Friday, October 21, 2005


Arguably Indonesia's most influential poet is visiting Sydney this week to conduct workshops. Jailed by the Soekarno and Soeharto governments for his revolutionary poetry and plays, Rendra described the most recent Bali bombings with just one word: "kejam". Cruel.

"Those who have ethics are regarded as a stupid person, a weak person, a loser," he says. "Why must I be a winner? Must I win at all costs, even if it's not ethical?"

Rendra has been a regular visitor to Australian shores since 1972, and his Bengkel Theatre in Jakarta often hosts young Australian playwrights.

"By tradition a poet is an interpreter of life. Not just an entertainer.....The Government might try to make the students organisations weak, the women's organisations weak, workers' organisations weak - but it seems typical of the Australian people always to resist."

Here's hoping.

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