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Qatar-based Indonesians concerned with children's limited cultural background

To address the concern aired by most parents, the Indonesian embassy will initiate a Children's Day programme on July 23

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 15:00 July 21, 2011
  • Gulf News

Manama: Qatar-based Indonesians have warned against the younger generation's growing disconnection with home cultural roots.

"There is a growing concern among Indonesian parents in Qatar about the need to educate and reintegrate their children to let them appreciate better their cultural norms and heritage," Mohammad Al Aula, Third Secretary of the Indonesian embassy in Doha said.

"Many Indonesian children born and raised in Qatar are not familiar with their cultural roots and are seemingly losing out their sense of national identity and belongingness. "We do not want them to lose the connection with their cultural roots," Al Aula who heads the information and socio-cultural affairs said, quoted by Qatari daily The Peninsula.

According to the diplomat, about 25 percent of Indonesian children, mostly in their school age, were born in Qatar, but seldom had the chance to visit their country and learn better their history and culture. There are about 35,000 Indonesians now living and working in Qatar.

"Some of these children can fluently speak English and even Arabic but not their native language," the diplomat said.

"They only have the chance to visit Indonesia for 30 days during their parents' annual leave. This is not enough to let them understand their culture, manners, values and languages," Al Aula said.

Underscoring the Indonesian values, particularly the attitude of their peers and how they should behave with the elderly people, is crucial, he said.

To address the concern aired by most parents, the Indonesian embassy will initiate a Children's Day programme on July 23 that features cultural activities to serve as a "wake up call" for children to know better about their cultural roots and heritage, the embassy said.

More similar activities will be conducted in the coming months as a continuous effort of the embassy to inculcate to the minds of young Indonesians the significance of appreciating their sense of values and national identity.

Al Aula said the upcoming cultural events slated in September or October for the general public in Qatar, will showcase Indonesia's rich cultural heritage.

"The events will be helpful in strengthening mutual understanding on socio-cultural relations," Al Aula said.

 

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