Terrorism, the environment, national culture and solidarity were among the topics addressed by 36 elementary school students during an English-language speaking contest in Tangerang on Friday.
Despite their age, the students demonstrated not only their proficiency in English, but impressive public speaking skills.
The competition was hosted by the Tunas Bangsa School in Bintaro, South Tangerang, featuring representatives from 10 national plus schools.
“I like batik because of its uniqueness and its status as our cultural heritage that must be protected,” Azhar Kurniawan of Budi Mulia elementary school told The Jakarta Post.
Aping nationalist-minded politicians, Azhar criticized neighboring Malaysia for claiming batik as part of its cultural heritage.
“Malaysia has its own culture and therefore it may not claim its neighbor’s cultural assets. So let’s maintain and protect batik as our legacy so that other nations cannot steal it,” Azhar said in his impromptu speech.
Reynaldo Antonius Putra from Santa Ursula School picked an environmental issue, warning of a disaster that could devastate the earth. He attributed the potential calamities to excessive logging and forest fires.
He also called on supermarkets, shopping malls, stores and traders at traditional markets to shift to recyclable paper bags instead of non-biodegradable plastic bags.
“Paper bags or boxes are the best choice to save the environment because they can be recycled,” he added.