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Reflection on 2015 Asian Youth Academy and Asian Theology Forum


“Here, there is no longer any difference between slave or freed, or between man and woman: but all of you are one, in Chirst Jesus” (Galatia 3:28)

On August 2015, I went to Philippine to attended AYA (Asian Youth Academy) and ATF (Asian Theology Forum) 2015. The theme of these program took focus on woman and ecological sustainability. In these program, I met so many young people all over Asian countries. I also met the expertise and scholars that gave us many insight and knowledge about woman and ecological sustainability. In these program, we discuss and debate each other to find a vivid solution to overcome women subordination problem and ecological problem. Besides, we also prayed together and shared each other our experiences in our own country. In the name of Christ we was united and sometimes it felt like I was found my new family. As a youth, I was surprised because I got so many precious experiences. I could gathered with other youths from different countries so I could learn their identity, language, and culture.

 As an Indonesia student, I have an emotional link with Philippine country. Indonesia and Philippine are the southeast Asia country and become the ASEAN five, the five countries who established ASEAN on 1967. Both of them are developing country and become the middle power on the region. The other interesting thing for me is they have same governmental system and both of them are archipelago state. Philippine was my first destination country that I went abroad.

In this simple reflection, I will talk something general based on my past experience on AYA and ATF 2015 in Philippine. This simple reflection especially I got when I went to exposure session. May be this writing not based on data but I found some similar problems in Philippine and also in Indonesia. Each country face the same problem such as poverty, hunger, acute disease, women subordination, and environmental problem. The world is flat. This is a one of the best quotes that I ever heard. I believe that the world actually flat especially in this globalization era. We live in the world with the huge progress of knowledge and information technology. The globalization brings the polemic because in one side we see that we get so many progress and advance from the globalization but in the other side we faced so many lack from the existence of it. Most of every countries in the world move to become industrial country. Every countries have tendency to pursue the economic progress. In this case, sometimes every states don’t have concern to fix the environmental problem. The environment has been exploited and don’t have global solution to reduce environment degradation. If they have, the mechanism and regulation to overcome environment run like a zero sum game. Actually, the problem solving to reduce environment degradation should be solved by positive sum game. I mean, every country should take part to solve that problem.

We can see from the media that the first world who contain the industrial country accused by the third world country as the source of the environment degradation and conversely the first world country blame the third world country who contains the developing or develop country as the main source of environment degradation because they still use traditional mechanism on industrial production and low technology on care the environment. The big question is, who must take responsibility to protect the environment? We know that the environment problem brings the spill over effect like it will effect on social, economic, and also political problem. If we don’t give serious concern to solve that problem, I believe that the human life especially for the next generation in danger. Besides, the best way to solve the environmental problem should be solved based on the decentralization strategy as suggested by the green political paradigm. If we want to solve the global problem such as environment degradation it must be start from our own country. Like the green political jargon “Think globally, act locally”.

 During exposure, I saw that there were children who can’t go the school because of poverty and some of them did not go to school because they were orphan. Their parents was died because of disaster. But, it was surprised because some of them still wanted to go to school and they were play each other, smiled, and laughed. From this situation, I saw the light of hope. The power of joy and dream. I believe that we may suffer, we may get in pain, and human may trap on desperate but there always an other side of it. We can get happy in pain, we can laugh on tears, and we can dream even when it felt hopeless. In sum, I want to say that we can change if we can solve our own problem. We are strong if we are united. On their lack, those children still help their family, they worked for their family. It was very contrast because as children every thing that they want and need actually must be prepared by their family especially their parents.

I also went to a dump site. In this area, there were some family lived near the dump site and some of them tried to survived with get a job from collected rubbish. They had a serious problem on healthy and sanitation. They hard accessed the clean water, they can easily got any disease because they lived in unhealthy habitat. When I was talked with the native people, they said to me that the government did not have a clear strategy to solved their problem. They asked the government to prepare a better place or area to life but they did not get it.

From this situation, I reflected that one of the main source of societal problem comes from the structural problem, meaning it’s related with the government regulation and policy. In many cases, we saw that the government policy sometimes targeted not for the voiceless, the powerless, the poor, and the marginalized people. Nowadays, It’s hard for us to find a populist leader. Many leader make the policy that give advantage for the rich, corporation, and the interest group. In every government that we see from the media all over the world, there are so many corruption, collusion, and nepotism. These problems may be the most dangerous problem and disease in every government. The best solution that I suggest is people should help their own problem and use the civil power to push government so they have a better policy and strategy to solve especially the societal and environmental problem.

 In this globalization era, there is a phenomena who named the rise of global civil society. In a political map, we can separate three main powers in every country. There is the first agent who called state, the second agent who called corporation agent and the last but do not the least, the third sector who contains the civil society. Civil society can be the agent who defend or reduce the state and the corporation oppression and domination. The civil society can be an individual, a group of people or the civil society organization such us NGO (Non governmental organization). The civil society can become the grass root power and it can make the resistance from below and they can make the network. The network who linked each other may comes from the domestic sector and also from the outside may be it comes from the other country.

We can speak our problem and shout our demand to the government and we can published it to the internet or social media and then all people around the world can know what happen in a country. I think, this is one of the advantage from the globalization that brings the new way of communication who called self mass communication. It means the spread over the communication through internet or social media. It call self because one people speak any thing that he wants and all people could know about it. The use of the internet and social media in this globalization era can give so many advantages for the civil society. In this view, the advocacy for the poor or the marginalized people can be happen on offline and online activity. The advocacy can be a deepening and broader campaign because it can happen in domestic level, transnational, and also global level. Every society must believe that they have power, they have opportunity to make a better world if they believe they can and brave to shout their aspiration and need. The people power also can make the social movement. In the social movement, it can result the contentious politic who have there essence that is the contentious, politic, and also collective action. In the contentious politic, the society especially civil society take a big rule on it to become the voice of the voiceless.

The last, I also want to share about the young generation power as the future leader. The youth must take part to change this world. For me, youth must be stand for the change and must be the primary actor to advocate the marginalized people. Youth must go out from the manipulate system and policy. Youth must go out form their comfort zone. Youth must take part and give a bright solution to make a better world because in the future the control of this world is in the youth hand. If they have commitment and integrity from young, when they grow or become the leader in the future they can have a big vision to have a better world. Youth are the agent of change and youth must stand for a better world. We can unite each other like Saint Paul said “Here, there is no longer any difference between slave or freed, or between man and woman: but all of you are one, in Christ Jesus” (Galatia 3:28).

 Let us make a better world to live. Let us share love to each other, and become the hero for our own self and the other. Together we can! “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth (Psalm 127:4).


Paskalis Alfinos Toda

Member of The Union of Catholic University Students Of The Republic of Indonesia