Indonesians in the UAE came together to commemorate August 17, 1945, the day of independence for the southeast Asian islands, marking their 70th year of freedom.
A large number of community members joined in the independence day celebrations at the Indonesian Embassy where a flag hoisting ceremony was held and prayers were said alongside a singing of the national anthem and a blood donation event.
“This is an annual event that is very important to us because we remember the moment we gained our independence from the Dutch and the Japanese … If you add the numbers of the date: 17, eight and 45, it makes 70, so it is a very special anniversary to us,” Salamet Noegroho, Acting Ambassador of Indonesia in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News.
To instil humanitarian values in the community, the embassy collaborated with UAE Exchange to organise a blood donation campaign. “If I am not mistaken, we are the only ones to have a blood donation at our celebration in the UAE,” Noegroho explained.
The deputy director of the Indonesia Investment Promotion Centre, Andi Barbiansya, 34, was one of the many to donate blood this year. “It is a fulfilling and good thing to do because we are contributing positively to the community when we give blood.”
Feeling pride when taking part in the festivities, Fitri Wahib, architect and a resident here for 10 years, grew up in Sydney but is from an Indonesian background.
She seldom comes to the embassy to celebrate the commemoration of independence, but is glad to be part of the Indonesian community to celebrate the event this year. “I am not usually around many Indonesians but today I am very proud as I am surrounded by my culture,” she said.
When listening to the national anthem the pride of culture is felt as well as affection for the country and land from where Indonesians come, she added.
When away from his country, Mohammad Ruslailang, 39, engineer and expat of four years, noted how his patriotism is exemplified being away from his country. “Today, the country is doing well considering 10 years ago the state was pushing through the Asian financial crisis. We are going through this modern era and progressing within the region,” he explained.
Currently, the Indonesian population in the UAE has increased in the last two years to 85,000, with 70 per cent living in Dubai and 20 per cent residing in the other emirates, Noegroho added.
The celebration kicked off with the hoisting of the flag in the morning and festivities continued later in the day. However, publicly acknowledging Indonesia’s day of independence started three months ago with sporting events such as football, tennis and golf before the warmer months made it difficult to hold such events, according to Noegroho.
In 1977, the second president of Indonesia, Suharto, visited the UAE and in 1990 Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan visited Indonesia. Currently, the embassy is arranging the visit of the new president, Joko Widodo, to Abu Dhabi in the near future, Noegroho told Gulf News.
Source : http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/society/indonesia-celebrates-its-70th-year-of-independence-1.1569531