Book Review: Catatan Najwa


Published by Literati, 2016

Genre: Politics, Patriotism, Nationalism 

Pages: 183


Catatan Najwa is written by a smart, bold and brave presenter of TV Program (Indonesia), talkshow “Mata Najwa“, Najwa Shihab. She is a Senior Journalist at Metro TV who had presented a lot of crucial moments, events and tragedies happened in Indonesia (eg. Tsunami in Aceh in December 2004) and also had interviewed a lot of famous and powerful figures in Indonesia. Further, Najwa Shihab is the one female journalist that stands for Indonesia and gives her opinion fearlessly in Indonesian politics through the talkshow Mata Najwa and her recent published book, Catatan Najwa.

Let’s go back a little while to how I come across this book.

I have watched her talkshow Mata Najwa before and admire her as such a smart and brave woman with a lot of creativity and spontaneity. However as I have no interest in politics, I did not think of buying and reading the book when it’s published and became famous. Later on, after my admiration for her getting stronger, there is an urge in me to buy the book. As an Indonesian staying in Singapore, it’s difficult for me to get access to the book; even though I have asked some family and friends.

To my surprise, one friend of mine sent this book as a gift to me and my husband. It’s such an amazing surprise that I can own this book and finally read the content. I completely have no idea of what the book is all about. Once I started reading it, my first impression was, this book is very unique and inspirational. It’s not a biography of Najwa Shihab, but instead it touches the most sensitive, ongoing issues of Indonesian politics.

As related to the writer’s occupation as a Journalist and her amazing love for the country, Indonesia, she lets her heart, mind and opinion fall into this book in writings. Catatan Najwa summarises and describes some topics in the talkshow Mata Najwa whereby important figures in Indonesian politics were invited as the guests to discuss about the ongoing issues. It actually does not summarise every topics in the talkshow into a book, but it is more of describing the current situation of Indonesian politics and the ongoing problems in this era of Democracy.

Therefore, in every chosen topic discussed in the book, Najwa Shihab provides her opinion in well written poems/quotes as our take-home notes. Like going back to our school time, we are reminded on how important to care, contribute and love our own country to build a better future for the country, and therefore for ourselves (Patriotism/Nationalism). The poems give us inspiration and reignite the dying spirit in our hearts to look at Indonesia as a whole; it consists of thousands of islands and different races. So, every Indonesian is responsible to create a better Indonesia for the future. The first and foremost message that truly inspired me is to unite all of the Indonesians and work together; which is described through the quote below:

“Sebab Indonesia adalah kata kerja, yang disempurnakan dengan berbagai upaya, oleh semua yang sudi berkerja”

(Catatan Najwa, 2016)

Overall, I love this book and how she expresses her creativity into poems. The chosen words are so powerful that they open my mind and heart to keep on loving Indonesia. This is such a good book to read for our short time reading and inspiration.

On the other hands, this book may not be so interesting for those who do not like poems, or maybe for people who do not have interest in politics, particularly Indonesian politics. However, if you are curious about the content and get attracted by the bright red colour of the book, you can give it a try.

For Indonesians who read this article, let’s keep on improving ourselves for a greater good and contributes to a better Indonesia. I am not inviting the readers to join the politics and neither do I into it, but this is just for our growth and inspiration. For those from other countries, thank you for reading this article and remember to love your own country as well. 🙂


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