Indonesian expats mark Independence Day in Abu Dhabi

The ambassador hosted a flag-raising ceremony at the embassy in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Indonesia's ambassador to the UAE, Salman Al Farisi (centre), taking a group photo during the celebration of the 68th Indonesia Independence Day at the Abu Dhabi embassy. Satish Kumar / The National
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ABU DHABI // Indonesia has marked 68 years of independence with a host of celebrations in the capital.

The national day was marked yesterday morning with a flag-raising ceremony at the country's Abu Dhabi embassy, Indonesian and UAE dignitaries were on hand to witness the occasion.

Guests were clad in the country's colourful national dress and singers performed the national anthem, the "Indonesia Raya."

At end of the ceremony Indonesia's ambassador to the UAE, Salman Al Farisi and his wife Umi cut a traditional rice cake, called a tumpeng, to thank God for blessing the occasion.

The embassy has held a series of events for the Indonesian community over the past three months to commemorate Independence Day.

Activities included a cooking contest for men, kids games and sporting competitions in volleyball, badminton, bowling and squash.

A blood donation drive was also held at the embassy, where more than 30 Indonesian locals turned out to show their support.

"Personally, it is a time for me to reflect on what we have done for our country," said Ambassador Al Farisi.

"I am only a small part of the whole country but I believe I can do something for Indonesia from my profession and personal activities. That is why this ceremony also marks that kind of reflection and we can bring Indonesians together."

Mr Al Farisi said there are around 80,000 Indonesians living in the UAE and that the number is increasing rapidly. "The relationship between the UAE and Indonesia is going quite well," he said.

"The trade between our two countries is developing now. It is more than $3.5 billion. Last year there was an increase of 3.2 per cent and investment is also increasing very significantly."

"The tourism sector is also developing and more and more Emiratis and UAE expats are coming to Indonesia.

"It is incredible to see."