Youth Pledge

Quo Vadis Indonesian  Youth

Yesaya Sandang

As far as the world has ever witnessed, the youth plays a significant role in articulating and making innovations in the age of emerging challenges.

In Indonesia, the youth has given a major contribution in the making of history from the era before independence to the fall of the totalitarian regime. The Youth Pledge is one chapter in Indonesia’s history that affirms the youth’s contribution.

In the pre independence era, it was the youth, along with the other elements, who created the independence vision in the spirit of nationalism. This independent republic would have not been born if it had not been the youth who dreamed hard of it.  They have been called as the nation’s backbone. Yet, our now generation are challenged with complexities


In the post new order regime (the 98 Reformation era), our young generation needs to reconsider their startegic role in as part of the nation.  They need to look closely upon Indonesia contemporary situation.

There are at least three situations that are now facing our young generation. The first situation is the irony of freedom.  When the represive totalitarian era collapsed,  freedom was in the air. Ironically,  freedom  has been abusively used as a reason to escape from responsibilities.

Many of our young generation use freedom to defend their selfishness.  That is pragmatism and apathy are something very common today.  No wonder there is stagnation in youth movement, as they are too eager chasing dreams of their own. In otherword, freedom has led to disorientation.

The second situation is the paradox of imagination. Freedom creates choices. The problem is when choices taken not for the sake of social transformation. The global culture today supplies catchy, yet  dillusional choices.  This leads to the paradox of imagination.  Imagination is limitless, yet it is not transformative.

The paradox of imagination leads to the third situation which is lack of sensibility, concern, and criticism. Young bloods could  drown to blured subjectivity.  That would mean,  there’s a possibility they can’t identify themselves and their roles for the nation’s future. Meanwhile, the nation needs them in copping with complexities.

What Next

As the nation’s backbone and it’s future, the youngsters need to function their radar. That means they have to activate sensitivity to identify, map, and evaluate, the temporary situation as well as challenges, trends, and other social phenomenons. This is very important as understanding and accurate evaluation will allow the youngsters to accurately contribute and participate in realizing the social and cultural trannsformation.

Therefore,  there are at least three main concerns to our now generation. The first concern, they need to look after, grow, and wisely give meanings towards freedom. Freedom is meaningful when it is put in the affairs of state. This is so that we won’t rewind the totalitarian regime, and also won’t let the youth asleep. Freedom is every community’s basic need. The imperative freedom here is to answer the concrete needs of social justice as well as protection for every citizen. Freedom then needs critical perception and a room for arguments.

The second concern is to study and criticize the 21st century’s phenomenons, in terms of challenges that are faced by Indonesia now and in the future. Current issues such as globalization, pop culture, multiculturalism, environment, poverty, social justice, citizenship, and human rights are among them. The 21st century brings new tendencies which cause new effects to human civilization, including us in Indonesia.

The last concern for our now generation is to activate tranformation generation in shape of guarding and participating in every process of democracy in this Republic, especially in the spirit of constitutionalism. This means that our now generation must understand themselves in the context of citizenship under the constitution which makes every citizen has the same freedom based on not individual but public law and interests.

Transformation imagination also means criticizing the system development and various kinds of government policies and have the sensitivity towards the social issues. That means the youngsters must realize that they are subject to politic with duties and responsibilities to participate. The wildest imagination the youth must own is to imagine Indonesia in a better situation for all its people.

The Spirit of the Youth Pledge

It’s been more then 80 years now, yet the spirit and relevance of The Youth Pledge is still important for us now in terms of the raise of Indonesia’s young generation. It’s time for our young generation to reconsider their path. Many things have changed now and many challenges need to be dealt with.

As the nation’s now and future generation, the youngsters are acquired to be carefully picture their future roles and challenges. “Never ever forget the history”, so said President Soekarno. Yet there is more to it. Making new history is also important. Here and now, in the spirit of The Youth Pledge, Indonesia’s youth must realize about the importance of creating new history. Happy Youth Pledge day.


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