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Guns, Germs, and Steel

Patrya Pratama 6 Februari 2011
Let’s say there is a boy named Nugi. He lives in a coastal and remote village of Indonesia. Nevertheless, even by the countries’ city standard, he comes from a decent family. Money, food, and housing are never problems for his family. The family earns the living from selling fishes the villagers catch to the buyers from other villages or cities. His dad graduated from elementary school and so did his mom. They insist that Nugi should continue his school to the highest possible. Now let’s take a look at his school. The teachers are limited, his class is often teacherless that he too often does not find anyone to ask his curiosity; so often that he just gets tired of asking questions. The activity he can do at school is limited, no sport activity, no basketball, no martial arts he’d seen on tv, no nothing. When he did horrible at exams, it’s still ok, he would still make high ranking in his class. Had he lived in cities, he would have found better opportunities given his family’s decent economic condition. He could be one of those basketball talented players, fine swimmer, enthusiastic boy scout, or a nerdy science freak. Instead, Nugi’s dream is simply to become an ulama/da’i. He wants to be a da’i not because he thinks its cool, but because he cant think of anything else. Doctor? Soldier? Policemen? Diplomat? Never seen single one of those. T-I-N-A (there is no alternatives). Is this an example that proves the point of that Guns, Germs and Steel book, that the fate of human is determined by its environment? In other word, Nugi has a bad luck because of the geographical and societal conditions of his village? Many say that living in a remote, hard-to-access coastal area is like living in a world of its own. They find it hard to get around. They make living from fishes underneath their houses. Even if the country is in a war, they would be untouched! Safe and sound in a little village of their own. I am an anti-determinism. I reject the book. Nugi’s fate is not yet determined. It should not be.

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