Celebrating August 17th in September

What is so special about August 17th?

Ask Indonesians, and they’ll tell you it’s the Indonesian Independence Day.

There is no lavish celebration with fireworks like the 4th of July. Instead there is only formal flag ceremony in the morning, followed by some traditional games held in each district/alley. The streets are usually decorated with red and white, which are the colors of the Indonesian flag.  There may be some parade in the main street of the town featuring students from different schools, police, soldiers, etc.

This year in Pirrama Park, Sydney, I got to participate in fun games/ fundraising event organized by some church friends. The theme was related to August 17th to honor Indonesian Independence Day. To be honest, even when I was still in Indonesia, I never participated in such games. I guess I enjoyed being a spectator, which is an important role because otherwise, who’s gonna lift the game up if it’s not the spectators?

Harbour Bridge from Pirrama Park

Anzac Bridge from Pirrama Park


We were split into four teams with 5 members in each team. The first game combined the marble-spoon game with cracker-eating contest. Each member has to carry a marble on a spoon using his/her mouth while walking from one point to another and back to the original point. After that, he/she has to pass the marble onto the spoon of the next member. No hands are allowed. If the marble is dropped, then he/she has to start from the beginning.

Once the last second member finishes with the marble, the last member can start eating the cracker (kerupuk), which is tied up using a rope. It sounds like a simple task, but it isn’t. The cracker is light, and won’t stay put because of the wind/ breeze. Again, no hands are involved here… just mouth.


Marble on spoon carried with mouth

Nom nom…Cracker-eating contest

Our team won the first challenge – thanks to our member who finished his cracker the fastest. It looked promising that we might win the whole thing.The second challenge still involved physical activity. It was gunny sack race.  Again, each member took turn to run and the first team to finish won. We had two guys in our teams, and man… they could jump far. So, our strategy to win was to put the fastest in the beginning and the end, and it worked!

Jumping in a gunny sack.. hop hop..

The next challenge was we’d like to call ‘Cerdas Cermat,’ which is a quiz that literally means ‘Smart and Meticulous.’ So yeah, you gotta be brainy to win the challenge. This time there were several categories, and there were some questions in each category. Each team got a turn to choose the category, but all had to answer the questions by writing the answer down. The categories were Sports, Culture, History, Entertainment, and Surprise Questions. The answers for the questions were trivial – you either know it or you don’t. And for most of the questions, our team didn’t know the answers.

Here are samples of the questions:

Category: History

Q: Ken Arok murdered the husband of Ken Dedes. What’s the name of Ken Dedes’ husband?

(This question is related to Indonesian ancient history during the Hindu-Buddha era. Check this page on Wikipedia for more information. The story is actually quite interesting.)
A: Tunggul Ametung. –> only one team got it right. My excuse for not getting it right: leave the past behind and look to the future.

Category: Surprise Questions

Q: What is the number of steps in a staircase located in front of Merdeka Palace?

(Merdeka Palace = Indonesian ‘White House’)

Are you surprised by the question? I was! No one actually knew the answer, so all of us just guessed. The closest answer was given points.

A: 16

The last challenge was Tug of War (Tarik Tambang). Considering our member physical profiles (skinny guys, petite girls), we already lost hope to win. Our team even appealed for redoing the challenge because the lawn on our side was a bit slippery. Although granted another opportunity, we still didn’t stand a chance.

Tug of War

1..2… Pull!


We concluded the event with simple hotdog lunch at the park. After some exhausting activities, the hotdogs couldn’t taste any better. I put all of the sauces available on top of the sausage: mustard, BBQ sauce, ketchup, and Indonesian ABC sambal. It was awesome. The event had been a great fellowship, and may the fund raised blessed the children in Indonesia.

Grilling the sausages

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