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Esperanto on SBS radio

On 6 June 2018 a journalist (Amelia Dunn) and videographer from the Australian radio and television station SBS spent an hour and a half interviewing several Esperantists at Esperanto House, Sydney. The result (so far) is a short radio program/podcast: Universal but obscure language making a comeback with internet.

Joanne Cho talks to journalist Amelia Dunn as other Esperantists listen (Photo: Nicole Else)

Richard Delamore talks to journalist Amelia Dunn as other listen (Photo: Jonathan Cooper)

Comments on the Second Three-country Congress

At the end of the Second Three-country Congress in Bekasi, Indonesia, 2018, we asked participants to give us their comments. Here are the results:

  • I liked the course and the performances, the dancing and the singing. I especially liked the presentation of Sandor, Heidi and Elstara.
  • I can not speak Esperanto, so I’m sorry for English …
    I feel so blessed to be able to attend the congress. All of the people there were so kind and friendly. Too bad, my Esperanto is not good, but I’ll study hard after this congress. I got a lot of knowledge here. Not only did I learn more about Esperanto, but also other languages and cultures. And the most important thing: I feel like I got a new family.
  • I had an enjoyable time at the congress. I now have many new friends from other countries. Please forgive me. Thank you all. I love you.
  • At the beginning I spoke nervously, but in the meantime I got new friends. I want to come to the next congress. I was sad to say good bye to my friends. Many thanks to the LKK and those from other countries for visiting us.
  • I liked the program, especially the presentation by Sandor, Carlos and Albert. I liked poems to the Indonesian movement, the dances, the plays and songs. I am very pleased that I have met many people from your country.
  • The congress was good, but I regret that more people didn’t participate in the presentations.
  • In my opinion it wasn’t a very nice place. The location of the first congress was much more appropriate, with grass. We were much more outside, etc. Now we were continually inside, and outside there is no pleasant shade and a lot of traffic. Inside there was too much air conditioning, etc – many were sick because of that. It was too expensive for everyone, so much needed to come from other places every day. A smaller city would be better, and not a huge hotel. Several speakers did not have a very low language level. (??)
    Positive: Diversity of the lectures, Skype lectures.
    Negative: Apparently there were announcements made for everyone. There was sometimes a bit of information missing, for example, at the beginning about where one will eat in the morning.
  • I am Alfrinadi, a beginner. I think congress was very good. I learned Esperanto during the congress. I want to participate in Esperanto congress outside Indonesia.
  • I knew you very well at the congress, but I do not know much about your life, because I have not talked to you yet. However, I think you have a good vision and plans for the future. Esperanto gives us a new way, a new life.
  • I was glad I could participate in the congress, because I can meet new friends in various regions and countries. I hope I can participate in the next three-country congress and meet other Esperantists. Many thanks.
  • Better than I expected. Very pleasant atmosphere I was very sorry that we did not eat together. Perhaps the foreigners can support the Indonesians and East Timorese next time. The program was varied and the presentations were well prepared. I’m very sorry that not even one veteran could come. Good, attractive excursion on Saturday. I really like the vehicle-less day on Sunday morning. Until the next event.
  • A great rich program. Too much even. A good, convenient room. Skyping progresses, still often problems, but expert users usually solve them. Excellent, attractive congress book. Food management gradually improved during the congress. Let’s improve the communication about excursions. The artistic evening and East-Timorese presentation were excellent.
  • I enjoyed the congress very much. If we could eat together, it would be better. If we could live together, it would be even better. You do not need to have such a luxury hotel. The warmth of choirs was pleasing to me. We laughed a lot. Thanks to everyone! – Hadie
  • Congratulations to the organizers of the three-country congress. And hearty thanks for the beautiful and wonderful congress. I enjoyed learning a lot.
  • Instead of exhausting everyone’s energy with the late-night program, let’s have shorter and less activities: 9:00am – 5:00pm, dinner, finish. Choose less costly accommodation & lower priced restaurants. Some Esperantists are not rich. A local community hall for the last day dinner with everyone bringing some food and fruits. Many thanks. – Marumi Smith (Melbourne)
  • I didn’t understand what was happening most of the time, but I enjoyed it. A good program. The illustrated presentations were much easier to follow for me as I could make some connections with the words and the pictures. Great camaraderie among participants. – Greg Jeffs
  • I enjoyed the congress because I could meet Esperanto friends, whom I did not meet very well. I could be friends with new friends, especially with the East Timorese. I know that participants were not as many as in the last three-country congress.
  • It was a good congress. I enjoyed it very much. My teacher is good. I hope we will not have more congresses.
  • I really enjoyed the friendship and conversations. Maybe too many lectures. Maybe a religious service would be good?
  • Hello. I am Mateus de Sena and I’m a beginner. During the congress I liked the presentations of Heidi, Sandor, Carlos and Albert, because they gave good news and at the same time I learned new words. I really enjoyed meeting new friends from different countries. And I also enjoyed our excursion. It was my first congress. Thank you from Mateus
  • I really liked the atmosphere and friendship of all the congress participants and thank the organizers for this wonderful and fruitful congress. The participation of the young people in this region and their cooperation is [esplorplena?], as well as the collaboration of Indonesians, East Timorese, Filipinos, Australians, New Zealanders and people from other countries. Thanks to everyone. Continue in the friendly and fraternal way for Esperanto. – Carlos
  • Generally interesting. A good opportunity to meet people from other countries. Again, the “western” countries provided the older people, while the others provided the young people. Although I enjoyed the luxury of the hotel, I think that a hotel not so luxurious would be more suitable, so as not to divide the participants. This time there were clearly two groups: those who could pay and those who couldn’t. I did not much like the visit to “mini Indonesia”: too many cars everywhere. Due to changes in the program I arrived late, I missed shows. I definitely preferred the art gallery. In future, think about more possibilities for exchanges, mainly not emphasising the haves and the have-nots.
  • I really thank the organisers (because I know that it is usually the same small number of diligent workers).
    – I enjoyed the games during the ice-breaker evening
    – The individual lectures were good
    – The car-less walk was a miracle. I enjoyed finally seeing the local population on the street playing, laughing, riding bicycles, walking, chatting
    – For me, the dirty air in the cities is surely in my memory and a good reminder that I am lucky to live in a clean place
    – The best experience was to chat with people from other countries and become friends with them
  • Firstly, I greet you from this heroic city. And on behalf of the LKK, I apologise to all if you have been experiencing any unpleasantness. We confess that we have made many mistakes, but hopefully that was not important for you.
  • My experience of the three-country congresss was cool. I was glad to meet new and old friends. I’m also happy that I could strengthen the link with other LKK members and Indonesian Esperantists. Thanks, three-country congress.
  • My name is Tiwi. I’m a beginner. It’s too hard for me to express all my joy with Esperanto, but I’ll keep learning and improving. The congress was interesting. I learned Esperanto from many people. I also acquired new friends. I loved this. Many thanks!
  • According to me, the congress was a little disorganised, because sometimes things did not work together. Eg, the banquet and the excursion. But I was happy to see a lot of young people from Indonesia and East Timor talking in Esperanto. I want them to talk even better at the next congress. But the most important thing is unity and I hope more people will come to the next three-country congress. In this congress there were not that many people from New Zealand and Australia. I also hope there will be more vegetables and greens, and that food ingredients would be identified (vegan, vegetarian).
  • Generally it was good, but I thought there was a lot of difference between young and old. I really felt the difference of the “second class”. I think the Esperanto movement is in transition, because many young people now speak Esperanto. There must be a plan for everyone together in the next congress. Money is an important thing for many. The rich must support the poorer more.
  • 1. The lectures were good.
    2. The theatre pieces were good.
    3. The Saturday excursion was very good
    4. Very good were the presentation of the congress book.
    Bad things: There was no common congress food. The walls between the Zamenhof room and the adjacent room were not thick enough. We heard the noise from the neighboring room.
  • My name is Eĉa. Today I feel sad. Why will this day end? However, I am very happy to join you from Korea, from Australia, from Belgium, from New Zealand, from East Timor and from Spain. First of all, I thought it would be difficult being next to you. I will never forget that moment. I learned more Esperanto, so now I can talk with you. I love you all.
  • Esperanto is for unification, not for hatred among Esperantists. The congress venue / lectures should not be so cold, because the air conditioner actually made a lot of people sick.

Farewell message from Albert Garrido

A breath of fresh air
A farewell message from Albert Stalin Garrido (Philippines)

AEA invited Albert to the second three-country congress in Bekasi. It was the first time to hear something about Esperanto in the Philippines.

Albert Stalin Garrido

Dear congress-participants and friends,

With regret I apologise because I could not take part in the closing ceremony with you, because I had to fly out at 11am. I could not even properly say goodbye, specifically during the banquet, because I had to leave early to take the opportunity to buy souvenirs in the bazaar.

Indonesia is a very wonderful country. As I have said many times, it reminds me a lot of Manila. With the cultural and linguistic diversity, it is colourful and it is the challenge for us to discover even more deeply the wonderful things in these colours.

The three-country congress is a breath of fresh air for me. This is my sixth congress, but the first five were especially for older people, with whom I have understandable differences, views or experiences, etc. So, it is my first opportunity to participate in an international Esperanto event, whose participants were mostly young people. I see with my two eyes that the Esperantist youth both in Indonesia and in East Timor are really growing, and they cause the flourishing of competent participants in the movement, strengthening the fire in my heart. That fire is my constant affirmation that southeast Asia is the hope of our movement. And that we still have much work to do to promote the success already begun. I thank all the young Indonesians and East-Timorese who have the enthusiasm to show their skills and knowledge during various programs, and who also interacted with interest with me. Well, I’m generally a timid man, but the passion of interaction flows from that energy shown by them.

The East Timorese present “capoeira”

I’m also glad to get acquainted with Australian and New Zealand Esperantists, with whom I previously had almost no contact. It was indeed strange that despite the relative proximity between the Philippines and those two countries, we have not really had any kind of cooperation. On the other hand, I also thank the Australian Esperanto Association that made my trip possible and has thus effectively established relationships between our movements. Hopefully, the movements in both countries will continue to contribute to strengthening relations between countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Overall, I’m glad that through the three opportunities in which I could share my knowledge (The Philippines, the Philippines movement and Tagalog), many started to have a fresh knowledge of us. I always find energy to open the eyes of foreigners to my country, especially about our country’s Esperanto movement, which unfortunately remains relatively isolated from the rest of the international community.

Having said all that, I invite you to keep in touch with the Philippines Esperanto community, and I hope we will see each other very soon, whether in Indonesia again, or elsewhere, or even in the Philippines, where I will welcome you with all my heart. Returning home, let’s continue to plan and act more passionately to advance our noble cause.

Always forward!

Albert Stalin Garrido

Ilia Sumilfia Dewi’s Bekasi report

Report on the Second Three-country Congress in Bekasi, Indonesia

From 28 March to 2 April 2018 the second three-country congress took place in the city of Bekasi, which is located 55.6 km from the international airport in Jakarta.

Most congress participants from other countries have never heard of the city and have no idea what it is like. However, I proposed the city to the other organisations from Australia and New Zealand because there are young people in this second big city of West Java who have already learned Esperanto in a linguistic community, Faktabahasa Bekasi. Besides that, some young activists live in Bekasi and were prepared to work to organise the congress.

This time the congress was smaller than the last three-country congress, in Bandung in 2016. Thirty-seven Indonesians participated and 29 people from 7 other countries: Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Spain, Korea, Philippines and East Timor. Among the congress participants there were newcomers and young people from various parts of Indonesia. We successfully sponsored them because of a special UEA account (iesa-p). Thank you very much to Esperantists who have already supported our movement with that account. It was also great that ten East Timorese came thanks to a subsidy, which was arranged by Heidi Goes.

On the evening of the first day, the congress opened with a bit of ceremony. The organisers from three countries welcomed the congress participants. Between them, a young Indonesian read an Esperanto poem and the group of East Timorese sang their traditional song beautifully. Then all the speakers had the opportunity to invite congress participants to their lectures and finally we together sang the hymn, La Espero. The program continued with fun games in the ice-breaker evening.

The following day, a number of important lectures took place, such as a talk by Humphrey Tonkin, who talked about the current situation of Esperanto in the world, and a speech by the president of UEA, Mark Fettes, about the current situation of UEA and Esperanto in the world. These lectures were well arranged using Skype. At the same time, in other rooms, two invited teachers taught Esperanto to beginners and more advanced language-learners. The courses took place four times for three hours at a time. Other interesting lectures were also presented by people from the Philippines, Australia and Spain. We also gave an opportunity for beginners to give talks, so that they might have the courage to speak the language.

On 30 March, when it was an Easter holiday in Indonesia, more Indonesians were able to attend the congress. There was a lecture again with Skype and this time, Jonathan Cooper from Australia talked about how to write for the electronic medium. Then, several talks about culture, interesting topics enriched the knowledge of congress participants. In the evening, the East-Timorese group presented an artistic show. They sang, danced, even performed magic. Following the program it continued like an ‘Arta Vespero’, as in a World Congress. The congress participants showed their artistic presentations singly or in groups. Together with some participants from other countries, we danced a traditional dance from Indonesia.

In front of the National Art Gallery, Jakarta

During the excursion day that took place on Saturday, we went to Jakarta to visit the national gallery, which exhibits art. Then the participants also visited the national museum and “Taman Mini Indonesia Indah”, which is recommended to learn something about the diversity of Indonesian culture. In the evening, the participant from Bali spoke about his Esperanto activity and then there was a language festival, the purpose of which was to learn and practise some other languages. Young Indonesians have been very enthusiastic about this program because they are very interested in using languages.

In front of the Bali House at “Taman Mini Indonesia Indah”

On 1 April, a group of congress participants took part in the vehicle-free day, which takes place each Sunday morning. Between 6am and 10am cars are banned from the main street of Bekasi and during these four hours the street abounds in pedestrians, cyclists and joggers. For an hour we used the event to promote Esperanto to the public. In order to catch the attention of the people around us, we walked with a congress banner, sang and danced together. A few people came up and asked about Esperanto and our activity.

An impressive talk about the history of the Indonesian Esperanto movement was presented by Heidi Goes, based on her nearly completed book. She has explored many details about various Indonesian Esperantists, places and events. The book can therefore be a good way to discover Esperanto’s existence in Indonesia.

Eating together – often the best part of a congress

After that, Carlos Spinola lectured on the use of Esperanto in the University of Valencia in Spain, and the Cassini project. Other lectures were also interesting, such as a talk by Park Soohyean, about the food customs of the Korean traditional festival day, and a look at songs from lyricist’s point of view, by Kam Lee from Australia. In the evening we went together to a restaurant for the banquet.

During the last day, in the morning, the closing ceremony took place. Then the participants had the opportunity to comment on their impressions, opinions or criticisms. We would say that the congress was successful because participants’ comments were mainly positive. During the closing ceremony, many people emphasised the fact that the valuable aspect of the congress was friendship. For the third congress, we began to explore the possibility of establishing a joint event in Bali after two or three years.

Ilia Sumilfia Dewi : ilia.dewi@gmail.com
Indonesian Esperanto Association

AEA president’s Bekasi report

Friendship in Bekasi
Second three-country congress, Bekasi, Indonesia

28 March – 2 April 2018

One of the numerous group photos in the Zamenhof room

I’m sitting in a blue Damri bus between Bekasi and the airport in Jakarta. The half-full bus only moves slowly, often even stands still. I wonder how many days (years) these traffic-stops steal from the population? Outside I see the huge, vast city of Jakarta. One hour ago we said good-bye to our new/old friends. So what was the second three-country congress like? Not as many people participated as two years ago in Bandung. Probably because the preparation didn’t go as smoothly this time (in Bekasi 63 from 8 countries).

Of course, not everything was perfect. For example, unfortunately we often didn’t eat together, simply because the food in the hotel was too expensive for the Indonesians and the East Timorese. The general inequality in the world is also reflected in this congress.

However, I would say that the congress was successful. The comments of the participants were mainly positive.

Vehicle-free morning. Incredible. The main street without cars. A good opportunity to promote Esperanto

  • Heidi Goes presented her almost-ready book on the history of Esperanto in Indonesia. A very impressive thing. She really explored many details about various Indonesian Esperantists, places and events. This book will be a great model for the history of Esperanto in other countries. Also for us.
  • We went on an excursion: We saw interesting things in the National Gallery, the National Museum and “Taman Mini Indonesia Indah”, a place that shows many diverse traditional buildings from various parts of Indonesia.
  • We were lucky. Heidi also managed to get money from UEA to allow ten(!) young East Timorese to attend. They definitely made the event more lively and enriching. I hope we can continue our contact with them. Think about visiting them in East Timor.
  • The Skype presentations worked well: Humphrey Tonkin and Mark Fettes presented the current situation of UEA and Esperanto in the world. Both were fairly positive about the future of our language. Jonathan also presented via Skype “Writing for the electronic environment”. It’s very good to have someone so attentive among us.
  • Albert, a young man from the Philippines, represented his country very well and I enjoyed hearing about the young Esperantists in the Philippines for the first time.
  • We listened to presentations about unusual trees, flags, the use of Esperanto in the University of Valencia in Spain, the Cassini project and others.
  • A group of us participated in the weekly vehicle-less morning. Between 6am and 10am cars are banned from the main street of Bekasi and during these four hours the street abounds with pedestrians, cyclists, joggers. We promoted Esperanto and I enjoyed the fact that we were finally outside in the real world, not just in rooms on the second floor of the Horison Hotel.
  • As in Bandung, energy, interest and enthusiasm among the young people was a great encouragement for the slightly older foreigners.
  • During the closing ceremony many stressed that the most valuable aspect of the congress was friendship. I hope many of the new friends will remain friends.

The beginners’ class with teacher Elstara


Will there be a third three-country congress? Who knows? We have begun to explore the possibility of establishing a joint event in Bali in two or three years’ time. What do you think?

Sandor Horvath
President, AEA

Esperanto promoted in Maitland, NSW

On Saturday 10 February 2018, several Esperantists (four wearing special green t-shirts) went to the Maitland Riverlights Multicultural Festival.

Eckard Roehrich demonstrated wooden word-blocks, which he made for teaching the language. The team also taught many people at the “Language Lounge”.

When we offered propaganda material, some people said, “I’m good”. Certainly. But I think they would be better if they accepted the booklets. 😄 Some children requested many booklets – very formally.

Lastly, after sunset, little lights were sent down river. A beautiful sight, although not very serious.

– Andrew Spannenberg

From left: Rainer Kurz (Germany), Deshun (China), Eckard Roehrich (Central Coast), Andrew Spannenberg (Newcastle), Alan Turvey (Central Coast). Dmitry Lushnikov (Sydney) also helped at the Esperanto table, but didn’t appear in the photo. Photo courtesy of Richard Hershman, Maitland City Council