Small Talk on Writing Activity

M. Syahruzzaky Romadloni
a teacher, blogger, writer and author of several books…

Indonesians have been well known as those who have low-rate of literacy. Survey conducted by an Indonesian distinguished poet, Taufiq Ismail, years ago showed that Indonesians, especially teenagers, read zero books per year. This miserable fact implies significantly to their literacy skill such as reading, writing, criticizing or expressing the disagreement politely. The literacy industry, then, has a small asset if it is compared to other industries.

This global disease impacts obviously on students whom I teach. They suffer from this disease as seriously as the Indonesians. Students who are eager to read books for many hours are hardly found. Furthermore, it’s very hard to see students who can express their thoughts and opinions through sheets of papers.

Blaming, I think, isn’t appropriate solution when seeing this miserable fact. We have known that it has been a national phenomenon and it’s not the local one. Therefore, Bahasa Indonesia teachers in my school cannot be blamed, for they are parts of this disease (I hardly find Bahasa Indonesia teacher who supports their students to read many books).  Then, I feel obliged to be a part of the solution regarding this miserable fact. Accompanied with my partner, I fight against illiteracy by establishing some writing clubs in my school.

I name my first writing club Nahdlatut-Thullab Group consisting of several students bulletins. In this club, students learn how to make reports and write them in the news forms. They document all agendas held by school and publish them through bulletins. In addition, they discuss some hot issues arisen among students and give some comments. As soon as they get a hot issue, they will immediately publish it in their bulletin. They really become junior journalists!

Nahdlatut-Thullab Group focuses on improving students’ skill in non-fiction genre of writing. They write news, opinions, articles, books, etc. They occasionally visit a newspaper office to know further about journalism. Once a year, they hold press and journalism course intended to all students in school. I’m really optimistic that I can dismiss students’ illiteracy through this program.

The second club that focuses on improving students’ literacy skill is Matapena. It’s actually a branch of writing club located in Yogyakarta. It focuses on discussing fiction-genre writings such as short-story, poetry, novel, etc. However, students are allowed to write some essays or opinions about literature.

This club has published its initial bulletin namely Bulumata (bulletin unik Matapena). It consists of students’ literature works such as short-story and poetry. Its supervisor, Miss Sa’yati, writes also a how-to essay on how to write fictional writings well. I’m really glad seeing their enthusiasm taking part in this program. What makes me happier is their commitment to publish at least a book per annum. I cannot wait to see my students publish their first book.

To me, writing is not a goal, but it’s rather the tool to express my opinions. Writing is one of many tools to call people to the right path showed by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Furthermore, writing is an effective medium to make a social reconstruction as shown by our independence heroes earlier. Therefore, I always advise my students to include visions and missions when they write anything.

I won’t stop writing and calling people to write. Later, when I die, people will remember me as a man who spends his lifetime writing and calling people to walk on the right path. I hope God can reply these deeds double, amen.

Garden of Knowledge,

November 14,2010

6:18

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