Post C: Interview with Lawrencia Noerdjaja on ‘The Indonesian Night Markets’.

The PPIA UNSW (Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia Australia or Indonesian Student Association) is a university run organisation that aims to unite Indonesian students studying in Australia. On the 27th of April they held their largest event of the year, the ‘Indonesian Night Markets’.

On arriving at the markets you are immediately hit with a buzz of people, music and smells. Traditional Indonesian cuisine is on offer at over a dozen food vendors. Steaming bowls of curry, deliciously gooey rice desserts and sizzling barbeques will have you spoilt for choice. The entertainment includes authentic Indonesian dance, music, games and poetry readings, alongside live art and fashion displays.

Imagery from the Indonesian Night Markets. Photographed and edited by Freya Orford-Dunne, 2015.
The Indonesian Night Markets. (Photographed and edited by Freya Orford-Dunne, 2015.)

I was fortunate enough to chat with the event coordinator, Lawrencia Noerdjaja, and gain some insight into the role of the PPIA UNSW community and this spectacular event.

Are you primarily involved in the PPIA UNSW community, or do participate in the larger PPIA community (nation-wide) as well?

Personally, I’ve just join PPIA UNSW, but some of our members are also involved in PPIA NSW.

What is the main purpose of the PPIA UNSW group and do you feel it effectively assimilates Indonesian students into the Australian university community in the broader sense?

Our vision is to increase the solidarity among our members and other Indonesian societies, as well as introduce the diversity of Indonesian culture to Australia. We help our members, especially new students, to adapt to the new environment by sharing our studying experience in Australia or through our events.

Are the members of PPIA UNSW primarily born in Indonesia and have moved to Australia or are they Australian born with Indonesian heritage?

Both.

What aspects of Indonesian culture are you hoping to showcase at the night markets?

The Indonesian Night Market is our major annual event, every year we focus on one aspect of Indonesian culture. This year “Alun Alun” emphasises the beauty of street life in Indonesia. As we know, the street life in Indonesia is very unique; you can find anything there, from authentic Indonesian performances to mouth-watering food that can’t be beat by a five-star restaurant.

What does your role for the Night Markets entail? Do you have any specific experience that has influenced the organisation of this event?

 I am the event coordinator of this event. Basically, I manage all on-stage and off-stage performances such as the murals or live performance. I have also handled several PPIA UNSW events such as Indonesian Independence Day celebration, we called it ‘Indopendence’, as an event coordinator.

How many people are involved in the organisation/running of the event, how many years has it been running and how many people are you expecting to attend?

“Alun – Alun” has 26 committees and 3 project advisors. However, the event wouldn’t be a success without the help of our volunteers. We have more than 100 people volunteer their time to help with the markets. This is our fifth Indonesian Night Market and we are expecting 5000 peoples to come to enjoy our events.

What are they main reasons for holding the ‘Indonesian Night Markets’? 

The Indonesian Night Markets are held to share Indonesian food and culture with all Indonesian people who live in Australia as well as to introduce it to foreign citizens.

Imagery from the Indonesian Night Markets. Photographed and edited by Freya Orford-Dunne, 2015.
The Indonesian Night Markets. (Photographed and edited by Freya Orford-Dunne, 2015.)

Lawrencia and her colleague’s goal to share aspects of Indonesian culture with the Australian community were filled with passion and sincerity. I would like to thank her and the wider PPIA UNSW community for providing us with a taste of their wondrous Indonesian street culture!

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