Attending India Night 2012 in SIUE – “Sanskriti: One Nation Different Cultures”

The Symbol of God in India. The name of the God is Ganesha. Based on Hindu epistemology, Ganesha is the God of Knowledge and Cleverness. I saw this image when I came to the event. The students of SIUE created this image by using colored rice and the rice was put orderly on the table so that the guests can see it directly.

I went to this event on April 7, 2012, together with my host family, Joyce and John, and other friends. The event was started at 6:00 pm until 09:00 pm in Morris University Center of SIUE. I was invited to attend this event because it was something new to me. This event was organized and performed by Indian Students Association at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Besides, this event is such a great time for me to see and know how cultures of India look like. Although I have seen a lot of Bollywood movies that might be useful to watch how people of India represent their cultures through that movie, it does not mean that I have seen the culture directly. Since I was invited by my host family, then, of course, I decided to attend the event.

In this event, I saw many different kinds of cultural performances and cuisine from India. The foods served in India night were so delicious. The menu itself was various. Some of the foods served were Tandoori Butter  Naan, Butter Chicken, Aloo Mutte, Mango Lassi, Condiment Tray, Jeera Rice, Chicken Kebab, Carrot Halwa, and Mixed Salad. I took all these foods to my plate in order to know how the foods taste. Yes, after I ate, it tasted really good. I stopped eating the foods because I felt so full in my stomach. While I was eating the foods, Soorya Performing Arts from St. Louis played some of Indian musics. The musics made the atmosphere of the dinner felt nice. The atmosphere made me felt as if I was in India. I did not understand the lyrics, but the music itself was familiar in my ear. That was enjoyable enough. 🙂

From all activities performed in the event, there were three activities that I enjoyed watching. The activities were Fashion Show, Garba dance, and Classical Performance (semi classical and folk dance) choreographed by Smitha Rajan. For the Fashion Show, there were some wedding dresses performed by Indian Students. Some of the wedding dress were those from Punjabi, Gujarati, Rajashtani, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, Christian, and Muslim. For the Garba dance, there were some SIUE students performing the compilation between modern and classic dance of India. This dance showed the image of happiness between young people of India. In the classical performance, there were three little cute girls performing the dance in such beautiful ways. To my mind, the dance showed how the God and Goddess in India, based on the mythology of Hinduism, were working together in keeping this earth in peace. The outfit of the three girls was cute, too.

Overall, my impression after attending and watching the India Night event was that India was such a huge nation in terms of its cultural tradition. Even though the event itself was only performing some of Indian cultures, attending the India Night 2012 was fascinating for me. Actually, there were still many more cultures of India that the students could perform, but considering that the event was conducted by students, the event was done well. At the very least, I knew that the event shaped my mind that each nation in the world has its own cultures. Such cultures make the world rich, especially in its diversity and multicultural perspectives. To keep and make the cultures last longer and be transformed from one generation to the next generation is a very crucial thing that the people of a nation, such as India, should do.

The world is simply beautiful by its diversity and colorful view – Syayid Sandi Sukandi, April 8, 2012


The Beautiful Side of Indonesia – in Videos!

The nature of Indonesia is still fresh and somehow, it has the aspect of “virgin” nature. Some books that I have read about Indonesia are only explaining this country based on individual perspective. It is still growing in a lot of ways. One thing that makes people coming from around the world to this country is the hospitality and the well-coming services that they get. You will never know what country Indonesia is. Well, all I can say is that, don’t trust “news” or “political discussion” because they are, sometimes, bias and subjective in nature. So, just come to Indonesia and enjoy yourself. Find things that make you enjoy the most.

What a Wonderful World – Indonesia

Indonesia and its cultures

Indonesia – when the butterflies come

Indonesia – The Ultimate in Diversity

Inspiring Indonesia Visit 2011

Discover Indonesia – part 1

Discover Indonesia – part 2

Finally, I would say, Indonesia is traditional in a lot of ways. That happens because we value our culture and we value the way we live.

If all places in the world are in the same ways all together, what a boring world isn’t it? You’ll be surprised to see the things that you can see in the country.

Welcome to Indonesia!






JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman and Stephenie Meyer including Nh Dini (Indonesian author) on Being a Writer

This video reminds me somehow to the process of being a young writer. I really wish I could publish my writing!

In Indonesia, NH Dini is my inspiring author!

Money, oh, Money…

Indonesian Rupiahs
Money, money, and money... What is the power of money?

Money, oh, money…

Fifteen years ago, when I was just a little kid, my mother gave me money for about Rp. 500,- to buy a Rinso in a small shop next to our house. (Rinso is a detergent used for cleaning clothes in water). At the time, I bought only one Rinso. When I came back to my house and gave the Rinso to my mother, she said, “Thanks”. So, that would be the starting moment for me to understand what money is – as a kid. Money is used for daily needs.

When I grew younger as a teenager, I went to a senior high school in Padang city, West Sumatra, Indonesia. The school was in SMU Negeri 2 Padang. Unfortunately, my father, who was and is working as a gardener, had less money to buy all I needed to go to school.  Therefore, I had to study seriously in the school in order to get a scholarship so that my father and mother would not have big burden to pay my school fee. One year after I did my best at school, I got the scholarship. The teacher said, “Congratulation! You’ve got this scholarship! From now on, keep your study improving, okay?”. Yeah, I still remember that time. I got the scholarship in SMU Negeri 2 Padang until I could finish the high school well. This was the time when I had understood about money – as a teenager. Money is used for positive purposes.

In 2003 until 2007, I went to a university, which was famously known as Andalas University. I studied English language and literature in the university. In that year, fortunately, I got scholarship again. At the time, I knew that “if you got scholarship, you got money. If you got money, use it wisely”. During the time of my study in the department, I had to fulfil many things which I needed to support myself for my study. If I relied on my father’s salary – because my mother did not work, I would never be able to end the study well as expected. Anytime when friends wanted me to treat them, I had to say, “I’m sorry. I just could…” In seconds, they turned their back and left me sighing. In that condition, especially where I had to save all money I had for my study, I had got achievement as the Best Student of Andalas University. I got quiet a lot from this. However, the appreciation was really great, but, I wish I could get the first position because I wanted to have a notebook for typing my thesis. I just did things in the proper ways. I did assignments, went home early, and read some books. I joined some organization but ended with colourful endings. In this case, I learnt about money – as an undergraduate. Money is used to pay for your daily needs, especially your needs for education.

Interestingly, in the same time, I had another funny moment with friends, too. Since I knew that I was from poor family, that means we only could give ourselves common needs; therefore, I always remembered telling my friends that if I got scholarship or won from a competition, I would not be able to treat them like in a big club. I really realized that soon after treating them, I needed the money for other purposes. Then, in a very sad day, I had to loose a little of my money to help my mother bought an iron and some plates for our kitchen. And, I bought those things for my monther. In the following day, I had to borrow my friend’s money only for Rp. 10.000,- (in dollar means $ 10,-). They lent me some. On a Saturday night, I went out for a party in my neighbour. I only wore simple dress and casual since I did not really concern on style or performances. When I arrived there, some people stared at me, others saw me in such a bad eyes, and the rest ignored me as if I was not there. I made myself brave enough to enter the pool party. Someone, a boy, came to me and I still remembered his words, “Wow, smart student could not have great dress to intermingle, huh? You’re just a nerd. A nerd is a nerd!”. The other boys said, “Yeah, his friends are the books! Haha….! I bet your house is in the library!”. The worst thing was some girls said, “You are handsome, but, if you have no great outfit, you are just not better than them”. That day, my feeling was really torn apart because of money and “good-looking”.

Days and days passed. Since that moment, I had forgotten about it. A few months later, I went to Bandung with my father to visit my grandmother in Cipanas, Garut. We had some money to go to Bandung. I bought some dresses which I thought that they would be fit with me. The price was not really expensive and, of course, not in a very famous brand. All those things were made in Indonesia. When I came to Padang and came into one of friend’s birthday party, my friends said, “wow, you look great!”. What made me surprised was the people who said this were the people who said I was bad-looking before. In this way, I learn about money – as a young man. Money is used to show off your “social status” in the society. If you are poor, you should tun around. If you are rich, your pocket speaks. This is absolutely silly for me. (Until now!)

Now, after all things I have come through and seen lots of things which are related to money, I make one last conclusion. Although money is just money, but, in some condition, having lots of money can be a great way to realize great dreams, especially positive and good dreams for everyone. Money can be used to get what we want. Money is used for trading and business transaction. However, all I cannot understand is that how proud someone with his or her money and how pity someone is if he or she does not have lots of money (I knew pretty much how it felt when we were none, poor, marginalized, and unseen by the society). We have been separated our life into two things in almost everything. In this case, the two things are rich and poor. Then, in this condition, I just do not understand why some people do cruel things just for money. For example, murdering, seducing, raping, killing, robbing, and many other negative things just for money. People are in need of foods and good shelter out there. All they need is money? So, what makes all these things worse? Is it money? We can create our own way of life, and, in turn, that way will kill us all. As a young man now, all I can learn is, having lots of money is good as long as we can use for positive purposes to reach better and proper life together, now and forever, especially for all  kids and all people whom we love.


Your money will mean everything when you give it to the people in need – even just ‘a little’ (Syayid, 2011)

The Story of Malin Kundang

The Story of Malin Kundang

Since the text of Malin Kundang folktale is not easy to find, especially the one written in English; therefore, I want to share the following text to you all. Hope it is useful for you. This story is the most well-known folktale among Minangkabau people in West Sumatra province, and generally known in Indonesia.

This story has been published in:

Alibasah, Margaret Muth. 1975. Indonesian Folk Tales. Djakarta; Djambatan, pp. 11-17.


Malin Kundang


Far, far away, on the coast of Western Sumatra near the mount of the Batang Arau River, there is a large gray rock. It looks like any rock anywhere, but the people in the nearby fishing villages approach it with great awe, and not a little fear, and they bring their children to it to tell them its story. For the rock was once a ship – the ship of fisherman’s son from their own neigbourhood, who sinned against his mother and was thus punished for his evil deed.

Most of the inhabitants of the village were poor. They made their living only fishing; farming they did not know. One of the families, poorer than the rest, had one boy named Malin Kundang. Because he was their only son, they loved him more than was good for him, and they spoiled him, and as is so often the case, instead of returning their love and goodness to him, he became lazy and selfish and naughty, and a burden to them.

One morning, as Malin Kundang’s mother set in their small cottage weaving cloth, Malin Kundang, as always looking for mischief, stole up quietly behind her and quickly grabbed her spool. He was about to run away with it when he fell, and the sharp point of the bobbin pierced his forehead just above the eyebrow. Weeping loudly, he ran back to his mother, who cleaned and bandaged his wound without delay and comforted her naughty child. The wound healed quickly, but it left a large scar.

One day Malin Kundang’s father heard that there was a ship at the delta whose captain was looking for additions to his screw. Malin Kundang was growing up, and his father, thinking only of his son’s good and his future, asked him whether he would like to sail. Yes, he would, said Malin Kundang. It seemed to him an excellent idea; he would go far awar, to distant lands, to all the world.

And so he left his parents, and the village where he had grown up, and joined the crew of the large ship his father had told him about. His parents took leave of him with great sadness. In spite of his bad behavior he was still their only son, and they would now be alone again.

As was to be expected, no news came to the parents of their sailor son. Years passed; the father died, and Malin Kundang’s mother lived by herself, poverty-stricken old woman, whose one hope in the miserable world in which she lived, was to have some word from her son before her own life-span was ended.

Meanwhile, what of the son? He was in luck, Malin Kundang, this son of poor fisherfolk. The days of his apprenticehip as a common sailor were far behind. Not only was he a captain of ship; he was the owner of a fleet of merchant ships; as well. Ships, houses, jewels, all the world’s goods he desired were his—and so he lived, adding to his possessions and to his wealth as he sailed from country to country, a prosperous, successful merchant and shipowner. Forgotten were the days of his youth, his parents, their love and kindness towards him. The traits of his boyhood, selfishness, indifference to the welfare of others, conceit—they were all emphasized as he had grown to man’s estate. Tall and straight he had grown – a handsome captain indeed – but the straightness was of pride and the bearing of the head showed conceit and superciliousness. This was Malin Kundang.

One day the villagers of the delta town of Batang Arau saw a large handsome ship, a foreign ship, in their small harbor. One whispered to another, and this one to again another, that the tall man standing on deck was noe other than Malin Kundang. It had been years and years since Malin Kundang had left the village as a young boy, and it was now a grown man they saw, a bold and dashing figure, elegantly dressed. But the older folk knew him by the scar above his eyebrow. They remembered.

The news spread fast. An old man hurried to the home of Malin Kundang’s mother, and panting in his state to tell her, he cried, “Old Mother, old Mother, your son has returned. He is the captain of a splendid ship that has dropped anchor in the harbor. He is a great man now – a rich man. They say it is own ship. Come, Old Mother, and see. Come and see!”

Malin Kundang’s mother could hardly believe the news. The tears rushed to her eyes and streamed down her wrinkled face. Quickly she fetched a basket, filled it with rice, and left the house with the old man.

The ship was splendid indeed. Never before had the village been privileged to receive such a ship in its humble harbor. The spectators were there in throngs, admiring the vessel from stem to stern: the wood of its main mast; its billowing white sails. It was a great event, a great day!