Butet and The Jungle School Book Rocked New York!

New York, NY.  April 12, 2012

Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs

Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs

The Southeast Asian Student Initiative invited Butet to speak at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York City today.  Gerri Aryza and Ryan Hakim organized the event, with snacks provided by the SEASI and the Indonesian Consulate.

Students from several universities joined Butet for a lively discussion.  More than half the students were Indonesians studying in the US and the others were American students interested in Indonesia.

The discussion took an interesting turn when Frances Sinanu, studying for her MA in International Education Development, acknowledged that SOKOLA focuses on teaching the Orang Rimba about the outside world then asked Butet whether she taught the local villagers about the Orang Rimba.  Butet grew thoughtful and told the students about local textbooks that describe the Orang Rimba in a negative manner.  Perhaps Butet and the Rimba will be able to re-write the book on the Orang Rimba in a manner that describes them truthfully.

We encouraged the students to become electronic ambassadors for The Jungle School by using Facebook, Twitter and other social media to spread the word about the book and about SOKOLA’s work.  We hope to see some book reviews from them after they have had time to read the book.

Butet enjoyed the exchange with the students, answering their questions and listening to their dreams for the future.  Perhaps some of these students will decide to leave the concrete jungle of Manhattan to join SOKOLA as volunteers in the Jambi jungle!