Indonesia is a culturally diverse country with over 300 ethnic groups, each with its own distinct cultures, customs, and languages. The country’s arts scene thrives with traditional music, dance, and theatre. The citizens of the nation are renowned for having a strong sense of community and hospitality. To honour this perpetually vibrant culture, Sunway University Student Council (SUSC) organised an event titled “Unveil Indonesia’s Wonders” on May 5, 2023, at Sunway College.
This small gathering was intended for international students from Indonesia and other regions as well. When one is away from their motherland, a constant feeling of homesickness tends to linger, but with a celebration such as this, people can come together and exchange knowledge of many cultures while also feeling more at home. The International Student Relations Department of SUSC and the Sunway Cultural Exchange department were in charge of organising this event as a part of their Global Cultural Cafe initiative. It was an enormous success thanks to the cooperation of the department director, Brian, the project manager and assistant managers, Aaron Shua, and Jacob, as well as assistance from the department members, Aaron George and Nayla.
The event began approximately at 8:00 p.m., allowing a few minutes for walk-in registrations. The host of the night was the project leader himself, Aaron Shua. He gave everyone a brief overview of SUSC’s organisational structure before moving on to introduce the four Indonesian students, Chelsie, Azra, Yusuf, and Akbar, who took it upon themselves to assist the attendees in their exploration of Indonesian culture. A few colourful “sarongs” were hung high from the ceiling to add more ambiance to the whole session, and many attendees were seen draped in their gorgeous cultural clothes, such as Baju Kebaya and Kurta.
The first segment, comprising traditional games, encouraged everyone to joyfully engage in a lively game called ‘‘Balap Karung’’, a traditional Indonesian game. Divided into teams, students eagerly participated in this zestful activity that triggered their enthusiasm and friendly competitive nature. ‘‘Balap Karung ” or more commonly known as sack race, involves a thrilling race where participants must navigate through a course while jumping with a sack on. The challenge lies in coordinating their movements and maintaining unity as they strive to reach the finish line first. It was the perfect icebreaker and immediately set the tone for the evening.
Following that, everyone once again formed teams to immerse themselves in the exhilarating game of ‘‘Gobak Sodor”. The game requires agility, speed, and strategic thinking as its objective is to pass through a line of defenders without being tagged while carefully evading their opponents. Laughter filled the atmosphere as students sprinted, dodged, and weaved their way through the defenders, displaying their competitive spirit and determination.
The games session concluded with attendees being challenged to master Indonesian tongue twisters. With their tongues twisted and minds focused, they eagerly recited the intricate phrases, determined to conquer the linguistic feat. The air was filled with amicable banter as students playfully stumbled over the rapid succession of syllables. With each attempt, their pronunciation improved, and their confidence soared. Amidst all the cheers and contagious energy, participants demonstrated teamwork, communication, along with camaraderie, highlighting the essence of Indonesian culture and the joy of coming together in playful harmony.
As the buzz of the games settled down, guests were given a short breather to indulge in all of the Indonesian snacks such as Fugu Puff Crackers, Nabati’s Richeese Ahh, Cocopie and Martabak offered by the organisers. Participants eagerly shared and tasted the mouthwatering delights, and it is safe to say some discovered their favourite munchies for the first time that evening. The room erupted with warm-hearted laughs and fondness for the culture, and soon after, as the closing act, a round of acoustic songs was performed by a volunteer. He strummed his guitar while singing the sweet lyrics to Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presly, Photograph by Ed Sheeran and Yang Terdalam by Noah, a famous band from Indonesia. People were waving their flashlights and swaying their heads from side to side as the singer took them through an emotional journey with his performance.
The celebration was drawing to an end as the clocks hit 10:00 p.m. Upon snapping a couple of pictures to preserve the moment, the attendees began saying their goodbyes. Some left with a reluctance to go home after such a memorable evening, and some left with new, blossoming friendships. This initiative was an extraordinary celebration that transported participants on a captivating journey through the vibrant tapestry of Indonesian culture. From the mesmerising performance to the delectable snacks plus engaging games, the event served as a reminder that embracing diversity enriches our lives and fosters a sense of unity, creating a stronger as well as a more inclusive community.
Written by: Ruby
Edited by: Poorani