Bhinneka Tunggal Ika

1st Day at ICRAF, Thursday 20 January 2011

I have arrived at my first day at ICRAF, the campus-based ngo on the outskirts of Bogor, on the island of Java, Indonesia.  I have only been in the country for less than 24 hours, and I have already witnessed a shift in myself, let alone the culture.  Don’t need legal pluralism here to understand how important and fundamental it is to travel the world – and fundamentally realise that through our diversity, we are but the very same.  This is the Indonesian mantra, ‘Unity in Diversity’, or ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’, the slogan of their self-made plural philosophy, Pancasila.

What I will be drawing from here, is the impact of ICRAF’s schemes and their integration, in to the cultures of the communities surrounding Lake Singkarak in West Sumatra.  As I learn more about this hardy island, one treacherous in its elements, beauty in its fight against the perils of mother nature, the more mesmerised I become.  Its gurgling volcanoes, endangered species-riddled rainforests, and its dynamically different peoples within its own shores.

Right now though, is Bogor, and as I sit at my air-conditioned office, looking out through to the almost visible air, so thick in its tropical warmth, I can’t wait to learn more.


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