Indonesian community celebrates its national day in Sana’a [Archives:2008/1183/Local News]

August 21 2008

SANA'A, Aug. 17 ) The Indonesian community in Yemen celebrated their country's national day at the Indonesian ambassador's residence in Sana'a with the performance of traditional music and dance. They began their day with a flag-raising ceremony.

Various groups from within the Indonesian community gathering from numerous Yemeni governorates took photographs with the Indonesian ambassador and his wife.

The sheer variety of national clothing, music and dance represented the richness of Indonesia's culture and heritage, which has an enormous population and a large number of ethnicities. Children wearing clothing from different areas of Indonesia sang about their nation's unity.

One of the liveliest performances was the Saman dance, the most popular dance in Aceh (pronounced Ah-chay), the territory where Islam first was established in Southeast Asia. In the dance, 12 male performers kneel in a row on the floor and make different types of torso movements accompanied by songs, which are praises and prayers to Allah, and clapping their hands, slapping their chests and slapping their hands against the floor.

Another dance was the traditional Cenderawasih (Bird of Paradise) dance in which female dancers wearing gold and white clothing represent the beauty of the bird. As they dance, they move and sway together, giving the appearance of flying.

A group of Yemeni students also performed an exhibition of Pencak silat, Indonesia's original martial art.

“Even after 60 years of independence, we realize that the challenges still are large, but the Indonesian people are committed to achieving development to improve their prosperity,” stated Indonesia's new ambassador to Sana'a, Nurul Aulia, who studied Arabic literature and foreign service. He previously has worked in Kuwait, Moscow and Jeddah and was assistant deputy minister for foreign policy in Jakarta.

Eri Khana, 19, is from Aceh and in his first year at Hodeidah's Dar Al-Uloum Al-Sharia for Arabic and Islamic Sharia. He commented, “I'm happy on this occasion of our national day for Indonesia because it's a good chance for the Indonesian community to gather together and exchange feelings of brotherhood between themselves and between Yemenis too.”

After completing another three years of study in Yemen and then returning to Indonesia, Khan wants to become a university instructor.

As the Indonesian ambassador noted, “More and more students are coming to study in Yemen, particularly Islam.”

Irene Gondokosomo from Jakarta is a Yemenia Airlines flight attendant. She said felt like she was back home in her own country when she was with the other Indonesians on their national day. “I'm very excited and happy to come to the ambassador's house today,” she remarked.

Sunani Asrori, head of Indonesia's consular section, noted, “Indonesians in Yemen work for oil companies, hotels and Yemenia Airlines, in addition to being students of Arabic language and Islamic Sharia at Hodeidah's Dar Al-Uloum Al-Sharia, in Tarim in Hadramout, Dar Al-Muttafa and Al-Ahqaf University, also in Hadramout.”

He continued, “Many Yemenis working for foreign oil and gas companies in Yemen train in Indonesia for six months to a year and then return to Yemen to build their own oil and gas industry. So, we exchange our experiences and knowledge in the oil and gas industry.”

Ambassador Aulia concluded, “I hope to make more efforts to enhance and improve relations between Indonesia and Yemen in trade and economy, as well as contacts between our peoples.”