Indonesian Provinces’ Youth Ambassadors
Indonesia consists of 33 provinces, where each of them has their own unique cultures. The culture which exists in one province is specifically different with the culture of another province. It has its own worldview, languages, accents, traditional suits, rituals, local custom, etc. Due to these cultural varieties, Indonesia needs people who truly care to conserve them, especially the young generation.
No one can understand and conserve the culture as best as one who originally belongs to that culture. Thus, some Indonesia’s provinces annually held the election of the youth ambassadors, which is participated by the adolescents from each provinces. Take for examples, there are Jakarta’s Abang (Mr. ) and None (Miss), South Sumatera’s Bujang (Mr.) and Gadis (Miss), and also Lampung’s Mekhanai (Mr.) and Muli (Miss). All of the provinces use their own language to address the chosen Mr. and Miss.
The election of each provinces’ youth ambassadors actually is a great choice for the young generation who want to contribute more for their own provinces. It is not only the title of Mr. or Miss which they are able to have. A bunch of worth experiences and other great chances on the future will also belong to them.
Let’s take a look at the experiences of Ricky Cahyahadi Kuntel, The Runner-up of Mekhanai Lampung 2010. Ricky did a week quarantine, and he got a lot of valuable trainings include of public speaking skill, leadership skill, table manner, protocol skill, make-up and dressing skills, and so on. “I got so many once-in-a-lifetime experience, which is very valuable and beneficial for me. I felt like this quarantine activity had boosted up my leadership sides in my life,” Ricky said.
During the period of being a Mekhanai, Ricky often got the youth ambassador’s assignments from The Department of Culture and Tourism of Lampung Province, such as promoting Lampung’s culture and tourism to other provinces or other countries, being an usher for the distinguished guests of Lampung Government, and being liason officer for the neighbor countries’ ambassador in Krakatau Festival held in Krakatau Island. He also used to represent his province to attend other provinces’ election of youth ambassadors, such as The Election of Jakarta’s Abang and None or South Sumatera’s Bujang and Gadis or West Java’s Mojang and Jajaka. Through those assignments, he had to know Lampung’s cultures and tourism well, since he always had to promote them to people from other areas. Besides that, his achievement of being elected as Lampung’s Mekhanai actually gave benefit when he came to apply for a job. “From the first time I participated the election of Lampung’s Mekhanai and Muli, I wanted to seek for much experiences, not just for the sake of being famous. And how blessed I was, when I applied for a job, this achievement which I wrote down in my CV gave more values of myself,” told Ricky who currently works in one of private bank in Jakarta.
A bit same stories come from Apriliza Ralasati, The First Winner of South Sumatera’s Gadis 2010. She admitted that it was her mother who encouraged her to participate the election. Her mother suggested her to look for another field of experience, since she used to be a basketball athlete before that.
Fortunately, her mother’s wishes came true. As a youth ambassador of South Sumatera, she often got a lot of assignments from The Government of South Sumatera, such as being an usher or liason officer for the distinguished guests and also a representative of South Sumatera in promoting their cultures and tourism to others. “In November 2010, I was sent to The Republic of China for promoting South Sumatera’s cultures,” said her.
Being a Gadis is also gave her chances to develop her career. After that, she succeeded to become one of grand finalists of Wajah Femina 2010, one of the famous woman magazine in Indonesia. Even though currently there are so many chances for her to focus on developing her career, she decided to focus on her study instead. “I prefer to finishing my study first for now,” said Apriliza who is now a student of Medical Faculty of University of Sriwijaya, South Sumatera.
Dividing times between studying and doing cultural assignments is actually a risk faced by those ambassadors. However, according to Jodi Salahuddin Akbar, The Forth Runner-Up Jakarta’s Abang 2010, this risk is sold by the great experiences he got in being Jakarta’s Abang. “To be honest, there were so many cultural assignments which timing clashed with my study time. Yet that exactly make me used to have good time management. Luckily, there were official letter of permission from The Government of Jakarta for those cultural assignments which required me to go abroad,” said Jodi who is currently studying in University of Indonesia, Jakarta.
Jodi admitted that being a Jakarta’s Abang is obviously new experience for him, so that he was never stop learning about his genuine Betawi cultures and tourism to be able to be the real icon of Jakarta’s young generation. During the quarantine period, the Abangs and Nones got the skills like public speaking skills, protocol skills, table manner, the history of Betawi cultures, and also basic skills of governance. All of them is lectured by the alumni of Jakarta’s Abang and None previously who now became the public figures of Indonesia such as Maudy Koesnaedi, Najwa Shihab, Indra Bekti, and so on. For Jodi, those trainings are not only beneficial for doing Abang’s cultural assignment, but also for being implemented in his daily life.
In conclusion, being youth ambassador for a province in Indonesia actually will give one so many precious benefits. It can be such a stepping stone for their careers. However, don’t forget the main role of these ambassadors: to preserve their genuine cultures. This is the way for the young generation to contribute for the cultures and so the tourism in their province. This is the way to make the young generation proud to be the culture’s members. Building a cultural pride is very important to do for the young generation; because if so many years ago to show your cultures is a kind of pride, nowadays it is a kind of challenge.