X. BALI, Indonesia. 2010

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X. BALI, Indonesia.

April 4 – 8, 2010

During the gala evening of the 2008 TFI Hawaii Cruise Reunion on board the Pride of America, it was decided that the next TFI reunion would be held in Bali, Indonesia. It was the first time for a TFI reunion to be held in the home land. This was an opportunity for many TFI-ers who were born and raised in Indonesia, but lived and worked overseas, to also visit friends and family. A reunion in the home land was, therefore, the motivating factor for TFI Cruise Reunion participants in Hawaii to select Bali for the next TFI Reunion destination.

A TFI reunion in Bali, Island of the Gods, was bound to attract many participants. This was confirmed by the number of registrants. Based on the Reunion booklet, 127 were from Indonesia. It was the largest number of participants from Indonesia at any TFI Reunion ever. 86 participants travelled all the way from the United States, 17 from Canada, 17 from the Netherlands, five from Germany, four from Australia, four from Hong Kong, and two each from Belgium and France for a total of 262 registered participants.

Chairperson of the Bali Committee was Benjamin Suriadjaya (Tjia Kian Joe) of Jakarta. Vice Chairperson was Kunto Harsono (Lie Kok Toen), also of Jakarta. They were backed by a team of two secretaries, two treasurers, a Program Coordinator, and numerous volunteers responsible for entertainment, registration, food and catering, documentation, publicity, the TFI website, transportation, hospitality, and two Masters of Ceremony. The Committee was supported by Regional Coordinators in Europe, Canada and the United States of America.

Venue for the 2010 TFI Reunion in Bali was the Melia Hotel in Nusa Dua. Surrounded by lush tropical gardens, this four and a half-star beach front resort is located along the shores of Nusa Dua beach, Bali’s prestigious resort enclave.

In his welcome address, Benjamin wrote that a reunion in Indonesia would be a nostalgic journey for those who were born and raised here and have not been back to Indonesia for a long time. For friends coming for the first time, it will be an emotional experience to see how people will look like after so many decades.As Chairman of the Committee, Benjamin also expressed his gratitude to all members of the committee for their hard work and in realising this reunion.

On the evening of the opening ceremony, participants were presented with a choice of Indonesian scarves to keep as souvenirs. They were welcomed by smiling dancers in their colourful attire who represented various regions of the Archipelago: Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Moluccas, Irian Jaya and Bali.

Venue for the Opening Ceremony was the Puri Bali, Melia Hotel’s main function hall. After the introduction of Committee members, the assembly sang Io Vivat and Gaudeamus Igitur with vim and vigour, as they did when they were students, evoking memories of times gone by. The opening session included performances of colourful Indonesian folkdances which were much appreciated and enjoyed by the audience who showered the performers with a rousing applause.

After the performance, a group of porters wearing sarongs and matching shirts and head dress arrived, carrying a plank on two poles loaded with a huge pile of ketupats for the ketupat cutting ceremony. The lady performing the ketupat cutting ceremony was Tjiep Wahjudi (Tjiep Nio Tjioe) of Jakarta. By cutting into the pile of ketupat, she heralded the official opening of the reunion and dinner. Ketupat is a diamond-shaped rice cake wrapped in woven coconut leaves. It is traditionally served in Indonesia at open houses and on festive occasions. As TFI reunions are festive occasions, ketupat was a fitting dish to be served at the opening ceremony of the TFI reunion in Bali.

The evening concluded with an angklung performance by a group of ladies from Jakarta playing the traditional Indonesian bamboo musical instruments to the delight of all participants. This was followed by music and dancing that was enjoyed by all.

Day two of the Reunion featured a beach party on the private beach of the hotel, where coconut fronds swayed gently in the breeze. Highlight of the morning was a delicious Indonesian buffet that was served for lunch. People were in a light-hearted mood, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air while socializing, laughing, singing and dancing to a live band, and listening to the sound of music, as the waves kept rolling in to the rhythm of the sea.

Later that afternoon, participants boarded buses for Ubud. Located amongst rice paddies and steep ravines in the central foothills of the Gianyar regency, Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali. Dinner that evening was followed by a magnificent cultural performance at Pura Dalam Puri, where the sound of gamelans filled the evening air and performers in colourful, glittering costumes enthralled the audience.

The next morning, on day three of the reunion, participants were free to do as they pleased until dinner time in the Hong Kong restaurant, where participants were gathered under a huge tent. After dinner there was a “Voor Ons Door Ons” talent show, also known as FUFU (From Us For Us), by participants showcasing their creative talents as they sang, danced, and joked around on stage. A singer entertained the guests and invited various people in the assembly to sing along.

Day 4 of the reunion included the traditional TFI photo session, where exstudents and alumni of different faculties gathered in the lobby of the hotel to pose for photos. After the photo session, participants boarded buses for lunch at Mang Engking’s in Denpasar, the capital of Bali, a short distance from the hotel. They were welcomed by the sound of gamelans as they streamed into the open dining area and took their seats. Surrounded by fish ponds, this well-known Sundanese restaurant with its thatched roof huts specializes in seafood and prawn dishes.

The farewell dinner of the 2010 TFI reunion in Bali was to be held at the poolside of the hotel for a BBQ, but heavy rainclouds threatened to wash out the evening. To thwart a downpour, the Committee enlisted a mystic to make the rainclouds go away. His magic worked – at least during the party. Was it a fluke or was there really something to the mystique of Bali, Island of the Gods?

Guests attending the Farewell Party were welcomed by pretty Balinese girls who handed each lady a flower for her hair. After dinner, guests were treated to an extravaganza of shows that included spectacular fire dances which have its origin in ancient rituals. Beautiful Balinese maidens in glittering costumes wearing a dazzling crown of flaming rods performed the fan dance. Other performers danced and tumbled across the stage twirling fire staffs. It was a mesmerizing performance and a visual feast that held the audience captive.

Tjing Bie, who was involved with almost every TFI Reunion since he became Chairperson of the TFI Reunion in Reno in 1990, suggested that the next Chairperson should be a woman. He proposed Tjiep Wahjudi of Jakarta. At first Tjiep declined, but Tjing Bie and others managed to talk her into accepting the honour to chair the next TFI Reunion which would be held in China. The exact location was to be determined at a later date.

The 2010 Bali Reunion concluded with an optional post-reunion cruise to Japan on board the Legend of the Seas. It took participants from Shanghai to Miyazaki, Kobe and Fukuoka in Japan, after which the ship continued to Busan, South Korea, before participants dispersed and headed home, or to their next destination.

In the mean time, a survey was held to decide in which city the next reunion would be held. The result was Lijiang in the province of Yunnan in China. The old town of Lijiang, which is part of Lijiang City, goes back in history more than 800 years. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. For those who had never been to China, a trip to the land of their ancestors promised to be a cultural treat. Instead of waiting until 2012, it was decided to have the reunion the following year, in 2011. That did not leave much time for Tjiep to organize the reunion. As she does not live in Lijiang, it was going to be quite a challenge for her to organize a reunion in a foreign country, of which she did not speak the language.

 

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