A taste of Bali

The Tari Persembahan dancers will be along for graceful traditional Indonesian dance.

WITH tourism off the cards for the near future, a taste of international art, craft, culture, and cuisine returns to Perth for the Summer Time Multicultural Festival and Food Bazaar.

Organiser Astit Olszowy from the Perth Indonesian Community tells us “the performers are about 145 people from different cultures and backgrounds,” from traditional Tari Persembahan Indonesian dancers, Chung Wah Lion Dance, Polish dancers, to the Scottish influences of the WA Police Pipe Band.

And “we have many foods; 18 food vendors, a mix of Indonesian, Malay, Chinese, Singaporean, a bit of Mediterranean because we are having kebabs as well!”

With many Perth folk’s love affair with Indonesia on hold to due Covid-19, the festival’s a chance to relive some of what they’re missing.

“This is a good opportunity for the ones who like to travel to Bali; at the moment they cannot go there, so they can enjoy,” Ms Olszowy said.

The festival is on March 6 at Forrest Place from 11am to 6.30pm, and it’s smoke, alcohol and Covid-free.

Nervous back home

ASTIT OLSZOWY, a permanent resident in Australia, is originally from Indonesia and used to visit her family every year. 

“We went back there, luckily, just before Covid,” she said, hopeful the roll-out of vaccines internationally might bring another visit a little closer.

“We are still a bit nervous to go back there. My family always discourages me to go back. They said ‘don’t go back now, because it’s not safe for you’.”

Indonesia has been hit hard by Covid, with the disease’s effects and the economic hardship compounding and fuelling each other.

Welfare is very limited so many people can’t afford to isolate. “It’s hard for them, because we don’t have a welfare system like here. If you don’t work you don’t eat in Indonesia, so that’s why people are still going out.”

She has family in Jakarta and says “lucky my family are alright, they’re pretty careful, wearing masks all the time and if they don’t need to go out, they don’t go out.

“I used to go back every year, but not now. Probably next year, hopefully.”

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