Sabtu, Februari 20, 2010

A prestigious Task on Independence Day

It was two days before Independence Day. Dressed in the official white uniform, Dado da Gomez was marching in front of Merdeka Place. With 53 other senior high school students, Dado had been through a rigorous training program in Jakarta every day for the past three weeks, rain or shine. Dado and his friends were on PASKIBRAKA, the flag-raising team for the August 17 ceremony at the presidential palace. They had to perform flawlessly on the big day. And to day was dress rehearsal.
Altogether, PASKIBRAKA consists of two groups of 27 senior high school students. One group performs at the flag-raising ceremony in the morning, and the other the flag-lowering ceremony in the afternoon. At each ceremony, two girls are the focus. They are the ones who carry the national flag. Dado da Gomez belonged to the core group PASKIBRAKA. That is the 8 members who raise the flag. The number 8 symbolizes the month of Indonesia's independence--August. Other students are in the group of 17, symbolizing the date of independence--17. In addition to PASKIBRAKA, they are forty-five military personnel who represent the year of independence--'45.
To be on PASKIBRAKA, a candidate has to go through a tight selection process, first in school, then at the city level, and finally at the province level. Two students, a boy and a girl are chosen from each of Indonesia's 27 provinces. Dado represented East Timor, together with a girl from the same province.
Requirements for
PASKIBRAKA are strict. Among other things, candidates should be skillful and intelligent. They should know the history of Indonesia's struggle for independence. PASKIBRAKA members should also have a pleasant personality and be disciplined. They must be in good health and have the required height. And a very important requirement is that they can march very well.
Dado da Gomez met the requirements and made the team. Especially for Dado, who came from a family of simple farmers, being a
PASKIBRAKA member was something he and his family were very proud of. He now goes to a state university. He is trying his best to graduate as soon possible so that he can start a career. The PASKIBRAKA experience has spurred him on to perform well in society.