Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Diary Entry: Day 5

By: Chong Jinn Wei

13 July 2009

The day started at 9am. We the students of Monash University, Sunway Campus comprising of 19 students from 5 different countries (Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and China) began Day 5 of our study trip In Search of Yogyakarta 2009. Our first session for today was the women's group Rifka Annisa.

Rifka Annisa is an action group catered for Indonesian women who've had encountered social problems like domestic violence and discrimination. The Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) was formed on 26 August 1993 in the name of Rifka Annisa Women's Crisis Center. It became the very first Women Crisis Center (WCC) to be formed in Indonesia to cater the needs of women that were facing all sorts of trouble pertaining to their rights. The NGO had compounded a list of ecological factors that dictate the ways in which women's rights abuse are perpetuated.

Rifka Annisa WCC

Rifka Annisa is concerned about how the strong patriarchal culture in Indonesia that place women at a disadvantage position accentuate many abuses like domestic violence, rape and sexual harassment. The NGO holds activities such as counseling sessions,support groups as well as provide shelter for abused women. Rifka Annisa seem to present themselves as an open NGO that is willing to help women in trouble.

After leaving Rifka Annisa we set out again for lunch at Jambon Resto. The restaurant had a very unique setting as the 'gubungs' (huts) we were sitting on were on stilts over a small pond in which fishes were swimming around. Our pre-arranged menu had served us the spicy 'nila' fish, 'tempe' (fried soya beans), fried tofu,oily kangkung, some sweet 'trancan' (diced vegetables with santan) and lastly, fried 'gurumeh' (fried pieces of golden fish meat) . Also, the sambal that was served along with the dishes was extremely spicy, which made the food extremely rich in flavour.

Lunch at Jambon Restaurant

Interestingly, it was amusing to see how the food was disposed off as it was literally thrown into the very pond we were sitting on for the fishes to eat. It was a very ecological and environmental-friendly way of disposing food as it was used to feed the fishes.

Later, everyone went to our last session for the day at Taring Padi, whereby we were privilege enough to meet artists that produce creative works that delve into political issues. A group of artists gathered together to make art that criticized Suharto's regime until 1998. After Suharto had stepped down, these group of artists felt that they needed to continue producing art on political and social issues because they had expected new problems to arise.

Today, they explore issues like the recent 2009 presidential elections by producing 22 pieces of socio-political works to spread messages. They believe that people are free to vote only if they wanted to, as there were some criticisms on the candidates involved during the elections. Some of the other activities that they do include participating in rallies and drawing murals in public spaces to voice out opinions.

Session at Taring Padi

The members of Taring Padi make it a point to take no sides in their surreal and beautiful works of art. The pieces that were shown to us were delving into issues fighting for an uncorrupted government and providing a balanced view as well as fighting for the rights of farmers.

In their works of art there's always a big picture about the primary issue concerned, and along the sides and everywhere else will be filled with smaller details that correlates with the highlighted issues. Hence, the end product is this picture with many minute details that truly goes to show that a picture can paint a thousand words.

After that session has ended we all went back to our hotel to write our stories and rest up for the remainder of our study trip. This marks the end of day 5 of our trip In Search of Yogyakarta 2009.

*View more pictures of the day from our photo album

WRITER'S PROFILE: Jinn Wei is a Writing & Communication major from Malaysia. Intrigued when he read books and saw videos of the various street murals in Yogyakarta, Jinn Wei wondered whether there was a deeper meaning behind those murals other than being colourful and fancily designed. The fact that these murals which would have been labelled 'graffiti' in other places served the positive purpose of creating a colourful street atmosphere unique in Yogyakarta drew him to investigate more about them.

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