Preserving Culture, Devio Basten Uses Koteka during College – A student from Cendrawasih University, Devio Basten Tekege, 21 years old, is confident in using a koteka when attending lectures. His attitude in wearing traditional Mee ethnic clothing from the central mountainous region, Papua, is a new thing in the campus environment.

Even so, the student of the Faculty of Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering, Semester VI, felt that he was not shy or embarrassed. “There was a lecturer who requested to take a picture. But I refused him,” Devio said after the lecture.

For him, the attitude of wearing traditional clothes is purely cultural respect, so he refuses to be invited to take a photo with a lecturer.

 “Father, I’m sorry that I went to campus, not a fashion show,” Devio said when he refused to take a photo of a campus lecturer. Devio admits that he is not looking for attention, as evidenced by his refusal of photos to be exhibited on social media.

Although he said that the incident he experienced was enough to attract attention from the campus, college friends and lecturers.

 “This is a plan to preserve Papuan culture. So the Koteka can be used anytime or anywhere. So it’s not during certain events, certain places or when there are activities,” he said.

The Koteka he was wearing felt more comfortable, it was evident that he found it easier to understand the lecturer’s explanation than when he wore ordinary clothes. He admitted that a number of his classmates were still surprised by his attitude, although not infrequently some were inspired to imitate his attitude.

“A friend from ACEMO will also be willing to wear their own clothes,” he said. Devio plans to continue wearing the koteka or traditional clothes to campus to show his Papuan cultural identity. Devio’s relative, Aquino Youw, supports Devio’s attitude. She considers that so far Papuan culture has been marginalized as evidenced by the fact that traditional clothing is only used in certain events.

“And it’s only seen as clothing to entertain, even though it’s part of everyday life,” said Aquino Youw. For her, Devio’s attitude has its own motivation that clothing is to preserve and build awareness among Papuans.

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