I Nyoman Manda, 72, from Gianyar, is a father of three who used to teach at Gianyar high school and is the co-founder of Canangsari and Satua, magazines that aim to preserve the Balinese language. He has received international appreciation for his writing, including from the BBC. He shared his day with Ashtra Effendy.
I start my day at 5am. As soon as I get out of bed I drink some milk because it’s good for my bones, and then I have a shower. I do some writing until around 8am.
Mr. Sanggra – who was also a writer – and I founded Canangsari and Satua, magazines that come out every four months and aim to preserve the Balinese language. But Sanggra passed away and now the magazines are funded with my own money and through donations.
Our magazines are published in Australia and the Netherlands, where they offer a Balinese language major at Linden University. I base my writings on real places, events and data and combine them with my imagination.
I use mainly the Balinese language in my writings although I sometimes write in Bahasa Indonesia or English. I’m worried that the young generations can’t speak the Balinese language anymore. Indonesian schools use Bahasa Indonesia as their main language of instruction and the traditional language is only taught as an independent subject. Also, TV programs are in Bahasa Indonesia and the Batavia dialect.
What puts my mind to rest is the fact that the Hindu religion uses the Balinese language for its prayers, so this will help to preserve our traditional language.
I watch TV travel programs since I don’t watch the news or read the newspapers. My friend Ajip Rosidi, who is a writer from West Java, and I agree on the fact that we are old and we don’t need things that are going to harm our health, like bad news about corruption and so on. I only watch programs that entertain and make me happy.
At 11am, I turn the radio on and listen to local radio stations until my eyes shut down and take a rest until 2.30pm. I then do some cleaning in my yard and take care of my plants. I love my orchids, but they are infected with pests now. I then continue with my writing.
I live in Gianyar and people in the area know me for riding around on my bike. I pass by the Gianyar bus terminal and enjoy the fact that people there still use the Balinese language. I go to the temple five times a month and enjoy praying in complete calmness.
Football is my favourite sport, and I watch the matches until 11pm. My body is not like it used to be and my eyes close short after that.
I write before I go to sleep. I only write about this time of my life. Pramoedya Ananta Toer told me never to stop writing. To the younger generations, I say: Never stop writing. Puntul-puntulang besi yen sesai sangih pastika ia bakal mangan dont-mudah menyerah: Failure is only delayed success.