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A rewarding overseas trip to Jakarta, Country of Focus for AFCC 2017

23 Nov 2016 // Filed under Events

On the morning of 11 November 2016, the AFCC and NBDCS team went on an overseas trip to Jakarta, the Country of Focus for the Asian Festival of Children's Content 2017! 

Our first stop was the National Library, where we met with publishers, authors and illustrators. Ms Claire Chiang, the Chairperson of the Book Council’s Executive Committee, gave a presentation on AFCC and shared with them about awards they could submit books for. She also gave them a sneak peek into some of the conference sessions (more details about this, coming to the AFCC website soon!). We also listened to a presentation by Ms Lucya Damayanti, Director of Deposit at the National Library, as she shared about the library’s facilities and mobile libraries throughout Jakarta.


After our visit to the library, we popped by Gramedia Bookstore. Members from the AFCC Board of Advisors and the NBDCS Executive Committee enjoyed browsing through their books, especially Ms Chiang, who was looking for bilingual books for her grand-child. We were also surprised to find Killiney Kopi (a Singaporean coffeeshop) just outside the bookstore!

The next day, we went to Al-Haraki. A number of speakers shared about education and literacy in Indonesia. The speakers included Mr. Muhammad Idris (Mayor of Depok City), Mrs. Dr. Felicia Nuradi Utorodewo (Director of SEAMEO QITEP for Language), Dr Murti Bunanta (Founder of Kelompok Pencinta Bacaan Anak), Ms Maulana Suhadi, S.Si (Al-Haraki), and Mr. Muhamad Thamrin, S.Sos (from the Depok Education Board). We also shared about the AFCC Teachers Congress with them. We were taught a school greeting:“Salam Literasi!” After that, the Board and ExCo members couldn’t help but repeat the phrase “Salam Literasi” to one another every once in a while! We were thankful to SEAMEO QITEP for hosting the lunch after our trip to Al-Haraki.


We managed to squeeze in some time to go to Sarina, where there was a large array of cultural gifts and souvenirs, and plenty of batik. Some of us also managed to get new shirts to wear to the dinner, hosted by NBDCS, on the evening that day.


We had a wonderful dinner with Badan Ekonomi Kreatif (Bekraf), Kelompok Pencinta Bacaan Anak (KPBA), Ikatan Penerbit Indonesia (IKAPI), SEAMEO QITEP at Mera Delima. They shared more about the publishing and cultural industries in Indonesia over dinner, and we discussed ways we could collaborate on.

Unexpectedly, musicians came in playing songs (one of them was ‘Bengawan Solo’ again) towards the end of dinner. Well, the Board, ExCo and guests simply couldn’t resist standing up to dance! Here’s a snapshot of them in action:

On the last day, the Board and ExCo members came together for a mid-stream meeting  to discuss matters related to AFCC. Topics ranged from the AFCC Book Fair, to marketing  matters, to ways can attract more publishers to attend and participate in the festival.

We’ve learnt so much more about the Indonesian book scene in just three days. The cherry on top, however, was a surprise that lay behind these doors, which opened to…

Dr Murti’s book collection!

We were all really amazed at the diversity of her collection and the amount of care she gave to it, with spices placed around the books to preserve them in a pristine condition. What made my jaw drop, though, was her collection of sculptures. I didn’t quite realise the common theme amongst the sculptures till one of the Board members said, “They’re all reading a book.” Imagine that! Mr Bunanta pointed to one of the sculptures and remarked, “That was the first sculpture we bought.”

Eventually, we had to leave Dr Murti’s book heaven, and Mr Bunanta hosted a lunch for us. After a short but fruitful trip, we came back to our sunny island, with lots of interesting stories to share with creators and publishers here about Indonesia, especially about their books, culture and of course, food!

Looking forward to AFCC 2017, when Indonesia will be the Country of Focus. Join us next year from 17-21 May 2017 at the National Library Building, Singapore! For updates, do visit

by Alycia Teo, Festival Manager of the AFCC


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