Eid Al-Fitr is right around the corner and the essence of Eid is all about the bonding, love, sharing, and caring that all Muslim families around the world celebrate. The Minister of Industry for the Republic of Indonesia Saleh Husin is no different: he also doesn't want to miss out on special moments to connect and spend heart-warming time with family and relatives.
For him, this kind of moment is the biggest blessing in the world. Here, Saleh shares with Indonesia Tatler his traditions, activities, and thoughts on the festive season.
Indonesia Tatler (IT): Does your family have any special traditions for Eid?
Saleh Husin (SH): Actually, my family does it the same as other people usually do, starting with salat Eid at the nearest mosque with my wife and children. Then we eat together at home, before going out to our relatives' houses and socialising for the day.
Last year, when I became a minister, the routine stayed the same—it only added more people to visit. The president went to his hometown for salat Eid, after which he came back to Jakarta and we did silaturahim with the whole cabinet. After that I went home, preparing for the open house to which I welcomed friends and relatives, from ambassadors to fellow businessmen, to gather and enjoy the togetherness.
IT: What about the tradition of homecoming travel?
SH: We usually choose whether we want to celebrate Lebaran in Jakarta or Palembang—it depends on the family. If we choose to visit Palembang, then usually we do salat Eid in Jakarta first and then go to Palembang in the afternoon.
IT: Do you have any special Eid food menus?
SH: Our Eid menus are the usual choice of food, such as ketupat, lontong sayur, and so on. But as my wife comes from Palembang, we also serve pempek, tekwan and other South Sumatran food.
IT: What is the real meaning of Eid in your opinion?
SH: For me, Eid is a day of victory. As well as 30 days of fasting, we also resist anger and unwanted outbursts of emotion. One month is a pretty long time, so we should celebrate it with joy and with our family and friends. Eid is also a great moment to silaturahim with people with whom we've had little time to meet recently due to our business and duties. This is the moment when we can finally talk, have a laugh and forgive each other.
IT: Are there any special activities that you do regarding your duty as a Minister of Industry?
SH: The most important thing is similar to my daily routine. I visit industries and factories, especially those that produce food and drinks. We take a look at how production is going, preventing any issues that could cause stock scarcity ahead of Eid. Fortunately, the amount of stock is always secured during these times. The demand decreased last year, but has gone back up this year.
IT: Talk about your role as Minister of Industry. What is the main focus for you right now?
SH: The manufacturing industry is the most important thing right now as it is one of the biggest contributors to the national economy. As we know, the biggest contribution to our national GDP comes from this industry, which is about 20 per cent of all GDP contributions.
This has to be maintained, of course. Also, we are concerned with how we treat investors so that they can work without any problems. When we can make the investment process easier, then productivity will increase automatically.
IT: How does it feel actually after almost two years as a minister?
SH: I have always been a relaxed, easy-going and free kind of person. I go out frequently, getting lunch or coffee with friends, at casual coffee shop or everywhere. That kind of freedom is now limited, due to the procedure of work I have to do. But I have to adapt and follow the rules, as the president instructed us to work hard, making us focus on building a better nation.
Read more about Saleh Husin in the July 2016 edition of Indonesia Tatler.
Photo by Agung Wibowo