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Celebrations mark Indonesian national day.

Dubai A festive evening featuring song and dance and authentic food brought a piece of Indonesia to around 500 guests celebrating the country's 66th Independence Day.

The theme of the evening was EoACAyWonderful Indonesia: the Beauty of Diversity.'

The event was the first time the consulate has celebrated the country's national day in the UAE since its establishment in Dubai in 2003.

Dr Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, as well as consuls-general from various diplomatic missions joined the Indonesian community for the celebrations.

Traditional Indonesian dancing and an interactive musical scoring played by the performers -- and even the audience -- were the highlights of the evening for all who attended.

Each member of the audience received an anklung, a traditional Indonesian musical instrument made from two bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame, and they were invited to play three songs with the whole group.

"We are a minority here in the UAE. Not many people know about Indonesia, that's why we're bringing our culture here in the emirate through this event," Consul Mansyur Pangeran told Gulf News after the Wednesday evening event.

Growing relations

Currently, an estimated 100,000 Indonesians are living and working in the UAE.

While the majority are in other sectors, a significant number of Indonesian expatriates work in the banking, cargo and hospitality sectors.

Indonesia's growing economic relations with the UAE are a product of the mutual support given by both countries, according to Pangeran,

"The bilateral ties between Indonesia and UAE have enjoyed [a] fruitful and excellent relationship in many fields of cooperation, particularly in economic relations.

"All of Indonesia's goods in general are still competitive and most wanted in the UAE market and even for re-export to the GCC, Europe, South Asia and Africa," Pangeran said.

Indonesia's trade relations with the Arab world can be traced back to the 13th century.

Arab merchants who traded with Indonesians brought with them Islam, which ultimately spread throughout the archipelago. As part of the Indonesian consulate's programme to promote tourism in the world's largest archipelago, a member of the audience at the country's Independence Day celebrations was awarded two free tickets to Jakarta on Garuda Indonesia, the country's flag carrier.

"We invite everyone to visit Indonesia because we have almost everything -- lush greenery, adventure tourism and medical health tourism," Pangeran told Gulf News.

Invitation

"Many Emiratis like diving and many of them are excellent divers as their ancestors were pearl divers. We invite them to come and explore our dive sites which are among the best in the world," he added. Indonesia, known for its strategic location for trade, was colonised by Europeans for four and a half centuries.

A rich source of spices, sugar and nutmeg, among other exotic resources, Indonesia attracted colonisers from countries such as Denmark, which occupied Indonesia for some 350 years, and Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands which colonised the archipelago for several years.

The independence day of Indonesia falls on August 17.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDO
Date:Oct 15, 2011
Words:511
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