[tourismindonesia] Editorial: Indonesia’s Pavilion Turning Expo Heads

June 25, 2010

Editorial: Indonesia's Pavilion Turning Expo Heads

With some 70 million visitors expected to attend, the Shanghai Expo, one of the biggest world fairs ever held, is the latest coming out party for China on the world stage. But the expo is only as good as its exhibitors. In that way, Indonesia can be justifiably proud of its own pavilion at the fair.

Having attracted more than 2 million visitors already, the Indonesian pavilion is drawing good reviews for introducing the Chinese to a country most know little about. One of the tallest and largest structures of the 18 that showcase Southeast Asia and Oceania, it is the first pavilion Indonesia has built to promote itself since the New York World's Fair in 1964. We hope that many of the millions of Chinese visitors to the fair will be encouraged to visit our nation in person in the future.

"This is perhaps the best moment to join a world expo because it is after reformasi and we are doing well economically," said Widharma Raya Dipodiputro , the Indonesia pavilion director. "The country's openness and transparency can also be seen through the architecture."

It is also appropriate that Indonesia has chosen to show off a pavilion designed by Budi Lim , a local architect renowned for his green vision. The structure has a natural feel, built largely out of wood and bamboo, and unlike a number of other displays that highlight modernity and high-tech glitz, Indonesia focuses more on the environment and traditional culture. Called "Bio Diverse City," it showcases Indonesia's extensive flora and fauna, while devoting part of its area to our melting pot of cultures and ethnic groups.

It is fitting that the expo takes place during the year marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Indonesia and the People's Republic China. The decades of tension between the two countries are far in the past now, and the pavilion is a good reminder of the cultural and people-to-people ties that have existed for centuries between Indonesia and China. One popular attraction is dedicated to Admiral Zheng He, the devout Chinese Muslim and legendary maritime explorer, who visited Indonesia in 1405. He helped develop Islam in Indonesia by establishing Chinese-Muslim communities in different regions.

The pavilion, which took seven months to complete and cost an estimated $9 million, is another good example of healthy cooperation between government and the private sector. It was a collaboration between 19 government agencies and state-owned enterprises and 22 private businesses, among them PT Indofood Sukses Makmur , PT Bank Negara Indonesia and the Lippo group . By joining forces, government ministries, SOEs and private businesses, have shown they can accomplish far more together than they would have done individually at a vast event like the Expo.

"I thought Indonesia was just a small country, but now, I see that it's huge with a lot of special things to offer," said one visitor to the pavilion. If that sentiment is repeated by enough visitors, the effort and expense would have been well worth it.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/ ... ads/382677

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