Saturday, July 24, 2010

Negeri 5 Menara ( The Land of 5 Towers)

I just finished reading Negeri 5 Menara by Ahmad Fuadi, an alumnus of Pondok Gontor, a famous Islamic boarding school in East Java. His time and friendships at Gontor are the inspiration for this hard to put down book.


Man jadda wa jada, an Arabic saying that is drilled into every students who entered Pondok Madani (PM) meaning he who tries hard will find his reward. It is the essence of this book that tells stories of friendship between Alif, Said, Raja, Baso, Atang and Dulmajid, teenagers coming from all over Indonesia united by ear-pinching punishment on their first day. Just like at Gontor, at PM students must speak in Arabic or English all the time, and their teachers teach them with ikhlas, (to provide/deliver) a sincere heart. A word I heard many times over spoken by everyone who tried to console us when my dad passed away, a word which is easy to say than done.

Under the tall mosque minaret, the six of them dreamt of the future and far away places while waiting for the afternoon prayer. Fifteen years later, with determination, hard work and prayers the group spread out in five countries in three continents, following their paths. It send out a message: never underestimate the power of a dream.

It is a wonderful book to read, especially for kids. There are plenty things that we could learn from it. Too bad I havent heard any plan of translating this first part of a trilogy to other languages. Although I heard they are working on filming it.

3 comments:

H. Nizam said...

Hi Triesti,
It seems like an interesting book, I better look for it in Gramedia.

clson said...

So I have to wait for the film.

(Btw: Arabic??!! What's the point of banning the native language in this boarding school?)

triesti said...

@Harry, yupe.. i think it's cheaper than Laskar Pelangi, and they are donating some of the profit to help less fortunate kids.

@colson They banned Indonesian to force the students to be fluent in both Arabic and English in short time, as they believe knowledge of foreign language opens their world.I heard other 'international' school in Indonesia do the same. Anyway, you supposed to be able to find Laskar Pelangi in English soon, they are working on it.