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I can’t believe I’m leaving the country in less than a week. It is scary. I won’t say that I am Americanize and all that-I don’t even like bread, if you know what I mean-but going back home after four years living in the United States is overwhelming.

I did some packing this afternoon and I have to be honest that I was a little sad to leave. As much as I miss Indonesia, I like United States too. It is the place where I met lots and lots of interesting people. It is also the place where I could watch lots and lots of AWESOME TV series. Plus, it is where I realize geeky and nerdy boys are so much cuter than macho men. Love, love, love, Matthew Gray Gubler, Michael Cera, Paul Iacono, Jesse Eisenberg and Zachary Levi, just saying.

I just felt like I’m not ready to go home yet. I haven’t been to some cool parts of United States. I mean, how many streets in New York City that I haven’t been to? How many Broadway shows that I haven’t seen? How many landmarks that I haven’t taken pictures of? And of course, how many interesting and unique people I haven’t met and known?

Those things make me want to just cancel the flight…but, I want to go home too. Aaaarrrrgghhh! This feeling sucks!

What would I do without the Criminal Minds, the Hard Times of RJ Berger, etc. Well, I probably can watch them on cable. But still…it sucks to leave this place.

I guess I’m gonna miss this country so bad that I’ll save up some money to come back next year or something.


Indonesia is a developing country in Southeast Asia. It is true that Indonesia is known for some distinctive stuff. For example, one of them is the fact that it is one of the largest Muslim populated countries. Isn’t that interesting? With a huge Muslim population, Indonesia is able to maintain a good level of peace nationally.

Indonesia is also known for its tourism, with its thousands of islands, hundreds of traditional languages (that no one cares about), beautiful bitches (I meant beaches), etc.

But, before I tell you my point, I want to emphasize that I am no political expert – none of those political stuff. Clear?

Indonesia may mean something to the world. In fact, Indonesia is participating in some international organizations, such as, APEC, ASEAN, G-20, etc. – I can’t think of the rest now. So, there must be a reason why Indonesia takes part in those organizations. And I think it’s because other countries want to hear Indonesia’s points of view. Therefore, it would be unfair to say that Indonesia is insignificant or unimportant.

However, Indonesia is not in the place to be arrogant, especially the “kampungan” Indonesian people. There are too many inconsequential things that Indonesian people like to criticize. For example, currently, the Garuda symbol on Armani’s t-shirt.

In my opinion, those people who criticized the use of Garuda on the t-shirts were being too hypocritical. They’re all acting like they are extremely nationalistic and all, but hey! Are they even willing to wear a t-shirt with a huge Garuda on the chest to go out, let say, to go on a casual date at Senayan City? No, right? If they don’t even have the pride to wear things that say INDONESIA, why bother criticizing?

Honestly, I have never seen anyone I know wear anything with Indonesian flag or Garuda (except during Independence Day). Why? Because, in general, we’re not very nationalistic. How many of you like the Monday morning ceremony? EXACTLY!

My point is, if we’re not even nationalistic ourselves, why are we criticizing someone else’s GOOD intention? Why suddenly bother?

Plus, what does the Garuda on Armani’s t-shirt mean to those hypocritical people? Which part of that symbol is degrading? Armani didn’t add a huge penis on that bird right? He didn’t put two boobs on the Garuda’s chest. As a matter of fact, he just gave Indonesia 15 minutes of fame.

This week, I interviewed a friend of mine, Danurdoro who is the president of Indonesian Students Association in D.C. Area. I asked him why cultural bazaar is important for young generation. He said that pop culture influences young generation in so many ways so he think that cultural bazaar is important because it exposes the importance of cultural heritage to the young people. It is also important to help them see the richness of Indonesian culture, knowing the fact that there are many traditional ethnics in Indonesia.

As the president of a youth organization, he believes that his organization and he have created events that pretty much brought up a sense of appreciation to Indonesia. One of the events is called movie night where they showed quality Indonesian movies. They also worked together with the Indonesian embassy during embassy’s open house. Danurdoro believes that the movie night particularly is a good way to remind Indonesian students of their home country because in the movie everything is Indonesian, for example the actors, language, setting and attitude of the characters. He knows that students love that because it’s a fun thing to watch movie together.

However, from his observation, he thinks that compare to other form of Indonesian culture; food is the more popular form because it’s something that people can taste.

Danurdoro believes that so far Indonesian cultural event has not yet targeted enough young people because there is a huge gap between the younger and older generation. In the United States there are too many older Indonesians but very few young Indonesians. So there’s only a small group of young people that can be targeted.

So, he suggested that in order to improve Indonesian events, the committee should include more people from different age groups and class.

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I found an article about a painter from Holland who’s inspired by Indonesian culture. The painter, Hetty Ansing, came to Indonesia in 1993 and can’t stop coming back because she thinks that there are many things about Indonesian culture that she can put onto her paintings. Her primary inspiration came from Bali and Yogyakarta, which are pretty famous in Indonesian tourism. I think it’s very good news that my country can inspire an artist who’s not even Indonesian.

I believe that Indonesia should develop its tourism and promote its culture more because there are so many things about Indonesia that haven’t been heard by foreigners. Ansing said that she has heard about Indonesia even before she visited the country but it was not that interesting. She found interesting stuff only after she visited Indonesia. I think that’s a perfect example of “not enough good publication.”

It’s OK to know that there was avian flu, flood and tsunami in Indonesia, but people also need to know that there are beautiful dances, arts and delicious food in Indonesia that one cannot get in other countries.

I also think that appreciation has to come from the people inside too. As far as I know, Indonesians take their rich culture for granted. Most Indonesians do not really think of it as THAT special. If Indonesians cannot appreciate their own culture, how can Indonesians promote it to non-Indonesians? I think it has to start from the young generation like me. For example, Auguste Soesastro, he uses Indonesian fabrics for his designs. I need to think of an action that I can do to show my appreciation to my own culture too. Wait! I can continue writing about it. Maybe?

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I came across this article about an organization that helps facilitate the promotion of Indonesian culture. According to the article, there are about 3,000 arts and cultural groups in Indonesia. I think that is not a small number. However, most people probably do not know about them, especially the small ones. The reason is because they do not have that many opportunities to showcase their talents.

The Kelola Foundation for Arts and Culture helps these arts and cultural groups to access different opportunities such as internships, workshops and arts grants.

I think it is a great idea to have an active organization that can work as a bridge for different arts and cultural groups. In a country like Indonesia, where many people have the dream but do not have the greens, an organization like The Kelola Foundation for Arts and Culture is very much needed.

In the United States, for example, different arts groups are helped by Indonesian Embassy because the embassy can give them opportunities to perform at different events. I wonder if Indonesian Cultural Club has been helped by an umbrella organization at all.

I also think that maybe The Kelola Foundation for Arts and Culture can bring more groups to the United States so that the groups here in the U.S. can learn from the guests groups. It will be a good program for both groups from Indonesia and groups that based in the U.S. to develop each others’ talents. For example, the groups from Indonesia can teach more variations and techniques, while the groups based in the U.S. can provide a place and audience for the guest groups.

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