Sun, 03 Sep 2000

Indonesian pavilion but no national traits

HANOVER, Germany (JP): The Indonesian pavilion is located in a huge area of the Hanover Expo 2000, which is occupied together with several other countries like Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, United Arab Emirates as well as the Palestinians.

The Indonesian gallery is in the form of a square with a boat- like room in the center, with a big screen to show films on Indonesia life, namely the life of the Komodo dragon and Anak Seribu Pulau (Children of the Thousand Islands), a children's film, telling stories of children from different islands in Indonesia.

The gallery has four entrances to displays of cultures from Eastern Indonesia, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Java.

The pavilion and the materials exhibited within are so simple that one cannot identify the country's characteristics.

What can be seen are pictures of Indonesian people, nature and handicrafts from several of Indonesia's regions.

Apart from two miniatures of N250 and N2130 airplane types produced by the national aircraft manufacturer, Indonesian Aerospace (IAe), recently renamed from IPTN, in Bandung, West Java, no Indonesian technology is displayed.

In another area, a merchandising cart displays daily needs of Indonesians like a chip container, sachets of local brand shampoo, candy boxes and spices!

"It seems that Indonesia does not want to spend more money to sell the country's image, moreover there are also no technology displayed there," said Volker Wiedersheim, editor of the Hannoversche Allgemeine local newspaper.

Wiedersheim said that a developing country like Indonesia could also show technology, "For example they can offer something which has not yet been done in developed countries, even though the technology is simple," he added.

Interviewed separately, the pavilion manager Iwan H. Sulaiman admitted the poor condition. With a budget of only Rp 15 billion for the temporary exhibition gallery, Iwan said, "I honestly say that we have no target, we just want to attract sympathy towards Indonesia which is now 'black and blue'."

However, he said, even though under such bad conditions the country still has potential, especially its natural heritage.

"That's why we put more stress on our natural beauty, at the same time we also want to say that we still have a will to improve ourselves."

According to him, the decision to join the expo was made two to three years ago when Rahardi Ramelan was minister of industry and trade.

"The minister was changed several times ... the final decision was taken only three months before the expo. Consequently, the preparation was very minimal," he said.

Even with the gallery's poor condition, there were big numbers of people attracted to know more on Indonesia after visiting the pavilion, Iwan said proudly.

However, visitor response summaries showed that so far there were only 57 people who seriously searched for information on Indonesia.

"Most visitors are attracted to search for more information on tourism. We have channeled all of the responses to the related institutions in Jakarta or to the Indonesian embassy here," Iwan said.(ind)