Ferril Irham Muzaki | Sun, 11/21/2010 3:17 PM | Discover
The meaning of the word “hero” has changed. During the war for independence from 1945-1949, a hero was someone who served in the military against the colonial government.
This was based on the fact that at that time, the real enemy was the colonizers who used bullets to rob this country. Indonesians responded, showing their muscle. The war for independence claimed lives – some of the best Indonesians.
History shows their sacrifices are real. The freedom that we have and enjoy today is the result of their labor.
In the modern era, a “hero” is not only someone who joins the army. The challenge in modern times is how to build a better life. That is why a hero has now transformed into someone who serves the country sincerely.
Heroes in modern times come from diverse professions. They work for people who sometimes don’t even recognize them.
Police officers who stand on alert every morning are modern heroes. They work for us – making sure the streets are secure. They put society above their family business in the morning; taking their children to school, shopping at the market for their family or many other private activities.
Although some of their bosses are graft suspects and this gives them a bad name, they still work for us. They serve society from the bottom of their heart. We have to salute them. Those are the real police officers – the ones who stand by society to make sure the streets are safe. Not the corrupt ones.
People often see one or two individuals who stand on alert at railway crossings or intersections to make sure motorists are safe. They have to work for hours and their salary is not that high. Commentators on television and in the mass media love to put the blame on police officers if there is a railway accident.
They don’t realize the men at the railway crossings work very hard. Very often, more problems come from commentators, who give statements but don’t act to make crossroads safer.
Teachers at small schools in remote places are heroes in education. The teachers who serve this nation believe heaven will be their place in the afterlife.
Forget about what the bosses in Jakarta who often make inconsistent education plans are doing, the teachers still continue to teach their pupils consistently. They work for the future generations of Indonesia. For teachers, fees or salaries are not very important. What is more important is that their students become successful and beneficial to society.
In spite of their low salaries, teachers work for Indonesia. They are the teachers who inspire their students. They are the national heroes in the modern era.
The bus drivers who drive their vehicles carefully are also heroes in the modern era. Even at midnight they still serve society by bringing people to their destinations. When their buses are not in proper condition, they repair them carefully and continue to check and recheck the condition of their buses.
They maintain their bus regularly before they pick up passengers. Some of them do cheat society and there are others who drive recklessly and cause traffic accidents. But many others serve society well. We have to respect them.
There are so many “underground” heroes in society. The professions mentioned are only some examples. These people work and serve the nation sincerely and honestly. Money is last on the list of what they want from the nation.
They always ask what they could give to Indonesia rather than what Indonesia gives them. The real heroes are the ones who work hard for their country, rather than just talking without any real action.
Ferril Irham Muzaki
State University of Malang