SSEAYP Indonesia Country Programme 2011

It’s coming towards the end of November and for a group of people in Japan and ASEAN, like myself, we fall ill every single time during this season which starts from late October to mid December. It’s a season which has changed over 38 years, over 38 generations but the illness has never changed.

The illness I’m referring to is SSEAYP Sickness.

The severity of it differs with individual. I was from the 34th generation coming from the year 2007 and just like everyone, suffered from SSEAYP Sickness withdrawals for the first year after the end of the programme (YES! It is a programme!). I remember calling my friends from the different parts of Japan and ASEAN just so I can hear their voice to feel normal.

SSEAYP disrupts the normalcy of your life for 53days (it increased over the years! It was 52 during my time) and takes you on a journey that many would never have been able to experience. SSEAYP brings you to places around Japan and ASEAN, and it also shares friendship and love between cultures as well as engages you in issues affecting youths in those countries and lets you discuss to find solutions to those issues. It brings people together but it also takes you away from your immediate family, comfort zone and familiarity and puts you into a different environment where you feel safe, happier and in a zone where you feel like time stops.

At this stage, I’m sure most of you must be wondering what SSEAYP is and why do people like me get SSEAYP Sick. SSEAYP simply means Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme. It’s a programme sponsored by the Japanese Cabinet since 1974. Initially started as a programme to seek peaceful relations and build mutual understanding and friendship amongst ASEAN countries after World War II, this programme has since grown and evolved in it’s own unique way over the years.

As a Participating Youth on SSEAYP, you’ll travel onboard a cruise ship throughout the entire journey. Whilst participants used to travel onboard the Nippon Maru, the vessel has since been changed to Fuji Maru. SSEAYP doesn’t just end when the programme ends, it’s organic and grows by itself through the people involved who dedicate themselves back to the community in more ways than one. Some go on to become Members of Parliament to contribute back as national leaders (Hawazi Daipi was an ex-participant) and some go on to realise their dreams and ambitions.

Earlier last week, I travelled to Jakarta, Indonesia to help out as a Liaison Officer in SSEAYP’s Country Programme in Indonesia. The choice was clear because you’d have to be able to speak the local language aside from English and other than Malaysia, Indonesia was the best choice for me since I had to visit my parents who reside here! It also gives me an insight into how well I could possibly communicate effectively in Bahasa Indonesia or the lack of it.

Fuji Maru docked!

Fuji Maru docked!

A week passed and I definitely came out better than when I started. I learnt more about the Indonesian culture in working with them and I also made new friends as I caught up with old pals and possibly even, forged potential business networks which are crucial for my career growth as an entrepreneur.

LO Team

LO Team


Reunion On Board

Reunion On Board

Compared to the Singapore culture which is focused on accomplishing the task, Indonesians are just as focused but with more ease and are less anal. They put an emphasis on bonding between members and this perhaps drives the team to perform beyond expectations or for the team to smile and laugh amidst stress. It’s perhaps this lack of bonding that I see in Singapore or feel as Singaporeans are always task-oriented and emphasize on the tangibles rather than the intangibles.

Resting at Emerald Lounge

Resting at Emerald Lounge

It’s definitely something which I absolutely appreciate having worked here in Indonesia, albeit voluntary. I’m definitely anal about certain things with regards to work but being here, the environment here doesn’t allow you to be anal, especially when it comes to punctuality because traffic is a killer. You’re lucky if you’d be able to meet punctually but more often than not, it’s always best to ensure you’ve got sufficient buffer period, to wait.

Driving from Pondok Indah to Tanjong Priok

Driving from Pondok Indah to Tanjong Priok

With that, I am definitely more patient in my approach with time as I drove the busy streets of Jakarta during the rush hour. An hour plus of driving to a location that would have only taken 20 minutes. Not to mention the conditions at which you drive whereby you’d have people pressing on the horns and brakes faster than the speed of the traffic.

The one they call my 'pacar'

The one they call my 'pacar'

But all that traffic and with the company you have in the car, there’s ample time to bond and THANK YOU to all my Indonesian friends for the wonderful experience! I definitely look forward to being there again and as how most of my friends have put it, visit my ‘pacar’.

11 thoughts on “SSEAYP Indonesia Country Programme 2011

  1. Abdillah…I really like your blog entry…It’s so true. My husband is a Singaporean PY and I’m sure he shares a similar viewpoint on work ethics. That’s what I love about Indonesians as well…we can work hard, but we try not to forget to smell the roses on the way (that’s if there are any nice smelling roses that we pass along the way). Even then, if there isn’t a rose in sight, simply enjoy the company and smile…:) It’s good to have you, Alf and Nas join us this year. The more international the Reception Committee, the more it proves to me that SSEAYP camaraderie transcends borders. Thanks for helping make the Indonesia Country Program 2011 a success.

    Devianti Faridz
    (IPY 2K, Sister of Devera IPY ’07, Wife to Adi SPY 2K)

    • Hi Kak Dev!

      Thanks for liking my post. It really is an honest observation that I’ve made in my experience working here. God willing, I’ll always be more than happy to assist in future RCs. It surely is a wonderful experience and it wouldn’t have been made possible without the people around who were always patient to share and explain. I can only hope that I can improve on my Bahasa and my knowledge of Indonesia and Jakarta so that I can provide better information to visiting PYs!

      Once again, Thank You!

  2. Hi Ab, saya baru saja bertemu ‘pacar’mu :) she helped me with the Post Program Activity documentation for my OBSC-Country Report… Nice blog! Cheers, Ivan IPY 2K, OBSC 2011

  3. Such a great testimony bro :) SSEAYP make MJ’s song as real song.. “we are not alone…” do not be affraid be living in this world. you, we and every body can find own family in every part of the world. SSEAYP make it exist. It works.

  4. A very nice post Ab!

    It was a nice experience to be able to meet u again after SIGA and also work together as RC CP Indonesia 2011 =)

    Gut luck yaaaa, and till we meet again =)

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