Indonesia Banget #1: 17 Agustusan

Finally…my 1st post for Indonesia Banget. To know more what Indonesia Banget means, please read the previous post (here).

On August 17, 1945, Indonesian people declared their Independence from colonialism… we are literally FREE from any Colonial Government, we are not a commonwealth country. I’m not going to talk much about the history because the main thing I want to share is the fun we had every year to celebrate our Independence Day.

Here’s a brief of Indonesian history. We were colonized by Dutch for 350 years. Then, The Japanese Imperialism came and took us away from the Dutch. Japanese were crueler than the Dutch but they also taught us something, they taught us how to use weapon and how to make a government organization. When US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan became weak and we took our country from them and declared our independence. We had to struggle to keep our independence because the Dutch wanted to return to our country. In the end, we keep our independence for ourselves.

I might not look like a nationalist person because I hate my corrupt government, but I am SO PROUD with our heroes.

Like I said before, I’m going to talk about our celebration and I am sure that you can not find this in other country 🙂

There are so many interesting competitions or games held to celebrate our Independence, from competition for kids to competition for grown-ups. Here are some that I can remember:

(unfortunately this year’s Independence Day is on the holy month of Ramadhan, my neighborhood doesn’t held any competition…so I can’t provide my own pictures here, I have to google it)

1. Panjat Pinang

Picture is taken from MURI

Panjang pinang is mostly for grown-ups because it is very difficult. A tree called pinang is smeared with oil and then they put lots of prizes on top of it and then stick the pinang on the ground. A group of people will try to climb it to get the prizes. It is very difficult because the pinang is very slippery. To be able to reach the top, one needs to rely on their group’s teamwork. Ancol (a famous theme park in Jakarta) usually held a mass panjat pinang, they provide about 1000 pinang to be climbed. I really like watching this competition because I got to see people falling all the time 😉

2. Balap karung

Picture is taken from smarowosarionline

Balap karung (Sack Race) is for both kids and grown-ups. We get inside a sack and then line up and start racing to the finish line by hopping. It’s really difficult to run because our legs are inside the sack. Many people will fall during this race. I avoid this game because I hate falling.

3. Balap Kelereng

Balap Kelereng (Marble Race) is mostly for kids. We put a marble on a spoon and then we bite the spoon, we have to walk as fast as we can to the finish line with a spoon in our mouth and we are not allowed to drop the marble. If the marble falls, you’ll be disqualified. I won this game long time ago 🙂

4. Take Coin out

Picture is taken from ilmuperpus

Some coins are stuck in to Balinese orange or papaya or coconut and then the orange is smeared with oil. The orange is then hung as high as human’s face. The contestants have to take the coin out of the orange with their teeth, hands behind their back because they are not allowed to use their hand.

Those are some games or competitions that have been around since I was kid…there are still many more but I can’t write them all here.

Nowadays, we can also find new games invented from professional sports. One that I enjoy the most is Daster Football. Daster is a long dress usually wore by middle-aged women when they are at home. In daster football, the men are wearing their wife’s daster and play football. In some places, they also wear their wife’s make-up. Hehehe it is really funny. In the school I used to teach, the children held a competition of putting make up on their friend’s face, but they have to do it blindfolded.

Beside games and competitions, we also have children’s parade and we can see our red and white flag everywhere. I think this parade and flag thing is very common in other country.

I hope you enjoy reading this post, this is just a glimpse of the fun that we have to celebrate our Independence Day

Read more Indonesia Banget posts here

Mel U of The Reading Life has kindly made a series of reviews from Indonesian Authors to celebrate Indonesian Independence Day…Terima kasih banyak Mel 🙂

Here are his reviews (please check them out):  Her by Titus Basino; Road to Heaven by Abidah El Khaliegy; The Century Carver by Oka Rusmini;

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Happy Independence day! Of course you should be proud. It’s great that you finally get to govern your own country after centuries of oppression.

    Oh, and I think every country has a corrupt government to a certain degree. A corrupt government is a sure-fire thing when a country gains its independence after long, long years of fighting for it. With time, things will change. Take Afghanistan and Iraq; they are in a worse situation than Indonesia, and god only knows when their people will finally stop fighting each other long enough to establish peace and order.

    Just out of curiosity; is the Dutch language spoken in Indonesia? Or has it been banned?

    1. Novroz says:

      Thank you Zee 🙂

      Well..sadly, the corruption in my country is getting worse by the year 😦 I don’t know when its going to stop or at least decrease.

      Nope…Both Dutch and Japanese language are not baned in Indonesia. We do not speak their language either, we have our own national language and many traditional languages.
      People are free to study those languages…I learn Japanese my self 🙂

      What happened in the past stays in the past…we do not hate Dutch and Japan for that reason, it’ll be a shallow act to do something like that.

  2. Mel u says:

    I justed posted on “The Century Carver” by Oka Rusmini from Bali-It is a very moving modern story with an ancient feel.

    1. Novroz says:

      I’ll add your amazing review now 🙂

  3. Mel u says:


    Just posted on “The Rooms Out Back” by Nenden Aisyah from East Java-4th in a series of posts on contemporary Indonesian women writers

    1. Novroz says:

      Keep it flowing Mel U 🙂

  4. Mel u says:

    Here is a link that will take you to all five of my posts on short stories by 21th century Indonesian Women-each of these stories is a really wonderful work and reading the five of them would for sure be worth the time it takes-

  5. Carin B. says:

    Oh those games look hard! I’ve done the sack races when I was little, but the pole climbing and the coin game look frustrating but fun!

    Happy (Late) Independence Day to you and your country! When did the Japanese take over and how long were they in power? I read The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose and have watched a few WWII videos about the American military fighting against the Japanese. It was a really terrible time from what I’ve read.

    I think Zee is right. Unfortunately, government corruption is everywhere. It’s really sad.

    I am loving these posts and can’t wait to learn more about your country. It sounds amazing.

    1. Novroz says:

      I have never done the pole climbing in my life…hehehe I leave that to men. But some women play it too. I consider them as powerful women. The coin is interesting and messy, I love it when I was a kid.

      Thank you Carin, better late than never 😉
      Japanese came in 1945, they stayed for 3,5 years. My grandpa said that it was a terrible moment. There was a term called Romusha (forced labour) and it killed many people. War is always a hard and sad moment. I’m glad I was born in this free country.

      I’m so glad you like it.

  6. Irina says:

    Dear Novroz!!!
    I just realised you live in one of the most beautiful places in the world! It’s not that I didn’t know you lived in Indonesia, but it just never really clicked in my head!
    One of my friends just got back from his honeymoon in Bali and he said ‘ if there is a paradise in this world, it’s definitely there’.
    I am soooooooo officially jealous of you! PLease please please come stay with us in the UK for a holiday, so that we will have a ‘ moral obligation’ to visit you too in Indonesia as soon as we can afford it!
    Freezing in Belfast,
    Irina xx

    1. Novroz says:

      Bali is beautiful, they said…I myself never been there. Haha what a surprise!

      I live in Jakarta, the capital city, and I don’t think Jakarta is as beautiful as Bali. But there are other beautiful places beside Bali. I really like west Java. Cool and green. If there is other city I want to live in, Bandung or Bogor (both in west Java) will be that place.

      Hehehe unfortunately, it is more likely you visit me rather I visit you, the economy in Indonesia is not high. Normal people (the ones that aren’t extremely rich) could barely afford going abroad. A teacher like me is impossible to even step foot in England…unless I got a free ticket or got a scholarship or marry a very rich man 😉
      But I would love to visit England. Apart from Arab (for Hajj purpose), Japan and England (plus Ireland) are the other countries I dream of visiting one day…Dream can sometime come true, right 😉

      You are frezzed in Belfast and I am cooked in Jakarta, it’s really hot this time of year. xx

  7. irina says:

    dreams definitely come true!! when we are rich- we will bring you over for a holiday! ….or start looking for a rich man! 😉
    You know what you should try? there should be some international (or well-off local) language schools you can teach in, that will send their teachers to the UK with a group of rich kids (for a holiday, etc). Lots of people I know visited UK/US this way.
    Ireland is a must for you as Cillian is from here. maybe you will bump into him while visiting.. who knows.. I actually tried to get his agents/PR person’s contacts for you… just to ask for an autograph or something, but you have to pay for this (for the details).. and we are broke atm. :((
    Oh my!! there are 135 million people living on JAVA which makes it the world’s most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Its twice the populartion of the UK!!
    Bogor looks lovely on the pictures!! no beaches though(

    1. Novroz says:

      I’ll pray you’ll get rich one day 😉

      Finding the right school for that is a bit difficult…I am planning to search for a short courses. My friend told me about it few days ago. But no course for teachers yet.

      Well…actually, Cillian lives in London. It is more likely to bump into him in there. Aaah…I feel touched by your effort. It’s okay, I love him unconditionally…which means even though I never met him or owned something from him, I am still going to adore him as an artist (and as a gorgeous man – of course) 😉

      Hehehe….Java is the most crowded island in Indonesia. I think Indonesia is also in top-10 country with high population (I forgot where is our position). Bogor and Bandug has no beach, they have lots of mountain and I prefer mountains than beaches.

      1. Irina says:

        I so much prefer mountains to beaches too, but your beaches look like paradise. Thats why people spend fortune to visit islands like Bali.

        1. Novroz says:

          Hmmm…I never noticed that, I thought all beaches are same…silly me 😉

  8. Binky says:

    That was interesting to hear about some of the things you do to celebrate. The sack race and ball (or egg as we do it) on a spoon are games we used to play at school on special days.

    1. Novroz says:

      Glad you like it Peter 🙂
      I have just finished this kind of games/tournament in school…today was for teachers only and next Tuesday is for students.

      I am planning to post the fun on Wednesday or Thursday 🙂 Maybe you can stop by and see it. Today was fun, in fact this celebration is always fun 🙂

  9. smoredogs says:

    There is a version of the Marble game known here in the U.S. as an Egg Race. Instead of a marble, an egg has to be balanced on a spoon which is held in the hand. Getting the coins out of fruit reminds me of a Halloween game called Bobbing for Apples.

    1. Novroz says:

      Ah yes, I have seen such race.
      As for the apple bobbing, it does look a like but different in the goal.

      Thank you for reading 🙂

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