By Dan McNamara* (LPP2018)
The Australian National University
Selamat malam/soreh ACICIS Staff, guests, and participants of the ACICIS Professional Practicum courses for 2018. My name is Dan, also known as the slightly outspoken guy at the back of the seminars, and I am fortunate enough this evening to be speaking on behalf of the Law Professional Practicum cohort in its pilot year.
My experience in this program, like many of you, will leave fond, life-long memories, and I would like to tell you a bit about my experience of why I signed up, and the time that I have had in Jakarta over the past 6 weeks.
As I was approaching my final semester at the ANU, I was dreading the thought of becoming a grown up and approaching the inevitable fact that I would have to encounter the dwindling legal job market. I’d already avoided it by ‘conveniently’ not putting in clerkship applications, but an impending graduation meant that I had to do whatever I could to avoid my inevitable graduation gown hire, vexatious amount of family photos and free champagne at 10am.
Then ACICIS came along. A 6 week hybrid of coursework and an internship experience in Indonesia, topped off with a New Colombo mobility grant looked like the perfect fit. Although at the time I felt like the program, which I cacophonously pronounced A-C-I-C-I-S, would be an end to a means, I didn’t realise what fantastic opportunities would lie ahead.
My first day in Jakarta was an interesting one. As I waited for the one person I knew in Jakarta to arrive, also known as the unironically nicest guy in the world, Jeremy, I had to figure out a few things on my own. A few thoughts going through my head included:
– Dear God help me, what is this place.
– Gee, Go-JEK is a really popular helmet brand.
– Do I have to cling onto my pockets at all times to not get pickpocketed?
– If I fall into a pothole on a walkway, will anyone ever find me; and
– Do even the cute cats have rabies.
However, over time I learned to love the Big ol’ Durian for all of its ups and downs. We forged friendships at the Hotel Amaris, where we met some key players including Ingrid, the Jakarta-savvy whiz kid who tried to convince us that drinking snake blood at the snake markets was a thing; Ben Thomas, an innovator who tests the bounds of Go-Shopping; or Jason, whose LinkedIn game and Instapresence makes everything look so good it could amount to historical revisionism.
We began our seminars and language classes and gained a whole heap of knowledge. I fortunately learnt early on that I was mistaking the word enak which means delicious, with adik, meaning younger, so I fortunately evaded many conversations talking about my delicious brother. We then moved into our placements. I was so fortunate to be placed at the Trade Union Rights Centre, and can I please take this opportunity to thank Eci, the Deputy Director of TURC for providing such a fun and memorable internship experience: terima kasih untuk kesempatan besar. I was so fortunate to increase my knowledge in the labour arrangements in the palm oil industry, a sector employing over 16 million people in Indonesia. I’ve been able to meet with members of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the International Labour Organisation to collate further information which I truly hope can assist my organisation in establishing some degree of collective rights for vulnerable and exploited workers, particularly in South Kalimantan.
As this experience comes to an end, we can say that we survived earthquakes, flash floods, gastroenteritis, *hangovers*, boat trips, Bali trips, motorbikes and even Typhoid – Mitch I’m looking at you.
Of course, such a great experience came from the passion and the dedication by the people often behind the scenes. On behalf of the pilot LPP cohort, I want to give my sincerest thanks to the entire ACICIS Staff, namely Ibu Petra, Ibu Selvie, Ardelia and Yani: you have been pivotal in providing clarity, enjoyment and humour throughout this entire trip and we are all in your debt.
So friends, here we are in our final week, and one of the few times that we will again be in the same room as a cohort. I have been so fortunate to meet so many of you, have great times and even engage in some great debates. Whether you’re sticking around in Indonesia or heading back home, I wish you all the best in finishing your studies. You are always welcome to come and crash in my horrendously overpriced 2 bedroom apartment on the lower North Shore.
Make sure you make the most of the fleeting time we have remaining – you can sleep when you’re dead. Thank you, terimah kasih, and enjoy the rest of this fantastic event.
*This speech was delivered at the farewell ceremony for the 2018 Jakarta Professional Practica