Friday, June 26, 2009

The Problem about Dangdut

The only thing I hate about weddings here in the village is the music. They are always playing dangdut on large sound-system stereos for two whole days!

It’s part of the tradition.

There’s nothing wrong with tradition. There’s nothing wrong with sound-system stereos and music for 48 hours, either. The problem – for me, as I am being subjective on the matter – is THE KIND OF MUSIC THEY’RE PLAYING!

Dangdut! Rock dangdut! Alternative dangdut!

Whatever they call it these days, the kind of dangdut now in existence is not as sweet as it used to be three decades past. Not to mention the lyrics!

Check out what one of these songs says:

Apa artinya malam Minggu

Bagi orang yang tidak mampu?

Mau ke pesta tak beruang.

Akhirnya nongkrong di pinggir jalan.

What Saturday night’s worth

For penniless men?

No money for partying,

So we end up sitting by the road.

Or this one:

Mati aku! Ayahku tahu

Aku sedang bercinta dengan pacarku!

I’m doomed! My dad’s found out

I was making love to my lover!

As some of you may laugh or smile at the above lyrics, most people don’t find this a serious matter.

“They’re just songs,” they’d say. “You know, to cheer us up.”

Yes. Alright.

But do they know how our ancestors passed down the wisdom, knowledge, norms, moral values, customs and traditions to the next generation?


The cultural heritage – meaning: all the wisdom that shapes our character and dignity as a nation (or tribe, at the very least) – is handed down through songs and poems! They are moral teachings taught through melodies and lyrics. People are badly mistaken if they think children learn only through textbooks and subjects taught in schools!

What are we teaching our children NOW?
Try noticing the songs you hear on radios and televisions. Most of them talk about vanity, shallowness, materialism, easy-kind-of-love, unfaithfulness, betrayal, love affairs, pre-marital intercourse, and so forth.

That’s what our children are learning nowadays!

Pause and think for 5 seconds.

When – in the last decade – do we ever hear a song that really builds and strengthen the morality and enrich the wisdom of the people?

Sadly, if things go on this way, I’m afraid there won’t be much to hope for in our children and the next generation of this nation.

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