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Tuesday - August 27, 2013 Vol. XVI - Issue 67

SPECIAL REPORT

A Joyous Celebration: Indonesian Independence Day

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wonder. Many outward displays of respect and love were shown The Ambassador Wajid Fauzi who like a loving father was not spared gestures of familiarity : He was pulled up to dance briefly and did so with a smile and good sport.

rom the residence of Indonesian Ambassador Wajid one could hear the tribal sound of drum beats. They could also witness the sight of colorful batik clothing, vibrant dance, melodious song , children’s smiles and the serving of tender beef, boiled eggs, and shrimp flavored crisps. These and more were the highlights of a day set aside to celebrate Friday, August 17th, 1945.

BY HASNA’ ABDULMAJID HASNA.ABDULMAJID@GMAIL.COM

It was Indonesian Independence Day, a day established 68 years ago when Indonesia won its liberty from colonization of the Dutch and later from the Japanese. For many of the expatriates, it was important to gather together for this occasion although they were away from their country and it wasof even more importance to them because they were away from their country. Some, like Teresa Zachariah found that this was one of the few times while living in Yemen that she would be in a gathering with those from her homeland. “Being away from home and celebrating independence is much more meaningful.”, she said. “There are no Indonesians where I work and so to be around my fellow Indonesians is appreciated. I am half Chinese but I do also feel that

this is my Independence Day.”

Along with a band that sang Indonesian and American songs, there was singing and drumming with words that praised Allah and one group of students who gave several performances called Dapur Theater. Their group started in a dapur, the Indonesian word for ‘kitchen’. They came from Hodeidah where they were based to participate in the festivities and provide entertainment. They danced in choreography that was adapted from the traditional dance of Aceh, the region of Indonesia from which Islam was said to have spread to the other Islands and which was devastated by the 2004 earthquake and tsunami. One major highlight of the day was the giveaway of free trips to countries such as Indonesia and Turkey. This generated a lot of anticipations

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Along with a band that sang Indonesian and American songs

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amongst the participants who all voiced their hope for having the winning numbers so they could have a paid for flight to another country and maybe even a free trip home. Other gifts were given out such as free electronics and home supplies like heaters and fans and several smiling winners walked away with wicker baskets full of Indomie. Everyone seemed to truly feel the happiness of that day : the chef ,Rusliawon, who was formerly working at the Jakarta Hilton , Deeta who was head of the household staff , the children who presented roses to the performers and looked on in

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One major highlight of the day was the free giveaway trips to countries such as Indonesia and

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Amidst abundant festivity, easy going laughter and loving patriotism, there were many who could not help but talk about Yemen and what brought them here. Many were students of the Arabic Language and came to Yemen to focus on Islamic studies and others worked for nonprofit organizations. One man, who referred to himself as Budeeman worked for Yemenia and also played guitar in a band on the side. He and his band mates were part of the day’s performances. While Imel, one of the female singers in the band praised the weather of Yemen Budeeman extended his well-wishes when he said, “Yemen is in my prayers, I pray that it is always secure and that everyone always remains safe.” The Ambassador ended the day thanking all of the participants from the chef to the guests and voiced his appreciation for their involvement. He left out no one and also thanked the Yemen Observer for coming to cover the event. When asked how he was feeling and if he was tired after a long day he said with a great smile and energy, “Not at all! I’m just getting started!”

INTERVIEW with Indonesian AmbassadorExtroadinaryWajidFauzi We met with the Indonesian Ambassador Wajid Fauzi on the evening preceding the Independence day of Indonesia in which they were liberated from colonization and became a nation that would be self-governed. He took out the time to discuss relevant points in regards to their celebration and the relations between Indonesia and Yemen.

YO: What are you celebrating today? Ambassador Wajid: Today, we are celebrating the 68th of Indonesia Independence Day, a very historical moment for all Indonesian people YO: What is the importance of this day? Ambassador Wajid:The Proclamation of Independence is a very important event and has a very deep meaning for Indonesia. The Proclamation of Independence of Indonesia on August 17, 1945 symbolizes the end of the colonial era and the beginning of the new state of Indonesia. With the independence, Indonesia became a sovereign state, free from all forms of oppression and domination by foreign nations, free to determine the fate of the nation itself. Independence is a golden bridge to build a prosperous society. However, this freedom does not mean that the struggle is over. We have to respond to new challenges with various activities of development. It is our responsibility to bear in our mind and to appreciate the meaning of independence. The duty of present generations today is to substantiate, with real work, so that the independence achieved can be guarded and preserved. YO: How does the Indonesian community celebrate their independence day? One important point I want to add is that Indonesia does not simply celebrate Indonesian freedom from colonialism. It is also a time to celebrate the amazing cultural

In this regard, there are some areas we are focusing on and the first is to bolster the economic relationship by increasing the exchange of business men from both countries; secondly , encouragi

One important point I want to add is that Indonesia does not simply celebrate Indonesian freedom from colonialism. and historical wealth of Indonesian “ Unity in Diversity”. It is a day to be joyous and happy. It is a day for family, friends a, dcommunities to come together to express the pride in their identity as a nation. Students, Government Officials, the Army, the Police and everyone who wants to participate in the festivities has the opportunity to do so in a great variety of ways. Ceremonies are held in the streets, in town squares, in football fields and on school grounds. Many parades , festivals, competitions and fun games are held for young and old. YO: How do Indonesians view themselves within the society? Ambassador Wajid: Every Indonesian commits himself to achieve a greater contribution towards a better Indonesia. We are coming from a territory where diversity meansunity. We share the same history, language, forefathers, tears, songs, sun and wind. We are Indonesians, and this is the greatest honour of us all, the greatest inheritance for an immortal thesaurus of life. We have always been proud of being Indonesians, but today, more than ever. Today is the time of recognition of our ancestor’s efforts in building an Indonesia that has become the world’ 4th largest democracy with political stability and economic dynamism.

YO: What are your views on Yemen and Indonesian relations? Ambassador Wajid: The bilateral relationship between Yemen and Indonesia is excellent, based on the strong foundation of brotherhood. And we wish to develop more and more cooperation on this strong foundation in order to strengthen the relationship for the benefit of the people of both countries. I am optimistic. YO: Any particular focus? In this regard, there are some areas we are focusing on and the first is to bolster the economic relationship by increasing the exchange of business men from both countries; secondly , encouraging political and technical cooperation between two countries’ thirdly , looking after the Indonesian citizens in Yemen; fourthly, promoting a cultural relationship. There are now some investments in the field of exploration in the are of oil by Medco and in addition to Indomie investments in Aden.

One important point I want to add is that Indonesia does not simply celebrate Indonesian freedom from colonialism. YO: Based on the history that you mentioned, what is it like for a Yemeni who would like to enter and work in Indonesia? Ambassador Wajid: There are some privileges given to Yemeni business men in Indonesia, including easy measured in regards to taxes and their residency there.

Also their visa for entry is processed very quickly. This year Trade Expo Indonesia starts October 16-20 in the Exhibition Ground, Kemayoran Jakarta. We invite all Yemeni business men to attend this expo. The committeewill provide facilities to potential buyers, such as 2 free night’s complimentary accommodation during the trade show period, free airport pick up to hotel upon arrival, shuttle services and business meeting arrangements. We hope that some of the Yemeni business men will make trade deals with their Indonesian counterparts to increase trade relations as well as personal contact between the two brotherly countries. YO: What are your views on the transitional process in Yemen? Ambassador Wajid:The people and the government of Indonesia are following the political and economic development in Yemen very closely. We hope that Yemen will find the best solution for the existing problems. Supports from the

international community may accelerate the process to achieve a commitment among various stakeholders. The abundant natural resources, economic potential, and geographically strategic location can be a pivotal instrument towards the brighter future. In the area of economic development, Indonesia has become an advanced economic power in South East Asia. According to the World Bank, Indonesia comes in classification for 18th world economic power and a member of G20. In today’s integrated world economy, it seems that no economy will escape the impact of the slowdown of the major economies. However, to date, Indonesia has been able to maintain the growth momentum of the past two years. In 2011 Indonesia’s economy grew steadily by 6.5 percent in 2012, and expected over 6 percent of economic growth in the coming years on its 68th anniversary. Indonesia aims to strengthen its mutual relationship with all friendly countries, including Yemen. Along the path of our abundant history, we witness the close cooperation between the two countries in the field of economy, politics, science, culture and that of education through student exchange.


A Joyous Celebration: Indonesian Independence Day