Dr. L used to share this story last semester. Two days ago he repeated the same story, with a slight twist. If in the last semester he told about his niece, this time in an undergraduate class, he asked the students to draw something which they remembered the most since they were children. Several minutes passed, the drawings completed. True to his hunch, basically all the drawings had these features: two hills / mountains with the sun rises / sets between them, a paddy-field, a rural road, and a hut. I guess all children in South East Asia have walked down the same memory lane, except maybe Singapore.
Anyways, what Dr. L would like to stress in his lecture was how the government constructs the people’s minds, even since they were at such tender ages, to ensure they possess certain intended paradigms. With blocked minds, they are unable to act or think about anything beyond. He later on suggested Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society for us to understand better.
Nonetheless, from my point of view and experience, we should not hold the government responsible at all times. Such classic and conventional type of drawing for ages might originated from the directives of teachers, who during my time not necessarily the qualified Arts Education teachers. Things might have changed now, but at my time the teachers just simply asked the pupils to draw a village’s scenery. As such, the students only drew what they thought their teachers expected from them, and what characteristics of a “kampung” they could relate to, of course according to their culture. Try asking their buddies in North America or Europe for instance, surely we will not get the same type of drawings.