Kang GURU Indonesia has interviewed hundreds of very interesting people
since 2000. People interviewed include diplomats, Aussie and
Indonesian teachers and students, music celebrities and artists,
sportsmen and women, AusAID project personnel, scholarship
holders an alumni plus staff from the Australian Embassy in
Jakarta and the Indonesia Australia Language Foundation (IALF).
Many of these interview reports are now
available on cassette or CD from Kang Guru in Best Of KGRE Celebrity Interviews. If you would like a copy of our two 'Best
of KGRE Celebrity Interviews (Pt. 1 & Pt 2) on CD then write to us and tell us why you want it and what do you
plan to do with it.
He is well-known in Indonesia and easily recognised, especially by football fans. Kevin interviewed IRFAN BACHDIM in Bandung in February. Irfan talked about his football career, how he now wants to live in Indonesia forever and how he feels about learning languages. Irfan was born in The Netherlands. His father is Indonesian and his mother is Dutch.
He grew up learning Dutch and English. Now, here in Indonesia he needs to start learning bahasa Indonesia. Like many Indonesian students of English, Irfan is a little shy about speaking Indonesian in case he makes mistakes. While living in Malang and training for football he is also studying BI. KGI is sure he will soon be a very confident user of bahasa Indonesia.
You can listen to Irfan's KGI interview on KGI radio across Indonesia in March/April 2011. KGI will soon have Irfan's interview podcasts on the KGI website.
By the way, Irfan was the very first person in Indonesia to receive a brand new KGI 'Sabang to Merauke' t-shirt.
Rocky McKenzie is a 16 year old indigenous Australian teenager. He is the star of the terrific movie 'Bran Nue Dae' which also stars KGI's friend and singer Jessica Mauboy. The movie was featured at the Australia Indonesia Film Festival in Jakarta earlier this year.
In late January this year Kevin met Rocky McKenzie, one of the stars of 'Bran Nue Dae'. They met in a hotel in Jakarta. Rocky was visiting Jakarta to attend the Australia Indonesia Film Festival.
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Rocky talks about the movie
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'Something in The Water'
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Most of Tony Rafty's amazing sketches about Indonesian Independence were drawn in Surabaya in 1945. He was a journalist/cartoonist for an Australian newspaper. Australia supported independence for Indonesia and so did Tony. He even met Soekarno in Surabaya and spent quite a bit of time with him chatting about art - a shared passion.
On November 12th this year Tony visited SMA2 Muhammadiyah in Surabaya where he spent time helping students with their sketches and answering many questions about his amazing life. KGI interviewed Tony Rafty in Surabaya. He told wonderful stories about his wartime experiences in Indonesia during that historic time 65 years ago. Tony is now 95 years of age but is still a very active man. You can hear this marvellous Aussie icon on KGI radio early in 2011.
What is a typical Gemini, the Zodiac sign of the twins? Looking on the Internet it appears Geminis like variety
in life, multiple projects all going on at once and they have a talent for and love of using their minds and expressing
themselves fully. They have a great love of the written as well as the spoken word, and will often put pen to paper — or
hands to keyboard — to get their own thoughts down. Hmm, interesting! Both singers interviewed by Kang
Guru recently were born under the sign of Gemini and both are doing all these things.
Sherina was born in Bandung on June 11, 1990 and later moved to Jakarta with her family. Every afternoon after
her elementary school classes she would be kept busy learning English and other extra curricular activities.
And being a typical Gemini it seems that she enjoyed being kept busy. KGI recently met Sherina in Jakarta. In
fact, Sue from KGI used to be her teacher many years ago in Jakarta. Did Sherina remember? Yes! Even though
they haven’t met for 13 years Sherina remembered some of the songs she used to sing in her English classes.
She graduated from Senior High School in July 2008 and has decided to take some time out from studying for a
while. She said she felt exhausted after studying for the final exams but it was worth it and she passed.
Afgan is a busy nineteen year old from Jakarta who is juggling a promising career and study. He is currently
studying Business in Jakarta. At the same time he has launched his career as a singer. Kang Guru asked him which
is more important at the moment – singing or studying? Here’s what he said – ‘I’ve
been asked that question a thousand times actually and I don’t know what to say because I love my job,
I really love it and education is more like responsibility for my future. I can’t say which is more important
and I just say that I’ll do it both ways and try to keep it balanced.’ Afgan has just returned from
Australia. He will soon study in Australia for a year as part of his current course. He has already spent a
couple of weeks visiting Melbourne and Perth and told Sue that it was too cold and he wasn't used to that type
Afgan's English is very good and Kang Guru asked him how long he’d been learning English. He said, ’I’ve
had lessons since I was in elementary school until I graduated from High school. Then I quit but I’m planning
to start again.’ Does he think English is important? ‘Of course, for the future when we are working
we will meet people not only from Indonesia but other countries and we need to speak English together.’ Does
he still have problems with English? ‘I’m nervous when I’m speaking – probably because
of the grammar – I’m still not used to it.’ Does he have any tips for Kang Guru readers and
listeners? ‘Nowadays it's really important to learn English. You’re gonna regret it someday if you’re
Before KGI went to Jakarta to meet Afgan we asked some of the staff at IALF if they had any questions for him.
Dian asked - ‘Is Afgan your real name?
‘Ya. I'm Afgan. I was not born in Afghanistan it's because I was born on the May 27th and at that time
Afghanistan is in the news. My mum heard the words Afghanistan and named her newborn son, me, Afgan.’
Interviewed in Bali , 2008
A few years ago, Aming was a college student studying Textile Design. Before beginning
work with the team at Extravaganza he went between college and home each day, studying and having fun with his friends – ‘a
regular teenager’, he says. There have been big changes for Aming since those days. He is now a movie actor
with two films under his belt and a star on Indonesian television in the very popular Extravaganza program on Trans
TV. Why does Aming enjoy acting? He really enjoys being able to become someone else. As we sort of already know,
he really likes becoming a woman whether it be granny, a wife, a naughty girl or even a girl next door. He especially
likes the thought of being a famous woman character such as Cleopatra or Matahari. But other characters are also
favourites including the boy next door, a policeman and a poor farmer working in the ricefields.
Aming has never studied English and told Kevin that his English just sort of comes from inside of him. He always
reads books, watches movies without sub-texts and uses dictionaries. In college however he was more interested
in improving his English in a more formal way. Aming realizes that English is important in his type of business
especially if he wants to go global. Meeting clients from abroad and possibly working overseas requires a good
level of English skills. Aming certainly has those skills already.
During the interview in his hotel in Nusa Dua it was difficult to stop Aming from talking. Kevin asked Aming if
he ever stops talking? Aming said a simple NO to that question. His main advice to fellow Indonesians learning
English - 'DON'T worry if people laugh at your English. Just keep talking and practising. Forget about them, yeah.'
Although Aming works mainly in Jakarta he actually spends most of his free time in Bandung. Kang Guru asked Aming
if he enjoys being the center of attention and Aming’s response was a very strong YES. As an easily recognized
celebrity he doesn’t really mind people saying hi to him and having a chat. However if and when people begin
to disturb him he calls security people to help him out.
As for Aming’s future, what does he think is going to happen? He is not sure what is going to happen to him
but he just follows his heart. He wants to be happy, just like everyone else. He can even see himself staying at
his home on the hill, maybe becoming a simple farmer but perhaps traveling the world too.
Interviewed in Jakarta and Bali , 2008
Kang Guru recently met a great young woman with a fantastic future ahead of her. In 2006 Jessica Mauboy, from Darwin
in the Northern Territory, entered the Australian Idol competition. Jessica was placed runner-up in the final show.
Since then exciting things have been happening in her life. In June Jessica visited Indonesia at the invitation
of the IN2OZ program. (www.dfat.gov.au/in2oz). Mr.
Bill Farmer, Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, warmly welcomed her to Indonesia. He said, ‘With
an Indonesian father and an Australian mother, Jessica is a living example of the strong people-to-people ties
between Australia and Indonesia.
Jessica’s short but very busy visit began with a trip to East Java. She sang the Australian national anthem
at the pre-match ceremony for the first Western Australia-East Java Friendship Football Cup. The next day she was
in Jakarta for an afternoon performance with Idol Divo — Mike, Judika and Lucky. That evening Ambassador
Mr. Bill Farmer hosted a star-studded reception for her at his home. The three members of Idol Divo were there,
as was Indra Lesmana, one of the judges from Indonesian Idol. A group of finalists from Indonesian Idol also came
along and Dewi Sandra popped in too! During the evening Jessica sang a couple of songs including the old Bee Gee's
favourite ‘Words’ with Idol Diva and accompanied by Marusya Nainggolan. She had had a very busy day!
The next day she was very excited about performing on Indonesian Idol. Jessica told Kang Guru, ‘It's
great to see a lot of young youth/teenagers very interested in the music and meeting them last night — they
were just so determined.’ I was there to give advice as well ‘cos I kind of know I was in that position
and know what they're going through — the nerves, the emotions. It's very difficult each week they’re
learning a new song every time. Just getting up there in front of so many people on national TV — so
it's very hard to do that.’ Jessica chose to sing ‘Crazy in Love’ on the show and she
was joined by Mike, Lucky and Judika and sang the Indonesian favourite ‘Sempurna’.
Jessica told Kang Guru she was having a great time visiting Java for the first time. ‘You know I love
Indonesia. It is a very beautiful country. I think the thing I love most about it is the people and how they just
connect. They're so polite and they work very, very hard in any kind of job that they do and they appreciate everything.
It's just amazing here.’
Since becoming runner up in Australian Idol Jessica’s life has changed in many ways. She told KGI that before
competing in Australian Idol she was not so confident. ‘The most exciting thing was getting to know the
music more and I guess opening up ‘cos at the start of Idol I was very shy and didn’t want to be in
front of the cameras. I never talked that much and Idol gave me a chance to show myself and be more open about the
music that I love. It has definitely given me a lot of confidence and a lot of determination’. For Jessica
another important reward from being successful in Aussie Idol is the shopping! ‘I have more clothes than
I’ve ever had. I can’t stop buying new shoes. I can’t help it. I perform nearly every weekend
and as a performer and an entertainer that’s the lifestyle I’m kinda living now'.
What is she doing back in Australia? She is busy writing music for her second album. ‘The music that I
grew up with was a lot of country combined with a lot of rhythm and blues (R&B). I’m open to any kind
of music but my favourite style is R&B Soul. I love the soul music. My favourite artist is Mariah Carey.’
Does she have any advice for Kang Guru fans?
‘My Dad always told me to keep believing and I guess be happy with what you have and it will just come
naturally really, and I grew up with just that - believing and determination. If anything goes wrong pick yourself
up and keep going, that’s the only way you are going to get to the next step. It isn’t always easy but
I guess that’s part of life. Work hard for what you get.’
Interviewed in Jakarta in February, 2008
Think about this for a minute. You are waiting for something to happen. Perhaps you have been waiting for a long
time. Nothing happens! You are frustrated. What do you do? Dewi Sandra was in that situation a few years ago. Dewi
needed good songs, new ones, to record and perform. Dewi told Kang Guru that a few years ago she had found herself
waiting for new songs to be written for her. The trouble was that these promised songs were not arriving on her
doorstep. So, what did she do? That's right – she started writing her own. Now wasn't that a great solution
to her problem? Dewi started writing songs, even though she had no experience and couldn't play any instruments.
Slowly but surely, Dewi developed the skills needed to write music and lyrics. In the beginning, she used to hum
tunes to friends and they'd help her write the music down. It took quite a while to develop her song writing skills
but Dewi perservered and now writes many of her own songs. In fact, Dewi has written most of the songs on her latest
CD called STAR. Some are in Indonesian and some in English and some she has written in collaboration with
other artists including her husband, Glenn Fredly.
Dewi grew up in Singapore in an English speaking environment – she used English in school, her community
and at home. Her father is British and her mother is from Indonesia. Dewi has always loved to sing and through
hard work and perseverance, she can now say that her career is on a high. Her last CD is selling well with two
singles being taken from it. Last year Dewi completed her very fist solo tour on six cities in Indonesia. Instead
of being a one artist amongst others on a tour, Dewi was out front leading her own show. However, Dewi made it
very clear to Kevin that the show was a lot more than just her. Dancers, lightning and sound technicians, makeup
artists, promotions people and transportation coordinators, for example, were all a part of the show too.
As for fashion, Dewi believes fashion should be FUN. Dewi loves getting dressed up to the nines - the dresses,
the glamour, the jewelry, the high heels and the hairstyles but she also says quite clearly - not 24/7. In particular,
Dewi spoke about harajuku, the fashion trend that is sweeping Japan (see page 16). On a recent visit to Japan,
Dewi was amazed by the fashions there. The colours, the mixing of styles, and the outrageous nature of harajuku
really attracted her. Although she has followed the fashion on occasions here in Indonesia, it is once again
just a bit of fun with fashion.
Interviewed in Jakarta in January, 2008
Sally Koeswanto is originally from Surabaya and admits that she was quite a rebellious teenager. As a teenager,
she would take her clothes and cut them up, change them and create her own style. Often Sally did that to actually
Even today Sally is a very provocative and innovative designer. Her trademarks include mixing materials that
don't usually go together – such as chiffon and leather. She loves to use shiny materials in her outfits
along with feathers and as already stated, lots of leather. A pair of boots that Kevin saw in the shop were
a prime example of that type of exotic and daring combination
– feathers and leather.
Many of her wonderful designs were displayed during the Aussie Alumni 2008 Awards.
Sally studied design in Australia for almost 4 years before returning to Indonesia to start her own business.
Sally told Kang Guru that design is something that comes from within. She knew from a young age that she wanted
to create great, if not daring, clothes for women to wear. Sally learnt how to make clothes herself – sewing
and cutting her ideas into outfits. Sally acknowledges that proper, formal training in fashion design has also
been an important part of her success. Sally now has a team of people helping her but the creative genius of
her business comes from Sally herself.
Alvin Tjitrowirjo is known for his
originality and his modern, sophisticated, stylish lifestyle products. Alvin graduated as a Bachelor of Industrial
Design in 2004 from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia. Alvin’s spectacular
Bell Chair has already been exhibited in Europe at one of the world’s leading furniture fairs in Milan,
Italy in 2005.
In June 2006, Alvin held his first solo exhibition entitled
“Alvin+Volvo” which was sponsored by Volvo as well as leading commercial brands such as DuPont, Corian
by MAS and The Hour Glass. Since then, Alvin has been involved with several collaboration projects, working alongside
Indonesia’s top architects and fashion designers. Alvin is a part-time lecturer of furniture and interior
design in the Faculty of Design at University of Pelita Harapan, one of the top private Universities in Jakarta,
Indonesia. Right now he is in Spain studying even more about design - good luck Alvin.
Interviewed in Jakarta in November, 2007
Have you ever watched well-known Indonesian cook and television personality, Ibu Sisca, on television? Kang Guru
met her at her house for an interview, and lunch, in November 2007. To Kevin’s great surprise, Ibu Sisca
had prepared a very special lunch for him so they ate, and chatted, at the same time. The food was Indonesian
food of course but there were a few surprises. Kevin really likes opor ayam but this time the chicken meat was
shredded. That was different! At first he didn’t know what it was – to look at anyway. Ibu Sisca
had prepared at least 12 different dishes and they were all absolutely delicious. What a great start to an interview.
Ibu Sisca talked about her career with food. This included cooking and selling cakes in Surabaya when she was
still an SMP student, working for Femina magazine as a food stylist and consultant for many years and finally,
her past 12 years on Indonesian television. Creativity is one of the pre-requisites for her type of work. Ibu
Sisca is constantly planning programs and writing books so she has to be creative all the time. Making cooking
interesting and attractive is important to her. Sisca is always trying new food too. She regularly eats in all
sorts of places including local warungs and spends time talking to all sorts of people about food and cooking.
It is a big job but luckily she loves doing it.
Interviewed in Jakarta in November, 2007
Blair Exell is the Head of AusAID in Indonesia. AusAID is Australian Government's agency for international development.
Blair is responsible for all AusAID programs in Indonesia – their direction, their content and how AusAID
activities are working. A major responsibility is to ensure that AusAID works closely with the Indonesian government
and with the Indonesian people. The goal is to find out how Australia can support the development of Indonesia.
The work of AusAID in Indonesia is always discussed very closely with the Indonesian Government and other stakeholders
to ensure that those activities support Indonesian Governments' goals. Sustainability is important in development
work and only by working together will the work continue beyond Australia’s assistance. Sustainability
is a long term mark of success. So a key lesson to remember is that local people need to be involved and know
what the work is actually about.
Blair grew up in a small town in south-east Australia called Bega. By the way, did you know that Bega is famous
world-wide for cheese? Well, it is - Bega Cheese! Blair has worked a lot in Southeast Asia in places such as
Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Blair’s last position with AusAID was in the Solomon Islands in the South
Pacific. The capital city has only 50,000 inhabitants so moving to Jakarta, with around 15 million inhabitants
has been a big change for his family. Blair and his wife moved to Jakarta with their three children, aged 10,
8 and 3 in August 2007. They are all very happy to be here and are looking forward to learning more about Indonesia.
Doni Tata Pradita
Interviewed in Yogyakarta in November, 2007
Kang Guru flew to Yogyakarta on November 7th to meet a fine young SMA student who is destined to become a world
champion. His name is Doni Tata Pradita. He is already famous in Indonesia. Have you heard of him? Kevin met
Doni at his school, SMA N 1 Ngaglik, where he was interviewed, in English, for about 30 minutes. Dina from Kediri
wrote to Kang Guru in late October and suggested that an interview with Doni would be fantastic for her to enjoy,
and for other Kang Guru-ites as well. She was right. Doni talked about his love of motor bikes. He started riding
when he was nine years old. He was good at it and has gone on to great success already and he is only 17 years
old. The future is looking very good for him in the world of motorbike racing.
In January 2008 Doni begins a year of racing around the world. He will visit 18 countries doing the very thing
that he loves the most – riding motorbikes. And what about school and study? Doni says his computer and
the internet will come in very handy as he rides and visits countries such as Italy, China, Spain, Australia
and Malaysia during 2008. Doni will continue his school studies though - by internet, he says.
One of his favourite subjects is mathematics. As he is constantly working with speeds and engines and times,
mathematics is very useful. English is important too. When Doni was riding in Japan recently he couldn’t
use Bahasa Indonesia. He had to use English as his means of communication. For example, discussing problems and
ideas with local mechanics had to be all done in English. Luckily Doni’s English language skills are quite
good already. He realizes also that a part of being in the ‘big league’ of motor racing means that
his English needs to be even better especially when he makes those championship speeches in the future!
When racing, Doni normally rides bikes at a maximum of 250km per hour. That’s fast. With bigger bikes it
can mean 375 km per hour. That’s very fast. So Kevin had to ask him if he rode a motorbike to school in
Yogyakarta everyday. His response? Yes he rides a Yamaha of course but an automatic Mio - 'otobek'. Doni told
Kevin that he rides slowly around Yogyakarta and definitely no racing. Listen to Doni talking with Kang Guru
on the radio program early next year and Good Luck to Doni in 2008 as he sets out to conquer the world of motorcycle
Interviewed in Jakarta in April, 2007
Tora Sudiro is a familiar face on movie screens and televisions all over Indonesia. Kevin met Tora in a Japanese
restaurant at Pondok Indah Mall in March along with Tora’s manager, Pak Didik. They were there having dinner
with Tora’s parents. Tora was quite happy to sit down and talk to KGRE about his life and career. Did you
know that Tora actually lived in England, New Zealand and Australia back in the late 90s? He finished school in
Jakarta in 1992 and then went overseas. He was a student and had little money but one thing is for sure, he loved
and remembers those cultural experiences. He wanted to study English in England for example but ended up living
in a homestay with an Italian ‘mother’. He told KGRE he learnt more Italian than English! Kevin asked
Tora about culture for this magazine and although he was sort of joking, Tora said that ‘food culture’ is
of great interest to him. According to Tora there are only two types of food – delicious and very delicious.
Sundanese food is his favourite at the moment.
It is interesting because Tora said he lost a lot of his English language skills when he moved to Perth after living
in England and New Zealand. How is that possible? Tora says that Perth was sort of a ‘little Indonesia’ – there
are so many Indonesians there and so Tora spoke more Indonesian than English. As we say at KGRE, the more often
you use English, the better your English becomes. Tora didn’t do that in Perth. Tora’s advice for you
is this – making mistakes in English is good and you learn more. If you don’t speak then maybe you won’t
learn anything new.
Tora fooling around with his manager, Pak Didik at the interview at Pondik Indah Mall.
Do you watch Extravaganza? It is a popular show in Indonesia and one of the subjects the show often comments
on is Indonesia culture, and behaviour. The program presents often very funny skits, or short comedy sketches/performances,
based around an aspect of life and culture in Indonesia. Some popular topics have included buying from kaki
limas, corruption and popular music.
Tora wants smart comedy for Extravaganza and not slapstick or ‘clown type’ comedy. He has enjoyed
playing interesting characters though and some of his characters have included being a tree, a cash register,
a map, a king, a chicken, an ATM machine and a housewife. He laughed out loud as he told KGRE that Al Pacino
has never played roles like those! By the way, acting on Extravaganza isn’t as easy as it may seem. It
involves a lot of hard work and a lot of skill.
Kevin asked Tora questions sent in by some KGRE-ites. Ririn, one of KGRE’s Champion s from Kediri in East
Java asked Tora about his movie career and the most important film he has made as an actor. Tora’s response
was ‘Arisan’. Laura, a 17 year old friend of KGRE asked Tora about that controversial kiss in the
movie ‘Arisan’. She wanted to know the reaction of people watching the movie. He says it was a very
typical response – people thought he was gay. Tora isn’t worried about that and he says that Indonesian
audiences actually enjoyed the film. The reaction was not negative and there weren’t calls for the movie
to be banned. Why did he choose such a character? Tora says it was a good role
– a challenge in fact! Something new!
One of Tora’s great interests is the future of the Indonesian film industry. Bowo, a KGRE presenter from
Banyuwangi, asked Tora how to best improve the film industry. Tora’s response, 'Heh Bowo, as you know the
old movies they have good stories but very poor in pictures. But nowadays we have a very good picture but very
poor in story. If we can mix both the old and the new film I think we have very very good film.'
Interviewed in Jakarta in January, 2007
Joy Tobing is well-known throughout Indonesia. She spent a few hours chatting with KGRE in January 2007 at her house
in South Jakarta. She is a 27 year old singer and was the first Indonesian Idol. Joy graduated from the English
Department at the Christian University of Indonesia. Although tenses still confuse her a little it has not stopped
her interest in English. For her career, Joy has to understand her songs and if they are in English, then she needs
to be pretty good at working out the lyrics and their meaning.
Joy’s latest CD is called ‘Rise’. And all the songs are in English. After Joy made the
CD ‘Karena Cinta’ she decided that it was time for an international CD and it had to be in
‘My favorite (is) song called ‘Rise’ because
‘Rise’ was made when the tsunami came. It has a lot of meaning because when people get down, when people,
er, disappointed or, disappointed with everything, this is the time for us to to rise up because we believe we can
learn something. That’s why we have to raise up’.
Before ‘Indonesian Idol’, Joy had already made 15 Batak and Indonesian albums. She has been singing
for 22 years and that is a long time. But Joy has had to learn a lot about the entertainment business – it
has been a real education for her.
First she started learning about her vocal cords and how to sing well using correct and empowering techniques.
Joy learnt about many different styles of music including the blues and even rock and roll She learnt how to
improvise like Aretha Franklin. Joy listened to, and studied, singers such as Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and
She learnt how to dance and sing at the same time. Besides singing and performing, Joy has had to learn about
artist management and about recording. Female artists in particular also need to understand about makeup and
hair techniques. Fashion and appropriateness of clothes is an important part of being a successful artist. Interacting
with a ’live’ audience successfully is another skill to be learnt.
Joy is currently putting together a new Indonesian language album. Then she will continue working on her international
career as well. One of Joy’s many ambitions is to become an international artist such as Anggun. Joy told
KGRE that that is her dream now.
Interviewed in Kuta, May 2007
Christian Bautista, a very popular singing artist from the Philippines was in Indonesia in early May. It was his
seventh visit to Indonesia. KGRE caught up with him and asked him about the differences and similarities he has
noticed between his country and Indonesia. Christian commented that Indonesia is so much like his country in that
people have a strong and active belief in religion. He also notices that people in Indonesia adhere strongly to
their cultural backgrounds and are very proud of their cultural heritage and customs. It is the same in the Philippines.
Christian will be featured on KGRE radio soon and in the September magazine when he talks to KGRE about his career,
music AND the environment. Christian plans more concerts in Indonesia later this year so try to go and hear him
Did you know that Christian promotes caring for the environment in his native Philippines? He joined other famous
artists to make a series of short videos to encourage Filipinos to ‘care for our air’ – a clean
air campaign. Both Christian’s parents worked at the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources in
Manila. His father also studied for an environmental degree in Sydney. They would often talk to him about the environment – how
to take care of it, planting trees, efficient use of electricity, taking care of plants and not throwing away rubbish
but finding ways to reuse or recycle.
On the video Christian speaks about the dangers of burning garbage (sampah). He tells viewers that ‘by
burning waste you are not only polluting others but polluting yourself.’ Burning rubbish (especially waste
plastic) releases harmful chemicals into the environment. Sometimes the fire smolders for hours. And all the
time we are breathing those harmful chemicals into our lungs. Christian believes that education is the key. He
says that if people are lazy about the environment then there will be big problems in the future.
Interviewed in Jakarta in February, 2007
KGRE met Samuel Rizal in Pondok Indah Mall as he was on his way to the gym. Sammy, as he prefers to be called, is
mad about sport. He is a basketball player and an Indonesian junior champion. He watches television a lot BUT usually
just sports programs. According to Sammy, being physically fit is very important for an actor. He works out at
the gym 3 or 4 times a week for 90 minutes each visit.
Learning has always been an important part of Sammy’s work ethic. Studying acting and learning the skills
required for a successful acting career has always been important to Sammy. He has had acting lessons but says
he has also learnt from watching DVDs and television. Maybe you want to become an actor like Sammy. He says that
you should never stop studying and learning, be enthusiastic about life and keep physically active.
His English at school was very bad (he says) but recently he has been doing a little bit every day and it has
worked – his English is pretty good right now. Sammy advises others to watch lots of television with no
subtitles, or with English subtitles. He also uses a good dictionary to read and learn from. Sammy’s favorite
actors are Johnny Depp, Matt Damon and Keira Knightly. He is currently learning to dance the salsa.
Interviewed in Jakarta in November, 2006
Noe, Dedi, Arian and Patub are the four members of Letto. This band is from Jogyakarta. They are young, highly educated,
proficient in English and they love music. KGRE met them in September in a small warung at Jakarta Airport. They
were returning to Jakarta from a performance at the Science Olympics in Semarang the night before. Noe, lead singer
of the group, did talk a little about his interest in science. He explained that he attended Alberta university
in Edmonton, Canada for five years and it was there that he graduated with a Bachelor of Science with majors in
Maths and Physics. Patub is also university graduate majoring in agriculture. Dedi is currently studying at Universitas
Letto write all of their own songs and their 2005 CD ‘Truth, Cry and Lie’ is selling
well. Have you heard it yet? It is wonderful and several of the songs on the CD are in English. Now that's unusual
for an Indonesian group, wouldn't you say?
“Actually, when the label heard our song it was in English so they were interested to make a full album
in English but after some discussion it was decided that we are gonna make half Indonesian and half English so
it can be accepted in Indonesia as well.”
And what has been the reaction to their first album?
“It's quite a mixed reaction. Some people say ‘ah, that's pretty cool, good idea, I like your
song in English’ and other say, ‘are you trying to be cool or something? Eh just don't
do it’. We have this many mix response and we think that that's very interesting and we do what
we do and we get reactions and that's the point for us, ya”.
This is quite unusual in Indonesian music although we know PADI and other artists do perform English language
songs. Artists who have plans to become international artists really need to develop their English language
skills. Anggun has done it and perhaps Letto will be the next success story. Going international? Noe told KGRE
that if that happens then that will be terrific. They are not obsessed with the idea but certainly will not
say NO if the opportunity comes along for them.
The music and English of Letto? Noe writes the lyrics but the members collaborate on the music. Noe likes music
illustration and new age music. Patub likes classic rock and jazz while Dedi likes alternative rock. Arian enjoys
punk, funk, and jazz.
Noe was ‘forced’ to learn English after he received a scholarship to study maths and physics in Edmonton
in Canada. Noe says he could barely speak English when he went there. Patub has learnt his English with friends
here in Indonesia while Dedi is picking up English as he goes along. Being a member of this band will help him
a lot. Arian has always liked English and enjoys using it.
Interviewed in Jakarta in August, 2006
Addie MS is not a pop singer and yet he is a very well known man in the world of music in Indonesia. His passion
is classical and symphonic music. Addie is the Musical Director of the Twilite Orchestra, a symphonic orchestra
based in Jakarta. It performs mostly classical and symphonic music. Addies's interest in music came from his mother
and other members of his family. His mother often listened to Elshinta, a private radio station in Jakarta, that
played classical music every Sunday night. Two of his aunties played classical piano. These influences showed the
young Addie just how magical classical music can be. In his younger years Addie earnt money by arranging music
for popular artists here in Indonesia. He then travelled overseas, especially to New York and Broadway. He saw
theatre shows such as ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Miss Saigon’.
Addie grew to love this form of music and he now incorporates it into many of his concerts. One of Addie's great
passions is to introduce symphonic music, both Western and Indonesian, to Indonesian people. Addie admits that
one of the problems he faces is that most classical or symphonic music is Western and that often makes it difficult
to introduce to Indonesian audiences. One annual event in Jakarta is Musik Academia. The feedback from young people
who attend such events is very positive. Addie told KGRE that with better music facilities such as auditoriums
and concert halls and more support from the government, his dream would be more easily realized.
“Symphonic music doesn't always mean classical music always. So now we try music that uses orchestra or
symphony orchestra like ‘Star Wars’. If you see films from Hollywood — ‘Star
War Ships’, ‘Superman’, things like that. Normally it's played by the big
orchestra. By playing that music we can get a new younger audience. Music that they know like err ‘Superman’ or ‘Star
Wars’ then it's been proven that err they will understand or will enter the symphonic music easily.
And that's what we are doing now. Also we are trying to prepare the next concert which is a ‘Final
Fantasy’ concert. We play game music. Final Fantasy is from Japan. The music is very beautiful and
it's symphonic and we hope that the younger audience will go to the concert.”
One approach that Addie has taken to attract not only listeners but sponsors too, is to perform popular music such
as movie themes from films such as ‘Star Wars’, ‘Superman’ or ‘Final
Fantasy’ game music from Japan. At the moment Addie is also writing musical arrangements for artists
such as Iwan Fals, Krisdayanti and Vina Panduwinata.
Interviewed in Jakarta in May, 2006
Anggun is one of the few Indonesian artists who is also an international artist. In Europe, for example, Anggun
is a superstar. Anggun writes and performs songs in Bahasa Indonesia, English and in French. Her CDs have sold
in the millions. The latest CD is titled ‘Luminescence’. The majority of songs on the
CD are in English.
Kevin met Anggun in Jakarta in late May 2006 and was lucky enough to sit down with her at her hotel for a 30
minutes chat. When they first met, Anggun immediately shook hands with Kevin and welcomed him to sit down with
her for the English language interview. Kevin explained briefly about KGRE in Indonesia and how the interview
was not going to be quite what she was perhaps used to. Kevin wanted to ask questions about learning languages
for example. Anggun already speaks French and English and she told Kevin that she is now trying to learn Italian.
She added that she was finding it quite difficult. Be sure to listen to KGRE in July and August to hear Anggun's
interview and about learning languages. Check the September magazine and the KGRE website for more news of Anggun
Be sure to listen to Anggun on KGRE radio as she talks about writing and performing in English, learning languages,
travel and many other interesting topics. You can win autographed CDs from Anggun - don't miss that!
Interviewed in Jakarta in May, 2006
Dewi Lestari is quite an amazing person. She is a singer, songwriter and a novelist. One of her most popular literary
works is the ‘Supernova’ series of novels. Have you read them? Dewi is also a guest speaker
and presents seminars both here in Indonesia and overseas. Dewi lives in Bandung but KGRE was lucky enough to meet
her at Balai Sarbini in late April 2006. She was there appearing in a concert with her husband, Marcell. Dewi was
so kind as to sit down with Kevin for a few minutes to talk about her life, her work and her amazing interest in
English. It was hard to find a quiet place but they eventually found a back corridor to do the interview in. In
fact Kevin was somewhat in awe of Dewi when they met. Kevin had listened to Dewi's latest CD while he was flying
to Jakarta a few days earlier. The CD, titled ‘Out of Shell’, is nothing short of incredible.
It may not be to everyone's liking, but without a doubt, the English language Dewi uses is simply fantastic. Tracks
such as ‘Simply’ and ‘The End’ are two of Kevin's favourites.
The music and the words are quiet and relaxing — a feast for the ears and the heart.
Dewi says that she learnt her basic English language skills by watching endless re-runs of ‘The Muppets’.
When she was young and living in Medan, Dewi and her family really had little to do at night so their father
bought a video player. They recorded anything and everything they could, much of it in English, and then they
started watching those videos over and over. Dewi went onto study English at school BUT she clearly says that
it was The Muppets – Miss Piggy, Kermit and Animal - that got her into English. Such simple beginnings
for sure, but these days Dewi's love for, and use of, English is remarkable to say the very, very least.
Dewi's latest CD, ‘Out of Shell’ is all written in English. Dewi says that sometimes ideas
come to her in English and sometimes in Indonesian. The songs on this CD came to her in English. Kevin asked Dewi
if the lyrics could be translated into Indonesian so that the vast majority of Indonesian people could also enjoy
the CD. According to Dewi this is not possible AND she should know, right? KGRE spoke with Shanty last year about
her wonderful song ‘Di Belahan Langit Hati’. The song was written by Dewi but in English.
Shanty loved the song and wondered whether Dewi could change it into Bahasa Indonesia. The answer? No! Dewi did
agree however to translate some of the lyrics into Indonesian BUT not all of it. Dewi says that some words and concepts
just can't be translated properly between languages.
Interviewed in Jakarta in November, 2005
Kevin met Nicholas in a bookstore in Kemang, Jakarta. He is very interested in books. Checking out books, especially
about architecture, is one of his favourite pastimes. Nicholas Saputra is well-known and is one of the most
talented young actors in Indonesia. He has made several movies including ‘Gie’ for which
he won the prestigious Piala Citra Award in 2005 for Best Actor. Nicholas's portrayal of the 1960s activist
has been hailed by critics and also by the people who actually knew Gie himself. Nicholas certainly has a wonderful
career ahead of him. But Nicholas is also a fulltime student. He had a dream to be a doctor but changed his
mind and decided to study architecture.
“I'm studying architecture in University of Indonesia. This is my third year. I just finished my third
year and one more year to go. In architecture you can still mix it with another things like playing in a movie,
stuff like that. And so I think architecture will be fit to my other world.”
KGRE asked Nicholas how he manages to fit the two ‘careers’
together. He was quite clear about this situation. His studies are the most important at the moment and his film
career must fit in with his studies.
“I'm trying to not to put it together. I only wanna do shooting film when it's on holiday. So the preparation
I can do after studying time and yeah when filming it's on holiday fully.”
Learning to act takes time. Nicholas has never followed an acting course but he has learnt a lot from storylines,
fellow actors and directors. “When I'm doing ‘Gie’, it was so like out of my world.
I learn about all things from Gie's character like what books he read. I mean like the books that I haven't
read before about politics, about social, and about everything, social situations back in 1960s and even before
to understand that.” Making movies is not always easy. For instance, Nicholas had to lose 12 kilograms
to play the part of ‘Gie’.
Nicholas found English language studies interesting at school but he also told KGRE that watching movies has taught
him a lot. His parents speak English so naturally that has had a huge influence. English is very important for
his acting career. Recent trips to Sydney and Vancouver meant that he had to use English to talk about his films
and for general communication.
“I felt how English is important when I went to festivals so I can communicate with people like when I went
to Vancouver, Korea, Sydney and another countries, it really helps. I mean like I can't imagine that I can't speak
English or I cannot communicate with them I mean like sharing your things.”
The future for Nicholas Saputra? Will it be acting or architecture?
“I still have one more year to think about that. To think about what I'm gonna do after this. Because you
know the priority is like sometimes film's bigger than architecture but the next time maybe architecture's bigger
Interviewed in Bali in September, 2005
His full name is Marchello Tahitoe but we all know him as Ello. He is a singer and has already made one fantastic
album called ‘Ello’. This self-titled album features many wonderful songs including the big
‘Pergi Untuk Kembali’ which his father had as a hit song back in the 1970s. Ello grew up with two dreams
- one was to be a football player and the other was to be a singer. One has come true but as Ello explains, the
other one probably never will. “I'm so lazy to practice. I enjoy football, you know it's not just playing
you know, you need to practice and you need to get up early and you need to jog and stuff, I cannot do that. I'm
just too lazy for that.”
Ello grew up in a musical family. Ello is from Ambon and has actually been singing since 1996. Less than a year
ago he decided to take up singing professionally. His dad is a composer and his mother is a singer. Ambonese are
well known for their musical ability. Both Glenn Fredly, a cousin of Ello, and Ruth Sahayana are from Ambon. Like
many Ambonese, Ello and Glenn have a great vision for Ambon. “...we both have a very great vision for
Ambon, Ambonese people because you know erm we're proud as Ambonese because their sense of arts you know. Their
sense of art is so extremely I don't know, it's very good, you know we can build Ambon, we can make industry in
Ambon with arts industry so I think I need support from every people who's listening and you know do something
Ello likes Jamoroqi, Stevie Wonder and Maxwell. Ello is a real musician and not just a singer. He plays guitar
and piano. He would like to learn to play the trumpet, saxophone and maybe even the violin. Ello wrote eight
of the ten songs and produced several of the songs on ‘Ello’. A new album could be due next year
and Ello has already started working on the songs for that.
Ello and English? Ello started learning English in elementary school and then high school but he also took some
language courses too. Ello told KGRE, “...but the most important thing if you wanna be a fluent English
speaker you have to speak and you have to, you have to practice...”. Ello also added that watching
television has helped him a lot with his English language studies. KGRE asked Ello if he has any English language
songs on his album or if he sings any in his shows. “...in my album not yet, not yet, I will, but in
my gig I brought some English songs like ‘Waiting Fans’ from Bob Marley, ‘The Most Beautiful
Girl’ by Prince and ‘Because of You’ by Kate Martin.”
Juminato, a student from Gowa in South Sulawesi asked Ello this question, “Do you have a darling?” Ello's
answer? “Ya Juminato, and I can put it like this. My life for the past is like a year and a half is
full of love. You know what I mean. I mean but not like serious thing, getting married soon or something, no, I
just enjoy with this girl seriously.”
KGRE spoke with Ello on the morning of one of the biggest rock concerts that he had ever performed at the Soundrenalin
Concert on Pulau Serangan. Kevin asked him if he was nervous. “I always get nervous every time I go
on but what makes me even more nervous coz this gig, this event is you know kind of rock thing and I don't do rock,
I do pop, R & B.” Other artists at the gig included Slank, Peter Pan and Iwan Fals.
When you see that Ello is coming to your town, it doesn't mean he is coming on his own. In fact he may have up to
10 or 12 people with him including assistants and technicians plus the band. “Ya I have this concept
in my head that solo artist like me will be better if they use their own band you know. I have my own band. Six
of them. There is bass player, guitar, keyboard, percussion, and another keyboard.” One further interesting
point that Ello spoke about was how he tries to give his audience something different each time he performs. “You
know people buy my tickets not to hear just the album ya. They need something new, maybe I'm gonna put the rap
thing then in the middle of the song. I don't know, something different. I always perform everything differently.”
If Ello is coming to your part of Indonesia make sure you go and see him.
At the KGRE interview in Bali, Ello told Kevin that he loves watching television. In fact the tv was on during
the interview - a great way to relax and learn at the same time according to Ello.
Interviewed in August 2005 in Jakarta
Ade Rai is a famous athlete and professional body builder in Indonesia. After graduating from university he became
very involved in his sport. “One of the interesting things about this sport is this sport can make
you look better because you as young guy usually you want to look better. Let's say if you are heavy you wanna
look slimmer. If you're too slim you wanna look heavier, you wanna look athletic. So this sport can provide your
need.” Ade actually became interested in physical strength through arm wrestling. He really enjoyed
arm wrestling at university and was determined to become as strong as possible. He was soon the national arm wrestling
champion and in fact he still is. KGRE asked Adi about the time he spends on strengthening his body.
“I don't feel like body building is like a burden to me but I love the sport very much. I only train
one hour five days a week but the hardest part in the sport is the dieting, because we are what we eat so if you
want to improve your health, if you want to improve your performance and your looks you have to pay attention to
what you eat.” Ade's advice for eating properly is pretty simple really. Don't miss the important meals
such as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eat nutritious food and make sure you eat all of the food groups including
carbohydrates, protein, fibres and vegetables —
eat a variety of food.
“I eat carbohydrate, protein and fat and fibre and vitamins and minerals. I take multivitamin and minerals
for my supplement. I eat rice for carbohydrate also brown rice oat meals. For protein I eat white meat and red
meat at the same time but one thing for sure I try to avoid food that is fried — food that contains a lot
of fat. I like milk, ice cream, cheese but the thing is I cannot eat as often as a lot of people here in Indonesia,
but I drink non-fat milk.”
KGRE met Ade during ‘Pesta Raga’ - a National Body Builder Competition and Fitness Festival
held in Jakarta in August 2005. The festival also included all kinds of fitness activities such as aerobic dance,
martial arts, a fashion show and of course, body building.
Ade was one of the main organisers of the event. One of the reasons for organising activities such as Pesta Raga
is to help overcome the lack of information and knowledge about fitness and bodybuilding. “My goal
is to promote fitness itself through the events and through the fitness facilities, through the seminars, talk
shows and everything.”
Ade's devotion to the sport means that he travels a lot promoting healthy lifestyles in schools, sports clubs, malls
and sporting events. He is also passionately involved in ‘Badan Narkotika Nasional’ and
‘Badan Narkotika Propinsi’ which both promote the latest information and warnings about drugs to young
people. Ade is particularly against steroids in the sport of bodybuilding and is working hard to make sure that
they do not become a problem here in Indonesia as they have overseas. Another great interest of Ade's is health
education in schools. He is concerned about the lack of information given to students about nutrition, for example.
Ade believes that nowadays most Indonesians, even those with a university education, don't understand what the
differences are between carbohydrates and proteins. What is a calorie for example? Why do people become fat?
Poor food can influence our health. Changing the curriculum, especially for health education is really important.
Ade also spoke to KGRE about his English language skills. He said that he has never learnt English formally
but his American fitness training partner uses English with Ade all the time.
However Ade did add that his English is at its very best when he is talking about his main interests in life - fitness
and bodybuilding. He feels confident talking about these topics, whereas in other areas he admits his English may
not be so good. For more information about health and fitness Ade has his own magazine called “Ade Raga” — check
it out in bookstores and newspaper shops. He also has a network of 15 Ade Rai gymnasiums across the country.
Interviewed in Bali in late 2003
AB Three celebrated their 10th anniversary in September 2003. This singing trio is very popular throughout Indonesia.
They are also popular in countries such as Russia, Australia, Romania, Finland, America, Italy and France. Widi,
Cynthia and Nola invited KGRE to visit them during one of their performances at Planet Hollywood Bali in August
It was surprising to hear during their ‘wild and wonderful’ performance that many of the
songs were sung in English, including the raunchy ‘Lady Marmalade’ from the movie Moulin
Rouge. In the interview, which you can hear on KGRE's radio program, I asked them about this. Widi, who recently
completed her English Diploma at the University of Indonesia, said they have many English language songs on their
albums and even more in their repertoire. When they travel overseas they perform Indonesian songs of course but
they also like to, and need to, sing in English. If AB Three want to perform and be popular overseas, then English
is very important. Widi, Cynthia and Nola all spoke English during the interview. Did you know that Nola is the
dancing member of AB Three? She is responsible for many of their dance routines. Cynthia admitted that she loves
to eat and both Widi and Nola said that was absolutely true.
Indonesian Champion Swimmers
Interviewed in October 2004 in Jakarta
Albert, Bobby, Sherly and Delfina are four young Indonesians. They are all top sports men and women and Indonesian
swimming champions. They have already been overseas and will go again in the next twelve months. They speak
English and were very keen to chat with KGRE last October before they began their daily practice session at
the Senayan Pool, Jakarta. Albert Sutanto was a member of the 2004 Indonesian Olympic Swimming Team and went
to Athens to represent his country. He also represented Indonesia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Bobby Bangkit
Guntoro also went to Athens. Bobby was chosen as one of the two Indonesian representatives at the Olympic Youth
Camp in Greece. He was chosen because of his swimming potential. Look out for Bobby in the 2008 Olympic Games
in China. He has a great future in the pool. Sherly Yunita and Delfina Chandra are also members of the Indonesian
National Swimming Team. Together with Albert and Bobby, they attended a 5 month pre-Olympic training placement
in Perth, Western Australia. As Albert recognises, his interest and passion for swimming has given him and his
friends many wonderful rewards. Swimming has taken him overseas, given him a career and a future and introduced
him to friends from all over the world.
Interviewed in Jakarta in May 2004
Shanty is well known in Indonesia as a model, singer and VJ. Here's what Shanty told KGRE about her career so
far and in the future. “I am a singer, presenter, whatever — anything that I can do in this
entertainment business.” She just loves the entertainment business, doesn't she? Shanty always
wanted to be a singer. Her first demo in 1996 was rejected by a record company. Not a great start you might
say but guess what? That very same recording company has since signed Shanty to a recording contract. In the
meantime Shanty tried modelling, but guess what? Too short for that career. How about being a VJ? Shanty tried
that too but was so nervous at her first audition that she didn't get that job either. Shanty wasn't going to
give up on the entertainment business and 2 years later re-auditioned for MTV and guess what? She was successful.
Shanty told KGRE the three reasons she got that job, and stayed with MTV for three years.
The three reasons Shanty gave were that she is bubbly (ceria), eager to talk and because her English was good. “If
you don't speak English I don't think you can get the job as an interviewer on MTV”. To interview Ronan
Keating, Enrique Iglesias, Blue and Westlife you do need to be lively and pretty confident with your English. Nowadays,
when Shanty appears overseas she often needs to use English, particularly when organising activities and appearances. “I
don't speak perfect English, my grammar is totally wrong, I don't know, it's not perfect at all but at least people
can understand me”. As for Shanty's future, “I'm trying to get into acting. Hopefully I
have two movies coming up so hopefully they will come up good and my album is coming out next month”.
One of Shanty's problems, especially as an actor, is that she speaks too fast. Her acting coach often tells her, “No,
if you say this line you have to say it really slowly and people will have to hear you clearly to understand
what it means”. ‘Di Belahan Langit Hati’ is one of Shanty's songs that KGRE has featured
on the radio program. Have you heard it? It is terrific! It is half in English and half in Indonesian. As Shanty
says, “The song is just so beautiful that I had to do it. I have even made a video for it, myself.” It
was written by Dewi Lestari, a good friend of Shanty. Shanty's next album? She told KGRE it will be more of a
rock album with influences from artists such as Avril Lavigne, Evanescence and Linkin Park. Finally some advice
from Shanty, “Ya, just don't be afraid to speak English. I mean people are so afraid of other people
making fun of you ... if you say something wrong like doesn't, isn't, you know that kind of stuff. But I think
it's completely normal if you say, if you make couple of mistakes but the main thing is just do not be scared
to speak English, that's the main thing.”
This interview report was included in the August 2005 KGRE Reading Class Sets sent free to English language teachers
across Indonesia. Students in class can hear Shanty chatting with KGRE and then complete easy language activities
based on this report from the August 2005 KGRE magazine.
Delon and Joy from ‘Indonesian Idol’
Interviewed in December 2004
In recent years the ‘Idol’ phenomenon, known here as
‘Indonesian Idol’, has swept the world. Millions of people watch every week. The ‘Idol’ format
has worked very well in countries such as Australia, USA, Sweden and Britain. The winning ‘Idols’
from participating countries finally meet in the ultimate talent quest each year with the grand winner being called ‘World
The basic idea of ‘Idol’ is this. A giant talent search is conducted in each participating country.
Hundreds and hundreds of young singers follow a series of heats in front of three judges. These heats run over many
months and are held all over the country. Eventually an Idol Final Series is presented to the general public in
each country. People then vote for their favourite artists. That lucky winner becomes the ‘Idol’ for
In 2003, Guy Sebastian was a 22-year old from Adelaide. Now his voice - and his hair - have captivated Australia.
Guy's debut single ‘Angels Brought Me Here’ became the biggest-selling Australian single in Australian
music history - in just two weeks. Talking about ‘World Idol’, Guy said, “To me this
is just an amazing opportunity to meet people who have gone through the same things that I have been through
and I will be able to ask them how they dealt with stuff.” He is also quite well known here in
Indonesia and visited Indonesia just a few months ago. Guy has very strong and distinctive voice. He was voted
by Australians in 2003 as the best singer in the ‘Australian Idol’ competition. He went to London
to represent Australia at the ‘World Idol’ final but was not successful in becoming the lucky winner.
Joy was in the first Idol Series and is from Sumatra and she has a truly wonderful voice. It doesn't seem to matter
if Joy sings songs in English or in Indonesian. Her words are clear and strong and it is obvious that Joy really
understands the lyrics and enjoys performing. The runner up idol in the current
‘Indonesian Idol’ series is Delon. KGRE was lucky enough to chat with Joy and Delon in Jakarta in October.
Congratulations to all of the
‘Indonesian Idol’ finalists. They make it look so easy, don't they?
Joy told KGRE that she was very happy winning ‘Indonesian Idol’. “Well, I'm very happy
because I'm the winner of ‘Indonesian Idol’.” Joy went on to tell KGRE that some of her
favourite music includes Pop, Blues, Rock and Roll and R and B. Her favourite female singers are Celine Dion, Aretha
Franklin, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. As for Indonesian singers, she likes Ruth Sahanaya and Krisdayanti.
The future? Joy told KGRE that the Asian Idol Competition is next and then perhaps World Idol. Joy was busy planning
a well deserved holiday in Bali with her family. Let's hope that Joy Tobing will be the next ‘World Idol’.
We wish her all the luck in the world.
Delon also spoke with KGRE and talked about his English language studies. He said, “For me English
is a little bit hard to practice”. Kevin asked Delon about any problems areas that he still has
with English. He said that structure and grammar are still a little difficult as well as pronunciation, but Delon
is working on those areas. One important thing is to be willing to talk as often as you can and Delon uses English
whenever he can. When singing in English Delon needs to be sure of the meanings so that he can sing the lyrics
effectively and with feeling. Some of his favourite songs are
‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ by Elton John, ‘Heaven Knows’ by Rick Price and ‘Angels
Brought Me Here’ by Guy Sebastian. His favourite artists include Rick Price, Josh Groban, Air Supply, Chrisye
and Ruth Sahanaya. On his success, Delon says, “I'm still Delon like before. Still the same. But
the change is with my schedule. It is very full.“
Delon in Perth, 2005
Interviewed in April 2003
Marcell is a relatively new singer to much of Indonesia. He is currently starring in a movie called ‘Andai
Ia Tahu’. It is a romantic comedy. Have you seen it yet? It is funny and Marcell is a fine young
actor. KGRE met up with Marcell late in 2002 and he had a lot of to say. You can hear more of his interview on
KGRE during April and May 2003. His full name is Marcellinus Siahaan and he was born in Bandung. His parents
are native Batak. According to Marcell, his interest in music came from his grand parents because they were musicians.
They played the violin, the piano and the saxophone to him when he was young. Marcell really loves music and
especially black music. Singers such as Marvin Gaye and Brian McKnight are his favourites.
Marcell's new album will concentrate on getting that ‘total black sound’ that he likes so much. He
feels that some Indonesian singers have a black sound as far as the lyrics go but the music is still basically
pop music. Marcell is confident with his English and is keen to improve it both for his singing career and also
for his law career. Marcell says that his grandparents and parents were interested in English. While he was at
school he was also interested. As far as his career goes, Marcell says, “It's very important, especially
like this when I've got an interview or someday I hope I can see more people around the world, so if my English
is poor, I think I can not have it.”
Interviewed in January 2004
Ari Wibowo is a well-known Indonesian actor. He has been acting since he was 17 years old. Ari began modeling
as a catwalk model. Some reporters saw him and took photographs and asked whether he would be willing to do
modeling for magazines. Movie producers approached Ari and asked if he would be interested in making movies.
After some basic training in acting he began his acting career. Ari told KGRE that he learnt most of his English
by watching movies. He admits that he is a movie freak. He grew up in Germany but moved to Indonesia when he
was in elementary school (Kelas 5 SD). That is when he started learning English. Ari still has problems
with dialects in English and says that he needs to listen extra carefully when chatting to an Aussie, for example,
who has a broad accent.
As far as his career is concerned, Ari realizes that if wants to be an actor elsewhere in the world then English
is pretty important. Ari spoke of his hobbies and leisure activities. He loves to get on his big Ducati motorbike
and just go touring, whether it be to Bromo, Yogyakarta or elsewhere in Java. He usually goes together with
a group of friends and they just ride, ride, ride. Scuba diving is another of Ari's passions and this hobby
takes him to places such as Ambon and Bunaken. As far as music goes he likes Katon Bagaskara. A typical day
for Ari begins early at 6 am. Being a Christian he reads his bible first then goes to the gym. After breakfast
and a shower he goes to work. Work for Ari generally begins at 11 am and finishes at 9 pm. Ari returns home
to watch movies on DVD or on satellite television.
Interviewed in August 2003
They have been popular in Indonesia for over 10 years. They have released 10 CDs and have sold millions of cassettes
and CDs all over the country. Their faces are easily recognized wherever they go and yet the members of GIGI
are down to earth guys who really love their music. They also love to use English, as Kevin found out when he
met them in Jakarta last June. Kevin met Armand, Budhy, Dewa Budjana and Thomas in their Jakarta office and
was lucky enough to spend a good hour with them talking about their careers, their hobbies, their education
and their plans for the future. Here are some interesting facts that came out of the interview.
The name GIGI comes from the ‘broad smile’ of an original member of the band. Armand went to SMA
5 in Bandung to study music and vocal skills. Dewa attended SMA 2 in Surabaya, as did Piyu from PADI and Dhani
Bujana first joined a group called ‘Trilogy’ after attending school in Cimahi. GIGI
began with five members. Dewa Budjana was born in Sumba.
One of Armand's favourite GIGI songs is ‘Andai’. All members of the band just love performing
live. In fact they have done almost 60 concerts in the first 6 months 2003. Making video clips is their least
enjoyable activity. ‘Kucari Yang Kumau’ took 10 hours to make.
One of their biggest thrills was performing in Brunei using Michael Jackson's sound equipment. Kris Dayanti is
one of Dewa Budjana's favorite Indonesian artists. All four members of GIGI are heavily involved in writing
Superman Is Dead
Interviewed in August 2004
They are Balinese and they have been together since 1995. Eka is the bass player and does backing vocal. Jerinx
is the drummer. Bobby plays the guitar and sings. They are known as ‘Superman Is Dead’ (SID).
They are quite well known in Bali. In fact they are becoming well known all over Indonesia for their punk rock
music. SID spoke with Kevin last May at their headquarters in Kuta. Here's some of the information that Kevin learnt
while he chatted with them. Eka began his musical interests in high school. In fact, he started out singing Australian
rock music. He soon realized that he liked music groups such as Deep Purple and Metallica. Eka studied English
at high school ad went on to university, graduating from Udayana majoring in English. Did you know that 75% of
the songs written and performed by the group are in English? Well they are, and that means English is pretty important
for SID! Eka explained that writing lyrics for their music is easier in English. Bobby creates most of the music
and then Eka and Jerinx collaborate on the lyrics.
“Ya, for us writing punk music songs in Indonesia is more difficult than in English, because it's difficult
to find the words for what we would like to say in Indonesian, but in English it's easier. In English we can
have sharp words with large meaning.”
SID also helps other bands to grow by providing them with a place to practise and perform. The music is not always
punk rock but sometimes alternative or even rock and roll. The venue is in the heart of Kuta and many local
bands take advantage of the opportunity. One of Jerinx's other activities is managing the venue while Eka handles
the computer work such as a maintaining their SID website. Bobby, a graphic designer, looks after the merchandising
side of the group's activities.
Interviewed in Jakarta in September, 2002
Padi is probably one of Indonesia's most popular music groups. They are certainly talented and well known, even
in other parts of South East Asia. KGRE found them to be very free and easy going and eager to use, practise and
enjoy their English. Kevin's interview with PADI was a lot of fun for all concerned, even their Road Manager, Lexie.
If you have already heard the interviews on the KGRE radio program then you already know that. PADI members began
the interview by saying that they were nervous. Kevin was surprised at that because he was probably the most nervous.
Things settled down pretty quickly and the 60 minute
‘chat’ was a mixture of information, laughter and fun. You can hear more from PADI in Series 37 in 2003.
The name PADI?
In his own words, here is what Piyu had to say about the name of the group.
“The name PADI comes from, the idea is original from Yoyok. He gave us a name PADI but the point
is PADI has philosophy in Bahasa Indonesia it called semakin berisi semakin merunduk. It means humble or humility.
When rice is full they get down. It means we have to get humble everytime, everywhere. So this is a good name
for us and we could tell people, anybody who ask what's the meaning of PADI. We could tell the philosophy.”
Piyu often writes down the lyrics of English language songs that he likes. His problems with English include pronunciation
and conversation, interpreting and answering questions. To help with vocabulary Piyu studies English language songs.
He said it is a good way for him to improve his vocabulary.
Rindra feels learning English is very important because it is a global language and is really necessary for successful
relations between countries of the world. He said that television was his main teacher but that KGRE is going to
be from now on. Wow!
KGRE Note: KGRE has interviewed PADI many times and especially Piyu. Keep watching this site for more from Piyu
Interviewed in Jakarta September 2002
In September Kevin visited a sound studio in South Jakarta to meet with an exciting young Indonesian singer. Her
name is Andien. Andien and the Twilight Orchestra were there preparing for a performance the following night. Kevin
spoke with her before she began her rehearsal. Dressed in jeans, a pink jumper and with her hair tied back, Andien
talked about her favorite music, her career, her future and her English language studies. You can hear more from
Andien on KGRE radio in Series 37 in early 2003.
She was born on the 25th of August 1985 in Jakarta. Her mother is from West Java and her father is from East
Java. Andien is currently attending senior high school in Jakarta and finds that she really has a lot of study
to do. She plans to study overseas and wants to make sure that she is well prepared. At this stage her plans
include studying Business Marketing, possibly at Monash University in Melbourne. Andien loves jazz, bosanova,
pop and the new trend of ‘jungle music’. On both of her albums she has recorded several
English language songs including music standards such as ‘My Funny Valentine’ and ‘The
Boy From Ipanema’.
Andien sings English language songs because she really enjoys them. They help her with grammar and pronunciation
and are a fun way to use and learn English. As for advice about learning English from Andien? Andien reads a lot
of books and watches TV movies - without the Indonesian subtitles. Andien admits that she probably isn't the best
person to give advice about learning English but finished the interview with this comment. “Well, all
I know is you have to perhaps practise it all the time, all day. And then music and songs are good ways to practise