On the first week of October I flight to Penang, Malaysia to attend the 14th ASEAN and 4th ASEAN+3 Youth Cultural Forum that held in Universiti Sains Malaysia. The delegates from Universitas Airlangga were I, Ibrahim, Yasinta, and Nuri. All of us are representative from Unit Kegiatan Mahasiswa (Student Club) in our university. I was chosen as a head of delegate for this program.

The ASEAN Youth Cultural Forum was initiated to appreciate and share each of the ASEAN countries’ cultures and traditions. The Forum has become AUN’s annual activity dedicated to young people who are talented in either traditional or contemporary performances.

We departed from Surabaya on Tuesday, October 4th at 12.30 am then we arrived around 4 pm local time. Without further ado, we joined the program that has been set by the committee. They have a lot of programs and everything emphasize on the culture and traditions of ASEAN. Opening ceremony, cultural booth, cultural discussion, cultural performances, heritage trail, and many activities that will strengthen the bonds between ASEAN and also ASEAN+3, which is Japan, South Korea, and China.

I learnt so many things from this event. I learnt to speak Malay, tried to have traditional dance for national performance, and also singing traditional song. I brought my violin but I rarely have a chance to play it. Imagine playing traditional song with violin? It’s so hard and I haven’t study the technique to make a cheerful sound on the violin :-(. I also learnt many things from other delegates, especially about their cultures and also mutual respect about the difference and also similarities that ASEAN have, because we share one root.

What I learnt from this activity is we mus not forget our identity. No matter advanced this civilizations are, we are Indonesia. Although I speak and write in English, I can not and must not forget about my identity, my cultural heritage that passed down by my ancestors. We must not forget, that we are INDONESIA, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.

My name is Manaf, a full time learner. Passionate about sustainable development, environment, and youth education.

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