Fun and games in the sun, tons of food and best of all, the bagpipes, will be back for the 31st Jakarta Highland Gathering that will kick off on Sunday after a three-year hiatus.
The annual Scottish event aims to bring together expatriates and Indonesians for a day of sports, entertainment and family recreation.
“It’s a celebration of British and Scottish traditions, and it is a good chance for expats to interact with our host,” Martin Hatfull, the British ambassador to Indonesia, told reporters at a recent news conference at his Jakarta residence.
The gathering has attracted thousands of expatriates in Jakarta since it was first organized in 1975. An estimated 8,000 people attended the last gathering in 2007. The celebration was suspended for following the 2008 global financial crisis and also because of security concerns.
“Now we have to be brave,” the event’s committee chairman, Alistair Speirs, said in fluent Indonesian.
The organizers are hoping to attract more than 10,000 people this year, he said., adding that he expects more Indonesians to attend this year’s celebration.
The Highland Gathering is a major event throughout Canada, Australia and New Zealand; in Asia the tradition is being observed only in Jakarta, Speirs said.
The event will be held on Sunday, May 23, at the Island Fairgrounds, Imperial Klub Golf of Lippo Village in Tangerang. The venue will include a children’s tent, a teen arena, food booths, a Scottish bazaar and a field for sports competitions.
The kid’s tent will be supervised by international school staff members. The teen arena will host an interschool rock band competition and will include a half-court for basketball and a futsal field.
About 20 to 30 stalls offering British, Italian, Indonesian and Japanese delicacies will fill the food area. A Scottish market will also be held in the bazaar area, offering unique Scottish handicrafts and souvenirs, including bagpipes.
The main attraction of the gathering is the sports field. A full day of events, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., will include a piping and drumming competition, a dance contest, tug-of-war, cultural performances and various sporting games, including futsal, rugby, volleyball, football. There will also be a caber-tossing competition.
Among the performers will be bagpipers from Singapore, Hong Kong, Perth and Sydney, Speirs said.
Cultural offerings from Indonesia will include Betawi and Dayak traditional dance performances. A choir from Rawinala, a foundation for the blind, will also perform.
The celebration will close with fireworks and a Viking boat-burning ceremony.
Proceeds from the event will be donated to Rawinala, KMD street kids, Yayasan Peduli Tuna Daksa (Limbs of the Limbless) and Yayasan Wisma Chesire.
“Because it’s an event for family, we think it’s important to give the proceeds to foundations who care about education,” Speirs said.
The Highland Gathering also includes a golf tournament, to be held a week before, which will be a fund-raiser for amputees.
Jakarta Highland Gathering
Date: Sunday, May 23, 2010, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Venue: Island Fairgrounds,
Imperial Klub Golf, Lippo Village,
Admission: Rp 30,000 ($3)
Web site: www.jkthighlandgathering.org