Gotong Royong in Post-Colonial Indonesia

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What is the relationship between the state and village? What is the political significance of this term? And what is its meaning in post-colonial Indonesia? In this article, we will explore the meaning of the term, the political implications of it, and its influence in the post-colonial Indonesian context. After all, we are looking for a way to make the term relevant to the present time, not the past. Let's start with a simple example: Aceh was affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Relationship between state and village

Geertz's term gotong royong means 'joint bearing of burdens'. It describes a co-operative relationship governed by tradition. This tradition governs work, politics, and personal relations. While the term gotong royong has been used in both academic and state propaganda, it still has meaning at the village level. A study of the term in its context will shed light on its cultural and political resonance in modern China.

Political significance of the term

The political significance of gotong royong can be found in a number of different contexts. It suggests activities that are cooperative and equitable, and can include the reconstruction of public assets, which may conflict with the law governing the use of the asset. As one example, survivors used a government building for shelter and storage, even though the use would conflict with the normal use of the building. For this reason, gotong royong is often a controversial term.

Meaning of the term in post-colonial Indonesia

The term gotong royong has a complex meaning in post-colonial Indonesia. It means to shoulder a burden together, and is also used in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei. It also means to work together and help one another. This social ethos has enabled villages to build public facilities, including hospitals and schools, through mutual funds. However, gotong royong is not a universal concept; it is particular to Indonesia.

Influence of gotong royong in post-colonial Indonesia

The influence of gotong royong in post-colonial Indonesia is evident in Lombok, Indonesia, where the principle has been implemented in reforestation and reconstruction of villages affected by the recent earthquake. Through the emergence of NGOs, local leaders were empowered to take control of the situation and mobilize the communities, using the principle of gotong royong. NGOs also promoted interreligious solidarity, a feature of Indonesian society since time immemorial.

Community-driven reconstruction

In the context of reconstruction, the notion of gotong royong suggests that co-operation and equity are fundamental to recovery. In the context of a disaster, however, community-driven reconstruction may conflict with the law that governs the use of a particular asset. For example, during the typhoon, survivors of the earthquake used a government building for shelter and storage. Such use was incompatible with the normal function of the building.

Impact of gotong royong on capital requirements for MSEs

The purpose of this study is to understand how the Gotong Royong culture is able to overcome the capital problems faced by MSEs. The study uses qualitative research methods to explain the phenomenon. The findings can serve as a reference for further research and decision-making. In addition to providing the context of the Gotong Royong case, the findings can be used as a foundation for MSE development.

August 26, 2022




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