This is a meditation in a Javanese cave used by ancient and modern leaders to find wisdom. I start with a few words of prayer of my own then quote three statements of General Douglas MacArthur whom I consider a master of the English language.
WHAT TENDANGAN DARI LANGIT MEANS TO ME
I consider director Hanung Bramantyo to be the leading light in a cultural renaissance which is the best of Indonesian cinema. The fourth biggest nation in the world and one of the newest large countries in the world is forging a vision of itself through film which a declining western world should be learning from instead of ignoring.
My favourite movie by Hanung is Tendangan Dari Langit (TDL). After watching it approximately 15 times, the uniquely Indonesian vision of civilised humanity based on piety, family, community and personal freedom still brings tears to my eyes. Every time I watch it I seem to find something new and wonderful.
To me former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating’s words, “Legends bind nations together. They define us to ourselves.” underline the way Tendangan Dari Langit crystallises Indonesia’s devout and gentle humanism infused with mystical freedom and reverence for tradition. TDL defines Indonesia for me.
A talented teenager Wahyu is injured and looks like losing the chance at a football career. When he trains himself back, in his home, among friends and family, to fitness to play football, I see the words of Dwight D Eisenhower: “”Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”
In the relationship between Wahyu and his father and mother, I see the words of Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister Robert Menzies in his forgotten people speech of the 1940’s: “……. the real life of this nation is to be found …… in the homes of people who are nameless and unadvertised, and who ……. see in their children their greatest contribution to the immortality of their race.”
In Wahyu’s use of the rugged mountain crevasse for sharpening of his ball gathering instincts I see the legendary Australian cricketer Donald Bradman who used a watertank, a cricket stump and a golf ball to become the greatest batsman to ever play Test cricket.
For me Hanung Bramantyo is the Donald Bradman of cinema in this part of the world.
Geoff Fox, Jalan Selatan Gunung Semeru, Jawa, Indonesia 17/01/2019
The film below is a fictional account of two brothers, Billo and Craig, on a Royal Australian Navy ship in World War Two.
When they go to war, men can do terrible things. (So we talk softly, if the world forces us to carry a big stick.)
Geoff Fox, Jakarta, 17/12/2018
Being a nation is all about what we share together.
Senseless death should make people pause and ponder.
Geoff Fox, Jakarta, 16 December, 2018
In Australia, modern stresses ruin lives.
But there is hope in Indonesia, where civilised humanity is embedded in ancient traditions that still stand strong.
Sundram is a self-made man. He worked his way up from unemployment in Kuala Lumpur to become a professor of medicine in Australia. He never forgets God. Neither does Indonesia. A lesson for Australia. This footage was recorded on Hari Pahlawan 2018 in Carrum Downs and is published the same weekend on Remembrance Day.
Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa is expressed in different ways around the world but it is still Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa.
Air Kaca was General Douglas MacArthur’s waterhole in WW2 in Morotai, the last base on his way back to the Phillipines to honor his iconic “I shall return” promise. It is a matter of great pride to me that the indigenous owner of this land, Mr Syukur Kuseke, has placed my father’s image at the centre of this historic site. Lest We Forget all those who served so that humanity could be free.