By Mudassir Raja
Indonesian expatriates on Sunday night entertained audiences with their exquisite performances, traditional dances, and conventional music at the grand ballroom of Shangri-La hotel.
The programme, “Indonesia Night,” was arranged by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Qatar to celebrate the recently concluded successful visit of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Indonesia.
The gathering was attended by ambassadors of different countries and dignitaries. The audience seemed to enjoy the ambiance, while watching videos highlighting the culture, natural beauty, cuisines, and tourism destinations in Indonesia.
Indonesian ambassador Air Marshal (Retired) Muhammad Basri Sidehabi in his welcome address said, “It is a great pleasure to welcome you here today for the gala dinner. The idea behind this gathering is to offer our prayers and thanks to Allah for His abundant blessings, including the successful state visit of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Indonesia.”
“I am happy to share that the October visit has further strengthened the relationship between Qatar and Indonesia, and as a result, in the coming months, there will be delegates coming to Qatar from Indonesia to follow up the various agreements and memoranda signed during the historic visit,” the ambassador said.
He noted, “One of the key points during the visit (was when)President Jokowi entrusted the lives of all Indonesian expatriates here in safe hands in Qatar. There are more than 30,000 Indonesians living in Qatar. A third of that number are professionals in the oil and gas sector and their families. All are enjoying the friendship offered by the people of Qatar.”
Speaking about the colourful and traditional presentations, the ambassador said, “Normally, it will take nine hours by Qatar Airways to reach Indonesia from here. But tonight, in this ballroom, we will get a chance to taste Indonesian cuisine while enjoying a small part of Indonesian culture.”
He added, “The angklung (a musical instrument from Indonesia made of a varying number of bamboo tubes) orchestra and the dances you will witness tonight, will be performed 100% by Indonesians living in Qatar. These ladies — mothers, daughters, and wives — are very active and dedicated in preserving and promoting Indonesian culture and art in Qatar.”
After the welcome address of the ambassador, a cake was cut to celebrate the good relations between the two countries. The ceremony was attended by many ambassadors and dignitaries.
The Qatar-Indonesia Angklung Ladies Orchestra performed their rendition of Tanah Airku, (Somewhere Over the Rainbow), and Don’t Worry Be Happy.
The first performance was called Lenggang Nyai Dance. It a Jakartan traditional dance. The solo dance is inspired by the legend of Nyai Dasimah, who lived in old Jakarta during the colonial time.
Tiga Dara Dance was also performed by women clad in traditional and colourful dresses.
The dance is a fluid portrait of modern young Indonesian women, who are independent, cheerful, dynamic yet very feminine and culturally cognizant. This dance creation was inspired from an Indonesian classic movie called Tiga Dara.
The third dance was Puspa Qinarya from Tiga Dara. It is a graceful dance that draws its influences from Central Java, the joyful spirit of West Java, and attractive elements of Sumatra.
Yet another dance that was presented was Tidi Lo Palopalo. Originated in the Gorontalo area of North Sulawesi province of Indonesia, this folk dance is believed to have its roots in the spread of Islam in the region. It is believed to be performed for the ruler of Gorontalo by his queen.
The expat performers also presented Puspa Warni dance. It is a traditional contemporary dance that blends dynamic movements, coming from various regions in Indonesia and also abroad.
Talking to Community, Dtana Kartikaran, one of the performers, said, “All women who performed tonight live in Qatar. Most of them are housewives and some are students. We have formed a group to practice and perform traditional Indonesian music and dances.”
“We all are very happy to perform today. We got a chance to show very diverse audience the culture and tradition of our country. Many people seemed to enjoy our work and they learnt many new things about our culture and country,” she said.
Salah Mohammad, a lawyer from Egypt, was present at the programme with his wife. He said, “I knew nothing about Indonesian food and culture. Tonight I saw fantastic performances and documentaries showing rich Indonesian culture. We also enjoyed the food very much.”
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