I don’t realize that it has been like months since I left Malaysia. I moved there since late January 2009 thanks to the late Governor of Prov. of Bangka Belitung Island, Eko Maulana Ali,’s initiative to sponsor a few students to study there. The first year was confusing with all culture shock, Malay-Indonesia language confusion, stomachache and diarrhea of some spicy cuisine (Indian’s, if I’m not mistaken), etc. With years passing, the country, the university and its people has affected me as a person. I started to like nasi lemak, roti canai and that diabetes-inducing-ultra-sweet teh tarik. Well at least, I got a bit of their accent. Every semester then I would return to Bangka to report to the Provincial Government office and (of course) and back to my family. It was a good time, I should admit. By September 2013, I returned to Indonesia for good suddenly because I had to attend my younger brother’s convocation. I have completed my bachelor and waiting for my master convocation (Insya Allah) by that time.
Anyway, there’s one organization that greeted me since my first week of arrival and helped me to adjust with environment there. It’s PPI-UM (Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia Universiti Malaya /Indonesian Student Association of University of Malaya), an unacknowledged campus organization which comprises of Indonesians studying there (obviously). In my campus life, my extracurricular activities mostly went around the organization. Though I didn’t really compete for higher position in the organization, yet I insisted to myself to get involved in PPI-UM activities if I could. Though, my mark on PPI-UM did not run high but the organization has affect me somehow. We (me and my scholarship-mates) were introduced to Mas Samsuri in Kompleks Perdana Siswa. A calm and friendly person, he introduced us to PPI-UM. Some of us were really interested, some not and that was the beginning of our activities with PPI-UM.
Yes, I’m the thin one with serious look there
Eid al-Fitr Gathering in October 2009
The first year under Mas Sam’s leadership was the best year with PPI-UM, I think. Being a friendly and committed leader, he’s the last to go home in every PPI-UM event and befriended postgrad and undergrad student alike. Even if event preparation went on into late night we’re happy to do it as our leader was there and cheered us up when we started to get bored or else. If you’re wandering, PPI-UM activities were mostly seminars and conference, sport gathering, culture and culinary fair and so on. It was, of course, done in such small-scale due to limited fund. It was also the first time I celebrate Indonesian Independence day abroad and it’s moving. I almost cried when the national hymn was sung as the ceremony went. I felt like I was in Indonesian even for a while. For such ceremony that we take for granted every week or even evade, this is so different in so many level.
me (the smiling one who almost got covered by passing stranger) with Mr. Dai Bachtiar, Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia at that time
His position was then taken by Rahmat Hidayat, my senior from economy faculty. He’s a good leader unfortunately internal conflict happened right in his tenure. It started after a seminar event went awry. The event was heavily criticized by the author that we invited to talk and the event leader vented out her anger to us with harsh comment on everybody’s mistake. Some could not accept and withdrew from the organization, and they’re my scholarship-mates. The failed event was actually the last straw after what my friends had to endure when they saw few of their seniors did not really work in former events event though the seniors got important position. It was a neglect of duty and we felt like being used. Once I thought to abandoned the sinking ship, but one of our dedicated seniors beg me otherwise (it was you, kak Monik)
“Kak, I felt like I want to quit PPI-UM”
“I can understand that this is because of some of negligent seniors, but please consider it again. If not us then who will work for PPI-UM? Yes it’s tiring and annoying to see them enjoying our hard work, but think that all of what you’ve done now will eventually help you in your future. Perhaps in your career or something. This is why I stick with this organization”
and so I stay…….