June 7: It Begins !

Yogyakarta, 8 June 2011

This was the first day of the program of “US-Indonesia Parternship Program”. In this day we planned to go to the University Club of UGM for opening ceremony. After that we have the lecturing events in CRCS and Interfidei.

The opening ceremony was conducted by Ms Sekar as Master of Ceremony. This program was officially opened by Mr Ainun Naim, as the Senior Vice Rector for Finance Administration and Human Resources. Mr Ainun told that between Indonesia and US has many connection. He told the example of that in Indonesia and US, bothe of them consist of many kinds of ethnic and religions. And also, he told that the mother of US President Barrack Obama, Mrs Ann Dunham has ever lived in Indonesia, especially in Yogyakarta. And also there are another related things between Indonesia and United States, and Mr Ainun said that we have to maintain those relationship. He has expectation for our US friends so that they can explore Jogja and Java apropriately, and can find the uniqueness of Javanese Cultural.

After the official opening session, then we continued to do the first discussion in the term of knowing each other culture. The Indonesian team was leaded by mas Indra for creating the presentation materials. In this discussion, we know things hthat we may do and dont in US, like they need their personal space, they do not comfort when people talk about their physical looking, and so on. In this discussion, the Indonesian team has made several list that the people should do or visit. We create the list based on the historical background and also based on the popularity. Here is the lists:

  1. Masangin
  2. The Jogja Beaches
  3. Jejamuran
  4. Riding Andong
  5. Fishing
  6. The House of Raminten
  7. Malioboro—Kraton—Tamansari
  8. Yogyakarta Art Festival
  9. The Ramayana Ballet
  10. The Boko Temple.

The top of the list is Masangin. Masangin is a game played in Alun-alun Kidul. The player closed his eyes by the scarf, and then he walk through between the two of banyan tree. When he can walk precisely through between them, then he has the pure and true heart. Jogja is also famous with the term of the beaches. The southern beaches of Jogja is known as the best coast in java island. The sands in the some beaches are white and clean, and the beaches surrounded by rocky coral mountain, and they have nice scenery as well. Jejamuran and Raminten are the restaurant. There are many unique menus and tasty foods in there. Malioboro—Kraton—Tamansari is a route that the tourist usually take to walk and take picture. There are a lot of historical story behind those buildings we could know there. Yogyakarta Art Festival is an art festival which held in the park of the Vredeburg Fortress. This festival held annualy in every June of the year. In this year the festival will be held in 20th of June till 5th of July. In this festival there are alot of art shows and also the bazaar of art. They usually present the Ketoprak. Ketopra is a drama which the figure and the story play the ancient of javanese story, like the story of wayang or the story of javanese history.

The next session is lecturing with Mr. Zainal Abidin Bagir, Ph.D, the director of Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS). In this lecturing Mr Zainal told us a brief about CRCS, and the program. The presentation of the session was most about the issues of religious condition in Indonesia after the Reformasi. In the time after the Reformasi, Indonesian people are more freely to express their self expression than in Suharto era’s. The diversity facts in Indonesia are very complex. Globally, there are the diversity in ethnic, religions, and many more. But within the religion itself, there are diversities. For example in moslem, the largest organization in Indonesia are NU and Muhammadiyah, they are quite different though both are moslem. And recently, after the reformasi, the number of the moslem organization is increasing. Like FPI, HTI, and MMI, they are the organization which founded after the Reformasi.

Mr Zainal told that there are two main consequences of reformation in Indonesia. The first is that there is more freedom for people to express themselves. There are a lot of organization founded after the reformasi. This phenomenons didnt exist in Suharto era’s. And the second is the decentralization of the governance.

Our next session is visitation to  Interfidei. Interfidei is an organization which concern to create a civil society with democratism through interfaith dialog. its program are mostly conduct the dialog in which gathers the stakeholder of the religions in Indonesia to talk about creating harmony and peaceful life in inter-religious life.

When I came there, I impressed with Mrs. Anis. Mrs Anis is a Islamic religion teacher in senior high school. She is the one teacher who teaches religions with unusual way. The other or usual teacher in Indonesia teach the religion curricula just about the intrareligion, not interreligion. In my opinian this is the one of the cause of the religion conflict in Indonesia. In the school, they dont get the general understanding of respecting another religions, because in the school its just like “indoctrination” of the teacher. The student not guided to find the true meaning of religions. But Mrs Anis, with her own methods, teaches her student with different approaching. She often make her students to interact with the people from different background, like different religions or different ethnic. Through this, the students will know that they dont live alone in this world. They have people to share and care. With this kind of method, I think the student will have more respect with another people who have different choices.

Fikar El Hazmi

Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology

Universitas Gadjah Mada

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