I still remember how it felt. My parents and I went to the famous University of Indonesia in the medical department. We sat in a lecture room, together with students from other prestigious schools. We sat there, waiting for the announcement. We were there because I submitted an essay about the danger of smoking to our health.
When I heard my name and my school being called, I went up to receive the Second Place award. I was very happy! I got a trophy, a picture with the judges, and brought home lots of satisfaction.
Back in Indonesia, there are lots of writing competition. You can write environmental essay, fiction story, informational article, traveling notes, whatever you like and people will greatly appreciate it. Why does that happen? Why does our culture value writing a lot?
Learning = Reading
Even today, donating books are still valuable charity in Indonesia. Organizations like "1001 Buku" (1001 books), local orphanage, churches, mosques, schools in general would highly appreciates donated books.
Writing Competitions = fuel for the writing culture
There are many writing opportunities back in Indonesia. With a lot of encouragement, Indonesians feel that writing is a positive hobby. It is rewarding and the works are appreciated by the society.
Popular female magazines like Femina and Gogirl! would have writing competitions and openings for articles. Prestigious Jakarta Post newspaper also encourages young professionals to write their opinions. Finally, educational institutions like University of Indonesia and Binus University would held essay competitions for students. Below is one of the advertisement from Femina magazine back in 2012.
Information is in the web for nowadays. But Indonesian's infrastructure cannot guarantee 24/7 internet access at every city. Aside of the connection itself, we also have to look at the devices: smartphones, tablets, e-book readers. Not everyone can afford it. Many of us still have the old technology and thus rely on printed books for source of information. They are cheaper than iPhone, iPad, or Amazon Kindle.
For Technical Reasons
Final Thoughts: Why Writing is Amazing