So this is Jogja. A city designed with slow pace of life, polite attitude and culinary richness. This place is where I began. My birthplace, my kawah chandradimuka, and one of the most significant places that carve me into this shape (physically, socially and psychologically). I’ve been through plenty scenes and plural roles in this city, but I have to admit that one of the most important scene in this city for me is my high school, SMU Kolese De Britto, where I spent three years of educational joy. The experience of being Manuk De Britto is exceptional. I will tell you why.
If you are a De Brittans, you only have at most five years of your puberty-time to spend in the place, and that maximum time means you’re stupid enough to repeat your failure twice. You fail on your 1st year (now “kelas 10”) and you fail again on your 3rd year (now “kelas 12”). Most people finish their time in De Britto in 3-year-period only. In that average of 3 years, you are being fed by some simple values which set mark of who you are for the rest of your life. Those values are actually being taken from the essence of the core ideology of the catholic education. You can simply find the values in the bible, nothing special. How they plant the idea so deep in such short time is the one which is marvelous.
In that 3-year period we internalized these simple values:
1. Responsible Freedom
The school was letting us to choose what we want to do, as long as we can take responsibilities of what we choose. We didn’t have to wear uniforms every single day. We were let to grow our hair. We were given permission to use sandals to school. We didn’t have to take shower in the morning. We had the license to be different. Line us up with the others, and you can point de Brittans right away. You can choose any way to represent yourselves, but you have to take responsibilities for your education, the main reason of your existence in this school. So we didn’t give extra attention for our appearance and concentrate on what we capable of.
2. Men for Others, Men with Others
The school is homogenous. It’s is a boy school. We didn’t have to mind our image to gain peer attention. In the matter of fact the more ugly and dangerous you are, the more attention you get. We didn’t have crush each other (I don’t know about some anomalies, but mostly, we’re sexually straight). We didn’t experience internal mating competition, so we build a massive form of mate-hunting-solidarity for the opposite sex outside.
It must be the most ridiculous explanation of “Men for Others, Men with Others”, but the point is, inside the herd, we don’t kill or destroy each other, we build side by side. The herd is getting bigger while you walk your life path, and it’s your duty to support the herd into the better places. We were taught to share our possessions, energies, wits, dreams, and whatever we have more to the others who have less. So we study together, dance together, walk together, sing together, drink and get drunk together, we move forward constantly together. The system works well and everybody is winning all the time.
3. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam
And all those things are based on one divine purpose: “Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam” For the greater glory of God. This motto of Society of Jesus is the soul of what we do, the reason of all that matter in our life. Every single breath we take, every little thing we do, every small pieces we build, every insignificant idea we create, are suppose to be injected with positive intentions because every good deed is being considered as augmentation of the God’s glory. We weren’t taught to do things on the opposite.
Internalizing those values in three-year-period seems to be enough for me (I hope the others feel the same thing too) to face the real life. I refuse to be distorted by the system. I’m strong enough to reject offers to be evil. I don’t cheat, I can’t be bribed, I keep my heart in what I do, I love, I laugh, I live. I dare to be different, as long as I walk in the right path, because I always know where the path ends. One thing that I find in the journey, good deed leads to good things too.
This day is the school’s reunion. Hundred of alumni of John De Britto College are gathering and share some time together. The atmosphere was magnificent. We memorized, we laughed at each other, we mocked each other, we shared stories, we did things that we use to do back then. It was a feast with foods which are considered as special meals for us. Babi Kecap, Gule Babi, Sengsu, Swikee, etc. It was wonderful as we reminisced the lovely time we had back then. One magical moment which only can be experienced in this herd is the moment when we sing “Mars de Britto” altogether. As soon as somebody sings “Bagi Tuhan dan Bangsaku…” which is the ending which become the intro of the song, every single person in the venue get into position and sing. No matter what they’ve been into. Somebody can be smoking his cigarette, or in the middle of your late meal, handling some fragile items, carrying hazardous matters, or discussing some important business, every time the intro is heard, you stand with your head held high, your fisted right hand right on your heart, and you sing out loud. Altogether!
Akulah putra SMA De Britto
Murni sejati jiwaku
Jujur semangat hatiku
Itulah rencana hidupku
Itulah tujuan niatku
Agar dapat menuang tenagaku
Bagi Tuhan dan bangsaku
Ayolah putra SMA De Britto
Selalu tetap bersatu
Dengan semua kawanmu
Meskipun terpencar hidupmu
Dikelak kemudian waktu
Ingat selalu di dalam hatimu
Ialah De Britto contohmu
I don’t think I can translate it perfectly, so I will keep it in its original. Basically it represents our core values: pure hearted soul, honest spirit, solidarity and love for humanity so that the glory of God can be amplified. The ending of the song which is used as the intro is magically hypnotizing. “Bagi Tuhan dan bangsaku…” (for God and my country) is like a surreal retraction which pull you to get into another realm. It feels like you are singing the song, and your purpose of singing that song is the greater good. You’re really wanted to complete the song because God and your country need it. If you ever experience the moment, you will understand the feelings, though you are not one of us.
So today, I experienced the moment again. The atmosphere was still the same. We still proudly sang it and state our vow to the world once again. It’s really nostalgic, delightful, and marvelous.
Well that’s how we can be this chauvinistic about De Britto. Shits can be happened to our life, but one thing that I know for sure, those core values that is planted deep in myself will help me to go through shittest shit ahead.