Photos by Michael Ozaki

The Indonesian delegation shines the spotlight on Batak and the ‘Extravganza of North Sumatra’!

INDONESIA has been a prominent participant in Chingay, Singapore’s premier festive street parade, which marks the 15th day of the Chinese New Year and technically the end of the festive period. In fact, since 2008, Indonesia has been sending the largest number of participants in each parade. In 2018, again a large delegation of around 173 Indonesians took part from various cities and regions (including Indonesian students from Singapore). Almost all came from educational institutes and training organisations representing some of the best of the archipelago’s performance and cultural arts, namely:

  • Universitas Negeri Medan, Medan
  • Al Azhar Syifa Budi, Jakarta
  • Be Management, Jakarta
  • INSIM, Indonesian students in Singapore Institute of Management
  • Ngariung Angklung, Bandung
  • Nusantara Arts Forum, Jakarta
  • Rumah Budaya Indonesia, KBRI Singapura
  • Tim Batik 1 Surakarta, Surakarta

Apart from a performance showcase for the more than 2,000 spectators who watched it at the F1 Pit Building and Marina Float here, an estimated TV audience of around 200,000 Singapore viewers watched it live on television; there were broadcast relays to several other countries as well. This year, apart from Indonesia, Chingay also attracted international groups from Thailand, Russia, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and Malaysia.

Emerald Equator
This year’s contingent under the name Zamrud Khatulistiwa, meaning Emerald Equator, continued to receive the full support and organisational help for the event by the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore. The lead was provided by Rumah Budaya Indonesia (RBI) under the guidance of the Education and Culture Attaché (Atdikbud) Ibu Aisyah Endah Palupi.
Proudly displayed the two nights of shows were the rich cultural display of the diversity that exists in Indonesia. Apart from the invaluable experience the student performers get from being exposed to a different environment from what they are used to back home AND taking part in a world-class event, Ibu Aisyah also said, “There is also the opportunity to introduce the richness of Indonesian art and cultural treasures as this event can also promote various interesting destinations in Indonesia, with the aim of attracting Singaporeans to see the beauty of Indonesia from the diversity of traditional clothes, dance and local music!”

First Time
This year for the first time there was a Carnival Area for street entertainment and and LKB (Lembaga Kerjasama Budaya) Widatra Unimed showcased the daily activities of the Batak Toba ethnic group in North Sumatra.

This year’s representative head of the Emerald Equator delegation was Bapak Martozet, S.Sn, M.A. from Universitas Negeri Medan (Unimed). Bapak Martozet, who is also the choreographer said, “This is the second year Unimed is taking part in Chingay. This time though we are taking the lead role at the head of the Indonesian group!” The Unimed students succeeded in creating a very favourable first impression with support from the other Indonesian cultural groups from Bandung, Surakatra, Singapore and Jakarta.

Indonesia opened the parade segment titled ‘Friends of Singapore’ with its theme “Indonesia – Extravaganza of North Sumatra”. Another first for this year was when on the first night Friday 23rd February 2018, HE Ngurah Swajaya, the Ambassador of Indonesia in Singapore, performed together with the Indonesian contingent!

This year’s Chingay also saw the collaboration of the Bintan Dragon and Athletic Association together with the Singapore Dragon and Lion Athletic Association to present their “The Flower Dragon Dance” item.

Photos by Michael Ozaki