AIYA Links: 28 April

In the news:

  • Catching up on the commentary from last week’s Jakarta gubernatorial elections many have analysed what it means and predicted what happens next.
  • Philips J. Vermonte, at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) looks at the reasons why Agnes was elected and areas the incumbent Governor needs to pay attention to.
  • Elite political forces and religion were key influences notes Helen Brown.
  • ‘The election has polarised Indonesia, intimidated religious and racial minorities and greatly strengthened the hand of Islamist hardliners’ argues Tim Lindsay at the University of Melbourne.
  • ‘Plainly, the outcome is a defeat for tolerance’ says the Economist.
  • However, religion wasn’t the only factor in the outcome of the election, argues Max Waldon. Ahok was never loved by all and Anies and Sandiaga ran a slick political campaign.
  • In the Lowy Interpreter Erin Cook looks ahead to what this means for the 2019 Presidential race.
  • Ross Tapsell assesses how the Ahok campaign failed, and why Jokowi should worry.
  • In other news, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati says the government’s revenue projections are “on track” amid strengthening economic growth in Indonesia.
  • As Australians mark Anzac Day this week, Heather Merle Benbow explores trade in coffee between Australian soldiers and East Timorese during World War Two and that trade today.
  • Can a partnership between Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation and an Indonesian palm oil company protect orangutans on Salat Island? The New York Times addresses the unlikely partnership.
  • Taking a look at the broader Australia-ASEAN relationship, ANU’s John Blaxland encourages Australia to think big on mulitlateralism.
  • The ANU’s College of Asia & the Pacific have released a collection of essays on the Trump Administration’s first hundred days and asked, what should Asia do?

AIYA presents Kartini

  • AIYA is bringing 2017’s biggest Indonesian film to cinemas across Australia in May. Directed by Hanung Bramantyo and starring Ada Apa Dengan Cinta?‘s Dian Sastrowardoyo, ‘Kartini’ tells the incredible true story of Indonesia’s most famous heroine. Watch the trailer and register for a screening near you.

At the AIYA blog

  • Part 2 of our chat with historian of Indonesia, David Reeve, about his latest project on Minangkabau public transport. Missed Part 1 last week? Catch up here.
  • In the first of our film reviews from Indonesian Film Festival, AIYA Victoria President Sam Shlansky reviews Nia Dinata’s Ini Kisah Tiga Dara (Three Sassy Sisters). The film serves as a homage to the classic 1957 musical film Tiga Dara.


  • Sydney, 29 April: Javanese gamelan, music and dance in Newtown feat. Suara Indonesia Dance Group.
  • Melbourne, 29-30 April: Pop by AIYA Victoria’s stall at the Nusantara Street Festival 2017 at Queen Victoria Market.
  • Perth, Melbourne, 1 – 2 May: Asialink and AIBC present their State of the Nation: Indonesia event. AIYA Members receive a special discount rate – contact your local AIYA Chapter for more information.
  • Sydney, 4 May: An evening of Balinese art and dance at the Australian Museum.
  • Melbourne, 6 May: DWP KJRI & presents Indonesian Heritage Exhibition at the Indonesian Consulate General.
  • Canberra, 9 May: Join AIYA ACT’s Networking Night.
  • Gold Coast, 21-28 May: Keen to see Australia’s and Indonesia’s best badminton players in action? Check out the Sudirman Cup.
  • Surabaya, 22 May: Perth US Asia Centre’s Surabaya Panel Discussion at Airlangga University.


Film Review: “Three Sassy Sisters” (IFF)

The 12th Indonesian Film Festival (IFF) entertained audiences for another year in April with a fresh array of films. With this year’s theme, ‘Fragments of Time’, the festival explored the cinematic development of the Indonesian film industry throughout the years. Nia Dinata’s Ini Kisah Tiga Dara (Three Sassy Sisters) serves as a homage to the classic 1957 musical film Tiga Dara. AIYA Victoria President Sam Shlansky reviews the 2016 remake.

Songs, soul and sass makes this a fun movie showcasing wonderful Indonesia. As part of the Indonesian Film Festival in Melbourne, I went along to this movie with an AIYA Victoria mate, Ade. It is always great to go to these community events because I get to see lots of friends from AIYA, PPIA and the Indonesian Australia community- there’s just such a nice vibe of kesahabatan here. (Less mush and more movie might be good though, hey!)

This was a really fun film that reimagines an iconic moment in Indonesian cinema. The original Tiga Dara (directed by Usmar Ismail) was a pivotal feminist celebration. It did well in the Indonesian box office at the time and pushed the envelope.

This film follows three sisters who have returned home to help their Dad with his hotel. It is enjoyable getting to know these girls who are all reaching for something. The central and eldest sister is being pushed towards love and family while fighting for independence. The middle child has a lot of the middle child syndrome. Desperately jealous, she demands the central male love interest to spite her sister and despite an old friend. Last and least is the youngest sister. She is a young lover with a handsome blasteran boyfriend. Grandma twists, dances and “ibus” her way through the story. It is a really great film for its focus on women and their character. It is really interesting that the men in terms of character are a trigger (love interest) or a setting (Dad and his hotel) mostly.

Aside from pushing along as a dramatic love story with lots of fun and songs (still in my head), this is a showcase of Indonesia. The setting is beautiful and “Bali” enough to feel accessible to a Western audience. Even more Indonesian is how the boys are basically a pair of hipsters with full on emotions and desires, and they listen (astaga). This adds to the feminist rope tugging this story along. It is a refreshingly complex idea that Indonesia has many kinds of men (the father and his friends are the chauvinistic archetypes we often know) and many kinds of women (the sisters and grandma fit a spectrum). This is a new character of Indonesia that I have met.

This modern celebration of the original film’s feminism trips over by the end. Maybe this reflects certain people’s insight into Indonesia. As Elizebeth E. Pisani says, “Indonesia is the bad boyfriend you keep coming back to.” Truly, this bad boyfriend cuts off its hip manbun and chops down the ideas of female freedom.

Tatyana Akman, Shanty Paredes and Tara Basro (L-R) star in the film. Image: Ini Kisah Tiga Dara

The ending leaves a lot to be desired. Love wins, men win and the film loses something. The magical complexity simply strung together with catchy, cutesy songs ends on a pretty standard note. Each sister finds a jodoh and even Dad does too. Standard dua anak cukup families are ready to be made with Grandma’s blessing. The sun sets over the magical waters of Indonesia as nothing much changes.

Or is it really that boring? Is it really that standard? Is it the film’s fault? The men get rejected in their proposals by their leading ladies… with a promise of “later” that is more than a nanti tossed across a market holder. Dad’s success is surprising, but then he has no actual background or arc so it is kind of a strange moment. It feels standard stuff that love wins and women cannot be independent of some greater structure. The historic Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? kiss gave us this Indonesian film formula that girls will live, and then get a boy.

In the end, Ini Kisah Tiga Dara is a fun film with a few faults but also great songs and ideas to explore. The sass of this movie keeps it going and makes us all laugh. The soul of this movie is modern and fresh. The songs keep it fun and interesting. Overall a great movie to get us thinking about Indonesia… or singing about the matriarchy.

Keep an eye out for further reviews in the weeks to come.

Q&A with “Angkot dan Bus Minangkabau” author David Reeve (Part 2)

David Reeve’s new book, Angkot dan Bus Minangkabau: Budaya Pop & Nilai-Nilai Budaya Pop, translated by Australia-based linguist and lecturer Iskandar P. Nugraha, reveals the colour and complexity of this aspect of Minangkabau pop culture in vibrant and entertaining fashion. We talked with both to find out more about their new work. You can read the first half of the interview here.

What do you hope to achieve with the book’s publication?

David: I am just delighted to make a record and provide some analysis of this very lively, creative and fun cultural phenomenon. I’m concerned that it is in danger of disappearing. For example the wonderfully decorated Padang city buses have almost all gone now that the Trans Padang bus service has been introduced … from a very lively popular art form they are now almost extinct. The number of angkot are also declining, down to about 2000 now from some 2200 a few years ago. Cheap credit for motorcycles has taken away some of the clientele. And online alternatives like Gojek and Grab haven’t started yet in Padang, but are most likely to come.

And further still, although outsiders are very impressed by the angkot of Padang, the angkot are not well-regarded by Padang authorities, seen as transgressive and rather wild. Current moves to ‘clean up’ Padang may affect the angkot too. Whereas in Manila, the very colorful and distinctive jeepneys are seen as an asset for city tourism. So as well as drawing attention to this form of popular culture in West Sumatra, I hope to stimulate interest in such from of decoration across the archipelago, and just possibly to help the angkot to be more appreciated in their home city (if that is not aiming a bit too high).

Iskandar: Given the current situation of angkot and buses of Minangkabau, I am totally with David that we should appreciate this West Sumatra icon of popular culture as such. This is the first publication that I know of which focuses on discussing the angkot as a cultural phenomenon and I hope it paves the way for further research in this area. Furthermore, the bilingual layout of the book and word lists for Minang, Indonesian and English should make it an invaluable teaching resource and accessible to a wide audience.

What has the response from readers been like so far?

Iskandar: We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from readers and publication reviews such as Jawa Pos and Republika but my proudest moment as a translator came when hearing from a local Minang while in West Sumatra. The young man from Bukittinggi said that he enjoyed the Indonesian translations very much and found it very accurate. He said, ‘The one who did the translations must have a very good understanding of Minangkabau culture.’

Tell us about the book tour in Indonesia – what was the response from bedah buku attendees?

Our original book tour schedule was to begin at Bandung Book fair with our publisher showcasing two new books: David’s angkot book and Peter Carey’s history of corruption in Indonesia book. There was obviously some political backlash surrounding Peter’s book and the venue cancelled our event. So while the publisher set about rescheduling our tour, David still managed to attend our book fair stand for a meet and greet with the fans.

After a 12 day wait, we finally got on the road. Our tour covered Java, Sumatra and Bali taking place at universities, cafés, libraries and bookshops (Kedai Tjikini Jakarta, Togamas Affandi bookshop Yogyakarta and C20 library Surabaya). Universities we visited included State University of Padang, Airlangga University of Surabaya, Brawijaya University of Malang, Wisnuwardhana University of Malang and Ngurah Rai University in Denpasar.

Among public figures appearing on our discussion panels were Indonesian LGBT campaigner and linguist expert Dr Dede Oetomo, well-known writer Seno Gumira Ajidarma, West Sumatran historian Zul Asri, Maya Ardiani and university academic Ary Budhi and Dr Kustyarini. The tour events were varied in format such as general lectures, book discussions and presentations. Kompas and Surya Malang published enthusiastic articles about the tour in Jakarta and Malang. David was also interviewed by local television in Jakarta.

Attendees at a book discussion in Padang. Photo: Iskandar P. Nugraha

In the towns in Indonesia we visited for the book tour, the responses were amazing. The events were always full, mostly by university students, academics and journalists. In some places like Jakarta, the event attracted people from varied backgrounds and ages, such as students of urban transport, artists, writers and so on. The questions were also varied. As online transport was becoming a hot issue during the book tour, some of of the audience were throwing questions around that issue too.

It has been planned that the second book tour for other Indonesian cities will held in the coming month of August 2017.

What’s next for you both?

There are a number of projects for us to go after this. Most likely we’ll get straight back to the long awaited biography of famous and respected Indonesian Chinese historian Ong Hok Ham. We have been working on this for sometime now. After that perhaps some more work on the Indonesian diaspora in far off-countries like South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname and New Caledonia, formed centuries ago by particular aspects of the colonial situation.

AIYA Links: 21 April

In the news

At the AIYA Blog

Kartini Day

  • To celebrate and honour Kartini Day, check out these AIYA opinion pieces from the archive.
  • KARTINI Film screenings! AIYA is proud to announce that from mid May,  in association with Legacy Pictures, Screenplay Films and All in Pixel, we will be hosting screenings across Australia of the new biopic film about Indonesia’s feminist heroine. Watch this space for further details about the screenings. The film is now showing in cinemas across Indonesia.





Photo above via Media Indonesia.

Q&A with “Angkot dan Bus Minangkabau” author David Reeve (Part 1)

David Reeve is well-known not only within the ranks of Australian academics of Bahasa Indonesia, but also as a researcher and expert on Indonesian culture. His new book, Angkot dan Bus Minangkabau: Budaya Pop & Nilai-Nilai Budaya Pop, translated by Australia-based linguist and lecturer Iskandar P. Nugraha, reveals the colour and complexity of this aspect of Minangkabau pop culture in vibrant and entertaining fashion. We interviewed both to find out more about their new work.

David, what is Angkot dan Bus Minangkabau all about?

Witty words and phrases, bright colours, pictures and symbols – these are the elements in a tradition of decoration of various kinds of transport in different parts of Indonesia: becaks, bajajs, trucks, bemos, buses and passenger vans (angkot) … sometimes combined with booming music. The trucks of the north coast of Java are famous for sexy or pious pictures plus snappy phrases. Buses north and south of Yogyakarta are often covered with big pictures and a range of phrases and slogans. The angkot of Medan and Makassar are sometimes quite boldly decorated. But the peak of all this decoration is found in West Sumatra, particularly on the fabulously decorated angkot of the city of Padang, and in a range of buses, large and small, including Padang city buses (now disappearing), and intercity and interprovincial buses. The book Angkot dan Bus Minangkabau is an attempt to record, celebrate and analyse this dramatic and fascinating phenomenon of popular art, popular culture and popular values.

What was the main impetus behind the writing of the book?

The first impetus came from my career as a teacher of Indonesian over several decades. I am always interested in dramatic and memorable language, language that packs a punch – language that I can use in Indonesian classes. I’ve found some terrific language in signs, posters, billboards and ads of all kinds, in print media, radio, television and the internet. I went to Padang in 2006 for a wedding and was bowled over by the angkot, these moving works of art flying up and down the city streets, and started recording the language decorations on them. Then I went to Bukittinggi and realised that the buses have their own forms of decoration as well, with big pictures more prominent. I thought this was all so dynamic, creative and fun that it was worth recording. Eventually the notes, taken over several years and several visits, became the core of the book.

Tell us about the writing process – what kind of research did you do? Where, with whom?

My research started with recording the language, words and phrases, on angkot and buses, not always easy as they tend to fly past at a considerable speed. Then the greater sophistication of mobile phones allowed me to take pictures as well, so I had a rapidly growing corpus of words and phrases on the one hand (in various languages, mainly English, Indonesian and Minangkabau), and an expanding collection of pictorial decorations on the other. I added to the collection on the occasions I could make short visits to West Sumatra … so the research was from a collection of short visits of a few days, but over about six years initially.

Iskandar and David at the book’s launch and panel discussion in Jakarta. Photo: Komunitas Bambu

I was really only intending to make a collection of teaching materials, but as the word bank and picture collection grew, I began to see that there were very specific themes recurring in the data … and that these themes represented various values, and further that the values endorsed there were very different from the ‘standard’ or ‘official’ version of Minangkabau values. I came to see the popular culture expressed on the angkot and buses as showing a counter-culture, in opposition to official values. So I started with a language collection but ended, almost despite myself, writing something more like sociology and ethnography – based on a corpus of language items.

For the first few years this was more like a personal hobby, but in the later few years I realised I needed help, especially with the Minangkabau language of course. So various individual Minangs helped out as research assistants, and I established a good contact with the Universitas Negeri Padang, where several staff and students helped, particularly in the last couple of years when it became clear that this was to be a book rather than a set of teaching materials. In Australia, Iskandar P. Nugraha helped in many ways, far beyond the very good translation he did. It is a bilingual book, with English on the left-hand page, and Indonesian on the right. And it has about 300 pictures.

Iskandar, tell us about your role as translator?

I’ve been living in Australia for over 20 years now. During that time I’ve worked with UNSW, USYD, NSW Department of Education, ABC and SBS and other Australian academics in various roles from lecturer and editor to voice over artist and actor. Working in these various environments has given me a diverse experience.

David and I have a history of working together; while at UNSW I assisted David with the development of the communicative language material with an emphasis on bahasa gaul (street language) and other informal language. I was also involved in the editing and translation of David’s 2013 book Golkar of Indonesia: An Alternative to the Party System. The Indonesian edition was also published by Komunitas Bambu with title Golkar sejarah yang hilang: akar pemikiran & dinamika. With the Angkot book, initially I was assisting David with the planning, research and collation of material both in Australia and Indonesia. I had already become quite immersed in the project so when the publisher suggested the book be bilingual, and David insisted that I was the best person to translate, it was rather exciting. My understanding of bahasa gaul was essential for this book.

You can read the second part of this interview next week.

Tradisi Paskah Di Kota Kupang

Paskah merupakan salah satu perayaan besar yang dirayakan oleh umat Katholik dan Protestan di Kupang, Nusa Tenggara Timur. Sebagai kota yang mayoritas penduduknya adalah Kristen, tentunya umat Kristen memiliki semangat yang besar ketika Paskah tiba.

Setiap gereja meperingati Hari Raya Paskah dengan mengadakan berbagai kegiatan. Beberapa kegiatan bahkan telah dilangsungkan sebagai agenda rutin dan dianggap sebagai sebuah tradisi. Salah satunya kegiatan tersebut adalah kegiatan kreasi salib.

Kreasi salib adalah kegiatan membuat replika Salib Tuhan Yesus untuk ditempatkan di area lingkungan gereja. Dalam kreasi salib ini, biasanya akan ada tiga buah salib yang akan dibuat. Hal ini dibuat untuk meggambarkan peristiwa penyaliban Tuhan Yesus di bukit Golgota dan bertujuan untuk memaknai kematian Tuhan Yesus yang telah menyelamatkan umat manusia dari dosa.

Kreasi salib ini juga memberikan ruang bagi para orang muda Kristen untuk mengeluarkan sisi kreatif mereka dalam merancang dan membuat bahan untuk membentuk salib. Bahan pembuatan salib pun berbeda beda, ada yang terbuat dari potongan kayu, potongan besi, potongan ranting, pecahan kaca atau dari barang-barang bekas. Itu semua bergantung pada kreatifitas dari jemaat. Bahkan tak jarang, di beberapa gereja, mereka menjadikan kegiatan ini sebagai ajang perlombaan untuk mengasah kreatifitas jemaat.

Gereja-gereja di Kupang umumnya memiliki banyak jemaat. Mereka biasanya dibagi dalam beberapa sektor untuk memudahkan pelayanan, misalnya dalam sebuah gereja terdapat 50 kepala keluarga, maka akan dibagi tiga sektor untuk pelayanan atau disesuaikan dengan kebutuhan pelayanan. Dimana, gereja–gereja di Kupang umumnya memiliki lebih dari dua sektor pelayanan. Jadi sendainya jika ada 10 gereja saja, maka ada sekitar 15-an salib yang didirikan untuk Paskah. Sehingga ketika Paskah tiba, kita akan dengan sangat mudah melihat ornamen salib di mana-mana yang bahkan telah didirikan dua minggu sebelum paskah. Setiap sektor dari gereja tersebut akan memilih sebuah tempat yang terbuka dan sedikit lebih luas untuk mendirikan tiga salib tersebut.

Lingkungan gereja tempat di mana saya tinggal juga melakukan hal yang sama. Tempat didirikan kreasi salib ini biasanya menjadi sentral kegiatan berkumpul selama kurang lebih seminggu dalam sektor itu. Berbagai kegiatan bersama pun digelar seperti peribadahan, menjadi tempat berkumpulnya para keluarga-keluarga Kristen dalam melakukan kegiatan bersama untuk menjalin keakraban satu sama lain serta menjadi ajang hiburan bagi anak-anak sekolah untuk mengisi masa liburan, karena libur paskah di Kupang berlangsung selama seminggu penuh. Bukan hanya itu, tapi tempat tersebut juga menjadi ajang membina keakraban bersama dengan teman-teman yang beragama lain karena ketika persiapan pembuatan kreasi salib, para pemuda Kristen juga mendapat banyak pertolongan dari teman yang berbeda keyakinan.

Puncak acara terjadi pada hari Jumat terakhir sebelum Paskah yang biasa disebut Jumat Agung (peringatan kematian Tuhan Yesus). Pada hari Jumat, setiap gereja akan merayakan Jumat Agung dengan melakukan peribadahan di gereja yang telah didekorasi dengan warna ungu untuk menunjukkan perasaan berkabung atas kematian Tuhan Yesus. Bukan hanya itu saja, ada tradisi lain yang dikhusukan bagi jemaat yang telah dewasa pada Jumat Agung yakni ibadah perjamuan (roti dan anggur) pada sore hari. Tradisi perjamuan ini memiliki makna yang dalam yakni sebagai pengingat akan kematian dan janji kebangkitan Tuhan Yesus.

Di gereja tempat saya beribadah, kami memiliki tradisi lain yaitu setelah ibadah jumat agung dan perjamuan di gereja, para jemaat akan kembali melaksanakan kegiatan lain di tempat kreasi salib pada malam hari yaitu kegiatan duduk bersama untuk melantunkan puji-pujian sebagai bentuk peringatan akan kematian Tuhan Yesus. Pada hari berikutnya (Sabtu), para jemaat akan kembali berkumpul di tempat salib untuk melakukan ibadah bersama untuk memaknai akan kebangkitan Tuhan dan dilanjutkan dengan kegiatan ramah tamah. Biasanya setelah ibadah hari kedua, banyak jemaat yang tidak pulang ke rumah, melainkan memilih bertahan untuk menjaga tempat salib, sambil menunggu pawai dalam lingkungan gereja yang sering disebut dengan pawai obor.

Pawai obor adalah kegiatan yang dilakukan oleh gereja bagi umat untuk memperingati tentang kebangkitan Yesus dari kematian. Sejarah mengapa disebut pawai obor, hal dikarenakan sejak dahulu digelarnya pawai ini, jemaat akan berjalan akan berjalan mengelilingi lingkungan gereja dengan membawa obor (alat penerang yang terbuat dari bambu yang telah diisi minyak tanah dan diberi sumbu diatasnya agar dapat diibakar). Kegiatan membawa obor ini dilakukan sejak dulu dikarenakan jaman dulu penerangan di jalan belum masih sangat minim, tidak sebanyak sekarang. Namun tradisi ini terus dibawa hingga sekarang.

Pawai ini akan dimulai pada dini hari sekitar jam tiga pagi di mana para jemaat yang ada di setiap sektor berkumpul di gereja. Kemudian, para jemaat beserta para pengurus gereja akan berjalan mengelilingi setiap sektor sesuai dengan rute yang telah ditentukan dari pihak gereja. Mereka secara bersama-sama akan melaksanakan pawai dalam lingkup gereja mereka untuk melihat kreasi masing-masing sektor dan melihat beberapa pementasan drama singkat tentang cerita Paskah yang dipersiapkan dimasing-masing sektor. Setelah semua rute selesai, jemaat akan kembali ke gereja sebagai penutup.

Pawai obor yang telah selesai akan dilanjutkan dengan melakukan kegiatan lain di gereja yakni kegiatan mencari telur Paskah yang disembunyikan dalam area gereja. Kegiatan ini menjadi sangat menarik karena akan diikuti oleh semua kalangan usia, baik anak-anak atau orang tua, mereka akan berusaha untuk mencari telur Paskah. Walaupun mungkin hanya telur rebus biasa yang disembunyikan, tetapi ada kebahagian tersendiri ketika kita berhasil menemukan telur tersebut dalam masa raya Paskah.

Kegiatan cari telur Paskah ini bermakna tentang perubahan hidup yang lebih baik lagi setelah Paskah. Jemaat diharapkan dapat menjadi pribadi yang sudah melepas kelakuan buruk di masa lalu dan berusaha hidup ke depan dengan hati yang baru dan kelakuan yang baik. Kegiatan Paskah ini akan diakhiri dengan ibadah bertema Paskah di gereja sebagai puncak dari perayaan Paskah.

Demikianlah tradisi yang bisa saya gambarkan secara utuh tentang Paskah di Kupang, ini hanya sebagian kecil. Karena di NTT punya banyak cara tradisi yang dilakukan ketika Paskah. Sebut saja kegiatan Semana Santa di Flores. Setiap tempat memiliki caranya sendiri untuk menghayati masa Paskah. Kegiatan itu juga dapat berupa kegiatan berbagi kepada orang tak mampu, pelayanan kasih kepada orang tua, bahkan lomba-lomba bertema rohani lainnya.

Tetapi yang menjadi sama adalah tradisi membuat kreasi salib yang terus dihayati sebagai bentuk pengingat tentang pengorbanan Sang Juruselamat bagi manusia yang dimaknai lebih lewat perilaku yang membawa sukacita. Paskah bukan hanya berbicara tentang tradisi, tetapi berbicara lebih banyak tentang hubungan manusia dengan pencipta lewat keyakinan yang dianutnya serta tentang keharmonisan hidup bersama orang lain. Tradisi boleh berbeda, tapi makna tentang Paskah haruslah tetap sama yakni tentang kasih yang tiada berakhir dari Tuhan Yesus yang semestinya terus kita sebar kepada sesama.

AIYA Links: 14 April

AIYA would like to wish everybody celebrating Easter a safe and happy holiday.

News & analysis

At the AIYA Blog



Career Champion: cricket enthusiast Bruce Christie

The Australia Indonesia Awards celebrate the contributions of those who provide inspiration and enhance understanding between Australians and Indonesians. AIYA is chronicling the achievements of these Career Champions in a series of interviews with this year’s finalists. Bruce Christie, a proponent of cricket in Eastern Indonesia, is this week’s interviewee.

Photo: Bruce Christie

Tell us a little about your early career.

I studied Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland, living at International House in St Lucia. I worked in private veterinary practices in Gympie and Caboolture before beginning work with the NSW government in 1982.

I was appointed to the position of Australian Animal Health Advisor with the Eastern Islands Veterinary Services Project, an AusAID/GOI project from 1989 to 1992, and returned as the Project Leader for the second phase from 1995 to 1998. I was based in Kupang, NTT.

I was appointed the NSW Chief Veterinary Officer in 2002 and now hold the position of Deputy Director General Biosecurity and Food Safety within the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

What brought you to connect with Indonesia?

In 1989 I applied for a position with the Eastern Islands Veterinary Services Project (EIVSP). I was successful and moved to Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, for three years. I then returned frequently to Indonesia on short-term assignments for the same project before returning again as team leader in 1995. Following my return to Australia in 1998 I continued to work in Indonesia through projects with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

It was during our second term in Indonesia that I started to teach young Indonesians to play cricket. Working with the Nusa Tenggara Timur Cricket Club, we picked five of the best players to participate in a cricket tour to Bali to challenge the Bali International Cricket Club. To cut a long story short, we lost but were competitive. The group (consisting of Soni Hawoe, Melvin Ndoen, Yeri Rosongna, Bernadus Bena and Zack Awang) went on to become the founding members of Indonesian cricket. Soni, for example, is now General Manager for Persatuan Cricket Indonesia (PCI) and the others are still employed by PCI and the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Since 2014 we’ve had some great success in reinvigorating cricket in NTT. We’ve taught cricket to many children at primary and secondary schools and at universities as well as other young adults. The NTT men’s team recently came third at the Indonesian national games, PON 2016. This was the first time that cricket had been included in PON and the first time an NTT team has won a medal at PON. So unusual was this that the Governor of NTT gave each of the cricketers a house!

I believe that sport provides many opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and socio-economic development and we have already demonstrated proof of this. Our original group are good examples. They all have jobs and families, and they have been to many different countries as a result of playing in or managing cricket teams. They have also passed their knowledge on to another generation of Indonesians who are now paid to play and participate in the management of cricket, all of whom believe in the importance of Australia and Indonesia being friends.

Read more about our plan for cricket in the region on the NTTCC website.

Tell us about your current occupation.

I am the Deputy Director General Biosecurity and Food Safety with the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Biosecurity is all about protecting our economy, environment and community from pests, diseases and weeds and food safety is about protecting people from food related illnesses, both of which and are extremely important in both Australia and Indonesia.

I was very lucky to live and work in Indonesia, particularly eastern Indonesia, for over 10 years. During that time I made many friends and hope I was able to help some of the people of Indonesia, by working in my professional capacity with Indonesian government officials and farmers to help develop their livestock production systems and in my private capacity to develop cricket.

I am also very grateful to Indonesia for what I learned while I was there as it has helped me in both my career and life in general. The skills I learned are many and include: learning a new language, learning to see life from different perspectives, to understand what it’s like to be a minority, and to manage projects and to deliver outcomes, sometimes in difficult situations.

Photo: NTTCC website

What do you enjoy the most about working in Indonesia?

My Indonesian friends, the variety of cultures that exist in Indonesia in relative harmony, singing Indonesian love songs at karaoke, Indonesian food, the variety of different environments that exist across Indonesia, the surf, fishing and snorkelling.

What are your thoughts on the future of the Australian-Indonesian relationship in sport?

Sport offers a great way to improve cross cultural awareness between our countries and within each country as well as providing socio-economic benefits to those who participate.

Cricket is an international game, played across the world. This opens up opportunities for players to travel the world and to see how others live. It teaches individuals physical skills that can help to keep both children and adults healthy. It teaches skills that are applicable to life in general, such as living and working within a set of rules that apply to everyone. It teaches respect for the law and the umpire. It teaches teamwork as well as praising individual effort. It teaches respect within a team and between teams. It teaches religious tolerance and it offers the opportunity for raising socio-economic levels within communities.

What advice would you offer to youth interested in working in sport?

If you get the opportunity to travel or live and work in another country, grab it with both hands and make the most of it.

Go with an open mind and heart. Learn what makes us similar but also recognise and learn to understand the differences that exist. Being different isn’t wrong, it’s just different. No one has the answer for everything and there are usually a number of different ways of doing things.

Travel! See as much as you can while you are there and make sure you keep in touch with the friends that you make when you return. Be generous. You are in a very privileged position being able to spend some time in a foreign country. Be respectful of the cultures you visit. Try new things and have fun.

We would like to thank both Bruce and the President of the Australia Indonesia Association of NSW, Eric de Haas. You can email Bruce at, and find out more about the Nusa Tenggara Timur Cricket Club at

ReelOzInd! 2017: Call for Submissions

ReelOzInd! Australia Indonesia Short Film Competition and Festival returns in 2017!

Near neighbours should be friends not mysteries!
Short films are a great way to share stories and build understanding.

After the success of the inaugural ReelOzInd Australia Indonesia Short Film Competition and Festival in 2016, The Australia-Indonesia Centre is excited to announce its return in 2017.

The inaugural ReelOzInd! saw hundreds of entries from both nations and a shortlist of films screened in over a dozen cities in Australia and Indonesia. A global online audience of more than 5000 viewers had the opportunity to view and vote for their favourites to select the People’s Choice Award.

ReelOzInd! Australia Indonesia Short Film Competition 2017 theme is WATER.

As island nations and neighbouring archipelagos, Australians and Indonesians have a special connection to the seas and waterways that flow around and through their lands.

“Water provides us with playgrounds for fun, sites for ritual and food for our tables, but it is also sometimes a source of hardship and insecurity,” says Festival Coordinator Jemma Purdey.

“Looking to the future we each have shared concerns and challenges. Water as a precious resource is one of these.”

ReelOzInd! 2017 is seeking documentary, fiction and animation short films incorporating WATER as a theme within the story narrative, or as a visual element in the film.

A shortlist will be judged by high-profile Australians and Indonesians from the film industry.

Awards will be given for Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Animation, Best Fiction and special awards for Best Youth Film (created by a filmmaker 13-18 years) and Best Collaboration between Australian and Indonesian filmmakers.

The best films will be screened across Australia and Indonesia (September to November 2017) in a
travelling festival (bioskop keliling).


ReelOzInd! was established in 2016 to encourage Australians and Indonesians to share their stories because although we are close neighbours, Australians and Indonesians know little about each other.

But we also know that Australians and Indonesians want to get to know each other better and that we share a great sense of humour and passion for creativity.

ReelOzInd! is unique. There is no other festival that brings Australian and Indonesian film makers together to share their work and stories on the same screen.


“ReelOzInd! has given us a tremendous experience to see our work getting screened in so many places in Indonesia and also abroad, Australia. It encourages us to speak up louder with our film. We doubted before, but we have seen that it is possible. We wish such opportunity will come again for our next projects!” – Stephanie Pascalita, Producer, ‘The Eagles’ Eyes’, Winner Best Documentary

“The selected films really reflect the uniqueness of Australian and Indonesian culture and the relationship between the two countries that not many people know…. ReelOzInd! plays a strategic role in growing the understanding among the young generation, future leaders of both countries.” – Ina Riyanto, Head of Film and Television, Universitas Multimedia Nusantara, Tangerang

“Seeing all the great work from Indonesian filmmakers and also collaboration entries alongside my film Dog and Robot up on the big screen at ACMI was amazing. I even got to speak on a panel with the producer of The Matrix, one of my favourite films.” – Blair Harris, Animator, ‘Dog and Robot’, Winner Best Animation


Best Film – AUD $3,500
Best Collaboration between Indonesian and Australian – AUD $2,500
Best Documentary/Best Animation/ Best Fiction – ea. AUD $2,500
Best Film in Youth category – AUD$1,500

For more information, visit

AIYA Links: 7 April

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