I interviewed Indonesian born but Sydney based Cassandra Wilmot.
‘Cass’ as she likes to go by lived in Indonesia until the age of 14 with her grandmother before moving to Sydney. She can speak fluent Indonesian and is also majoring in Indonesian language at the University of NSW.
The most interesting thing that Cass mentioned is that Indonesia is a melting pot of different cultures – having been colonised by the Dutch, Malay, Chinese peoples, their society is a multicultural and diverse.
She advised on visiting Indonesia to leave the major cities behind and travel in the rural areas around Java & Sumutra as these areas are hot spots for tradition and culture. She recommmended visiting is Bukkittinggi in West Sumatra. Located in the Highlands of Sumatra the area is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and 2 Volcanoes. More importantly the area is probably the most diverse area in Indonesia as it has served as major city during both the Dutch & Japanese occupations.
When talking about our trip to Indonesia in July she said that Indonesia during Ramadan is one of the best times to go. During Ramadan people are more friendly and there are many more activities held. She especially said the food is awesome when everyone comes together when the sun goes down for food – it was interesting to hear she sees her family more during the month of Ramadan than at any time of year because during Ramadan they make a point of always eating together. She said in Indonesia there is alot more pressure for girls to wear the Hijab as well – more for protection. Cass actually wore the Hijab during her time in Indonesia but chose to not wear it in Australia as there wasn’t really a need for it – she described the sensation of being ‘free’ once the Hijab came off, she also really wanted to show off her beautiful hair.
She also told me that she is really interested in studying Indonesia’s history especially the years in which Suharto was in power. She said that many Indonesians disappeared over the years and that at that time Indonesia was a horrible place to be. After our interview we actually went to 4A Gallery and viewed some works by FX Harsono which was a commentary on the Suharto era and the mass executions. After our talk It was really interesting to see how many lives were affected by Suharto as Harsono’s father was actually one of many who disappeared during the period.
Huie, S. F. (2003) Someone Else’s Country: Living in Suharto’s Indonesia. Canberra, A.C.T: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University
Tom, E. (2006) Bali: Paradise Lost?. Australia: Pluto Press Australia Pty
(no date) Available at: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Bukittinggi (Accessed: 1 May 2015)
(no date) Available at: https://www.wikiwand.com/simple/Ramadan (Accessed: 1 May 2015)