Friday, August 21, 2009

Euphoria of Independence Day

Indonesia, my beloved country celebrated the 64th anniversary on 17 August 2009. August was the month when the red and white (the color of our flag) coloring everywhere in Indonesia. There were so many accessories dominated with red and white such as flags, balloons, ribbons, sparkling lamps, lampions, origami papers, were hanged along the roads, in the class rooms, on terraces, shopping arcades, and others.

In Indonesia, people celebrate the Independence Day by joining competition such as running with gunny sack, climbing betel palm tree, eating kerupuk (chips made of flour favored with fish or shrimps ), and other funny competitions. These competitions are held to keep the unity of people and also to express the euphoria of Independence Day.

Running with gunny sack

In my neighborhood, Bogor Nirwana Residence, the celebration of Independence Day was held at the Bukit Nirwana club house. There were a lot of people gathering there. Not only children, but also teenagers, and adults came to have fun. I saw a very old man with his rattan stick, sitting near the swimming pool, looked so happy to see the euphoria. Maybe the atmosphere here reminded him to the era when he was young and fighting for the Independence of Indonesia. Or maybe he was happy because he could feel the unity and confraternity as one nation although the people here came from various ethnics such as Javanese, Sundanese, Chinese, Arabic, Malayans, and Sumatrans. I, my husband, Anin and Rafif took a part by joining some competitions. Dea refused to join; she was just interested on eating ice cream and becoming supporter.

Anin joined the eating krupuk competition. She was excited because she wanted to be the winner. Last year, at our neighborhood at Palembang she got the second prize. But, this time, she wasn’t lucky. A bigger girl finished eating krupuk earlier then the others, so Anin lost.

Eating Kerupuk competition

Then, there was catching fish competition. Anin and Rafif took a part. They hold a plastic glass on their hand and were ready to catch the small fishes on the plastic pond. The committee blew the whistle and,” Go!” The children started to catch the fishes enthusiastically. I saw Anin collected many fishes, but Rafif found it’s so hard to catch one. Then, the sound of the whistle signified the time was up. Anin smiled and showed me her glass which was full of small fishes. But Rafif cried, he was disappointed because he couldn’t catch any fish. He cried loud and louder, and then Anin tried to calm him down by giving him one of her fishes. His crying changed into sweetest smile; he showed me the fish he got proudly. When the committee counted the fishes, Anin lost again. She got 12 fishes, and the winner got 13 fishes. She could be the winner if she didn’t give Rafif one fish. Anin was disappointed, but I hugged her, showing her that I was proud that she chose to share with his brother rather than to be the winner.

Catching Fish competition for children

Rafif and the small fish

The next was the competition for Moms. It was catching eel. Some woman refused to join because they were afraid of eel. They said “No, thanks! The eel remind me to snake, it’s terrified!”

Anin, Rafif and the eel

A woman tried to persuade me to join this competition. “You are not a coward, are you? Then join this! “She said, and it worked. Ha…ha… I decided to take a part rather than to be an audience.

So, I was ready. A plastic glass on my hand, and a lot of spirit on my heart, it seemed like a brave warrior ready to fight. The committee said,” Get Ready?? Go!!!” Then I started to collect the greasy eels. It was not easy! The eels were so greasy, that sometimes they could loose from my grasp. My kids supported me. “Come on, Mom! Catch them! Add more! You can do it!”

Here, I was catching eel with high fighting spirit

When the time was up, I saw my glass was full enough with eel and I was wet. The committee counted the eels. A skinny woman got 11 eels, a fat woman got only one eel, and some woman did not get any. I got 12 eels!! Ha..ha… then I became the winner.

Pulling Rope competition, looked at the faciall expressions, wow...

My husband joined pulling rope. Two groups consist of 5 people pulled the long rope towards them. The winner was the group who can pull the opposite towards them. The competition needed more energy because the key to be the winner were the power, the strength and team work. I did not hesitant my husband’s strength. So, the result was the same as I thought, his group became the winner.

Then there were another funny competition. Two people competed face to face walking on bamboo stick on the water, and they should hit the opposite using a pillow. The loser was the one who fell into water earlier. It was fun!

The ending of the celebration was the announcement of the winners. My kids were happy to see their parents got two prizes.I got the first prize of catching eel and my husband got the first prize of pulling rope. There’s one thing that disturbed, the prize for me was a tea set consist of six tea cups, so beautiful. But the prize for my husband was only a tea cup, only one, not a set. Ha..ha..ha… my husband got a little bit jealous of it.

The Happy Winners and their prize

This was the first time we celebrated Independence Day in the new neighborhood. We
I got the first prize of catching eel, we enjoyed it, very much.

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