Documentary Film “Ahu Parmalim” Was Released on International Tolerance Day by TIFA Foundation and Kampung Halaman Foundation
A new bill was suggested by Indonesia’s government to write down beliefs or alternative religion in its citizens’ ID card, besides the already existing and official 6 religions. This has become somehow of an ongoing debate whether the idea was relevant for today’s society or a move backward. According to data by Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia, in 2014 there were 239 organization of monotheist believer, with almost 10 million followers. It is predicted that there are more followers than the recorded statistic since many of them choose not to register to officials due to the complexity of their status. TIFA Foundation in collaboration with Kampung Halaman Foundation launched a documentary film in order to promote the rights of those believers. Titled “Ahu Parmalim”, it was released on 16 November 2017 in conjunction with International Tolerance Day. The film is meant to highlight the existence of those believers and multiply their voices to a wider scope. It is hoped to be able to showcase their point of view especially in the eyes of a teenager who wants to pursue their dreams and at the same time applies his belief.
It centers around a boy named Carles Butar-Butar who has a belief called “Ugamo Malim”, a spiritual belief originated in Sisingamangaraja XII era to resist the Dutch colonization. This religion believes that Debata Mulajadi Nabolon is the creator of life and requires its devotees to go back to their Batak roots. The devotees are called Parmalim. Coming from middle-low income family, Carles has a dream of getting a proper education, job and financial independence. After a thorough research was carried out prior to the shooting of the film, a similarity between this belief and other religions was based on living life with kindness. Directed by Cicilia Maharani, she put the spotlight on Carles’ effort of balancing life between being a good son and at the same time, being a person he wants to be. The film has been released online through website ahuparmalim.kampunghalaman.org and you can find out about this kid’s journey and unique customs that surround him. You’ll learn to walk in his shoes and in return, will get a new perspective that will increase your tolerance towards other human beings.