Indonesians have recently been shocked by a number of acts of violence. Earlier, the Cebongan penitentiary was attacked by unknown armed men. Later, some public buildings have been set on fire by the mob after a regional election in Palopo, Central Sulawesi. The series of riotings in the country have obviously made the people anxious.
Head of Centre for Cultural Studies, Dr. Aprinus Salam, M.Hum, said that the various acts of violence and conflicts were the results of low empathy among Indonesian people, which was caused by the fact that the Indonesian cultural root is not based on an established cultural root.
Many people do not want to try to understand other’s feelings or position themselves in other’s. “Acts of violence occured everywhere. This is because our culture of empathy has diminished,” he said in an interview at the Centre at UGM on Wednesday (3/4).
Aprinus said there were many statements made by members of community that were discriminative, like those insulting domestic staff or other blue collars. The statements were, in fact, build and enlarge differences between individuals. Therefore, these have to be minimised to maintain condition as conducive as possible.
“For example, migrants are considered different while, in fact, most of the people are not indigenuous; either they just arrived or have long lived in that region. Things like these will trigger presumptions, which, of course, do not build the culture of emphathy,” Aprinus said.
The Centre for Cultural Studies of UGM, said Aprinus, was trying to take tactical and strategic steps in order to build a more conducive condition so that culture can be clarified to response to diverse challenges through academic activities. Some of those are the scientific paper writing competition, training on cultural analysis and bi-monthly discussion. There are also seminar and workshop on the awakening of Indonesian culture (22/5) in UC UGM, Seminar on Traditional Medication Culture (June), and cultural reflection by the end of the year.