Saturday, August 25, 2007

MEET KYAI GANDRUNG OF GENEVE

To most Indonesian, Kyai Gandrung is already strange name. A Kyai from Geneve? You must think I'm kidding you. Though it's sound playful but I'm not kidding you. Kyai Gadrung is the name of a Javanese Gamelan Group based in Geneve.

Kyai is a traditional title in Indonesia especially in Javanese society normally given to a person who posses a supernatural power or a religious leader. Gandrung is a javenese word which means "fond of" or "crazy about". If you gandrung something you like it very much or are in love with it madly. So will the "marriage" of these two contrast meaning can blend harmonioulsy in Geneve and contribute to the promotion of Indonesian culture richness? Let's hope.

Gamelan Kyai Gandrung in one of their performance in Geneve

Kyai Gandrung personnel in action

Two nonjavanese members of Kyai Gandrung Adrina Sitohang (left) and Marc Mareschi

Kyai Gandrung performs in front of Geneve business meeting


Kyai Gandrung personnel from left Mr. Andre Viéke, H.E. Mr. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, Mr. I Made Suharta, Ms. Arniza Nugroho, Mrs. Wasih Yasandikusuma, Mrs. Sinah Tordjman, Ms. Amandine Mareschi, Mrs. Callou Mareschi, Ms. Adrina Sitohang, Mr. Sri Joko Wiyono (leader of the group), Mr. Marc Mareschi, Mr. Alek Jeansen.

GAMELAN

Gamelan is a type of musical ensemble of Indonesian origin typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings, and vocalists may also be included. The term refers more to the set of instruments than the players of those instruments. A gamelan as a set of instruments is a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together — instruments from different gamelan are not interchangeable.

The word "gamelan" comes from the Javanese word "gamel", meaning to strike or hammer, and the Malay-Indonesian suffix "an" makes the root a collective noun. A central Javanese gamelan ensemble includes:

  • metallophones, such as the saron, gendér, gangsa, and ugal (sets of metals bars laid out in a single row and struck like a glockenspiel).
  • cradled gongs called bonang and kenong (sets of large, drum-shaped gongs laid out horizontally on stands)
  • hanging gongs called kempul and the large gong ageng
    xylophone-like instruments called gambang (similar to saron and gendér but with wooden bars instead of metal ones)
  • drums called kendhang

In Indonesia, gamelan usually accompanies other arts, such as dance, wayang puppet performances, and rituals. Typically players in the gamelan will be familiar with most dance moves and poetry, while dancers are able to play in the ensemble. In wayang, the dalang (puppeteer) must have a thorough knowledge of the music, as he gives the cues for the gamelan. It is uncommon to play a gamelan on its own, and there are no concerts in the Western sense, although it can be used as background music, such as at a wedding.

According to Adrina Sitohang, a local staff to Indonesian Permananet Mission to UNO in Geneve and member of the group since 2000, the gamelan instrument age is estimated 100 years old. It was first brought in to Geneve from Jogyakarta in 1983. In 2000 Mr. Hasan Wirayuda, presently Indonesian Foreign Minister, then Ambassasor to Indonesian Permanent Mission to UNO Office in Geneve, decided to hand over the gamelan to the custody of Ethnography Museum Geneve for public display. But since February 2007 the mission office took over the gamelan back and place it at the Ambassador house.

The naming of the Gamelan as Kyai Gandrung by Mr. Hassan Wirayuda was officiated in February 2000. Mr. F.X. Suhadi is the first gamelan trainer of this group. Since October 2000 the group had it's new trainer Ki Sri Joko Wiyono which led group until today.

The grup has performed in many occasions in Geneve one of which is it's regular appearance in Geneve Summer Festival between June and July each year and in Diplomatic Reception held in conjuction with Indonesian Independence day. This is in line with the group mission, promoting Indonesia by means of it's cultural performance.
Something important about this gamelan is that most members of this group are not of Javanese descendants. As you can see from the picture above, member of this group also came from other ethnics in Indonesia but also from European nations.
Now the question is, "Why these people join this very javanese musical group?"
"I can bet you, these people must have been nGgandrungi or in love to this Kyai alot".
To know more about this gamelan, visit Indonesian Permanent to United Nations Organisation in Geneve website: http://mission-indonesia.org/

Thursday, August 16, 2007

62ND INDONESIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY


NATIONAL MOTTO: BHINNEKA TUNGGAL IKA (UNITY IN DIVERSITY)

Indonesia is an archipelago in Southeast Asia consisting of 17,000 islands (6,000 inhabited) and straddling the equator. The largest islands are Sumatra, Java (the most populous), Bali, Kalimantan (Indonesia's part of Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes), the Nusa Tenggara islands, the Moluccas Islands, and Irian Jaya (also called West Papua), the western part of New Guinea. Its neighbor to the north is Malaysia and to the east is Papua New Guinea.

Indonesia, part of the “ring of fire,” has the largest number of active volcanoes in the world. Earthquakes are frequent. Wallace's line, a zoological demarcation between Asian and Australian flora and fauna, divides Indonesia.

The 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia were home to a diversity of cultures and indigenous beliefs when the islands came under the influence of Hindu priests and traders in the first and second centuries A.D. Muslim invasions began in the 13th century, and most of the archipelago had converted to Islam by the 15th century. Portuguese traders arrived early in the next century but were ousted by the Dutch around 1595. The Dutch United East India Company established posts on the island of Java, in an effort to control the spice trade.

After Napoléon subjugated the Netherlands in 1811, the British seized the islands but returned them to the Dutch in 1816. In 1922, Indonesia was made an integral part of the Dutch kingdom. During World War II, Japan seized the islands. Tokyo was primarily interested in Indonesia's oil, which was vital to the war effort, and tolerated fledgling nationalists such as Sukarno and Mohammed Hatta. After Japan's surrender, Sukarno and Hatta proclaimed Indonesian independence on Aug. 17, 1945. Allied troops, mostly British Indian forces, fought nationalist militias to reassert the prewar status quo until the arrival of Dutch troops.

In Nov. 1946, a draft agreement on forming a Netherlands-Indonesian Union was reached, but differences in interpretation resulted in more fighting between Dutch and nationalist forces. Following a bitter war for independence, leaders on both sides agreed to terms of a union on Nov. 2, 1949. The transfer of sovereignty took place in Amsterdam on Dec. 27, 1949. In Feb. 1956, Indonesia abrogated the union and began seizing Dutch property in the islands.

In 1963, Netherlands New Guinea (the Dutch portion of the island of New Guinea) was transferred to Indonesia and renamed West Irian, which became Irian Jaya in 1973 and West Papua in 2000.

DIRGAHAYU INDONESIA (Long live Indonesia)

Please click the link below to national antheme "INDONESIA RAYA" (GREAT INDONESIA):

Wage Rudolf Supratman - Indonesia Raya on Piano

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

HOTEL RWANDA

I've watched this movie few times. Very touching. It reminds me about sectarian conflicts in Indonesia especially in Ambon and Poso few years back. Lesson learned from this movie is that you must never give a room for etchnic fanaticism in your heart and environment. It if happened, at the end of the day, no body is the winner, everybody is a looser.
If you are a hotelier, you should watch this movie, to undertstand the corporate social responsibility a hotel industry when such catastrophe occurs.




Starring: Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo
Director: Terry George
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 26 nominations

Don Cheadle stars in true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsis refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.

In actual fact, there is no hotel named Hotel Rwanda. This title refers to Hotel Des Milles Colline in Kigali Rwanda where Paul was working. When the civil conflict broke out and torn the country, the caucasion GM left the hotel amid fear of his safety and asked Paul to take charge without proper hand over.

The catastrophe of civil war in Rwanda in 1994 reached the worst when the Hutu's militia took control over the capital of Kigali and conducted the massacre of the innocent Tutsi's mainly women, children and the odlster. The Hutu's labelled all Tutsi's as cocroaches and treator of the country. This hatred is treasured from the colonial period when the Belgium was ussually appoint the Tutsi's to run the country administration due to their better education and skill. When the Belgium left the country, most of the high post in the administration are held by the Tutsi's. The UN sponsored peace brokerage failed to bring reconciliation between the Hutu's and Tutsi's. The peace brokerage failes due to the murder of the president before the peace agreement was implemented.

Paul himself is a Hutu but his wife Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo) is a Tutsi. This situation worsened because most of the Milles Colline Hotle staff are the Hutu's who consider Paul as not purely belong to their ethnic. Alike the Hutu's militias, the Hutu's hotel staff instead labelled Paul as part the treator of Hutu's.

The touching scene was when Paul and his wife felt in despair and planned the best way the should die if eventualy the Hutu's militias managed to found them. Paul asks her to jump down from the hotel along with him instead of fallen into the hand of the Hutu's militia.

A true story of a man who fought impossible odds to save every one he could and created a place where hope survived.

GLOOMY SUNDAY

A complicated love story of three men: a restaurant owner, a pianist and a shy and boredoms young German who turned SS Nazi colonel pursuing one beautiful lady.

As the turmoil of World War II engulfs Hungary, a Budapest eatery, Restaurant Szabo, hosts its own conflicts. Its restaurant owner, Laszlo Szabo (played by Joachim Krol), hires pianist Andras Aradi (Stefano Dionisi), and both men love Ilona Varnai (Erika Marozsan), which is further complicated when their regular customer Hans-Eberhard Wieck (Ben Becker), an SS colonel, begins to pursue Ilona's affections.

Andras is an introvert talented pianist whose piano composition immediately became the top list of the radio music across Europe since its release. But the piano play have also caused the public uproar as the music apparently have a strong but strange melody which inspire and lead its listener to suicide. Andras himself ended his life with a suicide.


Joachim Krol, Stefano Dionisi and ErikaMaroszan in The Gloomy Sunday

Joachim Krol and Erika Maroszan
Erika Maroszan and Stefano Dionisi

Also Known As: Eine Lied fur Liebe und Tod, Gloomy Sunday, Ein Lied Von Liebe und Tod,
The Piano Player

Production Status: Released

Genres: Art/Foreign, Drama, Musical/Performing Arts, Romance and War

Running Time: 1 hr. 54 min.

Release Date: June 20, 2003 Chicago; November 7, 2003 NY/LA/BO/WA; November 14, 2003 MI

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Production Co.: Studio Hamburg Letterbox Filmproduktion, Polygram Filmproduktion, Dom Film, Focus Films, WDR, Premiere Entertainment Group, ARTE, MTV2

U.S. Box Office: $223,827

Filming Locations: Budapest, Hungary; Cologne, Germany

Produced in: Germany

YouTube - Gloomy Sunday

Friday, August 10, 2007

YOSSY IN SEYCHELLES

Yossy and Komang Swesen

Josephin Juniati Sitohang, my second youngest sister is in Seychelles since end of last year. She followed her husband, Komang Swesen who had been there earlier. Both are now working for the Banyan Tree Resort in Mahe Island Seychelles. Before went to Seychelles both Yossy and Swesen were working for Banyan Tree Resort in Bintan Island Indonesia.

Banyan Tree Resorts, owned by Singaporean businessman KP Ho, are famous for it's upper class market oriented resort for tourists who seek a tranquil environment and scene. Banyan Tree resorts also available in Phuket Thailand and Maldives.



One of Seychelles beach resort .


Another panorama of beach resort in Seychelles.


Seychlles is one small country comprised of 115 island in the Indian Ocean, some 1500 km east of mainland Africa. It's total land area is only 451 km2. Seychelles has the smallest population of any sovereign state of Africa, only 80,645 people (2005).

Seychelles gained it's indepence from United Kingdom on 29 June 1976. Victoria is the capital city. The present president is James Michel.





Thursday, August 9, 2007

YAR RACHMAN

Yar Rachman (left) and Rusli Mahmood (right) posing at Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal Bintan Island

Looking for a modern with international outlook yet still typically friendly Malay man to befriend with? Meet Zuhrial Rachman, fondly called as Yar Rachman. Yar is a native of Tanjungpinang, husband of Theresia Rachman, a Javanese woman, and father of two sons Randy and Reggy. They now live in Jakarta.

I spent more than 6 years working with him, at a period during which Bintan Resort just started it's infrastructure development. At that time we had to drive for almost 2 hours to Tanjungpinang if we want to have ice cream or good food to eat.

He started as Admin Manager while I was the Accountant. Owing to his open minded personality, tactful, excellent verbal and written communication skill, bilingual and ability to balance his position as member of management team and as a reliable workers rep., Yar steadily managed to climb the career ladder in Bintan Resort up to Assistant General Manager position in Admin Services Dept. Yar was successful in creating a harmonious multy cultural working environment between the ethnically diversed Indonesian staff with foreign staff from Europe, Australia and other Asian Countries.

Yar left Bintan Resort at the end of 2001 due to his health which need him to be closed to his family. I remembered giving him an Ulos Batak as a token of my sincere and everlasting friendship, the most genuine token from a Bataknese, during his farewell dinner with all management members of Bintan Resort Cakrawala in 2001.

Now, Yar is holding one of the top management posts in The Save the Children, an international NGO with extensive operations in many parts of Indonesia.

One thing that I would never forget about Yar was during my job interview in Jakarta sometime in August 1995. Yar was one of the interview team members accompanying Ms Eleine Cheang, and the then Bintan Resort Management Finance Director Edwin Low, who led the team. Both Eleine and Edwin are Singaporean. The interview was conducted in English from beginning to the end. During the interview I was very sure that Yar is a Singaporean Malay because of his English fluency and serious look . I only realized that I was totally wrong about his nationality and personality when I arrived at Bintan Resort Cakrawala office for the firts time. He was wearing Batik when welcoming us warmly at the Resort Management Office. With his famous smile he greeted me, "Hallo. Selamat datang di Bintan" (Welcome to Bintan).

Perhaps it is that friendly smile and warm greeting from my first Malay colleague and friend which partly held me stay in Bintan this long and never return to my hometown in Jakarta until today....

Saturday, August 4, 2007

MINISTER BUDIONO VISIT TO BINTAN OFFSHORE

Yesterday, Friday 3 August 2007, Coordinating Minister for Economy, Finance and Industry Budiono made a visit to our yard. We only given one day notice about this visit left us with no choice but to work overtime until late night the day before to prepare this visit.

During the visit Miniser Budiono was accompanied by Kepulauan Riau Province Governor Ismeth Abdullah, Bupati Bintan Anshar Ahmad and their key staffs.

This visit is in conjuction with the signing of memorandum of understanding between the local governments where the long awaited special economic zone Batam Bintan Karimun will be located and the investors. The signing of the MOU took place in Batam on Wednesday, 2 August 2007 before Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla and some cabinet ministers covering investment, trade and industry headed by Mr. Budiono.
In Bintan alone there are 12 companies planned to invest some US $833 million in infrastructure such air port, resorts, industrial park and offshore fabrication and marine industry in which Bintan Offshore is the champion in this category. If succesful, this projects will develop 6,054 ha and create 11,127 jobs for local people, a number which Bintan manpower pool alone will never be able to fill up. Hence more migrants are expected to influx Bintan from other parts of Indonesia as happened in late 90's when Bintan Industrial Park and Bintan Resorts project was launced by a joint venture company between Indonesian Salim Group and the Singapore Sembawang Corp. led consortium.

This achievement of attracting investors to this area is attributable to the hard work of Governor Ismeth since he was elected as the first governor of the province in 2005.

We will all see whether the Indonesian and local government can help to create a sound investment climate for these investors to spend their money in this area.

Petrus Sitohang (BO Finance & Admin Manager) on the left, Choong Yik Lin (Managing Director of Bintan Offshore) is seen here explaining the production process in the panel line section to Minister Budiono (right).

From left: Hendry Rusli (Bintan Offshore HR Manager), Choong Yik Lin (BO Managing Director), Minister Budiono, Felix Fan (BO Yard Manager), Governor Ismeth Abdullah, Bupati Ansar Ahmad, Petrus Sitohang (BO Finance & Admin Manager) and Zurkani Alfikar (BO Facility Supt.)


Petrus Sitohang poses with Governor Ismeth Abdullah.


From left Petrus Sitohang (BO Finance and Admin Manager), KC Leong (Yard General Manager), Richard Asril (BO Board of Commisioner), Zurkani Alfikar (Facility Supt.), Choong Yik Lin (BO Managing Director), Felix Fan (BO Yard Manage), Mizan Taufik (BO Drafter) and Dumanti Sitorus (Planner)

One of the complete rig on completion stage in Keppelfels main yard in Singapore.