AIYA Survey 2016: Wrap-Up

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At midnight on ANZAC Day, submissions to our third annual AIYA Survey officially closed, and what an amazing result! After a one-week extension, to allow any stragglers the chance to respond (you know who you are!), we have tallied some headline statistics which we’re delighted to share. Firstly, the 2016 survey attracted one of the largest responses we have ever received, and we owe it all to the members and friends of AIYA. Thanks for taking the time to share your views and ideas with us. These results enable us to make AIYA an even better organisation, and ensure we continue representing your views in our mission to connect, inform and inspire Australian and Indonesian young people.

We were thrilled to receive responses from residents of every state in Australia, and in close to two thirds of the provinces of Indonesia. We achieved a rough balance between female and male, Indonesian and Australian, and across our target age groups in our survey respondents. People from many different stages of education and fields of expertise were represented, including a number of students still in high school!

Of those already in the workforce, close to one third of respondents identified themselves as working in the education and training sector. This reflects the huge importance of education in the Australia-Indonesia relationship, and the passion of Australian and Indonesian teachers and trainers.

We were inundated with valuable suggestions and ideas which will be used to inform AIYA’s advice and advocacy programs. The AIYA Survey team are now working to create a final survey report, in which we will provide a detailed analysis of the results and highlight the key messages and suggestions we received. We’re looking forward to delving into all your feedback and valuable ideas. The report will be released in June-July, so watch this space!

Thanks to Nick Mark, Mike Tarn and Sam Bashfield from the AIYA Survey team, as well as Natasha Burrows and her legendary Comms team, for all their hard work.

AIYA Links: 29 April


Join a network of young leaders that crosses borders. Applications to join this year’s Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth in Bali are now open.

In the news

At the AIYA Blog

Muhammad Beni Saputra’s AIYEP Experience

Australia had long posed unanswered questions in my mind. I wondered why Australia had become such a developed country with such a strong economy and technical sophistication? Why had the country attracted so many students from all over the world, despite the fact that the Land Down Under was so geographically isolated? And why had Indonesia, its closest neighbour, not seen the same development? I believed that there must have been a ‘special’ aspect of Australia that allowed it to develop and become the country that it is today.

Beni making new friends at Taronga Zoo, Sydney. Photo: Muhammad Beni Saputra

Fortunately in 2013, I was given the opportunity to uncover these answers for myself through the Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP). My exploration of Australia began when I was an intern at the Education Centre of Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. At the centre, I had the chance to engage in the educational activities at the zoo. The centre was regularly visited by a variety of students from primary school to university. Students were educated on different subjects, including nature conservation and animal life. What really captivated me during my time in Australia was learning about the Australian education system and the way that teachers educate their students.

I saw how teachers always gave compliments when their students were diligent. They praised their students with phrases like ‘Excellent’, ‘Fantastic’, ‘Great work’ and ‘Well done.’ Therefore, these words became a part of their everyday life. The students who came to the centre were always well behaved. They would line up without pushing one another, were quiet without being asked and didn’t need instruction from their teachers. When the class started they would pay full attention and actively asked questions. They raised their hands, often competing to be chosen and were confident when expressing their opinions.

A presentation for school students on a visit to the Zoo. Photo: Muhammad Beni Saputra

I noticed on a visit to a local kindergarten in Mosman, a town north of Taronga Zoo, that the case of kindergarten students was no different than those of primary school students. I was accompanied to the kindergarten by Ryan, a staff member of the Zoo, and Cal, a well-known Indigenous member of the local area. During our visit we brought animals including a snake and a baby crocodile to show the children. We also brought Aboriginal musical instruments like a didgeridoo and clapsticks. Ryan told various stories to the children about animals, and Cal entertained the students with songs.

When we started the class, the students all sat down respectfully in lines. I even witnessed a student trying to tidy up the sitting arrangement to make each line straight. The children during the class were also just as confident and excited to express their opinion in the same way as the students in elementary school I had witnessed previously.

AIYEP allowed me to uncover answers to some of my pondering questions. It is clear to me now that education and character building for children from an early age plays a significant role in shaping Australia as it is today. The country’s unique development considering its geographical location is a great example for countries including Indonesia.

Happy faces all round for Beni and the Taronga Zoo. Photo: Muhammad Beni Saputra

I highly recommend AIYEP to everyone, not only for how exciting and rewarding the program is but also as a wonderful way of understanding the cultural development of other countries.

This is the second article in a series of reflections from alumni of Australia-Indonesia student exchange programs. The editors of the AIYA Blog would like to thank Samantha Howard for her considerable assistance in commissioning and editing articles in this series. You can find her solo and collaborative blog and journal writing here and here.

Indonesian Film Festival 2016: Pushing the Boundaries


The Indonesian Film Festival (IFF), screened at Melbourne’s ACMI theatre, is known for its ability to tackle controversial topics and push boundaries, and this year’s festival was no exception. In its 11th installment there were eight films screened and topics examined included LGBT rights, women’s rights and issues of freedom. Thursday night’s opening film was based on Dewi Lestari’s best-selling novel Filosofi Kopi (Philosophy of Coffee). The film follows the story of two friends Jody (Rio Dewanto) and Ben (Chicco Jerikho) as they attempt to save their coffee business. While the film itself has not been overly successful at the Indonesian box office it has given rise to an arguably more successful coffee shop in Jakarta.

Surrealism – Another Trip to the Moon

On the Friday night a surrealist film Another Trip to the Moon was screened. Moderator and film critic Peter Krausz said this was one of the films that really impressed him as, he “thought it was most unusual for an Indonesian film in terms of the arthouse approach.” This film would appear to be a breakaway from the traditional genres of romance and drama often associated with Indonesian films in the past.

Women’s Issues – Nay

Another film which broke away from stereotypical themes seen in previous Indonesian films was Nay. Written and directed by novelist Djenar Maesa Ayu it follows the story of Nay (Sha Ine Febriyanti) who discovers she is pregnant only to find her boyfriend is entirely disinterested in having the child. As she grapples with whether to have the child under serious hardship, an opportunity to star in a feature film arises. Sha Ine Febriyanti gives a fine performance as Nay in her first feature length film. IFF Liaison Officer Olyvia Samosir says she was impressed with the way Nay was able to “promote awareness about women’s issues.”

Horror Without the Ghosts – Badoet  

Perhaps the highlight of the Festival arrived on the final night with the screening of popcorn horror Badoet (The Clown). This film broke away from previous Indonesian horror films without the appearance of traditional ghosts such as kuntilanak or pocong. Nevertheless, this did not make the film any less scary judging by the screams of the capacity crowd. IFF Media Team Member Ralf Dudat described the final night as a huge success, especially with the Q&A featuring Badoet producer Daniel Topan. “The closing film was a highlight in that it really had such a good vibe, the audience was really into it, and the Q&A was great.”

Highlights of IFF – Q&A Sessions  

One of the other highlights of IFF is that every film had an actor, director or producer in attendance for the Q&A session. As Peter Krausz says, “What sets this Festival apart from most other festivals is having guests for every film and I think that’s fantastic. There is always a director, actor or whoever to represent the film and then talk about the film and I think that’s what sets the Indonesian Film Festival apart from most other film festivals.” Another highlight was the educational screening which gave students of Bahasa Indonesia a chance to connect with what they have been learning in the classroom through film.

Improvements for IFF – Funding and Publicity

Despite the films offering a variety of topics one disappointment was the half-empty theatres for many of the screenings. Ralf Dudat suggests better funding is one way the Festival could be improved. “From a planning point of view there are a lot of improvements needed. Funding, we’ve all been talking about that already. Funding is the basic and then long term strategy, and unites the vision of what we want the Film Festival to be.” Peter Krausz added that it would be great to see more Australians coming to the Festival. “[Audiences] need to be broadened so there is a much better understanding of Indonesian culture and cinema.”

Despite the relatively poor crowds, IFF achieved its objective of showcasing a variety of Indonesian films and breaking the stereotypes of what Indonesia actually is. As Olyvia Samosir points out, “What people think about Indonesia is not always the same as what we actually do. We just want to break the stereotypes and break the boundaries, to show people a different side of Indonesia.” In doing so, IFF has again shown itself to be a chance for filmmakers and audiences to see a different side and perspective of Indonesia. With greater funding and promotion next year there is no limits to what IFF could be.

AIYA Links: 22 April

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We want to know what you think! The third annual AIYA Survey of members and friends takes about 15 minutes and helps seek to identify who you are, your opinion on the Australia-Indonesia relationship and how you’d like it to evolve.

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Events & opportunities

Opini: Mengenai Hari Kartini – Hafizah Jusril

“Habis gelap terbitlah terang.”

Hari ini, 21 April, di Indonesia diperingati Hari Kartini. Biasanya, berbagai acara akan bermunculan untuk merayakan hari kelahiran Raden Ajeng Kartini, sosok perempuan yang menjadi salah satu figur paling berjasa bagi perempuan-perempuan di Indonesia.

Kartini bersama suaminya, Joyodiningrat pada tahun 1903.

Biasanya, perusahan-perusahan memanfaatkan kesempatan ini dengan promosi berbagai produk ataupun jasa dengan kemasan feminim. Biasanya, berbagai tulisan muncul di media massa; mulai dari membahas emansipasi dan feminisme, ataupun menelaah apa tujuan, makna Hari Kartini, atau hal lain yang dikaitkan dengan perempuan Indonesia. Biasanya, berbagai obrolan muncul di sosial media, mulai dari sekadar ucapan ‘Selamat Hari Kartini’ hingga diskusi hangat ibu rumah tangga vs wanita karir. Jujur, sebelumnya saya jarang benar-benar memperhatikan ataupun berfikir apa makna Hari Kartini. Sampai hari ini.

Butuh beberapa waktu bagi saya untuk menjawab “Apa sih makna hari kartini buat kamu?”. Banyak hal berseliweran di pikiran saya, mulai dari tugas tulisan tentang Hari Kartini di waktu SMP, lomba baju kebaya sewaktu SMA, hingga berbagai tulisan tentang perempuan Indonesia yang akhir-akhir ini semakin banyak hadir di sosial media. Sayangnya saya bukan ahli sejarah untuk menjawab makna Hari Kartini dengan membahas perkembangan perempuan Indonesia. Pengetahuan saya tentang isu gender juga hanya sebatas membaca headline tentang emansipasi di media massa. Namun, saya akan menjawab pertanyaan diatas dengan sedikit refleksi pada pengalaman pribadi. Bagi saya, RA Kartini telah membuka satu hal yang sangat berharga bagi saya: kesempatan untuk memilih.

Dengan banyak hal yang lalu lalang dalam hidup, kita selalu dihadapkan pada pilihan. Bagi perempuan, sebagian orang melihat pilihan yang ada terbatas ataupun “dibatasi” oleh hal-hal tertentu. RA Kartini dengan quote terkenalnya “Habis gelap terbitlah terang” menjadi salah satu sosok pertama yang dikenal berani membuat pilihan dan berani memperjuangkan pilihan yang dipilih. Saat ini, apalagi dengan adanya sosial media, kita – sengaja ataupun tidak disengaja – mengkritisi/dikritisi, menghakimi/dihakimi. Oleh karena itu, Hari Kartini mengingatkan saya akan kesempatan luxurious yang sangat berharga: kesempatan untuk mendalami pilihan yang ada, kesempatan untuk memilih, kesempatan untuk berani memilih, dan kesempatan untuk berani memperjuangkan hal yang sudah dipilih. Hari Kartini mengingatkan saya untuk bersyukur akan hal ini dengan memahami berbagai pilihan yang ada. Hari Kartini mengingatkan saya untuk mempelajari pilihan-pilihan yang ada sebelum memilih. Hari Kartini juga mengingatkan saya untuk menghormati perempuan-perempuan di luar sana yang sudah membuat pilihan dan memperjuangkan pilihan itu, baik itu pilihan untuk melanjutkan studi ke jenjang yang lebih tinggi, pilihan untuk berumah tangga, pilihan untuk berkarir, pilihan untuk hidup mandiri, apapun itu.

Opinion: Hari Kartini and Re-defining the Women’s Movement

Today is a special day in Indonesia: Hari Kartini. A national holiday where young girls and women dress up in Javanese kebaya and participate in fashion shows and cooking competitions. Alongside this, there are events held by both government and non-government organisations: talks, free mammograms, and workshops. Activists take to the streets for women’s issues around education, working conditions, domestic violence, and maternal healthcare. This all occurs on the birthday of a woman regarded as one of ‘Indonesia’s first feminists’, born over 100 years ago in Java. But who really is Kartini?

Kartini 1Her Story

Born into an aristocratic Javanese family during Dutch colonial rule, Raden Ajeng Kartini received a Dutch education until the age of 12, when it was common for girls to be ‘secluded’ as they went through puberty. Despite this, Kartini continued to learn independently, with the assistance of Marie Ovink-Soer, the wife of a Dutch regent. She gained access to a plethora of Dutch books, newspapers and articles in Ovnik-Soer’s library, and her previous Dutch schooling allowed her to communicate with pen pals in the Netherlands. Through these letters, she exchanged ideas about women’s emancipation with her friends abroad and produced over a hundred short stories, memorandums and ethnographic works in which she expressed her opposition to polygamous marriage, advocated for the education of young girls, described life under colonial rule in the Dutch East Indies, and shared visions for the future of women. But is this why Indonesia celebrates her in a national holiday?

Changing Depictions Through Time

Kartini’s birthday became a national day of celebration in 1964, well into Sukarno’s presidency. Hari Kartini was championed to the public as a symbol of Indonesian nationalism and the struggle against colonial rule. This was important to the newly-independent Indonesia, and using the Kartini platform to promote this vision among young Indonesian women was considered part of the nation-building process during Sukarno’s time. Fast-forward a few years into Suharto’s era, and we find the celebration of this day transformed. The sexual politics propagated by the ‘Gerwani myth’ under the Suharto regime saw Kartini represented as the ‘ideal woman’ – a submissive wife and dutiful mother. Hari Kartini became Hari Ibu, and we began to see the rise of the tight kebaya costumes and domestic activities, remnants of which are ever present in reformasi Indonesia today.

Changing depictions of history by different governments appears to be a common practice. The focus on ANZAC Day in Australia, for example, has also shifted through time. Commemorating the day Australia ‘lost’ a war has been represented as Australia’s first overseas ‘debut’ as a ‘federated’ nation, a struggle for freedom, and a reflection of our close connection with the Asia-Pacific region in Kokoda, respectively. Successive administrations have in this way shaped the meaning of ANZAC Day to serve a particular political function. Whether you agree or disagree with the intentions behind these representations is another question altogether, but one thing remains true: commemorative traditions are powerful for promoting certain agendas and starting conversations.

Is Hari Kartini still relevant today?

Kartini’s vision for women’s emancipation and education has seen much success over the years. Indonesian girls have on average higher enrolment rates in primary and secondary schools than boys, and the literacy rate of women aged 15+ was 90% in 2011 (World Bank, 2011). It is true that Indonesian women enjoy many freedoms today that were oppressed in previous generations, including seeing the election of a female President. But this does not mean the struggle has ended. For example, women applying to the National Police are forced to undergo degrading virginity testing, and despite constitutional protection against gender discrimination, according to a 2013 Press Release from Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), there have been approximately 342 discriminatory laws passed on a national and local level since 1999.

While commemorative days such as Hari Kartini are great platforms for celebrating past achievements, we should also be wary of where we’ve fallen short and the work yet to do. Kartini’s story, which is really that of a privileged Javanese woman with a Western education, does not represent all Indonesian women today. We need to hear from non-Javanese women, poor women, working women, trans women, survivors of sexual violence, and others – those who do not have the access to resources and networks Kartini did to make her voice heard. We need to stop thinking about Hari Kartini as what a woman ‘should’ be, and start thinking about what women ‘could’ be, and the barriers to achieving this. We need to recognise the massive potential in an essential part of our population, rather than constrict it to boxes that come in the shape of tight kebaya and cooking competitions. This is by no means a small task, but if Indonesia is serious about the emancipation of women, it must re-assess what a national day for women truly means.

Lessons for the Future

The imperative to re-examine the women’s movement does not stop in Indonesia. When I rack my brain to find a date where we celebrate women in Australia, I ashamedly cannot name a single national day: we simply do not have one. Whilst in Australia, many women have better access to education and opportunities frequently denied to most of our sisters around the world, it is easy to forget how much further there is to go. Domestic violence, workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, a lack of affordable childcare and a host of other issues are faced by Australian women every day. Linear narratives about “how far we’ve come” that ignore ongoing problems are reflective of the persistence of machismo and patriarchal discourse which dominates both Indonesia and Australia’s understanding of women’s issues. This can only change if we actively contest these dominant voices and narratives with open, inclusive and critical discussion with all sectors of society.

However, if there’s anything we’ve learnt about the way national days are shaped and promoted, the debate and discussion such days generate in the public domain and the impact it has on initiating an active discourse on a topic is undeniable. They have the potential to set new agendas and centre the national psyche on the inertia of women’s continual struggle for basic rights here and everywhere. Perhaps we in Australia should take a leaf out of Indonesia’s book and dig deep into our history to find a date to mark a renewed conversation for the continued struggle of women in the world today.

Opinion: Finding Kartini – Dea Safira Basori

When I was a child, I didn’t know the correlation between Kartini Day and feminism, and nor did I know the word ‘feminism’. Kartini Day was mostly a day when children went to school wearing traditional dress, which consists of a kebaya and jarik (batik sarong). Back then, it was fun to celebrate Kartini Day without even understanding, or having a deeper sense of meaning of who Kartini really was or what she did for the country.

The author on Kartini Day, 2014. Photo: Dea Safira Basori

As I grew up, I learned what she achieved in her life through a narrated biography series broadcast by one of the national TV news channels. What I learned from the program was that she was placed in an arranged marriage against her wishes with someone who already had three concubines, and despite being the only legal wife Kartini was opposed to polygamy. Coming from a family of nobility, she used her privilege to open a school for indigenous Javenese women (though this still required her husband’s permission).

As I was educated abroad during my primary school years, I did not know much about how Indonesia’s education system portrays Kartini today. It did once cross my mind that we usually only celebrate her legacy by parading in traditional clothes and competing for prizes by wearing the best traditional outfit. But I never voiced these thoughts.

At the time, I also never thought of Kartini as a rebel due to my lack of knowledge. There was nothing about her to which I could relate, as my community portrayed her as a perfect woman who was smart but still relied on a male figure in her life to allow her to do what she wants – which is just not me.

When I grew older, I experienced sexism even from my own parents. They always axed my dreams of becoming an astronaut, a teacher and a journalist and they let my brother choose what he wanted to study – but not me. My parents have always wanted me to have a respectable job so I can find a respectable husband, and through this they have persuaded me into studying medicine or dentistry; they didn’t let my curiosity flourish. As much as my parents have supported my rights to receive higher education, they are always involved in the decision making.

Growing up as a woman in Indonesia is hard. Personally I have experienced sexism, bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination, especially when I am vocal, and this behavior towards me is mostly in the name of religion. I have always been vocal despite my community never encouraging women speaking out. My existence was always validated by a man and almost every man I met in my community always had the urge to correct me. I knew something was wrong. My mom also warned me that I could never find a husband because a man will never want to be overshadowed by a woman’s success. I so badly wanted to prove that she was wrong.

Despite the fact people have always used religion to attack me, I have always believed that God created humans with a simple logic and a noble belief, which is to use these gifts for the betterment of humankind. I always use logic as it is the greatest gift which should be embraced.

I started educating myself and took a great interest in women’s issues through news and articles online. It started from the core of how women are told to stay at home after marriage and listen to what their husband says. I read Mona Eltahawy’s book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. I soon discovered the issues women have been facing in the Middle East are not far from what Indonesian women have also been going through.

I came across Parasit Lajang (Single Parasite) by Ayu Utami, a book on Indonesian women that finally led me to become more vocal. I also came across her essay discussing how the New Order led by Soeharto’s regime conditioned the image of women, especially Kartini, to be educated but also domesticated with house duties. I believe this conditioning has been perpetuated since the biggest Indonesian genocide. The propaganda claims Gerwani (Indonesian Women’s Movement) emasculated and castrated men, which is opposed to what Gerwani was actually working on. Gerwani has empowered thousands of women so they can be involved in decision making in their communities, to improve the wellness of all Indonesia’s citizens.

In my eyes, Soeharto’s method of reforming Kartini’s image was systemized within the bureaucracy. Every government institution uses the Dharma Wanita Union (the union for the wives of employees) to shape how women should present themselves – how they dress, talk and act. I’ve seen my mom in this union and I can see she was oppressed because of the political games, but she played along. Regardless, she still accepts it.

I soon realised that playing dress ups and allowing a man to dictate what you should do and who you should be is not what Kartini fought for. I studied her biography again and this time I studied it deeply. I finally could relate to her. She lived in an oppressed society, the society in which I am still living today. She read far more books than I could ever read. And she had the instinct to use her privilege to educate the underprivileged women around her. Yes, I can relate to her and what made her a true feminist. She is the kind of feminist who empowers women to stay true to their personal values, and to let no man stand in the way.

Deep in my heart I know I am oppressed, but there is no way to describe my struggle with words except by being a feminist.

Unfortunately, I believe the celebration of Kartini Day today is not about empowering women. And sadly, I feel Kartini’s fight is not commemorated as the fight for Indonesian women’s rights. Some also think it would be better to combine Kartini Day with Mother’s Day, which is completely different from what Kartini advocated. I am also saddened by the lack of knowledge even of young educated women who think a woman’s existence should be justified by a man. Many people who are unfamiliar with the term ‘feminism’ also believe a man can never be a feminist.

I feel the idea that feminism is morally destroying is deeply rooted in the nation’s consciousness. But then again, how can you expect your country to develop in terms of welfare if you limit the basic human rights for women to be involved in and take part in society? I have seen a lot of parents praying that their new born babies become a good, devoted, religious person and be useful for the country, but not a single one of them thought about making sure their kids have the rights to be involved in making the country a better place.

To me, the Kartini Day we’ve all been celebrating is no longer relevant to what Kartini fought for. As the generation that holds the key to the future, we should renew and remember her as one of the pioneers of women’s rights to education – but not just her. We should also remember other female warriors who fought side by side with men and even led the war against colonialism to achieve Indonesia’s freedom. In fact, there should be a day for Cut Nyak Dien, Cut Meutia, Marta Christina Tiahahu and Nyi Ageng Serang for being female war warriors. There should be a day for every women’s struggle until we achieve the social equality and freedom our predecessors fought for.

Pengalaman AIYEP Rizky Kurnia Wijaya

Nama saya Rizky Kurnia Wijaya. Teman-teman di Indonesia biasanya memanggil saya Rizkur, karena nama Rizky mungkin sudah terlalu umum di sini. Dahulu saya adalah anak yang tidak cukup popular di lingkungan sekitar. Saya juga tidak begitu cemerlang dan brilliant di sekolah. Namun saya begitu mencintai Bahasa Inggris. Saya tidak pernah menyangka, kecintaan terhadap Bahasa Inggris mampu memberikan banyak hal yang cukup luar biasa di hidup ini.

Semua bermula ketika masa kuliah. Saya bisa mengikuti sebuah program yang benar benar bisa mengubah jalan hidup saya, menambah networking, juga memberikan keluarga baru berisi orang-orang luar biasa. Program itu bernama Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP). AIYEP merupakan program pertukaran pemuda antar negara Indonesia dan Australia. Total peserta yang mengikuti kegiatan ini berjumlah 18 orang dari Indonesia, dan 18 orang dari Australia. Pada saat program tahun 2013-2014, saya beruntung terpilih menjadi perwakilan provinsi Lampung pada event tersebut.

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Rizky di kantor NSW Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Foto: Rizky Kurnia Wijaya

Selama kurang lebih 4.5 bulan, AIYEP memberikan begitu banyak pengalaman seru dan berharga. Pertama kalinya pergi jauh dari rumah, pertama kalinya tinggal bersama keluarga dari background yang berbeda dan tidak pernah bertemu sebelumnya. Keluarga yang saya tinggali ketika program di Sydney adalah keluarga Duncan, beranggotakan Dad Duncan, Mom Nicole, Emily dan Cameron. Keluarga yang sungguh amat sangat baik dan mau saya repotkan selama tinggal satu bulan di sana.

Banyak kejadian lucu yang saya alami selama tinggal bersama keluarga Duncan. Salah satunya adalah tentang suhu dingin. Ketika pertama saya tinggal di sana, saya begitu kedinginan setiap malam hari. Sudah berlapis-lapis baju yang saya kenakan, sampai saya pakai kain penutup furniture yang ada di kamar tersebut, tapi saya tetap kedinginan dengan suhu di Parramatta. Setelah tiga hari berlalu, saya sakit flu. Dad Duncan dan Mom Nicole bertanya kenapa saya bisa sampai flu, saya bilang karena suhu di Australia dingin sekali setiap malam, saya tidak terbiasa tidur dengan suhu hampir 10 derajat. Mereka bertanya “kamu memang tidak menyalakan heater?”. Lah saya bingung, saya pikir nggak ada heater dan memang nggak ada barang apapun berbentuk heater di kamar tersebut. Mereka mengajak saya ke kamar, menunduk ke bawah kasur, dan mengambil kabel kontrol bertuliskan on/off. Ternyata kasur ini memiliki heater tersendiri agar terasa hangat di malam hari. Kami pun tertawa, saya bilang di Indonesia tidak ada nih penghangat di kasur. Setelah kejadian bodoh tersebut, akhirnya saya dapat tidur dengan tenang selama sisa satu bulan di sana.

Selain pengalaman indah bersama keluarga, ada begitu banyak pengalaman lainnya yang saya dapatkan ketika ikut program AIYEP. Salah satu pengalaman yang membuka mata saya tentang Australia adalah ketika menampilkan kebudayaan Indonesia kepada murid sekolah di sana.Mereka begitu terlihat takjub dengan kebudayaan dan kesenian yang dimiliki bangsa Indonesia. Setiap tarian dan nyanyian yang kami tampilkan, selalu mendapatkan sambutan dan response yang sangat baik dari mereka. Di setiap pertunjukan yang kami langsungkan, setiap anak terlihat begitu antusias untuk menyaksikan dan belajar langsung tentang kebudayaan dari negara tetangganya.

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Rizky bersama peserta-peserta lain hadir di acara Cultural Performance di Universitas Sydney. Foto: Rizky Kurnia Wijaya

Sungguh sangat bangga dan senang atas antusiasme murid diAustralia. Apalagi ketika mengetahui bahwa kurikulum sekolah di Sydney memberikan pelajaran Bahasa Indonesia. Ketika mendapatkan tempat magang di sekolah pun, saya membantu murid-murid tersebut untuk dapat belajar Bahasa Indonesia. Sungguh pengalaman pertama bagi saya untuk mengajarkan Bahasa Indonesia bagi warga negara lain. Ternyata banyak anak-anak muda dari negara bukan Indonesia, mau belajar bahasa Bumi Pertiwi dan dengan senangnya mau belajar kesenian tarian dan nyanyian yang masyarakat Indonesia punyai.

Memang pengalaman AIYEP begitu membuka mata saya dan menjadikan saya sosok orang yang lebih mencintai Indonesia. Selain mengenal Australia lebih dekat, saya pun jadi lebih mencintai dan menghargai seluruh unsur yang ada di Negeri ini. Setelah pulang dari program AIYEP, jiwa saya tergerak untuk melakukan hal lain yang lebih berguna bagi Indonesia. Tahun 2015 saya mengikuti kegiatan volunteer menuju bagian timur Indonesia dan Papua, dan pada akhirnya saya mendirikan sebuah social community di Lampung bernama JANIS, Jalan Inovasi Sosial.

Janis merupakan jawaban atas pertanyaan yang menghantui selama ini: “Apa yang sudah kamu lakukan untuk daerahmu?”. Setelah mendapatkan beasiswa ke Australia, mendedikasikan diri menjadi volunteer ke Papua, lalu peran apa yang sudah saya berikan untuk daerah tempat saya lahir, Lampung? Dengan Janis, banyak anak-anak muda di Lampung yang ikut membantu bergabung demi memberikan inovasi terbaik bagi kemajuan desa dan pulau. Silahkan cek Instagram (@janisianID) dan website JANIS.

Program ke Australia begitu menjadi hal yang sangat berharga bagi saya. Dimulai dari AIYEP, pintu rejeki lainnya mulai terbuka, networking dengan banyak orang terjalin dengan baik. Dimulai dari AIYEP, saya belajar semakin mencintai negara Indonesia dan negara Australia. Dengan belajar dari banyak pihak termasuk dari negara Australia, diri ini menjadi lebih berkembang dan lebih open-minded. Everyone can be a tourist, but being the representative of Indonesia in Australia is a different story.

Untuk kontak informasi AIYEP di setiap provinsi klik di sini.

Refleksi ini adalah yang pertama dari serangkaian refleksi dari alumni Program Pertukaran Pelajar Australia-Indonesia (AIYEP). Editor-editor AIYA Blog ingin mengucapkan terima kasih banyak kepada Samantha Howard atas bantuan yang cukup besarnya dengan commissioning dan menyunting artikel-artikel dalam seri ini. Anda dapat menemukannya online di sini dan di sini.

Q&A with Jemma Purdey, Organiser of ReelOzInd!


Submissions for the inaugural ReelOzInd! Australia and Indonesia Short Film Competition and Festival are now open. AIYA caught up with event organiser and esteemed Indonesia-watcher Jemma Purdey to get the low down on this ground-breaking new event.

Why do you think short film is a good medium to raise awareness and improve understanding between our two countries?

Short film is increasingly popular and accessible for both the creation of stories and for viewing them. Internet and mobile technology means literally anyone with a mobile phone or tablet can be a filmmaker and view film anytime and anywhere. ReelOzInd! aims to engage people from a wide range of backgrounds–from students to more established filmmakers–and so short film is a great way of doing this! We believe that storytelling through film reaches into both cultures and can create new ideas and conversations!

The theme of the festival is ‘Tetangga’/’Neighbour’. What is the rationale behind this?

ReelOzInd! is unabashedly about bringing Indonesians and Australians face to face to learn more about how we each see the world (not very differently!). The theme tetangga relates to this idea that ‘as close neighbours we should be friends not mysteries’, which is one of our slogans for the Festival. We are hoping that filmmakers will respond to the theme in creative ways. They might like to approach the theme from a local, individual, or community level, nationally, or globally. It could be a simple narrative about your own neighbourhood, a character in your street or at the local train station. It could be a horror film about neighbours gone bad! It could be a documentary about discovery and culture. We are inviting filmmakers to respond to the theme as broadly or as narrowly as they like.

What kind of short films are you hoping to attract?

We’re hoping to attract films from a wider range of genres. Awards will be given for Best Films in Documentary, Animation, Fiction and the Youth category, but there are no other restrictions. We are looking for films that will entertain, surprise and emotionally engage audiences the world over.

Riri Riza, Lauren Shipman and Mira Lesmana at the ReelOzInd! Media Briefing
Riri Riza, Lauren Shipman and Mira Lesmana at the ReelOzInd! Media Briefing. Photo: ReelOzInd!

You’ve got hit Indonesian filmmakers Mira Lesmana and Riri Riza (Ada Apa Dengan Cinta?) and Andrew Mason (The Matrix and The Water Diviner producer) on board as judges. You must be thrilled!

We are so excited to have this wonderful line-up of judges of such standing in their profession. They will bring such incredible levels of expertise to the judging. We are also very thankful to them for endorsing ReelOzInd! and the ideas behind it. We all agree that for near neighbours to know so little about each other is kind of crazy and better understanding is long overdue!

Do you have any advice for anyone, perhaps AIYA members, looking to submit an entry in the Youth category?

We hope many AIYA members will submit films to ReelOzInd! The Youth category is for high school students, aged 13-18 years. Again, I would encourage you to have some fun. Be creative with the theme and with genres that excite you! But most of all tell us a great story! No matter the quality of production and so on, the story is the single most important element. AIYA members have unique insights into both cultures/peoples/places and we’d love to see that come out in the submissions. We have a fantastic awards category for Best Collaboration between Australian and Indonesian filmmakers and I can imagine that many AIYA submissions may very well fit well here!

What are some of your ideas bubbling away for the Festival screening events?

We will screen the winning films at ACMI in Melbourne on 21 August 2016 and have plans to extend this to screening all shortlisted films in their Mediatheque. We are also in discussions with cinemas in Indonesia and other festivals in Australia and Indonesia about collaborating with them to show the films. And of course, all short films will be exhibited on the ReelOzInd! website.

Riri Riza. Photo: Sofyan Syamsul
Riri Riza. Photo: Sofyan Syamsul

Where can prospective short filmmakers go to find out more information?

Check out for more information and please join the conversation on our Facebook page where you can share advice and feedback with your fellow filmmakers, find crew, talent and locations, preview films and tell us what you think. We are also on Twitter and Instagram: @ReelOzInd.

Stay tuned to the AIYA Blog for more stories on this brilliant new initiative throughout the ReelOzInd Competition and Festival. Applications are now open so get those cameras rolling!