Indonesians celebrate Saudi National Day, hope for stronger bilateral ties

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Indonesian actor Dude Herlino and his actress wife Alyssa Soebandono posed for a photo during a reception to celebrate Saudi National Day in Jakarta. (AN photo by Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata)
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Indonesia's Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Saifuddin and Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Indonesia Esam Abid Althagafi at the reception to celebrate the Saudi National Day in Jakarta. (AN photo by Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata)
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Indonesian actor Dude Herlino and his actress wife Alyssa Soebandono posed with staff from Saudia airlines for a photo during a reception to celebrate Saudi National Day in Jakarta. (AN photo by Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata)
Updated 24 September 2019

Indonesians celebrate Saudi National Day, hope for stronger bilateral ties

  • Saudi Arabia is still one of the major sources of foreign tourists to Indonesia

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Saifuddin extended on Monday the best wishes to Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the Kingdom’s National Day and expressed hope for stronger ties between the two countries.

“On behalf of the Indonesian government, we rejoiced in this celebration and prayed that the Kingdom and the people of Saudi Arabia are always blessed and under God’s protection,” Saifuddin told journalists during a reception at a hotel in Jakarta held by the Saudi Embassy.

The minister, who was the guest of honor at the reception, said the two countries have ties that Islamic scholars cemented centuries ago and that they remain the same today.

Saudi Arabia is still one of the major sources of foreign tourists to Indonesia, and the biggest from the Middle East, with 165,852 Saudis visiting Indonesia in 2018.

“We hope to see more of our brothers and sisters from Saudi Arabia visiting Indonesia in the coming years,” Saifuddin said.

Trade between the two countries increased from $4.5 billion (SR16.8 billion) in 2017 to $6.13 billion in 2018. Saudi Arabia is one of Indonesia’s most important partners in the investment sector, with investment value increasing from $3.5 million in 2017 to $5.36 million last year. 

“The government of Indonesia wishes to cooperate more to ensure intensification of Saudi direct investments in the country,” Saifuddin said.

Saudi Ambassador Esam Abid Althagafi said that the Kingdom continues development in all sectors in line with the 2030 Vision reform plans, which has shown significant results among developing countries.

Indonesian actor Dude Herlino and his actress wife Alyssa Soebandono were also among the guests attending the reception. Herlino was one of the guests invited by the Saudi Ministry of Media to perform Hajj this year.

He told Arab News that it was a memorable experience and he was grateful for the privilege.

“I was extended the best service, including the opportunity for a helicopter ride above Makkah,” Herlino said.

“We would like to congratulate the Kingdom for its national day celebration and I hope that Indonesia and Saudi Arabia’s bilateral relations will remain strong,” he added.


If you’re happy and you know it, tidy up: Seoul guru explains the key to decluttering

Updated 43 min 23 sec ago

If you’re happy and you know it, tidy up: Seoul guru explains the key to decluttering

  • “My focus of tidying up is not throwing away but organizing for space,” said Jung
  • Jung enjoys a huge fan base on social media - one video on how to clean a dresser was watched 1.2 million times

SEOUL: Keep it if it makes you happy, South Korea’s tidying consultant Jung Hee-sook tells her clients as the first step for a less cluttered and more meaningful life.
“I feel most rewarded when my clients say they live happier lives after decluttering their houses,” Jung, 49, told Arab News.
It was not an easy journey to begin with she says, reminiscing about the start of her career in 2012.
“My job was often regarded as merely part of cleaning work. Tidying up is such a meaningful job that can help others in need and help people to live better,” she added.
Eight years on, she has decluttered 2,000 homes and counting, and says for that to happen it’s imperative to “read the client first.”
She cites the example of a woman who was determined to tidy up her home, not to give it a makeover but to “make life easier for her family.”
“When I visited her house, I noticed the lights dimming and curtains were still drawn. I got the sense that this family had some problems. During consulting, I learnt that the client was going blind. She wanted to tidy up her home before losing her sight to help her husband find items easily for their child,” Jung said, adding that it was one of her “most rewarding experiences.”
Often compared to Marie Kondo, the Japanese author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying” who enjoys a massive following across the world, Jung says her approach to tidying is different from the one propagated by Kondo, who places a priority on getting rid of anything that does not “spark joy.”
“My focus of tidying up is not throwing away but organizing for space,” said Jung, who has written two books on the topic, “Smart Tidying Ways” and “The Best Interior is in Organizing.” “You can keep your items if you don’t want to throw them away, but the bottom line is you have to organize them for use instead of leaving them unattended or stacked up in the corner.”


South Korea seems to be listening.
Jung enjoys a huge fan base on social media — one video from November last year on how to clean a dresser was watched 1.2 million times on YouTube — while her high-profile clients include CEOs and celebrities such as K-POP girl group Mamamoo’s Hwasa.
Experts point to the country’s unique concept of “jeong” to explain Jung’s popularity.
“It’s like an old grandmother piling plate upon plate of food in front of their grandchild to the point where they feel they might burst,” said Kwak Keum-joo, professor of psychology at the Seoul National University, explaining the national “attachment to objects.”
He said that the majority of people lay great emphasis on materialistic stuff as a benchmark of social status.
Jung agrees. “Korean people possess things to show off their wealth or social reputation. Most distinctively, they feel an attachment to objects,” she said.
Changes in consumer behavior, Kwak said, are also a key factor for the rising trends of house decluttering as well.
“In the past, most Koreans were brought up to save money and conserve things, but now they’re spending money if they have it, and they can purchase things fast and conveniently online at any time,” she said.
Jung says the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown helped to accelerate the decluttering process as well.
“People were staying home longer than before and paying more attention to tidying up their spaces at homes,” she said.
Jung’s top tip for starting is to take everything out and prioritize items based on their usage or emotional attachment.
“The thing is to sort out items and put them in separate spaces. People think it looks clean when you don’t see objects, but real organizing means sorting out the hidden things,” she said.
Next, Jung wants to take her teachings to the rest of the world.
“I hope to establish the right culture of decluttering to make people’s lives happier, not just in South Korea but in foreign countries as well. I am confident that the life of my clients has changed for the better after decluttering their houses.”