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Indonesian embassy

Kabul – My Red and White in Kabul

Red-and-White in Kabul What a feeling. I see the Red-and-White flag flying proudly on Kabul sky. Today we celebrate again our independence day. Indonesia is celebrating its 62nd anniversary. And for the Indonesian community in Afghanistan, this day is as special as it is for our other countrymen in Indonesia. Flag ceremony was a routine for most of us when we were receiving education in Indonesian schools. Who had never experienced boredom of attending flag ceremony? Who had never grumbled to be given task to be flag-ceremony commandant or national anthem choir? At least I did. When I was in elementary school and high school in Indonesia, I used to hate Saturday after-school time as it’s the rehearsal schedule for weekly Monday morning flag ceremony. I used to grumble for this so-called nationalism development, discipline training, citizenship building (bla, bla, bla) to justify the routine flag ceremony. I used to grumble when my headmaster forgot to stop his long and dull speech while we, the poor little students, have to stand helplessly under the scorching sun. But all of the dull memories of flag ceremony turned when I left Indonesia to study in China. In my five and half year [...]

August 17, 2007 // 0 Comments

Kabul – Indonesian Products in Afghanistan

Indonesian exhibition booth in Kabul, Afghanistan The first Asia-Europe International Trade Exhibition and Conference is held in Kabul for five days to commemorate the 88th anniversary of independence Afghanistan. The exhibition was attended by several Afghan national and international companies, but we may be proud as Indonesia joined the exhibition as the sole country participant. Indonesia, represented by the embassy, has quite a sizeable booth in the exhibition. The ambassador himself, with full contingent of all diplomats (we have 5), attended the opening ceremony. There were all ladies from the embassy wearing kebaya national dress. Compared to other booths (TV companies, supermarket, design company, carpet products, etc), Republic of Indonesia booth was an obvious distinguished one. Why Indonesia has to be represented as a country and not by any national companies? “It’s a pity that our businessmen are not interested at business in Afghanistan. Actually if we dare to risk, the market in Afghanistan is quite good. We (the embassy) have offered to Indonesian companies, but as they are not interested, so we come to exhibit here,” said a diplomat friend told me. Indonesian embassy is not a company, so what they can bring to exhibit? You can see a [...]

August 13, 2007 // 0 Comments

Kabul – The Indonesian Family

The only place to taste genuine Indonesian food in Afghanistan ‘If you are abroad, remember, embassy is your home,’ said my elementary school teacher, explaining the function of embassy in a moral education class. This, at least in Afghanistan, is proven true. Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Shahr-e-Nao Kabul is indeed warm shelters for small Indonesian community in this Islamic Republic. There are not too many Indonesians in Afghanistan, and for sure less in Kabul. Not more than 30 Indonesians seen regularly in the embassy in the capital, and that already includes the embassy staff. People come and go. This small community always welcomes newcomers with smiles and prepares farewell party (sometimes almost rained by tears) for those who leave. In the last three months of my stay here, already two long-term Indonesians leave the country. For small family like this, the feeling of losing a member always hurts. The embassy people dominate this little community. Not before December 2006 the Indonesian embassy in Kabul is led by an Ambassador (Duta Besar Luar Biasa dan Berkuasa Penuh – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary…what a title). As anywhere else, the ambassador comes with his wife, head of domestic affairs (Kepala [...]

July 30, 2007 // 0 Comments

Kabul – Brother Ambassador

The Indonesian Embassy in Kabul Today there is opening of a photo exhibition in the newly renovated Kabul Museum, just across the Darulaman Palace. The exhibition shows some old photos of Afghanistan, taken in the 1970s, about the glorious era of the covered bazaar of Tashkurgan. The covered bazaar now is gone. And European historical site preservation mission is trying hard to return the legendary bazaar back to its golden time. As photographers we were invited to attend the opening ceremony. There were long, long speeches from authorities and historians about the importance of preserving historical sites, the mission of photo exhibition, and about the destroyed bazaar of Tashkurgan. Many of the invited guests are foreigners. I feel a strange feeling surrounded by high class Afghan expats accompanied by their super muscular bodyguards. I am just a little photographer assigned by a local office here. During the speech I noticed a man standing next to me. He also looked at me. I was not sure whether he was Indonesian or not, but he seems so. As many Indonesians, I also have a strange hobby of guessing about other people’s identity. Hmm…, this man looks like Indonesian. But I have never [...]

April 25, 2007 // 1 Comment

Bishkek – Uzbekistan Visa

Another bureaucratic thing to do in Bishkek For Indonesian passport holders, Uzbekistan visa requires Letter of Invitation. Recently getting Uzbekistan visa is more difficult then before, since the Andijan massacre in 2005. Before the American passport holders were granted multiple entry visa, but since the Karimov president kicked all the American soldiers out, the visa is now only for one month, single entry, same for anybody else. Only the Japanese passport holders still enjoy the privilege of no LOI, no visa fee (they only pay 15$ for the visa). I got my invitation from the Embassy of Republic of Indonesia in Tashkent. It is a personal invitation from one of the diplomats there, Mrs Sunarti Ichwanto. It is also a 1-month, single entry visa. But they said that the visa can be extended. The Uzbekistan embassy requires invitation per telephone for people who apply for visa, and as interview will be conducted, everybody either should speak Russian or bring a Russian translator. I came very early today. The snow just started. It was very cold to wait outside the embassy. I got the first turn to enter, as I called 3 days earlier. The application form was completely in Russian. [...]

November 22, 2006 // 0 Comments

Murgab – 100 Questions and Answers about Tajik Presidential Election

Browsing through the list of candidates A friend of mine, Rosalina Tobing, works in social political section of the Embassy of Republic of Indonesia in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She often gets assignments to make reports about political moments in Central Asia. These days, the thing which people in Tajikistan like to talk about was the presidential election which is going to happen on November 6, 2006. Besides of this, people in GBAO also like to know more about the spiritual leader Aga Khan who visit the area together with the president. Rosalina asked me to get a book for our embassy’s reference, entitled ‘100 Questions and Answers about Tajikistan Presidential Election”. The book is as mythical as the 1001 Nights. I couldn’t find anywhere in Tajikistan (maybe because I always bumped into wrong places all time) but in election booths in the villages in GBAO. First I saw the book in the community hall , which was magically turned to be an election booth, in Vrang. I tried to ask permission to photocopy it, but the chief of election committee said there was no photocopy machine at all in the village. When I started to take photos of the book with [...]

October 30, 2006 // 0 Comments

Dushanbe – The Kyrgyz Visa … Finally

The Kyrgyz visa, finally It has been about ten days I am stuck in Dushanbe (and with side-trip to Istaravshan), due to the Kyrgyz visa application. I will post the comment of Istaravshan and Dushanbe later when I get proper Internet connection. Now, if you dont mind, let me share the struggle to get the Kyrgyz visa. As an Indonesian passport holder, I need an invitation to get the Kyrgyz visa, and the invitation should be approved by the ministry of foreign affairs in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. I applied through the Indonesian embassy in Tashkent. The Indonesian embassy contacted the Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they said that my visa was approved, I just needed to go to the Kyrgyz embassy in Dushanbe to pick up the visa. Monday, October 9th I went to the Kyrgyz embassy. It was well hidden in an alley near Insititute of Teby. The embassy only accepts visa application one day in a week, that is on Tuesdays. Not wanting to repeat my tragical Tajikistan visa (which cost me 250 dollars for the red tape), I called my embassy in Tashkent to ask for confirmation about the approved invitation. They called by [...]

October 17, 2006 // 5 Comments