Thursday, 19 February 2015

Indonesia, Bandung (Saung Angklung Udjo)

Finally, I had time off to blog about Bandung! It's Chinese New Year today so it's a public holiday in Singapore. I'm so happy and ... relieved! Been slogging at work almost everyday for the past few weeks and I am both mentally and physically exhausted. Didn't manage to go overseas though because the break is too short.

Speaking of Bandung, I had the opportunity to watch the most interesting performance when I was there. It was known as Saung Angklung Udjo. 

It is simply a place where you wouldn't want to give a miss if you are in Bandung. You can buy an angklung for Rp 20,000 and here's my mini angklung!

It was a totally enjoyable place to be. Ok, I think I have repeated myself but it's the truth. I had the opportunity to see a very tightly-knitted community, from various age group, working together to keep the unique culture alive. 

We were greeted by a very handsome host, who is fluent in English and make us at ease. Personally, I feel that this place might be where the true heart of the Sundanese community lies. 

The performance started out splendidly. There was clearly a lot of energy and excitement invested here. It allows me to get a glimpse of some of the cultural ceremonies practiced in Bandung. Shown above is the 'kuda lumping' (flat horse) dance...

and a colourful procession, which is usually participated by children, in a circumcision ceremony.

These are the different types of puppets used in a puppet show. It was easy to differentiate between the good and the evil characters because the features of the puppets were purposefully exaggerated.

I was impressed when at a certain point of time, the host showed us how the puppet master worked behind the scene. I realised that it was a tiring work to man the puppets. All limbs were preoccupied during the performance so it was understandable when the puppet master was seen slightly limping at the end of the 10 min show.

An interesting fusion of the West and the East. This talented youngsters really do make their parents proud.

As the programme moved on, I was immersed in a sea of cultural experience. I can feel the positive vibes of this place: from the welcoming hospitality of the staff, right to the passion shown in their dance and music. And most importantly, the conviction in what they were representing was totally amazing. They made the whole auditorium wanting to join in the fun. In fact, each of us was given one angklung and we played 3 songs under the direction of the maestro and his sons.

This is the maestro conducting an angklung orchestra. One of the songs that he conducted was a Michael Jackson song. Imagine MJ beat on angklung... I've never thought it was possible. Well, at the end of the show, my cousin and I were truly glad that we had attended the performance. Saung Angklung Udjo has definitely earned a special place in my memory. In fact, I don't mind going again if I visit Bandung the second time.

The fun didn't stop there. At the end of the show, we all get to play a traditional childhood game and interact with the performers. 

Well, that's all for Bandung from me. Meanwhile, I'm still thinking what to do during my short break.

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