WIDENING PROFILE

Indonesia’s exhibition house in Hanoi is the scene of many events held by the embassy and the local Indonesian community, with everyone invited.

By Le Diem on August 08,2018 02:40 PM

WIDENING PROFILE

As Indonesia will host the Asian Games 2018 from August 18 to September 2 and with Vietnam participating, the embassy plans to organise sporting activities such as aerobics and cycling in the centre of Hanoi to promote a sporting spirit and cultural exchanges.  Visit their pages for more information at the website of the Embassy: https://www.kemlu.go.id/hanoi/ id/default.aspx and the Fanpage of Umah Indo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ Umah-Indo/123231501720656 

Upon taking up his post in 2016, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia in Vietnam, H.E. Ibnu Hadi, realised that, despite Vietnam and Indonesia having a good relationship, his home country wasn’t as visible as others in Southeast Asia such as Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand. ‘I saw my mission as increasing Indonesia’s visibility,’ he said.

It started with making Indonesia literally more visible, by changing the sign at the front of the embassy to make ‘Indonesia’ bolder and easier to see for those passing by. A big screen was also installed, showing information about the country and the latest news from and events of the embassy. The sign and screen were both designed to catch the eye and make use of modern technology, Ambassador Hadi said in explaining the change.

And, recently, the beauty of Indonesia, its people, and its diverse culture were introduced to Vietnamese people through the Wonderful Indonesia Photo Exhibition at Umah Indo, its permanent exhibition house located next to the embassy. With 25 photos from seven Indonesian and one Singaporean photographers on display for a month, the exhibition attracted many visitors and took them to different, wonderful parts of Indonesia, from the northern tip of Aceh province to the most western province of Papua, and also depicted the colourful lives of the country’s people.

The exhibition not only encouraged intercultural exchanges between Vietnam and Indonesia but also promoted the activities of Umah Indo, which Ambassador Hadi launched at the end of last year. The exhibition house provides a venue for promoting Indonesia from the perspective of its trade, tourism and investment and focuses on Indonesian goods exported or potentially exported to Vietnam, promotes tourism in both countries, and encourages more Indonesian enterprises to invest in Vietnam and vice-versa.

WIDENING PROFILE

Open from 7am to 8pm every day, Umah Indo provides information on Indonesia to Vietnamese people and local business circles, increasing understanding about products, activities, culture, and way of life, and encouraging more people-to-people contacts in trade, business, tourism, and social life.

Some Indonesian products available in Vietnam are exhibited at Umah Indo, such as Danisa, Kopiko, Coffee Joy, Wonder Wheat, and Cal Cheese. ‘I see that some products are popular in Vietnam, such as Danisa and Kopiko, but many people don’t know they actually come from Indonesia,’ Ambassador Hadi said. ‘I hope that showcasing them will make them more familiar.’

Visitors to Umah Indo also have the chance to try Indonesian food, from cookies and crackers in vending machines to tea, coffee and Indomie, the most popular noodles in the country and selling for a mere VND5,000-15,000.

An Indonesian Friday Lunch was introduced recently, where for just VND20,000 visitors can try Indonesian food to like Nasi Goreng (fried rice), a national dish typical for its Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce), Satay Ayam (spiced and grilled chicken with peanut sauce), Bakso (Indonesian-styled meatballs), Soto Ayam (spicy chicken soup), and sweet desserts. ‘We don’t offer a lot of food and drinks, just typical dishes, and the price covers the cost,’ Ambassador Hadi said. ‘We don’t aim to turn a profit, instead providing a corner for visitors to come, sit, relax and have something Indonesian to eat and drink.’

Umah Indo also hosts an Indonesian Consumer Product Exhibition, inviting several Indonesian enterprises that export products to Vietnam to come and introduce and promote their goods.

The embassy also encourages Vietnamese enterprises to attend Trade Expo Indonesia, organised annually in Indonesia, by providing them with free accommodation. As Vietnam’s economy is developing rapidly, demand is growing and people need more of the products Indonesia can offer. More trade cooperation among enterprises between the two countries is also promoted by the embassy in the hope of more deals being made.

A tourism week themed ‘Xin Chao (Hello) Indonesia: Let’s Travel to Indonesia’ was also held at Umah Indo, connecting airlines, tour operators and Vietnamese people and giving them the chance to get the best price on package tours to famous destinations in Indonesia like Jakarta, Bali, and Yogyakarta.

WIDENING PROFILE

The embassy also cooperates with Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and related agencies to send journalists, academics, and Buddhist monks to attend events each year, to promote cultural exchange between the two countries and bolster Indonesia’s tourism sector.

Well-known Indonesian movies have also been screened at Umah Indo, from action to comedy and with English or Vietnamese subtitles.

Activities will be held to celebrate Indonesia’s Independence Day on August 17, such as food and beverage events and games like badminton and tug-of-war. All aim to brings Indonesians living in Vietnam together and showcase the country’s culture and lifestyles, according to the ambassador.

In the same spirit, the Indonesian community gets together occasionally when officials at the embassy or well-known Indonesian expats arrive or leave Vietnam, with food, music and dancing all on offer.

Another regular activity for Indonesians in Vietnam is weekly badminton. Christmas and the New Year also sees the embassy invite Indonesians to a host of events, not only Christians but also Muslim, Buddhists and others.

These events are open to everyone, allowing Vietnamese and other foreign friends to learn more about Indonesia’s culture and people.

Other events such as music, fashion shows and arts exhibitions will be held at Umah Indo in the future. ‘We hold events for all different groups, from enterprises and officials to students, artists, and others,’ Ambassador Hadi said. ‘This encourages and also challenges us to be more creative in our events.’

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