This week, we gain insight into AIYA’s very own National President, Nicholas Mark as he shares his favourite things about Indonesia, his long-standing involvement with AIYA and his hopes for the bilateral relationship! Welcome Nick!

What is your occupation?

I am a lawyer at Kemp Strang in Sydney, practising in banking, finance and property law. I also aim to pursue Australia-Indonesia creative projects where possible, and I have previously written an Indonesians children’s book, Petualangan Anak Indonesia, and also assisted DFAT as writer on their Next Door Land edu-game and digital diplomacy app.

What is your favourite places to visit in Indonesia?

Jakarta (especially for the food and escape rooms) & Yogya (for the ACICIS nostalgia).

Favourite meal in Indonesia?

Bamboo-smoked grilled fish (ikan bakar dalam bambu) from Karimata in south-east Jakarta (legend has it that the secret recipe sambal is only known by the owner/head chef, which he then divvies out to three separate people to prepare different elements before they are combined). Maknyus.

How about your favourite words in Indonesian?

Polisi tidur, kejeduk, cekukan, ngopi, luar biasa & semangat.

 Do you have a favourite Indonesian film?

I love watching any and all Indonesian films. My top two would have to be Janji Joni and The Raid 2: Berandal. My other favourites are Langitku Rumahku, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, Tiga Dara (1956), Petualangan Sherina, the AADC films, Cek Toko Sebelah, Mendadak Dangdut, Tabula Rasa & even Cinta di Perth.

How did you first become interested in Indonesia?

Fortunately, it was compulsory for me to learn Bahasa Indonesia in years 7-8, and also for one term in year 5. I was hooked straight away, and then took it as an elective up until the HSC, continued at university and did an ACICIS semester at UGM.

What was getting involved with AIYA like?

Before AIYA was created, there were relatively few opportunities for young Australians and Indonesians with an interest in the other’s country to connect with each other outside of a university context or to actively collaborate or participate in larger Australia-Indonesia initiatives. It was a privilege to be part of the team that got AIYA NSW up and running back in late 2012 and I have been involved as much as possible ever since to help grow the impact and reach of the organisation across both countries.

Any hopes for the bilateral relationship?

For both Australians and Indonesians, especially youth, to generally take increasingly greater interest in each other. That personal interest will spark future collaborations and build stronger ties at all levels. We are incredibly different neighbours with a lot to learn from each other.

What do you like most about AIYA?

The dedication of all the volunteers involved. The continued growth of our diverse online and offline activities. The opportunities and connections forged across the organisation (including getting to meet my now-wife when organising the AIYA NSW launch!).

Sum up your experience as an AIYA member in three words!

Rewarding. Inspiring. Seru.