TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair was officially opened on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at Frankfurt Messe, Germany. Indonesia was made as a guest of honor at the 500-year-old event.
Attending the opening ceremony were Indonesian Elementary and Secondary Minister Anies Baswedan, Indonesian Ambassador to Germany Fauzi Bowo, Indonesia Pavilion Organizing Committee chief Goenawan Mohamad, Frankfurt Mayor Peter Feldmann and other local authorities.
Goenawan in his opening speech cited a story of Malang Sumirang, a person who was burned alive for breaking norms depicted in a 19th century Javanese painting. Being watched by the king and religious figures, Malang walked toward the fire but he was not burned. Instead, he asked his dog to bring a piece of paper and a pen.
It was told that Malang survived the punishment and disappeared to a thorny forest. The king ordered his guard to read what Malang wrote, but the guard failed to do the task.
"In that story, writing made a person turned his position from being condemned to unreachable. Malang Sumirang made a ruler into a powerless person with his writing," Goenawan said.
Anies Baswedan expressed his appreciation to the event organizer for inviting Indonesia as a guest of honor. In his 15-minute speech, Anies highlighted the history of the country's establishment, the Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) principle, and the literacy improvement in Indonesia over the last decade.
After the opening ceremony, guests were invited to walk around Indonesian Pavilion located at the hall. In the dimly lighted room, guests were entertained by German children singing Serumpun Padi composed by Maladi, an independence fighter who was appointed as Youth and Sports Minister during former President Sukarno's era.
ARIF ZULKIFLI (FRANKFURT)