Saturday, December 2, 2006

Philosophy in Bandung

Every Thursday I pack my rucksack and head for Bandung, the capital of West Java province. In this young and booming city I teach on Friday mornings philosophy at Parahyangan Catholic University. And this semester I teach a class on the history of modern philosophy – I take my students on a journey from Socrates to Ludwig Wittgenstein. My students are in a way no regular students, beside philosophy they study theology and ten out of eleven students live in a monastery. One day they will become priests. Maybe that is why, I don’t know for sure, that they are very diligent students. But sometimes they seem a bit weltfremd – then they seem not to be aware what is going on in the world (unaware of Said's Orientalism and Huntington's Clash of Civilizations). But perhaps that is a characteristic they share with kids of their age around the globe. There are other things they share: they love soccer (Ronaldinho! Van Persie!); they eat too much sweet stuff; they listen to awful pop music (Britney Spears, Aerosmith); they prefer philosophy over theology (some of them are even skeptic whether god really exists…!); they dress to the latest fashion; and the boys think about girls (they took the vow of chastity though). And with Indonesians they share rasa malu – a sense of shame or shyness; before they are able to ask a question they seem to need to get first this burden of their shoulders, afraid of appearing in public as a fool. It is a great joy to teach them and I hope they learn as much as I do.
In the picture form left to right: Nugi; Djoko (the class captain); Doddy; Dewo; Agus (we call him Smiley, when you talk to him he gives the greatest smile ever); Adelia (the only girl in the class, the boys treat her, of course, as a princess; her parents own a coffee factory in Bandung, which produces delicious coffee); Kwanto; Pandu; Nover; Hendrik; and Gandhi (strange name for a Catholic).

1 comment:

lida said...

how about "bandung school of philosophy"? :)

you won't found student like us in the other uni. this is a great challenge!
it's an advertisement to look for an FF Unpar teacher
:) :)