Community Habit to Develop Local Cultural Values

Question and discussion about how young generation act to develop local cultural values have always been a big issue. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines culture as the “total pattern of human behavior and its products embodied in speech, action, and artifacts and dependent upon man’s capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations”. Culture is a part of our life and gives a balance between nature and our attitude to face problem. Leaders should know their own local culture values because unwittingly our ancestors before colonialism and globalization era had created the pattern of human behavior to solve problem in our own land, to show a good demeanor upon our environment. As a young generation, I realize that I grow up in the era in that local culture is regarded only as a heritage and insignificant in our life. Therefore, the society around us, especially people who live in the big city, do not apply cultural values in their daily. I also have to search information and knowledge about my own culture in difficult ways, whereas highest degree of culture recognizes the need to "respect, preserve and maintain". 

Young generation faces crisis knowing their own cultural identity, consequently, it leads to the erosion of their traditional values to the point that the diversity of culture in the world will be slowly whittled away to the point that there will be only one large homogeneous culture worldwide. Crisis of local cultural identity is a serious problem because cultural awareness leads to empathy, understanding and tolerance. For example, in my country Indonesia, before colonialism stroke, Indonesia consisted of various tribes with their own culture. The tribes have their own languages, manners, symbols and believes but for so many years their live on peace with their diversity. Our ancestors showed us how we take action ahead environment and differentiation. Their culture unified them to understand that others are important, that human and nature have to live balance. 

As a young leader, I realize how important the local culture values are. I start to learn what my own culture is deeply. I want to know where we come from and how we design the future contains changes at once continuity. It impacts my view about other communities or other countries culture and beliefs. I understand my ancestors purpose with their cultural habit and I also want take action to apply them in my surroundings environment. 

Action to Cultural Revitalization
Instead of focusing the negative implied, we can utilize the era of globalization and modernism for revitalizing our culture. As one of my actions, I try to develop local values which tend to keep their consistency with my community called LayarKita. Our community have a purpose to share knowledge through modern literary media such as films. As Ginsburg said, “Instead of destroying some cultures, as others predicted, mass media assists in the revitalizing and restoring of cultural preservation of nations (2002)”. Film and books open the orientation what our culture is and why culture is important. 

In 7 years LayarKita has shared knowledge and information through films. We show quality movies on a big screen and discuss about the movies' issue after it. From that action we hope we can influence the values that we bring to the society. New art and global media such as films allow culture as distinctive voice to promote awareness and provide public knowledge and understanding of their stories and identities. They also allow for the communication of their relevant accounts and commentaries on issues that are important in preserving the culture and knowledge acquisition of cultural ways - allowing them to retain their diversity. 

Although it sounds easy, yet keeping our consistency to always share knowledge through modern literary media faces a problem as well. However it does not stop us. Remembering that when there is a will there is a way. For example, some of communities lift cost or funding as a problem to take action and make them give up to do change. Do not forget that as a human and young we have to live creatively, we can work together with other community and we can make a deal with some corporation to ask them to help. Or you can do something like us, LayarKita do not have funding from corporation but in 7 years we never stop to show good movies in a big screen and we never take charge to the society. How do we do that? We collaborate and we use public space. Public spaces play a vital role in the social life of communities. They act as a ‘self-organising public service’, a shared resource in which experiences and value are created. (Mean and Tims, 2005).

Our experiences teach that so much people care about culture and knowledge. We are not alone. For screening movies and discussion LayarKita use public space. We collaborated with Museum Konperensi Asia Afrika and use their Audiovisual room every Tuesday to screen films and discussion. We spread our links and talk our purpose about sharing knowledge through films to others and welcome every person who wants to join and help. The result is in a week we screen films in 2 public auditorium and we have our own radio show. Those activities take us no charge, we do not wait for any foundation to do something. We walk the talk, we take action and keep consistent. 

Our community support others activity to develop local value and some of it show the vocal about the importance of peace in diversity. We collaborate with other community and make an event called Bandung Lautan Damai and campaign about respecting every person's beliefs and differences. It is an example that I and my friends in community keep go further to influence good things to society. We try to solve problem with our own way. In the future we hope our consistency, and all the activity that we have done can inspired young generation to make change for every problem in their own country.

The global citizen is seen as a person who can act locally but think globally, a goal that keeps an eye on maintaining cultural diversity while exposing a country’s citizens to the benefits of globalization. I think, now is not the time to hang our issue only on government action. As young leaders we should take action, start right now, do things that useful for your environment, learn about our own cultural values and applied it in our daily. So in the future our habit is not to wait things change, we change by our self, we create something, we try to solve problem. The benefit of being young is our spirit still huge and our willingly to synergy with others help us. Learning and applying our local cultural values can change our point of view about human, about environment. Thus, every person in the earth can live in peace and balance. Let us start vocal with our mission with small activity but consistent and use public space for transferring your idea or your solution.

Runi Rachmalina Utari
Bandung, 16 April 2015

This essay is a requirement for 2nd Asian African Student Conference.

Ginsburg, F. (2002). Screen memories: Resignifying the Traditional In Indigenous Media. In F. Ginsburg, L. Abu-Lughod, and B.Larkin (Eds.), Media Worlds: Anthropology on a New Terrain (pp.39-57). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Daes, E. (2004). The Impact of Globalization on Indigenous Intellectual Property and Cultures. Retrieved February 14, 2011, from

Gibson, Svetlana. Etc (2011). Globalization and its Effect on Cultural Diversity. From

Rodney, Frey. (1994). A Definition of “Cultural Values”.

Sumardjo, Jakob. (2014) Estetika Paradoks. Bandung: Kelir

Worpole, Ken & Knox, Katharine. The Social Value of Public Spaces.


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