End of semester celebrations in Palembang

“SMAN 17 Palembang had a celebratory week, Dec. 23-27, with class competitions in dance, music, and sports to mark the end of exams and the first semester. In the event shown above, students in teams of two (all boys in the matches I witnessed) sat on a bamboo pole placed over the campus pond and…

Laughter: The universal language

Indonesian people most certainly know how to have a good time. The line that separates serious business and ridiculous tomfoolery is thin. I’ve come to realize that spontaneous singing, dancing, and laughing are commonplace in any Indonesian social setting. So, when I heard that my high school was taking two days off to celebrate SMA…

Joining an Idul Adha Celebration

The mooing cow was already on its side, more or less securely fastened to a few stakes, its neck suspended over a deep hole. Behind it was another cow, still feisty and resistant, kicking at the men trying to restrain it. My host grandfather approached the subdued cow with a knife and prayed before he…