“Love the culture. Love the people. Love Indonesia.”
That was the message the Indonesian Society brought to campus last week.
The third annual ‘Discover Indonesia’ event was held at both Newcastle and Northumbria University.
The three-day celebration of Indonesian culture featured food stalls, live performances of traditional dances, music, games and workshops. The Indonesian Society even introduced their own Snapchat filter, which could be used around campus.
Last year ‘Discover Indonesia’ attracted more than a thousand people – and although this year’s celebrations were hit by the poor weather, a good sized crowd still turned up to enjoy the festival.
‘Discover Indonesia’ is aimed at promoting Indonesian culture and tempting students to go explore the country.
Alfred Sudjaka, the President of the Indonesian Society and the director of ‘Discover Indonesia’, told The Courier: “Most people don’t know Indonesia, they only know Bali.
“We wanted to promote Indonesian culture and raise cultural awareness.”
The first day of the event coincided with Hari Kartini, an Indonesian national holiday. The day celebrates Raden Adjeng Kartini, a women’s rights hero who championed education for girls during an era, where Indonesia was part of the Dutch Empire.
The biggest draw was a theatrical performance scheduled for Sunday evening at Northumbria University.
Andreas Lukita Haliman, one of the main cast members, said: “The performance is based on an Indonesian folklore called “Malin Kundang” with a contemporary twist and completed with traditional dances and music from different parts of Indonesia”.
He added: “It is about a child who escapes from his mother because he is sick of life, sick of being poor so he tries to explore the world.”
It took six months and seventy people to prepare the performance and the team has been rehearsing on a weekly basis.
The Indonesian Society expected about three hundred people to turn up on Sunday to the £5-a-ticket event.
The performance was organised with the help of Newcastle Business School, Vita Student, Indofood and Rooms for Rent.
The Indonesian market, which took place at the Student Forum last Wednesday and Thursday, offered a wide selection of national food, from nasi kuning, a traditional rice dish to rendang, a spicy meat meal.
Kelly Famarlint, a member of the Indonesian Society, said: “This bazaar is the background story of Indonesia.
“We wanted to prepare people to know more about Indonesia before the event on Sunday.”
Speaking to The Courier, Kelly described the cooking operation: “The food was cooked by local Indonesians. Most of them have been here for a long time. Some of them are post-graduate students.”
Attendees also had a chance to sample traditional Indonesian dress and find out about the best attractions to see in Indonesia.
Kelly said: “We’ve become a tourist agency so you can ask us about what to do in Indonesia.”
The event is planned to be repeated next year.