Human Learning

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Villagers Took Action Protecting Their Language

Foreword from Listen To The World

The conservation of heritage is by no means an easy matter, and even though it is of paramount importance to pass down knowledge and wisdom to future generations, it can at times be arduous and time consuming, which in this day and age of immediacy means virtuous obligations are shunned for immediate satisfaction in a maze of limitless distractions. Nonetheless, it is still vital to persist in educating the younger generations, so that they may learn the intrinsic value of what they have inherited, and thereafter seek to engage in conserving these important practices. To do this successfully, however, it is important for educators to pass on their knowledge and wisdom in a stimulating and imaginative manner, so that the children are constantly inspired and enthused at the prospect of learning such practices, and will strive to continue pursuing them outside of educational settings; their imaginations invigorated in the process.

I Wayan Sapta Wigunadika discusses how the people of Punggul Village in Bali, Indonesia, have incorporated these approaches into their educational practices, where not only were the children reminded of the importance of conserving and continuing their heritage, but that they could do so joyously. Following this year’s Nyepi at such a critical and poignant time in our history, this again shows how Balinese traditions set an example to humanity, for how collective endeavours of the highest order can be attained with mutual benefit to the individual involved. Today, following yesterday’s Nyepi, Omed-Omedan (the kissing ritual) is symbolic to the push and pull of positive and negative energies. When observing the continual struggles, we undertake, we should reflect on the authenticity and exuberance by which Balinese practices treat such matters, and thereafter realise that anything could be made possible if novel ingenuity flourishes and appropriate conduct is observed.


By I Wayan Sapta Wigunadika

The people of Punggul Village (Bali, Indonesia) have shown their commitment in preserving their language, alphabets and literature, by organising an event called Balinese Language Month 2020. Government officials, village organisations, and members of the tribe council attended the opening ceremony on 13 February 2020, expressing their hopes for the continuous existence of their language.

Perbekel Punggul visiting and reviewing the participants writing letter in Balinese competition. | Photo: I Wayan Sapta Wigunadika

Around 187 people took part in this event, most of whom were kindergarten and elementary school students. The students participated in a number of activities such as colouring and writing letters in Balinese language and alphabets on computers and papers.

Enthusiastic participants competition writing letter in Balinese | Photo: I Wayan Sapta Wigunadika

The village elder, Kadek Sukarma, explained that this event was showcasing a training Programme that was used by the Balinese Language Centre in Punggul Village. “We wanted to see if children can apply what they’ve learned in the activities related to the preservation of Balinese alphabets, language, and literature.” He further mentioned that they have already planned for next year’s event. It would involve different kinds of  training throughout the year such as speech, writing on leaves, and other activities. “We are aware that if we don’t teach our children in their early years, the Balinese language will diminish. We believe that if we start today, our language and literatures will remain in our hearts.”


English Translation by Riri Rafiani


Featured Image: Awarding Trophies for participants who won in the competition of writing letter in Balinese on computer, writing letter in Balinese on paper and colouring Balinese letter. | Photographed by: I Wayan Sapta Wigunadika

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