My Trip to D.C: The Revival of PERMIAS and Memorial Day

 

Dion Eprijum Ginanto and Rina Jowei, who are currently studying at Michigan State University, traveled to Washington, DC in May 2013 to witness the revival of the national chapter of PERMIAS (Persatuan Mahasiswa Indonesia di Amerika Serikat/ Association of Indonesian Students in the United States). Dion is the President of PERMIAS – MSU which elected by acclamation, while Rina is an active member. The event was supported by Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the United States of America.

The PERMIAS Congress was a crucial event because it became the moment of resurrection for the organization after being inactive for more than a decade. Representatives from 23 chapters were gathered to initiate the National PERMIAS. The attendees recognized the importance of having an organization at a national-level which will serve as a place to convey the aspirations of the PERMIAS members across the U.S.

Though the trip was brief, it was a memorable one. Dion and Rina stayed at the house of fellow Indonesians, a couple who work as an Indonesian Language lecturer and a journalist for Voice of America (VOA). The couple accompanied Dion, Rina and Ira Lubis (PRESTASI scholar from Duke University who came to D.C. to meet her friends) to visit Capitol Hill and the VOA Office. “It’s like a dream come true", whispered Rina while they were inside the VOA’s studio, which includes a section that broadcasts news in Bahasa Indonesia. VOA has 23 studios which broadcast news in 45 languages.

Since their visit to D.C coincided with Memorial Day, Dion and Rina watched the Memorial Day Parade. This included a number of large motorcycles; the thunderous sound of their engines reminds people of the sound of U.S. aircrafts during World War II. “In Indonesia, we have National Heroes Day, but not many Indonesians are involved since it’s only commemorated in a ceremonial manner. Here, people were gathered and cheered and waved their flags at the roadside during the parade. Our country can follow the example, though not using that kind of motorcycle”, said Dion.