So its time to report a little bit about my journey through this far away lands. I’m writing this in the PMI Kota office in Bengkulu, where I worked alongside with Indonesian Red Cross volunteers in 2009/10. But let me recount my journey so far.
First I was in Singapore to met with some Friends I know through the South East Asian Youth Red Cross meeting in Batam and another friend I met at the most interesting academic seminar of my university in Udine. Singapore is fascination and my things happened to me there: I could watch their national day parade from a place close to the actual stage. The parade included F-16 overflights, huge flags, skaters, military pomp unseen in Germany (in the west not since the 1940s in the east not since reunification).
Then I was able to accompany a friend of mine to the school where he is teaching and see the Anglo-Chinese-School from the inside. People also invited me to their house to a Hari Raya Celebration. I went with a friend to the Garden by the Bay and he took me to eat in the restaturant where he trains as a chef. In this restautrant I was also the only customer. A very intresting experience as at times I had the feeling that the staff (all trainee waiters and chefs) were competing on whom to serve the only patron. But food was good.
Then some more friends took me around and we went to a great Singapore National Museum and an qientance showed me their main fire station and the ambulances, which was super intresting as well. When I left though I was tired and needed some rest. Rest I got in Jakarta and Bandung where I did only tourist things and shopping.
I could now make a study about the construction of national identy through national holidays and its parades or celebrations in South-East Asia. Both the ones I could visit in Singapore and Bandung shared many similarities. For examples the presentation of the armed forces as central to the celebration, but also the role of Media and Civil society.
And so I made my way through south east Asia, sometimes by airplane, other times by train. Here you can see the porters jumping onto the train, which is just arriving in Jakarta Gambir station, in order to help carry peoples luggage.