Indonesian Festival 2013, Nottingham UK


Saturday (15/06/2013). For me, It was so special day. The day, in which I felt home. The day, in which I felt I was in tiny Indonesia in the UK. The day, I can hear clearly the sound of Gamelan and other traditional music instrument for the first time in the UK. Yeah, the day was 10th Indonesian Festival 2013 (Indofest 2013) in The University of Nottingham.  It was annual event organized by Indonesian Student Society in The University of Nottingham in collaboration with Indonesian embassy and Indonesian students association in the  UK aimed at introducing and promoting the richness of Indonesian culture, the “unity in diversity” of Indonesian people, and the wonderful of Indonesian nature, as well as the amazingly enchanting Indonesian foods and cuisine.  There were thousands of people across the UK flocked to the one of green fields in the University  of Nottingham, one of the greenest campus environment in the world. They were Indonesian, as well as local and other nationality people. Luckily, it was quite sunny day in the summer session, the thing that made everyone felt very happy.

To introduce the Indonesian culture, people, and nature The Indonesian festival held some events including cultural performance in what we called “Indonesia Got Talent” program, Folk Games, Food Stalls, Workshops, and Photo exhibition. Herewith, some pictures that I could take from the spot.

Cultural Performance

The event was opened with a dance performance by “Tari Pendet”, Pendet Dance, a very famous dance from Bali. I saw by myself, this dance successfully attracted attention of  eyes. It was very dazzling dance performance indeed.

Another dance was ” Tari Saman”, the Saman Dance. It was also very famous dances performed by a group of people showing succinctness of the performer gestures. It was very attractive dance, indeed. Actually, there were many other dance performances that I  had no chance to spot them. You know, I was one of the event organizing committee.

Other than dance performance, there was traditional fashion show performed by British and other International people in the UK. It felt very proud and happy to know that other people from different nationalities loved our national costumes.

They also looked very happy and proud with these traditional costumes.  Yeah, to know and to learn the other cultures is always fascinating.

Folks Games

In other hand, we also introduced the Indonesian folks games. As matter of fact, Indonesia has a bunch of traditional games scattered around the Archipelago. Unfortunately, the advance of electronic and digital technology made these cultural heritages vanished. It might be only played once a year during the celebration of our independent day. It was so regretful.

In the festival, some of the games were introduced. such as “Balap Karung”.

Interestingly, It was not only played by Indonesian children, but also International children. Children, no matter what their nationality and cultural background, they are the same. They are always sincerely cheerful. They honestly express what they feel. Dealing with children is always entertain me.

The other folks games played in Indofest 2013 were Bangkiak Race and Tarik Tambang. Have a look on the following pictures, that were  successfully captured from the spot. Bangkiak is modified slipper made from wood. It must be worn by three children who must race together on the track.

While Tarik Tambang is very simple games. Two groups of people in opposite sides are pulling the same rope against each other. The winner is the group who could pull the rope stronger than another group.

At the heart of both games Bangkiak race and Tarik Tambang is a message that people should work together very well in team, it is the way to teach the children the essence of team work in which every people in team plays an important role and no one could gain full success by his/her self without helping hands from the others.


It was the things that I had been waiting for a long time to come. Yeah, the very Indonesian foods. I do not know why, my tongue never compromises with European foods. And it was the time to grab the very Indonesian food in Nottingham. So yummy.

This food yellow rice is called Tumpeng. It was amazingly delicious. It is usually made in the day of celebration such as birth day celebration. So, it is just like Tart Cake in western culture. This food has deep philosophy but in the essence is the expression of gratitude devoted to Allah, one and the only one God,  for all His blessing to us.

There were approximately 40 Indonesian food stalls in this festival with a bunch of foods from Nasi Padang to Es Cendol. Indeed, it was a great pleasure.

Other than ready served foods, there were also Indonesian food groceries as well, where you can find Indonesian food ingredient there. It was like traditional market in Indonesia. Where every people that dominated by women could speak in Javanese Language to each other without any hesitation, even it was in the UK.

I was so lucky, I found Tempeh and Sambal Pecel in the food groceries stall. They were not available in Nottingham and here they came. Although it was quite expensive compare again the price in Indonesia.

For a bar of Tempe I must pay £2 (approximately Rp. 30.000, it was equal to price of a half kilogram chicken) and £1.25 (approximately Rp. 18.000) for Sambel Pecel. However, for the UK prices, it was quite affordable.

The Workshops

To introduce the Indonesian cultures and local heritages, in the festival also be held some workshops. One of the workshop was Batik Workshop. It gave practical experience how to make Batik from scratch.

At the beginning, the visitor interested in Batik were given a chance to draw his/her own motif on white  fabric. Promptly, afterward, they drew the motif using Canting and Malam. The special tool and ink for drawing the Batik.

I saw they looked very enthusiastic learning how to make it  gradually, scratch by scratch. The process really taught us that there is no instant way to achieve a great masterpiece. Each single great achievement needs long, tedious, even painful process. Only love make the process become a pleasure.

In addition, in the festival, the committee also held Bahasa Indonesia workshop. It gave at glance introduction on how to speak some common words in Bahasa Indonesia. It was to great pleasure, to see some foreigners learning Bahasa Indonesia happily.

In the festival also be  held Bhineka Sport Championship, and the adventure Games.

The Sponsors

This festival was sponsored by Indomie, a top instant noodle brand in Indonesia and Teh Botol Sosro, to brand ready served tea.

Thanks Goes to…

We should thanks to The Indonesian Festival 2013 President and Vice President, the Indonesian Ambassador for UK and Ireland, T.M. Hamzah Thayeb. Great Job, Guys!

and for sure a bunch of thanks went to all organizing committee members, volunteers, and whoever had come to the festival. See you soon in Indonesian Festival 2014 next year !

Understanding the fact that we are different, then trying to know and learn each other is at the heart of harmony in Life. What a wonderful life, living in diversity. Not to compete against each other but to know and love each other.  Indeed,the diversity yield the unity for a better life in this one and only one beautiful world, where we live together as one.

*) Just a random note might be worth to remember in the future.

When I remembered Who I was


It was Friday (10/05/2013). Again, I felt the time went so swiftly. It was near to the middle of May, and I felt I had done nothing for my PhD Journey. Today, I made a little but great change in my PhD life. You know what was it?  I went to campus at 6 am in the morning. It was the most earliest time I was leaving for campus recorded so far. It was great. I felt so happy in the morning. The lab was still very quite and my mind was ultimately fresh. It was a perfect time to study, indeed. Really, I enjoyed to start my activities at the very early morning. Starting from that time on, I promised to my self to go to the campus very earlier in the morning.

Thanks God. I was quite encouraged and vigorous. The thing that reminded me to be fully encouraged was my memory of my childhood. This lonely tearful long PhD Journey rang me the bell of my childhood.


When I was at Elementary School i.e. SDN Plampangrejo 3, and Yunior High School i.e. SMP N 1 Cluring Banyuwangi, I was so simple, modest, lonely, very hard-working and extremely diligent student despite of all my limitations When I was Elementary school student, Every morning at 06.30 am I must go to the school on foot while majority of my friends went to the school by their bicycle. Still recorded in my mind, everyday I must walks through paddy field, in very terribly bad footpath to the school that was also located in the midlle of paddy field. When it was raining, my parent had no money to buy me even a very cheap umbrella. I just sheltered myself  and more importantly my bag containing my hand-written note book from the rain under a banana leaf.  When the rain was so very heavy, frequently my uniform and book were so wet.

The only learning resource I can access was my hand-written notebook.  I wrote everything what my teachers taught in the class on my shabby thin, low quality paper  notebooks. My parents had no money to buy me high quality paper notebooks such as “Sinar Dunia” books. The brand that I really wanted to because it was advertised too much on the Television. But I never had ones.  I learnt solely from that book at night. My school had no library providing books, magazines, to be borrowed by the students. For sure, I had no text books. It was surely unaffordable for students from family in very rural village, where I was living. However, I was the only student who was very lucky. Because, one of my teachers, Bu Hariani, kindly borrowed me a textbook for Bahasa Indonesia subject.

That was the only textbook I had, when I was at 4th, 5th, and 6th Grade. I really owed a huge debt to her very much. Oh God, please give her full of your blessing in her life. Despite of the very bad learning facilities, I was very happy I had ever won a math competition at  district level.  Finally, I graduated from the elementary school with very excellent national examination mark. I got 43.54  of 50.00, while the average of my classmate mark was only 23.00. My elementary school tenure must be very painful, but I felt it was not. I never felt that what I had at that time was so phatetic.

When I was a Junior High school student the condition was even worse. I must went to the school located at the city from the village where I was living by bicycle for 15 km distance one way. In other words, I must travel for 30 km everyday. Since, the school started at 06.30 am, I must left my home at around 05.30 am in the morning. What a terribly too far distance to be traveled by bicycle, Indeed. Frequently, I had problem with my bike such as puncture and  broken chain on my way to or from the school. If that happened, the situation became much more terrible, since I must walk with my bicycle.

I was in the class where all the students were very smart. It was an excellent class program, in which the students were 40 students with the highest mark selected quarterly from all students in the same level.  It was really not easy for me to adapt, to make friend with my class mates. I was extremely inferior. I felt I was the most stupid student in the class. I felt I would never survive with them. Since, they were from rich family, the looked very smart in my eyes.

I felt very lucky with my new school. It was much better than my prior school in elementary level. The school provided quite self-contained a bunch of books collection that I can borrow for free. I also had excellent teachers who were very expert in their own expertise. My school also had very prominent laboratories such as English lab, Natural Sciences Lab, Computer Lab. as well as sport facilities.

In this school I was a very study oriented, self-centered student. I had no another life but to study. But, it was typical student in my class. Because if we had worse mark than the other students from other classes mark, we should be ready to be kicked out from the class. Fortunately, I did enjoy studying very hard at that time. In the school,  I heavily owed debt with one of teachers namely Bu Mahmudah. She was the one who made me got scholarship from the government. I was so grateful.

It was so painful that finally paid off  at the end I was at the school. When I graduated from the school, I achived the best result on the final national examination.


Remembering all those memory really gave me recharging energy to keep carry on my PhD journey. When I felt so sad and down, I told to my self that I used to dealing with those kind of feeling and you had proven that you were able to succeed.



In the morning, I was working on my First Year Review Report and reading the latest journal of the operational research society until Jum’at prayer time. I went to Protland building for Jumah prayer after wards. I really enjoyed this moment, to meet with my brothers in Islam. Seeing their sincere smiles, shaking their warm hands really could erase all sorrow and sadness in my heart and replacing them with genuine happiness.


Afterwards, I went to Hyson Green before finally I went back to the lab in the campus until at around 11 pm at Night. Thanks God, for the day.

Joyful Saturday and Social Life


It was Saturday (27/04/2013). The temperature in Notingham significantly droped  again. In the several days before, the temperature is at around 10-15 degree celcius. But this weekend, the temperature was drop at around 1 degree celcius.

I woke up at 03.30 in the morning. I made Tahajud Prayer and went to Mosque for Subuh prayer jamaah at the mosque at Portland Building, the University Park, University of Nottingham wit Arif. We conquered the very cold temperature in the dawn time, at the very beginning morning of the day. At the mosque, we met some brothers from Sudan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Somalia, Brunei Darussalam, and many other countries. It is alwyas a genuine happiness to meet each other with people from  the same religion backgraound.

I deeply enjoyed the tweets of many birds from diverse species which were perching  among the trees at the University Park. It was very  beautiful melodious  natural song from the nature. It rang me the bell of my childhood in very small rural  village, ringin pitu, plampang rejo, cluring, in a small town named Banyuwangi. I used to hear this tweets at every single morning when I was a kid of 5-10 years old. Now, it is only a fairy story of the past. Because, all the birds have been killed at my Village.


We continued our never ending discussion at Arif house. At around 09.00 am, we cooked our food for our breakfast. We cooked fried Chicken Wing and ‘Sambal’ ( condiment). I made the fried chicken wings and Arif made the sambal. Finishing everythings, we ate together  with Gus Dur style – ate while sitting on the floor while watching the X-Factor Indonesia video uploaded on the youtube.


Actually, today we planned to have Jogging around the lake-side at the university park. However, since the bad weather, we decided to cancel it. Eventually, we changed our mind to have photography hunting around the university park. By the way, Arif just bought his new camera. After taking a bath and making Dluha prayer, we went to University Park and met with Pak Sukirno. Unfortunately, suddenly it was raining. Thus, we decided to drop in Pak Sukirno house first. We had a tea time at pak Sukirno house while having a small chat. Pak Sukirno had problem with internet at his house. He did not find partners to have sharing contract to get Wifi Internet connection from Virgin media, that was quite expensive to afford by himself.

After 30 minutes, the day was shiny again. We left the home to the lake-side at University Park. We took some pictures at  around the Sakura Tree close to the Lake. The sakura flowers were still blossom at their final stage.


We also took photos with backgraound the lake, the trent building, the row boats on the lake, and the wild life around. It was a perfect background indeed. It was so natural and genuine beauty from the nature. Suddenly, it was raining again. We run and go inside the art gallery near by the lake. We enjoyed some visual art work that was also so sexy to be captured.


In minutes, it was shiny again. That was very typical weather in the UK, a very dynamically changing weather. It could be rainy, shiny, warm, and cold only in the matter of minutes only.  Living in this kind of weather taught me that Live is so dynamic, we have to change to survive and become the winner, or just stay static to be left behind and become the loser.


We continued our Photography journey to the lake and the wild life. Again, Pak Sukirno was our perfect super model. What I liked most was that he was so enjoying to be our photo super model. He was really a Hot Papa. Thanks to Pak Sukirno.


Another interesting and joyful thing in this lake-side was that we can easily find the wild life. We can find easily a variety of ducks, birds, and squirrels. They were so friendly with people around them. They never feel worry to be killed  by people around them.


This time, I was so lucky. I found a beutiful squirel. I fed him, while one of my friend took picture of mine. I offered the squirel with a bar of biscuit chocolate.  He was ashamed at the beginning. But, I kept teasing him with the biscuit. He was getting closer and closer to me until finally he caugth the chocolate biscuit.


Again, after several minutes, It was raining again. We decided to go to mosque at Portland Building, at the University park to make Dhuhur Prayer. Although, it was Saturday, I still met many people in the mosque. Some of them brought along their kids to the mosque. That really made me miss my kid at home. Oh God, supposing my kid was here, I must be very happy.

After making the Duhur Prayer and met with Pak Abdurrahman -a new PhD student from Indonesia, who just came to the university a week ago, we decided to visit one of Indonesian family living in the Nottingham at Beeston. It was only 15 minutes by foot from the University. We went through the foot path along the University Park campus, that was extremely  green and beautiful.


Along the way out from the university, it was so easy to find the flower blossom in this Spring. they were so colourful and beautiful. It was so beautiful to enjoy the green of leaves of the tree around the campus. A perfect place to take a breath.


There were still many flocks of students came to the campus, eventhough  it was Saturday. The came to the libarary, especially the Hallward Library. One of the most crowded libraries in this University. It was so fantastic that the library in this university was open 24/7, twenty four hours everyday. It was so saluteable to see the high motivation of  independent learning of students in this University. Contrarily, It was extremely different with students in Indonesia. To best of my knowledge, the libaries in many Indonesian campuses were almost empty from students learning indipendenytly in the library. I should admitted that the independent learning habbit of students in western countries is much better than that of in Asian, developing countries such as Indonesia.


We took a break for a while, to have a cup of coffee at Highfield Graduate Center. It was a very cozy place to study and have a very cheap coffee. It was only £0.5 per cup for the very delicious coffee. Unfair price to make us so relax.


We finally arrived at Mbak Mar house. In this house, mbak mar and her family, mbak Arif and her family, and mas Udin were living together. They were so friendly indeed, that made us felt so comfort and felt like at our own home -where our heart were. We had a warm dicussion and Jokes. We lough out loud. It was also a rare opprtunity to speak in our mother language, i.e. Javanese. It has been very long time for us, not to have lough like this in this very terrible social life country. It was so incredible time to have chats with them. It made my day  totally different, in which in the other days, my day was nothing but boredome day in the lab at the campus.


We were served with Indonesian food and drinks. We had bakso, sambal terong, bakwan, sambal goreng, kerupuk, and many other Indonesian cuisine. We continued the chat until the late of night around 10.00 PM. We made ashar and maghrib together in this house. It made us feel close to each other. Thank you very much for mbak Mar, Mas Hasto and their three sons. Thank to mas Wisnu, Bu Arif, and their lovely son. Thanks to Mas Udin as well for being a very nice host for us. It was really unforgetable moment  during my Life in the UK.

Thank you ya Allah for blessing us this tight friendship and brotherhood. Thanks for today. Hopefully, it will fully recharge my courage and determination to finish my Phd studies-the very long journey to go, sucesfully  and as soon as possible in the very near future. Because, sometime it was not trivial thing to maintain our courage and determination. When, I was stuck, it was so easy to be lazy and do useless things. Hopefully, this exceptional Saturday will effectively kick the boredom out from my PhD life. Ammiin.

— *) All photos are courtesy of Ziaul Arif.