Sabtu, Mei 16, 2009

Learning Indonesia by Folkteles

Indonesia Folktales is the effort of an Indonesian academic and children’s literature expert, Murti Bunanta. It introduces her country to the worl, as well as to her fellow countrymen, in the field she know best, folklore.

Murti has written 31 picture-books, and compile a collection of 29 folktales. The book is part of the World Folklore Series. It reminds that the country has a wonderful diversity of cultures. An award-winning writer, Murti retells the tales delightfully in her aim to preserve the age-old oral tradition.

Murti collected the stories in Indonesia Folktales from many sources, aside from friends and her childhood memories.

In the preface, she points our that 13 of the 29 stories collected through oral sources and 16 were taken from written material. According to the author, at least 12 folktales in the anthology have never been published before, not even in Indonesia.

Apart from the expected themes, Murti also includes a theme unusual to the genre : the independent woman. These tales about strong women are about living one’s own dreams. Often a happy ending is not always is store for such women. Still, it is inspiring to know that women’s struggle is acknowledged in these folktales. Three such stories are include in the anthology, and all are from Sumatra.

Anpther theme is local legends, such as The Legend of Lake Toba from North Sumatra, The Legends of a Swamp (Rawa Bening) from Central Java and The Lagend of Banyuwangi from East Java.

Indonesian Folktales is divided into three chapters : A general introduction to Indonesia, Food, Game , Craft and The Tales. The folktales are each illustrated by well-known cartoonist G.M. Sudharta. The book also incorporates photographs from various institutions, as well as from family and friends.

In the and, Indonesian Folktales is worth reading-and keeping-for those who want to broaden their knowledge on traditional Indonesian Culture. It is hope that this kind of literature will reach a wide readership.

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