Monash has often been known for holding gatherings and events that represent its multicultural student population. Indonesian Independence Day was celebrated on August 17th, and the event day 2, which was held on the 18th and hosted by PPI Monash, showcased some of Indonesia’s finest cultures through a series of things such as the Indonesian local food festival, the Indonesian traditional games booth and several cultural performances that Indonesian students performed at Monash Malaysia. The entire foyer was vibrant with game booths, food stalls, merch stands as well as Indonesian and international students mingling together and trying everything out.
We were lucky to have experienced the authentic way of celebrating the day as the team managed to pull off a similar celebration as anyone back in Indonesia would. A couple of games were played at the booth and the first game was called Lomba Makan Kerupuk otherwise known as the crackers eating competition. Each participant was given a cracker each that was hanging above them and they had to jump and reach for it. The first to eat it entirely wins
The second game was Lomba Memasukan Pensil Kedalam Botol and it was as easy as racing to insert the pencil into the bottle and it was played in a team of 2 with each participant standing in one line.
The best part of the event was that there was food everywhere!! Everywhere from the food bazaar to the merch stall! We sampled the Indonesian Sambal at the food bazaar, which was very spicy and savoury, and also had ‘Choki Choki’ chocolate, which surprisingly originates from Indonesia!
As students sampled delicacies and tried their luck with games, a number of students were also seen enjoying the live performances taking place at the same time. There was a diverse array of musical performances taking place, where Indonesian songs were performed, and everyone sang along.
The event’s inclusive and interactive approach helped to instil a sense of belonging and familiarity for those from Indonesia. This approach showcased a unique blend of both patriotism and multiculturalism and was a refreshing change from hectic University life.
“Independence day is a reminder of our old heroes who sacrificed their lives for us, and the struggles they faced.” Said Agnes, an Indonesian student currently studying in Monash. “This event made me feel like I was back home, celebrating with my family.”
Aside from showcasing Indonesian culture and development, the event was also especially successful in celebrating diversity. This was especially evident from the multiethnic audience who attended the event.
“ I’m having a blast, the energy is so vibrant and it’s so much fun!” said Jamaal, a Monash student from Sri Lanka, who attended the event. “It’s a great demonstration of culture for us international students!”
Sinaga Alfredo Waldemar, the President of PPI Monash Eunoia, said that the reason this event was planned was to make the Indonesian students at Monash feel like they were home, so they can celebrate independence regardless of where they are.
“Our initial thought was to have an offline celebration after 2 years of online events. We came up with this idea of a 3 day event, chose 3 specific days, and there we go! We also got great help from MUISS and MONGA so props to them!”
The event was therefore successful in creating a sense of an integrated community and demonstrating Indonesian nationalism on campus. We were so happy to be a part of the Indonesian Independence Day Celebration. Thank you for having us and Happy Independence Day, Indonesia!
Written by Arooj; Photos by Sean and Jun