SIGA 2018: A get-together to contribute, learn and share aspirations and experiences
Delegates from Asean nations and Japan met at the 30th SSEAYP International General Assembly (SIGA) 2018 held in Bandung, Indonesia, from 20 – 22 April.
Singapore’s contingent of 49 people, comprising former SSEAYP Participating Youths and National Leaders, officials from the SSEAYP International Singapore, SSEAYP Alumni and foster families of the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP), are among the 230 delegates.
The theme of this year’s assembly, “In the spirit of art, heritage and youthpreneurship”, offered lively panel and group discussions as well as workshops on the three aspects of the theme.
History is always interesting and what has been solidly left of history could be a heritage to be cherished. Groups were formed to go on a heritage trail to discover Bandung’s Dutch colonial past.
In fulfilling a final activity on the art, the closing ceremony of SIGA 2018 was held at the Saung Angklung Udjo, a learning and performance studio with the objective of preserving Sundanese art and culture, especially angklung.
Delegates were entertained by its angklung and Sundanese gamelan orchestra accompanied by thrilling traditional dance performances by children.
After the closing ceremony speech and exchange of gifts, the evening ended with the visitors joining in a farewell dance with the young dancers and angklung players.
Walking into history
Prof Dr Faisal Abdullah, Deputy Minister for Youth Empowerment, who opened the assembly, mentioned in his speech that “Bandung was chosen as the host city of SIGA 2018 due to its notable commitment in youth participation,” and that “Bandung has a remarkable history as the venue of the Asian-African Conference in 1955.”
Bandung also has buildings built during the Dutch colonial period which have been well preserved. By walking and observing, the visitors would understand why Bandung city is also well-known as the world’s largest exhibitor of art deco architecture.
Friendship and respect
There were various activities lined up for the SIGA delegates. We were divided into many groups to enable us foster new friendship with the others.
One of the activities that I enjoyed and learned most was the Bandung Historical Walk under the Heritage Activitity – walking along Braga Street in the old Dutch colonial part of the town. The remnants of the Dutch existence in Indonesia were evidently from the Dutch-style buildings and such a sight left a strong historical memory in me.
Throughout our stay there, I discovered that regardless of our different, nationalities, cultures and religions, we could actually co-exist very well as we learned to respect one another.
When it was time to leave, my mother and I were sad but, on the other hand, we were happy as we renewed old friendship and made many new friends.”
– Mr Rahim Bin Ramli who, with his mother Hajah Fatimah Binti Haji Shukor, has been hosting SSEAYP Participating Youths for the homestay programme for many years and has joined the SIGA trips several times.
“This is my second time to join SIGA. It was great and I enjoyed it. I made many friends who were former SSEAYP Participating Youths and officials.
I was happy to see the delegates joining in the various meaningful activities together and share their feelings and knowledge and learn new things from each other.
SIGA gave us an opportunity to stay together, learn from each other about our countries, talk about ourselves and our experiences, and even joke and laugh together. It is nice to participate in SIGA after SSEAYP. I love both.
Through the workshops with youth entrepreneur activities, I felt the importance to move forward and to share with anyone what you love and contribute anything that is worthwhile.
I would love to encourage the youths to do anything they love to do that is good for the society and believe that what they contribute is of great worth. Their passion in what they do and contribute would be of value to people.
Through SiGA, I learned many things and made many friends, and this is very important and meaningful in life.”
– Aiko Saito, Program Coordinator from CENTERYE. She was in-charge of taking care of the Japanese participants and taking official photos. She volunteered for SIGA 2018 “to meet her batch-mates and also to make new friends beyond my SSEAYP participating year.”
The third and final night of SIGA 2018 – Bandung, was a night of activities, entertainment and fun.
The angklung snatched the focus of the evening. The angklung, made of a varying number of bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame, is a popular bamboo musical instrument of Indonesia.
The delegates, perhaps for the first time in their lives, had the experience of making and playing an angklong. Each of them was given a lop-sided angklong to complete its structure. And, after that, they used their completed bamboo musical instrument to play in an orchestral mode with the angklung conductor guiding them.
SIGA 2018 (Bandung) appreciates the presence of dignitaries during the 3-day meeting. They include Vice Minister of Policy Coordination of Japan, Mr. Noriyuki Koda; Director for International Youth Exchange of Japan, Ms. Kaori Nakamura; President of SSEAYP International Indonesia (SII), Ms. Pia Adiprima; Head of Assembly of SII, Dr.Rino Wicaksono; and representatives of Japan and ASEAN embassies in Indonesia.
At the closing ceremony of SIGA 2018, Mdm Khairon and Mr Kadir were joyfully surprised to receive a trophy “SSEAPY Best Host Family Award” from Ms Yulia Indahri, an Indonesian delegate whom the couple had been exchanging greetings and short chats since the first day of SIGA 2018 meeting. Yulia, who was a Participating Youth of 1992 had stayed in their home for that year’s SSEAYP Homestay stint.
The 30th SIGA in Bandung had been a wonderful and fruitful experience for all the delegates. They participated in discussing topics on art, heritage and youthpreneurship and celebrated the International Earth Day by doing social contribution activities in Cibunut Village. They explored Bandung by taking part in the Heritage Walk, participated in various workshops with young entrepreneurs and made angklung and played it with tunes that bade farewell to SIGA 2018 and its participants.
But, don’t be downhearted, the 31st SIGA is just next year – in Brunei Darussalam.
Holiday in Bandung
Most of the Singapore delegates had decided to stay for one more night in the same hotel to further enjoy Bandung and take what it could offer – in sightseeing and shopping. While many chose shopping as our SIGA programme was tight and hectic and there was no time for shopping, only five of us – Ms Jenny Koh, Mdm Khairon, Mr Desmond Yew, Mr Halim and Mr Kadir – decided to explore Bandung further. They went to a hotspring pond and then to the famous Tangkuban Parahu Mount.
In the photo presented in Part 2 of the SIGA 2018 article (published on 23 May in this blog), partially reproduced below showing Mr Desmond Yew, Homestay Director, SSEAYP International Singapore, forlornly clutching a bamboo post with the caption that read: “Mr Desmond Yew looks so forlorn; yes, he’s dreaming of his wife, Lynn, who was not able to join SIGA Bandung for a very good reason.” The “very good reason” then was that his wife, Lynn Ng, was eight-month pregnant. On 24 May, a month after Desmond returned from Bandung, his wife gave birth to a sweet baby girl, Kristin.
Links to Parts 1 and 2 are:
Part 1: https://readnreap.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/siga-2018-an-assembly-of-wisdom-contribution-togetherness-and-fun/
As we are still in Ramadan, we wish Ramadan Kareem to all Muslims and a blessed month to all. Insya-Allah (God willing), we shall meet again in Brunei Darussalam next year.
27 May 2018