This is part 6 of the Australia-Indonesia Muslim Exchange Program series
Read previous parts at
While I was away, the rest of the group went to the MTSN13 school, which conducts teacher exchanges with Australia.
Tasneem said “These kids’ eagerness to engage and learn was abundant. One of the warmest welcomes I’ve known – a school of bright, courteous and smiling faces. Following the visit, we were simultaneously hit with multiple IG ‘folbak’ requests from students here, revealing a social media savyness that belied their wide eyed expressions.” They were treated like celebrities by the students, each one having their own hardcore instant fans, looks amazing.
After speaking with the Australian Embassy about how we hadn’t seen what the young people of Jakarta really get upto, they quickly arranged something special for us.
They had arranged a visit to AKJ, the Arts Institute of Jakarta. It was awesome to meet young artists and see their work!
We had the privilege to meet fashion designers, painters, sculptors, musicians – this was the kind of young, fresh, bold identity of Jakarta we were looking for. I got to meet Cika (chee-ka), a second year Arts student. Cika was wearing her own design, a blend between a Military Jacket and a Kimono.
We came across an artist who was putting dots onto paper, making an incredible scenic artwork. Sarah pointed out that she was practicing her pointillism technique. Sarah said she couldn’t imagine how much patience and discipline it requires from the artist.
We visited the Jakarta arts precinct in Cikini. We watched young girls learn traditional Balinese dancing whilst their proud parents observed.It was amazing to see incredible artistic expression through traditional music and dance. What a great way to end out trip! It feels so sad that our journey is almost ending.
After a wonderful time checking out the art school, we invited some of the students from the Art Institute to join us for dinner that evening. It was a chance to connect with them and get to know them better over a delicious dinner at Warung Daun.
We had Lamb satay, chilli king prawn, corn potato fritters and watermelon-strawberry mocktails.
The next day, Kota Tua is the Old Town, where you see a lot of Dutch influence when they colonised Indonesia. They have a square which reminded me of the plaza mayor in Madrid Spain with performers, music players, cartoonists etc.
I went to the Oude Bataviasche Museum, which provided a great view of the square and the Stadhuis Museum. It was quite a spectacle, watching friends and families enjoy their morning, couples ride two-person bicycles and performers attracting the crowds, people selling food and drinks.
We left the square and went to a puppet show organised just for us. It began with a musical performance by a elderly husband and wife duo. The woman sang as the man played a traditional Indonesian wind instrument.
We then got to watch a traditional puppet show based on the story of Rama and Sita. The indonesians have a slightly different version than the indian story I was told, it was fascinating nonetheless. We were given a lesson afterwards about the traditional and intricate nature of puppet making. Each puppet takes a very long time to make. It’s made of cow hide, and the holes are individually made by tools. A lot of work go into these beautiful puppets.
Tasneem summarised how we were all feeling at the end of the trip “So much love and respect for these people, who’ve proved to be ideal travel companions. We ate and journeyed our way through Java, living and learning the whole time. Boundless laughs, quirks and wisdoms flounced about. Happy to have forged memories with such fine souls.”
We had a safe flight home. I can’t believe how unbelievably lucky I was to of gone on such an amazing experience. Thank you to the Australia Indonesia Institute Muslim Exchange Program for providing me with such a wonderful opportunity.