Akbar Selamat and Tjia Alphani win second place in the 2020 National Language Ambassador competition

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Moch Akbar Selamat and Tjia Alphani Anugrah Putri with West Java Language Ambassador Advisor Ade Mulyanah (center), competing with 30 participants from all over Indonesia. (Photo: ITB)

IO, Bandung – “Prioritize Indonesian, preserve local languages, and master foreign languages” is the content of the Trigatra Bangun Language, a principle initiated by the Ministry of Education and Culture to increase awareness of the national language. This principle is also the basis for holding the 2020 National Language Ambassador competition, at the end of October. 

This event is held annually by the Language Development and Guidance Agency under the Ministry of Education and Culture to improve language proficiency for the community through National Language Ambassadors and Language Ambassadors from each province. West Java Province was represented by Moch Akbar Selamat (Management 2017) and Tjia Alphani Anugrah Putri (Entrepreneurship 2019) from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), and won the second-best title, beating 30 representatives of other provinces in Indonesia. 

It was not a short journey for Akbar and Tjia to achieve this success. They had to undergo various preparations, such as cultural performance exercises, interviews, and communication exercises, along with preparing presentations at the West Java Language Center. After preparation, Akbar and Tjia needed to attend the entire series of activities for the competition held in Jakarta, from 19 to 24 October 2020. 

To the ITB Public Relations reporter, Akbar said that on the first and second days, he and Tjia along with other participants were given material about language and literature. The third day was filled with an assessment of the abilities, knowledge, and language and literary skills of each participant, through various tests, such as psychological tests, picture tests, and Guided Group Discussions (or so-called Focus Group Discussions). In addition to language skills, each participant is also required to display the cultural skills of his or her province of origin. 

On the following day, a linguistic interview was conducted, a presentation on Krida Bahasa (a program related to language and literature that has been designed by each provincial Language Ambassador). On this occasion, Akbar and Tjia presented Talking Robot, artificial intelligence that aims to provide linguistic insights through games and information sharing.

 “The last two days were the day to award the Top 10 National Language Ambassador Champions and the day the participants were released to return to their respective provinces to campaign and disseminate language and literature awareness in their hometowns,” he said, as quote from itb.ac.id, Friday (13/11/2020). 

Because a series of activities were carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic, participants are required to follow fairly strict health protocols to reduce the spread of the virus. During the activity, there is a distance between participants guarded strictly by the committee. 

Akbar, who is a member of the ITB Public Relations Student Reporter team, was advised to upgrade his language skills because language is closely related to communication that is important to anyone, including ITB students. Moreover, introducing technology requires good language skills to become more accepted by the community. 

“There is a saying if you speak a language they understand, you will enter their minds. However, if you speak their everyday language, you will touch their hearts,” he said. (est)