Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Rainbow Troops - Laskar Pelangi by Andrea Hirata

The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata

It’s a novel written by an Indonesian author – Andrea Hirata – that has been sold for more than five millions copies and has been translated to over 20 languages worldwide.

The novel won many local and international awards, including the award from New York Book Festival 2013 under general fiction category. Read more about the author here.

Below please find the synopsis of the book:

“Ikal is a student at the poorest village school on the Indonesian island of Belitong, where graduating from sixth grade is considered a remarkable achievement. His school is under constant threat of closure. In fact, Ikal and his friends – a group nicknamed Rainbow Troops – face threats from every angle: skeptical government officials, greedy corporations hardly distinguishable from the colonialism they’ve replaced, deepening poverty and crumbling infrastructure, and their own low self-confidence. 

But the students also have hope, which comes in the form of two extraordinary teachers, and Ikal’s education in and out of the classroom is an uplifting one. We root for him and his friends as they defy the island’s powerful tin mine officials. We meet his first love, the unseen girl who sells chalk from behind a shop screen, whose pretty hands capture Ikal’s heart. We cheer for Lintang, the class’s barefoot math genius, as he bests the students of the mining corporation’s school in an academic challenge. Above all, we gain an intimate acquaintance with the customs and people of the world’s largest Muslim society.

This is classic story telling in the spirit of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner: an engrossing depiction of a milieu we have never encountered before, bursting with charm and verve.”

He is not only a great author. He is much more than that. He committed himself to education and literature by creating Indonesia’s first literary museum at his home village in Belitung Island. This non-profit institution is designed as learning center that provides free workshops and learning especially for poor students.

Find out his amazing Museum Kata Andrea Hirata here. I find it ridiculously amazing on how he could fulfill his dreams and make it into realities. Please look at the link I gave you and see the pictures.

Fyi, Belitung island is an island located on the east coast of Sumatra island in Indonesia. It’s well known for its pepper and tin. Look at the map below so that you can imagine what kind of place Belitung island is, how far is it from Singapore and Jakarta.

Belitung island - pinned in red

It’s such a beautiful work and inspiration. If one day you can be such a great author and earn lots of money, don’t you wish to use that money to build such a place of your dream and help those who are less fortunate to get free education and improve literacy? It's also a place to express the artistic talents and skills there.

Introducing his books in different versions - Andrea Hirata

Providing storytelling, free school/lesson, singing song with his guitar, introducing his novels and the museum to overseas guests/tourists have been his common activities over there, apart from writing his stories.

There is a movie made based on this novel in year 2008, in Indonesian language, also called Laskar Pelangi. I just watched it two days ago from my sister-in-law VCD that I borrowed, but I heard the movie is also available in Youtube. Check it out when you free so that you can view how Belitung island looks like and the environment back in those years plus many other things like people, culture, surrounding natures, lifestyles, and so on.

The island is blessed with beautiful beach with many big stones. I went there many years ago when the book hadn’t existed yet. My sister-in-law was born and growing up there. Her relatives are still staying there.

Photo with Andrea Hirata - the author of the Rainbow Troops or Laskar Pelangi

And you know what? My two dear lovely guys were much luckier than me. Both of them just visited the Belitung island earlier this year. They visited the Museum, met the author there, and my hubby was even taking personal photo with him. Oh, how envious I am!!! They also went to the beach where the film scene was taken and again, took their photo there :)

My love at the Rainbow Troops movie site - Belitung, Indonesia

From that time I got to know about this book, but only last week I managed to get it from the library accidentally (most probably fate ^^). It’s such a nice story, which I think you should read it too. But I was thinking that it might sound different from the original Indonesian version. I should find it out soon as my sister-in-law has the Indonesian version copy. She even bought the other three books that he wrote.

Tourists from Singapore at Laskar Pelangi movie site ;)

Btw, they have published the book in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal by Penguin Publisher. So try to get it from the nearest bookstore in India. Perhaps, you may like it and get inspired too :)

22 comments:

Ugyen Tenzin said...

An inspiring post la Rima ma'am. I am sure you had great time there with your family members. I am looking forward to read his books. Hoping all is well with sound in health. regards from me. Do great. Take Care. :)

Flora said...

Thanks for sharing, it the trip of your lovely guys sound wonderful one, meeting and taking photos with one of the popular author. I may surely read it if I find one here. Belitung Island must be a beautiful place surrounded by ocean. I enjoyed again Charo

dumcho wangdi said...

The book sounds interesting. I tried to track the movie but was in Language that was so Greek to me. Haha.

Lekey Choden Dorji said...


Would love to go through if I happen to find it at the Public Library in Thimphu, but I have to be here till 18th for the celebration of National Day. As always loved your post dear mam. Keep inspiring. Have wonderful days ahead. Take Care!e

Kipchu Namgyel said...

I need to get back to this post some day later.Right now I am to leave for home soon and yeah I could not get into those links you have shared.Sounds awesome.I need to get it on my shelf some day.You were indeed very lucky.Indeed fate; as you have mentioned has played a beautiful part there for you.Admirable.India was in the list and that's awesome.I am loving India.Thanks for sharing.

Rima Reyka said...

Thank you Ugyen for your kind words and wishes! We are doing great here and hope same to you. Hope you can find the book in India la! Take care! :)

Rima Reyka said...

Hi Flora, they published the book in Australia too. You sure can find one there :) Thank you for dropping by and leaving your comment on my post, as always Charo! Wish you a wonderful and happy life there! ^^

Rima Reyka said...

Hi Dumcho, in the movie link, there is a button where you can turn on the English subtitle so that you can understand what they are talking about. Let's try again! :)

Rima Reyka said...

Hi Lekey, not sure if the book is available there in Bhutan, but who knows ;) Have a wonderful days to you too Lekey! ^^

Rima Reyka said...

It's my pleasure Kipchu! You are leaving for home? You mean Bhutan? Have a safe trip! Take care! :)

Namgang Cheje said...

inspiring post again, seems the book is great. but the movie you shared on youtube don't have subtitles..... good day madam.

Rima Reyka said...

You have to click and set on the subtitle Namgang. It's not automatically appear. Try again ba! Thank you for reading and your comment! Have a good day to you too! :)

sancha rai said...

Interesting and thank you for the review...

Rima Reyka said...

It's my pleasure Sancha :)

Tshering Chekii said...

The synopsis of book sounds enticing and would love to read it 'one fine day'. Have a nice day and wonderful post as always :D

Tenzin Chophel said...

Thank you for giving us an undying inspiration and encouragement to do reading. Well, I'll remember the name of book you talked about here when I visit the bookstore next time. Till then have a nice day !

Lingi Jamtsho said...

Thank you Rima for bringing out the world of the little known...I hope to grab hold of the book some day...lovely review and post.

Rima Reyka said...

Thank you Cheki! It is indeed enticing and I'm sure you'll love it :) Have a wonderful day to you too! ^^

Rima Reyka said...

It's my pleasure Tenzin! So have you started reading? Wish you a wonderful day ahead too! Thank you for your comment! :)

Rima Reyka said...

Thank you Au Lingi for your beautiful comment :) Hope one day you manage to read the book there! Have a wonderful day la! ^^

Luzee said...

You always tempt me with the stories you have from around the world!

Keep the spirit. Time that I also update my blog regularly :P

Rima Reyka said...

Yes la Charo! You've been too busy with your work. Your blog misses your touch ;P Time for you to update la! ^^

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