Activists, educators campaign for National Fairy Tale Day
The Jakarta Post
In an effort to promote storytelling as an alternative tool to support childhood learning, a coalition of educators, storytellers and NGOs gathered on Saturday in several parts of the country to campaign for the nomination of Nov. 28 as national tell a fairy tale day.
The campaign, organized by the National Fairy Tale Forum, was held in a number of cities, including Jakarta, the West Java provincial capital of Bandung and the East Java cities of Surabaya and Malang. The campaign invited local children and parents to participate in several events including storytelling performances and coaching.
In Bandung, the event took place at the city square, with dozens of young school children participating. At the end of the event, participants gathered to jointly read a declaration that announced Nov. 28 as National Tell a Fairy Tale Day.
Speaking to The Jakarta Post, Bandung-based storyteller Andi Yudha Asfandiyar, one of the local organizers of the event, said fairy tales, if told to children regularly, could help them develop a positive mindset and personality.
'Telling fairy tales is actually an effective way to shape a child's character, as the stories can help them adopt positive attitudes,' said Andi, the founder of PicuPacu Kreativitas, a creative house dedicated to supporting child development.
Andi said the forum endorsed Nov. 28 to the government as national tell a fairy tale day because it was the birthday of legendary Indonesian storyteller and puppeteerSuyadi, popularly known as Pak Raden, who passed away last month at the age of 82.
Pak Raden is the thickly mustachioed puppet character that wears traditional Javanese attire created by Suyadi for the hit puppet show Si Unyil, aired on state-owned television TVRI in the 1980s. Suyadi was also the voice Pak Raden and creator of other characters, including Unyil and the bald Pak Ogah, for the show.
Si Unyil also received widespread praise for its success in combining entertainment with local content, including patriotism, nationalism, arts and culture, fairy tales, fables and folk tales.
'Today's declaration is also aimed at honoring Pak Raden's efforts [to promote storytelling]. We have also agreed to declare him as the country's father of storytelling,' Andi said.
Eleven-year-old Dzaka Mutahassin Ramzan, who attended the event, said he was happy to take part in the campaign.
During the event, the sixth grade student, who has won several local and national storytelling competitions, entertained the audience with his storytelling skills by sharing a story about Mazi, a young seashell struggling to make friends on account of its unique shape.
Using various gestures, expressions and intonations, Dzaka grabbed the attention of his audience until he wrapped up the story around 15 minutes later.
'It is exciting for me to make other people happy by telling them a story with different character expressions and voices,' he said.
Saturday's event in Bandung was also supported by a number of organizations and local communities, including the Kidz Smile Foundation, Bengkimut Fairy Tale Community and Nusantara Green Architecture Foundation.
Meanwhile, in Bandar Lampung, a local storytelling community also showed its support for the declaration by holding a storytelling event at a local kindergarten.
Dakocan Fairy Tale Community director Ivan Sumantri Bonang said children could easily absorb positive messages from fairy tales if the stories were presented in an attractive manner.
'As adults, it is our duty to guide children by employing positive and fun methods,' he said as quoted by Antara news agency.
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