Indonesia presents crafts, cuisines at Thailand Melayu festival

Farida is a batik enthusiast. So strong is her fondness for batik that the resident of Yala in southern Thailand, visited the Indonesia Pavilion and bought batik every day during the sixth edition of the annual Melayu Day @Yala.

The Malay cultural festival, which ran from Feb. 8 to 10, featured participants from Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The Indonesia Pavilion showcased products and crafts from small and medium enterprises (SMEs), several universities, the Binjai administration of North Sumatra province and handcrafts from Dharma Wanita, an organization that groups the wives of Indonesian consular employees in Songkhla, Thailand.

“I love batik and I have a collection, including some [textiles] from Indonesia. I like the motifs and designs of Indonesian batik,” said Farida.

Since the Indonesia Pavilion opened on Friday, the Batik Booth managed by vendors Estu Batik Pekalongan, Roemah Srikandi and Kasturi Fashion has been the most visited booth.

Alhamdulillah [thanks be to God], batik still has many devotees here,” said Azka, the owner of Estu Batik Pekalongan.

Indonesian consul general in Songkhla Fachry Sulaiman gave his full support to the SMEs and all stakeholders of the 2019 Melayu Day @Yala festival.

“We express our gratitude and appreciation for being invited by the Yala city administration from year to year to participate and be partners in one of the biggest Malay cultural festivals in Thailand,” said Fachry. “Over the three days of the 2019 Melayu Day @Yala, the Indonesian Consulate in Songkhla participated in showcasing Indonesian arts and culture through highlighting Malay culture with Indonesian characteristics, with the support of the Binjai and Medan municipal administrations.”

He added that the country was also represented by several Indonesian universities that promoted continuing education opportunities for Thai students.

The Indonesia Pavilion also featured a varied range of local products and offered tourist packages. Visitors could also buy creative products from Indonesian SMEs and craftsmen that were curated especially for the festival, as well as taste a variety of dishes from across the archipelago.

“For the three days [of the festival], we introduced culinary delights such as soto Padang [Padang beef soup], rendang [beef stewed in coconut milk and spices], bakso [meatballs], nasi tumpeng [cone-shaped yellow rice with side dishes], bakwan [vegetable fritters] and other dishes that visitors could enjoy for free,” said Fachry.

He said the Indonesian Consulate in Songkhla continued to support the annual Malay cultural festival, where ASEAN countries could display the richness of their local cultures and traditions of Malay origin. The festival embodied the cooperation of Southeast Asian nations in furthering the ties among Malay communities across the region.

“Hopefully the Malay cultural festival, which is eagerly awaited every year, especially by the people of Yala province and its surrounding areas, will strengthen the friendships between communities and inspire the younger generation to continue to preserve and develop the diversity of the Malay culture,” said Fachry.

The festival’s opening ceremony was attended by Thailand’s Internal Security Operation Command Region 4 deputy director Maj. Gen. Sompol Panakul, Southern Border Provinces Administration Center (SBPAC) deputy secretary-general Sommai Boonklieng, Malaysian consul general in Songkhla Mohd. Afandi Abu Bakar, Yala Deputy Governor Nimah Makajae, Yala Mayor Pongsak Yingchoncharoen and Binjai Mayor H.M. Idaham, among others.

On Saturday, Yala Governor Anuchit Trakunmututa and his wife, Juthamanee Trakunmututa, visited the Indonesia Pavilion and tried some local dishes.

The Indonesian universities that took part in the festival included Panca Budi University Medan, the Muhammadiyah University of Jakarta, the Muhammadiyah University of Makassar and the Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta.

Lovely Holiday Tour and Travel also participated by presenting the “70-year-old Minang Songket and Palembang Songket” exhibition that featured the personal collection of Fachry’s mother, Evariana Sulaiman, with the travel agency’s representatives in traditional Simalungun dress.

The Indonesia Pavilion attracted local coverage on TV 11 Thailand and in Bangkok Post.