Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2

Posted by: Anonymous

Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2 - 17/09/04 07:32 PM

We had over 9300 viewings a day last week of part one of this topic 'Torey in Indonesia' which is great fun for us but gave a fright to the server hosting my website, as we were using a whopping 610Mb of bandwidth a day! So they have asked that I divide the topic into two so that people wanting to see the newest pictures don't have to open all the old ones as well.

So, if you are viewing this for the first time, please see Part 1 first, and for the rest of you following along, we start from here.

I'm not quite home yet but whiling the time away in a hotel in Manchester, England before driving home tomorrow. So, I thought I'd take this spare time to post the next groups of pictures.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2 - 17/09/04 07:50 PM

My last public lecture in Indonesia was in Yogyakarta, which is on the far end of the island of Java. It was another plane trip - this time on a very ordinary plane! - and Ms. Erly went with me and we met up with Mr. Amar, who has been another Mizan representative to work hard on the tour.

We were also met by Mr. Abdullah, Mizan's representative in Yojakarta, and everyone told me to call him Ab-ab! We all went out in the evening to drive around Yogyakarta and have dinner.

Here we are enjoying some very typical dishes of the locality. That's Mr. Amar on the left. And no, don't ask me to tell you what the names of the foods were! I found the food in Indonesia really delicious but 98% of it was totally unpronouncable. (At least to me!)

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The next morning we had a little teeny bit of time for sight-seeing, so Ab-ab took Mr. Amar, Erly and me to see the Prambanan temple complex. It was built about A.D. 850 by Rakai Pikatan, king of the Second Mataram Dynasty and is Hindu. This part of Java was largely divided between Buddhism and Hinduism at this time. There is an even more spectacular Buddhist temple named Borobudor which is even older, but unfortunately this was too far for us to go, because we had so little time.

You know how much I love archeology, so I loved visiting here:

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The site is absolutely huge and many of the smaller temples are only ruins, but what remains is in remarkably good condition. This is a carving on the side of one of the larger temples.

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One of the larger, better preserved temples is dedicated to Nandi, the sacred cow, and if you climb up inside, the statue is still inside and almost perfectly preserved, except for a missing ear on one side.

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Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2 - 17/09/04 08:04 PM

I'm fascinated by all the new sights in Indonesia. Like Britain, it is an old country and even traveling small distances can mean quite big differences in culture. In Yogyakarta, rickshaws were a very common form of transport, although I very seldom saw them in Jakarta or Bandung.

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Meanwhile, back in the hotel, all the excitement of accompanying an author on book tour is taking its toll on Erly. She's starting to lie down on the job!

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Then time for the public lecture. My interpreter, Ita, is on the left.

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The blouse I am wearing is a gift from Hughes and is a typical batik from her native part of Indonesia, Bali. I like it a lot. Some people thought perhaps I liked it a little too much. I didn't realize we would be in Yogyakarta so long - almost three days - and packed only this outfit and the lightweight jogsuit I was using as pajamas. So they saw me a lot in this top. Worse, I went to visit the old Hindu temple wearing, essentially, my pajamas, as this was the only other outfit I had along and I did not want to get the good clothes hot and sweaty before the lecture. But I can tell you this: it is NOT a good idea to walk around at midday in 35C/95F weather with 90% humidity, wearing a jogsuit and, indeed, wearing a hoodie for lack of any better sun protection!! I was very grateful for a bath before the lecture!! (As no doubt were all others around me!)

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Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2 - 17/09/04 08:19 PM

And as with all my lectures, we have been treated to performances of song and dance by special needs children. In Yogyakarta, however, they outdid themselves and I enjoyed some of the most spectacular performances you can imagine. Again, let me remind you all the children and young adults in these pictures are special needs children and all the performances were just as gorgeous and professional as they appear in the photos.

Our first were a group of girls doing a traditional Javanese dance.
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Then came the most delightful group of young dancers aged between five and eight:

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They were performing a traditional dance which looked to me very similar to the children's game I remember as 'London Bridge is Falling Down"

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Then came our next group of Javanese dancers.

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And another group:

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And during the breaks, we were entertained by a rock band who are all blind - here, being brought to the stage:
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Here in performance:
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Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2 - 18/09/04 02:06 PM

We arrived back in Jakarta from Yogyakarta Wednesday afternoon after a very bumpy return flight. Erly found it a little too bumpy, so we practiced deep-breathing and other fun things to take the mind off feeling sick and that's when I mentioned that one of the best things to stop nausea is singing. So she asked me to teach her one of the songs I sang with the children in my books and the only one I could think of quickly was "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands". Which probably really made our fellow passengers wonder what the heck was going on back in Row 16. But I'm happy to report it worked. She wasn't sick!

I was given a lovely farewell dinner that evening. Much to my delight - and surprise! - everyone who had made my visit to Indonesia so special was there.

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Knowing green was my favourite colour, Ms. Erna made me a special green top to wear just for the occasion. Hughes was the MC. And yours truly got to give the first speech (wouldn't you know!)

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Then it was being reunited with lots of friends. Of course, there was the most important of all - my editor, Tutu, and my trusty "fixer", Erly - and I just could never have managed this trip without either of them. Definitely two of the most special people I've ever met!

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To my delight, Papa Wachid whose special education (SDLB) school Lenteng Agung in the very poor part of Jakarta was there and Hughes called him up on stage to make him give a speech too! He was then presented with a full set of my books.

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I wanted to show my own appreciation of his hard work in such difficult conditions, so I made a donation to the school so they could buy more materials.

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And here is Butet and me. Butet is a very special teacher. She works with the Forest People, an indigenous Stone Age tribe in the jungles of Sumatra who eschew all contact with the outer world. While the jungle where they live is a nature preserve, it is only the plants and animals who are protected, not the tribe itself and their way of life. The tribe do not read or write and Butet initially went in all alone to live with the tribe and try help them understand that by learning these skills, they would be more able to preserve their lifestyle because they would better understand what others were trying to do to them. Butet has been accepted into the tribe and now has six helpers also working with the Forest People. Butet has shared some wonderful pictures with me and I will scan them in later and put them up.

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I was presented with some lovely gifts myself. And here from Mizan is a wonderful set of batik napkins and placemats.

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OK, so I should never have done that bit of musical entertainment on the plane, because somehow, somewhere, some way, someone thought it would be a good idea for Hughes and me to sing a duet of James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend". Unfortunately, no one mentioned that I'm absolutely hopeless at remembering lyrics. Thank God we had Hughes!

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Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2 - 18/09/04 03:23 PM

As promised, here are Butet's pictures of her work with the children of the Forest People.

Butet herself (don't we all wish we could dress like that for school!)

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Here is Dodi, who has now joined Butet as another teacher, and several boys of the Forest People. (Dodi's the big one!)

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And the results of hard work in the classroom!

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Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2 - 18/09/04 04:06 PM

I'm having to go a little out of order now, partly because the software will not allow me to post more than eight pictures in a single post. I was going to edit in the missing pictures of the special needs children who performed for us in Yogyakarta but the software didn't like that at all, so part of the pictures are up there and part are right here!

Here's the very special group of little girls I mentioned we were missing the photos for. They are elementary age, all blind, all from one of the special schools in the very poorest area in Yogyakarta and you can not imagine how beautiful their voices are - big, powerful voices that just blow you away:

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And here are the dancers who did the traditional Javanese courting dance.

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Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2 - 18/09/04 04:16 PM

And by special request (of some people I am not sure I should call friends!!) some more entertaining shots from Yogyakarta.

Yes, I did go out in my pajamas to see the Prambanan temple complex. There we see Erly and a very hot me, keeping the 35C/95F sun off with my hood.

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And look, Mom! I'm famous! (Even in my pajamas!)

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All the books in the window are mine, starting with ONE CHILD next to me and moving to the left: TIGERS CHILD, SOMEBODY ELSE'S KIDS, GHOST GIRL, MURPHY'S BOY, JUST ANOTHER KID and BEAUTIFUL CHILD.

And if there is anything I'm going to remember about Indonesia, it is the traffic. This picture of SUVs struggling for space alongside buses and rickshaws gives you a good idea of what it is like!

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Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2 - 19/09/04 07:52 AM

Meanwhile, back to the proper order of things . . .

At my farewell dinner, we stood together for one last photo:

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Most of these are the very important people responsible for making these last two weeks possible - the Mizan and Qanita staff. (Mizan is a publishing group, like HarperCollins and Qanita is the imprint of my books, like Avon)

Front row: Mr. Faisal Motik,(an important entrepeneur in Indonesia), Ms. Erly, (my fixer!), Mr. Teguh (Mizan's graphic designer, who took all the photos that appear on the promotional material and also designed the backdrops), and Mr. Novel (vice President of Mizan Group)

Second row: Mr. Rudi (Ms. Erna's husband, also one of Mizan's marketing managers), Mr. Haidar Bagir,(my publisher) Mr. Amar (head of promotion)Mr. Ahmad Baiquni (Deputy General Manager)

Third row: Ms. Maria (another Qanita editor associated with my work), Ms. Soefi (a promotion staff), Tutu, (my editor) Butet's mother, Ms Hughes, "the Lady in Green" [Wink] , Ms. Butet (the Forest People's teacher), Ms. Rista (of the Mizan personnel dept.), Ms. Erna, and Ms. Diaz (an assistant editor).
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Torey's Visit to Indonesia, Part 2 - 19/09/04 08:29 AM

And then it was the end. My plane to Singapore left in the evening and I spent my last day having a good long sleep in the morning and then packing.

During my two-week stay at the Nikko Hotel in Jakarta, I was well looked after by the staff but had a particularly nice "room boy" named Dany - the equivalent of a chambermaid in Western hotels - who was always very patient with the unusual times I was in and out of the hotel. On this morning, he rang the bell about 10AM and I explained to him that I wouldn't be out of the room until much later because my plane didn't leave until evening, so I was staying past the usual checkout time. He very politely apologized for bothering me and left. About 11AM, he rang the bell again. I thought he probably didn't understand my English, so I explained more carefully that I wasn't leaving until 6PM, so there was no need to clean the room before then. Dany again very politely apologized for bothering me and left. And then just after noon, the bell rang yet again and I opened it and there was Dany again. So, once more I started to explain even more carefully . . . when he said very meekly, "Actually, I've just been coming to see . . . if you would sign my book?" So, my apologies, Dany, if you're out there, reading this!

After packing, Erly and I had a nice leisurely lunch in the hotel cafe and went to do a little bit of shopping - a very little bit, as it turns out, because of the Jakarta traffic - but guess what, Brits? I went up the escalator in this shopping precinct and what was there? A Marks and Spencers! I couldn't believe it!

And then it was time to leave for the long drive to the international airport.

And one last picture of my two most important people, dear Tutu and Erly, taken by our very hardworking driver, Mr. Jito, who got us through all that impossible traffic.

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And then tearful good-byes and it was over.

What a special time this has been for me.

I went to Indonesia so uncertain. I had no idea what to expect. I am the first author from my agency to tour the country and, indeed, the first author any of my colleagues in New York knew who had been asked to tour. Needless to say, I got lots of warnings about Muslims, terrorists, and the Third World, and lots of holiday advice, which could pretty much be summed up as: Forget the rest. Go to Bali because the beaches are good.

No one told me about the warm, gentle, good-humoured people I was going to meet everywhere. No one told me how hard they are all working to make a good society, often in very difficult circumstances. No one told me that the real followers of Islam are kind, tolerant and spiritual.

I have had a simply wonderful two weeks in Indonesia, as I suspect has everyone here who has been following this journey with me, and I am sad that it is over. I'm sure, however, I will return, if not as an author, than as a friend.