Indonesian Night in Bremen
As Indonesian students studying abroad, we also have this responsibilities as ambassadors to introduce Indonesian culture and tradition. Of course, we learn and apply local culture, but it’s just a bit sad that a lot of people in western countries do not know what and where is Indonesia. They seem to know much more about Bali, not knowing that Bali is just one of the 17000 islands of Indonesian archipelago. I have to say, Indonesian central goverment has never been excelent in its PR and marketing for tourism.
There is Indonesian student union called Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia PPI in most countries and major cities. As I am currently studying in Bremen, I belong to PPI Bremen. Usually, each PPI has annual cultural program called Indonesian Night to intrioduce Indonesian foods, dances, clothings, music etc.
So, last weekend there was Indonesian Night, or in German Indonesische Abend in Bremen. However, it was not organized by PPI this time around. It was arrenged by Indonesische Vereine Bremen. PPI will hold their own event in June. A lot of people were coming and there were a lot of tasty Indonesian food and dance that I really enjoyed.
There was so much delicious looking food, I really had a hard time to choose which one to eat. At the end, I choose Bakso, or Indonesian meatball. It is typically made from beef and tapioca flour, but it can also be made from chicken, fish or shrimp paste. It is served in clear soup or broth. Depending on the region, bakso can also be served with different kind of noodles and vegetables and dumplings. The bakso itself can have different fillings.
My favorite dance is the one from central Java, called Gatutkaca gandrung. This dance symbolyzes the romance between two lovebirds in Mahabharata tale, Gatotkaca and Dewi Pergiwa, the daughter of Arjuna. Gatotkaca is usually descibed as a gallant and brave war hero. This dance shows a more romantic side of him. Gatotkaca met Dewi Pergiwa before the great war of Baratayuda
The other dance I like is originated from west Java called Merak dance. It describe the behaviour of peacocks. The dance movement is not really complicated and relatively easy in comparison with other dances from Java island. But I find the custome stunning
Saman Dance is originated in Aceh. I think this dance is performed most often abroad. It has intricate and fast hand movement and very minimal footwork. Most of the time, the dancers are required to sit or kneel. The more the dancer, the merrier. I performed this dance once or twice and it was a lot of fun. Though, you need to practice a lot, because one wrong movement and you slap the dancer beside you…
Kembang Tanjung is another dance from west Java. It tells story about a blooming flower
Other dances are Pagelu Dance from Tana Toraja, Sulawesi Selatan and Tor Tor dance from North Sumatara. I am currently not well informed about the philosophy of the dance.
Overall, the event was nice. It would’ve been so much better if the hall was bigger though. More trash bin could be provided. Surprisingly enough, all the run down was on time without any problem.
Afterwards, I was invited to a friend’s house to eat Pempek from Palembang. So, my new friend, Natasya, she comes from Lampung. She was home 4 weeks ago and brought Pempek made in Palembang to Bremen and it is super delicious! You definitely should try it when you are there.
Pempek is savoury fishcake delicacy, made of fish and tapioca flour. Sometime it is filled with hard boiled egg, served with cucumber and very thin rice noodle and sweet vinegar sauce. The sauce can be really spice and hot, so if you dont like spice food, just ask for the sweet sauce.
So, if you live in a big cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam or student cities like Bremen, be sure to come to one of these Indonesian Night to see the dances and the traditional clothings up close and of course you cannot miss the food!
“Di saat kami mati-matian memperkenalkan dan menerapkan budaya Indonesia di negeri barat, budaya barat yang enggak-enggak diem-diem masuk ke Indonesia… miris“- Nadim