The Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games has captivated the world’s attention with explosive spirit resembling Energy of Asia – which is also this year’s sporting event jargon. With tickets sold out and excitements built up, everyone surely could not contain the triumph to enjoy the night.
From hipster president, magnificent mountain-like stage, to colossal dance performances, here are a few moments that turned the world’s eyes to the 2018 Asian Games and its host, Indonesia:
1 | The Incredible Stage
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The opening ceremony was held on 18 August 2018 in Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Stadium, Jakarta, boasted a set of stages that resembled a volcano complete with waterfalls and oceans. This luxurious but elegant stage illustrated Indonesia’s majestic nature and local cultures. FYI, this stage was made by 350 people and used around 12,775 real plants and flowers. The artificial waterfall was totally drained by 140,000 liters of water.
2 | The Cool Entrance of Indonesia’s President
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Combining on-video and on-stage act, the opening ceremony featured a cool entrance of President Joko Widodo or Jokowi. He was depicted to reach GBK like a motorbike gang dude after being stuck in Jakarta’s notorious traffic jam. After the ceremony, Indonesian President Joko Widodo or Jokowi has been named as a “hipster” president by especially South Koreans – thanks to the hilarious yet dope motorbike stunt.
3 | The Colossal Ratoh Jaroe of Aceh
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Another highlight of the event was the Ratoh Jaroe dance from Aceh, which was performed by 1,600 dancers from 18 high schools in Jakarta. The dancers amazed the audience because they kept changing their clothes in a short time and in the middle of their magical dance. Ratoh Jaroe dance is often equated with Saman dance, which both are from Aceh. Saman dancers usually dress in traditional Gayo clothes, while Ratoeh Jaroe performers wear plain outfit combined with traditional cloth Songket. If the Saman dance is only performed by male dancers in an odd number, the Ratoh Jaroe dance is performed by even-numbered female dancers. The Saman dance itself was listed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2011.
4 | The Silent Moments for Lombok
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Huge earthquakes hit Lombok and West Nusa Tenggara amidst the tumult of preparations for the 2018 Asian Games. Therefore, at the opening, the audience was invited to silence to honor the victims. They were asked to bow their heads for a moment to the victims of the earthquake that rocked Lombok at the end of July. As a result of the devastating disaster, more than 400 people lost their lives and thousands of buildings were destroyed.
5 | The Athlete’s Parade
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The Asian Games’ opening ceremony also stole the world’s attention due to its contingent defile, in which South and North Korean delegations marched under a single flag – the blue-white Korean Peninsula flag. The historic moment was also witnessed by South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and North Korean Deputy Prime Minister Ri Ryong Nam, who sent a strong peaceful message by cheering together while holding each other’s hand. It was the fourth time that the two Koreas did so after 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as well as Asian Games 2002 and 2006. The countries had three unified teams for woman basketball, dragon boat, and rowing boat in the ongoing sporting event.
6 | The Musical Cultural Show
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As many as 18 top Indonesian artists such as three-time Grammy Award nominee and young prodigy pianist, Joey Alexander, and go-international singer, Anggun, enlivened the opening ceremony of the Asian Games. Besides the singers, the performance also featured 3,600 dancers and performers under the direction of Indonesia's top choreographers, Denny Malik and Eko Supriyanto. They were accompanied by thousands of musicians directed by prominent music directors Addie MS and Ronald Steven. The dancers themselves had been practicing for 126 days and spent 231,000 bottles of drinking water and 38,500 portions of food in order to provide the not-forgotten colossal performance.
7 | The Flag Raising Ceremony
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The Flag Raising Ceremony completes the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games, which was held a day after Indonesia's Independence Day. The atmosphere of serenity and utmost pride was felt during the moment, which was held just after the vivid and exciting defile of contingents from 45 participating countries. The spectators stood up and gave their respects when the flag was being raised. The audience then participated in singing the national anthem Indonesia Raya, led by Indonesian singer Tulus.
8 | The Lighting of The Cauldron
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This year’s Asian Games offered a different view with the lighting of the huge crater-like cauldron. At the moment, six of Indonesia’s former medal-winning carried the torch all the way up to the mountainous stage. The relay was then finished by 1992 Olympic gold medalist Susy Susanti, who lighted up the basin that resembled volcanic crater.
9 | The Fireworks
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The fireworks party eventually wrap up the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. The spectators were stunned by the fireworks that seemed to chase each other. Fireworks attractions had actually begun at the beginning of the opening ceremony but they only appeared occasionally. The peak of the fireworks occurred at the end of the event, making GBK seem to be bathed in light.
10 | Festivities in Palembang!
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To participate in enlivening the Asian Games, Palembang of South Sumatra - which is also the host of this grand event - has prepared various festivals. One of them is the Sriwijaya Festival, which will be held on 22-27 August 2018 at Benteng Kuto Besak (BKB), Palembang. There will be 17 districts and cities in South Sumatra that participate. They will present dance, musical drama, regional songs, as well as culinary.
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