Indonesian university to organise singing of Polish carols

Besides the national colours, there are much more reasons why Indonesians and Poles may feel a mutual interest in one another’s homelands, and that is what Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, intends to demonstrate on Saturday.

Atma Jaya, one of the top private universities in Indonesia, will hold a morning event to promote Polish culture and Christmas customs.

Participants will have a rare opportunity to sing Polish Christmas carols, learn basic Polish phrases, listen to Polish songs and design X-mas decorations.

The entry is free and the food, possibly Polish Christmas dishes, will be served at the venue.

At Atma Jaya, Polish themes are not limited to seasonal events like the upcoming one. One of the university’s main buildings was named after Pope John Paul II's original name: Karol Wojtyła.

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From black powder to tobacco

Polish diaspora in Indonesia is a minor one, with its numbers varying depending on the season. There are approximately 150 Poles permanently based in Indonesia, including mining business entrepreneurs, diplomats, travel agencies’ owners and missionaries.

One of the first Poles who set foot on Indonesia’s innumerable islands was an engineer and veteran of the 1863 January Uprising Ludwik Michalski. Following the uprising, he fled to Zurich in 1864, acquired Swiss citizenship and moved with his wife to Sumatra where the Sultan of Deli commissioned him with the formation of a Europe-styled military corps. For his endeavours, a large swath of land was bestowed upon Michalski – an area which he turned into a tobacco plantation and, feeling homesick, called it “Polonia”. Today the plantation is nowhere to be found as it was replaced by “Polonia International Airport” of the Indonesian city of Medan.