Traditional dancers at Indonesian Cultural Day

More than 100 people gathered to enjoy music and dancing, and to celebrate Youth Pledge Day’s message of unity, at an Indonesian Cultural Day held in Rockdale on October 14.

The day was organised by the Indonesian Reference Group from Advance Diversity Services and the Indonesian community from St John’s Anglican Church in Rockdale.

It aimed to foster harmony among Indonesian communities across Sydney.

It also incorporated Youth Pledge* Day celebrations to remind people of the great role young people can play as agents of change to bring about a united Indonesia.

Advance Diversity Services’ Indonesian Community Worker Andi Dwipasatya said the day’s theme, “Unity in Diversity—Berbeda tetapi Satu Indonesia (different but one Indonesia)”, emphasised the desire of organisers to promote oneness among Indonesian-speaking people regardless of their backgrounds, regions, ethnic groupings and religion.

The event also provided an opportunity for members of the Indonesian-speaking community in the region to showcase their cultural and other contributions to multicultural Australia, and to engage positively through art, culture and music.

Ms Dwipasatya said promoting unity in diversity was extremely important as Indonesia has 34 provinces, 17,508 islands, more than 300 native ethnic groups (with their own culture, traditional clothes, traditional food, traditional song and dance and 742 different languages and dialects).

“It can be hard to break down barriers,” she said. “But we know helping migrants to form friendships and bridge cultural divides so they can celebrate and work together on common issues is worth it.”

The cultural day featured traditional dances from four Indonesian regions—Bali, Central Java, East Java and Flores—as well as modern dance.

The bamboo angklung (a traditional instrument) along with a contemporary band with keyboard, guitar and voice, and performances by karaoke singers, also added variety.

Special guests at the event included Yayan Mulyana, Consul-General of the Republic of Indonesia—New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, and Amin Hady, first chairman of the Indonesian Community Council of New South Wales and founder and chairman of The Foundation of Islamic Studies and Information (FISI).

Representatives from Settlement Services International also attended.

Advance Diversity Services’ Executive Officer Antoinette Chow spoke about the counselling, referrals, training, education, group support and other services and activities ADS provides to ensure that newly arrived Indonesians enjoy the opportunity to contribute freely to a multicultural Australian society.

Attendees were also encouraged to join the recently formed Indonesian Community @ Rockdale, which was launched at the cultural day. The group aims to accommodate the aspirations of Indonesian people in the region and meets on Saturday afternoons at the St John’s Anglican Church Community Hall.

“The day was a real success, with positive feedback,” said Ms Dwipasatya. “People found it informative and entertaining. They also said it helped them to feel more connected, and to be confident about the services available to help them in their communities.”

Watch the Indonesian Cultural Day video on Facebook.


*The Youth Pledge (Indonesian: Sumpah Pemuda) was a declaration made on October 28, 1928, by young Indonesian nationalists in the Second Youth Congress (Indonesian: Kongres Pemuda Kedua). They proclaimed three ideals, one motherland, one nation and one language. Youth Pledge Day is celebrated annually to remind people of the great role young people can play as agents of change to bring about a united Indonesia. 


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