, his parents decided to divorce and live their own life. What was happening to their family? You will also discover their story in this sequel!

All over, “After You” makes the whole story of Lou and Will little bit complicated at first, but finally I enjoyed to read this book and it still worth to read if you really curious about the whole love story of Louisa and Will Traynor.

10 Books Wishlist in 2017

Hey, hey! How was it your first day in 2017?

Mine was still the same like any other weekend, gathered with family and most important is my nephews. Besides, I also keep thinking about upcoming contents for this blog! Because I really want to make this blog will be easier for people to read, make comments or just simply being inspired with what I will write in this blog.

So now I am doing research, Googling and make some notes what will I do to regularly update my blog posts. Wish me luck!

And for today, I would like to tell you “10 books Wishlist in 2017″ that I really want to buy or read, so this is it:

  1. Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year by Demi Lovato (2013)
  2. After You by Jojo Moyes (2015)
  3. Catatan Najwa by Najwa Shihab (2016)
  4. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (2012)
  5. The Universe of Us by Lang Leav (2016)
  6. Memories by Lang Leav (2015)
  7. All The Words I Should Have Said by Rania Naim (2016)
  8. The Search for Something More by Rania Naim
  9. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (2016)
  10. A World without Islam by Graham E. Fuller (2010)

Yup, there are some books that I really want to buy and read. Most of them were published last year and the rest was also couple years ago, but I really want to read it. Actually the last book above, I already downloaded the pdf ones, and I am still reading it during my leisure time or on my way to the office, basically.

How about you? Did you guys already read one of those books above? If yes, please tell me, what is your most favourite and why do you like the book?

Or maybe if some of you have any advice about other book titles which I must read, please do tell me by comments below!

Merci,

Astrid

Book Review #1 – The Witty Delia’s Life

Yup, as I promised in my previous post, I would like to give you my personal review on a book that I just finished to read! Well, actually I bought this book earlier of this year, but then I was just read it sometimes or if I am in a mood to read a book.

And finally, I have finished this book, yay! So here is my review about this book.

Book Title: “It’s Not Me, It’s You”

Writer: Mhairi McFarlane

Genre: Romance Comedy Fiction

Year: 2014

Published by: Harper, 2015

Pages: 531 pages

A chick-lit novel who’s trying to tell about Delia Moss, the main character of this novel, a woman who goes through some heart-breaking events in life and she was forced to change direction and make some choices in her life, as well as trying to survive and still being strong after her heart-breaking events.

“It’s Not Me, It’s You” is trying to show the reader how does it feels betrayed by someone that we love faithfully. It doesn’t matter how long the relationship went through, but the most important are how we respect each other’s heart. Once women got betrayed by the one that she loved, it might be easy to forgive them, but the heart will be very difficult to start all over again. This is what Delia’s feel after she went through the heart-breaking events in her life.

Mhairi was also trying to show Delia’s life through cartoonish art and its storyline which went really well with the story! I really like how Mhairi tells very details of each character in the story and how she explained every detail of the events, which make me brought into Delia’s world.

I would say that this is a light and nice book to read when you need a relaxing, which also will make you feel good or even sometimes wants to put a smile on your face