On May 14, 2022, I was invited as a participant by the CEO of Bandar Publishing to attend the Book Review of an Acehnese writer, namely Dr. Sulaiman Tripa. He is a lecturer at Syiah Kuala University who has written more than 200 books.
From Blog to Book
The book examined is a collection of Sulaiman’s writings on his blog, which contains his response to the social situation in Aceh. Sulaiman wrote that the response was 400 to 500 words. However, he wrote every day without a break.
From a collection of writings on his blog, Sulaiman has produced dozens of books published by Bandar Publishing. We have welcomed Solomon’s efforts by doing a Podcast broadcast on the Sagoe.id YouTube Channel. Therefore, in this Book Review, I will no longer comment on Sulaiman’s works.
However, in this note, I would like to convey a few things about the world of literacy in post-Tsunami Aceh. Sulaiman’s return from Jakarta to participate in Aceh seems to have given him new enthusiasm for writing in this province. One of the most active and prolific writers was Sulaiman.
The Father of Aceh Literacy and Marathon Writer
One of the book reviewers stated that Sulaiman was the Father of Aceh literacy. For me, this title is not an exaggeration considering that in almost two decades, Sulaiman has proven his consistency as a Marathon Writer. His works consist of various fields, although Sulaiman’s specialty is Sociology of Law.
He can write anything straightforward. Readers are elementary to digest the contents of Solomon’s writings. Because of that, there are more and more fans of Sulaiman’s blog. However, the discussion in his blog is far from his area of expertise. Serious problems are presented very lightly by Sulaiman.
Sulaiman also elaborated on Acehnese terms, which are starting to be rarely heard. The language of satire also always flows in every work of Sulaiman.
He seems a bit disillusioned with the academic situation he is in. He also continues to worry about the lack of ethical and moral education among the Acehnese. He was also restless with Aceh’s uncertain direction.
All of the above anxiety was expressed by Sulaiman in the form of writing. The opposition is always presented with satire that touches the reader’s mind.
I collect almost all of Sulaiman’s works because, in my opinion, one day, Sulaiman’s works will become witnesses of the social history of the Acehnese people. Although at this time, his books have not been widely read by the people of Aceh, gradually, the public is increasingly recognizing the figure of the father of Aceh literacy.
The Role of Bandar Publishing
After the Tsunami, literacy in Aceh grew rapidly. This literacy movement is an effort that does not provide support from the local government. The presence of local publishers, such as Bandar Publishing, seems to provide space for Acehnese writers to work. I have almost a dozen books published by Bandar Publishing.
Therefore, the strategy from the margins to provide literacy enlightenment to the people of Aceh, through the works of Sulaiman and the spirit of Bandar Publishing, must be appreciated. The figure of Sulaiman and Bandar Publishing has been firmly fused in providing academic enlightenment for the people of Aceh.
Young people in Aceh have started to see that books are windows to the world. Anyone who will read a book will certainly open their horizons and ways of thinking. Therefore, the participants who attended the Book Review wanted this kind of literacy activity to be continued in Aceh.
The Aceh Book Commission
In addition to the above, an interesting idea from this Book Review event is the participants’ efforts to initiate the Aceh Book Commission (KBA), which is seen as a forum to increase the spirit of writers, publishers, and book lovers in Aceh, to help each other, so that the people of Aceh love books even more.
This Commission will certainly make it easier for anyone to book because they are intertwined. The Aceh Book Commission can also provide a platform for novice writers to be consistent because they will be assisted by the member of the Commission, starting from the preparation, printing, and distribution of books to all Acehnese people.
The spirit of writing in Aceh is not inferior to that in other provinces in Indonesia. History proves that some of the famous writers in Java came from Aceh. Their publications were published in Java because there were no local publishers in Aceh at that time.
For example, Muhammad Hasbi Ash-Shiddieqy, Dada Meuraxa, Ibrahim Alfia, Teuku Iskandar, Nourouzzaman Siddiqi, Amelz, and Ismail Suny are some of the names of writers in Java who were born in Aceh. Now, the figures of Fachry Ali, Irwan Abdullah, and Iwan Gayo are the names of Acehnese writers who are well-known at the national level.
Therefore, what Sulaiman and Bandar Publishing have done is to repeat the glorious history of Aceh’s literacy world for the Acehnese.