Students raise funds, celebrate Indonesian culture

By Summer Ballentine (Last updated: 14 hours ago)In a swirl of red and gold, traditional Indonesian dancers moved across the floor Saturday evening during an event celebrating Indonesian culture.

Members of PERMIAS Greater Lansing, an Indonesian student association, celebrated at Indonesian Cultural Night on Saturday at the First Christian Church, 1001 Chester Road, in Lansing.

At the event, attendees were given information about donating to a relief fund for victims of the tsunami and volcano that ravaged Indonesia in October and the earthquake that hit in September.

Stella Jogisaputra, PERMIAS Greater Lansing president and a food science junior, moved to the U.S. for school. Although Jogisaputra’s family, which lives in Indonesia, were not harmed by the streak of natural disasters, Jogisaputra said she and other group members want to help disaster victims.

“We wanted to do something as students,” Jogisaputra said. “We don’t just have to wait (for others to respond).”

The cultural performances also raised awareness about Indonesia and shared members’ love of the country, Jogisaputra said.

“We want to express (our love),” Jogisaputra said. “We want to show it to everybody — (we) have such a beautiful country.”The event was sponsored by ASMSU, the Council of Graduate Students, the Indonesian embassies and the International Students Association. The event was hosted by PERMIAS Greater Lansing.

ASMSU is MSU’s undergraduate student government.

After the performances, traditional Indonesian food including pisang goreng, or fried bananas, was served.

Most people recognize Bali, an island and province in Indonesia and a popular tourist destination, but are unfamiliar with Indonesia as a whole, said Stephan Wiraatmadja, PERMIAS Greater Lansing member and a finance sophomore.

Wiraatmadja said Indonesian Cultural Night was intended to raise awareness of the country’s diversity.

“People around the world don’t know what Indonesia is — all they know is Bali,” Wiraatmadja said.

“(But) Indonesia is more than Bali.”

Indonesia is comprised of more than 17,000 islands. Wiraatmadja, who was raised in the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, on the island of Java, said Indonesia represents a diversity of people, which is characterized by the numerous languages spoken throughout the islands.

“In Java we have maybe 50 dialects,” Wiraatmadja said. “In Indonesia itself, we have thousands of dialects.”

Music and dancing act as a bridge and helped doctoral student Shaowen Ji, who attended the event Saturday night, understand Indonesian culture.

“Although I don’t know anything about their language, I can gain the concept through the dancing and songs,” Ji said. “Emotionally, I can feel it.”

To help victims of the natural disasters in Indonesia, visit indonesiarelief-usa.org.

Originally Published: 16 hours ago
http://www.statenews.com/index.php/article/2010/11/students_raise_funds_celebrate_indonesian_culture