The Magic of South Kalimantan Cultural Heritage

The majority of the population in South Kalimantan are ethnic Banjar which consists of three groups, namely Banjar Kuala, Banjar Pahuluan and Banjar Batang Banyu. As one of the largest ethnics in Indonesia, the Banjar tribe has cultural characteristics. The culture in South Kalimantan is a product of adaptation, assimilation and acculturation from the basic culture of indigenous Banjar tribes with Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic cultures.

There are also ethnic Javanese, Madurese and Sundanese who came as migrants. In coastal areas Tanah Bumbu and Kotabaru also dwells ethnic Bugis (Bugis Pagatan) and Mandar originating from Sulawesi. Dayak in South Kalimantan region occupies around the Meratus mountains (Dayak Bukit) and at the bank of the Barito River (Dayak Bakumpai). Other ethnic groups in South Kalimantan, namely the ethnic Arab descent contained in Banjarmasin and Martapura. There are also ethnic Chinese origin who inhabit the area of Chinatown in the city of Banjarmasin and Sungai Parit in Pelaihari (Cina Parit).

The language used in everyday life by Banjarese as a mother tongue and as a lingua franca for the people of South Kalimantan generally is the Banjar language which has two major dialects, namely Banjar Kuala dialects and Banjar Hulu dialect. The Dayak tribes who inhabit the southern region of the Meratus mountains spoke the Dayak Meratus language.

The Jewels of South Kalimantan – Martapura

South Kalimantan is not only known for its unique flora and fauna such as the Bekantan monkeys. Yet, along with India, Borneo has historically been one of the world’s oldest sources of fine jewelries such as diamonds.

Situated some 45 kilometers east of Banjarmasin, the capital of South Kalimantan, Martapura is a sparkling little city literally filled with diamonds and precious rocks mined from inside Borneo’s earth. The city is well-known as the center of the diamond industry as well as the main diamond cutting and polishing venue in Kalimantan, aside from being producers of top quality jewelry.

For those who fancy jewelry and accessories such as necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches, and various others made from pure diamond, gold, zircon, silver, and many other gemstones, or even of plastic or glass imitations, then Martapura is the place to be.

The quality of Martapura’s jewelry is globally recognized as one of the best in the world. These sparkling treasures of Martapura are best found at the city’s iconic landmark in the diamond and jewelry market of Cahaya Bumi Selamat. Aside from being the showcase of Borneo’s most sparkling rocks, Martapura is also where diamonds and other gemstones are mined and processed.

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Preserving the Unique Biodiversity of South Kalimantan – Bekantan

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Bekantan or in scientific name Nasalis larvatus is a type of long-nosed monkeys with reddish brown hair and is one of two species in a single genus of Nasalis monkeys.

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The main characteristics that distinguish of bekantan from other monkeys are long and large nose which is only owned by male species. The function of large nose on the male bekantan is still not clear, but it may be caused by natural selection. Female monkeys prefer to males with larger noses as a partner. Bekantan are also known as Holland Monkeys, because of their nose.

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Bekantan spread and endemic in mangroves, wetlands and coastal forests on the Borneo island (Kalimantan, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei). This species spends most of their time on the trees and live in groups of between 10 to 32 monkeys.

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Bekantan can swim well, sometimes seen swimming from one island to another. To support the ability of swimming, there are membranes on the sidelines of bekantan’s toes. Besides expert in swimming, bekantan can also dive in a few seconds, so that the nose is also equipped with a kind of valve.

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Bekantan is the animal mascot of South Kalimantan province.

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On a sunny day on August 18, 2018, the Indonesian Embassy in Helsinki held an Independence Day Bazaar and Festival as part of the commemoration of the 73rd Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia. Opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Patrick S. Hasjim as the Chair of the Independence Day Commemoration Committee.

The bazaar and festival then officially opened by the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, Mrs. Wiwiek Setyawati Firman, by making symbolic purchases at one of the bazaar stands. There nine booths participating namely DIFE, Java Kitchen, Indonesian Students Association Finland (PPI Finlandia), Dapoer Iboe, Indonesian Women Association (DWP), IMMI, Nusantara, MAKRO IF, and Bakoelan Yessy. The booths sells variety of Indonesian food and snacks, including satay, gudeg, fried rice, kapau rice, traditional snacks, and various drinks such as cendol and es doger.

The event began with the announcement of the winners of various competitions and sports competitions that had been held earlier on August 12, 2018, for the category of children and adults. Special appearance was performed at the stage by Ms. Ni Putu Diah Astriningsih, a dancer from Bali, by dancing Balinese dance Teruna Jaya. Ms. Diah also works as a dance teacher at the Indonesian Embassy in Helsinki for Balinese dance short course program during August 2018. The Indonesian community in Finland also do various performance at the stage.

The bazaar and festival was closed with a door prize drawing and performance of Manuk Rawa dance by Ms. Diah and Ms. Laura Bolqia.