The purpose of learning Indonesian: a instructor’s perspective

Learning Indonesian? There are plentiful ways to go about it, and a great many reasons to do so. It isn’t always a hard slog either. Kartika Wijaya, who helps run Indonesian courses for expats and visitors in Bandung and online, today provides a few memorable and amusing moments from her time in the classroom.

Being a teacher has been a passion for me since I was younger. But I never thought that being an Indonesian language instructor of English speakers could be such an interesting experience for me.

Most of my students are Australians. They come from different backgrounds and occupations, such as students, researchers, school teachers, tourists who plan to visit Indonesia with friends and family, members of the military, people with business interests in Indonesia, and those who have Indonesian spouses who can hardly speak English so there’s no other way but to learn Indonesian to enable communication between them.

Teaching German students. Photo: Kartika Wijaya.

As they all have different backgrounds and purposes in learning the Indonesian language, the learning materials are also customized to each individual’s needs. Of all my Australian students, I always find those with Indonesian spouses to be the most hilarious ones. Sometimes they’d ask me funny questions such as how to say ‘Please don’t be jealous’ or ‘If you trust me, you wouldn’t ask me to delete her number off my phone’ in Indonesian, and other amusing lines.

On one occasion, out of curiosity, I asked an Aussie man married to a Indonesian woman, “As you speak very little Indonesian and she speaks hardly any English, have you two ever quarreled?” He smiled and nodded: “Oh yes, we do quarrel. I speak in English and she speaks in Indonesian. We don’t understand each other and we keep talking in our own languages. But now I need to know several Indonesian words for cursing so that I’ll understand her when she’s cursing.” He winked. I couldn’t help but laugh hearing this!

So you can imagine that his vocabulary list might consist mostly of words used in arguments. Other types of words are used in different situations such as romance and when going shopping, telling time, etc.

Student excursion to a nearby village. Photo: Kartika Wijaya

Another interesting teaching experience I once had was in conversation with a primary school teacher of the language. She described how challenging her work is, but at the same time also told me that she felt rewarded and pleased if her students got good marks at school. She also told me that there were very little Indonesian books available in bookstores in Melbourne. And the book she was using to teach her students at the school at the time was already old and yellowish as it was printed in the late 70s!

Another Australian student of mine is a businesswoman. She rents a villa in Bali and therefore she and her family travel there very often. Her Indonesian is quite good and she can communicate very well in Indonesian.

Although all of my students have different backgrounds, they all have one thing in common. They can only speak formal Indonesian language, not the spoken or colloquial form, as they think it is enough for them to learn only the formal language as it is widely used throughout Indonesia.

Well, now at least they can confidently travel to Indonesia and communicate with the locals, as I believe that is the purpose of learning Indonesian after all.

AIYA Links: 17 February

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The Age of Bones: Q&A with Playwright Sandra Thibodeaux

The Age of Bones is a play that follows the journey of young boy from Eastern Indonesia who goes fishing but fails to return. The production is a joint effort between Satu Bulan Theatre Company (Indonesia) and Performing Lines (Australia) and speaks honestly, and with humour, about the Australia-Indonesia relationship. With a number of upcoming performances across Australia, AIYA recently heard from playwright and co-producer Sandra Thibodeaux about the play’s genesis, production and audience reception.

Image: Performing Lines

Where did the idea for The Age of Bones come from?

When my own son was about 15, I came across the story of the Indonesian boys who were jailed in Australia for working on asylum seeker boats. They had already been in jail for about a year, and the story hadn’t even surfaced until then. I was shocked at the story and the silence surrounding it. The thing that struck me most was that the boys’ parents hadn’t been told where they were. They assumed the boys were drowned at sea.

So I wanted to get to the heart of this narrative, and try to show  through a play  the perspectives of the boys and their families. The resultant work is fictional, although it draws from real life. In The Age of Bones, a young boy, Ikan, leaves his parents to go fishing one day, and doesn’t return.

While the core narrative is obviously sad, I like to use touches of comedy where I can. There is a fair amount of political satire in the play, and the cast have brought in their own touches of physical comedy. Laughter helps to soften the political messages and intensify the weight of the sadder scenes.

How does the unique underwater setting influence the visual aesthetic of the play?

I was reluctant to use realistic scenes in the jail and courtroom these can be quite heavy and difficult to access, particularly in a bilingual context. I suppose it was given to me on a platter  we know Australia as ‘Down Under’, so why not set the Australian scenes down under, beneath the waves?

So the Australian scenes are quite fantastical. The characters take on aquatic qualities, becoming sharks and fish, and so on. The judge is a grumpy old octopus. The shadow puppetry, music and video all work together to take us under the water. There is a sense of strangeness that echoes Ikan’s alienation in a foreign land.

What does the play hope to illustrate about Indonesia, Australia, their peoples and nations?

I hope the play helps to foster a deeper cross-border relationship. We’ve chosen to tackle a sensitive topic  this might seem counter-productive to the task of creating regional harmony. However, I believe that it’s important to have open, honest dialogue about these sensitive topics  ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. Last year’s productions in Indonesia received a very warm response  I think the Indonesian audiences appreciated our attempt to have this kind of dialogue. They seemed surprised and, perhaps, touched that Australians would be concerned about the lives of young boys in eastern Indonesia.

At our 2015 reading in Darwin, an audience member commented that it was interesting to see the asylum seeker issue from another perspective that of an Indonesian boy co-opted into working on one of the boats. I think The Age of Bones provides another angle, and gives insight into the lives of people in Nusa Tenggara a place that is really not far away from Australia and, yet, is worlds away in economic development and the choices that this brings.

One reviewer has said The Age of Bones is a reminder that “people cease to see others as human beings but instead as machines, with only bones to work and perpetuate foreign capitalistic ideals.” How prominent was social or political comment for you during the playwriting process?

There is always a political framework informing a play or a film, even though this framework can sometimes seem subtle. Mine has been overt, and is concerned with the way we view our regional responsibilities, the treatment of displaced peoples, youths in detention, and the necessity of looking at issues through a global, rather than national, lens.

The above quote is very moving. The play has a second narrative wherein an older male character, the narrator, is nearing the end of his journey. Bone-weary, he observes the loss of his strength, his memory and sight. He has worked hard, often rescuing people and retrieving corpses from the sea. What is he left with? Fond memories of a few months spent in Australia where “people were nice”. Have we lost our ability to engage with our neighbours outside of the capitalist imperative? I hope not.

What was it like working with cast and crew from both Indonesia and Australia?

The play has had a lengthy genesis with quite a few artistic exchanges occurring. This has placed us in a good position for the productions. Last year, we commenced shows in Indonesia, performing in Lampung, Bandung and Tasikmalaya. As mentioned, the work was warmly received and we have many fond memories of traveling around in a bus with 22 team members!

Cross-border, bilingual artist collaborations are always challenging. People arrive at the stage with their own understandings of what it means to create ‘good theatre’. Part of the learning curve for everyone has been to let go of those preconceptions to allow for a third space  what we might call an Austronesian theatrical space.

The Indonesian and Australian team members have all been extremely hard-working, patient and good-humoured  in Lampung, we sometimes worked without electricity, in the rain, and at very late hours. I have never met people more patient and more inventive than Indonesian actors! Our opening production featured a mid-point black-out. I had a few moments of panic, thinking we’d better stop the show, before the Indonesians simply resumed their places and carried on, aided by torches. I was very impressed. This year, we’ve adopted a few new Australian team members who have brought into the mix a fresh wave of enthusiasm, brilliance and love. This augurs well for the productions that will be staged in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and  my home town  Darwin.

Discover more about The Age of Bones, including performance times and locations, on the Performing Lines website.

AIYA Links: 10 February

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AND.M: Socially-responsible fashion handmade in Java

Matilda Morgan grew up in rural Victoria, surrounded by the bright colours and bold patterns of Southeast Asian textiles. Her well-travelled grandmother – an expert in Cambodian ceramics – would return from her adventures laden with beautiful fabrics, which she would then sew into curtains and pillows. Said Matilda (Tillie for short), “Since I was young I’ve had a special fondness for the colours, textures and stories found in traditional fabrics from cultures across the world. So it was always at the back of my mind that I would love to do something with fashion and design, and use these bright colours which, in Australia, you don’t see very often.”

For the last year Tillie has been working non-stop to get her socially-responsible fashion label AND.M off the ground and into the wardrobes of those who favour ethical fashion, bright colours and unique prints, and particularly those with a penchant for batik. AND.M stands for ‘Antara Negara Design’ (Between Countries Design). “AND.M refers to our core mission,” explained Tillie, “which is collaboration between countries and working with people who want to do things fairly and creatively.”

Photo: Matilda Morgan

She decided to start her label after five years of studying International Politics at Melbourne Uni and then International Business and Supply Chain Management at RMIT left her feeling uninspired. At the time her parents were living and working on the island of Nias, West Sumatera, and often travelling around Indonesia. “I was at the stage where I hated uni and I had no idea what I wanted to do even if I did finish it, so I just thought, why don’t I just do this? Why not start something where I can work with the local community and source directly from artists on a collaborative basis? I was on the phone to Mum and Dad one night and I said, ‘I want to start my own company and work in Indonesia!’, and they said, ‘That’s a really good idea!’”

One month later Tillie was in Jogjakarta studying at the Indonesian language centre Wisma Bahasa for three months. She returned to Jogja the following March to find artists, develop supply chains, work with seamstresses, and, as she explained, “very slowly get my ahead around how the local industry works. In the beginning I focused specifically on finding artists making the fabric, because it’s all about the fabric.

It’s all about the fabric. Photo: Matilda Morgan

“I was trying to see what’s actually out there, and thinking about the kind of clothes that Westerners would like to wear. I was lucky – I’ve got family in Sydney who own an art gallery and they’d been exhibiting an artist from Jogja, Jumaadi, and so they put us in contact with him and he put us in contact with his friends and family. I was introduced to a lot of different batik artists, I met some of the biggest batik artists in the world who work with European fashion houses. To Westerners Jogja still remains this hidden place, or they might know a tiny little bit about it. But it’s now officially the International City of Batik! There are hundreds and hundreds of producers throughout Central Java. So that was the first step – finding the artists and getting to know them, and finding out what they would be happy to do from a logistical sense. From the get-go it was always supposed to be a very slow process – getting to know the people from the ground up and going from there.”

Photo: Matilda Morgan

The eventual goal for AND.M is to have the clothing produced in the same location as it is sourced – as Tillie wants to ensure “the local supply and production structure is as local as possible.” Currently most of the fabric is sourced from the Bantul regency of southern Jogja and from Cirebon, which is renowned for its magnificent cloud-like motif megamendung. “The grand plan is, if I source the fabric from Central Java, the items will be produced in Central Java. If I source it from Sumatera, the clothing will be sewn in Sumatera. I’ve also been looking into weaving so I want to go to Lombok and look at the weaving to be used in hats. It’s going to take a lot longer to get to that stage, but I’m determined to do it!”

As her business is still in its early stages, currently all AND.M items are produced in Jogjakarta, by two different seamstress businesses. “There’s one which is run by a teacher and works with students who are all girls, while the other owner is one of those cool old Ibus who really knows the ropes. She’s a trained lawyer, has travelled a lot, and gets items produced in Jogja and in Solo. She’s very cool.”

There are two ranges of the label, AND.M and AND.M Tulis. The former is the more affordable cap (printed batik) range, while the latter is made from the coveted hand-drawn batik. “One thing we’ve found is Westerners aren’t doing anything with this kind of fabric, and many have no idea what batik is anyway. Also, this level of production is rare. You either go in and do a multi-million dollar order with a big factory, or you get one or two things made at the local seamstresses’ around the corner. There’s nothing in-between.” Until now.

Photo: Matilda Morgan

Tillie, who will be completing a Diploma of Dressmaking in Jakarta this year, designs all the items herself. “A lot of it is a take on classic designs that I like. I’ve developed all the designs as a baseline, because a lot of them are quite different to what the seamstresses normally make – so they’re more tailored to fit Western bodies. It’s been a lot of work to get it to a standard of understanding about the sizes and the different fit. Even just the hip placements, and you know, we have shoulders! So this is my baseline that can be built on in the future. I also didn’t want to make them too busy because it’s all about the fabric anyway.”

Continued Tillie, “They’re all unique products – it’s a real sample of what kind of fabrics are out there. There’s only a very limited number of each print. You can feel really special because no one else is going to have that skirt! One thing with the supply chain is, you can’t just ask one person to make another 100 pieces of this fabric because it would take three years! Everything I’ve gone for is quality – from the fabric to developing the relationships – so I understand the product and its entire process. It’s been a very interesting journey for the last year.

Photo: Matilda Morgan

“Once I began my travels in Indonesia, Tillie enthused, “I was stunned by the beauty, complexity and depth of batik and other handmade textiles found throughout the archipelago.

“I am constantly inspired by the artists and the motifs they produce through their innate sense of creativity and views of the world around them.

“AND.M is my way of showing my appreciation of this art form and taking it to an audience that otherwise may not be introduced to it.”

Introduce yourself to AND.M and its kaleidoscopic colour, dizzying diversity and stunning fashion statements at the website, and follow on Facebook here. Instagram: @and.mdesign.

Festival Sinema Australia Indonesia 2017: Short Film Competition

Festival Sinema Australia Indonesia (FSAI) 2017, an initiative of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, celebrates the best of Indonesian and Australian film. This year FSAI launched its inaugural Short Film Competition to support independent Indonesian cinema, and to provide an outlet for young Indonesian filmmakers to have their latest work screened.

From nearly 300 entrants, six finalists were chosen to compete for the opportunity to travel to Australia to attend the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) 2017. The six films were screened throughout the Festival, and the winner of Best Short Film and People’s Choice were announced at the Awarding Ceremony on 29 January. AIYA spoke to the winner of Best Short Film, Mahesa Desaga, about his short film Nunggu Teka.

 Please tell us about your short film, Nunngu Teka.

Nunggu Teka is a story about a mother who is awaiting the homecoming of her children who have moved away. It’s Lebaran, and she has prepared the best of everything to welcome the arrival of her children.

This story departs from my thoughts about the feelings of a mother when she is longing for the return of her children. From my experiences, a mother sometimes doesn’t desire expressions of love every day from her children. It is enough for a mother to hear news from her children – this is enough to bring peace to her throughout her day.

From this, I invite the viewers of this film to unearth moments with their mother. I am certain everyone has their own story with their mother. With this film, I am inviting viewers to re-examine their relationship with their mother. In Nunggu Teka, I deliberately avoided tendentiously creating significant drama. I only wanted to show small moments of friction be filled with the memories of the viewers.

Poster: Mahesa Desanga

How long have you been making short films? For you, what is most satisfying about this artform?

I started producing films in 2008, when I was part of the film community at my campus at the University of Brawijaya. Previously I simply enjoyed watching films – I didn’t think I could produce them – but a work program from the film community ousted me to become the director of a film. From then I started to become interested in directing films.

Why directing? Because I feel like I wouldn’t be skilled in any other filmmaking department. I only understand the philosophy of frames, or film editing, but not the technical matters. I can only tell stories, and telling stories is the responsibility and function of a director.  If Mahesa Desaga wants to live in the world of film, then he can only be a director (and occasionally a screenwriter).

For me film is the medium which is most complete for telling the story of a human life, and even through film we create life. The most important thing for me in the production of a film is that we create an impression for the viewers. The viewers talk about our film, they are reminded of experiences from long ago, and they are moved to do something after watching it. This elements are for me the most satisfying as a filmmaker. And film is indeed the medium which is most complete for this. We can engage viewers through both sound and images.

Gambar: Mahesa Desanga

As the winner of FSIA’s Short Film Competition, in August you’ll travel to Australia to attend MIFF. What are your hopes for this experience?

The opportunity to attend MIFF, for me will become an arena for learning about and researching Australian cinema, in a direct manner. To what extent film is associated with the Australian community. What kind of film trends or developments are being produced by Australian filmmakers. And of course what will be interesting is seeing how those who make films in Australia explore different filmic forms to deliver their stories.  All of these things I will be able to see and feel more closely.

Gambar: Mahesa Desanga

What is your sense of the Indonesian film industry at the moment? What are your hopes for it, and for your role within it?

The Indonesian film industry is currently building, I feel. There are still many things which need to be developed. Until now, the Indonesian film industry has been skewed towards production only, even though this is not ideal from the viewpoint of a dynamic industry. Other areas which also need to be developed are distribution, exhibition, appreciation and criticism. There are already a few figures starting to work in these fields. They need to be supported.

In my opinion, Indonesian filmmakers need to assiduously read their culture. The source of strong stories is borne from culture which is close to everyday life. It can also be argued that Indonesian filmmakers need not be afraid to exhaust stock ideas, as long as they become closer to their culture.

Gambar: Mahesa Desanga

Do you think events such as FSIA are effective and beneficial for strengthening the relationship between Indonesia and Australia?

Of course events such are FSAI are important. Firstly, it’s important for broadening audience’s perspective about Australian film, and showing them that films aren’t solely produced in America by Hollywood. It also shows that there are Australian films which are extremely humanitarian. It is clear that this event is a socio-cultural introduction of Australia to the Indonesian community.

Secondly, the opening of the short film competition at FSAI is also something that is extremely crucial. Because the development of short films in Indonesia is really strong, this session could be even more powerful for illustrating Indonesian socio-cultural elements to the public. When we speak about the face of Indonesia, then we must watch its short films. So with the opening of this opportunity for short films to be screened, it shows FSAI is focused on becoming one of the diplomatic directions which is indeed effective.

Like with my film, Nunggu Teka for example, the issue of the mother-child relationship is a universal issue, but through this film can be shown something specific regarding the situation in Indonesian in the celebration of a national day, a holy day. It could be a point of introduction to Indonesia for those outside.

Where can we learn more about your short films?

For information about my work you can visit my social media accounts. I’m really open to discussion and answering questions.

Facebook: Mahesa Desaga; Instagram: @mahesadesaga; Twitter: @mahesadesaga.

For more information about FSAI check the website.

AIYA Links: 3 February

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Festival Sinema Australia Indonesia 2017: Kompetisi Film Pendek

Festival Sinema Australia Indonesia (FSAI) 2017 diselenggarakan oleh Kedutaan Besar Australia di Jakarta. FSAI merayakan industri film Indonesia dan Australia, dan berbagi kebudayaan lewat seni tersebut. Tahun ini, untuk pertama kali, FSAI 2017 mengadakan Kompetisi Film Pendek untuk mendukung industri film Indonesia, dengan menyediakan wadah untuk sineas muda Indonesia untuk menunjukkan karya-karyanya.

Dari hampir 300 film yang diajukan, enam finalis dipilih bersaing untuk kesempatan memenangkan perjalanan ke Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) 2017. Enam film finalis diputar di seluruh Festival, dan pemenang Best Short Film dan People’s Choice diumumkan di Awarding Ceremony pada hari Minggu 29 Januari 2017 lalu. AIYA mewawancarai pemenang Best Short Film Mahesa Desaga tentang film pendeknya Nunggu Teka.

Foto: Mahesa Desanga

Tolong menggambarkan film pendek Anda, Nungga Teka.

Nunggu Teka bercerita tentang seorang Ibu yang menunggu kepulangan anaknya yang merantau, di hari Lebaran. Si Ibu menyiapkan segalanya yang terbaik untuk menyambut kedatangan si anak.

Cerita ini berangkat dari pemikiran saya, tentang bagaimana perasaan seorang ibu ketika merindukan kepulangan seorang anak. Menurut pengalaman saya, seorang Ibu terkadang tidak perlu menginginkan kata cinta setiap hari dari seorang anak. Seorang Ibu cukup mendengar kabar dari si anak, hal tersebut sudah sangat cukup menentramkan hari seorang Ibu.

Dari hal tersebut, saya mengajak penonton yang menonton film ini, untuk menggali kembali moment dengan ibu masing-masing. Karena saya yakin semua orang pasti punya cerita sendiri-sendiri dengan Ibu. Kehadiran film ini saya tujukan untuk mengajak seluruh penonton mengorek lagi hubungan mereka dengan Ibu. Di film Nunggu Teka, saya sengaja untuk tidak tendensius menciptakan drama yang besar. Saya ingin memainkan letupan-letupan kecil yang untuk diisi oleh memori-memori dari penonton masing-masing.

Poster: Mahesa Desanga

Sudah berapa lama Anda membuat film pendek? Bagi Anda, aspek apa saja yang paling memuaskan dengan seni ini?

Saya mulai memproduksi film sejak 2008, ketika itu saya tergabung kedalam komunitas film di kampus saya, kampus Universitas Brawijaya. Awalnya saya hanya menyukai menonton film, sama sekali tidak terpikir untuk bisa memproduksi film, tapi program kerja dari komunitas tersebut mendaulat saya menjadi sutradara di produksi filmnya. Dari situ saya mulai tertarik untuk menyutradarai film.

Kenapa sutradara? Karena saya merasa saya tidak pintar di department produksi manapun. Saya hanya memahami secara filosofis tentang frame gambar, atau editing film, tapi tidak untuk urusan teknis. Saya hanya bisa bercerita, dan bercerita itu adalah tugas dan fungsi dari sutradara. Maka bila seorang Mahesa Desaga ingin hidup di dunia film, maka dia hanya bisa menjadi sutradara (san sesekali penulis skenario).

Bagi saya film adalah medium yang paling lengkap untuk menceritakan sebuah kehidupan manusia, dan bahkan melalui film kita menciptakannya. Hal yang paling penting bagi saya dalam memproduksi sebuah film adalah karya kita menciptakan impresi bagi penonton. Penonton membicarakan film kita, penonton teringat pengalaman masa lalunya, penonton tergerak melakukan sesuatu setelah menonton film kita, hal-hal tersebutlah yang menurut saya menjadi sebuah kepuasan sebagai seorang pembuat film. Dan film memang media paling lengkap untuk itu. Kita bisa mengajak penonton melalui suara maupun gambar.

Gambar: Mahesa Desanga

Sebagai pemenang FSIA, pada bulan Agustus ini Anda akan ke Australia untuk Melbourne International Film Festival. Apa harapan Anda untuk perjalanan itu?

Kesempatan mengunjungi Melbourne International Film Festival, bagi saya menjadi sebuah arena belajar penelitian tentang seperti apa sinema Australia, secara langsung. Sejauh apa keterkaitan film dengan masyarakat Australia. Seperti apa trend dan perkembangan film yang diproduksi oleh sineas-sineas Australia. Dan yang menarik tentu saja melihat bagaimana para pembuat film di Australia, mengeksplorasi bentuk-bentuk film untuk menyampaikan cerita mereka. Itu semua bisa secara lebih dekat saya lihat dan rasakan.

Gambar: Mahesa Desanga

Bagaimana perasaan Anda tentang industri film di Indonesia saat ini? Apa harapan Anda untuk industri ini, dan untuk peran Anda di dalamnya?

Industri film Indonesia saat ini sedang membangun, menurut saya. Masih banyak hal yang perlu disiapkan. Sejauh ini industri film Indonesia timpang kearah produksi saja, padahal hal ini tidaklah ideal dari sudut pandang dinamika industri. Harus bergerak juga bidang Distribusi, Eksebisi, Apresiasi, dan Kritik. Sudah ada beberapa pihak yang memulai untuk melengkapi bidang-bidang tersebut. Sejauh ini tetap harus didukung.

Serta menurut saya, pembuat film Indonesia harus rajin lagi membaca budaya mereka. Karena sumber cerita yang kuat itu lahir dari budaya yang lekat dengan keseharian. Dan bisa dibilang sebenarnya, pembuat film Indonesia tidak perlu takut untuk kehabisan stok ide, selama mereka mendekat ke budaya mereka.

Gambar: Mahesa Desanga

Menurut Anda, acara kayak gini, FSIA, adalah kegiatan yang efektif dan bermanfaat untuk penguatan hubungan Indonesia dan Australia?

Tentu saja ajang seperti FSAI ini menjadi penting. Pertama, penting untuk membuka wawasan penonton mengenai film Australia, bahwa film tidak melulu buatan Amerika Serikat dengan Hollywoodnya. Bahwa ada film produksi Australia yang sangat humanis. Ini jelas menjadi ajang pengenalan sosial-kultural Australia kepada masyarakat Indonesia.

Kedua, dengan terbukanya kompetisi film pendek di FSAI ini juga menjadi sangat perlu. Karena perkembangan film pendek Indonesia sangatlah kuat. Sesi ini malah bisa jadi lebih kuat dalam menggambarkan sosial-kultur Indonesia ke publik. Karena ketika kita berbicara wajah Indonesia maka kita wajib menonton film-film pendeknya. Jadi dengan dibukanya kesempatan kepada film-film pendek untuk diputar, menunjukan FSAI sangat concern untuk menjadi salah satu jalan diplomasi yang efektif.

Seperti dengan film saya, Nunggu Teka misalnya, isu hubungan Ibu-anak adalah isu universal, tapi melalui film ini bisa ditunjukan hal spesifik tentang situasi di Indonesia dalam perayaan Hari Raya. Hal tersebut bisa menjadi poin pengenalan kebudayaan Indonesia ke luar.

Kami dapat belajar informasi lebih lanjut tentang film-film Anda di mana?

Untuk informasi tentang karya saya, bisa mengunjungi akun social media saya, dan sangat terbuka untuk diskusi maupun tanya jawab.

Facebook: Mahesa Desaga; Instagram: @mahesadesaga; Twitter: @mahesadesaga.

Untuk informasi lebih lanjut tentang FSAI, cek website.

AIYA Links: 27 January

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Applying for a Work and Holiday Visa to Australia

“There was no time to play with my phone in the middle of work…” More and more Indonesian youth have been looking abroad for opportunities to work and live, and Australia is one of their most popular destinations. Oki Mustopa from Kediri, East Java, who recently completed his stay in Sydney on a work and holiday visa (WHV) has shared his tips and insights into the visa application process and how to deal with the challenges involved in living and working in Australia.

The WHV has enabled young people aged 18-30 years to travel and work in Australia for up to one year. The great news is, beginning November 2016, there is an option for holders of a WHV (subclass 462) to apply for ‘a second-year visa’. This article will be focusing on my experience as an Indonesian recipient.

First, I needed to apply for a letter of government support from the Directorate General of Immigration in Indonesia. It was the end of November 2014 when I registered myself on their webpage and three months later they invited me to Jakarta. There was an interview and they verified all documents required. Within 30 days, the Directorate emailed the support letter to me.


To give you a better idea about the process of obtaining the letter, have a look below:

List of WHV requirements. Image: Directorate General of Immigration website

After I got the letter, I lodged my WHV application at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC). I paid about $460 for the visa fee which was followed by a medical check-up as part of the visa requirements. For me, it was a long process to finally get the visa. It took about five months in total! But it was a great relief that in April 2015 the Australian Embassy approved my visa application.

The WHV application process. Image: Directorate General of Immigration

Fast forward six months, I landed at Sydney airport in the chilly spring of 2015. After two years of a stable full-time job in Surabaya, it was such a big transition moving to Australia. I was filled with excitement, yet there was fear and hesitation whether I could survive for one year. I started my first few weeks in a rough situation as I had to deal with a new culture and looking for budget accommodation and a decent job.

By networking with the Indonesian community in Sydney and looking at websites like Gumtree, I began to work casually from one place to the next for several weeks in places like restaurants, warehouses, cafés and as festival staff. I also gained experience as an administrator for a while. After that, I was offered a kitchenhand job in childcare. By the end of spring, I felt more established and eventually enjoyed my life in Sydney. Below I highlight some of best bits of my WHV experiences:

Living in a metropolitan and multicultural city

As a person who was raised in a small village, living in a wonderful and exciting big city like Sydney was a privilege for me. I lived in an eastern suburb close to some of Sydney’s most famous spots like Opera House, Darling Harbour and Bondi Beach. I was also lucky to experience Sydney’s annual firework events on New Year’s Eve and Australia Day. Socially, I met and befriended locals and others from many different countries.

Gaining international work experiences

Besides earning money to make ends meet for daily living, working in Australia made me understand the working environment in a western country. For example, I was required to work effectively as my employer paid my salary on the hour. In other words, there was no time to play with my phone in the middle of work. I hope this will benefit me in my future career.

Improving my (Australian) English

I love learning languages, especially English. I believed that one of best ways to improve my English was to experience it firsthand and WHV was my answer. But Australian English is quite different from the English I had learned for many years (American English) and I found the accent difficult to understand at first. For that reason, I tried to use English in daily conversation especially at work and home.

Working in childcare

I have always been interested in working in education. So when I was offered a kitchenhand job in childcare, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. Working in an open kitchen enabled me to observe the interaction between educators and wonderful young learners. There were also opportunities for cultural exchange when I worked there, including by promoting Indonesian foods and teaching some basic Indonesian.

Traveling around Australia

Australia is a really big country and I was glad to travel around for a bit. It was during the end-of-year holiday in 2015 that I took a night train to Melbourne, where I also visited Philip Island to watch the penguin parade. I flew to Queensland to see friends and sightsee around Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, and the Gold Coast. I also did a road-trip to Canberra on the Queen’s Birthday. Moreover, before flying back to Indonesia I managed to visit Perisher in the Australian Snowy Mountains to cap off my WHV journey.

Visit the Australian Department for Immigration and Border Protection website for more information about working in Australia, and check the regularly-updated AIYA Jobs Board for new opportunities.