Title of book: Spell of Snake Tamer (Mantra Pejinak Ular)
Publisher: Kompas, Jakarta 2000
Thickness: xii + 243 pages
Learning from the Snake and the Arts
"Do you have a spell?"
"Sure. The carpenter is learn to saw, drivers learn to drive, elephant diviner must master science. Snake tamer learn how to get along with snakes. "
"No manners and abstinence?"
The dialogue above is between Abu Kasan Sapari, the main character in this written by Kuntowijoyo in a zoo, with a snake diviner. This man who is described as a puppeteer at the same time as a civil servants in the Foot of Mount Lawu district, Central Java, concluded that the spell, manners and abstinence is one of the ways, but not the only one way to get along with snakes.
According to Abu,-of course, also according Kuntowijoyo - the snake is a creature of God which also has the right to live on earth, God created it not in vain. Snake has his own world, a heart and feelings, friends, lovers, parents and even children. Snakes will not hurt if it does not hurt. Human relationships ought to be interwoven with the snake on the basis of friendship, not least because a mastery of tamer spells alone. Abu shed tears when watching a snake cut into pieces as a powerful medicine that is packaged in plastic.
But for him, the snake is only a symbol. The application of the symbol that is more important. Snakes are one elements of environmental harmony. Loving snake means loving environment. Kill him just the same as destroying the environment. Disturb the natural preservation means slaughtering, cutting life balance which is granted by God, the one thing that is often forgotten man over nature.
In this novel, Ash did not just learn from the snake. These men also learn from the arts, the art of puppet they do. In addition to trying to preserve ancestral traditions, the art was also entertaining and teaching the wisdom of life. Furthermore, he argued, it was the water cover art lumpy existing in society and make it flat. Citing teachings of Sunan Drajad, Abu has opinions that art gives those thirsty for water, an umbrella for those who catch in the rain, giving the stick for a staggered pedestrian.
For a puppeteer, art must have a social function in the form of political enlightenment, political education and awareness as healthy citizens. Art also has the function of moral enlightenment, awareness of law, environmental or societal awareness and values of life. Art does not take sides in people, politics or crime, but the real truth.
Through his art, he also dismantle the power of philosophy, promoting democracy, respect for human rights and humanitarian values and lofty culture. Democracy is defined as "grassroots government, from the people, by the people and for the people. To achieve this, a leader must justify, obey the law and uphold human rights.
The government is like a man on a horse, we must unite with the horse. People are like horses that must be understood against his will. That is, the ruler must not be arbitrarily own. A ruler is the executor, carrier a divine mandate. The government is greedy, unjust, and arrogant and doesnnot care about its people will be hated by the people. Such governments will undoubtedly fall.
Through this novel, Kuntowijoyo want to remind us of the oriental culture, the culture of Indonesia is far from being vindictive, always forgive, sportsmanship, willing to admit defeat, to respect and uphold the unity and integrity. This is very suitable when associated with the context of our nation is currently in crisis. It's time we end the hostilities with one another, the strong do not oppress the weak again, and stop the corrupt practices everywhere.
Principle of mutual sharpening, mutual care and compassion to each other seem very relevant today. Mutual respect is the main key. As Islam said that the difference is a blessing. Different ethnicities, races, religions, groups / pilgrims, opinion, political parties, but remains one of Indonesia. The deepest meaning of Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).