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Thursday, 23 August 2012

OSCAAR THE CELEBRATING THE COMING MAHASISWA BARU IAIN SUNAN AMPEL SURABAYA

Students acting like cheerleaders when the name of their faculty mentioned, new students being bullied by other students.alt

At first I didn’t expect to find such behavior towards new students at an Islamic institute. Not being familiar with it in the Netherlands, I was actually shocked to find such ceremonies at an Indonesian Islamic institute. So, what is the Oscaar actually? This is a ‘warm’ welcome to the new students organized by the students committees of the faculties. The institute itself does not interferewith it. It is about introducing the faculty and the IAIN to the new students. Special performances, such as the Pencak Silat, recital of the Qur’an and music, are being organized for the freshmen. A week before the first semester of the year,  the mahasiswa baru are asked to   come to the campus to participate in the celebration. Students, who refuse to attend, will be threatened by being told that if they do not attend, they will not pass their first year.


The first day started innocently by gathering on the campus and sitting in front of the older students who shouted some slogans by which the new students responded to by doing a wave and screaming excitingly. The next day the situation started to be pretty bad for the new students. You could see the new students being verbally attacked and they were running all over the campus. The students were wear black and white clothing, on which it is written ‘Oscaar 2011’. At one instance I saw the students being lined up and passing some stools and tables. I do not know whether it had a purpose or not, but judging on the faces of the mahasiswa baru, they did not really seem to like it, while the older students were looking at them with a grin or their faces.  At the Faculty of Shari’ah (Islamic law) the students were even asked to wear a duncap. It was clear to me that they were being ridiculed by the older students. Though the students are being given time to pray at the mosque of the campus, afterwards they will have to hurry to return to the faculty. ‘Cepat-cepat (hurry)!’, is being shouted at them by the older students.

I actually asked some friends of mine whether they enjoy the Oscaar or not. Basically some said they do enjoy it, but it is tiresome to put on an ugly face constantly. ‘At the end of the year we will be nice to them.’ When I asked the opinion of some professors, some admitted that they are not really fond of this practice. But it is something they have experienced themselves during their study years. ‘The minds of the students haven’t changed, hence this practice still continue to this very day.’


Now, where does this ritual originate from? A professor of the faculty of Dakwah told me this ritual originates from the colonial period, when the Dutch were still present in Indonesia. So they took this ceremony ritual from the Dutch people. Although the Oscaar isn’t present among the Dutch students anymore, one could still say this ritual carries on when a student wants to have access at a student association. Some students have to pass the ‘ontgroening’, a test by the association for the new members. Some would do crazy things like spending time with a slug for one day at the capital of Netherlands, Amsterdam. Other students have to stay in the bar for several days.


Though this practice is starting to extinct in the Netherlands, the students at the IAIN still have to survive until hari Jum’at, Friday, when they will be given freedom and can start their study on the next week, when their first semester will start.

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