The Tetralogy of “Laskar Pelangi”
Indonesia should be proud of Andrea Hirata. He is one of the author who goes international due to his writing. The tetralogy of “Laskar Pelangi” has been translated into many languages. I still remember on March 12,2016, when I attended a talk show which invited Andrea as one of the speaker. In that talk show, Andrea told us that he sometimes could not believe that his books have inspired many people, not only children, teenagers but also adult. He also surprise himself that he works with the editors from all over the world in terms of his books translation. What makes him proud is, as he said, his books were also becoming a source of education literature in some countries.
I am sure that most of us have been reading his fenomenal works. The tetralogy of Laskar Pelangi is divided into four, they are “Laskar Pelangi” (The Rainbow Troops), “Sang Pemimpi” (The Dreamer), “Edensor” and “Maryamah Karpov”. Andrea also wrote dwilogy of “Padang Bulan” and “Cinta di Dalam Gelas”. These two books are presented for his girlfriend, A Ling. But now, I will try to summarise the Tetralogy of Laskar Pelangi only.
The Tetralogy of “Laskar Pelangi” tells about a young man who was struggling to change his life through education. “Laskar Pelangi” begins with the poor family in Bangka Belitung. People in Bangka Belitung work as labour in mining industry, the name was PN Timah. They do not have a sufficient salary. Their salary is only enough for them to fulfill their daily life. Poverty happened not only in their life but also in education.
There was only one elementary school there. The school will be closed if the students couldn’t reach ten person. Ikal, is one of the children who went to that school. The building of this school is very bad. It uses for studying in the morning and as a cattle home in the evening. Eventhough the building was very bad, but the students are happy since they have a generous teacher such as Mrs. Muslimah and Mr. Harfan.
Mr. Harfan is the owner and the headmaster of that school. Mrs. Muslimah is the only one teacher who teach them from first to sixth grade. After Ikal and his nine friends finished their elementary and Junior High School at the same place, they should continue their education to Senior High School in Tanjong Pandan.
Unfortunately, not all the students could pursue their secondary in Tanjong Pandan. Mahar, one of the students, the smartest one, even could not go to Tanjong Pandan since he has to help his father as a fisherman and take care of his little sister since his mother has passed away. This is a bitter reality for Ikal.
In his second book, “Sang Pemimpi” (The Dreamer), Andrea reveals more about Arai as the main character. In this book, Andrea talks more about their school life in Tanjong Pandan, as well as love stories among the characters.
In Tanjong Pandan, Andrea met an inspiring teacher. His name is Mr. Julian Ichsan Balia. Mr. Balia is a literature teacher. He challenged his students to persue their education abroad eventhough they came from a poor family. Ikal and Arai are two students who accepted that challenge. They built their dream to pursue their study in University or Sorbonne, French.
Arai is the dreamer. He is depicted not only as a hardworker but also a generous, cheerful and optimistic boy. He never give up to reach his dream with Ikal. They worked hard to fulfill their daily needs as a student and as a dreamer. They worked part time after school to save some money.
After completed their Secondary School, they moved from Bangka Belitung to West Java. Ikal began his job in a post office, yet Arai moved from West Java to North Kalimantan since he couldn’t find a job. Finally, they separated but their dream never dies.
After couple of years, they finally met in an interview to get the scholarship. Both of them applied for a scholarship from European Union. After waiting for a long time, finally they got the information that they grant a scholarship to study in University of Sorbonne, Paris-French.
College life overseas was narrated in the third book, “Edensor”. “Edensor” itself is a name of a village in the United Kingdom, where Andrea completed his master degree.
After they arrived at French, they found many interesting stories starting from the students’ type from all around the world. They came from India, Scotland, Germany, Georgia, China and Taiwan. But not only the story of their college life, the story about love in this chapter is also interesting.
Ikal tried hard to find A Ling, a Chinese girl whom he was admire since he was in primary school. Ikal used all the ways to find A Ling because A Ling left him without any notes. The way to find A Ling was very complicated, yet he never stopped to find A Ling. Though in the end he has to find a reality that he could not find A Ling in any places he was looking for.
Another part from this story was interesting is also about our nationalism. Ikal told that his nationalism bold when he heard Anggun sing a song. Anggun is a famous singer in French. Although she is an Indonesia who live in French but she never changes the color of her hair. He was also proud that every single person in French is knowing Anggun well.
The end of this story is told unhappy ending. In his last book, Maryamah Karpov, Ikal went back to Bangka Belitung but he has difficulties to find a job. His parents told him everyday to find a good job. What he could do to his family is only the implementation of his study in other way. He just want to prove to his parents that he is still a good Melayu man although he had lived in European country for several years.
While he is waiting for job, he wrote a journal for his campus, magazine and submit them through and email at night. What makes it ironic is, he sells toys for children in the day and wrote international journal at night. At night he became an intelectual person but in the day he become a vendor. But, the most unhappy story is about his love story.
After he found A Ling and they were agreed to get married, something happened. His father did not agree. Ikal could not do anything. In his eyes, his father is a wise person who always says yes to what he asked. Unfortunately, for A Ling case, for his love story his father says no.