AIYA Links: 27 May

NAILA 2016


Bahasa Indonesia learning is in crisis in Australia – so be a part of the solution! Show off your Indonesian language skills by applying for the 2016 National Australia Indonesia Language Awards.

Next Door Land


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Next Door Land: Talk Show Recap

On 23 May 2016, DFAT’s pioneering educational app, Next Door Land, officially went live! Over the next few weeks, the AIYA Blog will be providing insights into the background to this project and the organisations involved. First up, we hear first-hand from Celia Finch, an AIYA member and co-founder of AIYA Jawa Barat, about the game’s Talk Show event in Jakarta.

Next Door Land was initiated and funded by DFAT from the Australian Embassy, in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, Agate Studio, the Asia Education Foundation and AIYA. Both the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson (@DubesAustralia), and the head of Badan Ekonomi Kreatif Indonesia (Bekraf), Pak Triawan Munaf (@Triawan), were on the panel at this event, along with a managing partner of Agate Studio (@AgateStudio). Twitter Indonesia (@TwitterID) co-hosted the panel, with the head of Social Policy moderating the discussion. Twitter Indonesia has also played a big role in the promotion of the app, showcasing their interest in connecting cultures through digital mediums. Agung Yudha from Twitter Indonesia described that this initiative is a step forward for their interaction with Australia.

Talk Show photo 1
Panel members discussing the Next Door Land app. Photo: Celia Finch

The talk show event was held in the co-working space Conclave. This is a very cool space in Jakarta where you can smell the energy of collaboration in the air. It was beautifully decorated with wooden furniture and pot plants – very funky. Audience members were from a broad range of organisations, including the Australian Embassy and various media outlets. Whilst waiting for the event to begin, there was chatter in the air and the chirping of tweets from participants’ phones.

After a short introduction from the Australian Embassy’s Ben Davey, one of the key brains behind the project, the @TwitterID panelist took over. The talk show began in Indonesian however casually switched between English and Indonesian throughout, even in mid-sentence. The functionality of Next Door Land was introduced by Agate Studios and a fun trailer was shown.

Bajaj race challenge
A screenshot of the Bajaj Race Challenge. Image: Next Door Land

We saw how the app takes the player to many iconic places in both countries such as Jakarta and Sydney Harbour. In each location there were challenges that need to be overcome. For example, in Jakarta the player has to battle the traffic in a bajaj (a motorbike that has three wheels and a bench in the back that is covered by an awning – these are particularly useful in Jakarta during the wet season and when you have too many shopping bags to take an ojek!).

It was particularly interesting to see that comics feature heavily in the app, with a new short comic appearing at each new location throughout the game. Our very own AIYA National President, Nicholas Mark, was one of the creative minds behind the app and also developed the comics, together with illustrator Pak Bambang Shakuntala.

The app and the rationale for creating it formed the key talking point of the talk show. Ambassador Paul Grigson described how the app aimed to get younger children to be curious about and engaged with Australia and Indonesia. The app can play a role in provoking interest in the other country as it is a fun and modern medium. The importance of people-to-people connections and engagement in the bilateral relationship on a more personal level was also emphasised, particularly for future generations. Pak Triawan Munaf from Bekraf said that educational games such as Next Door Land are very important and exciting in the context of digital diplomacy. This means the use of the internet and other new communication technologies to assist in achieving diplomatic objectives. The exposure to culture and history that this app provides the younger generation will inspire positive images of the other country that will encourage the new generation of leaders to engage more deeply in whichever industry they become a part of.

Talk Show photo 2
Another screenshot from the game shown during the Talk Show presentation. Photo: Celia Finch

The Q&A session confirmed that the app is primarily aimed at younger children, however all ages can enjoy it. In Australia, the app is being promoted through AIYA channels and other community networks, with a particular focus on education networks such as the BRIDGE program, as a study guide has also been developed for the app.

All in all, the app is an inspiring initiative that demonstrates how DFAT is thinking outside of the box when it comes to furthering the relationship between Australia and Indonesia, particularly in the way that this project enabled collaboration between so many organisations.

So in conclusion, be sure to download the app and start playing no matter what age you are – it is surely better than Candy Crush!

Event Recap: AIYA ACT’s Indonesian Cultural Night

AIYA ACT held an Indonesian Cultural Night on Friday 13 May. The aim of the night was to connect with ANU students and the wider Canberra community in a celebration of Indonesian culture, music and food.

The Indonesian Embassy was gracious enough to lend us 50 angklung for our AIYA participants and members to play on the night. While the gamelan orchestra is arguably the best-known Indonesian instrument, angklung is celebrated in itself. As the instruments are small and made from lightweight bamboo, they are easier to transport and play. They also sound distinctly different from the instruments Australians are most familiar with. One of the participants described the sound as ‘magical rain’.

Enthusiastic participants of the angklung session. Photo: Freya Gaunt
Enthusiastic participants of the angklung session. Photo: Freya Gaunt

A few Indonesian students from AIYA and ANU’s Indonesian Students’ Association created a small orchestra that performed for the group. After this performance, it was the participants’ turn to play the angklung. Flora, our wonderful conductor, divided everyone into groups according to each angklung’s pitch. Each group was then given a number, and played their angklung whenever Flora held up her fingers to indicate its number. After only 15 minutes, the group had mastered a simple scale and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Finally, after having a much-needed dinner-break, the group was able to play the Indonesian classic, “Tanah Airku.” To finish the music segment, the orchestra treated us to a spontaneous angklung rendition of “Lucky” by Jason Mraz.

The other aim of the evening was to promote Indonesian culture through its wonderful food. A local Indonesian catering company prepared an Indonesian buffet so the rendang was authentically oily, the ayam kremes was perfectly crispy and the sambal definitely had the Indonesian-level of spice! Another highlight was the dessert, where we enjoyed dadar gulang, kue lapis and enting-enting.

Photo: Freya Gaunt
Even on a cold ACT evening, members of AIYA and the wider community turned out in force to celebrate Indonesian (musical) culture. Photo: Freya Gaunt

The purpose of the event was to engage and facilitate student interaction between undergraduate and postgraduate students alike, whether or not they had a direct interest in Indonesia. AIYA ACT was very pleased to see both old and new faces, and is looking forward to hosting our next event!

Don’t forget to like the AIYA ACT Facebook page for all the latest updates!

AIYA Links: 20 May

In the news

At the AIYA Blog

Events & opportunities

Correction: last week’s links mischaracterised the contents of a Fairfax Media story on upcoming executions in Indonesia. We apologise for the error.

Event Recap: AIYA NTT & MITRA’s A Day of Youth Empowerment

A Day of Youth Empowerment was an event commemorating Indonesia Education Day. It was held on Saturday 30 April at Widya Mandira Catholic University (WMCU). As well as commemorating Indonesia Education Day, the event enabled participants to learn about scholarship programs and strengthen relationships among students in Kupang.

The event panel comprised Marselinus Ulu Fahik (Australia Awards Scholarship recipient), Stevie A Nappoe (Fulbright Scholarship), Albert Ch. Soewongsono (Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan Scholarship), and Elisabet A Werang (Van Deventer-Maas Stichting Scholarship), who shared both their experiences about their respective scholarship programs and useful tips for participants. There were 36 people from AIYA’s Nusa Tenggara Timur chapter and MITRA (Mahasiswa Indonesia Timur Relasi Asing) involved in the collaborative committee, who worked hard to make this event successful.

The various speakers at the A Day of Youth Empowerment event. Photo: AIYA NTT

200 people participated; among them were the Head of English Study Program of WMCU, Dr Kletus Erom, M Hum, and LPDP and VDMS recipients. Head of the committee, Dana Nadia Mudin, opened the event, while Lilyen Sede, AIYA NTT representative, Lilyan Sede, delivered a speech. Before beginning the information sharing session, Maria Febriani Seran, president of MITRA WMCU, presented each panelist with a gift, a Timorese woven scarf.

The information session consisted of four panelists and was moderated by Elia Simon. The first panelist, Marselinus Ulu Fahik, AAS alumnus, shared his advice for maintaining motivation, successfully fulfilling scholarship criteria, and seeking out further information. His key pieces of advice were as follows:

Marselinus also presented probing challenged to those present, such as:

  • Ask youself: What is my motivation?
  • Search for appropriate courses
  • Share ideas with friends who share the same dreams
  • Join group discussions available on- and off-line
LPDP recipient Albert Christian Soewongsono. Photo: AIYA NTT

The second panelist, Stevie A Nappoe, Fulbright Scholar, shared information about this program, its pull factor, and strategies towards success. The third and youngest panelist was Albert Christian Soewongsono, LPDP recipient. He shared advice on how to write a good essay, how best to participate in the group discussion, strategies for on the spot writing and how to conduct oneself in the interview. He also elaborated on the differences between AAS and LPDP. The final panelist was Elisabet A Werang, VDMS alumnus, who shared the history of VDMS, the activities involved, and also the criteria VDMS desires in its candidates.

Third on the agenda was a ten-minute mingling session in which participants had one-on-one discussions with the panelists. If in the previous session participants were reluctant to ask questions, in the less formal atmosphere of the mingling session many eagerly approached the panelists while enjoying snacks together.

The final agenda item was a screening of the film The Ron Clark Story (2006) directed by Randa Haines, which is about a teacher who teaches in an extremely disorderly classroom. The students are mischievous and always receive the lowest mark in the school, and seem helpless in their academic studies. But the teacher, Mr Clark, does not give up. He faces many obstacles but keeps trying and ensures everyone in his class become like a family, and a family does not leave one other. At the end of the film, the students receive the highest marks in their district in the standardised examination.

Total attendees gathered at Widya Mandira Catholic University. Photo: AIYA NTT

All were very positive about the event, which hopefully will encourage them to do more as the agent of change and as a member of an educational society. Indeed, Marselinus provided these words of inspiration at the end of his presentation:

  • Grab the CHANCE
  • Build POSITIVE motivations
  • Prepare and take your TIME
  • Never stop TRYING

May this event change our mindset to be better and encourage more students to put more effort into receiving a scholarship for higher education. As a result of that, the quality of education in Indonesia will hopefully improve.

Victor Matanggaran’s AIYEP Experience

Australia has always been a very interesting neighbour for Indonesia due to its Western culture being in such close proximity. The Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP) allows participants to construct mutual understandings of each other. Participants are given the chance to encounter culture from family life to professional life in the big cities and rural areas of both Australia and Indonesia.

Victor in West Sumatera, Indonesia. Photo: Victor
Victor in the rice fields of Kota Solok in West Sumatra. Photo: Victor Matanggaran

This was a once in a lifetime opportunity unlike any experience as an international student, employee or tourist. People might travel to Australia or Indonesia with their own itinerary but might never have such an intense interaction with the culture or be as emotionally connected to local people like which AIYEP has offered.

Indonesia is known as a multicultural country consisting of diverse cultures and beliefs. However, even as an Indonesian you may never fully understand the country without an in-depth exploration of each part of Indonesia. I was lucky to encounter another part of Indonesia in West Sumatra. This was my first experience as a stranger in my home country. I come from West Sulawesi, and West Sumatran culture is totally different to my culture in Sulawesi.

I have discovered that Indonesia is not only interesting due to its natural resources or tourist spots, but that Indonesia has strong and unique cultures that would never be found in other places in this world. I realised that to truly taste Indonesia, I would have to interact and include myself in native cultural activities in an intensive way. I was able to learn new languages, arts and foods that increased my own pride of Indonesia’s cultural diversity. AIYEP allowed me to interact with a whole new element of Indonesia and Australian society that I would not experience on any other program.

My most memorable moment on the AIYEP program was during the rural phase in Indonesia where Australians and Indonesians lived together in a small village called Koto Sani in West Sumatra. We conducted a community development program with the West Sumatran people, where Indonesians and Australian collaborated with locals to develop the community in a very short time.

Victor 2
With traditional dancers of the local village. Photo: Victor Matanggaran

It was challenging for the Indonesians and Australian to work together because at times we could not always deeply understand each other. For instance, when we wanted to paint health centres in the village, Australians and Indonesian debated about how to make a good blend of paint. The Indonesians wanted to mix the paint with a large amount of water but this caused a dispute between us and the Australians. This is an example of how difficult it can be to engage in work without a mutual understanding between the cultures involved.

Futher, in my house when I want to take a bath, I am used to using a little bucket for the shower with a small amount of water, but this was difficult for my Australian counterpart. Another interesting difference was that some activities were not allowed after 6pm because of the belief of the existence of ghosts outside. My counterpart doesn’t believe in ghosts and so complained to our host family about not allowing us to go out, and conveyed his opinion that ghosts don’t exist.

It was these experiences that allowed me to understand how different Australian culture is, and allowed me to be more tolerant, respectful and resilient when we face challenges in life. Every day since AIYEP, I miss the participants. It is those moments I miss that encourage me to work harder and advance in every aspect of my life in the hopes of having an experience like that again.

I found myself to be more confident and recognise my own potential. It allowed me to accept my weaknesses and turn them into strengths. The program opened my eyes to realising that the world is a big place and I would not have experienced this if I had not gone outside of my own province. I am moving faster after AIYEP to achieve my biggest dreams and to make a greater contribution to my community. I aim to inspire young people to never stop learning new things, to leave their comfort zone and to push their own limits to reach success. I have been pursuing my dream every single day since my involvement in the AIYEP program.

Victor 3
Victor’s host family during the Indonesian component of the program. Photo: Victor Matanggaran

This is the third 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.

AIYA Links: 13 May


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

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  • Aural Archipelago is a great resource for exploring traditional music from all around Indonesia. Volunteers are being sought to translate posts into Bahasa Indonesia—contact to voice your interest!

Correction: an earlier version of this post mischaracterised Fairfax’s story on upcoming executions in Indonesia. We apologise for the error.

The Forgotten

The following essay is the winning entry of AIYA Yogyakarta’s recent Hari Kartini Essay Writing Competition. In commemoration of Kartini’s continuing legacy, the AIYA Yogyakarta team invited its members to write an English-language essay on a successful woman who has made a major contribution to her field. They received many impressive and well-written entries, but there was one that stood out from the rest. Read Riza Suryandari’s winning original entry below.

SAKA UGM performers at the Kartini Essay Competition Event. Photo: Wisma Bahasa
SAKA UGM performers at the Hari Kartini Essay Competition Event. Photo: Wisma Bahasa

There are many influential women in this world; Marie Curie, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Theresa, Maya Angelou, Malala Yousafzai, and many others—don’t worry, not all of them start with an M. Anyway, by making a major contribution in their fields, they have a made a world a better place. Many people have written about those incredibly influential women for so many times, for so many years. They are on TV, on the radio, newspapers, everywhere. But let me tell you something: there are many other women out there who have a major contribution in their fields but never got the media’s attention. Since everyone is so caught up with well-known women, allow me to write about one that is so often forgotten.

The woman I am writing about has many professions. She is a doctor; she knows what to do when you are sick. She is an advisor and a counsellor; she always listens to you without judging you and gives you the best advice you can possibly get. She is an entertainer; she always finds ways to make you laugh when you don’t think you can. Not only that, but she is also a great cook. But you also need to be careful when you are with her because she is a mind reader; she knows what you have in mind. Did I mention she is a great teacher? And the list goes on. I could write a book out of it.

Surprisingly, she does not get paid for doing all those works! Not financially, anyway. Instead, she is the one who is spending all her money on you. Her job revolves around you. And her working hour is non-stop. Literally 24/7. She cannot quit her job. She will keep working until the day she dies.

That just sucks, doesn’t it? Everyone wants—and needs—a break. If you think this woman is the unluckiest person in the world because she does not get paid and does not get some time off work, you are wrong. She doesn’t think of it as a burden. With every single day, she feels lucky and blessed for doing what she is doing.

Sadly, like I said in the beginning, she is so often forgotten and not recognized. It’s not like she really wants public recognition. I just think it is so sad and unfair that such a noble woman is not so often mentioned and talked about, in a great way, like many other great women in history.

Who is this noble woman, really? People call her “Mother”—yes, coincidentally, it starts with an M. I know this is not a Mother’s Day essay competition, but if you ask me about the greatest woman who has made a major contribution in her field, then mother is the one I can think of. And it goes to mothers all around the world, great ones. Parenting is a field. It’s a career. And let’s face it, it is the toughest career ever.

Great mothers make the best people on this planet. We don’t have to win a Nobel Prize or be a president or have a high achievement in school or whatever to be one of those best people. What great mothers really want is for their children to be morally responsible and emotionally mature. High achieving children is just a bonus.

I just want to take this chance to remind us of how amazing our mothers are and that they deserve the greatest honor from us all. They deserve to be rewarded just like song-writers do. Most people recognize a great song by its singer and don’t even care about the song writer when actually, the song writer plays a huge role in making it great. So if you think of a woman so greatly, take a moment to think about how even more amazing her mother is to have raised such a great daughter.

Indonesian Film Festival 2016: ‘The Sun, The Moon & The Hurricane’

Image: Indonesian Film Festival
Gambar: Indonesian Film Festival

Sebelum saya memulai resensi ini, rasanya saya mesti mengakui suatu hal, yaitu saya memilih untuk menonton film The Sun, The Moon & The Hurricane bukan sembarangan atau tanpa alasan. Tema hubungan gay yang diangkat Andri Cung (penulis-sutradara) menarik perhatian saya oleh karena sangat berminatnya saya pada seluruh persoalan berkaitan dengan LGBTIQ, termasuk di Indonesia (di mana lazim disebut tanpa IQ-nya). Dulu saya pernah menulis makalah untuk salah satu mata kuliah Bahasa Indonesia dengan topik macam itu, dan sampai sekarang saya masih mengikuti berita serta diskusi di internet yang berkisar pada komunitas LGBTIQ di Indonesia.

Pokoknya, walaupun saya bukan akademis ataupun aktivis, saya mempedulikan kesejahteraan komunitas tersebut. Khususnya pada tahun 2016 ini ketika diskriminasi dan gencetan yang memprihatinkan memerak terhadap komunitas LGBTIQ di Indonesia oleh karena setumpuk pernyataan yang konyol, menyesatkan dan membahayakan yang dijeritkan beberapa politikus akhir-akhir ini. Tentu saja, sebelum hiruk-piruk itu pun tema ini sudah agak tabu, sampai jarang muncul dalam perfilman Indonesia. Walaupun diangkat, setahu saya itu hampir tidak pernah menjadi alur utama film.

Ditinjau dari segi itu, Andri Cung menunjukkan keberanian yang cukup besar dengan membuat film ini yang pertama kali ditayangkan pada tahun 2014. Patut dihargai bahwa pencipta film sanggup mengembangkan pemahaman masyarakat dan menarik empati terhadap keadaan orang-orang yang terpinggirkan dan tertindas, dengan menceritakan kisah mereka yang biasanya ditepikan. Tentunya, saya salut pada usaha penulis-sutradaranya dalam memperjuangkan cita-cita ini.

The Sun, The Moon & The Hurricane menceritakan tentang seorang pria muda dalam perjalanannya untuk mencari jati diri, cinta, kebahagiaan dan makna hidup. Ceritanya dibagikan menjadi tiga tahap yang menentukan dalam kehidupan Rain (William Tjokro), mulai dari SMA sampai dia berusia 30 tahunan. Tahap pertama mengisahkan hubungan Rain dengan Kris (Natalius Chendana), seorang pria yang belum menemukan kedamaian dalam dirinya, terutama terlihat dalam kesulitannya untuk menerima seksualitas dia sendiri, dan sikap posesifnya yang keterlaluan terhadap si Rain. Hubungan mereka diwarnai dengan kesusahan dan kejanggalan dan diselingi dengan kebahagiaan, tetapi oleh sebab kacaunya pikiran Kris, akhirnya dia menghilang, meninggalkan Rain sendirian dan patah hati.

Tahap kedua terjadi beberapa tahun kemudian, ketika Rain sudah lebih dewasa dan Kris tidak terlalu dipikirkannya lagi, sekalipun kira-kira masih terpendam dalam hati. Pada perjalanan Rain ke Thailand, dia berhubungan dengan Will (Cornelio Sunny), tetapi hanya sepintas lalu sebelum Will, yang bekerja sebagai pelacur, memupuskan harapan Rain untuk menjalankan hubungan yang bermakna dengannya.

Pada bagian terakhir, penonton dilayangkan ke Bali, di mana Kris tinggal bersama dengan istrinya (Gesata Stella), yang ternyata juga merupakan teman sekolah Kris dan Rain yang lama. Kris menyelinap kembali ke dalam kehidupan Rain, mengancam kedamaian hati Rain serta hubungan antara Kris dan istrinya.

Dilihat dari sudut pandang masyarakat setempat, film ini memang membawakan kebaraun ke dalam dunia seni Indonesia, dan alur ceritanya cukup menarik. Kalau sudut pandang diperluas sehingga mencakupi dunia perfilman internasional, saya merasa dapat dikatakan sedikit kurang kreatif. Kadang-kadang cerita terasa tawar dan berlarut-larut, khususnya pada bagian terakhir. Sebagiannya mungkin karena penulisan naskah yang masih belum matang. Penonton sering diberondong kemenungan si Rain, yang kebanyakannya penuh klise yang sentimentil tak jelas (ataukah sayalah yang tidak cukup mengapresiasi air liur basi seperti ini?).

Selain monolog-monolog yang dibisikkan si Rain, sebagian dari dialog di film ini, umpamanya di antara Rain dan Will, juga terdengar janggal dalam telinga saya. Lagipula, penulis berenak-enak mengikuti tren untuk menghamburi naskahnya dengan kalimat Bahasa Inggris, namun bagi saya tujuan dari itu kurang jelas. Dalam telinga sebagian orang mungkin terdengar keren, padahal sering kurang tepat atau kurang cocok. Yang lebih tidak masuk akal lagi, usaha untuk menginternasionalisasikan film ini melalui penggunaan bahasa asing yang diselipkan semau-maunya tanpa alasan tertentu, mungkin saja memiliki efek untuk mengasingkan tokoh-tokohnya dari budaya Indonesia. Itu bisa menghalangi pengakuan eksistensi orang LGBTIQ sebagai bagian dari budaya tersebut, walaupun kira-kira niatnya pencipta film malah sebaliknya. Mudah-mudahan hal ini dapat menjadi pertimbangan dalam proses penulisan film ke depannya.

Terlepas dari masalah-masalah yang diuraikan di atas, ada momen-momen yang lucu serta yang mampu mengaduk emosi penonton, dan bahkan ada yang membuat saya sangat terharu, misalnya saat istri Kris menangis tersendat-sendat, menyerah pada kenyataan bahwa Kris tidak dapat menemukan kebahagiaan dalam pernikahan dengan perempuan. Keadaan yang mengibakan itu juga mempunyai daya untuk membuat penonton mempertanyakan masalah budaya di baliknya.

Secara visual film ini agak kurang memuaskan, tetapi tidak sampai sangat mengurangi kenikmatan dalam menontonnya. Meskipun biaya produksi kecil, kemampuan aspek-aspek visual film untuk memperkaya cerita maupun pengalaman penonton seharusnya dimanfaatkan sebanyak-banyaknya. Upaya pembuat film dalam hal itu hanya terasakan sekali-sekali dalam The Sun, The Moon & The Hurricane, ditambah dengan beberapa masalah teknis dengan penangkapan dan penataan gambar dan audio yang juga sulit diampuni.

The Sun, The Moon & The Hurricane merupakan usaha yang mengesankan untuk menggambarkan kehidupan orang-orang yang biasanya terkesampingkan serta kejadian yang biasanya tersembunyi. Untungnya ada yang berani mengisahkannya, seperti Andri Cung, dan semoga keberaniannya tak tergoyahkan untuk melanjutkan dengan menciptakan film-film unik yang semakin bagus ke depannya.

Informasi lebih lanjut mengenai Indonesian Film Festival dapat ditemukan di sini.

AIYA Links: 6 May


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.

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