School teaches children to love nature
City News – March 12, 2007

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang

Hundreds of children recently gathered from all over Greater Jakarta to cheerfully learn together at Jurang Kandang Doank, a school of nature established and managed by singer and TV presenter Dik Doank in Jurangmangu, Sawah Lama subdistrict, Ciputat, Tangerang.

The group was surrounded by a perfect landscape, which featured rice fields, fish ponds and a railroad. In high spirits, the children sat on the Blok Miring — where a medium-sized stage stood — to hear senior actor Didi Petet share his experiences.

Didi was on stage as a guest star, while the school’s founder Dik Doank moderated the “class”.

He encouraged the visiting students to ask as many questions as possible about Didi’s family life and his experiences in acting, among other things.

Engsam, an elementary school student from Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, asked Didi about acting in front of a camera, while Nelly, a student from Al Falah Madrasah Ibtidaiyah elementary school in Bekasi, asked where he lived.

“Acting needs regular exercise. It is not difficult to do as long as you exercise regularly. I live on Jl. Sasak Tinggi, not far from here. If you want to come to my home, please be my guest,” Didi replied.

Didi was also asked what his prescription was for killing his nerves when acting, how he memorized a script and what he wanted to achieve further on in his career.

Other children were even curious as to how much Didi earned from show business and what had inspired him to pursue a career in acting.

Didi answered every question posed to him and even called some of the questioners up on stage to engage in simple role-plays.

He humbly admitted that what he had so far accomplished in the glittery showbiz industry was not much compared with what Dik Doang had achieved.

“I have not reached so far as to establish a school like Jurank Kandank Doank in my neighborhood,” Didi said.

Following the session with Didi Petet, who was also the dean of the performance art school at the Jakarta Institute of Art, the students were invited to participate in the next class — fishing.

Speaking with The Jakarta Post after teaching his class, Didi said he found it difficult to find simple language to better explain to the curious students the technical terminology used in acting and stage theories.

“I had a great time. I enjoyed it very much meeting with the children. The only difficulty I found when answering the students’ questions was in using simple language to describe technical terms, because most of the questions they raised dealt with technical matters in acting,” Didi said.

He said he was surprised by the many questions asked of him that pertained to technical matters in acting and that he did not care whether the students could understand his explanations or not. He said the most important thing to him was that they could observe and listen to what was said and done on stage.

Lidia, 32, a resident of the Villa Dago housing complex in Serpong, said she took her 4-year-old son to the Jurank Kandank Doank school of nature because she wanted him to learn about nature directly and gather with others in such beautiful surroundings.

“All activities here are very positive for children because formal schools do not have these kinds of interactive programs, physical activities in nature … or meet-and-greet opportunities with celebrities,” she said, praising Dik Doank for the attention he has given to the education of children by establishing the school.

When confronted with pouring praises from parents, Dik Doank said he initially established a painting and music learning group for some 10 school children in his neighborhood upon moving to the Alvita housing complex in the subdistrict in 1994.

In the course of time, the painting and music group became the Jurank Kandank Doank community, which now had 500 regular students from neighboring subdistricts.

All students can learn various activities ranging from painting, football, music, singing and nature-appreciation through the school, which holds free classes every Sunday.

“The lessons we present to the students each time are adjusted to the background of the guest star. If there is no visiting guest start, I usually handle the classes along with 15 crew members,” Dik said.

He said the 15 crew members were not paid because the school was free of charge.

“All of them are volunteers who have a concern for education. Through this school, we want to create a nation that does not imitate other nations,” Dik said.