The Nusantara Cultural Foundation, in collaboration with travel agents was drumming up Indonesian tourist to visit the Province of Henan, the cultural epicentrum of China. Two events would be offered, i.e. World Hakka Conference in Kafeng, Henan and China Luoyang Peony Cultural Festival [CLPCF] in April-May 2014. CLPF had been conducted since 1983. Some travel agents outside China were offering tour packages to China. "Each year colorful flowers bloom in the city of Luoyang. This is truly a classy festival, and being awaited for by tourists. We are sure that tourists from Indonesia would be attracted. We plan to bring Mandarin caligraphy artists because in Indonesia there is the Association of Indonesian caligraphy. Peony is often used as painting theme. and caligraphy themes. Peony is also a symbol of prosperity which the Chinese people believe in." Roy Wong of YBN stated to Business News [1/4].
Luoyang was selling a dream to foreign tourists. Beside Peony flower festival the tousrists could see ancient Shaolin temple. Luoyang was getting more famous, comparable to other cities like Beijing, Xi'an, and Nanjing. The Shaolin temple would present flashback of 13 Chinese dynasties. Historical heritage like Horse temple, Longmen Grottoes were the base tourist promotion to Henan. "Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia studied Kung Fu in the Temple of Shaolin. Each time they come to Henan they were fascinated by the beauty of Kung Fu Martial arts"
Visit of China's President Xi Jinping to Jakarta some months ago brought multiplier effect including activities of some travel agents. President Xi during his visit to Indonesia had promised to proclaim Year of China-Asean Cultural Exchange especially Indonesia. One of the cultural theme to be exercised was the Chinese Muslim Cultural Festival 2014. "We are finalizing the concept at the moment."
The Committee would also probe on collaboration with investors including the Indonesian Council of Ulama [MUI] and the Indonesian Chinese Muslim Association [PITI]. The Committee would also call all participants to a flashback commemoration of Cheng Ho, an Admiral from China who was Muslim, who came to Indonesia centuries ago. A film about Admiral Cheng Ho was shown because it was also related to spreading of Islam in Indonesia. "Everybody knows Cheng Ho spread Islam in Java. We would expose all the historical aspect during the festival."
In a different location Sulaiman, a Chinese halal resto manager admitted that he had run resto business for 2 years in Jakarta. In the beginning Sulaiman and his brother in Lay Wudi ran a Chibes resto in Jakarta. "In all of Indonesia, we are the only one running a Chinese Muslim resto" Sulaiman disclosed to Business News.
The Islamic ambience in that restaurant was strongly felt as visitors greet asalamu alaikum and waitresses dressed in Muslimat dress with jilbab returned the greeting. The genuine Chinese atmosphere was strong as visitors chat in Mandarin. The resto was named after its owner, Sulaiman.
In his daily routines Suilaiman was assisted by his wife and son in law Wudi, all were from the Province of Sanxi in China. Most of the people in Xi-an were Muslims, in every corner of the street there were mosques. Xi'an was well known among the people even among high Indonesian officials. It was not surprising that ex Indonesian Presidents like Abdurrahman Wahid and Magawati Soekarnoputri once visited one of the mosques in Xi'an. "After visiting the mosque, Mega ans Gus Dur came to dine in our resto in Xi'an. So we are sure Xi'an is well known among Indonesians. We thought of opening the same restaurant in Jakarta. Our family business had run for 17 years."
Not long after, Sulaiman was determined to open the same restaurant in Jakarta. The result was way above expectation. Visitors had to stand in quque and wait before occupied tables. Beside Chinese visitors there were also Indonesians of Chinese descendants or even tourists from Muslim countries in the Middle East who dined in this restaurant. Ambassadors and staff came here for lunch or dinner. "Because our location at Wahid Hasyim street was not spacious enough, we did not extend our contract which had been ongoing for 2 years. We had a new location at Batuceper street and moved on January 1, 2014. We changed our decor with Islamic outlook. Renovation took 2 years and by March 1, alhamdullillah we could start to opetate at Batuceper."
At the beginning we were sort of worried that our loyal customers would run away. When our resto at Jalan Wahid Hasyim was closed, many customers rang up asking where the new location was. "Now having opened for one month on April 1st alhamdullillah our restaurant was packed once more."
Sulaiman was optimistic about his restaurant busines in Indonesia. As planned the branch restaurant would be located in Jakarta. This was considering the limited number of chefs and ingredients from Xi'an. Sulaiman still had to train his staff especially in cooking. "If we make enough profit, we plan to open a branch office in Surabaya, Yogyakarta and Medan. Under the present condition me, my wife and Wudi cannot go anywhere. Slowly and gradually we will teach our personnel to cook the speciffic way. Once they are trained, we will open branches" (SS)
Business New - April 4, 2014