I just buy original DVD titled West Wing. This is old TV-drama series produced in year 1999-2002. I just surprised there is one episode that I missed when those series broadcasted by Indonesian television (if I don’t wrong to remember, it is RCTI). What make me surprised is not about how can I have missed that episode, but exactly that episode told about our country, Indonesia.Yes, right. Indonesia is big country. We have territory as big as United States. We have 220 million citizens, the big four in the world (after China, United States, and India). We are the richest country in nature source amongst another country of the world. We have many good thing inside our country indeed. But for foreigner abroad, Indonesia more seen as terrorist’s country because of Bali bombing in 2001. Also our longest President stamped as the most money stealer dictator in the world by StAr of United Nations.
Back to the topic, in that episode of West Wing, again Indonesia misunderstood by the West. Although that movie told us about the activity of “All The President’s Men” which represented the government of United States, we just realize that many disinformation about our country had been spread. That 7th episode itself titled “The State Dinner” and have main story about the officially state visit of new Indonesian president to United States. Original air date of this episode (Season 1, Episode 7) is 10 November 1999.
One statement have made in the movie is:”There is no Indonesian language. Our country has 583 native languages, but no Indonesian language.”
Oh, c’mon. Are you nuts, guys? Indonesian language officially called Bahasa Indonesia, has established even before the declaration of independence of the country itself. It declared as nation language when The Youth Oath conference (Sumpah Pemuda) held on 1928, meanwhile the Republic of Indonesia declaration of independence happened in 1945. This event is important for our country, because in history hundreds of youth gathering and held a congress to start the new consciousness as an independent country. FYI, our country still under colonization of the Dutch at that time. Since that moment, we accelerated struggle to establish our own independent country. The roots of the language itself come from bahasa Melayu (Malay language) as lingua franca of the trader around Malaccan straits since the era equivalent with middle ages throughout Europe. Just for stressing, Malay language is not Malaysian language which will create later. Malay language still used by our people in Riau province and surrounding areas. There are big kingdom called Sriwijaya which became the centre of excellence for Buddhism learning in the world which established already at one of our big city named SwarnaBhumi (now Palembang) at Sumatra island. Sriwijaya kingdom established since 5th century until 10th century. Malay language became one of their official language at that ancient time.
Nowadays, with many problems in our country since the reform in 1998, bahasa Indonesia is the main tools of integration band amongst our peoples. Even in Timor-Timur, ex our province which gave a status as independent country since 2003 by United Nations, bahasa Indonesia still applied as main language although their hatred government give restriction. Bahasa Indonesia is established and well-known. It is not only used in Indonesia territory only, but partially also used commonly in Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, and Suriname, although it is not stated as official language. As the leader of ASEAN, Indonesia using bahasa Indonesia officially in summit or conference. It also used at many international occasions (Indonesia is Islamic Conference Organization member and former leader of OPEC-Organization of Petroleum Exporters Countries, beside two times non-permanent member of UN Security Council). Next time maybe the scriptwriter and producer of West Wing must ask Bill Gates first. Because even Microsoft put bahasa Indonesia in their language list and have special language interface of bahasa Indonesia. Shameful, there is no respond from Indonesian government recorded. About this TV-drama episode, I also found one article from English newspaper The Jakarta Post published in Indonesia titled “‘The West Wing’ looks at puzzle of Indonesia” by Antariksawan Jusuf and Haryanto, dated July 28, 2001 below:
Some details of the show reveal a bit of a lack of knowledge of what Indonesia is all about. For example, the appearance of misled state interpreter Minaldi and a Portuguese Batak-speaking cook are wasted in cultural blunders.Claiming there is no such language as Indonesian because Indonesians speak 583 different languages, Minaldi then sets out proving the opposite. Minaldi, who claims he speaks Javanese, said that the cook and presidential aide Bambang Sumahidjo (certainly a Javanese by his name) only speak Batak together. Then, in the actual scene, all three converse in Indonesian.
Still, the writers of the episode also take a bold step in depicting an alleged “standard practice” of American diplomats toward their counterparts from developing nations in a scene when Ziegler harangues Bambang about the imprisonment of his friend, a Frenchman, in Indonesia for organizing antigovernment demonstrations. Another probable Indonesian clunker comes through when Ziegler advises him to have the authorities drive the man “to the border and let him go”, which would be impossible in the archipelagic country unless the man was being held in Kalimantan or Irian Jaya.
The West Wing, unlike many Hollywood movies and U.S. series, it shows Americans for once on the losing side. But it’s just fiction anyway.