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Digging Deep on Maumere Woven Fabrics from Alfonsa Horeng

Nusa Dua, Bali – A woman wearing unique cloth from Indonesia’s East was deeply engaged in weaving at Jepun Garden of the Bali Nusa Dua Center (BNDCC) of Nusa Dua, Bali. Her skill was brightening the Annual Meetings of the IMF-World Bank Group 2018 in Nusa Dua, amidst culinary and art performances from other regions.

Javanese foods, art performances from Sumatra and woven fabrics being braided by the Maumere woman of East Nusa Tenggara were there, too. Another woman was accompanying her not far from the spot she was doing her job. Her name is Alfonsa Horeng. Alfonsa leads a group of women from Maumere who attend the second day of the Annual Meetings of the IMF-World Bank Group 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, to perform Hegong dance.

Hegong dance is a traditional dance from Maumere, Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara. It is normally played by a group of dancers, either male or female. They dance while wearing unique, traditional clothes following the rhythm of musical instrument, Gong Waning. Hegong dance is one of the most popular dances that frequently becomes one of the entertainments in many events, such as custom ceremony, high-level guests welcoming event, regional art and others.

Alfonsa said Finance Minister Sri Mulyani had visited her studio in Maumere a year ago. A few months after that, a team came by to her studio to have selected them for the Annual Meetings 2018. They were then chosen as one of the performers for the prestigious event.

Alfonsa added this was a big chance for displaying the art and culture of Maumere, in particular as her region was working on becoming a tourism destination. As a result, her studio has drawn many tourists to invite them learning the dance, among others, and viewing some modest lodgings she manages.

“I joined a seminar on women empowerment featuring powerful women. There were Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and IMF Managing Director (Christine) Lagarde. For me, this is a precious experience, a woman from Maumere seeing world leaders speaking,” said Alfonsa, Friday, (12/10).

She added that she was hoping to attend several seminars open for public, especially those that were related to human resources and digital economy. For her, digital economy will influence the future of her dancing and weaving studio in Maumere. She was expecting internet would assist her promoting and distributing various handicrafts.

Digital economy has been highlighting world discussion. Yesterday, Melinda Gates shared her views on making technology as a way to achieve inclusive economy for all and bring goodness for public, particularly those earning modest income and living in marginal areas.

“I and SMI (Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati) are here today, working on many ways so that Pathways Commission really talks on the future of digital because I am already a little bit tired on the phase that I will go through, and that how frequent people talk on negative things about technology. We can use it for kindness or we can use it for illness,” Melinda said in “Harnessing Technology for Inclusive Growth” seminar.

Go-Jek is one of the examples, which the wife of Microsoft, Bill Gates, brings up. She said she was very glad that one of the unicorns of Indonesia was developing well and involving many people to take benefits together.

“That is an inclusive way, and I am happy to be here in Indonesia. I met with Go-Jek and I heard the stories (related to Go-Jek). But I don’t want to speak only about employees, but also about all drivers, food sellers, that have been brought to this digital economy and how their lives have been changed because of that,” Melinda said.

Melinda’s messages hopefully will reach out Alfonsa and her studio thanks to internet availability in the area. Regarding internet service, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani repeatedly says in forums that infrastructure construction, such as internet network, becomes of the focuses of the government today.

Alfonsa, who is also the chairwoman of the Lepo Lorun Institute, said Maumere woven fabrics were becoming part of the daily lives of the locals. Woven fabrics become culture that are handed down to their children and grandchildren, especially female residents. Her area used to require weaving skill as a prerequisite before getting married for the female citizens. But time has changed, Alfonsa said. Many of the locals have shifted professions thus the precondition is no longer valid.

“Weaving is the product of culture that knows no economic crisis or similar things. We, every day, weave fabrics from natural materials in Maumere. We process cotton to be threads, put natural color like from indigo then turn them into fabrics,” Alfonsa said. (3x3)

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