Learn Critical Thinking and Empathy Through the Song ‘Aku Baru’ – Newsletter #19

learn critical thinking
Illustration: cupoftiw_

“Songs are full of meaning, encouraging life, and  inviting a more mature mindset. Let’s share them on social media platforms. There are already too many romance songs, even though life is not just about that!”. – Sayyid Rahman

“I’m the type who rarely listens to music. But when I hear the chorus, I immediately want to listen to the full version. Playing it over and over again makes me excited.” – Ulfa Putri

Those are two of hundreds of comments for the song Aku Baru that officially launched on November 18, 2021. This collaboration of PeaceGen, Bondan Prakoso, and Rhaya Flicks to campaign the Frosh Project, the PeaceGen program promotes empathy and learn critical thinking for young people.

There is a long and winding story behind the power of the lyrics and music. First, it took weeks of equalizing the frequency and then, finding lines of poetry that were musically strong and contained the messages of empathy and critical thinking at the core of the Frosh program. Next, the lyrics were revised five times, evolving from one version to another. Finally, we can enjoy the completion of Aku Baru. 

“The old me, the determiner of truth, with no distinct color space, only black and white”

One of the stanzas that came at the last second tries to accommodate the message of critical thinking and empathy. We compose every word, sentence, and stanza carefully so that the lyrics are not only artistic but the message is delivered. 

This is not the first time PeaceGen has used a song  as a medium to convey a message. However, Aku Baru is different from other PeaceGen songs. We involve Bondan as a musician who has a broad audience. We hope the message will reach a wider audience.

One of the recommendations from research about the peace narrative is that it still revolves in the bubble filter or speaks only to the same audience. Through this collaboration, we hope the message of peace can spread more widely. 

Webinar and Book Review: Prevention of Violent Extremism in Indonesia

In addition to “Aku Baru,” on November 25, 2021, we organized a webinar on women and extremism. The implementation of the webinar is to commemorate Anti-Violence Against Women Day. We presented three women who participated in preventing violent extremism against women. 

Erni Kurniati, a researcher from the Division for Applied Social Psychology Research, tells about the various motives and backgrounds of women who used to act as supporters in extreme violent acts, but have shifted to become actors.

Erni also shared the excellent practice of her foundation in building family resilience in preventing extreme violence. Rifana Meika, a researcher from the Yayasan Prasasti Perdamaian, raises another angle on this topic, namely the point of view of the community institution. Rifana shared stories and the foundation’s role in assisting convicts and advocating in the prison sector.

Also, we invited Rubby Khalifah, who has had a lot of experience building women’s roles in peace work. She helped the audience to understand the problem and encouraged them to be optimistic, learn critical thinking, and proactive in designing solutions.

Still on the theme of extreme violence, on November 29, 2021, PeaceGen had the opportunity to review the latest book from Jim Baton, an Agent of Peace (AoP) and peace activist who pioneered PeaceGen in Banjarmasin. Jim is an American writer and has written three books on terrorism and extremism themes. 

Someone Has To Die is the title of the book. The book encourages readers to understand the problem of extremism through a fictional novel whose parts inspire audiences. This book is an alternative for the public who wants to understand the issue of terrorism in a more transparent way.

A fresh breeze in November blows from the world of education. The Ministry of Education and Culture has launched a diversity education module for teachers throughout Indonesia. We are very proud that PeaceGen was a part of this process.

We were involved in the module creation process and incorporated PeaceGen’s learning media approach. We hope the module and training can equip teachers to spread peace excitingly with media and creative methods and learn critical thinking.

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