Selamat malam, cahaya purnama.
Jakarta is a place that I hold dear. This is the metropolitan city where I was born, where I grew up, and today, where I live. It is a city whose history I learn since childhood, a capital city whose name I memorized first as I held my first globe, likely the first city that I could spell by name when I was younger.
Today, the city turns its page to a new page, and it is all murky.
Source: Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM)
Last night was quite emotional—not just for me, but for many Indonesians. Just a few minutes short of midnight, 17 August 2016, a day celebrated for Indonesia’s 71st Independence Day, its mixed doubles badminton pair Ahmad/Natsir won a gold medal for the country at the Summer Olympics 2016. It continued an almost continuous run of gold medal from badminton for Indonesia since the first time the sport was competed in Summer Olympics 24 years ago—minus four years ago, in which Indonesia did not get any.
It was a moment of joy, with an underlying message: For a country priding itself in the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), you cannot find any better example than this pair. All the dichotomies are here: sex-wise, religion-wise, ethnicity-wise, they were very different—united by one sport, one cause, and one country.
When that Indonesia Raya (the national anthem) was played and sung after the gold medal awarding, you can understand all the tears shed during that 2-minute music. They were truly shed for a country many of us are proud to call home, and to the Red and White for which it stands.
By the way, congratulations to Ahmad/Natsir. Another reason to be proud.
And Happy Independence Day, Indonesia. Merdeka!
(Photo was taken from Rappler)
In the last ten years, the world of international badminton is dominated by one country—not seen thirty years ago: China. With 1.5 billion people, it is safe to say that China can easily pick one kid from every village from his or her earliest age and it will be able to supply the world with tens of thousands of badminton players for years to come.
It is strange, therefore, to watch one of the world’s most prestigious badminton championship—rather, two, actually—Thomas and Uber Cups. Apart from the fact that China was eliminated in the quarterfinal round of the Thomas Cup, the venue was relatively deserted, almost silent. Some jiayou may be heard occasionally, but nothing more.
Once again, Indonesia welcomes a commemorative summit of the Afro-Asian Conference (AAC). Delegates and leaders from more than 70 countries are expected to attend the week-long ceremonials, meetings, talks, and repetitions of events from 60 years ago, including the traditional leaders’ walk from the Savoy Homann hotel to the Concordia Building.
The event this year is probably well-known for the possibility of Kim Jong-un, the young North Korean leader, to attend the event (and his cancellation afterwards). Other than that, while the publicity is present, things are not quite the same. This year’s AAC is a far cry, no doubt, from the similar event 60 years ago.
International Relations has not been very kind to Indonesia lately.
This article, written by no less than my professor (and my thesis advisor) highlights one of the latest problem to Indonesia’s ‘a million friends, zero enemies‘ foreign policy. To add more insult, the problem happens to one of Indonesia’s closest friends: Singapore. In many respects, both countries have excellent relations, not to measure both countries’ status as founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a fact well-known to many.
The 27th SEA Games has just been closed in Myanmar, with Thailand once again showing who are the masters of the region by becoming the grand champions with 107 gold medals. There are, of course, some lessons that can be learned from this SEA Games, especially facing the next iteration of the regional multi-event competition in Singapore in 2015, and this post will focus on those lessons.