Literature | Wednesday, 24 March 2010 | sundanesecorner.org
At first sight he looked like his younger brother, Noorca Massardi. Well, Yudhistira ANM Massardi and Noorca Massardi are twin. They both are well-known writers too.
“I departed from Bekasi early in the morning to watch this Sundanese Theatre Festival,” said Yudhistira as he came, along with his wife, Siska Y. Massardi, to Rumentang Siang Theatre, in Bandung, on the first day of the 11th Sundanese Theatre Festival (FDBS), Tuesday (2 March 2010).
One of the plays performed in the festival was Meredong (pitch dark). It’s Rosyid E. Abby’s Sundanese adaptation from Yudhistira’s Ke that is written in Indonesian language. There were nine acting groups that played Meredong in the festival.
“Amazing! This theatre festival has a power to develop appreciation on art and drive the process of regeneration in cultural values conservancy. It’s rare that a theatre festival could be organized routinely, let alone the one in regional language,” said he.
Yudhistira wrote Ke in 1977. It had become one of the winners in the 7th Indonesian Play Writing Competition that was organized by Jakarta Art Council in 1978.
Yudhistira’s masterpiece is Arjuna Mencari Cinta (Arjuna in Seach of Love/AMC), a novel written in 1977. It was awarded by the Department of Education and Culture as the 1977 best novel, and became a best seller. Despite the controversy generated by the Department of Information in 1980 due to its wayang-inspired characterization, AMC was adapted into a motion picture entitled Mencari Cinta (In search of Love).
AMC tells about the life of Jakarta-based adolescents in 1970s social and cultural settings. It’s a caricature that portrayed the crises of identity in modern Indonesia. Some Japanese and Australian scholars have studied it. In 1992 Mr. Oshikawa translated AMC into Japanese.
In the present day Yusdhistira, along with his wife, are organizing Batutis Al-Ilmi, a group of preschool education institutions in Pekayon, Bekasi, West Java. The name “Batutis” stands for baca tulis gratis (gratis literacy). It opens the door toward children from poor families. It was founded in 5 September 2005. Some 70 kids attend Batutis Al-Ilmi every year.
“Nation character building should be started in early years. Children under five are in the golden age, including those coming from needy families. Education that properly matches with their psychological background could bring into being a generation that live in harmony with others,” said he.
Among the pupils of Batutis Al-Ilmi, there are children coming from the family of household servants, construction workers, ojeg drivers, becak drivers, parking operators, etc. They get uniforms, books and writing utensils, and meals for breakfast and lunch. For the first three years, they studied in Yudhistira’s garage.
“Praise be to Allah, by the fourth year, on a self-supporting basis, and donation from several generous quarters, we finally could rent a land on which we build a hut as additional classroom for the children, not far from our house,” said Yudhistira, a resident of Pondok Pekayon Indah, Bekasi.
Managed by his wife as schoolmaster, along with 11 teachers, Batutis Al-Ilmi applies the so-called Sistem Sentra (Central System) method, by which it tries to develop children talents in accordance with their ages. They get happy learning activities.
“Sometime I want to come back onto theatre stage. I hope so. At least, by will of Allah, I shall return to Bandung, watching art festivals and chatting with some Bandung friends,” said Yudhistira.***
Rameli Agam, Bandung-based journalist
Name: Yudhistira Ardi Noegraha Moelyana Massardi. Place/Date of Birth: Subang, West Java, 28 February 1954. Family: Siska Y. Massardi (wife) and three children. Activity: Organizing Batutis Al-Ilmi preschool education.Works: Short story anthologies: Penjarakan Aku dalam Hatimu (1979), Wanita dalam Imajinasi (1994); novels: Arjuna Mencari Cinta (1977), Ding Dong (1978), Arjuna Mencari Cinta Part II (1980), Yudhistira Duda (1981), Arjuna Wiwaha (1984), Forum Bengkarung (1994); poetry anthologies: Rudi Jalak Gugat (1982), Sajak Sikat Gigi (1983). Residence: Pondok Pekayon Indah, Blok BB 29 No. 6, Jln. Pakis V B, Pekayon Jaya, Bekasi.