Invited guests from the Australian and local Indonesian community gathered at the Indonesian Consulate in Perth on the evening of 22 April to witness the official launching of the first Balai Bahasa Indonesia in Australia.
The Balai Bahasa Indonesia Perth is a cultural non-profit organisation, promoting the teaching of Indonesian language and culture and fostering links between Australia and Indonesia at all levels of society. The concept was initiated through WILTA (the Westralian Indonesian Language Teachers’ Association) and the Consulate of the Republic of Indonesia Perth in conjunction with the Embassy of The Republic of Indonesia Canberra.
The mission of the Balai Bahasa Indonesia Perth is to provide Indonesian language and culture education to enable Australians to interact effectively with Indonesians. The Organisation will increase activities and facilitate bonds between individuals, businesses, institutions and communities in order to develop a more effective Indonesia - Australia relationship at all levels and foster a positive attitude amongst Australians towards Indonesia and its people. Karen Bailey, Coordinator of the Steering Committee, reminded all present at the Launch that the responsibility to get to know each other is two way. We must know and understand Indonesia and Indonesians and they must know and understand us, she said.
In his opening speech the Consul of the Republic of Indonesia Perth, Dr Aloysius L. Madja congratulated all stakeholders who had worked hard over the last year to realize the establishment of the Balai Bahasa Indonesia in Western Australia and expressed that he was pleased to be able to officially launch the organisation. Dr Madja acknowledged that the relationship between Australia and Indonesia is dynamic and complex and that the main goal of this organization is to promote friendships and strengthen people to people contacts between our two countries through it activities focused on Indonesian language and culture.
Mr John Hyde MLA responded with a brief greeting in bahasa Indonesia and expressed his delight at being able to represent the Premier, the Hon. Mr Alan Carpenter who was unable to attend as he was out of the country. Mr Hyde said he and his political colleagues present from the State Government, the Hon Kate Doust and Tony McRae were keen to see the establishment of the Balai Bahasa to continue the strong links between WA and our closest neighbour, Indonesia, thus further acknowledging our place in South East Asia. Mr Hyde reiterated that it is a very important step that we are taking this evening, supporting Dr Madja’s comments on the fact that other bodies such as Goethe Institute and Alliance Francaise represent their country’s language and culture and it is important that Indonesia is now amongst those esteemed organisations present in Australia. He commented that the State Government were absolutely delighted at this important step and pleased to be a part of celebrating the beginning of another new chapter in the wonderful relationship between Australia and Indonesia.
The Coordinator of the Steering Committee Mrs Karen Bailey presented a background to the establishment of the Balai Bahasa Indonesia in Perth which was followed by the striking of the gong three times to officially recognise the Balai Bahasa Indonesia Perth.
The Balai Bahasa is planning ongoing community activities and events including Indonesian language courses for all ages and levels, for professional and non-professional groups, businesses and individuals. Other activities include exhibitions and the distribution of information and materials concerned with Indonesian language and culture.
The Organisation’s first community event is a \"Why Learn Indonesia” Expo at the Indonesian Consulate on Saturday 24 May between 10.00am and 3.00pm. The Expo is aimed not only at school-aged students and their families but all members of the public in general who may like to pursue some Indonesian language learning.
The Balai Bahasa Indonesia Perth will initially be located within the Indonesian Consulate, 134 Adelaide Terrace Perth. It is hoped that as the Organisation grows an appropriate location with small, modern classrooms and other facilities can be found. The steering committee is currently seeking ongoing corporate sponsorship to enable the Balai Bahasa in Perth to achieve its objectives and provide a unique and worthwhile service within the community.
Further information about the Balai Bahasa Indonesia Perth and the Why Learn Indonesian Expo can be found at the Organisation’s website www.balaibahasaperth.org