Berikut tulisan Sutan Sjahrir pada 1938 yang membahas kultur west dan
east. kita akan bisa lihat bagaimana relevansinya untuk modernisasi
dan Intellektualitas di Indonesia. Kita bisa joega melihat ini
sebagai good wisdom. dari buku Out Of Exile 1949, Poedjangga Baroe 1938 &
Sjahrir Politics & Exile. Search for “Kritiek En Opbouw” on the net


…Early in 1938, Sjahrir published one of his very few articles from
exile in Banda Neira and Boven Digul (read: present Irian Jaya–red),
a long essay for the Batavia Indonesian Literary Journal “Pedjangga
Baroe, “New Writer”.

Bourgeius culture, as he wrote :
which also is called western culture, has already become the
universal culture, the culture of the world… the culture of
educated men in the East is nothing but this western culture… This
truth and this reality do not necessarily degrade [eastern
intellectuals]. On the contrary, they are in accordance with the
sprit of time.

For the eastern man, Sjahrir wrote in same essay, western culture was
an ‘heirloom’ [poesaka], which he must absorb and master.

This was not a suggestion of surrender. Indonesian culture, Sjahrir
wrote, was “very young”.

It may be illuminating to make an inventory of what Sjahrir disliked
in “Eastern Culture”. First of all, what’s bad in eastern culture
are “the civil-servant mentality” , obsession
with “hierarchy” , “a feudal ideology”,
“a slave mentality”, and what grew out of all this , are —->

“Eastern inferiority complexes” ; next, “stagnancy” and an
inclination to “tranquility and reflection”, “gentleness
[kehaolesan atau terlalu haloes]”, excessive tolerance ,
a propensity for “mystics”, a “museum-and-incence style of life and
a “disregard for the real world and life, a virtuosity in the art of

What Sjahrir and other wants is cultivating the society full
of ‘progressive-ness’, full of spirit and joy, “a dynamic [dynamisch]
society which keeps thinking and progress as time develops.

The prime “good’ quality of the eastern man, to Sjahrir in Banda
Neira as before are “dynamism”, a “dynamic spirit”, a “vitality”,
“a capacity to see one’s life’s strife, as a fight and as a
movement” , The next “good” quality was ‘rationality‘, allied with
sobriety, matter-of-factness”, and also a “moral responsibility”. A
man who was “matter-of-fact [nuchter]”, As Shahrir wrote, could
hardly fall victim “to the phantasies of Ramayana & Mahabrata”.

To such a modern Eastern man, Sjahrir believed, there might be “no
cosmic life’ but the life of humans, dignifying , enriching and
beautifying man as a specifies. This was a belief in universal man.
Only ‘rationality‘, sjahrir believed “is powerful enough to rule this