In Indonesia, young people are well aware of the successes in other countries, but often unaware of their own talents. Recent research shows that many youths experience a type of identity crisis (K. Robinson, 2016). The emergence of new media, internet and encounters with tourists have only reinforced this phenomenon.
The education system, generally adopted from Western countries, focuses on subjects of economic importance. The question is whether this is sufficiently in line with the - mainly traditional - lifestyle and culture in which young people grow up. Swarms of young creative talent, everywhere you look. But creativity is getting little or no attention, and young people hardly get space to develop themselves in artistic or innovative fields. Some schools offer sports, art and music on Saturdays, but students are not required to appear.
Authentic creative and artistic expressions exist, but are shifted to the background, which has a profound negative effect on identity development in general and self-confidence development in particular.
In 2006 Raoul Wijffels, then a lecturer at The Rotterdam Conservatory, traveled through Indonesia. He assessed the situation in education, the music industry and the youth sector.
“What I discovered stroke me! It seems that all Indonesians are born artists. Young people here are physically, but also sensually very smart. They move and dance pretty well, almost everyone can play guitar and they have a good sense of rhythm. During church services everyone sings aloud, together with the choir, often spontaneously adding second or more voices, and in perfect pitch! Then, there are numerous traditional ensembles, called “gamelan” communities, where young children, some only 6 years old, manage to play extremely complex rhythmic structures, with perfect precision. And they keep changing pace, organically and no need for a conductor! So much creativity … but little recognition for what it means.”