I am living at a village located in the north of Maguwoharjo Stadium with my children and husband. The village is called Malangrejo, which is a part of Ngemplak Sub-district, Sleman, Yogyakarta. It is located about 15 kilometers northeast of Gadjah Mada University. I came to the village firstly in 1996 visiting my aunt’s friends who lived there. At that time, the village was a little bit horrifying for me, because it was surrounded by giant trees, mostly breadfruit trees (the Javanese call it Sukun trees). It looked like a small village in the forest. I had never imagined there was a “small forest” near the center of Yogyakarta. But the village has been rapidly developed, and after 12 years since the first time I visited the village, the number of breadfruit trees in the village is decreasing because some native people have sold their land to newcomers, and the land has been changed into houses. My family is one of the newcomers in the village, and has been living at Malangrejo since 2000. The people in Malangrejo are Moslems, and most of them practicing NU (Nahdlatul Ulama) culture. Basically, the native people living in Malangrejo are farmers, and most of them are poor. The level of education in the village is low, and most of the old people are illiterate. No young generation in the village studies in Gadjah Mada University. How ironic!! It just takes 20 minutes by motorcycle to reach Gadjah Mada University from the village, but no native young generation in the village is studying in GMU. Don’t they have a dream to study at GMU?
Just compare it with Andrea Hirata, a talented writer from Belitong Island. Andrea was born in a small island far away from Java Island where universities spread everywhere. He finished his primary school, junior high school and senior high school in Belitong. He took thousands of miles trip to reach Jakarta by freighter to chase his dream studying as higher as possible. His struggle for education was fantastic until he got his master degree in France and England.
It is also interesting to compare it with my uncles. I have got some uncles, and several of them graduated from GMU, even two of them got his Ph.D from universities abroad. My grandmother is living in Cawas, a sub-district in the south of Klaten, about 60 kilometers from Yogyakarta. All my uncles were born in Cawas, and grew up there. When I was a child, I was proud of my uncles because they studied in Gadjah Mada University. At that time I thought they were great and excellent because they could study in GMU although they got financial constraint (you know, my grandfather was only a primary school teacher, and my grandmother is pure housewife. You can imagine how their financial condition was.). I was very happy when one of my uncles finished his study at GMU and brought me to GMU after his graduation day (I was 12 years old at that time). It was so inspiring for me, and then I had a dream to study in GMU. There was also an inspiring moment during my childhood when one of my uncles flew to USA (Iowa) to pursue his Ph.D. Wow… fantastic, I thought. I had to chase my dream!! I had to study in GMU!! Well, and in 1989 I was lucky because I accepted as a student at Civil Engineering GMU. Yes, my dream really came true!! And I had another dream after I finished my bachelor degree. I had a dream to come to England and visit Old Trafford Stadium!! (my dream was the same as my husband’s, but he wanted to visit Anfield Stadium. You know, my husband is Liverpool FC’s hooligan and Beatles’ fan.) And once again, my dream came true. In 2004 I got scholarship to take Master degree in England as well as my husband. I got M.Sc degree and had opportunity to visit Old Trafford, Anfield, Beatles Museum, British Museum, and Buckingham Palace all at once. I also got a baby in England (my youngest daughter was born in Leicestershire during my study period). Definitely, I had never dreamt to be pregnant and give birth in England during my study. But it had been created by God, of course, and I just can accept it.
So, I absolutely agree with Arai, one of characters in Sang Pemimpi (written by Andrea Hirata), that human being must have a dream as long as he is alive. Dream gives us motivation and spirit (might be through praying, working and studying hard) to realize it. And it should be borne in mind that no dream will be realized without praying, working, and learning (not only in formal way, but also in informal way). So, keep dreaming…. God kväll !!