Showing posts from November, 2008


I have been reading 'Dulari' in the train in the last few days. It is written by Usha Marhe. It is about six women who tried to look back at their past with Hindustan background. I am happy to find this book since I have been curious for some time about the Hindustani culture. Why? When I was in Medan, Indonesia, I liked to visit Kampung Madras, an enclave of Indians. It is an interesting area to visit with a traditional market, restaurants, buildings, temples and the smell of Indian scents everywhere. And we won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award for Merit in 2003 for fixing the Tjong Yong Hian bridge in this area. The bridge for a Chinese Mayor in an Indian area, what a special mixture. And for several years with my friends in Sumatra Heritage Trust we have done a research about Kampung Madras; beautiful pictures about the people and their Indian culture. And in 2005 I joined IFSAH (International Field School of Asian Heritage) by visiting India for two weeks. I met and t

Saint Nicolas Came Again....

Sinterklaas (Saint Nicolas) came again to the Netherlands from Spain last Saturday, 15 November. The official Sinterklaas, it means the Sinterklaas who was officialy organised by the Dutch government, came to Almere Haven. But hundred of other Sinterklaas-es came to other places, too, including to Weesp where we were last week. We came to Weesp every year to welcome the Sinterklaas. For the first two years I was waiting for the boat with Sinterklaas on it and his assistants, the Black Piets, to come. But this year its magic has disappeared and I asked my husband to take care of Dian and I went shopping nearby. Then I sat in front of a bakery waiting for Dian and her friends to come, all of sudden I heard music and people danced everywhere. The atmosphere became very cheerful and happy. And I saw the Sinterklaas with his white horse, Amerigo. Spontaneously I made a lot of pictures and started to appreciate this Dutch culture. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, remembered all the song

Shared Culinary Heritage

Lately I had a lot of discussions with my heritage contacts about shared culinary heritage between Indonesia and the Netherlands. We want to do something about it because it is fun, enjoyable and touch everyday life of everyone in both countries. Besides, it is not part of heritage that has been much discussed so far. Everyone both in Indonesia and the Netherlands can easily mention something that possibly crosses both cultures. During the Moslem's festivity in Indonesia, almost every house has kaastengel or naastar. And in the Netherlands, you can buy spekoek (lapis legit) or sambal in every corner of a city. Those are only a phenomena on surface but deeper it actually reflects a long history, bitter or sweet, between the two countries. We could have hundred conferences and never-ending discussions about history but what we eat from day by day is happening without force from any side. People simply eat and cook what they like. If the Indonesians still make bitterballen and croquet

Root and Home

I was born in Semarang and grew up for the first 26 years of my life in Bandung, in a house in Oranjeplein or to be precise, Riau street number 112. The new name of the street is LLRE Martadinata. After 26 years I moved to several places either in Indonesia or outside Indonesia until I reached my current coordinate in Amsterdam. If I think of my root in term of place then I will always think of that house in Riau street. I have stronger memories of my childhood there than other period of my life. If I could recall what a home was, it would be also that same house. When Dian and I moved to the Netherlands in 2005, the hardest decision I had to take was not about myself but the realization about root and home for Dian. I realized that if Dian grows up and lives in the Netherlands, it would be her root and home with all their consequences : language, norm, value, lifestyle, way of living, way of thinking, culture, habits. To some degree naturally she will receive Indonesian influence from

Taken for Granted

From my last visit to Indonesia, I noticed that I took pictures of things which I never did before. S ee here pictures of my lunch in Sogan Village or bunch of tropical fruits. I took more pictures of simple things like this as if I was a tourist. I had to laugh to myself. The truth is I don't take things for granted anymore because in the country where I live now, the Netherlands, I don't see this type of mango or having the same type of lunch as I had in Yogyakarta. Before, when I visited the Netherlands, I took a lot of pictures of everything, from windmills to street furniture. Now I accompanied a lot of guests and no single picture I have taken. Again, this is what Pak Tukiman said to me during our walk in Sogan Village two weeks ago. We have a tendency to neglect the near heritage and look for something far away. We have a tendency to take things for granted until those things disappear and difficult to get.

Heritage Education in Indonesia

Between 1-5 November 2008 the Indonesia Heritage Trust ( BPPI ) and the Netherlands Institute for Heritage ( Erfgoed Nederland - EN) organised a training of heritage education for 12 elementary schools around Yogyakarta , Central Java, Indonesia. In 2006 I drafted the idea to introduce heritage education in Indonesia. I have brought the proposal to Elisabeth Wiessner as my "date" of Stepping Stones program. She works for EN and has experiences about heritage education in the Netherlands. We worked out the proposal together, back and forward finalising it and looking for possibility of funding. It took almost a year when finally EN decided to fund the project itself. January 2008 we started the project and supposed to end it at September 2009. This is a pilot project to find out a method and materials for heritage education in Indonesia with a trial location in Yogyakarta and surroundings. We showed the materials from the Netherlands and also shared the experiences in th