The Indonesian Student Association –Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia (PPI)– and Indonesian expatriates living in Aberdeen, Scotland held the 2019 Indonesian Festival with the headline ‘Zamrud Khatulistiwa” which aims to introduce Indonesian culture, culinary and beauty to the international community.

Scotland’s Indonesian people and Indonesian Student Association members worked well together to organise the activities in Scotland’s three major cities –Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen– for the 2019 Indonesian Festival. The Indonesian Festival in Aberdeen was the last of the three series of festivals, having taken place at St. Machar Academy Aberdeen on the 23rd of March, its theme was ‘Zamrud Khatulistiwa’, a popular Indonesian phrase meaning “The Emerald of the Equator”.

The Indonesian Festival event took place from 12 pm to 4 pm, and featured several shows; video screenings about Indonesia, Angklung playing accompanied by a band performance, traditional clothing fashion shows from 10 provinces (Aceh, West Sumatra, Riau, South Kalimantan, Bali, NTT, Sunda , West Kalimantan and Papua) accompanied by songs from each of the regions, Nandak dance from Betawi, Enggo Lari dance from Maluku, and Manuk Dadali dance performances performed by children from Indonesian students and residents in Aberdeen which were then closed with dangdutan and a flashmob.

Muhammad Yunan Fahmi, Head of PPI Aberdeen, expressed his pride as a child of the Indonesian people that could introduce the richness of Indonesian culture, art, culinary and beauty to the global community. “This activity is not only intended for entertainment and amusement but also as a form of soft diplomacy to strengthen the diplomatic relations between Indonesia and the UK which have entered their 70th Anniversary,” said the PhD student at the University of Aberdeen.

The Indonesian Festival is an annual event that the students and Indonesian expatriates are proud to have held in March every year. Also present were the Deputy Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Britain and Ireland, Adam Mulawarman Tugio, accompanied by the chairman of the Scottish-Indonesian Society (TISS), Dwi Jones. In his remarks, the Deputy Ambassador expressed his pride and compassion for the activities initiated by the students and the Indonesian citizens of Aberdeen. Furthermore, Mr Tugio showed to the international community present that Indonesia is not only made up of Bali or Lombok but also Aceh, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and many other interesting tourist areas. Moreover, the deputy ambassador also reminded the Indonesian expatriates to participate in the presidential election, “Indonesian citizens in this room do not forget to use your constitutional rights later, namely in electing the president and vice president, either by post or directly to polling stations in London at April 13,” he said.

One of the most interesting parts in all of the performances found in the festival was the fashion show of Indonesian traditional clothing that is exhibited by foreigners. “All of the performances shown were all memorable but the most memorable was probably the fashion show”, said Stefan, one of the visitors who came with his child. The excitement was also conveyed by Lea, a Namibian international student who participated as a fashion show model, “this event was very extraordinary and I am grateful to have been involved in this international event and this also further strengthens my desire to visit Indonesia” said the PhD student at the University of Aberdeen.

In addition, a typical Indonesian culinary stand is lined up with a menu of around 41 types of food from all over Indonesia, kindly provided by expatriate housewives in Aberdeen. The number of visitors who came reached around 300 people.